Five weeks, 12 countries and just practice!

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by edog200, May 29, 2011.

  1. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    Well the bikes have now landed in London and Darren is busily running them both in.
    Meanwhile, here in Australia, KTM have kindly provided me a 690 to test for a couple of weeks.

    Yesterday a couple of mates and I took it for a 13 hour, 350 k ride taking in freeway, tar, sand, twin and single forest trails.

    Here are a couple shots of the bike in action.

    [​IMG]

    The first thing that impresses you about this bike is the engine. Just GOBS of consistent, linear power.

    [​IMG]
    The next thing is the handling......feels like a 450. Light, nimble, precise.

    [​IMG]
    But no matter how much power, if you hit that soft sand, you're going to get stuck!

    [​IMG]
    The bike does single trail well.

    So what's not to like?
    [​IMG]
    The seat! We spent 13 hours in the saddle and I've had to make an appointment with a Proctologist!
    It's no coincidence that in most of the shots we are standing! Fortunately KTM have a soft ergo seat and Darren and I have already acquired one each for London to Sydney.

    [​IMG]
    So what do we have here? A very strongly dirt oriented dual purpose bike. In summary it handled freeway and black top admirably. Is surprisingly nimble when it comes to single trail....great in the sand, great fun in the dirt.

    [​IMG]
    The way Darren and I see the conversion of this bike from dirt to adventure is pretty simple. Get a softer seat (done) get a small fairing to keep the wind off our chests (done), extend the fuel range and carrying capacity (booked in at Rally Raid) protect the engine with a good bash plate (another Rally Raid job), oh and one 12Volt plug and that will do us.

    Hopefully that will be enough to get us over what I consider to be the biggest challenge of the ride, The Simpson Desert.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Also great opportunity to try out my KLiM Badlands Pro riding suit, that will be home for three months. In summary very comfortable. Lots of vents to keep cool....particularly around the nether regions. Unrestricted movement. When it gets chilly just zip those vents up. After riding in this stuff, the comfort level is so much higher in varied conditions, I couldn't see myself returning to my old gear, which was water proof but sweaty inside.

    First visa submission to the Ukraine this week. Meanwhile Darren keep running those bikes in! I'll be there soon.
  2. nameless

    nameless 100% recyclable

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    stop making me jealous....I'm here sitting at my desk and you're having all that fun..

    :D just kidding, keep it up, I'll be following your expedition closely ( lurking behind my computer :cry)

    take care,
    Daniel
  3. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    Oh, they fly too,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And don't do water too bad.
    [​IMG]

    First visa submission to the Ukraine in, but already starting to crap myself with timings. I payed for an express visa with a turn around of 3 days, but when I attended they said the system is 'broken' and it won't be ready for over a week.

    Then Russia.
  4. choccoloco

    choccoloco Cabin Fever....

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    Mate, just wanted to say it was this thread that got me looking into KTM as a bike to buy.

    Made me do my research, open my mind. So, I Hung out in OC, read the HOW, then test rode and eventually to the point no other bike would do, to me everything else was a compromise.


    So I bought a 990.....should be arriving this week.



    Back to the thread....
    I've travelled a couple of times with someone on his 690; off road WOW, even on the Hwy it certainly holds it's own. Great choice for this trip.
  5. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    My visa from the Ukraine, should have arrived back yesterday and I hasn't turned up SHIT! I had applied for an express visa for $220 but when I got to the consulate they said the machine was broken and it would have to take 14 days. Well the fourteenth day was yesterday!

    The ramifications of my passport being lost, or being held up with this visa, are enourmous and frankly a little stressful. The trip would be off, as simple as that. It also puts me under pressure to get the remaining one's in extra fast time.

    Before I leave I must get three more, Nepal, Russia and finally China and I have excatly five weeks to gets them. This is cutting it real fine.

    Once I arrive in London, the very next day I have to get Kazakhstan and Kyghizstan in in 14 business days.

    Riding in Australia is so much easier, get on your bike and ride.
  6. OceanMtnSea

    OceanMtnSea Pretty Dogged

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    Welcome to the beginning of the "Adventure" part of the experience! Can't wait till you actually get to one of the border crossing and have to re-purchase that visa from the guards.

    :ear
  7. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Adventure NZL

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    Nice work Edog. Ive found the 690 makes a great adventure bike with the modifications you mentioned (plus ditch the stock muffler). I had my seat custom made to suit my boney buttock which took several trips to my upholster to get right for all day riding. Will be interesting to see how you're hiney fairs after couple of long days in the saddle with the aftermarket jobby

    good luck for the adventure!
  8. blakrj

    blakrj Need to ride

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    Dave, never did hear back from you and you blocked PMs. No worries, as I'll be heading off on 5th July. Not sure of your guys timing and final route
  9. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    Hi Mate, I didn't block PMs. Life has been hectic. Polish border 7th July, enter Ukraine on 8th -11th into Russia.
    A chance to catch up, I would suggest. You can PM now.


    Cheers,

    Dave.
  10. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    Ladies and gentlemen,

    A quick catch up. With great relief my passport with a Ukraine visa finally arrived, last week. Fortunately a friendly face greeted me for the Nepalese visa, which incidently is valid for 6 months. That one was a snack taking about 10 minutes all up. My passport is currently with the Russian consulate and I hope to pick it up on Thursday, which is a quick turn around.

