Russia,Mongolia,Ukraine.....Netherlands on a KLR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, May 7, 2013.

  1. igormortis

    igormortis Cafe Reise

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    Sorry mate, no half-dropped about it. It's on the ground - it's dropped! 7 for us in Mongolia. We count the little ones too.

    Glad you're back on rhe road, buddy. But damn, you're putting in crazy riding hours. Take care out there.

    Was the water crossing just outside Hovd, where the road looks washed out? There was a much easier crossing downstream from where the trucks had dug a hole.

    We kept hearing reports from others about the road also. Being the novices we are, we held our breath, bracing ourselves for bad roads to come. Then suddenly, Mongolia was over. Don't know of we're lucky or good.

    Sent from my GT-I9100T using Tapatalk 4 Beta
  2. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    The road I was on ended where a bridge used to be.The current was so strong and fast, you couldn't walk across with no bike.

    I didn't want to call it a drop. I want to call it temporary parking while I looked for an alternate route.
  3. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    7-20-13 526 miles 7597 total
    20 miles west of Novosibirsk,Russia
    I was up till after 4am catching up on my blog. It was sloppy because I could barely keep my eyes open.

    The road out of Aktash was good. It had nice curves for several hours. The mountains on each side would occasionally have snow on them. The road gradually straightened out and the mountains turned into hills. It was a pleasant ride. But I was expecting something near spectacular.
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    I had some heavy traffic going towards Barnaul.Everyone was going to the shores of the river. I've never seen so many people swarm a river

    I am about 20 miles west of Novosibirsk in a hotel. The room cost 1500 rubles (about $45).I only had 1440 rubles. It took 1/2 hour before she finally let me have it. I didn't stop at an Atm because I wanted to exchange my Mongolian money for rubles. I couldn't find an open bank.
  4. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    7-21-13 499 miles 8096 total
    Krutinka,Russia 100 miles east of Ishim

    Nothing worth taking a picture of today. I saw a tandem truck laying on it's side. And 10 minutes later I saw a car on it's top in the grass.

    I've had mostly pavement since the Mongolian border. The drivers lately have taken a little getting used to. They pass and hope you go close to the shoulder so they can squeeze through. I've had a couple mirrors pass less than a foot from my fingers. There is a lot of truck traffic. I guess they work Sundays too.

    I see lots of people selling small baskets of, I guess fruits on the side of the road. I probably saw a hundred people sitting on the shoulder waiting to make a sale.And I saw as many people picking from the fields by the road. They were reddish brown and about 1 1/2" diameter. Maybe I'll stop and ask if I see someone tomorrow.

    I am heading to Georgia. It doesn't look like many main roads nor a direct route without going through Kazakhstan. And I don't have a visa to go there. And it is about 2500 miles from here.
  5. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    7-22-13 630 miles 8726 total
    Ust-Katav,Russia 100 miles east of Ufa

    I'm in a gas station hostel tonight. $52 for a 3 bed shared room. But I was the only person in it.
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    Today I stopped at a road side vendor. I bought some blueberries. Really I just wanted to see what they had. There were raspberries and mushrooms too.
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    I finally saw another road kill. Looked like a raccoon. But that was as exciting as it got. The roads are still pretty good.

    7-23-13 538 miles 9264 total
    50 miles south of Samara,Russia
    I'm staying in another road side hostel. But I have a 2 bed room to myself this time. And it was only $30. Riding today was the same as the last several days. Some new roads. Some construction. And a lot of 2 lane, rutted, bumpy road. I'vegotten used to cars another trucks coming head on at me. I spent 3 hours in rush hour traffic, back and forth, finding an oil filter for my bike. Yes I wasted an hour looking. I changed my oil yesterday. Decided it needed to be done even if I didn't have a filter. My chain needed a little tightening 2 days ago. It's a little loose again. The rear sprocket has worn through the surface hardening. It will need replacing soon. And my front tire is scalloped. It has plenty of tread, but it is designed for more off road use. It may last the rest of my trip.

    Before reaching Ufa, I started seeing sunflowers. This must be the sunflower capital of the world. Sure looks nice on a sunny day.
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    And street vendors are selling, what looks like honey. Jars, and jars of different colors and sizes sitting on their car hoods or tables.

    I bought my oil filter in Samara. It is a big city. It seemed modern and busy. They also had restaurants. I had my pick of McDonald's. I picked the first one I could get to.

