Kazakhstan (Altai/Tuva) OSM Project 2012

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mikecbrxx, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. KL__07

    KL__07 ride your own way

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    :clap amazing report, nice pics and a fantastic journey so far.

    :thumb What is the max fuel range you desperately needed in Kazakhstan?

    Safe ride!!

    KL
    #41
  2. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    Ideally, 450kms without sweating. Note though that I would normally expect this on my bike but with the heat and type of riding, I was not getting that....about 100kms short on my max range with standard and x-tank combined. Only my fuel bladder got me through on 2 routes. And, it was less than that while I had my 15 tooth front sprocket on! Went back to 16 in Barnaul.
    #42
  3. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    We got away from Hotel Green by about 9 am. The road to the border crossing was not too bad but there were a few sections that could catch you out....potholes, just for a change:lol3

    The road runs about 2kms or so from the shores of the Caspian sea at one point and we found a track. Starts as gravel then goes to soft sand and then soft, wet mud. I hate soft sand with a passion, mostly because I can´t get the hang of riding it and this track was narrow so not ideal to get speed up safely.
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    But, we (I mean I as Nick was OK) got there and got out boots wet, very briefly. The bikes wouldn't stand for long on their own without the side stand sinking. btw, in my own defense, I had road sprockets on so was not geared for this sort of riding.
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    Anyway, we did what we wanted and got back to the road with only 1 more off......me of course!

    The border was smooth and the fastest crossing yet. Its worth noting that on the Russian side, its a long way (5kms) between the initial Russian checkpoint and passport control. We stopped several times to discuss whether we had somehow missed it. We hadn't.

    After the border, it was a short run to Astrakhan....but through the small town of Krasnyy Yar and a pontoon bridge. It was under repair at the time and very slippy.
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    We arrived at the Victoria Palace Hotel around 4pm and said our goodbye´s. I was looking forward to a good look around the city tomorrow, A shower, food and beer is all I needed just then.
    #43
  4. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    Here are some of the photos I took walking around the center of the city. Small explanations where I can add something.

    Summer Bar at the hotel. Excellent fried pork!
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    The hotel at night
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    Shopping area, no cars
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    This lady was very helpful in setting my phone up on a Russian sim. As I had no Russian ID, she did it in her name. Later, however, despite my checking at the time, she called me and told me that the sim would only work in Astrakhan. Good job it was cheap.
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    Walking across a memorial park to the Kremlin.
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    I loved the look of this bench
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    Some shots of the Astrakhan Kremlin, inside and out.
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    More town shots including Lenin. Notice the top of the building behind....Soviet 'star'.
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    The river Volga.....
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    Lunch Halt along the river
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    Other sights along the river
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    Right, early start for Volgograd tomorrow and a new set of rubber for my bike. It will be strange not to vibrate!:wink:
    #44
  5. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    Found your thread tonite and stayed up till 1:30 am reading it. I hope to ride across Asia next year. Hope you produce some good OSM's. It doesn't sound like anything is cheap over there. I'll be following along with you the rest of the way.
    #45
  6. beat

    beat Double Dutchie

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    hi Mike, was at the bikebar in barnaul today.
    great place.
    talked with larisa, check your mail.

    i'm leaving for mongolia tomorow morning

    cya!

    ps. looks like we have an invitation for the siberian enduro fest next year....
    #46
  7. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    Tell me more !

    I emailed Larisa (without the www as that is just silly) and have not had a response yet.
    #47
  8. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    I left Astrakhan around 7am as I had told the gang at Bikecity34 that I would be there by 2pm. Made it by 2:10 so not too bad. Nothing really remarkable about this route.....so I won´t bother.

    When I got to the bike store, they were waiting for me. Helen, the English speaker, was off ill, but I spoke to her on the phone and everything was soon sorted. As well as changing the tyres (from Denis in Moscow) they cleaned/oiled my chain and did a general check on the bike. Remarkably, no problems. We decided to leave the repair on the X-Tank till I get home as it would take a day to sort out there and I wanted to be moving on into Ukraine early the next day. I´ll post a photo of the multiple holes I´d put in it when I´ve stripped it off.

    I booked as sort of boutique ´truckers´hotel just by the M21 (route across to Ukraine) about 15kms out of Volgograd. This worked out very well except that I couldn't get their internet to work. For anyone interested, or passing through that way, the Hotel is called ´Maximum Hotel´and it is not where it is shown on the map supplied to Booking.com. I´ll post the exact location when I get home.

