Going Walkabout on an 800xc through Russia & Central Asia...and maybe beyond...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GuiltyParty, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
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    ....bon voyage young fella et al....

    Keep safe to you all....enjoy your time...

    If you get a chance try this great cable car ride,just below Mont Blanc...makes for an excellent photo shoot if the weather is good...take a back pack picnic to save some creds...leaves from Chamonix.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aiguille_du_midi

    (Can you size your pictures bigger?....I use tinypic.com and resize them to a 17 inch screen when uploading...free site also lol)


    Tell Adam to get his hair cut...








    :D



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    #41
  2. redhotred

    redhotred n00b

    Joined:
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    :clap
    #42
  3. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    In the mountains?
    Yes! Looking forward to riding with you again man.

    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap

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    Now... did you get my email?
    #43
  4. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    http://travelpod.com/members/davey1212

    Hi, It all looks good so far and I hope you both have a great journey.
    I said I would give you my blog address and the thread on this site is "Grumpy travels the Americas". All good so far but I need to find a bike shop for Scottoil etc as I couldn't bring and on the plane. I had no luck with the pre-filter either as the company & the MD failed to respond to my e mails. The UK rep said he would try but have not heard anything.
    Anyway, have a read and I hope to keep up with your thread when I can.

    ps. You ALWAYS have too much luggage but not enough when you need it !!

    Dave
    #44
  5. blacktiger

    blacktiger Tigers R great.

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    Any old two stroke (2T) oil will work.
    #45
  6. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
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    We woke to CNN warning we would be hit by ball lightning if we ventured into the alps, we were also warned we would become slaves if we stayed in France too long. The usual stuff on the news, it's never about squirrels on roller skates.

    Our original plan was to go east to catch a glimpse at the Matterhorn, then down to Mont Blanc and settle somewhere for the night around Bardoneccia for some gravel goodness but because of the clouds that contained aforementioned ball lightning we didn't think we would be able to see the Matterhorn anyway so we went directly south to Chamonix and Mont Blanc. We seemed to have dodged the worst of the weather so we could get some snaps of little waterfalls along the way

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    It was coming out of this yard with the waterfall that I had my first technical malfunction. I gave it a bit of gas and had Patty bouncing around in her seat and the GPS cut-out. My first thought was the terminals because I haven't soldered them yet (ran out of time prepping for the trip, will do it along the way) but then it should have switched to battery instead of cutting out completely. With the GPS out of its mount it worked fine. Off the seat comes

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    Tighten a loose battery bolt and job done

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    Still don't knwo why it cut out and didn't go to battery, at least I know for next time.

    Another tea break at the bottom of a glacier just before Chamonix. We reckon the bikes could get up that ski run, and ventured over just to see if it was do-able (it is)

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    By this point it's all been auto-route avoid tolls and to be fair the scenery has been incredible, but it was making us backtrack in order to get to Bardoneccia. We don't do that shit, so ploughed on using a toll road (27 euro Mont Blanc tunnel :eek1) and ended up in this beautiful valley on the Italian side of the alps. The weather was instantly warmer and cost of the toll was immediately forgotten.

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    Our photo's don't do it justice and look a little blurry, we're still coming to grips with the settings on our new camera. On top of every hill were keeps and castles , some in dilapidated state some still in full use.

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    We decided to camp the night in this valley just outside Morgex (45.76054, 7.01020)

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    We've been eating really well and for next to nothing in cost. We've brought two cookers with us - a whisperlite international and a trangia. I've been using the trangia for years and it's never let me down but it's too little for two people so we decided to buy the whisperlite thinking it would use the same fuel as the trangia. After a few attempts to get it going using the methylated spirits of the trangia I gave up so we've been cooking on Adam's cooker plus the trangia.

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    Adam making his specialty chilli con carne - see, hard panniers do have their uses

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    Spot the 660?

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    We had a late start to the day because we only had to ride 200k to Bardoneccia. That was until we came up to a gate barring the road - the pass was closed because of snow. I'd expected some would be closed because it was still early in the season. Bugger, so we decided to head for Tuscany instead

    Still, the ride up was still nice and reminded me of Need for Speed

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    For fuel comparison purposes the Tiger was using roughly 13.5 litres to Adam's 10.8. The extra 60kg or so I was hauling would have contributed but the 660 is great on fuel economy anyway
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    Another wild camp another great meal, this time chick pea masala

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    The bike is definitely getting lighter as we travel and use our food from home. Once I can drop off the two text books I'm carrying happy days. I have two exams in Turkey 17 June

    Pisa! Has to be done

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    This was to be our last night with Adam, who decided to go home earlier than expected so he could do Austria and maybe fit in Scotland.

