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Old 06-20-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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The Black Sea tour 2012_ adv style

Hello - Hello!
For a breef moment there I hesitated and thought that I would not be making this trip at all.
After giving it a proper concideration - aww, lets say at least 2 minutes or so, I decided It Must Be Done.

The time of year is spring and Im making myself a big sandwich to go with my even bigger apple juice.
Im thinking of the places that my father has traveled and feeling not up to that. I feel like, whilst reaching almost 30, Im somewhat behind all that, what he had achieved and seen by that time. So I pick up a book that describes the life and nature on the coasts of the Black Sea. Just by reading something so spectacular (written o so - 70 years ago) my mind already wonders off into motorcycle daydreams of ironbutting myself down there. Why "down" there?? - well, because Im an estonian guy, from northern part of Europe ( for those who dont know what Estonia is - its a little splat of green on the map just below finland - You know, the place Santa is from ).
It takes me half a year to get the budjet ready and to have a reserve for the trip. It also involves my bike being changed - from a K4 gixxer to a K3 DL1000 V-Strom. Getting aquainted with new folks for the trip and gearing properly up for the task.
I will not start with all that I thought that needed to get done to the bike to make it "my" bike and up for the trip - but lets say, it took some time and effort and plenty of EUR-os. Here goes out a big THANK YOU to my friend, who helped with the engine rebuild and also gps mounts and other bits and pieces. Nothing substitutes a good friend, I think.
The plan was simple from the beginning - I have 16 days off from work - I will try to make the best use of that.
Here is the base map link for You all.,15,16&t=m&z=5
There will be corrections to it. There always are. But the idea is to ride and enjoy and visit places, that we never seen before and take a ton of pictures.

So a little intro for the bikes as well - and contestants -
1) There is a proper mud/dirt lover KTM Adventure with a skinny dude on top of it, whom we call MUNK
2) There will be a spirited "treehugger" friend on a Suzuki SV 1000
3) And then there is me. Just me, riding on a "fluffy" DL1000

Some gear introduction -
on the bike:
Metzeler tourance tyres
custom made over dash GPS mount
crash bars
Kappa 35l top
2x 25l sides - military style
new chain and original sprockets
MRA - touring windscreen lip
thicker fork oil
12V outlets and USB charger mounted

Stuff for me:
Helmet by HJC - FS-15 with some aerodynamics mods on it
Warm /mesh gloves EVO
Cold weather/fat leather gloves - noname
Lindstrands motorcycle jeans with CE protectors and kevlar
Motoboots by Xped
coolmax underpants
many different breathable shirts
Rain gear
EVO 3-in- 1 Adventure jacket
Windstopper by New balance
fff- load of socks
flip-flops for the beach
hygiene stuff
Helmet cam - VADO HD
DSLR - Pentax K200 Weather proof with two "tubes"
GPS - with smartphone LG Optimus 2x
Pic of my dog
and PAPERWORK - feels like Im making a RTW trip.

Since the trip is due from 29th of june - we are still making preparations and therefore I have some pics to upload.
As things develop, there will be more to come but for now - lets just end on that.

PIc of cam setup

PIC of airvent that needed "tuning" in order to make the helmet really quiet

Pic of the bluetooth settings on the helmet
not actually final version - but its working already.

Pic of the army style boxes that still need some work and fitment
NOTE! - full aluminium - weigh probably less than my cam bag.

Pic of my DL getting the side case carriers mounted.
These things are from GIVI and mount up in 20 minutes.
Now all they need are the cases...

Now its getting to late already and a lot of stuff still need sorting out - but we have a whole week to deal with everything
and Ill be posting as time goes along...
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:43 PM   #2
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7 days till D-day.

Today was a good day at the garage.
Side cases got painted and drilled and mounted. Also the boxes lids got welded, just in case.
Oil got changed, nuts and bolts tightened and then some.
We have a weekend of national summer holiday and massive barbeque coming upp, so I hope to be in good shape next week to crack on with the stuff that still need sorting out.
Still waiting for some stuff from backorder and got my riding pants back from the tailor (they needed some work so my fat ass would feel more comfy in em ).

Here is a pic of the panniers mounted to the bike.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:36 AM   #3
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Thumb 3 days till D-day.

