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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.
Not forgettingVictor, Ninas husband, who helped in my bike repairs .Really great bloke.
It was probably just after 9 I got away and the GPS was set for Krasnoyarsk. I went into Irkutsk and started to pick my way through the little streets. The GPS seemed to be taking me a strange way, but what the hell...it knows best. I gassed trhe bike up at an opportune station and moved off again...we were now going through very strange little streets and i started to doubt the GPS....then we went through a building site getting bemused looks from the scaffolders and brickies...and into a wood on a dirt track. Now I'm seriously concerend. even more so when I keep heading towrds the sun. South east-I want to go Northwest. WTF?
I pulled over and started looking into the "preferences" it had defaulted to avoiding main roads, toll roads, autoroutes...pretty much anything above a dirt track. FFS!
I reset the preferences and went back into Irkutsk to try to find my way through.
By the time I got out of town it was 11.30. Bollocks!
I got on to the main 4 lane (2 each way) once I cleared the town and goosed the bike up to 70. Sorted. I started to roll up the miles.
The road was full of trucks.
The weapons of choice in Russia on trans-national hauling tend to be Peterbilt, Macks, Internationals, Volvos with huge semi-trailers and a 60-70 ton gross weight and they take no prisoners. More local traffic uses Kamaz or Japanese trucks.
I was passing one of these monsters with another just behind me and was just about to pull back in from my overtake, when the front end started to feel a little weird.
Within a second I realised FUCK!..FUUUCK! I've a front wheel puncture. It was already totally flat and I could feel it starting to lip over. If I go down now with these 2 trucks right behind me they'll never be able to avoid me-I truly am dead.
With enormous care I sat back to get my weight towards the rear and signalled I was turning onto the hard shoulder, and sooo carefully and keeping the bike fully upright eased the bike off the slab on to the dirt. Ohh.......... FFS.:eek1
I sat for a minute hardly able to believe I'd got away with it and was still alive.
After a couple of minutes I got off and got some tools out to take the tyre off the rim. I pulled the tube out and after a couple of minutes found the problem. It was the repair I'd done weeks ago just before we met Zhan, the farmer in Kazakhstan.
The glue had unstuck and the patch was half off...but was stuck fast on the remaining half of the patch. The best way was just to take the wheel off, and change the tube for my spare HD number. I scouted round for a noggin of wood or a block to stand the bash plate on but there was nothing, so I threw the bike on its side and pulled the wheel off, replaced the tube, and pumped it back up. Sorted..again.
It was now about 1.30 and I was still only 20 miles outside Irkutsk.
It was a lovely day and as I cleared the towns and rode on as traffic got less and less, and I was starting to settle a little into the journey. It got to about 3 O'Clock and I need to gas up and grab some lunch, so I pulled on to a gas station with a truckstop/cafe attached .
As I pulled on the station dog went mental, it could obviously hear the bike whispering " you're gay, and just look at that nancy haircut". WTF?? I watched it in case it attacked...but it just stood still snarling and barking. oookaaayyyyyy!
I filled up and pushed the bike over to the cafe.
The world over, one can encounter every variant of female in a cafe, from the Dragon to the Darling. This was Dragon day.
Mr Brown had taught me well...ask for either Borscht or Goulash and you'll not go far wrong. Dragon stood looking at me with barely disguised hate. I asked her for Borscht...she replied BARSCHT?
Borscht...BARSCHT? Borscht.. BARSCHT? Borscht. BARSCHT? we barked at each other.
Dragon scribbled someting on a piece of paper and threw it into the kitchen with a sneer. I took a cling wrapped sandwich off the counter for later and some chai limoniya (lemon tea) and went to await the arrival of the grub.
After a few minutes the waitress arrived and put my food in front of me. A pork chop covered in cheese with some potatoes . EH? She's clearly misunderstood my Russian and ordered this..... Don't complain-just eat it.
A woman was sitting at the next table and shuffling about.
I tucked in-it was great so I kept on scoffing ( you can see this coming can't you?) and after another 5 minutes the waitress appeared again...this time with my borscht which she put in front of me. EH? I'm dead!!
