Beyond clouds - through Russia to Georgia

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

  1. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    Mattighofen
    Day 15

    We woke up quite late, but had big plans for today - left Georgia and drive as much as possible.
    We choose eastern route for our return home, through Astrakhan, Volgograd and Moscow to Estonia. A little bit longer then our route to Georgia, but why ride same route twice?
    But at the moment we were still in Georgia and while weather was perfect, we had great views from Great Military Road.

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    Gudauri Sky Resort, what was this architect thinking?

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    Red mountains

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    Kazbegi, 5033m high

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    But then we arrived border crossing Verkhni Lars. Georgian side went without any problems, but on the Russian side we encountered long queue of cars. We had to wait again few hours before all bureaucracy was done and we could enter Russia. And while we had to wait few hours both times, we saw only very friendly staff, no problems whatsoever on Verkhni Lars border crossing.
    After Vladikavkaz we turned east direction Groznyy and Chechnya. Already before leaving Vladikavakaz we were stopped at some military checkpoint. We decided with Raul that we will not understand any russian and speak only english. Unfortunately it didn't help at all and officer at checkpoint asked for any kind of documents he could imagine. He even suspects that our bikes registration plates were wrong - how can it be that there's only two numbers and two letters while in Russia they have number plates same size as small doors. But for our luck he couldn't find any problems with us and let us go.
    But we couldn't drive much, maybe 15km when we arrived next checkpoint, now supported with military armored vehicle and soldiers walking around with Kalashnikov's AK-47. Same scenario, show every document, answer any possible question they could ask (not much because poor english though...:rofl) and play stupid tourist who can not understand anything. After next half hour at checkpoint we were again free to go butthat was enough for us. Speaking only english didn't help us at all!
    Next CP was not far away, maybe next 15km and we were stopped again! But for our surprise, speaking russian language made a miracle and after first question "Otkuda võ?" or "where are you from?" we had to answer already regular question about bikes price, horsepower and topspeed :wink: And few minutes later we were free to go! Amazing!
    Some words about traffic too. While in Georgia traffic was already quite aggressive, it was just mad between Vladikavkaz and Groznyy. In normal two-lane road cars were passing passing simultaneously from both direction, some cars passing cars already passing other cars and so on. For our surprise we didn't saw any accident but feel very unsafe on bikes. We were just invisible!
    So after more checkpoints we finally entered Groznyy, infamous city from past. It was September 1st, the day when all kids go to school in Russia and we expected a lot of people. But for our surprise all city was totally empty, nobody, I mean nobody walking around, all shops closed and only few cars driving around. It looked like sci-fy movie after some catastrophe. All buildings brand new and nobody around. We didn't know what else to do than drive on.

    Groznyy football stadium, ready for 2018 football World Cup.

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    Lost in Groznyy

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    Small shop selling some warm lavash.

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    In one small village we stopped to buy some food and suddenly were in the middle of crowd of people, everybody smiling and some with more courage taking pictures with us.

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    Our camp tonight was in bush, maybe 100 meters from road. It was very hot and humid.

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    Thanks to border crossing and numerous checkpoint we managed to drive only 397km today. We planned to cover at least 200 more.

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  2. Ni3ous

    Ni3ous Double Axle Rider

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
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    221
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    Slovenia
    We are interested how it all finished man. Let us know.
  3. Mumblebee

    Mumblebee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Ghent, Belgium
    Hello,

