Rideforsmiles, Solo Australian to Africa Europe and Beyond, starting June 26th 2011.

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by rideforsmiles, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Im just having a bit of a break from blogging for the new year, been going for a few rides over to Budva and around the Boka and walks into the old town and up to the fortress up the hill, yeah I actually made it I didnt think i was going to but I took my time and step after step my back survived which was an absolute bonus. As I was walking up I was waiting for the step that my back just went yep im done but fortunatly it didnt come, it is usually like that just push it just that fraction to hard and bang shes gone and every step is agony. Ill upload some pictures in the next few days but have been really enjoying relaxing in Kotor.

    Im basically waiting for Ev and when I can get back into the EU as its still a bit to cold to be going inland at this stage and its just beautiful here around 15 or 16 degrees celcius sun is shining and ive just been walking around in shorts and tshirt. The days are fairly short so you really only have about 6 hours of daylight to do anything which is a great excuse to do exactly that, nothing. Ill be leaving for Albania in a few days meh im in a really nice apartment with all English tv channels and more importantly the bed is really comfortable 2013 has started off in a relaxing mode but im sure the long riding and travelling will start soon enough ive got a lot of kilometres and countries to cover in the next 9 months.


    Heres just a small section of the steps up to the fortress



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    And the view from the top was really nice too



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  2. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    A much as I dont like making to many plans the route I have been researching and probably going to be taking in 2013 is through Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Stans across to Mongolia back up into Russia and across the road of bones to Magadan and then depending on what month I get there either down by ferry to Vladivostok and to Japan and South Korea and across to Alaska but weather will certainly come into play at that point on which way I go.

    As you can imagine im enjoying doing bugger all while I can for the next few weeks mentally preparing myself for what lies ahead plus Ev will be joining me as soon as she can finish up so i'll not have a lot of motorbike riding to do but other exhausting activities as well, you know what I mean, listen to her nagging me to death ahahah
  3. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Still alive and hanging out in Kotor Montenegro, the weather has been pretty wet but its not to bad although getting plenty of strange looks from the locals walking aroiund in shorts and flip flops as you can imagine, ok its briskish and there is snow on the hills above Kotor but its still like 8 degrees celcius so not to bad.

    Me and Ev have been discussing our route and places we would like to go and shes keen on Romania so that will be a great start, theres a road there I want to ride one of the famous motorbike car roads in the world. So at this stage it looks like when Ev joins me it will be in Bucharest and from there we will decide where we go from there. They just told me I can stay here for the next for free if i like yhat might be an offer to good to refuse so looks like ill be here till later in the week then ill be heading south. Im enjoying my time here its really relaxing and such a beautiful part of the world.
  4. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    It's 21. 01.2013 so that makes it 2 years today since I left home to start this motorcycle adventure. I always said id ride till I got bored, so am I bored yet, "no way" Im looking forward to the next part of the adventure with Ev more than any part so far. I know this ride report could be a bit boring and slow but one thing ive learnt is everyone's adventure is their own whether they are riding through Africa in 6 weeks or taking for ever to get anywhere like me, which ever way you do it its amazing fun riding a motorbike into the sunset, so if you are thinking of doing one dont ever let anyone find a negative reason why you shouldnt, just go for it, you will certainly never regret it.

    Bring on the next year.

    Oh by the way im still in Kotor Montenegro.
  5. thomas.tc.young

    thomas.tc.young Been here awhile

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    2 years on the road summed up in 50 pages. Crazy to think that's 1/11 of my life. Spent all morning reading your RR, keep posting and thanks for sharing.
  6. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Had a great chat with Ewa tonight and we have decided on our route across to other side of Russia riding parts of the Silk Road. We have decided to brush Scandinavia and what else I havent seen of Europe for now so we can take out time riding across Turkey Georgia the Stans Mongolia and Russia as it is always dependant on weather going that way, by leaving in March we will have plenty of time to explore and do that trip at a nice pace. I'll definalty be back at some point all things going well, I have loved my time here in Europe and there is just so much more to see.

    I'lll be meeting Ewa in Bucharest Romania then heading northwest so I can ride/race along the Transfăgărășan Road, apparently one of the best roads in the world to ride, from there we are heading to Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, ferry to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgzstan, Mongolia, Russia and over through Siberia to the Road of Bones and Magadan, from there it will be a cargo boat back down to Vladivostok and then over to Japan by ferry, from there another decison will be made on direction North America or Asia.

