no money, no gps, no Credit card working crappy bike, 3 weeks of rain. Let's go Babar, to Russia !

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by babar69, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    French drummer living in Budapest
    HI guys

    Long preamble.. You'll be able to jump to the trip in the next ..

    You're getting older, you have not enough money to travel, you have a shitty bike. You like to plan everything, but have to go in a hurry ??? Read it, you can do it :)

    [​IMG]


    This is not going to be an "adv tourist" report, mainly because I have a very few pics to show you . ( see further why)

    It will rather be about a planned monthly trip from Budapest to Izhevsk, by small roads on early September . Lots of pbs, and at the end lots of new friends !

    But If you're interested by a 10 000 km solo trip on a too short 19 days ride made by a 60 years old guy on shitty thumper , with tons of rain, cold, a nearly destroyed bike, no speedometer , half brakes, no more lights at night, GPS down, maps lost, muddy roads, lost in forests, bank cards not working, no more cash (but all trip was made on a very low and near impossible budget), cell phone out, nearly detention at Latvian border, big circus show at Russian one , etc.., you will maybe appreciate :)

    You will see that in the worst of times, I always had my shinny lucky star ( but every traveler knows that already )

    Must say too that I have two bikes: A fantastic Honda xr650r I perfectly prepared for the trip during the past months, and a Yamaha 600TTRE used as a commute all around bike, on which I must confess , I NEVER did any real maintenance... Guess what I had to use ? The TTRE 600 of course :(

    I'm too a little bit anal in prep and org. Comes from times I was a flying teacher. I like sharp organization, to be able to forget everything on the way , but have a background in my mind to improvise correctly. To be short : Plan A, plan B, plan C . No more plans, fun begins and that was the case !

    For this trip, NOTHING was efficiently prepared. I acted totally opposite of what I'm used to do : Still not ready the day before leaving, bike not ready, luggage strapped like a drunk spider, shitty tires, etc... In fact after the past two tentatives to go on this trip, I had no more thrust I could do it .

    But come on, guys, we go early September, so, everything is gonna be fine !!!!

    For someone who used to be a pro photo guy, making a trip without a lot of pics maybe seems rather strange. In fact , my choice came from :

    1/ I nearly already killed all my camera gears ( water, fall down) etc.. I'm on the hard side use concerning things. My motorbike gears are usually in bad shape after only one year. I take care, but it's my way of living, maybe... Same for the cameras. Bring them everywhere and they get old very fast ...

    2/ cameras I only use now are sigma dp merrill . fantastic foveon sensor ( not bayer computer algorithm ) but need light, and time. not really useful when traveling.

    3/ All this is was maybe just a pretext :). When I read advrider reports, I'ts like a book, I like to imagine, and when come some videos or pics , honestly, I am often disappointed. Because movies, photos can't render the emotive situation (which is most of time perfectly described on reports), and even the physical one : An hard trail is seen like a so so one, a sharp climbing seems easy, etc... by text, you can identify to the adventure like people describing their loneliness, bike stopped, in the middle of nowhere. It reminds you some, you 're in. But if you see pic of the scene, it comes back only to this person, no more "appropriation" process;

    Last, you all know that when shit hits the fan, the photo video process is the last thing we care about...

    4/ I wanted to use my eyes/brain/memory to definitely deeply remember what I saw. I started this process when shooting less and less pics , fed up by digital facility and hard drives full of non sense pics... The main question now for me is " why am I gonna take this pic"... 99 % IMHO, it has no sense... I just now prefer to really look at it, enjoy and print it for long in my brain.

    5/ Everybody now takes pics all time, all places. I just have to get those taken by people I met . well, not so easy process :( . But ASAP, I will put them on this report when I got them

    6/ I finally made an effort : took the WG1 action cam and fixation on my helmet '( waouu I 'm gonna look like a real bike adventurer :)) Lost it on some trails with all movies and pics in sd card
    :(



    The original travel was a loop by North to Russia, then Kazakhstan and go back visiting Georgia , Armenia, through Turkey, then up by Bulgaria and Serbia.

    Two times I planned everything and got my visa. First time, I was starting bike in the garage, ready to go, and phone rang : " Are you interested to meet production teams to make some movies making -of and photos for big cinema productions ??" Always dream to do it. So i came off my bike, just shut the garage's door, because I was just thinking they won't give me the job and will go to mother Russia. Let's try it anyway, but nothing to loose, I came to appointment and..... got it. But I was so disappointed that I let my luggage on bike a long time...

    So I shoot the making of, the still pics. A movie about ...models.. It was very difficult and boring shooting ! :)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Discovered that movie industry is more shittier and artificial than what you can ever imagine and thought? ' ok done it, let's move on

    '[​IMG]

    Let's go in September !!! Virgin full visa on passport, I was readyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Well , you can imagine what happened. So I came to rendez-vous, asked for more money, so they would refuse, and ..they said ok. I made the 4 months video making of shooting of the big HHhH production, "the man with an iron heart"

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3296908/

    and came home every night with pockets full of empty cartridge cases of tired bullets thrown away everywhere by Kalashnikov ( You will see later on this report that I was haunted by Kalashnikov...) and a crazy shooting. Strange , by the way, to work with people using so much white sugar for their...nose :(

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, thanks to air'n'b pushing up all the market, renting flats started to be impossible : rare and crazy costs.

