Siberia 2013 - From Irkutsk to Altai and back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bob66, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    Wow, just wow!
  2. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    Dang, I was hoping I was going to be the first one to slap a set of Magadan bags onto a Shineray Mustang. I'm going to be in Mongolia renting one of those in August. Knowing how big the bags are makes me realize how small the Mustang is. Being 6'4", it's going to be an interesting trip... I can't wait!

    Where did you get the bike from?

    Keep the updates coming!!

    JG
  3. bob66

    bob66 Been here awhile

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    :evil

    I bought it second hand from Olgii from a British guy who bought it new in UB.

    I'm working on the next update.

    Cristian / Bob
  4. bob66

    bob66 Been here awhile

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    Until the next update (at which I'm working right now), another two Shineray Mustang pictures

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    See you soon,
    Cristian / Bob
  5. Boarder06

    Boarder06 Been here awhile

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    As I was fighting my way through the bogs of the Mongolian Altai, the mighty Mustang with its easy handling sure looked appealing ;-)

    Lots of fun can be had for very little money.
  6. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    ^^^ nice footpegs!

    JG
  7. pockomoth

    pockomoth Adventurer

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    No! I need more! Now! What a great travellogue. Paul Theroux could not do it better. Really fantastic work, looking forward to the next installments. Could this be the Inmate's Downton Abbey?
  8. bob66

    bob66 Been here awhile

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    Hi guys, this is your lucky day, I have something for you :evil




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    <b>Day 19, Thursday, 1 August 2013</b>

    <i>How can one hitch-hike from Russia to Mongolia</i>

    Gigi wakes up the first. At 7 in the morning he begins working at his clutch. He puts another spacer. It seems the problem is solved. He is happy; he will ride his KTM in Mongolia. Unfortunately his happiness won’t last long, as we will see very soon.

    I’m done with packing at 9 o’clock. My host takes me to the bazaar to find buses for Mongolia. He tells me that all day long, there are busses coming and leaving. We find nothing. I come back in one hour; I stay here around 45 minutes this time, but with no success. So I return to the guesthouse decided to try hitch-hiking to Mongolia. My friends take my luggage.


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    I begin walking the only road leading to Mongolia. After around 40 minutes, there stops a car with a Kazakh family leaving near Astana, going to their relatives in Olgii. I’m lucky; they have a place for me in their car. One of the girls inside is speaking English. We begin to talk, I tell her my story in brief. She wants to see some pictures from my hometown. Unfortunately I have very few pictures in the mobile. She proudly shows me some pictures from Astana.

    We reach the border a few minutes before their break lunch (13:00 - 14:00). We take a place in queue and walk around. My friends have just arrived there; they are also in the queue.

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    At 14:00 they open the border. I go with the Kazakhs. There is no problem. Instead, my friends have some problems because of the bikes papers. The border officers don’t understand how Adam could enter Russia in the same time on 4 bikes. At first the border guards tell them that it is impossible to exit Russia. After long talk and phone calls to Moscow they let them go.


    Mongol Rally teams
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    As we enter Mongolia, the asphalt ends
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    After passing the Mongol side of the border we stop to a Cafe to eat something. The menu of the day is of course something with boiled minced meat, of which I will become sick until the end of our Mongolia trip.

    In Mongolia the swastika is not forbidden. It appears also on many jewels found in bazaars.

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    Our car moves very slowly. When we reach the first serious slope we have to take a break.

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    We reach Olgii in daylight. The people in the car reunite with their relatives here in Olgii and they are happy. Before saying good-bye I ask how much is the trip. They say 15000 (the driver was referring to their local coin, but I understand 1500 rubles). In their money it would be around 10$. I give them 1500 rubles. The driver keeps 500 rubles (around 16$) and give me back the rest. I’m impressed by their honesty.

    Our plan is to meet at Blue Wolf. As I begin to walk I see some motorcycle taxis. I go to one of them; he doesn’t want to take me. But I find other guy who takes me on his bike. Blue Wolf is a yurt camping. It is not what I expected. There is only one guy there. I don’t stay here and I go to Pamukkale restaurant (it is Turkish and I think is the best restaurant in all Mongolia except, maybe, UB). It is full. I meet with the Czechs. After 9 PM, Bogdan and Andrei arrive. There is no Gigi. His clutch broke once again and he’s camping now, 40 km away from Olgii. We go to hotel Bastau. It is highly recommended for bikers because of its back yard. Otherwise it is a regular hotel, and it is not too expensive. If I remember well it is ~13$ / pax.