    I'm about an hour out of Samara, and a thousandmiles to Georgia. I want to get as close as I can to the border today. Then, hopefully, I can get through the border and to a town before dark. I am going down the middle to start. I've read there are conflicts and fighting on the east and west sides. One rider from Poland said he saw tanks and heavily armed military when he went through. But it seems to be localized. These areas want to be separate countries. I will slow my pace when I get there. Riders from Austria said it reminded them of their country with all the snow covered mountains.

    The last several days I've entered new time zones. I never know what time it is. I always as my wife. But the internet service is so bad, we really can't talk. E-mail and Skype messages seem to be the best communication method.
  6. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    7-24-13 Ketchenery,Russia 120 miles south of Volgograd
    565 miles 9829 total


    Today I had some excitement. A couple days ago I said I was getting used to cars coming head on at me. Today they put a new twist on it. I was going about 60 mph. A car was passing a truck and was cutting it close. I moved to the right side of my lane t:puke1o miss him. Then I see car number :eek12 behind him. The problem with right hand drive cars is they need to get all the way out to see what's coming. When he saw me I guess he thought my best chance was for me to go between him and the truck. His left tires went in the shoulder gravel. I'm sure glad we were thinking the same thing. And who knows what things would have looked like if there were a third car trying to pass without looking.

    A couple hours later I stopped and bought a small jar of honey. He gave me several spoon samples of different types of honey. I guess most of it is from the sunflowers. I saw more sunflowers today than yesterday.
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    I stopped at McDonald's in Volgograd to use their internet. It was quite fast. I skyped with my wife and son for a while.
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    Then I rode into the dark, looking for a motel. It was about 120 miles before I found one. $12 for a hostel room near Ketchenery
  7. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish Been here awhile

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    Enjoying your posts. Keep it up and stay safe.
  8. motoracer51

    motoracer51 Been here awhile

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    Enjoying the ride report. How old is your son?
  9. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    7-25-13 Gudauri,Georgia
    535 miles 10364 total

    This is the truck stop hostel I stayed in. It was clean.
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    The land below Volgograd was flat and boring for a long time. Roads were decent, then rough.
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    I went through Elistia, Russia. I saw 2 trucks loading or unloading these tanks. Also saw this gold statute entering the city.
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    About 50 miles from the border of Georgia, the flat land became more mountainous.
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    I was on a nice curvy road with mountains and little traffic. Something is wrong. I got to the border crossing and I was 2nd in line. The customs guy comes to me and says I'm not allowed to cross at this border. But sir, my GPS told me to come this way. At least the extra 70 miles were pleasant.
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    When I got to the correct border it was 730pm. Exiting Russia took over 2 hours. But I talked with people from Russia, Georgia, and Armenia while waiting. Everybody is interested in a loaded motorcycle with odd license plates. After clearing Russia, it took about 20 minutes to enter Georgia. There customs checked every bag I had. It was the most thorough check I've had.

    Now it's 1045 and I'm tired. As I head south, it's raining, dark, and the road is very rough and potholed. I'm so tired, I consider tent camping. But it's too hilly. Finally in Guduari I find a hotel. Taverna Khereki for $50. It looks like they cater to winter ski people in this area. Many hotels I tried weren't open. My room has a loft with 3 beds. It's a nice place.
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    Now that I'm out of Russia I will slow down for a while. I'd like getting a room before dark. Maybe even eat something other than potato chips and peanuts for meals.
  10. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Looking good, Doug:thumb
  11. SeanF

    SeanF Long timer

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    Good stuff. Enjoy Georgia.:beer:
  12. Sound Farm

    Sound Farm Art x Science

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    Been watching since I saw you in Iowa on your way out. Sounding amazing. Stay safe !!!!
  13. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Great RR! You have true grit! Hey, anyone know who these horse-warrior statues represent? General, like "mother Russia" or more individual. The one jumping out of the cliff face is wild.
  14. WunderfulLusterful

    WunderfulLusterful Banned

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    I am loving your report. Nice and simple, not cluttered up with too many words:lol3 Keep it up and be safe man!