    We had to move out of town and find an house... Renovation, blablaba, no time to travel and no money. Lots of guys sell their bikes when time comes to buy an house as money is running out , but my wife didn't allow me to do it : " You have the bikes, YOU KEEP THEM ! otherwise you won't have money to buy them again !!! We will eat goulash and salami" well, well, ok ok , I ... agree ;) ;) ;)

    Ok, so this introduction just to show that we all have situations to stop us doing our broaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa rides :) , but we can always do it !


    2017 : You buy house , you make renovation , thanks to enduro googles :)[​IMG]

    and you have to pay taxes because you ...bought. let's pay taxes a second time ! So, how am I going to do this trip ?. I WILL do this trip !!!! Let's check the banks. If I use bank debit, I'll get around 600 euros... No way to make the big round trip ! Ok I will go to Izhevsk, see some Russian Africa twin motorbiker who, with friends , built the IZH motorcycle museum. I will use couch surfing and tent, no way to pay hotels. Food ?? let's fulfill some luggage, for the "expensive part of trip ( Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia ). Gears : Lots of jackets , but I can't stand no more the "Gore-Tex" ones ( which by the way don't work at all, I let you check on web info on the Gore-Tex process ) Let's take the leather triumph jacket ! Leather in the rain ? are you crazy ?? Not at all.1/ there is more nano technology shoe polish on mine than leather. 2/ It won't rain, it's early September !

    I remembered my last trip to Turkey on September too where I nearly die from cold. this time I will take an electric jacket under my leather one. So like the MIchelin bibendum, I could use from skin to stupid cold air : merinos / t-shirt / decathlon soft-shell / electric jacket, and the trusty leather one. A light parka for the rain in the pocket ( always worked perfectly if you don't ride more than 90 /100 km/h) O f course, at the end.. Well I will let you discover ! Because, I told you , it was earlly September, so ...no pb :)

    What am I gonna bring for this trip ?? If there is one thing useful in life, it's the small camping gear forum on ADV rider; It changed my mind. I put on table what I wanted ,and each week, I just cut in half and throw away the other part. After 2 months and lots of dilemma, I had a waterproof backpack with all needed inside... Wife told me " great ,now you can carry a big one empty to bring back some gifts ::" ( ok, ok , hope free gifts can be found in Russia ;) ) I took too a trekking dectahlon 40 liters backpack, mainly to test if my idea was good. I will show you the backpack at the end :)

    I'm always on the cheap side when using gears, luggage. I want the feeling of no stress if someone steals luggage, , and satisfaction to find a solution which works perfectly well for 10 % of costs of these F...G expensive motorbikes accessories ! All has to be coherent. Putting hundred of euros on a bike which has an Argus of maybe 800 Euros is a no way IMHO.

    So my motto is "light as light". Each time I put luggage on bike, I make a short run around and compare with empty bike... A very good process to pull out lots of things.

    And I make this kind of trip first to ride, ride and meet people... and... ride ,ride ! So let's keep pleasure first, with good handling , low fuel ( lore on that later hahaha)

    A few days before leaving, I pulled out the camping gear : too much volume, weight, etc... Target being meet and make new friends, I worked on couch surfing possibilities and found places all along the trip.

    Of course all was planned to suit on my XX650R : weight push on front and low, light luggage system, multi stand for phone/gps, Usb charge, good lights, etc...

    Just forgot one thing... Bike is not registered with my name.. NO way to cross Russian border without a notary certified document... And notary end August are closed or ask crazy money and lot of time... So I have to take now the TTRE600. Let's check it : brakes ..?? well Western Russia is nearly flat country there will be enough pads to have fun in Slovakian's Tatras mountains. Chain Kit . dead :( But if I change the front sprocket and with regular oil, should be good ! Electricity ?? I started to put a big truck beam to see at night. But you don't ride at night in Russia, of course ! So it stayed on bike with a very bad fixation, no time to find a better one, and not really waterproof too, but who cares ? No rain, we are early September, my friends !
    So I will use the prototype :
    [​IMG]

    More preoccupating was the carb. For those who don't know, the YSLD Yamaha is the worst piece of garbage even built ! You just clean it and pbs come. Impossible to tune, back fire, lean pbs,etc... And best of all, it takes hours to pull it in/out of frame because the TTRE is the electric version of the good TTR ( which still had real Ohlins suspension and not the crapy SACHS ones of the TTRE) As the starter engine is below the carbs, you must pull out the back frame and pray that Fairy godmother gave you long and flexible fingers. Not my case...:(
    BTW , a needle for this carb is nearly 100€ ... kidding ?

