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Old 10-22-2010, 01:31 AM   #1
compassexpeditions OP
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Road of Bones Expedition Photos London to Sochi, Russia through the Stans'

We have been inundated with requests to post a series of photos of our Road of Bones Expedition. Our disclaimer... we are a tour company but will not mention the company in the text, these series of photos that show the Road of Bones Expedition are for all those who wanted it. Due to the size of the gallery i will need to go in a few threads..More galleres to follow soon...Enjoy


Photo 1 departure from the Ace Café:
June the 12th saw a group of bikers enjoy our last English breakfast before setting off on a 100 day expedition to the other side of the world, Magadan, the terminus of the infamous Road of Bones. A fall in the car park that resulted in a broken mirror didn’t bode well for the superstitious amongst us.



Photo 2 outside the fire station
It wasn’t a European tour but we still took some time to ride the beautiful back roads of France getting hopelessly lost despite of GPS Zumo’s or maybe because of them. We were never more geographically misplaced on the entire expedition than we were in France. This photo is of a fire station in some small French village, the name of which I wouldn’t have a clue, we were lost.



Photo 3 Beautiful France back road riding
Again no idea where we were, but this village wasn’t far from Flavigny sur Ozerain, our overnight stop. The riding was stunning and for us Australians amazing to see anything older than 50 years.



Photo 4 Another French Village near Flavigny
Our GPS finally woke up and found out where we were, only 19ks from Flavigny sur Ozerain. Note the huge crack in the tower, we could have spent days here, it was that beautiful. That evening we stayed at a home stay in Flavigny run by the wonderful Carole. Having a beer in the square in this tiny French village was a great way to unwind after being lost all day.



Photo 5 World famous Gerbeaud cake shop Budapest
This place was a must visit at least for me. The Gerbeaud cake shop in Budapest has been operating since 1856 and my wife’s grandfather worked there in the early 1900th century, a fact the waitress couldn’t care less about when I excitedly told her. The cakes were to die for though.




Photo 6 Sighisoara, Romania
Deep within Transylvania, this ancient village was absolutely stunning with its centuries old buildings, cobbled stone streets (very difficult to ride on) and fantastic accommodation and restaurants. Just because we adventure bikers off into the wilds didn’t mean we had to do things the unnecessarily hard way.



Photo 7 One of the many picnic lunches we provide
Again we don’t have to things the hard way, on every ride day we ate a good picnic lunch usually in great locations but sometimes in complete dumps depending on where we were. The Bulgarian/Turkish border fell into the later category.



Photo 8 Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
We were looking forward to get out of Europe and start the “real” ride, the worst rains in 300 years also had us wanting to Europe ASAP and Istanbul was the crossroads between Europe and Asia. As we did each afternoon we rode into our hotel in a ferocious rain storm ensuring we were always soaked. The following days were spent wandering the wonderful Istanbul.


Photo 9 Hot air ballooning in Goreme
This was a highlight for us all, flying over the fairy chimneys of the bizarre landscape of Goreme, Turkey. At last the weather was kind to us; the balloon ride had been cancelled the two previous mornings prior to our arrival but on our morning of flight the weather was great, the 5am start wasn’t though.



Photo 10 The amazing Goreme
The area of Goreme is dotted with cave dwellings formerly inhabited by the Troglodytes. This civilization lived in these caves and underground in buildings up to 11 stories in depth instead of height. Our accommodation was in one of these caves that have been converted into a hotel with each cave being a room. It was great.



Photo 11 Cave dwellings in Goreme, Turkey
Another shot of some cave dwellings at Goreme as a dark storm marched toward us, eventually soaking Goreme.



Photo 12 The amazing Amaysa, Turkey
We rode across the high Anatolian Plains bound for Amaysa thinking it was just a place to stop en-route to the Black Sea, how wrong we were. Amaysa was fantastic with old Ottoman buildings hanging out over the river and burial caves dating back to 400BC. The old city was packed with small cobble stone laneways and wonderful old restaurants that had balconies that jutted out over the river. Best part was “it wasn’t raining”



Photo 13 Amaysa, Turkey
Another shot of the surprising Amaysa




Photo 14 Hard at it
We had lunch at a small café that sits atop a bluff overlooking the Black Sea, Turkey