    So a good years travel ahead should be lot of fun and a but more of the adventure motorcycling I miss. The adventure starts the first week in March and until then I still have Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria to cruise around. Going to be an amazing ride.
  7. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Cheers mate, the next leg of the adventure starts soon im taking some time off here in Montenegro but now I have a plan of attack its all systems go and im keen as mustard to hit the Road again.

    My little Polish girl Ewa will be with me for as long as its fun which will be great shes a top chick. We talked about buying her safety gear today but I told her to wait and we will find a lingerie shop together for all her safety gear needs ahahahah
  8. EyeCake

    EyeCake Adventurer

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    Not quite sure when you are planning to leave Bucharest but I don't think the Transfăgărășan Road opens from winter snow blockages until late May or early June.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to the Asian leg
  9. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Hey Eyecake, Yeah unfortunalty I just realised that in my research of my next leg, oh well ill find some other good roads to ride and it always gives me an excuse to come back now.

    Im still in Kotor Montengero relaxing organising all the visa info, Letters of Introduction and getting all my paperwork back in order after losing it all when they stole my pannier in Prague, its been ok in Europe but from what I can gather all my paperwork will have to be in order when I hit some of the Stans and Russia.

    I leave for Albania in a next week for sure this time ive really enjoyed Kotor its a beautiful part of the world and been nice to chill and relax here.

    I was talking to Ev about starting her own blog cause it will give a totally different perspective of the adventure, like when she sees beautiful scenary alot of times I just be see nice tits ahahaha

    Thanks for following
  10. Channey

    Channey n00b

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    Hi Sheldon, the Transfăgărășan Road is not such a big deal. It is a new road in great condition and you can ride fast on it. However, it is quite short. I went on it last October just before they close.
    Hope everything is going well with your visas. Contact David Berghof at Stantours for letter of introduction and visa application for the Stans and Russia. His email address:stantours@gmx.net.
  11. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Thanks Channey, (thats you isnt it Andrew) I saw the whole ride is only about 90k's long but looks pretty cool just gives me an excuse to come back now. Ive been in contact with the guys from Stantours already and have sent me all the information I need to proceed with mine and Ewa's visa's, it may be that I have to send my passport back to Australia so will be doing that in Turkey so i can ride around there for a month thats if I dont just duck home for a quick break with it to see everyone and show ewa Australia while I have her with me.

    I loved Turkey on my way up from Africa and left Instanbul Ankara and Cappadoccia and quite a few other things id like to see so it shouldnt be to hard to kill a month there.

    Im actually still in Kotor, the girls today said your a Montenegro boy you live here now ahahahah I said yeah buit I have to go soon. Ive really enjoyed it around here its certainly a beautiful part of the world and ive been holed up in a nice apartment relaxing saving money waiting on Ewa to join me. we are meeting in Thessoloinkilinkiopolplopolous in Greece or what ever it is on March the 14th now as her sister has just had a baby and shes going to be the godmother and wants to spend a little time with them before she nicks off with me. She might be back with them in a week who knows time will tell its certainly going to be another adventure after travelling solo for so long but one im looking forward to all the same.

    I've been saying that im off to Albania for weeks now but im pretty sure time is up as ive only left myself a few weeks to experience Albania and Macedonia which im sure are just as beautiful as everywhere else ive been, they do call Albania the hidden jewell of Europe so im guessing it must be fairly nice, other than the body organ traders ahahahaha ill be dissapointed if everyones not dressed in white waving a scalpel around.

    Cheers for the tips and thanks for following the adventure starts up again in the next few days.
  12. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Heres just a few pictures of why I have enjoyed my time so much here in Kotor Montenegro its certainly a beautiful part of the world, if your ever down this way do yourself a favour and drop in for a visit.



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    Looking directly back over to Kotor Montenegro.



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    And just over the hill behind me is Tivat Montenegro another beautiful town city whatever you want to call it.



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    The main walkway along the waterfront at Tivat Montenegro is full of nice cafes and restaurants, definalty worth a look at also.



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    And it continues right along the waterfront, Tivat Montenegro.