    So after one month of fight with this **** YSDL carb , I gave up after changing everything, cleaning, tuning... Still back fire and poor mixture. Reading forums about it show me that I was not the only one :( Gave it to a mechanic guy who found nothing, but had a brilliant idea : let's drill the main jet to 53. Thanks guy, now my fuel budget is dead... As usual " more on that later"
    [​IMG]

    For my endless budget on tyres , I put a 2005 Dunlop trailmax front 21' from a past KLE500 , in good 70% shape. Back tyre : As usual a 140 80 18 Heidenau that I picked from my XR. 80 % brand new. (amazing for a 2 months use, considering the torque rage of the xr) The Heidenau scout made the trip, the Dunlop came back home as a.....

    Now i'm diving in my computer to try to find some pics. In the meantime I will check if moderators can stand my frenchinglish and allow this post ....

    pics of bike and tools, luggage, roadbooks and start of trip story ASAP !

    ride safe . Fababar
    #1
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  2. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
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    1,677
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    In!
    #2
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  3. Merlin44

    Merlin44 XR400R & Africa Twin

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2016
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    Spring, Texas
    Okay! Can not wait to see more of this, and where it is going!
    #3
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  4. Kristof Granit

    Kristof Granit Long timer

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    5,229
    Location:
    Black Sea
    En attendant les photos et la suite, tu est déjà célèbre :lol3

    [​IMG]
    #4
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  5. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

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    French drummer living in Budapest
    yes I know, but you have too babar the pilot !
    #5
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  6. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    After some checks on my ttre, and considering the few days free before starting the trip, I had to speed up. Fix some electricity since a memorable trip across Bulgaria in 2015 with some 82 cm of water on a road (checked with a rule at home) where the river broke its bed. I can testify that the TTRE stands more than 80 cm of water . [​IMG]
    Found a frog leg, some worms and others strange things in the air filter box. Will make a report of this trip someday. I was not brave, I was just taking over some trucks stopped in a small level of water . But very fast , level was raising to the point I had beautiful waves in front and beside me, like a perfect Yamaha jet ski. But fortune favors fools, as I had no way than to go on ... Sometimes, this bike has positive attitude :) That should have warned me for this trip : TTRE is a water magnet !
    [​IMG]



    on the same trip, I had 11 rear spokes broken . But I didn't saw it until I lost the rear in a turn. I'm used to cross lock them with zip cables... Good not to have a spoke going out like a Muslim running out wine, but bad if you don't often check them. Hum, hum, maybe have I to go to psy consultation, as I'm meticulous on everyday check, but seems to really don't care at all as soon as as I'm traveling...

    So time to check the front Wheel, as the back had already brand new spokes
    Bad news. Ok let's buy some spokes set...
    [​IMG]

    No problem to dismount the k60 scout from the XR650r. But the old k60 on the TTRe had a total soldered beam. After trying everything, including pro guys killing two machines, I decided to use a disk grinner and cut it. What a lovely smell and what a nice work. But no touch on rim. Victory !!! I'm used to put k60 on TTRE .the Adv posts on how to change tires and advice to always STOP if you have to force, as it means you are doing something wrong , always saved me a lot of time. But for the Heidenau on talon wheels and very bad profile Yamaha rims, I found at the end the only really efficient solution : use a lot of wurth rust off. I know, I know, it's bad for rubber, but forget soap, pro white soap and anything else. Wurth rost off is acting like "daddy in mummy" as we say in french... :)
    [​IMG]

    not bad shape for a 14 000 km 3 years old tire ;)
    #6
  7. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

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    front Wheel, I told you , I had a beautiful Dunlop trailmax tire from... 2005. a little bit used but with a rubber which took some 12 years rest, it should work ! and... It's September...

    So BTW , I started to put on repeat mode this famous song in my garage :
    from Earth Wind and Fire

    When mood went down, considering I won't be able to do it, brecause of money and how in bad shape was the motorbike, I changed it to :[​IMG]
    #7
  8. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    Location:
    French drummer living in Budapest
    No way to ride without my MP3 player and good silicone earplugs. Riding without music for me is anti-safe.. I start to focus on pbs and loose a lot of focus. Music, at a correct level , doesn't disturb me at all and I really can focus long hours on road. Of course, where have fallen my silicon ear plugs ??? Ok, let's put some bad PU intra auricular ones and plan for 5 others pairs in case of...

    In my hurry, I still had presence of mind to take my "water to go " bottle ( 200 liters of 99% no virus and bacteria purification water process). Even Russians are a little bit suspicious about tap water and considering the crazy price of water bottles along the way, a 15 euros filtration bottle is the way ! But I still didn't test it like the guy on a youtube demo : behind a factory, in mud, near toilets...:(


    https://www.watertogo.eu/

    will take a small helmet too for passenger, in case of.. well, why a second helmet ? I don't know, i feel I have to take it :)

    Thought one second to put my famous XR plate.. But what about customs humor ???
    [​IMG]

    maybe I could put it on this bike ???
    [​IMG]

    Remembering my friend Kirill, who came duo from Izhevsk on this 300 000 km old africa twin , gave me some optimism !