3 Days till D-day.

The day before yesturday I was really busy in the garage, getting all the mounts checked and painting the boxes one more time. Since the first installation of the boxes did not satisfy my anal needs for perfection - I decided to do it again.
This time got the boxes evenly seated and the bolts and nuts fit just perfectly.
Here is a little pretty "photoshoparized" picture of the Strom with the stickers and the boxes ready for action.

Now after getting all the gear stuff ready - I thought it might be a good time to check all the technical things again, just to be sure...

I did the old "oil plug loose let it drip on paper" oil test and what i got, was a brownyellowish oil drop that spread nicely evenly and in a good way. And just as I was getting happy with the thing i saw a shiney piece of metal in there
Let out some more oil from the tank and got some more of these "flakes". Theyr size is like 0,3mm by 2,0mm and they have a aluminium look to them. Not magnetic also. (sorry - no pics of it).
Just to make me not start wimp and twist and turn on the garage floor, I decided - well, it must be from the engine "open- brake clutchbasket- new stuff in - clean oil filter - close" cycle that we did on the motor during winter.
So in order to make my day a little "softer" took the decision of changin oil completely again. 10W-40 semi-synth went in and itll have to hold for the trip. Nothing seemed to come out of the oil filter so i hope for the best. (now getting the oil filter off was a totally different story - the amount of s*ts and da*ns and other strong words were needed to persuede the oil filter to get loose. (that last oil change was probably done by a true brofecionaldo who found that 12Nm of torque, written of the filter, means : AS TIGHT AS F***).

Back home:
lot of searching and sniffing around...
No, thats not me - that was my Jack Russel going through the stuff that got piled on the floor of my bedroom.
Lot of shopping needed to be done also. So here is a 90% readyness pic of the stuff that got sniffed by the expert..

Here is the expert:

And here is the unorganized pile of equipment.

After an hour and a half of hard work and heavy labour the result was amazing - I could see it now fitting to the side cases, even without using massive amount of hydraulic pressure

Today we make one of the packing tests and well see it from there, what still need to be sorted...

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Old 06-27-2012, 04:56 AM   #4
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Seems like a great trip coming up

I'm off towards the Black Sea from Helsinki this Saturday. I got a bit different route plan (or actually I'm still sort of working on it) but maybe I'll see you down the road.

First I was planning to go through St. Petersburg and then south but now I'm thinking to save some time and take the first ferry to Tallinn on Saturday morning and then ride to Russia from there. Still waiting for the Russian visa though

Since I'm on a tightish schedule I'm not planning to spend much time on the Black Sea, maybe just check out Odessa. I try to save more time to exploring the Carpathian mountain passes.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Oldbear View Post
Seems like a great trip coming up

I'm off towards the Black Sea from Helsinki this Saturday. I got a bit different route plan (or actually I'm still sort of working on it) but maybe I'll see you down the road.

First I was planning to go through St. Petersburg and then south but now I'm thinking to save some time and take the first ferry to Tallinn on Saturday morning and then ride to Russia from there. Still waiting for the Russian visa though

Since I'm on a tightish schedule I'm not planning to spend much time on the Black Sea, maybe just check out Odessa. I try to save more time to exploring the Carpathian mountain passes.

Safe travels!!!
We will be the ones with the estonian flags
And we will be around Odessa on the 7th and 8th July.
So we might meet!

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:39 AM   #6
Don't want a pickle
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Rode from Bryansk to Kiev today, probably the most boring road in the world.
Only entertainment was a dozen speed traps on the way

Looks like I'll be in Odessa tomorrow already, then I'm off to Carpathians through Moldova.

Ride safe and watch out for the militsiya!
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #7
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Back home...

Hello fellow adventurers.
The trip is done.
It was hard and interesting and full of adventures and many "sights" to see and photograph.
Through the technical issues and the heat and stron rain we ran into people. People we will never forget and make our
days on this planet yet another bit more interesting and worth the effort.
I will start with the blogging tomorrow (because all the material needs sorting out) and post just a few teasers for now of the pics I took.

Here is us being sent on our merry way by some estonian moto-beauty -
isnt this just staggering what a motooutfit does to a beautiful woman

Here - after only few houndred kilometers You can see the KTM already acting upp.
Just You wait - it wount be the last of it...