    However, most importantly my prized 'Invitation Letter for Tourist' from the Xingxiang Tourist Bureau arrived that will hopefully secure our visas so we can ride through some of the most spectacular parts of China in the foothills of the Himalayas on the far western and eastern border areas before turning south to ride past Mount Everest base camp.

    The visa pressure for me remains right up until the last couple of days as I need to acquire Kazakhstan and Kyrghyzstan in London in eleven working days. Literally off the plane and the very next morning I have to get in early to obtain that Kaz visa.

    Darren has completed the running in of his bike and is booked in for the first service. He is still racking up the miles on mine for a planned service later next week.

    The Rally Raid make over is one of the next jobs.

    In terms of navigation I purchased a couple of items for my 660 Zumo including, World Map, City Navigator Europe and City Navigator South East Asia.

    I head to London on the 14th June.
  11. japslap

    japslap Japslap

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    Just real excited for you guys,read this thread all the way through,cant wait till this trip gets underway and i can experience it with you through your posts,goodluck .....:clap
  12. Revenue

    Revenue Adventurer

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    Hi Dave
    Dont know if you have caught up on the latest news for Tibet!!!, but they are only allowing groups of min 5 persons from the same nationality as from 14th May, this has Fked our plans and dont know if it will affect you??

    Eric:cry:cry
  13. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    Hi Eric,

    We are a party of 4, well for this part of the ride anyway. My visa for China, in particular, Xinjiang and Tibet provinces, was approved today and our guide tells us it is all OK. I don't know if it made a difference but we started negotiating this about 8 months ago. We have all our permissions.

    I hope it sorts out for you. Something to think about would be to stay in Xinjiang but head due east, then drop into the central part of China and into the Qinghai, then Sichuan, Yunnan provinces and into Laos. We had considered this, but with our small party, it was a little expensive.....but very very interesting.

    Our plan B has always been, and continues to be, Siberia, Mongolia, Vladivostok and return to London not having achieved our goal but having had a great adventure.

    By the looks of Kyrgyzstan, I could easily bum around there for three weeks. It looks like the South Island of New Zealand on steroids. :lol3
  14. Irishrover63

    Irishrover63 Adventurer

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    I wonder what kind of budget you have for this trip as that camera is around £2000 and you will each have one, but the quality should be awesome, certainly in a different class to the usual Go-Pro's? Good luck with your adventure and I look forward to the footage.
  15. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    I was talking about this to my wife last night. We've been very fortunate with sponsorship, but it is still costly. I'm thinking around 20 grand maybe a tad less. I think the best thing to do is wait until we finish and then add it up. :lol3

    The camera is crucial for us because we want to have a sufficiently high quality film to sell to recoupe some of our money.


    Applying for Chinese visa was interesting yesterday. The helpful and courteous visa lady says, "Where is your plane ticket?"
    "To China? I don't have one."
    "Why? you haven't purchased it yet."
    "No. I am riding into your country from Kyrgyzstan."
    I wish I had a camera to record the look on her face, disbelief is a word that springs to mind. This then had a rebound effect on me as the penny dropped, that I will be taking all of this on very shortly. :lol3

    There is just so much stuffing around to get a ride like this off the ground, you feel like a bank clerk, rather than an adventurer, and it disconnects you.
  16. Irishrover63

    Irishrover63 Adventurer

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    That's a sizable investment for this trip. I was wondering if a book would also be a way to recoup some of the cost, I was thinking of your fellow Aussie Author from Sydney, Peter Moore who has had success with his travel books albeit on a Vespa, but hey you can tour the world on them also. Just a thought.
    http://www.petermoore.net/
  17. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    What I would like to write is an ebook, that included prose, pictures and video. In many ways this link is a little like that.

    But Hay, maybe it's a little toooooo early to be talking about that. I haven't even spun a wheel. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, I say. :eek1
  18. OceanMtnSea

    OceanMtnSea Pretty Dogged

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    Your quote above = Adventure

    .....$20 grand is likely in the ball park, but a big part of the budget will be determined by what "Adventure" you find enroute. Be sure to keep a sizable contingency fund handy.

    ...continuing to :ear with interest.
  19. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Adventure NZL

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    Mate, you get to ride sponsered tricked out KTM's on the trip of a life time and spend $20k on it and your wife is fully on board with it...Edog, your my hero :cry
  20. edog200

    edog200 Long timer

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    I see it as a reward. The kids are educated, trained, employed and about to be PUSHED out of the nest. Geez it's hard to get them out. :lol3 Anyway. If I don't do it now, it will never happen.

    Warning I'm about to get philosophical now. I have a mate, John Corby (JC, that will become important in a minute), who is reasonably well known to the Australian adventurer riding community. John was doing a diagonal crossing of Australia from Darwin to Sydney when he fell off in the desert sands and hurt his pinky. Anyway John got back to Sydney, and being a builder, the persistent pinky injury bothered him as he used his hammer. He reluctantly went to the doctor to get it looked at. The doctor did the usual blood pressure test and told him to forget about his pinky because his heart had a number of major arteries blocked and he could drop dead at any moment. Anyway, the took John's heart out of his chest, repaired it and now he's all good.

    But out of this experience came a saying from JC, "Long time dead." You've just got to do these things.

    Missus is very patient, She reads it as a mid life crisis. :lol3 Personally my plan is to have a loooonnnng crisis.