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  13. Channey

    Channey n00b

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    Hi Sheldon, Yes it is Andrew here. Transfăgărășan Road is 90km long, but the exciting bit is only about 5 km long riding up the mountain. Not worth any detour for it. I also rode another famous road (can't remember the name - also call tran??? ) running parallel to Transfăgărășan Road. Also not worth the detour to it. I found more exciting roads in the south coast of Turkey, or the Pamir Highway in Tajitkistan.

    I was also in contact with Armanda Wooders from travcour.com, a UK based travel company who can get all those visas for you. They had good reviews. I did not use them in the end, as they needed my passport to be sent to UK. They were also a bit more expensive than Stantour. But in your case, it might be cheaper to send your passport to UK instead of flying back to Australia.

    Spending a month is Turkey while you are waiting for you visas is a great idea. Lots to see, friendly people, good food, etc.

    Happy travelling! Real adventure starts when you head into Russia and Central Asia. Lots to look forward to.:wave
  14. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Cool Andrew I'll send them an email and see what the deal is, would be much easier to send it to the Uk if that was possible. Im looking forward to hooking up with Ewa in Greece in a fortnight its going to be great to share the adventure with her for however long it lasts. Hope you had a good fortnight in Japan and got some good skiing in.


    I was actually going through your gps points in Mongolia the other night how were the roads or trails you took there was it ok and do you think it would be ok 2 up to do them, not that im to worried about doing anything 2 up im sure I could take the bike anywhere she actually just gives me another set of hands to pick the bloody thing up if it goes down lol

    Your not wrong about the soutern coast aroudn Turkey hey its amazing I rode along that on my way up from Africa makes our coast road The Great Ocean Road look a little cousin doesent it.

    Ill talk to you soon mate and thanks for the tip.
  15. Channey

    Channey n00b

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    There are two major routes in Mongolia. The northern route is more scenic, but could be muddy and tough going when wet. The Southern route is the easier route to travel on, it is in the desert, so it was hot and dry with lots of corregated gravel. If you stick to these major tracks, you should not have any problem - 2 wheel drive car travel on it. There are a couple of river crossings, and small stretch of deep sand. That's about it. My 8 days of riding there was very enjoyable. I think the BAM Road, and the Old Summer Road of the Road of Bone would be a lot tougher when wet.

    I am not sure how well the F800GS shock would handle the weight of two people & luggage off road. I met a Brazilian couple on BMW 1150GS who blew their shock after a couple of days of riding.

    Make sure you bring a couple of good maps of Mongolia. There are multiple tracks, and you can get lost if you go onto the wrong one. Garmin does not have map for Mongolia. You must download the open Street map onto your Gramin. We were lost when we tried to head to the Chinese border from the Southern route. (My Garmin did not show up any track!!) In the end we had to find GPS co-ordinates from the paper map and key into our Garmin as waypoints for navigation.

    Link for open street map:

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/

    You will also need good paper map on Russia and Central Asia. I didn't have any map on Russia, and got lost a few times and rode into Chechnya! Apparently, the Russian had jammed the GPS signal all around Chechnya, and my Garmin took me to all the wrong places!

    Cheers
  16. EyeCake

    EyeCake Adventurer

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    I have never heard of GPS signals being jammed.
    One of the disadvantages of using open source maps in Russia it is very difficult to enter addresses correctly while all street names appear on map while driving and routes can be calculated along them
  17. Channey

    Channey n00b

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    Yes, I found it hard to believe myself. I set my GPS to Tbilisi in Georgia from Astrakhan and headed south west. With no Russian road map, and no internet access. I was lost for 3 days. My Garmin was inconsistence. For example, it said I had 450km to go before camping for the night. Next morning, it wouldl show me a different route and indicated I had another 1,200km to go! I had no idea where I was until I spoke to a Russian guy in a Petrol Station. He told me that I was in Chechnya and that GPS signal was jammed by the Russian military, and that they had given up using GPS. I had to continuousely ask locals for directions as my GPS took me into the mountains where there were no road link with Georgia. Amazingly, everything was working fine as I got near the Georgian border - just as the Russian guy said. I now believe that the Russian can send conflicting signal to my Garmin to confuse it.
  18. EyeCake

    EyeCake Adventurer

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    My apologies for doubting your post
    I have Googled it and its quite common in N Korea and for criminals in many parts of Europe so Russians jamming Chechnya is very possible
  19. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    You know me Channey I was riding around using a compass to navigate before I met you, so as long as im heading in the general direction east it should be ok, ill have to hit water eventually ahahahah That was so funny I dont know how I did that for all that time but it certainly good for meeting people and getting strange looks when they used to ask where I was heading only to give them the thumb and say that way somewhere lol Paper maps ahahahahah I had one of them in South Africa
  20. rideforsmiles

    rideforsmiles Sheldon

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    Got up to the sunshine this morning and thought thats it im out of here, was going to leave yesterday but had some chocolate topping left for my milk and thought what the hell I might as well stay and use it up ahahahah big decisions in life use topping or get on a mortorbike and go to Albania.

