Mongolia to Magadan: Any which (the hard) way

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ChrisUK, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Ch9 And they're off (The Zhigalovo Road for the third time!)


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    My riding buddy for my second attempt on the BAM: Mr Felix "I make Kevin Keegan's and Chris Waddle's mullet look good" Wright. Myself, Felix and Phil had already met in the UK and agreed to ride the BAM together. Various events had conspired to prevented this from happening up until now.

    Russia and Siberia have many positive aspects, but the mullet haircut, that many local men sport, is not one of them. I suppose their 1980s haircuts go with their love of 1980 heavy metal music.

    Felix's Russian skills at the barber shop weren't good enough when the lady said "That'll be a mullet then sir?". All he could say was "Da" and hope. His hopes were in vain :)



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    Mr Wright in the bright sunlight



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    Mr Bright in the (w)right light... He's a poet and doesn't even know it! On the Transalp MarkII alongside the mighty Lena river



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    If only the weather had stayed this good...





    Some dubious video footage...



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    Spare tyres are also the (b)right size for tasty Baltika 7 cerveza cans purchased at the bottle shop en route to the hotel I stayed at twice already on the Transalp Mark I.
    #81
  2. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    I'm a little disappointed at the Bavarian TA Chris :rofl but looking forward the next chapter :deal
    Phil
    #82
  3. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    Hi Chris

    Enjoying yet another great RR, as you teachers say..... "keep up the good work"...:clap

    But, Chris a Beemer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV1LzXf1TKQ :rofl:rofl:rofl

    Cheers
    Potski :freaky

    Btw, posted this yesterday and it just disappeared..spooky.
    #83
  4. magno

    magno Adventurer

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    I should introduce myself first of all as the owner of the mullet that Chris kindly posted above. It wasn't planned and even the locals were chuckling at the sight. When in Rome and all that.........

    The road to Zhigalovo was ridden by both Chris and myself for the third time. A few days earlier Phil and I had set off from Irkutsk at a slower pace than usual. Obviously he was thinking of other things.

    <a href="http://s805.photobucket.com/user/felixwright/media/DSC_0237_zpsdd65edd7.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/yy333/felixwright/DSC_0237_zpsdd65edd7.jpg" border="0" alt="Zhigalovo road photo DSC_0237_zpsdd65edd7.jpg"/></a>

    The paved road towards Zhigalovo - shortly afterwards he pulled up and decided he needed to get back to Irkutsk for some "Russian lessons" with the lovely Zarina.

    <a href="http://s805.photobucket.com/user/felixwright/media/20130721_1529381_zps9b403dce.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/yy333/felixwright/20130721_1529381_zps9b403dce.jpg" border="0" alt="baikal photo 20130721_1529381_zps9b403dce.jpg"/></a>

    Lunch a week earlier on Baikal. Phil and Zarina are now happily married.

    <a href="http://s805.photobucket.com/user/felixwright/media/20130721_150924-11_zps1b0c4cb8.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/yy333/felixwright/20130721_150924-11_zps1b0c4cb8.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 20130721_150924-11_zps1b0c4cb8.jpg"/></a>

    Local delicacies.:wink:

    <a href="http://s805.photobucket.com/user/felixwright/media/20130728_1621101_zps4936cb7b.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i805.photobucket.com/albums/yy333/felixwright/20130728_1621101_zps4936cb7b.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo 20130728_1621101_zps4936cb7b.jpg"/></a>

    By now it was time to leave the "architecture" behind and take the mullet on the BAM.
    #84
  5. RiderRick

    RiderRick Been here awhile

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    This is shaping up to be an epic adventure! Write on! :clap:clap:clap:clap
    #85
  6. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    To be honest Felix, if I had the choice between riding with you or learning Russian with Zarina, I wouldn't have left Irkutsk either. :rofl Although what she sees in the (self proclaimed) only gay bloke from Stoke, I have no idea! :evil

    I had no choice...:1drink
    #86
  7. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Chapter 10 Zhigalovo and back onto the BAM to Novo Uoyan

    It could be said that good weather and a light bike with good suspension might reduce the adventure a little (not to worry: The weather changed and the track got much worse later on). The MarkII Transalp (also known as an RBA (Rebadged Aprilia) just ate up the miles up to the turnoff onto the BAM road before I remembered I was also meant to take some pictures...