Here is another reminder for us who (countries) were overrun by some of em - but being a man - try n keep yourself away from taking pictures

Now after miles and miles of bad roads and terribly hot weather we reached Yalta - and had some seal sightseeing to be done :)

Trust me - there is plenty more, where all that came from...
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:09 AM   #8
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Wink Day 1 of that trip

So here we go:

It was the friday of 29th of june when i got off work at around 1600hours and headed off towards home.
I took the liberty of having fun with my dog for about 10 minutes, took a walk with her and then changed my clothes from the corporate crap to something more suitable for a MOTORCYCLE TRIP! I still had some unpacked stuff on me. And a lot of it. The case had been - i tried to get everything packed already 2days beforehand and managed it. Problem was, I forgot some stuff. OK - said goodbye to home and dog and took a last drive with the car to the garage. I had a plastic bag full of stuff that still needed fitting and I did the obvious. Took 1 or two things that looked like I would really use on the trip and left the rest to the side. Now, whilst rolling the bike out the garage I almost dropped it. Was it that the bike was heavy or that I had gotten so nervous - dunno, but the "omgimgonnadropthecow" moment was totally there. Alright then - out the garage and onto the road.
A quick call to MUNK to say Im ready and to get confirmation - he was not.
Here is the last pic before starting the rolling from the garage.

I then headed off to the last gas station I would see on my "hometerritory".
Had there been a good communication between us - I would have not needed to wait another hour in the gas station parking lot, for the "carrot racing team" of MUNK and hes KTM. But after cooking in the sun for about 53minutes and some sec - but hey, who was counting, right - I saw the orange epicness of traveldsome friend - I say the grin on his face was so big it barely fit into the helmet.

A little bit of bla -bla and were off to vacation!!!

The ride from Tallinn to the crossroads of Tartu freeway and Jgeva fw. was just as boring as playing chess with a sleeping rock. But then!!! the almighty slapped us in the face with a nice piece of evidence, that He exists and took a lot more time when creating a woman, than a man! Since our pace had been modest, to say the least - we were met by an estonian motowoman already miles ahead of our destination and she was kind enough to lead the (now not so boring way anymore) to Tarmos house. Though must say - if she were to lead us into some bush or lets say straight over a cliff - we would have probably followed with no questiones asked.
Well after 25 or so miles we finally reached the fields of Tarmos home and were greeted by a barking behemoth and a family of three - Tarmo, the woman and a shy little 3yo girl they had managed to create.

Here is the big bike comparison going on and all the "omgyougotthisandigotthat" talk.

The evening carried on with a plan on the desk and beercans around it with some raw-ish meat (reminder never to let women near the meat grill - Tarmo) and some good old fashioned sauna, that we really needed, to get the edge off a bit.
Here are Tarmo and MUNK - the last one of them studing the bluetooth pairing system - that we never got to work properly, because there was some problem with one of the mics.

And after all the meat and the shbones and the bla-bla till 0200am we went to bed @ Tarmos house and waited till the early morgning...

To be continued...
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:02 AM   #9
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Good beginning.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:10 AM   #10
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Cool2 Day 2 of that trip

It is 0600 am and I can hear someone walking nervously around the house.
Is it me - or is it a bit early for breakfast at that time of day.
Well - it was the "tripnerv" of Tarmo, that did not let him sleep longer than that and made him run around the house - collecting some last minute stuff together.
We hauled our asses off the couch and got dressed to be greeted with the good smell of pancakes and a sleepy face of Tarmo`s wife and child. Nothing like homemade pancake with morgning cartoons, huh!??!

After collecting our minds and getting the gear ready and pumping blood with fresh cafein - we were ready to get outside and start making our way from estonia to latvija and the border of belarus.
For the first day we had only 250miles or even less planned and on that route there should be some nice scenery and good roads to ride, but well come to that later.
Here are the somewhat still sleepy faces gathering around bikes and preping to leave home for a longer run.

The miles piled up and we were already feeling the heat on our back. Weather was nice and roads clean and the bikes happy to be on them. In southern part of estonia we suddenly bumped into a gathering.
And a nice one it was! Many classic cars on the side of the road, just waiting for us to take pictures and film all the oldtimer glory.

Since the heat and the anxiousness was already getting on our nerves - we desided to ride on and not let the pretty cars take up too much of our precious time. In the southern part of estonia there are many places where a tourist will find themselves looking from left to right and just going "awwwwwwww" all the time. Wheater its the beatiful nature, the pretty little homes or the humpy streets and curvy roads - its the same to us too. I use to serve my time on the boarder over there many years ago and have never been back since. Nostalgic, frantic and feeling like almost home - but all the good gravel roads have now turned into tarmac and the little shops that were still breathing 10years ago are now gone. Its like going to Your old apartment - You feel as if it is homelike but the new people have ruined the set for you.
Nevertheless - here are some pics of the sand dunes of Piusa:

And here is a longest daisy i have ever seen, growing in the middle of the forest just alone.
Its Tarmo - lending a hand(groin) to measure the height of the flower.