    On our way to Rome we went through Florence and felt like bit of a rockstar with all our adventure gear cruising the alley ways swarming with tourists. It's an incredibly beautiful city and needs to be seen, even just for a day.

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    Next stop - Rome! We cruised through the rolling hills of Siena with it's terracota coloured buildings, which is exactly how we pictured Italy. Down there somewhere Maximus Decimus Meridius (Gladiator) is training

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    We can't get enough of these castles...

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    And now we're in Rome :clap We rocked up to Rome not having a hotel booked so we went straight to the city centre to see what we could find - secure parking a necessity. I've been to Rome before so knew what to expect but riding in it with a fully laden bike two up is a different story. It was mental, and the only way to ride is to ride like they do. It wasn't until we had come up to the Colosseum that I remembered I had a GoPro! Opportunity missed, and we didn't even stop for a photo with the bike out front because there was road works going on around it.

    Rough fuel prices by country so far (super unleaded 98):

    France - Euro 1.63 p/l
    Italy - Euro 1.698 p/l

    I now know the Whisperlite doesn't work on metho (though it's good for pre-heating it) so I'm in bit of a conundrum what to do because I don't want to carry two types of fuel. I'm thinking I'll use unleaded on the whisperlite because I'll be carrying some anyway and keep using the metho on the Trangia - my trusty Trangia.

    We're now in a cheap but beautiful apartment just outside Rome with CCTV security and gated compound (41.97488,12.36661)

    Total spend to date 1300 miles 7 days - £420. I'll break that down later on. Western Europe was always going to be the most expensive part of the trip but
    #46
  7. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
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    Cheers weirdo. We saw some pics of the views up there we would have loved to have done it. Ball lightning though... :wink:

    Picture size should be better now thanks for that

    Same here man and thanks for all the tips. See you in Mongolia :evil

    I like your photo's!

    I have the standard paper filter installed along with the pre-filter and brought a K&N re-usable filter along. Wishing I didn't now and just installed it instead of the paper one to save some space. When I was in Morocco I only had the paper one and it got real dirty but I obviously couldn't wash it so had to make do. If you can't get the pre-filter you might want to think about either carrying a spare filter or changing it over before you get to South America. I imagine it would be verry difficult to replace it in South America if you needed to
    #47
  8. Vacumatic

    Vacumatic n00b

    Joined:
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    Hope all is going well.

    Graham
    #48
  9. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,864
    Location:
    64800French Pyrénées
    Good update...keep the pictures coming.

    Good to get your pricing too....not really too bad for 1300kms?

    Safe onward travels....

    (Another had mentioned Scott OIl?....As a tip I use normal chain saw oil that you can buy in any supermarket en route....same stuff as Scott oil...either that or ATF)




    :D






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    #49
  10. timbercat

    timbercat Texas Cruiser

    Joined:
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    Bandera Texas USA
    Great RR.

    Travel Safe when you can!
    #50
  11. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

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    We finished off Rome and got the classic shot (to the Mario theme song)

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    And headed south to Pompei

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    The sort of stuff you read about in school and just need to see for yourself. I've already done Italy so this leg of the trip was more for Patty than I so while she looked at petrified bodies I minded the bike outside.

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    Then up to Venice via the east coast.

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    It's as you imagined, lots of water and boats and not enough motorbikes

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    Enough boats (gondoles) to cause a traffic jam

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    But they had possibly the best combination of carbs ever...pizza with chips :clap

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    Enough of the lovey dovey stuff and onto the fun stuff...the BALKANS! With a yelp into my helmet and a tingle in my man region we shot down through Slovenia. I was already loving this - rolling green hills and no agriculture in sight. After seeing endless rape seed plantations (not daffodils - thanks Adam) all through France it was refreshing to see nothing but untouched rolling green hills and trees

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    But like most we didn't stop too long, only enough to take this one photo as we had bigger goals in mind.

    We exited Slovenia, then back in again as I shot passed the border guards and had to u-turn back to them. For some reason I had in my mind that Croatia was part of the EU (it's not, but will be as of 1 July 2013) so I wasn't expecting a border and thought it was a toll. Only when I looked in my rear view and there was a guy unholstering his pistol (not really, but I have that image in my head) did I notice the border guards. With a bit of a wise crack from the guard about Australia not having borders and only having the ocean as our border that he thought was absolutely hilarious we were on our way.