    [​IMG]


    After lot of speedy work ( rear arm, forks, etc... ) I applied a chemist advice : NEVER put lithium grease. Yes it's not dirty, yes it's fast cleaned and makes beautiful bikes exposed in shops. But Lithium is a water sucking product. So I used ONLY graphite grease everywhere ( including my nails , black now for 2 months) and I will show you my conclusions at the end ....

    I was still wondering ... Use XR and make some pseudo official papers for customs ??
    or trust the brave TTRE ??
    choice done !

    [​IMG]
    #8
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  9. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    French drummer living in Budapest
    for a first post, I deserve a break. See you tomorrow :)
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

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    not an highway , but surely a trail to hell ;)
    #10
  11. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

    Joined:
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    vancouver island
    Looks like a great R.R. so far,looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
    #11
  12. atravlr

    atravlr www.atasecuretravel.com

    Joined:
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    Arizona Desert
    A little Rage Against the Machine?
    #12
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  13. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

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    I won't do what you tell me, in the name of... !
    Used to be my first playlist song in Lyon, running out of garage ;)
    #13
  14. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    Luggage :

    Hard ? soft ? Big preoccupation getting older ! So of course Hard is the best !
    I made some tests with hard luggage, hopping to show all Russian women how strong is a french lover ! :) . I used 19' ABS racks for music that I made waterproof, with silent block system.

    [​IMG]


    But the dog laughed at me !

    [​IMG]

    And he was right ! Even with a light weight, thanks to composite, and fact that it stand every fall and crash tests ( it's racks for music tour, so nearly indestructible) and stayed inside my handlebars dimensions, I knew that soon or later I will have to slalom somewhere in between cars and trucks, stuck in traffic jams. Even if I had a B plan to make bike narrower :

    [​IMG]


    It is said that, as for tires and oil, we can discuss forever hard cases versus soft ones. I don't think so ! The stealth protection of hard cases is a joke. You can open every hard case in 30 sec with ordinary tools. Using soft luggage, I choose to bring all my useful stuff in one waterproof backpack that I can pull out in a few seconds and have with me everywhere. Sadly I wouldn't be not more a perfect touring real adventure guy , shining in the sun with my aluminum polished cases. standing straight like law and justice with some cylinders near the ground, ready to have their cover valves crashed... ;) No I will put my cheap decathlon backpacks on the bike, like a fuel smelling hitchhiker , but they will be clean, and brand new, because :

    I'm always preoccupied to give a tempered image when traveling : not rich guy, but not poor too. The " I'm a ghost in between people" attitude. Like when you walk in street you don't know, in strange paces atmosphere : A normal walk with the look " I 'm from there, I know where I'm going" keeps you away from lots of trouble. When you take small roads and arrive in bigger towns, you often cross by depraved urban areas... Young guys start look at you with evil eyes, and you build high paranoia level, which makes things worst. I 'm using the usual psycho trick. Even I'm not lost, I try to find the baldest guy . I go straight to him and in benefits of surprise, ask him my way. All others around have no idea about what's happening , but tension slows down, mainly for yourself :)


    So, started the every week down size luggage process :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Camping gear I decided at last minute to let home :

    [​IMG]

    At at the end, for a month travel, all in a bag :

    [​IMG]

    Will it be enough ? I'll make you a review at end of R.R

    My usual medicine kit
    [​IMG]t.

    At last I only took some antibiotics ,
    And the two invaluable things for a lonely rider :
    The stop bleeding quick clot !
    http://quikclot.com

    and the Army emergency bandage :
    https://www.adventuresurvivalequipment.com/the-emergency-bandage-6inch-military.html
    #14
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  15. forgorin

    forgorin Stuck in Japan

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    Japan
    This sounds like a real adventure. People often plan too much and end up planning the adventure part right out. I can't wait to read some more.
    #15
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  16. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    For Phone with gps programs ( kurviger, magic earth, maps me, etc..) I will use my trusty LIDl waterproof with my little box for dog food. Fed up to have my forma boots totally killed by dogs.. So when I come in a village, I'm always ready to make some diversion and throw away some food :) Of course dogs attack came just once, but at the worst time....
    The U lock put under the front engine is a perfect demonstration of our Airbus mechanical engineering : Weight down, centered and... will definitely stay 4 days later after 123654 kg of mud in the lock opening...
    [​IMG]
    luggage fixations wil be the usual cord and locks :
    [​IMG]
    and if these two guys let me go, I'm ready !!!
    [​IMG]

    Let's go BABAR !!!
    [​IMG]

    5: 30 in the garage.... Happiness everywhere !! Doubts ?? no ! Tired ?? Are you kidding me !!!