    The route which they came to Olgii is longer, but very beautiful. In the first picture (with the map) you can see one red line and one yellow dotted line. The yellow is the normal route, which is used by everybody.

    A few pictures from this route
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    <b>Day 20, Friday, 2 August 2013</b>

    First thing in the morning is to do the day plan. We have two goals: 1. to buy a Chinese bike for me; 2. to find some transportation for Gigi and his broken bike.

    We get out from the hotel at 9 o’clock, having in mind to go to Blue Wolf (there is a tourism agency and they speak English). Just across the street I see somebody preparing a bike for sale. We get closer and I meet Ryan, a British who bought his bike as new from UB, with the help of <a title="Cheke Tours" href="http://www.cheketours.com/">http://www.cheketours.com/</a>. The bike is a Shineray Mustang and it was around 550 Eur. I propose to him that I would buy the bike and pay half of what he paid as new. Then he tells me the price. I knew from this RR <a title="First Steppe: Mongolia (by Joe Motocross)" href="http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=818258">First Steppe: Mongolia</a> how much should be that bike. We exchange phone numbers and set up a meeting at noon.

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    He traveled here with another 2 guys on scooters.

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    We arrive to BlueWolf and find a girl there who helps us. After a few phone calls they find a driver with a truck, willing to go with Bogdan and Andrei to rescue Gigi.

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    There are 40 km from Olgii to Gigi. The truck is moving very slow. When they arrive at the camping spot, there is no Gigi… They go around and search for him about an hour, after that they go back to Olgii. Just less than one hour before they arrived, Gigi moved near a yurt, not far away, but not visible from there. He said it was too hot and he didn’t have water. The problem was that there the GSM signal is not everywhere. When Bogdan and Gigi almost arrive back to Olgii, there comes an SMS from Gigi with his new location. Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t want to turn back, he says he doesn’t have enough fuel.


    In the meantime I go to meet Ryan. Long story short: we go to the notary vis-a-vis of the Bastau hotel (you can see it in the next picture, the blue print) where we find an English speaking guy who helps us with the papers. After this we go to the ATM to draw some money.

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    When my friends come back I find out that they didn’t find Gigi and I have to go to search for him because I have my luggage on his bike. In a few seconds I become very mad because it is late and I’m not in the mood to ride alone there.
    I take Bogdan’s bike. The landscape is indeed very beautiful and the road is sandy from time to time.

    View towards Olgii
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    I arrive to Gigi at 19:30. We chat a little and I move the luggage to Bogdan’s bike. At 8 when I’m ready to leave, a kid from the yurt points to my rear tire. I have a flat tire. I don’t know if you imagine what I felt at that time. We can’t get the tire off the rim. The locals have some metal tool and they help us. After one hour I’m ready to go. I have half an hour until is complete dark. I have to ride very slowly because of the sand and because I’m alone on this big bike. If I fall down I cannot lift it up.

    At 10:20 I’m in the hotel’s yard and I go to Pamukkale restaurant where my friends and Ryan were waiting for me to have lunch.



    <b>Day 21, Saturday, 3 August 2013</b>

    In the morning, after breakfast, I begin working on my bike.

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    Ryan never touched the chain and it is full of rust. I take off the chain guard and with some WD40 it is like new. I clean the oil and air filters and the bike is “Ready to Race” :D

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    Bogdan and Andrei go once again to Blue Wolf to find something for Gigi. This time they write a text on a piece of paper and send them to the bazaar, where they find somebody for ~330$ willing to go. The driver talks to the phone with the owner of the yurt where Gigi is and he’s going alone after him. They arrive to the border today, but after the working hours. Gigi will spend some “pleasant” time here in the border, until Monday morning.

    At noon I receive a phone call from a border officer who tells me that I have to pay some taxes for the bike I’ve just bought. It’s strange, because I know everything is ok. I call Cheke Tours to ask about the bike, they tell me that all the taxes are paid. The officer calls me once again and he says he would come to our hotel to talk.