    Ive been to Georgia in July when i was touring the Black sea. Here are some pictures of Georgia. Soon i will write a RR about it.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90601476@N07/8228750383/" title="GeorgiË4 by Mumblebeee, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8482/8228750383_7fb8b52d31.jpg" width="500" height="332" alt="GeorgiË4"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90601476@N07/8229816648/" title="Georgie1 by Mumblebeee, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8341/8229816648_176c4b1a18.jpg" width="500" height="332" alt="Georgie1"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90601476@N07/8228750279/" title="GeorgiË2 by Mumblebeee, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8346/8228750279_0dd7a9c6d8.jpg" width="500" height="332" alt="GeorgiË2"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/90601476@N07/8229816552/" title="Georgië3 by Mumblebeee, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8058/8229816552_846068d8d7.jpg" width="332" height="500" alt="Georgië3"></a>
  4. ttr

    ttr Been here awhile

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    Jun 7, 2011
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    Location:
    Rome, Italy
    Read once again... great story!!
  5. Ni3ous

    Ni3ous Double Axle Rider

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    Oct 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    221
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    Slovenia

    Please do it!

    I am planning to do the trip around the black sea on my own, so I am very interested !
    Thanks.
  6. BenMen

    BenMen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    46
    @Mumblebee: This the dirt road to Ushguli isn't it? It looks like it anyway.
    I was also there in may/june, for a trip around the Black Sea, aslo. We (almost) could have met. We made 11.300 km. I'm interested also in reading your RR.
    @ Ni3ous: Click this link for pics, maps, etc...: http://www.2roues2yeux.com/mernoire
  7. Mumblebee

    Mumblebee Adventurer

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    Oct 14, 2011
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    Ghent, Belgium

    Yes it was the dirtroad from Tsageri-Usguli-Mestia :1drink
  8. Habibi Rocks

    Habibi Rocks Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
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    Location:
    Burbank Ca.
    :clap Great Ride Report !!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. D K

    D K Been here awhile

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    On a date with your mom
    Tore on kuulda et siin rohkem Eestlasi on!
  10. D K

    D K Been here awhile

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    On a date with your mom
    Any updates???
  11. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Great ride report, thanks.
  12. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
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    318
    Location:
    Mattighofen
    Well, it has been a loooong break now, sometimes writing a story is just not right. I'll try to finish it anyway, and there's not much left
    Day 16
    We woke up in warm and humid bush and hit the road again, only goal to cover as much km's as possible.
    As we have arrived steppe area, it was totally flat as far as we could see, except road itself,

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    And then all of a sudden - road just ended. And it wasn't a small road, but biggest (and only) road next to Caspian Sea between Kizlyar and Astrakhan. In our map that road still exists, looks like cartograph's were a little enthusiastic about road works speed.

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    We actually saw a sign to take a detour some 10km before, but passed it and didn't pay attention as it just didn't make sense then. Now we had to turn around. Our journey has just gained some 150 additional km's.

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    We saw a lonely cow who probably has just walked himself dead.

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    We were been driving for some hours when we saw very strange view ahead. It looks like dark clouds moving just above the fields. When we came closer, we saw billions of flying creatures. And not some small ones, they were around 10cm (4in) long!

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    We could drove kilometers through these clouds. It was like sci-fi movie, two starships flying through clouds of enemy fighters and trying to avoid collisions with them. We actually enjoyed this new game pretty much as it was a welcome change to boring landscape. But hitting them at 100km/h really hurts! And we received quite some hits!

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    Detour was quite scenic. Road conditions were not the best, but we managed to keep our speed up. We did some pretty good jumps there!

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    We finally reached Astrakhan. But because we were in hurry, we did just a short tourist sightseeing tour and continued our trip north.

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    When darkness came, we were almost reached Volgograd. 768km, we made some progress today!
    We found only bush in steppe and hided behind it for camping.

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    Today's route. You can easily see a detour we had to make. We could actually continue where road ended, but it was just a trail from that point with road conditions unknown (for next 100-150km) and we were trying to cover as much km as possible that time, that's why we turned around.

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  13. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    Mattighofen
    Day 17

    I woke up with sun.

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    Our camp

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    My KTM's sprocket didn't look good. And we still had some 2000km to go!

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    I was constantly worried about my chain now. It was totally worn and made some strange noises all the time.
    During our lunch I tried to call some KTM shops in Russia, but without much success. It was Saturday and we couldn't get any help before Monday. So we decided to ride on until chain holds and then think again what to do.