    Dear readers, I let you appreciate the perfect luggage organization :
    Everything is fixed with a total calculation of pendulum, a very complex algorithm depending of ropes tension versus rider tension !!!
    You can testify that I'm the perfect model for next motorbike catalog shooting.
    The french touch : Old leather jacket mixed with enduro pants :)
    ok, there's still not the smell that made my dog ran away from me when I got home !
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
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    If there's only one tool I 'll take on trip, it's a big hammer. and if I could take a vise, it would be paradise ! But weight , my friend, weighttttttttttttttttttttt :(
    My light Tools kit :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I learned hard way that when battery goes low, you have to stop trying starting engine : relay switches On, starter runs, tension goes down, relay switches Off, tension rises, relay switches On again, etc... very fast cycles which at the end solders the relay contacts, lock the starter, and everything goes in a big shortcut . Until battery starts to get bigger an bigger :( I couldn't find a 8 amp original battery at this time, so bought a 10 amp and fixed it best I could ( too big to be in the frame battery box) So I used a metal rule. After 4 years, the fixation is still there;, so I won't touch it !!!
    [​IMG]
    #17
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  18. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

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    Day one.
    What a better idea than to start by a 800 km day ride ???
    Miracle came as there was no rain . Unbelievable, every rider knows that travel always starts with rain... But we are in September ? ! ;)
    I choose to cross Slovakia by Tatras mountains. After 40 kms, out of Hungary, the stupid sat nav started to put the funny " Do half turn and go back immediately". ok, ok, let's go straight, Babar. First hour of ride, and i'm loosing one hour to find the good direction... good start !! Climbing mountains, I already knew I won't make it. Strange feeling to have a bike running too lean and too rich same time. No, I won't make it, so sadly I came back the valley . Of course, road work, and have to overtake a lot of cars and trucks waiting for the green road light. As a good Frenchmen I 'm used to overtake in between cars, or on the white line. Bingo, in a turn, I was in front of 2 Police motorcycle guys. Looking in the mirror, I saw them slowing down, ready to make half turn. Okay Babar, let's go hide somewhere !! But where .?..
    I found a small parking with some toilets and just park the bike behind to wait the regular 10 /15 min ... Let's go again and...let's overtake again ( yes french Olympic game) . Sh......T At a cross road a civil police car ran after me. A stupid ordinary Volkswagen black car . I broke speed and guy from window shoot me something, with his right finger showing side of road.. Well, gonna spend some ticket money :( I stopped as soon as possible but the car didn't stop, just slowing down, showing me the back of my bike . So i looked at it and discovered I didn't close the zips of the food bag and food was going out ! Thanks guys !

    Now I must mention the best of the ride : I have a 10 fuel tank, and mainly 8 liters usable. So it's about 130 km of autonomy and I always managed it without pbs in the past. Always found stations, always let people to give some fuel in case of. I read that Poland doesn't allow to have a jerrycan . I decided to use my small top case ( now i'm no more an real adventure rider :( ) , hiding the 5L jerrycan in it. Didn't put any fuel in it in case of polish pbs...
    well, 100 km now , have to find some fuel, be prudent !
    I came to gas station and fulfill my tank. WTF ???? 8 liters ????????
    Thanks to the mechanic guy whi drilled my main jet . Now i'm out of budget :
    2.5 to 3l/ 100 more * 10 000 km , even with cheap Russian fuel is gonna cost me a lot :(


    Did I mentioned I had no more speedometer . I forgot some day to unlock the cable and started a little fast : cable around the wheel destroying the speedo system. Of course, considering cost of Yamaha parts, I never fixed it. So no speed indication ( but very fast you learn to estimate speed) and no more odometer. I decide to apply a time routine. normal ride ; an hour of autonomy. more speed, lets stop every 50 min... I even choose to cut this 1 hour stop time in half, by a stop food/piss process. Maybe seems crazy to you, but stopping a little every 30 min allows you to ride for 14 hours non stop and with no ass pain !!! ( I wouldn't do it with XR . I like kicking, but kicking 40 times a day ...:( )

    Money : I'm used to find all currency possible of countries I'm going. because I hate losing time in foreign banks, or have to use borders small time crooks. ATM's , cash machines ??? Ok, I have to inform you tha Hungary has the worst banks in the world . you want some money on cash machines in foreign countries. be ready to pay charges for cash withdrawal sometimes more than money you asked, not including commission, currency change commission, etc ... Each cash machine op. would cost me a minimum of 20 Euros ... NO way ( well I 'll have too, later )
    O courseday before leaving, I just went to some change offices. NO rubbles ! ok let's try another one ,a nd another one, and etc... All Budapest changes had no russian money :( At last I found a little... NBut i'm used to this process. each time I start doing something, a high wall starts to be built in front of me... Just never give up !


    I stopped to send some Sms to the couch surfing family waiting for me near Lublin. They insist I must be there before 20:00 because of kids going to school, etc... bad news : Tatras mountains back + fuel making me stop more often + roads works ... No way I'll be there in time. SO I'm going to SMS apologize and please...wait for me !!! Of course, before leaving, I put a lot of money for my phone sim card and checked I had the roaming. Vodafone ??? you say Vodaphone ?? No, it's vodka phone or maybe vod-aphone !! " we are not able to send sms". Ok let's call. "your data plan doesn't allow you, blabla" No phone usable. No pb ! let's speed and be on time !!

    best resolutions vanished in the hammer sound of the thumper :

    Ride safe / slow and steady wins the race / etc.. etc...