    Why is the XC an RBA? Answer: It allows me to claim I never actually rode a Beemer and lets me sleep with a clear conscience at night ;)

    The XC was built in the Aprilia factory, has (of course) an Austrian Rotax motor and Swedish Ohlins (Phil has swapped out the pants oem airshock on my bike: Felix was running Hyperpro) suspension... So pretty much the only thing coming from the BMW factory in Germany is the badge and the mapping on the efi unit...


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    At the BAM road sign (The same one as on the MarkI Transalp). The MarkII travelled all the way from somewhere in the middle of the Russian Altai, then across Mongolia, from Ulaan Bataar to Irkutsk and along the BAM to Tynda, then to Yakutsk and Magadan, including crossing 2 borders, without a licence plate! Why? Why not, nobody bothered checking and no police stopped me/us. Phil had dropped the bike backwards into a hole in the Altai, (that apparently took some heavy lifting equipment to extract 48 hours later: Felix or Phil might be able to elaborate on this story) and he lost the rear turn signals and plate. I did try making a new plate in an internet cafe in Irkutsk and cable tied it on, but after an hour it was falling off, so it spent the rest of the journey sticking out of my camelbak.


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    The first (of many) puctures :(

    Memo to self: When Phil says the spare tubes in the panniers are fine, check that they haven't been patched, and if they have, buy some new ones in the bike shop in Irkutsk before leaving!


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    The pleasant weather and easy road, so far, lulls you into thinking this ride will be easy. Just for information: The trail gets progressively harder until Lopcha, over a thousand miles away, when it's back to easy gravel for the cruise into Tynda.


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    Too much alcohol in Severobaikalsk.

    2 things were bugging me about the XC:

    1. It's a BMW. Solution: Stick a piece of gaffer tape on the badge and only ever refer to it as a Transalp MarkII or an RBA ;)

    2. The totally daft (some might say gay-looking...) combo of oem high fender AND low rallye fender at the same time! It was Phil's idea! I feel I've developed aesthetic taste in my old age, so something had to give! For the rest of the trip, the high oem fender lived in the red roll bag on the pillion seat


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    Food shopping in Severobaikalsk. What a ridiculous bloody haircut!


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    Stopping for an ice-cream in a railway town. I ate more ice-creams on this trip than on many others.


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    Mum and the kids waiting for dad to finish the shopping


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    Heading home with the groceries


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    Waiting at the a train crossing at Novo Uoyan. Finally somebody to make me look thin and svelt

    It was in Novo Uoyan a week earlier when Pete Berry (the chap on the XR) had been involved in an "incident" regarding the world (in)famous "Botty Dance" and also where I'd removed the fan from the MarkI radiator as it was causing it to leak more with than without it


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    Bloody tourist!
    #87
  8. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    Come o Chris stop teasing :deal
    #88
  9. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    Seasoned Russia travellers are familiar with what we term "haircut risk" when travelling for extended period in the risk zone (former Soviet Union). Its a greater risk in Siberia and seems to be correlated to the distance one is away from Moscow.

    While risks can be somewhat minimised by taking precautions, I can assure you from personal experience, the risks can NEVER be eliminated. Its a risk factor one simply has to bear in mind when travelling across Russia.

    Fortunately, as motorcycle riders, we are often protected from the potential humiliation by wearing helmets. Again the open face helmet is superior as you almost never have to take it off, thus concealing the abysmal haircut from as many potential guffawing ladies as possible. I myself would only take the helmet off to shower and sleep. And if I had picked up Felix's mullet, then I might not even take it off for that. It can be especially dangerous if you confront a mirror, and a good riding buddy should always walk ahead of the afflicted rider in hotels, warning of upcoming mirrors. This gives the afflicted rider time to don his helmet before confronting the mirror, which in turn helps to avoid the trip stopping "Loss of Mojo".

    #89
  10. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    And I see the timing of the haircut incident was most unfortunate. Just when you wanted to be looking your sharpest & coolest, ... you were handicapped by that unfortunate haircut.

    #90
  11. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    She wanted him for herself,so the cut that only a stylist could love.
    #91
  12. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    :evil Looks like I had a rather lucky escape then....

    Having what's called a "reverse mohican":super myself ( aka slaphead), I went to a barber shop in Yakutsk, for "your best number one crewcut, young man" and the man with the clippers most definitely batted for the other side! I must stress I escaped the city unscathed!
    #92
  13. magno

    magno Adventurer

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    Fortunately I got "mulleted" 10 minutes before we set off for the second time for Zhigavolo. I think it was a subconscious statement of intent that it was time to leave Irkutsk. It's the type of place, certainly in the summer, that a tired adventure motorcyclist can relax, eat well and drink some cold beers while taking in all the sensory delights before continuing on his arduous journey.