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    It became a longest day during this trip. We decided not to camp when sun sets as we were behind our schedule.
    Just before midnight we passed Moscow. After that we decided to find some place to put up our tent. It wasn't easy in darkness! Too much people and no space for us. We droved around 100km out from Moscow before we found a place. It was around 3 AM, freezing cold, only around 6 degrees Celsius, my bike's front sprocket was slipping every time I tried to accelerate. We already missed Georgia!
    Today's score 1226km!

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  14. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
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    318
    Location:
    Mattighofen
    Day 18.
    We woke up early, only after some 3 hours of sleep. It was just too cold and we decided to start riding instead of shaking in our sleeping bags.

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    It was a foggy morning when we started.

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    We had to stop every 100 or so km to retension my KTM chain but some 300km before estonian border I couldn't ride any more. Sprocket just turned around but bike didn't move! Something has to be done to get home! What to do? It was Sunday, so all shops were closed. Finally we decided to try to tow my bike behind Raul KTM. We didn't know is it legal in Russia? Probably not, but let's try anyway!

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    It turned out as a quite feasible solution. As we got used to it, our speed started to grow and finally we were even overtaking some trucks! Not the smartest move of course...
    Luckily nothing happened, our tow rope was quite invisible as we passed some Police cars without unwanted attention from their side and finally we reach Estonian border!

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    Already routine paperwork on russian border and at around 8 pm we were back in Estonia!
    8000km and 18 days later, a lot of new experiences and new places, we were happy to be back!

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    Last day we covered 924km.

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    I had called a friend to collect my bike at border, so my last 300km to Tallinn I covered conveniently in a car, bike strapped to trailer. I reached home around midnight. It was good to sleep in my own bed. Tomorrow - back to work and usual routine...

    It has been a memorable trip and a longest trip report, I hope you all enjoyed it! I still have around 4 hours of video from this trip, but I don't know when I'm able to cut a movie, I better don't promise anything! :evil

    Now back to preparations for 2013 season, regular maintenance, rerouting wires, building ITG air filter plate and rear tanks for my trusty 50000km old 950SE. There are some plans for 2013!
  15. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
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    1,704
    Location:
    In the mountains?
    Jebus! Those are crazy!
    Thanks for Continuing your RR. Its great.

    I am in Gudauri right now for the winter. I know what you mean about the Architect. Some of these buildings are hideous. But the skiing here is amazing.
  16. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
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    2,028
    Location:
    Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
    Most excellent ride report guys! Thanks for taking the time to finish it up! As always, fantastic pictures and a great adventure! I have one question and that is about fuel; were you always able to find enough to use? My 950 Adventure used A LOT of fuel, only 32 MPG some times if I was having fun! :deal Can't wait for another trip!:D
  17. Dickyb

    Dickyb Bewildered Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Excellent RR:clap Thank you very much. I will be in Georgia this summer and this RR has been very useful to me for planning purposes:D

    Cheers,

    Dickyb
  18. randel

    randel Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    Mattighofen
    Thank you!
    Fuel was never a problem. My SE had 200km range and though I had 10 liter jerrycans with me I rarely used them and with a little planning could have managed to complete this trip without them at all. Most critical parts are steppe area in Russia and remote mountain areas in Georgia. But even there 200km range was enough.
  19. doc4216

    doc4216 Chronic High Fiver

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Alameda for now
    What an amazing adventure! I dream of doing a ride like this one day (with more paved roads though)! great pictures, great report, great story!! Thanks for sharing and look forward to your next RR!
  20. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Jul 29, 2012
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    1,202
    randel! Epic ride and an excellent ride report!! I think you could be the next Walter C! Thanks for taking the time to write this all out for us and to post your excellent photos! Great combination of adventure and a little humor! :clap:clap:clap