Photo 15 Calm before the storm
A ferocious storm that absolutely battered us and has us all scurrying for cover as the lightning bolts crashed all around us and the wind threatened to blow us back to Europe, so much for the great weather in Asia


Photo 16 Departing Turkey for Russia, crossing the Black Sea
The 12 hour ferry sailing, from Turkey to Russia, that took 24 hours. This is a ridiculous shambles where we “must” board the dilapidated boat no later than 5 PM knowing full well the boat does not sail until midnight. The 12 hour sailing took and agonising 17 hours before reaching Sochi, Russia. Not to e outdone in shambolic fiasco the Russians took another 6 hours to process us and let us in. Sochi is the home city of the next Winter Olympic Games; my God they need to sort the border procedures out before then.

More photo galleries from the expedition to follow...
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:49 AM   #2
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Thanks for the pics and for keeping it spam free..

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Old 10-22-2010, 05:19 AM   #3
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:06 AM   #4
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Most Excellent! My Great Grandfather is Russian, so I love any chance to experience the culture! Cheers!
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #5
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Wonderful, looking forward to the next batch. Thanks.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:28 PM   #6
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Road of Bones Expedition Photos (Part2) Sochi, Russia throught the Stans

Road of Bones Expedition photos (Part1) can be seen at this tread http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=630898

Here is the next part of the expedition....Enjoy!


Photo 16 Departing Turkey for Russia, crossing the Black Sea
The 12 hour ferry sailing, from Turkey to Russia, that took 24 hours. This is a ridiculous shambles where we “must” board the dilapidated boat no later than 5 PM knowing full well the boat does not sail until midnight. The 12 hour sailing took and agonising 17 hours before reaching Sochi, Russia. Not to e outdone in shambolic fiasco the Russians took another 6 hours to process us and let us in. Sochi is the home city of the next Winter Olympic Games; my God they need to sort the border procedures out before then.


Photo 17 Bullet hole ridden flour mill, Volgograd, Stalingrad
A city with a tragic history. The sight of the bloodiest battle in WW2 Stalingrad now houses a moving memorial to this battle and a fantastic museum. The flour mill is the only thing that remains unchanged from this battle


Photo 18 Mother Russia
This is a massive 56m statue situated on Mameav Hill were an estimated 8000 Russian soldiers died defending one lousy hill, this is a must visit when in Russia, as Bruce Springsteen sings “war, war, what is it good for”?


Photo 19 Mick and Leo
One thing Russians have always been good at is there signs and statues. This monster was bigger than the town it was announcing you were about to ride in to. The good side was that unlike France we never got lost, those useless GPS units were obsolete; bring back the old paper maps I say, (And yes I will beat everyone to the punch the GPS issues are entirely an operator fault, but some of us just aren’t born gizmo-telligent)


Photo 20 Unfortunately this wasn’t Pats first encounter with the law
Pat had been done by the police for speeding on our first ride day in Russia, not hard when the cops have speed cameras seemingly every 10ks, I had never ridden such a heavily policed road than that of the Russian Black Sea Coast. However this cop car was our favourite, have a good look it’s a wooden cut out.


Photo 21 Blue Cupolas in the Russian countryside
Riding along in the middle of nowhere we stumbled across this Russian Orthodox Church resplendent with its blue onion domed cupolas. We were excited to see these at first but these churches became common place eventually.


Photo 22 F 800 at sunset
Our first night camping was on the immense Kazakhstan Steppe, so vast that you could just about see the curvature of the earth. Camping here was brilliant and a joy to be out of the cites. The silence was stunning and when everyone went to bed it seemed that I was the last person left on earth, a great experience.


Photo 23 it’s not all hard work
Far from Borat this Kazakh beauty was the hotel receptionist in Aqtobe. Enjoy this phot as I got in a lot of trouble from my wife over it.


Photo 24 Twilight over the Steppe
Another shot at sundown over the vast silent Kazakh Steppe, if people ever ask you why you adventure ride show them this shot.


Photo 25 The incredible Registan, Samarqand, Uzbekistan
The amazing Registan at Samarqand, Uzbekistan. When Tamerlane terrorized Central Asia centuries ago he spared the lives of the artisans and created the incredible Registan amongst other antiquities. This is a rarely travelled part of the world however to ride the Silk Road is a thrill for those who give a stuff about history.


