Russia-Scandinavia - solo riding for beginners

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AlpineGuerrilla, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. jnorton1

    jnorton1 Been here awhile

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    Great video and pics. What software did you use to edit the video?
    #21
  2. ADVgirl34

    ADVgirl34 Continual adventurer

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    WOnderful Report ! I enjoyed your video. You truely put alot of effort into it ! Look forward to more
    #22
  3. mudder

    mudder Been here awhile

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    Woaoo.... what a great video and I recognized many places in Norway. :D:D
    #23
  4. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    I would usually deem riding on a perfect road with only minor turns like this as boring. But it isn't, it's pure happiness. No village or city for miles.

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    A short detour to the town's beach in Petrozavodsk. I'm not really interested in cities, but since I read the cities name a lot when preparing, I thought I should at least ride through town while I'm here. Plus Petrozavodsk is a fun name to say. Petrozavodsk. I like it. :1drink

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    Heading to Kivach waterfall. Only a few kilometers off the main road. A twisty and bumpy ride, crazy to ride at higher speeds. After paying 60 RUB entry fee, I park next to a fully loaded Harley. I'm amazed when I see that his license plate says Kansas.

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    Well, let's go for a short stroll to see what this is all about. Scenic waterfall in the middle of the forest with a few rocks to climb on. Nice spot for a break.

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    Coming back to my bike, I meet Monty. He's working for the US embassy in Moscow for a few years and figured out it would be cheaper (and surely a lot less bureaucratic) to just import his bike from the States. He's doing a trip from Moscow to Petrozavodsk and back. It's fun to meet him here where I absolutely didn't expect it.

    His russian companion gives me a few russian phrases, like "I don't understand" - a very important one. :D

    We talk about bikes and he sees my ADV sticker. Of course he's an inmate himself: milkman67204 :clap

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    Riding on. Perfect weather since the trip started and a lot of sunlight.

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    Through endless landscapes full of trees and water.

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    I get invited to Samowar and selfmade cookies. Delicious. I would have loved to talk with him, I feel a little bad for not speaking russian at all.
    He gives me some nice candy on the way, they taste like a mix of caramel and rainbows.

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    Well, what did you expect? Karelia is full of trees and water. It's mesmerizing to ride on these long, almost endless roads, traversing water in all forms and dimensions.

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    Karelia, beautiful as it is, has seen a lot of struggle during it's history. It has been under rule by swedish, finnish and russian empires in medieval times. Contemporary fights culminating during WW2 with the Winter War, which left 400'000 people dead. To this day, there is friction between Finland and Russia about parts of Karelia on both sides.

    Many war memorials and other displays of military power are spread in the region.

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    Having heard about Gazprom before, it was a weird feeling seing one of their factories in real. One minute later, a car with mean looking security guys drives to the plant - better hide my camera.

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    I had to turn around and talk with this guy on the bicycle pulling a trailer. I'm sure he's coming a long way and has some interesting stories to tell.

    His name is David (Da-vid, not the english pronounciation Day-vid, as he clarifies), a french guy from Chamonix. Finally I could set my french to a good use (don't tell my french teachers, I always said I would NEVER have a use for french).

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    He started in France three months ago, riding to the Nordkapp. Asking about where he's riding to, he tells me he's not entirely sure yet, maybe Africa or Asia. Looking up his website, he is currently riding around China. I have the utmost respect for guys like him, godspeed!
    David's blog in french: http://71degresnord.canalblog.com/

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    After a long stretch of 220 km with absolutely nothing I reach human settlements again. While parking my bike at the pump, someone yells at me and points to a sign over the 95 pump. I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but I should probably get away. There is only a 92 pump, ok then.

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    Again, it is time to look for a camping spot. There are some things you should be aware of when picking a camping spot. Bear in mind, that many russian people, especially in rural regions, are very poor. And it *could* happen, that you are being robbed by bad people. Everyone hears about these stories, and everyone wants to warn you about camping in Russia. So I stopped telling people I would camp in the wild.

    Anyway, I still take certain precautions when picking a spot. For a good night of sleep, it is important that nobody sees you taking a track into the woods. And nobody should be able to see you from the road, even if you light your stove. I use the same principles when stealth camping in Switzerland.
    A useful hint I learned: if there is any trash nearby, people come here regularly. I woke up to some guys picknicking at sunrise near my tent because I didn't follow that rule some other day.

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    It should have been a sign that the food looks terrible even on the packaging. No taste at all - and only a single piece of meat in it!

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    I didn't finish up and was still hungry, but at least my desire for food was gone. :puke1 :rofl
    #24
  5. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

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    Really great report and video. :thumb

    I think more and more about a trip to russia ,someday...

    Oh,and i like your SV,a real sport-touring bike for a small money.

    Greetings to basel
    #25
  6. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all your replies. :thumb

    The edit was done with Adobe Premiere, but it could have been done with any video editing software. I only used standard tools like cutting, transitions and text. Except maybe for the timelapse shots. It does a pretty good job importing single pictures and playing them back one pic per frame.

    I was cruising through Gotland on a boat, it was a Costa Concordia type of Gotland tour. :lol3 No, seriously, my map is probably a bit inaccurately drawn and the red line(s) are either train or ferry rides.