Just a few miles up the road we can see the new big railway station already up and running.
So we took some pictures - I just needed to climb up a very steep hill. My ass still remembers the way of newtons law - what goes upp - must come down

This is where our official adventures in estonia ended. We still managed actually to get gas from an estonian station and visit a shop for food and purchase estonian flags for the bikes. Unfortunatelly they only had 2 so MUNK got them all.

It was around midday that we already reached the border of estonia and latvia. Of course we took the complimentary first border crossing pics.
here we are on estonian side -

and just 3feet further is already the other side

A few miles into latvija and we hit good gravel road. I stop to get confirmation from others - should we proceed or find another way?
Well - everybody is happy with the road so far, so lets go ahead and just ride the damn thing.
Guess what - it aint over until its over - huh? The road suppose to end into nice tarmac and some villages. But before that, it decided to deteriorate into some offroadish wabble of a road that wanted to dismantle me and the strom and the SV1000 that Tarmo was on. We stopped in the middle of the road, when it was the worst and decided to have lunch brake. MUNK was that "recon" guy this time with the KTM and turned off the road into the bush to find lake shore. He was back in 10 to give us bad news - no road for road bikes. He stopped for a second and KTM just threw up!
And I mean literally - everything that can come up, came up and poored onto the nice latvijan gravel.
What happened, was that the KTM overheated, the fan never started and it boiled the coolant out of the reservoir.
Here You can see MUNK sticking a little branch into the fan blades triyng to make them move.

After half an hour on the side of the road - we felt the engine being cool enough to make it to the next place on a lake shore and make a rest there. We tried to remove the fan with everything we had on us, but the damn thing was just too packed away - so we decided to let it stay and go to a computer shop in the next big town and get us computer fan that can be activated on demand. We got the fan moving again - thought just that something caught in the blades for a moment or so and ditched the idea of the separate fan for now. (boy was that a wrong decision or what).

Camp for the afternoon near some small lake in latvia.

Some more technical talk - the rough road had wabbeled loose Tarmos bike steering damper. It was almost on its way to latvijan bush when I touched it, whilst fixing the bikes suspension settings. Tarmo complained about the bike hitting the bumps really hard. Well - the rear shock was ok to be adjusted but the front forks had been tampered with so, that there was no way of making them better. The last oil change of forks had been with a huge amount of overfill and even with no preload and no damping force dialed in - the forks were stiff as bone. It was the shitty situation that Tarmo had to live with for the rest of the way...

Now after some boring and fast miles of road we took a little rest near the village of Dricani and took some "situational" pictures.
Here is me - waiting for the bus, that never arrived.

It was a short stop - maybe 10 minutes just to get our head straight and carry on towards the next town where we needed to resupply and gather our thoughts on the evening and were to stay for the night.
Here is a picture of a "sleeping beauty" if You wish - in front of the big store that we visited for food and water.

And You can see the bikes getting heavier already - the heat needs you to gather water and such and it is not an easy deal whilst being cramped with space on a motorcycle.

Small roads of latvia are friends of motorcyclists. You will find many abandoned sites or quiet lakeshores and so did we -
and if this isnt wild camping, I dont know what is.
MUNK nearly slept on a tree - rather than under one.

After a while i cracked some branches in the bush and came out saying :" there is bear poo around here - so you better watch out"!
I guess the look on Tarmos face says it all - but I had a good night sleep

This day was ended by few zips of hot liquer and thousands of hungry latvian moskitos.

to be continued...
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:37 AM   #11
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Nice start with a fun way of storytelling. I'm in for the ride.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:27 AM   #12
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Day 3 of that trip.

Night 2 and day 3 of the trip.