    If you go make sure you stay a few days. But avoid the hairdressers round the back of the Angara Hotel next to the car park.
    #93
  14. sandijsb

    sandijsb Adventurer

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    With the end You mean ??? :)

    Call
    Send SMS
    Add to Skype
    You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype
    #94
  15. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Ch 11 Novo Uoyan to Taksimo

    A bit of geography and background: Taksimo is
    1. Where the sea plane monument is
    2. Where myself and Felix had a great night of beers and chat with DakarJoe and Corinna
    3. From where I freighted my Mark I Transalp westwards on the train a week previously
    4. Where (on my Mark I trip the week before) one evening in the cafe next to the hotel, I was struggling to mime a pig to say I wished to purchase some fried pork. The youngish lady didn't understand. The Russian translation/phrases app on my smart phone couldn't translate pork, but did have the word "porker", which was rather unfortunate considering her physical appearance;) She seemed unconcerned as to why I burst out laughing!


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    Siberian architecture: Bedraggled chique


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    A local biking fisherman


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    The bridge next to the river where I toasted the Mark I clutch and where the 2 truckers Yevgeny and Todor got me out of some serious sh!t when they helped me change it






    Textbook stuff


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    Selfie on said bridge: Having a spot of lunch. How very sophisticated


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    The oil from the Mark I oil change, after we'd changed the clutch, is still there a week later. Sorry no recycling facility available


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    I presume in memory of someone



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    Going


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    Going


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    Gone!





    The whole video is a bit of an overview of the day, but from 4.16 to 4.27 ties in with the images above ;) Just to demonstrate what a good sport I am: I could just have "lost" the evidence, but I ain't proud :)



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    When you've messed up...





    This is how you sort it. With a little bit of help from your friends...
    #95
  16. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

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    Loving this :deal
    #96
  17. REALGRAVEROBBER

    REALGRAVEROBBER LEAVING GRAVES EMPTY

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    Fantastic journalism work. I can only imagine the energy it takes to capture footage and photos while in such harsh conditions. Your friend, Lance the septic tank :dhorse
    #97
  18. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    :lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk:freaky
    #98
  19. Dr. Benny

    Dr. Benny Enjoying the Journey

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    +1
    #99
  20. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Ch12 Taksimo to the Vitim River Bridge

    As said in the previous chapter, we had a pleasant evening chatting to Joe and Corinna, but had to head off early(ish) the next morning as we were on a tight schedule. They were staying an extra day before setting off


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    The bridges got worse as we headed east. Every winter the harsh weather takes its toll and in 2012 there were lots of summer forest fires which also more than accelerated the deterioration of the bridges



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    This is the puddle were I turned back on the Mark I Trannie. The Mark II found it quite straight forward



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    One of my favourite images of the trip. When I showed this to my uncle he asked "Why are you riding though the swamp? Why not ride on the road?"

    This IS THE ROAD. You can see the swamp on the other side of the bike







    Felix riding the “Mark I turn around puddle”. Note how the pitch of the motor changes as the bike goes lower and lower. Only something like an X-Challenge with an incredibly high air-box intake (just about at handlebar level) can make it while being ridden. Other bikes would have to be pushed through with all offending orifices plugged


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    We got into a routine: Get off, walk the bridge, check the line, decide whether to walk or ride and if the other fella needs to give you a hand. This was an easy one, where Felix could take a pic of me riding it



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    Finally we reach the mighty Vitim River! And the Bridge, that seemed too far only 10 days previously. We walked the length of it first. Sorry lots of pics of the same landmark. Not many bikers get to ride this, so we enjoyed ourselves



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    The only way is forwards



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    Luckily it was dry today



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    Flora and fauna



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    We wish each other luck and Felix sets off






    The first few meters were a bit wobbly and nerve wracking, but after about 5 of 10 seconds I got into the groove. Tunnel vision and full concentration, but still enough awareness to stop 2/3 of the way along to wait for Felix to get his camera out, so there are some pics of me riding it! :)

    2 minutes 30 seconds. Not the fastest, which I think is Iker from the Basque Country in 40 something seconds, nor the slowest which was Tony Pettie who encountered a huge storm half way across, so had to lay himself and his bike down and wait for it to pass! We had perfect conditions in comparison!


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    Brighty 1



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    Brighty 2, indicating right!


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    Dunnit! Time for a biscuit and drink of coke