    PS, My wife lives in Krasnoyarsk! I don't know what that has to do with anything other than I know how it is trying to keep in touch my phone and internet. It's tough for sure.
  15. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    7-26-13 121 miles 10485 total

    I only got to Gori, Georgia today. I got out of bed at 910am. Still not caught up on sleep. It was after 1pm before I was on the road. I had breakfast at the hotel cafe and talked with a woman employee about Georgia and places to go.
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    I passed this church that looked more like a castle. It's Ananuri Church. No English signage. So that's all I know about it.
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    The winds were very strong today.I was on a real expressway for 1/2 hour. And I saw several cows on the narrow elevated median.
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    And a sign reminding me where I am.
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    When I got to Gori I decided it was far enough. I'm at the Intourist Hotel-$45. It is across the street from Stalin Park.Stalin was born here. I walked to the museum, 500 feet away, but they were closed for the day. I assume this is the house he grew up in, with this shelter built over it.
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    Later I walked to the Gori Fortress. It sits on a high hill in the middle of the flat city. There was some kind of fortress here B.C. but the current structure was built in later times. There is not much on top to reward the climb up. But it is a good city viewing point.
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    I can see the lighted fortress from my room at night. Great view.
  16. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    7-26-13 164 miles

    I went to the bank again trying to exchange rubles and Mongolian money. Waited 15 minutes in line to get the same answer. No. Then I rode about 6 miles to Uplistsikhi. They didn't open till 11am. So I waited another 15 minutes. Uplistsikhi is a cave city that was built 3500 years ago and was on the silk road from China. The dwellings were carved out of the sandstone. I was there 1 1/2 hours and took way too many pictures.

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    When I left, I back tracked through Gori.On the way back I crossed a bridge that had a sharp curve at the end. A dump truck didn't see me and cut into my lane. When he saw me he locked his brakes and went side ways. I wiggled past him.

    I saw Martin and David from Pilzen, Czech Republic at the Stalin Museum. They were riding around the Black Sea.
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    Then I rode to Kutaisi.With little cooperation from my GPS I found the Bagrati Cathedral. When I stopped to look at a fountain in town, I saw the cathedral in thebackground.

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    When I looked for the Gelati Monastery, I got more lies and mind changing from my GPS. I went to another smaller monastery before I found Gelati Monastery. Hope I didn't get these pictures too out of order.
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    When I left Gelati, I needed to find a hotel fast. My rear sprocket finally said good bye. Half the teeth were gone. In Kutaisi I found the NNN Hotel forthe $36.It opened 5 days earlier. I installed a new chain and sprocket as the owner watched. He spoke decent English. He lived in North Carolina for several years. Unfortunately no WiFi. I guess I'll need to eat at McDonald's again in the morning. Hope they open early.
  17. SeanF

    SeanF Long timer

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    Great stuff doog. :D
  18. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    Wish I had the time you had. A lot of things I'd like to see here.
  19. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

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    Seems like it was a year ago that I met you. Some day I'll be following your ride report. Right?
  20. Doogle

    Doogle Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    7-28-13 211 miles 10863 total
    I went back to McDonald's for breakfast this morning. Actually I went back to use the WiFi. My bike is a lot quieter after putting my new chain and near new rear sprocket on last night. I was at McDonald's a couple hours.It was raining pretty hard most of the time. It was still raining when I left. I was going to stop at Batumi to do some touristy things. But it was still raining. I decided if it's going to be wet, I would just keep riding. The Turkey border was only 12 more miles. I went past this odd little cookie.
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    The Georgia coastline near Batumi looked like a party waiting to happen. If the rain would stop. I took a picture of the not so inviting looking beach. But if it were hot and sunny, I guess I'd be out there.
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    I took this picture at the Georgia Turkey border.
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    It took 2 hours to pass the border. First, I must have lost my bike registration. I always keep it in my passport. So it probably fell out at a hotel in Georgia. They always want the passport when you check in. I did have a copy of my registration with me.
    The Georgia customs said they would accept it. And they would call Turkey customs to see if they would accept it. Otherwise, I could have left Georgia and been refused at Turkey. Luckily they let me in. I had to buy a visa - $20. Then I had to buy a green card-insurance- $20. Between buying the visa and the insurance, I had to.......drop my bike again. I just can't get my kick stand to stay where it's supposed to.

    I'm finally on the road going down the coastline. It's good road with little traffic and very limited access. An hour into Turkey it stops raining. There aren't many hotels that I can see. The first I stop at was over $100. I stopped at the Hotel Arsen near Arsin.It's a nice looking place for $40US. King size bed, WiFi, and a good bathroom.
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    They said breakfast was included. Above 9pm I went down to see what food they might have. I asked the hotel receptionist where I paid. He said it's free. I picked up a plate-there was food on several tables. He took the plate from me and and served me. Even though they were closing up,they treated me like I was in a 4 star restaurant. It was great food. $40 worth of food. If you are near this hotel, you should make this a stopping place.

    Something that changed abruptly after the border crossing. I can see 6-8 mosques at a time when passing some towns. Just surprising that a religion changes so abruptly at a border.