Shuffle woman now kicked off big time and started revving up at the waitress who came over looking confused...then called over The Dragon. She stomped over...hands on hips and fixed me with the steely gaze..I quailled and waited for her to stab me with a kitchen knife
Dragon then pointed at the grub, pointed at me and although I speak no Russian I know EXACTLY what she said. I still sat fork poised beween plate and mouth..
" You didn't order that did you? she barked
I shook my head
"But you're eating it aren't you" ? Eyebrow raised...
Her voice went up an octave. "Why are you eating something you haven't ordered?" I trotted out my stock "Nye-panimye! (I don't understand).
Shuffle woman joined in bollocking me and then I saw the Dragon's mouth starting to twitch..she was dying to laugh but couldn't lose face so she wheeled off and stomped back to her lair.
I offered to pay but they didn't understand. .....so I scoffed the lot and the borscht too...To save some face I left the cling wrapped sandwich on the table (so they could re-sell it) when they were through the back and I snuck out.
I wanted to button up the bike and just get lost but it takes a few minues to get the gear on. I was just putting my crash hat on when the Dragon came out holding the sandwich in front of her like a dead rat. I took it wordlessly. My shame was complete.
I swung a leg over the bike, buttoned it up and snicked it into gear, and as I pulled forwards the station dog tore round the corner snarling and chasing me.. FFS! I shot off the station at 50 mph.
If every days as "interesting" as this it's going to be a long trip.
Classic, I spewed my morning coffee out my nose...thank you very much
You are cracking me up. Love the narrative. I may be back in london for business in a couple months, would love to grab a beer or three and hear some of these stories in person!
I rode on into the evenng and the roads previously quiet became almost deserted.
In Siberia you're never far from this -The Trans Siberian Raliway. The road shadows the railway for maybe 2 thousand kilometers, and I'd cross it numerous times in the next days
About 7.30 I entered a little industrial town-withthe unmistakeable griminess of a mining town. I felt it'd be prudent to try to grab somewhere to stay. I was looking for a sign that says "Gastinitsiya" in cyrillic. Any motel/whatevetr will show this sign.
I entered this one and understood quite quickly...it apparently wasn't just Motels that seem to show this sign. and there were a number of "sporting girls"hanging about near the lobby and outside. It's fair to say they were not of the premium variety, but budget bints and had complexions and strange bodily bulges and undulations that presumably were linked to the fees they felt reflected the dubious pleasure of their lumpy company. I'd already opened my mouth and asked if "Gastintsiya"were available when I spotted this anomaly.
Dragon clearly had a sister and had called ahead as Ms Madam-Dragon shouted "Nye-gastinitsiya" and a load more abuse at me, so I stepped back in shock, gathered what was left of my dignity and slunk out. FFS!!
I rode on another hour or so through the unbroken Siberian forest (plant a tree and save the world.?..they've 500 feckin' trillion of' 'em there) and was looking for somewhere next to one of the many streams to pitch my tent when I came upin a Motel (result!) so went into the reception and spoke to Dragon 3 of the day.
"Gastinitsiya?"...Da! she replied. Ok..how much. She replied that she'd no rooms left, but had a couch in a wee lounge I could sleep on in a room with 3 other couches...but I'd need to pay for all 4 and the room had no door or shower. nada. I asked how much. it was 60 quid...about 100 bucks. How much?? You thieving bitch! I thought it but didn't say it. I was dog tired and almost took it, but then thought better of it and more than a little angry at this ourageous witch.
I walked out and hopped on the bike, as I pulled out of the car park I noticed another hotel just across the way, so scooted over and tried again. This time .."Bingo" a room for 24 quid and a resto and bar attached too.
Some of it was kinda "work in progress"...they'd put the stair well in but no stairs. Presumably its on the basis of natural selection..the slow, stupid and drunk don't make it out alive?
I grabbed my room and snagged a quick shower.