    Put some throttle and gazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ( well not really fast as my past triumph bike)

    Afternoon is coming and I'm now in South Poland. There was often some black Opel or Audi with tinted glass on road. I started to think that maybe they like this tuning style in this country, until I saw the led lights through the back tinted glass : "police, stop" . Was not for me :) :) , but now I know that Men In black are everywhere in Poland ! /web pic :/
    .
    [​IMG]

    I discovered toot I forgot to put some protection under my perfect Chinese Smartphone, to prevent the usb port been destroyed by the plug and vibrations; Perfect, now i m at 10 % of charge. Turn it off and keep it for the final destination.

    To be short ( because it is Europe, Poland civilized country and I really don't care about it ;) ) I made it and after incommensurable times I asked my way, I came in the end of a road, light on my gps which confirmed me it was there.. Well ok but where ??? I parked the bike in front of a big house, and same time of course, as usual, a big tractor came to make a turn. Have to move. let's move... No way ; My clutch cable is broken... I just changed it 1 month before, in case of... So Yamaha original parts are the most expensive ones, and crappy Chinese ones too :(

    Ok let's be cool, there 's always a way; Be cool.. Hey BABAR LISTEN TO ME !!! BE COOL.. I'm cool but a little bit stressed. First find the couch surfing. After all I made it, so.... I started to ask people. Didn't speak English, moved on from one house to another. no they don't know. Found a guy at last who knew . " just turn back to your bike, you are parked in front of the house... " Of course .....Should have known it :) I pushed the bike , came to a yard full of camping cars. A guy told me "they will come in an hour" What ??? I'm early ?? Yes I was. Here came the "kéké " style smile on my face as we use to say in France and felt I was Giacomo Agostini son, Barry Sheen brother, and had a cousin : the fantastic Gaston Rahier
    [​IMG]


    Then came Mirek ! I knew right away that I was going to like him. No way to spend 40 days , you KNOW that on the first sight ... I told him about my clutch problem... Which problem ?? No problem !!! Ok but it's 19:30 on Friday on the country side... " I tell you, no pb ! Can you ride the bike ??" Yes I can, I'm never using my clutch, except for stop and go of course. "There will be a stop but I will manage it for you and stop cars if some comes !" Let's go Babar . But is it far away ? " No my friend has a motorcycle shop and workshop 2kms from there" Okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy let's go even faster , Babar .

    In all my glory, standing on foot pegs because I lied, even stopping every half an hour, end of the day I had a butt like a gay trapped in a gang bang in deep African forest , I negotiate the first turn... full of sand, and nearly crashed the bike... But my cousin is Gaston Raiher , I told you ! nearly crashed is not a crash :)


    We came to the shop. Still opened, guys working ... The boss told there will be no pb, they will fix it tonight and I'll be able to take the bike tomorrow. Great , but started to wonder about money, knowing the crazy costs of Yamaha parts,+ work labor...

    Mirek asked if I preferred to sleep in the house, private room or in a big camping car. I choose the camping car :) We had a nice dinner with wife and their two daughters, not before going to shop some beers in good glass bottles. I had to taste some liqueur. I'm not a wine /alcohol guy . Maybe a good glass of Bourgogne wine sometimes, one beer , no more !

    But his home made liquor was just fabulous. No comment !

    After a good night sleep , visited by some cats in the camping car, I wake up anxious to know about my bike repair process. Mirek brought me to the shop with his fantastic American car. Sadly bike was not ready because common mistake had been done : TTRE is not a TTR and so rare that everybody thinks it's TTR parts. Clutch cable bought was not the good one, but boss will go town find a solution. Just come back at 10:00. so we came back home in American muscle car sliding style, a to discuss together the future camping car business of Mirek and again came back to shop at 10 :30 . Solution found : a generic cable kit ! ok ! I was ready to pull out my tools and fix it in the parking but I saw bike already in workshop, mechanic guy on it... Arggg it's gonna cost me more money :(

    [​IMG]

    15 min later , all done, I asked for the bill. Around 8 euros. :) Ok let's give 10 ! Many thanks guys. The cable kit was good for thousand of km and I keep it on bike now, smoother than original one :)

    If you cross Poland and need anything, here is the shop address :

    Monster Bike
    164, Kalinówka-Wielobory, Kalinówka-Basie 21-040, 18-312 Kalinówka-Basie, Poland
    51.203291, 22.666922
    [​IMG]

    Now it's 12:00 and I have to go on. I won't be able to be in time for my next couch surf and had to find the cheapest hotel in Lithuania on internet. But cheap hotel always have some surprises :)
    #18
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  19. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    French drummer living in Budapest
    Thanks for all to be in.. Very motivating. And seeing where you live .. hum would love to ride all these places !!!:1drink
    #19
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  20. babar69

    babar69 Stay light as light

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    French drummer living in Budapest
    day 2

    Lublin to somewhere in Lithuania


    It was late and I knew I won't do it before night. But I have a truck light, everything is perfect..