    Just a few pictures today....starting with BikeCity34 with my bike being worked on out front.
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    Anna, the lady standing just inside the garage is the office manager on the day I was there....Helen does this role too. She even prepared me some lunch ! No idea whether I got charged for that too and I don´t really care. It was unexpected and very welcome.

    A better photo
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    Interesting truck waiting at the traffic lights by the store. Looks like it comes complete with stove!
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    Me when I got to the hotel
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    That's about it for that day. The next update will be a very brief visit to Ukraine. 2 Hard days on the road but a very welcome rest day in L'viv and a chance to stay with Blackside, a Ukrainian bike who I met on this forum.
    #48
  9. LC4Dakar

    LC4Dakar Been here awhile

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    The whole building on the roght is the Radisson Hotel. You need a mortgage to stay there in this town!
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    We stayed in the Radisson three years ago. $550 a night. My partner needed a nice hotel BADLY and paid. Steak dinner there cost more than the previous nights hotel bill in Aktobe. Was a good steak, though.
    #49
  10. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    I'll bet its nearer $700 now. That must have been some pressing need and big steak :-)

    Mike
    #50
  11. zandesiro

    zandesiro In rust we trust....

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    Nice ride...!I'm in to this thread:lurk!!:clap
    #51
  12. LC4Dakar

    LC4Dakar Been here awhile

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    The steak dinner was $16. The previous nights' hotel was $15 for the two of us.
    #52
  13. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    The ride to the Ukraine border was uneventful....but the border crossing was the most difficult. Apparently, according to these border guards, I should have been given a customs declaration on entry so that I could surrender it on exit. Well, never heard about this before. After much discussions amongst themselves and time wasting for me, I was told I could go. The Ukraine part was simple, I was expecting to have to buy a visa at the border but no visa appears to be required now.

    I continued on to a place called Dnepropetrovsk, a total distance of about 830kms for the day on some pretty bad roads. Rolled into town around 8pm and took the first hotel my GPS took me to that actually had bike parking not on a main road. Was a bit pricy, but I needed rest. Another long day to get to L´viv tomorrow. No photos of this journey but I bookmarked a very nice Italian restaurant in the town and the hotel. Both will be going on OSM.

    Next day, had breakfast in a fascinating restaurant type place attached to the hotel.
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    Then got on the road for 8am.

    Once again, no photos of the trip into L'viv. It was a 955km day and was 9:30pm before i met up with Vova, the Ukrainian biker who is putting me up for 2 nights and who offered to show me his city.

    btw, the 955kms.....don´t try this in Ukraine unless you are a masochist, on a 650 thumper anyway.

    I´ll put all the photos from L'viv in a separate post.
    #53
  14. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    I arrived in L'viv and met up with Vova who had kindly offered me a bed for a couple of nights and to spend a day showing me round his city.

    Volva, our bikes at his garage, some 15 mins walk from his appartment.
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    His son, a budding mechanic.
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    Their apartment
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    The Kumpel restaurant and micro brewery in the center of the city. We ate here in the evening. The ´lager´beer was so fresh that it wasn´t available for the first 30 minutes.
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    Spectacular church (inside), the second biggest in the city
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    Part of the old city wall.
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    With a restaurant at its base now....
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    A better shot of the wall...very similar to Tallin (Estonia)
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    We had lunch at this Israeli restaurant. Very nic it was to. Supposedly a traditional dish but the same as many others. Meat, onion and potatoe in a crock pot. The gap to the right of the place used to be a synagog but was destroyed during the war.
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    Vova assured me that every building in the old part of L'viv has a central court yard of some sort. He took me to a few, this is just one.
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    This is the statue of some famous writer. The statue is also famous because at the time it was commissioned, money was short so the soviets took a part completed statue of a soldier and converted it. As a result, this statue has soldiers boots on.
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    The inside of another church. I think this is teh one where Vova got married.
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    btw, I´m not religious, but find the amount of work that goes into these places, fascinating.