I wake up in the tent to listen to the rain drops on my small home for 2 two weeks.
Will it hold, or will it make me wet like a bum on the streetcorner, who has nowhere to hide from the fury of the nature?
I hear a bear snoring right next to my tent. I picture meself the big animal eating me raw and licking the last piece of evidence of the bones. But actually it is just MUNK breathing rather heavily. On the other side of my accomodation i can hear the still restless countryman Tarmo. He is twisting and turning like a snake in a jar trying to find a way out of the tent. I even kinda feel like the situation bizzare. Quick look at the time and it is around 0400. We agreed to get up really early and tow our ass...ets to the border in order to get across quickly and with as little fuss as possible. Cant remember the rest. Probably fell asleep for an hour or so.
I hear the phone ringing. Open one eye to look - "damn - 0600". And the training kicks in.
Out of the sleeping gear and into riding stuff - boots on, jacket, hood, put the camera stuff back and step out of the tent in less than 2 minutes.
Our last night fear came true - the bear had been here and eaten the rest of us!

Naah - just kidding. Quick "good mooooorgning vieetnaaaaaaaam" as loud as I can yell to the fellows and we start the morgning ritual of coocking and mocking.
All packed and ready to leave - Im the first to have a go at the mountain side, that we lowered ourselves down from, last night. Suppose to be slippery and scary to get up - but no, its like any other soft road. Here I do need to post the pictures of the climb and the complimentary pic to ADV. I was suppose to get the sticker but never made it. So i used what was left of the morgning moisture and latvijan dirt.
Here is the SV1000 crawling up the hill

here just a pretty sight of the road, that we found the lake shore nearby.

And here is the famous ADV sticker - that really isnt a sticker.

Then - after fighting with the gps for several miles I decided to take the matters into my own hands.
This is what happened.

I found the only patch of soft dirt on this road and totally lost the front of the strom there.
Went down like mammoth with a pierced heart. Hit my head on the ground and twisted the left shoulder a bit whilst trying to soften the blow.
The result - lot of dirt on me, on the bike and on the gear. Broken left turning signal light and somewhat tilted left side box.
And the most - I think I totally lost the "honor" thingy right there. Picked up what was left of my self asteem and just carried on, like the GPS suggested.

Under the latvijan disappearing sun (dont get me wrong, it was the bloody rain that tried to catch up with us again) we reached the border of Belarus!
Is all paperwork over there - for two hours of running around and filling dokuments we have no idea what they mean.
But a very helpful local guy gave us a hand with that all. And the LADIES on the Belarussian side. If they were to detain us for a proper search - I know, I would not have minded that.

After 2-3 hours over there and swetting like pigs we finally reached the other side.
Taking the complimentary picture of the sign and waving goodbye to the nice borderguardesses, we headed off towards SE of Belarus. And even if the first few houndred yards of the belarussian road shocked us (especially me, who was still a bit on the edge, because of the morgning mishap) the road after that was totally fine.

We rode on the bigger road from Polatsk to Vitsebsk to Homyel and finally to the border by the end of the day.
Having a transit visa - good for 48hours after check in - is no problem, if You don t have any technical issues.
Here is tarmo - shooting the good and cheap!!! - 0.7 eur/l petrol.

As for the architecture in Belarus - well, its no where near EURO style, we might say, but the country is clean and maintained. Is it the suppression, or the local "order" but everything is quiet and neat and very clean.
Anyway - we had a pause near a gas station and had lunch brake just to admire the breeze of summer and take pics of the weird looking trams.
Is it me - or they look like doors are added later for comfort?

And here is just a weird looking thingy at the same gas station

- they actually even had fountain on the other side and a little cafe - but we were "dirtyminded" for that institution, so we stayed outside with the horses.
And good for that - at some point, during the meal a car makes a sudden U-turn on the big road (tyres screaming and everything) and pulls up right next to us. guy steps out of the van and comes straight to us - :" So tourists, huh? How much this motorcycle cost?" Now - I can relate to people being curious and such, but this seemed a little too straight forward.
So I said :"How much You got?" The man looked at me funny for a few seconds and then just nodded for a confirmation to the other guy, who was sitting behind the wheel and the took off again.
Was that the hint that we had been sitting long enough on one spot? Dunno, but pretty soon after that we started moving again...

Here is the "camp" at the site.

So we took off into the light breeze and heat of the Belarus.

Next stop - another gas station, where MUNK needed to get some more coolant for the KTM to throw up again.
We needed RED coolant - he bought green/blue. The perky girl behind the counter never let us return the wrong one - and just made us buy another one. Maybe it was the heat or the girl, but we barely complained

MONK here - getting the "syrup" ready.

And Tarmo, being all "ahh, look at me, my bikes got no trouble at all".