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    #26
  7. RoadGrime

    RoadGrime Been here awhile

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    Tack för motorcykel historia!
    #27
  8. Pickup man

    Pickup man Been here awhile

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    Absolutely beautiful scenery! You have done a fantastic job with this ride report.
    I would love to ride in that area one day... Btw I have the exact same tent, its awesome.
    I was thinking that camping in that area might be easier in a hammock since you want to
    really be in the dense bush out of sight. Im gonna try the hammock this year.
    #28
  9. IceCreamSoldier

    IceCreamSoldier suffering somewhere

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    I lived in CH near Nyon from 2005 and 2008 and had an R1100RT, which I rode about everywhere. The one ride I never had time for is the one you are on now. I am enjoying it very much. Also, I found that the further away from France I got, the more my French was tolerated :lol3. I will be subscribed for the duration of you report. T'hank you for sharing.

    Russian for " I don't understand " " Yah nee paneemayoo". I hope you learned " Moshne piva" " I want beer " :freaky
    #29
  10. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    "Heading to Kivach waterfall. Only a few kilometers off the main road. A twisty and bumpy ride, crazy to ride at higher speeds. After paying 60 RUB entry fee, I park next to a fully loaded Harley. I'm amazed when I see that his license plate says Kansas."

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    OHHHHH man I am hurt ... You said I had a Harley :baldyThems fighting words!!!!! :cob

    It was great meeting you at Kivach. yes I did have a rather super overloaded Yamaha Warrior. With me and Okcana and our gear for a little over a week...

    Great ride report! I keep saying I will do one for my little ride but I have not had much time!!
    #30
  11. jesionowski

    jesionowski Chicagoland Honda CB500F

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    Great video. One of the best I have seen. Great sound track and loved the time lapse stuff.:clap
    #31
  12. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Uuh, how should I know? :shog No offense, man. I called a Honda Cruiser a Harley when I was in LA a while back, I should have taken the consternation in my conversational partners face as a sign to be more cautious about this. Note to self: Don't mention the war in front of Germans and don't call every Cruiser a Harley when talking to Americans. :lol3


    Although your bike was heavily loaded, I'm sure it was a lot of fun. It was easier for you than for Oksana I guess? Would be great to read about your trip if you get to writing a ride report. Too few about that region. :deal
    #32
  13. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

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    Arriving at some sort of momument on the roadside - the arctic circle. I wasn't aware, that I'm already this far north. But there has to be some victory posing photo.

    Camera on auto-timer and lets go.

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    There is a tradition to hang a piece of your scarf on the tree when you cross the Arctic circle.

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    And for this couple from Moscow it is also very important to bring back 50 pictures in different poses. They were already taking pictures when I arrived and still are when I ride on. :lol3

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    Traffic gets less and less - I am already on this road for 1000 Kilometers! Riding my bike, getting gas, eating, pitching the tent and starting all over again in the morning gets me in a flow. Nothing can disturb my mood and I start to lose grip on time. I cover the onboard clock on the bike and just ride as I please. I can only imagine how it would feel like to ride across Siberia, when hours not only become days but weeks and months.

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    Russians tend to drive fast on these straight roads, but extremely slow when there is one turn. And they like to overtake you. With only inches inbetween. You have to be focused on what's coming from behind all the time. If there's a pot hole, better dodge it to the right than to the left!

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    A lot of turnouts are the only variety.

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    There's always a ramp to fix your car - and most of the time there really is somebody up there.

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    Unfortunately, it seems most of them do the maintenance on their cars and trucks at these very places - and just dump the oil and tyres in the surroundings. :cry

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    Crossing into Murmansk Oblast. Most town signs were bigger than that.

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    I decide to take one of these sandy side roads as I'm making too much progress today. After about half an hour I see a lake glistening through the woods. A small track brings me there.

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    Being such a wonderful day (and without a shower for a few days), I take a swim in the cold water. No human soul anywhere in sight.

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    This road is fun to ride on, a bit of gas and I'm wiggling the tail. Leveling them with a bulldozer seems to be the only maintenance they get (and probably need).

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    Seeing the cops reminds me that there ought to be a lot of police checkpoints, but I haven't seen in any. There were only fix checkpoints after both Oblast borders (Karelia and Murmansk). I hope my luck lasts a bit more.

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    Some more trash. :puke1 At least it's not scattered around too much...

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    The first sign in latin characters since St. Petersburg. Not only in latin but also in english language!

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    Doesn't seem to be the biggest skiing region, but at least it gets some snow in winter compared to 2014 winter olympics host Sochi at the black sea. :rofl

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    Finally, some mountains again. These are the Khibiny mountains, where the highest elevation of the Kola peninsula lies.

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    At the turnoff to Apatity I meet Dmity and Svetlana, my Couchsurfing hosts from Murmansk. They want to take me on a three day long hike through Khibiny mountains.

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    We start our hike at 10 PM. No infrastructure, no cell phone service, no nothing. Only bears and wolves. Cool!

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    #33
  14. Horizon

    Horizon Swedish Surströmming!

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    Yes, the Russians are often real "environment-pigs". :huh
    It is amazing how often many just dump spill oil and other waste at the side of the road. Long stretches of the otherwise beautiful nature sometimes looks like a big dump.
    I tried to ask my Russian friends why it´s so commonly "accepted", but i couldn´t get a straight answer...:confused

    #34
  15. DCruiser

    DCruiser Adventurer

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    I'm in! Very good pics and videos. :clap
    #35
  16. Lunatic

    Lunatic Dan Keyhoety

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    Great report !!! I plan on doing part of it in June !!!

    Paka , Dan :freaky
    #36
  17. Frey Bentos

    Frey Bentos Probably doing a drawing. Or scratching my arse.

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    Excellent. I'm in.
    #37
  18. practicalshooter

    practicalshooter Posteriophobiac

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    :lurk
    #38
  19. dimitris777

    dimitris777 Adventurer

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    :clap Very nice!!! I
    #39
  20. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    This is an interesting read - and nice pictures too.
    Looking forward to more.
    #40