Beyond clouds - through Russia to Georgia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by randel, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Yes, we spoke mostly russian. t's quit difficult to find anybody who speaks english in Georgia, especially in small villages, but almost everybody speaks russian so language is only a tool to communicate. And they also spoke german sometimes. Usually the first thing they ask is - where are you from? And when they discovered, that we are from Estonia, we were they're best friends immediately :clap
    We asked many times about they're attitude to russians too and they all described that they do not hate them, it's just politics, and tourist = money :wink:
    #61
  2. plotoman

    plotoman n00b

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    What a great ride report. Really interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    #62
  3. Lambo

    Lambo Been here awhile

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    Seattle
    Really interesting photos, you have a good eye. Many thanks for this very interesting RR.:clap:clap
    #63
  4. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Wow! What an adventure. Thanks for posting your pics and story :clap
    #64
  5. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Progress is slow, but I try to improve myself :)

    Day9

    While we got some rain during night, morning was truly beautiful.

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    We discovered some animals

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    Our improvised laundry drying device

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    While packing stuff to panniers, I found that my luggage was somehow loose on bike. Two of four M8 bolts were gone and third was loose :eek1 My self-made pannier rack was really sturdy to hold all this stuff with only one and a half bolt on those bumpy mountain roads!

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    Luckily we had 3 guys just 300m meters away, installing 3G-network. Just 10minutes later I had all the necessary bolts (and 20 more :rofl). For free of course!

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    So I could reinstall pannier frames and panniers and continue our trip without worrying about loosing my luggage.

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    And soon we're ready to go. Nice road, warm weather, just great!

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    This pig had some strange installation

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    Maybe an hour later we were at place called Vardzia, but no caves at sight and no signs. Something must be wrong? Are we lost? After some discussion with locals we knew, that we are really in Vardzia, but those famous caves are in other Vardzia! Few hundred km's away! Damn!
    And so common for georgian people - as soon as they discovered that we don't have plans, they invited us to stay. Immediately they offered us local home-made vodka called cha-cha. At noon :1drink And while we refused (again!) they gave us one half-liter bottle of cha-cha to enjoy later. I never saw such hospitality before!

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    It was time to rethink our plans and we decided to head north to Svaneti and visit Vardzia on our way back.
    Driving north through Zestafoni, we saw also legacy from Soviet times, so common all over former Soviet Union.

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    But we reached mountains again and forgot that architecture soon. Every now and then we saw some cows sleeping on the road.

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    It was really warm

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    Driving on amazing mountain roads to Lentekhi, we encountered some breathtaking scenery.

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    It was already quite late when we reached Lentekhi. We got best Khachapuri from here.

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    Main street in Lentekhi

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    After getting some supplies we head to mountains. It was Friday night and passing some small villages, we saw local people starting to gather.

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    Roadworks ahead.

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    Road to Mestia

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    Weather turned worse, it slowly stated to rain and after some searching we pick a campsite just next to the road. We hoped not to encounter a lot of traffic during night.

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    Our first (and last) rainy evening during our trip wasn't really enjoyable.

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    220km today, tomorrow - Mestia and Georgian highest peaks.

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    #65
  6. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    Fantastic! Waiting for more. :freaky
    #66
  7. dallastx

    dallastx Been here awhile

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    Holland
    Thanx for sharing!
    #67
  8. glenn2926

    glenn2926 Been here awhile

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    Yorkshire
    Fantastic ride report, keep it coming. :clap
    #68
  9. spektakl

    spektakl Mongol Rallyer 2010

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    Barcelona, Spain
    Great! ;)
    #69
  10. Flying dutch

    Flying dutch Adventures

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    Busan, South Korea
    super report. Hope to get a glance of your trip by myself in the summer:clap
    #70
  11. LUKE7

    LUKE7 n00b

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    UK
    Great adventure guys!!! Keep posting!
    #71
  12. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    excellent!.... i wanna go...:ricky
    #72
  13. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    Mattighofen
    Day 10

    Night was rainy and while we were over 1400m ASL, also quite cold. We woke up 7am, when one car stopped next to our tent and driver didn't stop pressing horn until we look out from tent. And then he smiled and yelled to us - Hey, where are you from!?!? And then waved and drove away :rofl God damn, what kind of a question is this?? 7AM? It was so funny we just couldn't be mad too long And sleeping didn't seem too attractive anymore, because sun was shining and scenery was so beautiful.