    A little storm

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    In the afternoon we go to visit the bazaar

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    Somebody needs some yurt stoves?
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    Or maybe play some pool [​IMG]


    In the downtown there is an event ballroom and a cinema
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    As usual, we have dinner at Pamukkale.



    <b>Day 22, Sunday, 4 August 2013</b>

    At 9 o’clock we go to Pamukkale for breakfast but it is closed and opens at 10. We go back to the hotel to eat something in the room because today we go to Ulangoom. I give a phone call to the border officer. He comes to our hotel; after he takes a look to the papers he tells me that everything is ok. Anyway, is good that he came because he tells me that at Suhbaatar border (where we’ll exit Mongolia) there could be a possible buyer for my bike (also a border officer).

    At 10:30 we leave Olgii for Ulaangom. My Chinese bike is running ok. The suspension is awful (i.e. it doesn’t exist) and I cannot ride standing on my feet because of the position. So, I have to ride much slower than my friends.

    We ride on the same route as 2010 (I don’t have an RR in English from that time yet).

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    The first try to go to Ulaangom in 2010 failed because we took the wrong side of the river from Olgii (in the next picture).

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    We arrive to Achit Lake

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    The landscape is beautiful; far away there are mountains from Tuva.

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    Shineray Mustang
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    The road up to Bayramyn pass is much better than in 2010. The LWR team took this road in 2004 and they found it very difficult.

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    Bogdan and Andrei arrive with some time before me in the pass. They have time to relax. When I arrive, we begin to eat something.

    Bayramyn pass, 2560 m
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    In the distance appear two girls riding horses. I go closer and I give them some photos took by me in 2010 with some locals. They recognize the people in the pictures and they smile.

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    Going down from Bayramyn pass to Uvs Lake
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    View towards Uvs Lake; behind the lake there is Tuva Republic
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    From this lake we begin to go up to another pass, Ulaan Zuuhyn

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    From Ulaan Zuuhyn there is a nice view to the next pass, Ulaan

    Shineray Mustang, with "Magadan Paniers" and KTM helmet
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    My friends are already there, relaxing

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    Between the two passes there is a sign to a yurt camp. We don’t pay attention to it. When we arrive to the next pass we see a poster with indications to a folk festival. Now is late, but I think it would have been an interesting experience.

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    We pass Ulaan pass and we have not too much left to Ulaangom

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    The last portion of the road to Ulaangom is with asphalt. It is the road coming from Russia. We have to pay a road tax for it.

    We go straight to the hotel where we stayed in 2010. There is a new building with a restaurant. Bogdan, with a conversation guide at him tries to order some grill. We receive neither grill, neither minced meat. We receive some pan made meat, very good.

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    A very interesting painting; please look closely to it, you’ll see why.
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    Regards,
    Cristian / Bob
    flying.moto likes this.
  9. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Yes I can see.. good painting!
  10. Bli55

    Bli55 -

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    Russia, N56 E49.
    This...
    is...
    just....

    PERFECT!

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    Apologies if this has been asked already, but what sort of corrections, if any, were used on landscape photos?

    PS. Apout the painting, I see Lenin... :D Not sure that's what you meant though! Electric guitar?? :eek1
  11. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Beautiful pics :clap
  12. bob66

    bob66 Been here awhile

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    Thank you !

    We used basic corrections and a little enhancement in Adobe Lightroom. From time to time I used a polarized filter.

    Regarding the painting, I wasn't referring to something special in it, just the fact that it has almost all the important people in history. I'm sorry now that I didn't take that picture with my photo camera instead of my mobile phone. Anyway, I have it in higher resolution if anybody interested.

    Cheers,
    Cristian / Bob
  13. 247ride

    247ride Adventurer

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    Great pictures and adventure! And very inspiring blog:) Keep it coming.
    Bafta!
  14. Hokem Malarky

    Hokem Malarky Been here awhile

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    Awesome Ride Report and beautiful pics! Can't wait for the next update!

    :clap
  15. yokesman

    yokesman Been here awhile

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    Mao sitting next to Abe Lincoln.
  16. Glenboy

    Glenboy Adventurer

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    Fabulous RR - really enjoying it :clap Many thanks
  17. bob66

    bob66 Been here awhile

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    Hi guys,

    it is time for the next update :evil



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    <b>Day 23, Monday, 5 August 2013</b>

    We leave the hotel at 10 in the morning. The first 10 km are with asphalt. The plan is to put asphalt all the way to UB. Considering this “speed” they are working with, I don’t know how many years this would take.