    Said my goodbyes to the girls they have all been really nice i didnt interact them as much as I probably should of, well I know I didnt interact with them like I should of lol but anyway i got my little Polish beauty Ev meeting up with me soon and im actually really looking forward to her getting here, 4 or 5 hour massages every day, never have to cook or clean again, dont have to pack the bike, wash my clothes nothing im just going to sit on my ass and turn the throttle, hey everymans got to have a dream ha ha ha

    Anyway by the time I actually got on the road it was after 12 which was ok had a bit of a muck up with my Mastercard not working so just had to log back in and sort it out and all ok Im away. I wasnt in any hurry and I was only going a 150 k's or so if that im not even sure, wasnt going to take me long anyway. I had thought about going on down to Tirana but that takes me past the turn off to Serbia and Kosovo which Id like to go and ride through on the way to Macedonia.
    The old guy next door came out and we had a chat about nothing again, we've talked every day for 8 weeks and havent understood one word we both say other than "vino"

    So im on the road to Albania cruising along, the scenary down here is really pretty nice The traffic becomes really light as you get further south towards Albania which is good but there is still a few cops down here sitting around doing absolutely nothing, but if you are riding just be careful the speed limits are like 50kmh on good roads, you could push the bike quicker than that and the roads are definalty good enough to go faster, maybe its the quality of some of the shitboxes they drive in is im guessing the reason they keep the speed limit down cause there is some real rustbuckets on the road today and the cop cars arent much better by the looks of things.

    The good road ended in Bar Montenegro today and then i was up into the hills on back roads all the way to Albania, fantastic though, they obvioulsy dont get the money the other places in Montenegro get, its all run down and looks like a bomb has hit most of the joints and who knows maybe it has im not far from Kosovo, wasnt there a bit of trouble there in the war (google it) but everyone was really friendly and waving and everytime I stopped I was asked if I wanted to have a drink, I love being back in this type of place its amazing the less people have the friendlier they are, but in saying that everywhere ive been the people have been just amazing.Still havent seen any people dressed in white with scaplels from the black market body organ trade i was warned about, what a classic the impressions people have of their neighbours never ceases to amaze me

    Kept on riding through the hills and eventually came up to the border, stamp stamp and 5 minutes later and away. I go to look for the Albanian border control ummm I didnt see anything im in Albania. I thought about just going on but meh better go back and see if I missed a little run down shed or something the last thing I need is to get to the other side of Albania and have an issue cause I wasnt stamped in.

    One of the guys I met, Drew told me the 3rd party insurance was only 13 bucks so I went back and picked that up as well, ok i probably dont need it but whats 13 bucks to make sure your covered if I hit someone and you never know im not sure what the deal is on the other end ill have to go through some sort of police check when I leave and they will probably want to see it even if it is just to look at it to feel like they are doing something.

    I arrived in Shkoder Albania not long after, now my first impressions were, "what the hell have I ridden into here" man seriouly it was oh my god where do you stay in this shithole, roads were all crap work going on everywhere all run down apartment buildings, washing hanging off every balcony standard stuff you know, but still everyone waving nodding friendly so as much as I was just going what the hell, I felt ok about it,its got nothing on the back streets of Port Said in Egypt but all good I found the nicer side of town and its actually really nice so I did what any good adventure rider would do after that, waited till it got dark and walked over into the seedy side of town to grab dinner.

    Im all good now full tummy holed up in a pretty nice hotel in Shkoder paying probably more than I should in Albania but who cares its right in the middle of town, walking distance to everywhere and my bike is locked away safe and sound, I hope.

    By the way the women here are pretty damn nice here too.



    Finally left Kotor Montenegro what a great relaxing time in a beautiful part of the world that was. Got up and said my good byes to all the girls and the neighbour,ive talked to this dude everyday and we haven't understood one word other than "vino"



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