Thank You for visiting and come back again -

Youll see that everywhere in belarus. Just expect trouble when filling up with credit card. They still use the :" I want 20l fuel" - and need to pay forehand for everything.

This is the last gas station and the bigger stop before reaching Ukrainian and Belarus border, later that evening.
We lubed the chains, checked the oil and tyres and let some air out of the pants - here You can see that MUNK almost lost hes.

SV1000 inspection - bend over style :)

And then it was time for us the waste the rest of the daylight and the dark time on the border.
It was just an emmence time of running around with papers, getting yelled at by officers and many stupid questions like" What is - keitiemm?? - this is no motorcycle!!!"
Never got the chance to take a picture of a loose dog on the checkpoint territory, but I must say I totally fell for that little thing. It was a knee high dark gray dog with tips of the paws and tail all white. And with attitude and somewhat royal behaviour. Oh yeah - if I did not mention it before then there are a lot of loose dogs in these countries.
We spent our 6,5 hours on the border. Took off from there to ride into complete darkness and turn of the main road after 3-4 miles and camped in the woods. My god they have vicious moskitos there.
The end of day 3 and we are sleeping in Ukraine already.

to be continued...
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:27 AM   #13
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Cool2 Day 4 of that trip.

Its day 4. We have managed to find a hideout on a little trail to the woods just near the border from Belarus. It is basically the same place as Chernobol - just on the other side of the big water reservoir.
Anyway - its already 0600 am and I take a cold peek out of the 2x2 hole in front of my nose. I hear some weird noises. Again with the bears! - Nop, its the sleepy men next to me and some local folk riding theyr bicyles down the road.
OK - its time to wake up and look around, what the moskitos have eaten away this time. Usually they clear out by the morgning, but noo, not these! They been hungry the whole night and now that the graveyard shift is over, they called for backup. Morgning snack is eaten whilst whipping with some leafs around my head and trying to survive the attacks.
This is our camp for the short night that we had.

Plan of today - Go to Kiev, take pictures, travel north and try to get in to Chernobol. (let us be reminded that since last year the introduced a military checkpoint system to the Zone and it is quite hard to get close, apparently many visitors never liked to just take pictures of the things, but take the radioactive stuff with them).

Now it takes us half the day to get there. Some of what is due to the heat and some of it just cause we slow and taking pictures of tanks and such on the way.
Here is an example of one of the tanks that needed picture taking!

And this is MUNK getting the best of hes phones abilities to take pics.

Soon after taking pics of the tank we hear a big bug coming down the road.
After sleeping only, o say 2 hours, You start to make wrong connections between stuff.
It was a whining noise but behind that noise was a full grown Ukrainian man with a russian built scooter.

The guy on the scoooter yelled something - we cound not get the meaning of it - so we just waved and went on our merry way.
After few miles down the (now not so merry) way we needed gas again. It was somewhere between Chernihiv and Kiev that we found a good spot to make a pause and finish the morgning ritual also, that the moskitos had totally ruined earlier that day. In the gas station we had a lot of intention like always.
Suddenly a guy drives up to us with a Hyundai Sonata with totally blacked out windows and starts yappin so fast in russian, I could not underestand a word he said. Then asks from us - :" You from estonia- huh?" we nodded - just because having breakfast and our mouths were full of moskito salvage.
then he goes on :" I was in estonia once, the police sucks there, I was driving only 10, maybe 15 km/h faster than was allowed and they wrote me a ticket! Here in Ukraine you can drive as fast as You want!"
On that bomshell he thought it would be appropriate to leave us with such a hasty abandon that the skidmarks will probably be there for another few years.
Then the bikes - a little chekup showed us that the tyres are working ok and we are moving on right pressure and pace for them. All the nuts and pieces seemed to be in order too. Even on the "carrot racing team" machine.
Suddenly a very nifty girl pops up right next to our bikes. I take my camera out and she just picks up her phone and starts a call, while walking away from us. Well I dont mind - I say neglection is as good as saying yes quietly
So here is the back of her :

And also the front of her :

2 seconds later I hear a man laughing loudly maybe 10ft away.
Its her father - looking at us, looking at her, looking at me, taking pictures of her

Now she smiles and makes a weird gesture with her hand but the camera is already off and the gloves go on and it is time for us to ride again. (its around 1030 am and +30 degrees celcius outside)

An hour later I can already offer You a panorama of the Kiev city center and the new bridge being built right in the middle of that all.
This is the harbour on the south side, where we stopped for a breef moment to take a few pics and comment on the immence heat...