    We set a good pace down the coast between Rejika and Zadar along the Adriatic Road on possibly the best sealed road I have ever ridden. Endless turns with no loose gravel and well sign posted, little traffic (at this time of year, would be very busy from June onwards I imagine), and great scenery to boot.

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    Motorbike made from horse shoes at a cafe we stopped for lunch

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    Patty had done her research about the land mine situation in the region, so when I ducked off the main road onto a dirt track looking for a camp site which had a sign at its entrance saying ZABRANJENO ODLAGANJE OTPADA we got a little nervous and decided not to go down it. We later googled it and found out it says Prohibited Waste Disposal :doh This isn't the last time language or local code will make us question our route. Instead we found a little camping spot by the water in Selce which a guy had recommended at the local grocers that we chatted too.

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    As I mentioned Patty had done her research about the land mines that had been dropped during the Yugoslav war, predominantly in Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. It's a terrifying number with huge numbers of them still undetected and maiming people so she was naturally pretty nervous about camping. I'll elaborate more about this when I get to Bosnia. Camping has already been a pretty hot topic between us as she's not particularly enjoying the wild camping experience, preferring organised camp grounds and hotels with showers instead. There aren't many girls that would do what she's doing, and I say this with benefit of hindsight after doing some pretty gnarly offroad through Bosnia and Albania and completely out of her comfort zone. We're trying to strike a happy medium. So it was to be organised camp grounds in Croatia and Bosnia.


    It's late and right now we're on the Albanian Serb border. Tomorrow I'll delve into the amazing Bosnia where the offroading begins....at last! :clap
    #51
  12. WarLlama

    WarLlama belligerent cameloid

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    Great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us. :thumb :clap

    This pic reminds me of the saying: "Your only purpose in life may be to serve as a warning to others."

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    #52
  13. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    London
    We continued along the Adriatic Road until shortly before Zadar, where we branched west and started heading into the mountains

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    The change in climate was pretty rapid as we went from coastal weather into some reasonably steep mountain climbs and were greeted with this view looking back into Croatia. Notice all the gravel bits? It looks as though there is a lot of it as it criss crosses all over the place. If you took the time to plan and had the time to do it a lot of Croatia could possibly be ridden offroad, but in saying that I'm happy I chose the Adriatic Road in this case.

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    As we went higher and higher it got colder and colder, wetter and wetter, foggier and foggier which is bit of a shame because I'm sure there would have been some great valleys we missed out on.

    We crossed the border just north of Knin sopping wet. It doesn't seem to be a border used by many tourists and the border guards were very nice and happy to see us.

    We pressed on and meandered down from the high alpine forests into Bosansko Grahovo looking for a hotel. We entered the town expecting what you would normally find in a border town but instead found empty buildings, a gas station and a pub which the guy at the gas station said was also a hotel. It wasn't, but the girls behind the bar got a laugh out of me pretending to sleep and snore to get my message across. We punched hotel into the GPS and the closest one was in Drvar about 40k's away. It lead us to a nice hotel which cost 41 euro but no matter how wet we were there was no way we were paying that in Bosnia, it was way outside our budget so as we sat in the car park sopping wet wondering what to do a guy pulled up in his car. He was interested in the bike and using my sign language indicated the hotel was too expensive and we wanted something cheaper. It turns out he (Yole) is the president of the local motorbike club (MK Grizzly) and his mate (Milan) working in the hotel was the vice president. He showed us the club house and offered for us to sleep on his floor.

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    After we changed into warm dry clothes we went to a local Bosnian Restaurant that they recommended and then made our way to the hotel for a drink with Milan and swapped stories.

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    Along the road to Drvar we spotted these signs the night before - land mines. Right next to a main road for about a kilometre.

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    We followed 3 basic rules when travelling through Bosnia 1) never ever walk on the grass, unless its in a city/town and is obviously being used; 2) only ever use tracks that look as though they have been used; and 3) never ever enter abandoned buildings, they may have unexploded ordnance (bombs, grenades, traps etc). We followed these basic rules and came out with both our legs. We'd heard some stories about some Austrians (I think) who had been out paragliding without first consulting the authories only to land in a mine field. One of them lost a leg and the others huddled around him until they were rescued.

    There are a lot of abandoned buildings, complete abandoned villages even and it would be very tempting for someone looking for shelter from the rain or for photos but if the locals aren't doing it then why would we. The fog added an element of eeriness to the scene but of all the trip it was travelling through these parts of Bosnia and meeting the locals that has been my highlight so far.