As I was getting dressed I heard some bikes pull on to the car park and looked out of the window. A bunch of 9 foot guys was riding in on overland bikes......EH?
I pulled some gear on and went down to the resto. After a few minutes they came in and it went dark as they passed the door...FUCK!...They're enormous...they look a bit mean...hope they don't take me outside, beat the shit out of me and nick my bike. :eek1
They went to grab some food and I watched them quietly..then they started talking and they were using proper English words and not just talking about death, pimping, drugs and stealing bikes. Dare I say anything?
I put on my "tough guy Jock" voice as opposed to my usual girlie squeak and said hello expecting to be punched backwards out of the room...they all said hello back and introduced themselves!
It was a bunch of Norwegians heading to Irkutsk ..."Just come from there " quoth I and the biggest guy asked if I'd heard of Walters trip (good ....they'll steal HIS bike )...I replied I'd just left the guys that morning and it came to light that they'd been in touch with W and had hoped to meet at some point. JESUS!
This was indeed the long arm of coincidence..what chance meeting someone looking to meet mutual contacts, 5000 miles from home in Siberian hotel I almost didn't stay in. Hurts my head. Owwww!
The guys were great fun and they asked if I knew anywhere to stay in Irkutsk and naturally I pointed them to Nina's- I didn't know anywhere else.
There were no rooms left in this motel so after a while they saddled up and we said our goodbyes and good lucks.
Look out Sibirsky 2013...The Vikings Are Coming. Roll on Chapter 3.
I finished my beer(s) and went to bed. What a day.
PM me a few days before you land and we'll jack it up. RC
Good stuff! Thanks Rod!
...you killing me with your narrative & the whole story My breakfast is all over my table ! Now I will need to clean my keyboard too .... no, you good man, I'll buy you a few rounds once I get somewhere your way - the "dragon lady restaurant" is an instant classic(I could see you face with puffed cheeks full of pork- too good to give it back!) , it made me cry w/joy ...you good... keep going man....
Just wanted to say that this is a great report that is so well written. You guys must have had this in mind before the ride.
I started reading these to get advice for my own exploits (which are minor mainly due to time and priorities). I read this though to learn, yes, but now simply because it's just such good reading.
keep safe and keep writing.
Seems like half the biking world would like to meet you guys, me included.
Rod, what do you use to pump up your repaired tire? Hand pump? Electric compressor? Can you recommend a brand/model?
Terry you've been really great company too! We would have loved to stay longer!
I only met you once before the trip and I didn't knew what I was getting myself into but we're really thankful for the wonderful time we had together!
I do remember that river crossing though you indeed should have helped me instead of oser but I do accept your apologies...
Thanks everyone for all the kind reactions! From now on we'll be following the RR just like you.
I use a litle foot pump sold by Hein Gericke called "Bikers Dream". Admittedly I never knew a biker that dreamed of footpumps but there clearly must be a pump fetishist who's designed the thing.
It's about half the size of a spectacles case but thicker, and just weighs a few ounces.
I personally wouldn't have an electric pump as they're bulky, heavy and burn out just when you need them. usually on the first time they're used.............. seen it happen several times.
Cue everyone chiming in with their electric pumps wot's never let them down.....
Everyday , I come here looking for a fix. Not hard to see why it has a sticky. The people involved and their narrations and pictures are what make it. As each fades in and out of the journey, it's like having an old friend come over for a few days , then leave. Very touching. Love Rod taking up the slack on the story and chomping at the bit for phase 3. Will; be missing Rod, Bruster and Beamster and the color they added to this story.
You met my ex wife???
I always take an engine air pump. But I never had to use it this trip
you are like most of the jocks I've met in my life, feckin hilarious Hopefully one day our paths will cross and we can indulge in some beers and banter, thanks for brightening up my day again
Oh how I miss the simpleness of doing maintenance on my 3 BMWs ( R11GS, R11R and R1150GS) of past. Even on the KLR I take the seat and gas tank off to access the sparkplug.
I wonder if anyone has used the kind of air compressor that Pruster carried on a single. Just wondering if the battery would make it filling up a tire.