    A picture of me in front of the cities Opera house.
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    This is the town hall. Its possible to climb to the top of the clock tower to view the city. We did....all 408 steps !
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    Pictures from the top.....just to prove I went up there :D See if you can spot another quirk of L'viv, a rooftop restaurant complete with car !
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    There it is...
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    Another courtyard of a building, this one contains a specialist coffee shop.
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    To get to it you have to go thru what appears to be a locked door and down an unlit, low passage.
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    And through this door off the street
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    Old tram converted to an eating place. Trams of this type used to run on the cities tram lines.
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    Another famous statue in the center, refereed to by the locals as the Horse.
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    Almost done.....a photo of me reading to Vova´s son...and confusing the hell out of him....but he didn't seem to mind!.
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    This is the apartment block where they live. It reminded me of the block in Novosibirsk where Viktor lives.

    My stay in L'viv was brief but very interesting thanks to the kindness of Vova and his wife who made me feel very welcome. Next time I am in the country, we have a date to ride the Caspian mountains together.

    Next, on to Auschwitz.
    #54
  15. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    This is my route from the track logs. There was a couple of days or parts thereof, that I didn´t have the tracking switched on, but its pretty obvious where I went :D

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    #55
  16. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    Not much to mention about the trip to Auschwitz except that it was a vast improvement on road conditions as soon as I entered Poland and that I bumped into the Polish GS riders, that I had previously met in Aral, at the border crossing.

    I had booked hotel Olecki using booking.com having seen good reviews and the fact it was right by the gates to camp 1. I knew I wouldn't have much time so this was ideal.

    The reviews were well justified. If you find yourself out this way, I can wholeheartedly recommend this place. They have a garage to hold bikes, most staff speak English, the food is very good, the staff are very helpful, the room I got was excellent, and it is literally across the road from the entrance to Camp 1.

    I got there about 3:30, having left early in order to do just that and was already walking round the camp by 4pm. There is no entrance charge if you do not join a tour group..... which is not mandatory, despite what the web says.

    What follows is a photo log of my walk round the camp and I will try to give you my impression as to the experience at the end.

    First, the hotel and parking
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    I walked over the road and into the camp.....and to the museum. Acquired a camp map (1 & 2) and then followed the recommended route around the camps.....yes, there is a prescribed route and everyone is recommended to visit Camp 1 before the newer Camp 2.

    That gateway....
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    I originally posted many images I took while walking round Camp 1 (Auschwitz) And Camp 2 (Birkenau) but I have removed them now. There are much better photographs on the internet and I decided not to dwell on this aspect of the trip.
    #56
  17. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    A few photos to finish off the journey home.

    Sonnebergbaude, a delightful old hotel in the small walking/skiing area of Waltersdorf, near Zittau, Germany. English is spoken by the owner and there is a garage for use by bikers. The food at this place is excellent and not expensive. They have a delicious hose speciality for desert. Go and try it.
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    View down the valley and the ski lift opposite the hotel.
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    My next stop was at Pension Roseneck in the town of Bad Lauterberg at the southern edge of the Harz mountains, Germany. My wife rode from home to meet me here and we planned to spend a couple of days doing a little riding and generally relaxing before returning to the real world.
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    Views from a hill overlooking the town.
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    This is the cafe at Torfhaus. Its a viewpoint and general stop that welcomes bikers. In fact, the whole areas is very popular with bikers of all nationalities. I can recommend the food here. Not cheap, but very filling.
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    We did the final 520kms to home (The Hague) together and, after checking my odo, found that the total distance covered since leaving the bonded area in Almaty, is 10,741. Not bad for 5 weeks.

    Next, I have to review all the video, the routes and way-points and start to update OSM with some of it and try and piece some of the footage together into some sort of film. If it works out, I may post it on utube and will add a link in this thread.

    If anyone wants any specific information about the places I´ve been, feel free to ask. Either in the thread or via pm.
    #57
  18. Ruud109

    Ruud109 ADV rookie

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    Very interesting thread Mike, especially since a similar trip has been on the back of my mind for some years (however 'life' always comes in the way of fulfilling it somehow).

    I'm from Zoetermeer, so very nearby The Hague!

    Ruud
    #58
  19. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    Maybe we can meet up for a beer sometime . I am often in the Zwarter Ruiter on Gotemarkt, Saturday afternoons.... and usually at Hyperpro/Alphen on Saturday mornings:clap

    btw, I'd keep quiet about being from Zoetemeer :lol3
    #59
  20. mikecbrxx

    mikecbrxx Been here awhile

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    #60