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    It's estimated Bosnia will be cleaned of mines by 2019, so six more years. The difficulty with locating them as we're told is that they aren't limited to just borders as we now known them but are everywhere and also contain the absolute minimum (if any) amounts of metal making them difficult to detect. They were dropped indisciminantly without following any sort of international code. They can also be washed around in heavy rains so we didn't go swimming, not that it was warm enough anyway. We went in knowing the facts and having done the research and as I said we followed the three rules above ALWAYS.

    Our plan was to reach Glomec from Bosansko Grahovo via Satorsko Lake which from my quick research used to be a popular hiking route and because of that the roads were well maintained and fast.

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    The puddles had a yellow ring around them which could be sulphur from a volcano, not sure if there were volcanoes around.

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    The lake. Behind it is a massive peak that I've seen on google but we weren't lucky with the weather.

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    Abandoned kiosk

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    The road to the lake was a deviation from the road to Glomec so we back tracked a little and continued on our way. The roads weren't as well maintained as the road to the Lake but still ok. Further on we came across more warning signs.

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    We gingerly carried on, not wanting the rear to kick out with a fully loaded bike and sending us spiralling onto the grass accidentally. The mine signs continued for about a kilometre so we took it extra careful, even avoiding the grass in the middle because vehicles wouldn't be driving there so we managed to hit every puddle along the way.

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    Eventually we came to this clearing which had what looked like an old bunker.

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    And by now we associated red and white with mines, and we were surrounded by it. Patty's face says it all.

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    There were fresh tracks on the grass though so someone had been here

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    But there was so much red and white, and even painted on the road.

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    The rule between us was that if either of us ever felt it could be too dangerous to continue we would turn back. In this case, the red and white was just too overwhelming so we did just that and used another route.

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    We stopped for the night in a motel just outside Livno and the guy who owned the welding shop downstairs let me store the bike in his garage.

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    View from our room (25 euro)

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    We later asked a local what all the red and white was about and he said the round circles meant hiking track and these signs said "lake" and "camping"

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    Slightly embarrassing we turned around because of a hiking trail but based on all available information we made the right decision at the time.

    So far we have stuck to our budget, which is (for two people):

    France - £75
    Switzerland - £75
    Italy- £75
    Croatia - £40
    Bosnia - £30

    We've come to expect that a day in a hotel resting and catching up is equivalent to about a day spent on the road on fuel and food.

    No glitches from the tiger yet whatsoever. The GPS died again and I now know it's because the tracking capacity only fills to 70% before it starts switching itself off in the mount.

    Today we're going further south in Albania on some pretty twisty roads and should be in Macedonia by tomorrow afternoon. I'll continue the Bosnia report when next I have internet which I'm happy to say is more offroad without back tracking :wink:
    #53
  14. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Great update Craig.....

    Good to know your spending.

    I can imagine those trails on the Gas Gas!!!....

    Safe onward travels.

    :D
    #54
  15. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
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    Location:
    Château d'If
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    I know those Triumphs like to add an extra cylinder here and there, but this picture is overboard!
    Have fun on the trip guys.
    #55
  16. BobPS

    BobPS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    570
    Location:
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    I'm in.
    Have a great and safe trip you two.
    #56
  17. redhotred

    redhotred n00b

    Joined:
    May 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    :clap
    #57
  18. newcman

    newcman .

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
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    Location:
    Lake Macquarie, Australia
    Hey Craig, your Mum's calling you . . . your dinner must be ready!!

    DannoJ's Dad, Rob here mate. I can only echo Dan's words in his earlier post: "Who would have thought", etc. It's a long way from the tracks around Yerranderie and Newnes!

    Good on you both for keeping the spirit of adventure alive. Patty, you're in good hands there. I rode with this bloke once in his early bike days and he's rock solid . . . usually.

    I like your writing style and the pics are great. Ride safe, and as a mate of mine says: "Carpe the shit out of the diem."

    RobJ
    #58
  19. GuiltyParty

    GuiltyParty drifter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
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    Location:
    London
    We're in Istanbul now spending big :1drink

    The trails look just like the ones you ride in the Pyrenee's, you would love Albania

    Hi Rob, I could do with some mum's cooking right now! actually maybe not, I'm stuffed from eating too many kebabs and turkish delights.

    Dan mentioned when you were in Turkey it was a balmy -30, we're luckily in the mid-twenties. Chance of tear gas though as the police try dispersing the rioters, certainly none of that around Yerranderie :lol3
    #59
  20. WIBO

    WIBO Will it buff out?

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    Wow Craig...you're getting about for sure.....

    :D
    #60