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    After breakfast I did major overhaul for my trusty Primus Omnifuel. It has served me perfectly over many years already. Thorough cleaning of jets helped alot.

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    Snowy peaks ahead. Just beautiful!

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    Road to Mestia passed small picturesque villages.

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    23km to Ushguli, highest year-round inhabited place in Europe

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    We met two austrian 4x4, they where in trouble driving on all those rocks. Our bikes were so much faster and easier to drive! :clap

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    Austrian Alps? No, Georgian Caucasus!

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    Road climbed higher and higher. Georgian highest peak, 5068 meter high Shkhara was behind clouds.
    On the right is South-Ossetia, Russia occupied this Georgian territory in 2008 and created so called "South-Ossetian autonomous republic".

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    Road to Ushguli. These pictures bring back so much great memories, I wan't to go back!

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    Zagari pass, 2623 meters

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    We met two georgian border guards on Zagari pass. They were very friendly, but also asked, did we saw anybody moving on that road. They were obviously watching South-Ossetian border very closely!
    BTW, Zagari pass is closed until late June because snow will not melt before!

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    Descending to Ushguli

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    Ushguli guesthouse. They spoke good german!

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    Ushgulians

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    Unfortunately Shkhara was behind clouds

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    We tried to drive closer to Shkhara, but finally road ends and head-sized rocks ahead stopped us. There were around 5 tents with mountaineers ready to climb to Shkhara.

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    Ancient Ushguli

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    Direction Mestia

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    Road was closed with gate, probably because animals.

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    Old house

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    Ushba, 4690m

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    Mestia ahead.

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    In Mestia we entered a different world. New buildings and massive roadworks. It was clearly visible that money has entered this city. That great peaceful and ancient atmosphere may be soon disappeared :cry

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    Main street

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    Supermarket

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    Time for a lunch, local restaurant

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    After lunch Raul managed to crash in main street, driving into deep hole hided in puddle. Unfortunately he's tankbag wasn't closed correctly and he dropped his camera into muddy water. I managed to get this on my GoPro :lol3 Unfortunately no more pictures with Raul's camera...luckily my camera was still ok :wink:
    And like this wasn't enough, few km's after Mestia on dusty concrete he managed to make a perfect 180 degree spin into chicane and not to crash before he was moving backwards! It was terrifying to see, luckily no more harm was done than scratched corner on Touratech Zega pannier. We decided that we maybe have pushed our lack too far today and it's time to find a place for camp.

    Heavy roadworks. Cars were waiting in a long queue, we could pass much faster!

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    After some searching we found a place near one farm. Testing some georgian wine.

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    It's a little bit unclear, what happened to our tent?

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    Sunset time

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    Khinkalis for supper!

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    We had no color film.

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    Today was quite short, around 110km. Tomorrow - Bathumi and Black Sea!

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    #73
  14. Mikey Boy

    Mikey Boy Been here awhile

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    Freakin awesome stuff. :clap Subscribed...
    #74
  15. macarron

    macarron Adventurer

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    Spain
    Wonderful scenery. Do you think it would have been possible to ride further on the Shkhara glacier trail if you had had lighter bikes?
    #75
  16. randel

    randel Been here awhile

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    A little bit definately, but I'm not sure how much, because we couldn't saw how steep that trail was afterwards because of clouds. But riding on (dry) riverbed covered with rocks isn't easy also on lighter bikes.
    #76
  17. macarron

    macarron Adventurer

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    Mar 14, 2009
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    Spain
    Thanks, Randel. I've followed your gps track on Google earth and, in fact, I don't think you could have progressed much more. I hope to ride there, maybe this summer, and check it by myself.
    #77
  18. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    :clap:clap:clap Fantastic! Thanks for sharing the journey with us that many will never see it but by your pictures and story. :clap:clap:clap
    #78
  19. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
    This report only gets better and better! :freaky
    #79
  20. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Agree:clap
    #80