Here You can see the cruiser on dock, being washed by two young guys on top of it - who were literally also throwing garbage off the boat.

But all the garbage and oil and such never bothered this guy from fishing.
From what I hear, they even might be selling the caught stuff to tourists right there on the spot.

We were out of gas again. Not really - but we wanted to have more when going towards Chernobol, because You never know what adventures may lay ahead.
We cross the old big wabbly bridge to the other side and find a nice Lukoil gas station. Why that - well because they have the advertisment on the billboard that they do take VISA. And it works. Aside from the unnatural heat, I find Kiev not too big nor intimidating. Maybe its the russian way of work ethics that really calms me down.

Dont let the problems bother You and Youll live longer.
We take off - we know, the road is bad and full of villages and roadwork so it must take us at least few hours to get to the checkpoint of Chernobol.
About 60- or 70 km later we are toast. The weather is so hot, that we need a rest and lunchtime is nearing. We spot a big bridge on the way where we can see locals going swimming. Heureka moment not a second too soon. Park the bikes take off Your clothes and little splatting later we are offline for at least an hour.
In the shade of some big trees, where we sleep, I finally wake up. I hear kids jumping into the water, I see the sun burning through the branches of the tree and I hear a weird noise of someone fixing a bike. You know - wrenches dropping and some swearing going one etc.
For now, this was MUNK - trying to do something to the KTM - that really never worked.
But not too far from us I spot a local couple eyeballing us for a longer period of time already. So I grab the cam and take a pic before they jump up screaming something like: "ESTONIANS, run for your life!"

Here the local kids swimming.

And one poor classic being tortured by a half naked guy in the sun.

it is now around early afternoon. We have only a little bit to go further. And that is what we do.
As You get closer and closer to Chernobol region, You will see less and less people around. The road is pretty ok for the most part of it and not much traffic on it. Youll see military preposts and local police sitting around almost every corner here. During that heat and time of day they barely move an inch.
We reach the place where just 20Y ago the big sign stood and where the monument for founders and builders stood.

This is what You now see on the side of the road.
Some "brigada" has of course used the other side (wich is white) to make their mark for being there some time ago.

And in the bush, on the other side of the road, is the older, "nothing to see here" type of thingy.
All the metal plates have been taken off of it and when looking from the road, its almost invisible already.

No more than 5 or 10 minutes later we reach the so-called gate.
Bunch of overheated guys with automatic rifles. You cant argue that they dont make an appearance there.
We park our bikes into shade of the old bus station and look around a little. Read the signs and consume astonishing amount of water in that heat. I walk up to the booth where the sweating guys sit in and knock on the window. A blond officer with hes face all red and shirt totally soaked with sweat asks me what the hell do I want? I reply with my tired voice, that Im looking for a way In to the region. He says - no WAY! There is something about 4 guys with AK47-s that makes You belive whatever they say - wonder why is that ?!?
He then sits down to his chair and tells me :" the Zone can only be visited by tour bus - no motorcycle allowed. The tour is organized from Kiev, by a company and normally once a week." He gave us the contact and closed the booth hatch.

This is us - coocking in the shade of that bus- station right in front of checkpoint-

And a little memorial place for the fallen komrads in Chernobol.

No more than 50m back from the checkpoint there is a road that points to a village.
The village is quite big - and probably once inhabited many, many people and might even have had a school and such.
But today - the roads are diminishing, more than half of the houses are empty and the people really skeptic and most of them of very old age. I dont have pictures of the place because we rode most of the time there, but there is a video that I will post here.