Photo 26 The leaning Kolon Minaret, Bukhara
The legend goes that when Ghengis Khan saw the Kolan Minaret as he rampaged through Central Asia he demanded it be spared from annihilation. There must be some truth behind it as it still stands today. Bukhara is synonymous with the Silk Road oasis towns, sitting around the Laubi hauz (old town square) chewing on a tough shashlik and having a cold beer under the century old trees is about as close as you can get to being back in the old days of Bukhara.


Photo 27 Local at the Registan
Yet another shot of the Registan, Central Asia’s finest antiquity. The temperatures when we were there were well into the 40s however two weeks earlier they were in the low 50s, what we would have given for some of that European rain that follwed us for so long.


Photo 28 Riding the western Tien Shan mountains
The change in itinerary saw us ride the Western Tien Shan mountains that border southern Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Riding toward Almaty on one particular day saw us cross into Kyrgyzstan no less than 4 times as the un patrolled road meandered across this international border, I was convinced that my map reading skills had now deserted me along with my GPS skills


Photo 29 A millionaire at last, 1 Million Uzbek Som
I have exactly 1 million Uzbek Som the equivalent to US$ 600, this stash of notes are in 10 Som denominations, you literally need a large carry bag if intending on going out for dinner, it was hilarious.


Photo 30 Enjoying a break on the Silk Road
It was hot on the Silk Road, Damn hot, but we often cooled down at these tea house located roadside all across Uzbekistan. Particularly refreshing were the refrigerated watermelons


Photo 31 Sunset at our campsite
With the civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan we changed our itinerary and re-entered Kazakhstan and onto Almaty. From Almaty we rode across the Kazakh Steppe again heading for Russia. As the phot above shows these nights were some of the best, no photoshop here this was the natural light as we camped each evening, beautiful stuff


Photo 32 Joe catching a quick nap
Some days were long and we had been on the road non stop for over 2 months, we were getting tired. Joe really was asleep here as we made some running repairs to our support vehicle trailer, the spring packs had worn through the chassis rails so we had to get some plates welded at a run down shack on the side of the Trans Siberian highway.


Photo 33 Joe washing his bike
The bike wash was unintentional and unavoidable as Joe hit a hidden rock mid stream, filling his airbox in the process, while crossing a stream in Mongolia


Photo 34 Mick washing his boots
The boot wash was also unintentional but necessary as someone had to wade in and help Joe right his bike, but only after I took enough photos of Joe flailing around in the water, something he didn’t let me forget.

More Russia, Mongolia and Road of Bones photos to follow...the best for last!!!!
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:01 PM   #7
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Road of Bones Expedition Photos (Part3) Mongolia and the Road of Bones

Road of Bones Expedition photos (Part1) can be seen at this tread http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=630898
Part 2 at http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...2#post14315992

Here is the final set of expedition photos Mongolia and the Road of Bones.....Enjoy!



Photo 35 Mick on that famous bridge
When I crossed this bridge Jalagalant, Mongolia 5 years earlier I thought I wouldn’t last another year. I was surprised that it was still there and hadn’t seemed to moved much at all, even the wooden planks were all still there.


Photo 36 Monument to the thumb
Of course, every country should have one; we have absolutely no idea as to the significance to this monument in Mongolia to the thumb but it made us laugh.


Photo 37 Ready to launch
This shot was taken on a pass in Mongolia; no real purpose really just looked like a half decent shot.


Photo 38 Our accommodation at White Lake
Tsagaan Nuur or White Lake is a simply stunning place and with a broken trailer axle we spent an extra night here in this tourist ger camp on the edge of the lake. Everyone rated it as some of the best accommodation we had experienced this far and that includes the 4 star hotels we had been at. As I said the country scenery trumps the cities anytime.



Photo 39 Our cruiser at White lake
This is a road I know well having driven it 3 times over a 24 hour period. We had snapped the trailer axle and spent an entire night, driving/bogged/driving in the landcruiser to get to a welder to do a “get me to Ulaan Bataar” repair. I guess if we had to break down somewhere this is the place to be.


Photo 40 Silhouette
Just looked like a good shot from our campsite on the side of the Trans Siberian Highway when we departed Mongolia and re-entered Russia


Photo 41 The mud on the Lena Highway
We have all seen the shots of the “Highway to hell” on various websites and I was more than a little concerned as we had heard that the 2010 summer on the Lena Highway had been particularly wet. From Mongolia to the M 56 Lena Highway turn-off the road had been paved and in a lot of places brand new, when we hit the Lena it suddenly became rough very rough and soon muddy, very muddy, but it wasn’t to last for long.