    And it's September :)

    I choose small roads to go North Poland and in my automatic brain acted like I wasn't in UE and searched a small custom . Bad idea, as police was standing on right side of road stopping people. Having no time to loose on this circus, I did the usual trick : suck the back of a truck and at the last second pull over to be hidden by the trailer. Worked like a charm :)

    Customs are the most boring parts of travels. I don't think i'm the only one to start anxious approaching borders ! But at last it's a funny game, a stupid comedy, with tense psychological situations to manage. Of course, I started to really wonder about Russia crossing and choose the smallest customs available in Latvia. good choice ?? hum hum ...

    But first let's finish the second day ride.

    Boring routine, half an hour eat and piss half an hour later fuel.....

    Ok but where are the gas stations ?? We are in Poland , there should have more gas stations !!

    In a stop light for road work, I asked a guy in cage about chances to find some fuel ! He started to tell me he was a biker too, and have to follow him, he will make a detour for me, "no problem"

    well, the sentence " no problem" will be a leitmotiv to ALL problems coming ...

    we pass 4 gas stations, WTF ???

    Starting to really run out of fuel I pass him showing me my empty tank, but with a big smile he show me his hand : 5 fingers, 5 kms...

    There we are at last . a small gas station and with a big smile, he just said " I brought you there because it's the best coffee around" ok guy, ok, what I can say or do ? ....

    Maybe just open the top case to fulfill the jerry can because I was in no mood to respect the polish law. And in the process, make fall down the good bottle of wine given. And put broken glass everywhere in the station mixed with wine.... let's hide my French plate ;)


    Fllatty road bathed in slowing photons
    Day struggling like a 2 stroke piston screamin' mineral oïl need....
    Trees standing, disillusioned guardians beside the infinite grey tongue of stones
    Rain breath, spreading vapor smoke from everywhere
    Cosmonaut in hyperspace, standing on his metal cylon

    Hey guy, stop this !! Are you kidding ???
    Just open your eyes because your fantastic truck beam is ...burning :(

    I have to stop. Plan B !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let's put the FANTASTIC 10 watts leds form ALdi. My precious lights bougth 3 euros and indestructible ! Hum, hum cars don't like them. have to fix the beam ASAP !

    I never felt secure on these " well made" European roads. They never put space on sides, there are no places to stop any time. Pedestrians, cyclists are dead each year... It's a shame. And too much indications and paints kill the secure process.

    Now I have to find a place to stop, in the dark, cutting my too bright leds each time a car comes..

    I found a little trail , took it and carefully made the U turn first, as usual...

    And as usual , place was full of garbage, a perfect mix of dejections, condoms, food papers ... Welcome Earth

    Pushing the bike in a better place, I discovered that the chain was making strange noise. ARGGG ! Totally forgot to grease and tense it. Well it's too late now, I see nothing, it's dark, it's muddy and raining, I still have 200 kms to do , let's postpone to next morning... Yamaha chain is a Regina model. With this kind of stupid name, it doesn't deserve to drink some good oil !

    But first , lets eat some chocolate. I had the brilliant idea to put the food bag on the right side. Yes , the ride side, Yes the exhaust side :) :) :) :)

    ok let's "drink" some chocolate now... and check the smoke coming from the front.

    Nothing really special. The super hyper costly connector I bought had just melt. Of course in the process high and low beams were touching each other and the current has destroyed my handle bar commodo lights...

    30 years of electronics my friend. AC127 /Ac128 oscillators built at age 8. What can stop me ?

    I made a shunt directly to low beam, and discovered too that the truck light could rescue some red fish at the bottom. Good warm water , perfect point of vue on the road, Jacuzzi thumper massage !

    This is not good my Captain. We will see that tomorrow. Now let's switch on the Smartphone for some indications. What ?? ?only 5 % of battery !! But I didn't use it at all !!!!!!!!! Ok let's memorize itinerary to small village. Have to take the Vilnius ring around

    So I was lost in my thoughts totally frozen and wet, praying as usual that a Rihanna gas station will shine like a diamond on my way... And suddenly I had fear of my life. An explosion on both sides of my bike.

    Thanks guys to come in silence, put full gas and wheelies and show me your super sport bike dicks ... Maybe next time we will have some good jokes at hospital, crashing together, like in the first turn of motocross race...

    Rihanna station in my radar, I then asked my way and with no papers, just wrote it on my arm with permanent marker... Now I'm an Harley bad ass biker, full of tattoos :)

    Be brave, just repeat the process : open the helmet, pull out the left glove, put it in your mouth, keep it with your teeth, light on the Smartphone, launch the gps program, check the itinerary, shut it down to keep batteries. Take the glove from your mouth, Half put it in your hand, pushing on the fuel tank, let the handle bars alone, finish with right hand , dry your eyes from rain, shut your visor, pray that fog inside visor will go out , now you can ride safely . See you in 5 minutes for same process, maybe before if there's a cross road !
    So I made it, because when you have seen all seasons of Battle Star galactica, you never give up !!! FRAK YOU bad wheater . FRAK YOU Yamaha.
    So say we all !!!!!