    Mongol money
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    The landscape is dry. Far away on our right there are the mountains which we had planned to pass in our previous trip in 2010; we had in plan to pass them this year also, but we gave up, especially because of the short time left. On our left side there is Uvs Lake, a UNESCO heritage.

    Leaving the main road we turn right towards the lake. When the surface is too sandy we leave the bikes and continue on our feet. The lake is like a sea.

    On the other side of the lake, there is Tuva Republic.
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    View towards the mountains
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    From the Uvs Lake we continue towards Baruunturuun. We think again at the idea of passing the mountains and we turn right towards Malchin. We arrive in this village but some people tell us to go back to the main road. We are not in time so we go back. Maybe the 3rd time we’ll be lucky.

    From time to time, Bogdan with Andrei stop to wait for me. Now, its lunch time.

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    As we go east the landscape becomes nicer.

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    In Baruunturuun we stop for fueling. It’s almost evening so we go to search for a place to put the tent.

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    After 20 km from the village we see a yurt and we go to ask the permission to put the tent near it. After we install the tents they invite us inside the yurt and they treat us with some milk-tea, yogurt, and cheese. One of the men inside is dead-drunk lying on the floor.

    Something begins moving in my stomach - I think that’s because of the fermented milk - and I don’t sleep very well.




    <b>Day 24, Tuesday, 6 August 2013</b>

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    We pack the tents first. Some curios goats are coming to see what we are doing.

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    The yurt
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    We cook some travel food.
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    Today we change the strategy a little. We decide for some meeting points on the track because the guys are riding twice faster then I do.

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    There is a stopped car in the middle of the road. Someone raises the hand towards me. I stop and the driver asks me some water.

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    The road, as seen from his majesty handlebar, Shineray Mustang

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    I meet Robert Erlic http://www.cro-nomad.com, a guy from Germany, on his way around the world. He’s riding a Honda Transalp.

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    Eventually I arrive in Tes village. My friends have just finished the lunch.

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    I go inside to ask for some food. The menu of the day: sheep soup with a lot of fat and pasta with minced meat. Bogdan tried to ask here for some grilled meat, but without success.

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    We continue. There are some sand dunes.

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    Shineray Mustang
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    KTM 990 Adventure
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    BMW F800GS
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    Bogdan with Andrei have more time for taking photos

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    But I too, stop from time to time

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    I catch them up

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    We meet again

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    Tsetserleg village

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    We stop a little for fuel and to make our evening shopping
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    Somewhere today the hour changed and we didn’t know.

    We stop again to a yurt. This time there is a big and friendly family and we feel very good. After we put the tents we are invited inside and we are treated very well. One of the girls speaks a little English.


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    I show them where is Romania on the map

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    <b>Day 25, Wednesday, 7 August 2013</b>

    In the morning we begin taking pictures of them and we give them some prints. I also give to the kids some crayons which I took as a gift from Bucharest.

    They put a carpet outside the yurt and begin to eat. I go to them and I eat some fresh yogurt and butter.


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    We say goodbye and go further, towards Hovsgol Lake.
  18. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    In the mountains?
    Ahh funny. I rode with him from Never Russia to near Khabarovsk. He was carrying a broken plastic piece from his bike. I said "Dude, your bike needs to loose some weight. Just throw that in the trash!" His response was "I might need it later" :lol3

    Great ride report. Please continue :)
  19. woodly1069

    woodly1069 Long timer

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    Wow! So many of your pictuers are first class front page stuff! Every time I see that you have updated this report I get super excited to see the beautiful places you have been. It's very unfortunate that it appears I may never get to see Russia as our governmemts seem to have screwed things up again at this point. It's no wonder you guys return time and time again to explore as the people seem friendly and the natural beauty is boundless! Kudos my friend!

    Hey Noah, glad to see you post up, still on the road I guess? I met you in June in Grande Prairie Alberta back in the summer of 2012 as you were just headed south out of Alaska. :freaky ,
    That's one reason I love this site, makes the world seem like a smaller friendlier place :D
  20. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    Amazing photos!! I'll be there in less than 2 weeks. Hope to have weather like that...

    JG