AT that time, the KTM - or the "carrot racing team machine" finally gave up. It was just too hot and it overheated and threw up again. We stood in the shade and could see us getting into trouble with that bike overheating all the time. Remember - this was just the north Ukraine. Whilst sitting there and letting the KTM cool down a bit and ourselves heat up - a guy walkes out of the bushes. Young man - no more than 27-28, looking like he had been to a pretty nasty fight with bear.
He had cuts and bruises all over the place - the face was mutalized and his hands had many stitches on them and I believe one of them was badly swollen. He comes up to me and starts mumbling. I get a glimps at his mouth and all the bells and whistles start going off in my head! The mans jaw is broken. And I dont mean like fracture but broken! His mouth is held together by clamps in it and his face is totally out of poportion on the left side. He offers to lead us a wat to a small beach and such and says how the life sucks there. Then - and I was actually waiting for that already in the beginning - he puts his hand on my jacket and asks for money. I can see from the corner of my eye that others have already put theyr helmets back on and Tarmo suddenly asks :" do we need to prep for a running start?" - I try to make meself as calm as possible and answer:" No, I dont think it will be needed." Then MUNK all of a sudden starts the KTM and I see the guy getting nervous.
He takes a few steps back and waves - I see maybe 30 yards to my left another (kinda similar looking) guy walking towards us pretty fast - by now KTM already moves and so does Tarmo with the SV. For some reason - taking the situation out of context - it makes you feel as stupid as can be - but there - in the bush, with one limping KTM, us being in the middle of nowhere, feeling like intruders on the territory of Hunns - it got me all worked up for a second.
In a second i pull my helmet on and start the bike and make it roll in one movement - dont even mind the gloves or the jacket or anything. For a second i see the new guy running - maybe 5 yards from me - and then just leaving the situation like that.
We ride off. We ride in quiet - we keep the distance and never mention the situation until the very evening.
But the Carrot racing team - well, thats another story all together.
We are on the bigger road now - we are about 80-90KM from Kiev. We hope that there will be some help on the way or at least some Internet.
This gas station is the best we can do.

To the right You see a red VW. This car belongs to the man operating in the tyre repair shop. He is going to be the only help we can get around these parts. There is actually a carparts shop in this godforsaken place - and it is the same place- yes - on the street, just you name the piece and behind the tall yard there are many cars with salvageable parts on them. Some of them are put out on the stand - with even some prices and such. You see to the left of our bikes there is a glass door and something that looks like your china cabinet - well thats the counter for carpartsshop.
Anyhow - we start taking the KTM apart. Since it is hot like hell - not only the bike but also outside, it takes time. The clock reaches 2000pm. The guy who ownes the place just gives us the tools and tells us to give them afterwards to the man in the cage. I know my russian is a bit rusty but CAGE????
He leads me around the corner - to the gas station clerk. The man is sitting inside a little house that has so small window, You can barely put in the money and that has a door - solely out of metal bars. AKA - he is in a cage.
We take the pieces of the KTM -
have to face the facts - there is nothing to repair - the blower is toast. And I mean toast. Take a look at this -

By then we hear a note of frustration in MUNKs voice. Shit - is it really happening.
OK - quick phonecall to our friend back home - (he just so happens to work in a pretty damn good motorcycle shop) And we ask for advice and help - there is no internet around - so maybe he could check if there is any help for motorcycles in Kiev?!?!!? A few minutes later I get a SMS with the adress and the phone nr of KTM center in KIEV!!! ok - we start looking for it in the gps. Piece of cake - huh? Let me remind You, Kiev is big - like enormous big - and the adress - it refers to a part of the city. OK -so well find it tomorrow. We need to gather our stuff - give the tools to the man in the "cage" and think whats next. Well - the CAFE part of the gas-station is still open till 2200pm. We step inside and there are more than willing ladies ready to serve us ---- alcohol. By the looks of it, they have been at it the whole day and are now quietly softening the blow of the evening. But - we try nontheless. We hungry bikers from estonia, so we want to eat! 10 minutes later we are having warm meal and cold drinks and salad and everything. that all cost us 10 EUR aprox. Not tooo cheap, but back home it would have been 3-4x that much. So what more can You want !? A place to stay for the night! And we headed back towards the place we spent the noon of the day, on the river shore.
This is us - floting out of the CAFE place -

And a local non-goodluck- charm.

The last thing I remember taking pictures of that night, was the sunset.
Not only is it breathtakingly beatiful over there - it is so short - compared to the north, where we come from.

Chernobyl sun...

We unpacked - we cleaned ourselves in the pond/river and off to bed...
The heat is still there and so were the bloody moskitos...
the end of day 4.

to be continued...

Snowhite808 screwed with this post 07-20-2012 at 05:49 AM
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:42 AM   #14
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Thanks, excellent trip with lots of nostalgia and more to come.

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Old 07-20-2012, 12:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by genka View Post
Thanks, excellent trip with lots of nostalgia and more to come.

Yeesh - it takes a little time, but Im getting there. Still got 11 days of trip to describe - and the best parts are still coming!
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