    Finally found the hotel. A sort of wooden house at the back of a railroad station parking. Am I in remake of Delivrance? Do they know that my butt is still hurting from a 11 hours ride on TTRE wooden seat ( If I can just write that !)
    Big fiesta going on !
    Drunk people Inside outside, people shouting, dancing, children. I was staying near bike, very dubious, then a big guy came :"HELLOOO" . Saw the plate " Ach so, frankreich ! you speak german?" yes a little bit, mainly because I studied it, and mostly because at age 15 I had some trips in Hannover where the girl of the family ..; well it's not the topic :)

    After some german-french-English talking, confirmation came : It was the good place. They were celebrating a christening, but the manager already quit the hotel.
    "But there is still some maid and anyway join us : food, wine, come on !!" I deeply appreciate, mein freund, but no, really no, thanks a lot. I just want the usual hair dryer for my boots, and try to stay against my room heater as long as possible and ASAP !!!! So let's ask the maid. Gonna be a shitty room I presumed.
    But I was the first and only one in this new fresh built hotel . New room and stupid automatic leds for stairs which of course worked only when you went upstairs, and not downstairs... In the dark with enduro boots, it was perfect practice to feel like Graham Jarvis. :)


    DAY 3 LATVIA

    After a good night sleep (Rather good not considering I had to wake up at 3:00 to make a charge turn in between my phone and my mp3 player, as there was just only one plug) I came back to pay, refuse a breakfast, because I HAVE TO HURRY UP. I started to be fed up to finish days in dark, with phone dead, and lights working like a candle in a Bulgarian cave.

    My next step was in Latvia , near the small Russian border I already chose near Vilakja

    Trip was boring, mainly because I was waiting for Mother Russia !!!!! But I took small beautiful roads, tempered by the fuel calculation/stations chasing, and lost in small villages.

    In the meantime I lost again two pairs of intra auricular headphones plugs..

    Rain , rain, my friend. My modular helmet let rain go to some places inside, but I never succeed to find the pb... So leave it and live..

    You ask me about the chain ??? which chain .. I told you, I will fix tomorrow :) :)

    So ,, everything was fine on the YAm haha !

    The time riding versus no kms indication was working like a charm. But fuel was stilll around 7 .5 l/ 100. So I try the old trick and tested to ride faster with less throttle opened. Now I was at 110 /115 km/h and fuel was same, but better speed/time travel ratior :) People at gas stations were always looking at me strangely. Why stop for some miserable liters 6 liters of fuel ??? Or maybe because my dressing code was not really fashion style ???

    Gas stations are our mother / home when we travel. In this case I can testify that all along the way, it was a really really cold attitude :( . Nothing compared to turkish who offer you to drink 14 liters of tea and 10 k of cookies each time you refuel. Turkey and turkish friends I miss you !


    And , yes, now, i still had some daylight and was near the bio farm where I was gonna stay. But bad news and good practice to what will be soon on the way : 10 kms of sandy red muddy sticky roads... As usual the heidenau back k60 scout acted like a drunk parkinsonian touching an electric fence with a penumatic hammer in left hand ! Butt the old Dunlop traimax acted really good !!

    So I started to speed up and saw some people working in the fields, making big signs. Yes, yes, I'm from Dakar rally; look at my perfect position, bum back, on the knees, legs against the fuel tank, elbows outside . No I don't give any autograph, sorry, but my teammate, Cyril Despres will, as he is so slow , he will come in 21 min.




    Found the farm but nobody and I just realized that my fans along the road were in fact the owners of the farm. Too lazy to go back ( and cross a 400 meters in boots wet field to just have confirmation ) I decided to make some ...MAINTENANCE !! Yes, magical word, so rare that you have to really appreciate this moment... Chain tuned and oiled, ok, what else ??? let's look at some bolts . fast operation as I make same tricks than for flying machines : Nail polish on bolts and frame. So just a look and you know if it's unscrewed. Of course, blue color for Yamaha, red for the XR Big Red Pig :)

    What can I do more ? Open the top case ? Ok ! Surprise : A total mix of jerry can fuel , opened back up jig saw oil for the chain, and some 5w40 oil. All mixed with tools and yellow security jacket .. Let's close all bottles and.. close. How can I clean all this mess in a bio farm ??? Even my bike was parked near some drying seeds.

    [​IMG]


    Brother of Rita who kindly invited me for couch surfing ( but was not there as she is working far away) was a really clever and interesting guy ; he told me about his studies, his diploma, the way he wanted to expand the farm, etc ... Young guy who already has the farm in charge and parents now as.... employees. Situation was rather strange with parent in their home, but no more really their home... I didn't felt very comfortable about that, but had a great time learning many things from this clever guy !
    #20
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