Photo 42 the Lena Highway, Siberia
The Lena actually falls within the Yakutia region but Siberia sounds more adventurous. The road had become very rough but also very hard packed, the mud in the previous was the only mud in 1100ks to Yakutsk, thank god.


Photo 43 1075ks of dirt ahead
As the sign says 1075 ks of dirt from the Trans Siberian highway to Yakustk the capital of the Yakutia Krai (district)


Photo 44 The going gets tough
We had left Yakutsk to begin the Road of bones proper. Actually the Road of Bones refers to dozens of roads built by prisoners during Stalin’s purges in the 30s and 40s. the scenery was utterly spectacular, something that took us all by surprise, I guess with this regions tragic history spectacular scenery wasn’t something we had ever considered. A cold blast from the Arctic blew in overnight turning the Road of Bones into an un-rideable ice skating ring, all of us came down at some point. The progress became painfully slow.


Photo 45 Kyumbe bridge
This is the turn-off to the “old Road of bones” we had been advised against taking this route by locals and considering the freezing weather that had set in pushing our bikes across rivers wasn’t a good idea, we wanted to avoid hypothermia. The “new route” was definitely easier but still as wild a country as you could imagine with spectacular scenery


Photo 46 More snow
I didn’t get any easier on the “new Route” a blizzard had well and truly set in and that trailer axle had snapped again an agonising 800 ks before Magadan, it was the only time I thought “ this is it we are stuffed”, I underestimated the friendliness and resourcefulness of there amazing Russian who call this region home. Temperature here this morning -10 Celsius


Photo 47 Way too much vodka
As the caption says “way too much vodka” these are the boys that spent two days helping us get our broken trailer to Sussaman, repairing it, feeding us and generally being wonderful human beings. It was a great pleasure to have spent time with these guys and I know that they will feature in my life a lot longer than I will in theirs. We got extremely drunk here and spent the night sleeping in the front set of the Landcruiser in -10 Celsius temperatures. Vodka will never pass my lips again


Photo 48 An icy bridge on the Road of Bones
This bridge was actually closed but the thought of getting soaked in the freezing conditions as we crossed the fast flowing river below convinced us to take our chances on the iced over bridge


Photo 49 Murray enjoying being out of the ice
Joy we were out of the snow and it looked as if it hadn’t snowed here for a while with the dust flying.


Photo 50 Last pass before Magadan
Oh no snow/ice again. Since departing Yakutsk we had been at an elevation of around 600mt (the GPS was good for something) as soon as we hit 900mt everything turned to ice with the predictable results. On my BMW R 1200 GS I fell 6 times before topping the gentle pass. Riding it wasn’t an option anymore as the combined weight of rider + bike had it sliding off into the snow banks only to get bogged in the said banks, my only option was to walk the bike over the pass which I did. 500m progress took us 2 hours, great stuff though.


Photo 51 WE DID IT
As the caption says we did it, everyone made Magadan without major incident. All the bikes made it even that trailer made it. A wonderful experience was had by all, and guess what I am not going to mention who we are!! I trust those who asked for this have enjoyed.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
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Glad you are enjoying the photos...

Part 2 (Sochi, Russia through the Stans) can be seen here http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=631066

Part 3 (Mongolia and Road of Bones)
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=631080

Enjoy!
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:36 AM   #9
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Looks like one of youn is carrying a fairly wide angle lens. DSLR I presume.

Love wide angles, nice stuff!!!!!!

I am jealous. location, location, location. Oh to have the time.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:48 PM   #10
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Merged both threads of the same trip together and moved to Ride Reports. Looks like a fantastic adventure. Thanks for the pics and link to more
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:12 PM   #11
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this is a great report !

beautiful pictures
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:24 AM   #12
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Thumb Super Ride...

Super Trip...very-very nice pictures...
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:08 AM   #13
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great pics... what time of year was the trip.

thanks


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Old 10-27-2010, 01:35 PM   #14
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That's great , nice fotos, when I saw it, I'd like to ride now
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:39 AM   #15
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I recommend smugmug as your pictures have "exceeded bandwidth".
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