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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.
Proof that the 690 is a contender and that Rod is just trying to make the trip more exciting!
That does not look like fun. I think mother nature decided that if you are going to pressure wash the mud off; she will gladly reapply it with extra for good measure.
Well it took a while, but the end finally came. Rod made it back to a road. Terry, Prutser and Beamster were waiting.
There was a village a few miles down the road ... while Rod rested his bike, I popped into town to see if there was anywhere for us to stay there. There wasnt, but in the next town 11 km (7 miles away) there apparently was. I returned to the wet and weary bunch and told them to saddle up. There was still a lot of daylight left in the day but I think we had all had enough.
All except Beamster ... she had somehow enjoyed the day !
In the village 11 km down the road we found this ... a new lodge for Russian wilderness seekers.... Run by a 30 something lady with an infectious smile.
We checked in as the only guests.
There was no hot water or shower of course, but they did have a banya ... and they fired it up as soon as we arrived, so that we could wash.
We met up all clean and rosy cheeked from the banya, in the lodge's living / dining room ... where we were fed.
Yana, the lady who ran the place, decided we looked like a fun bunch and deserved a fun evening ...
So she stocked up with beer:
The rain was still coming down, our wet clothes and boots were in the banya (Russian sauna), where they would all be dry by the morning. So we settled into an evening of drinking with Yana.
As we drank, we became increasingly fascinated with Yana's headwear collection:
Tomorrow we would stay here and pull Rod's bike apart
Beeing a technician I am super curious and I still think it was something like bad contact inside the engine cut out switch, ignition switch or so....
Walter's obvious delight that they had a Banya on the premises was a great encouragement to us all...except as a Banya-virgin I had no idea what to expect -so I'll explain.
It's a Russian variant of and shares the sadistic elements of the Sauna. There's an outside room where you get your kit off and leave it to dry...HURRAH!, then you go into an ante room that is F*CKING ROASTING and has a bench, some plastic basins, a blazing water heater, and a large barrel with cold water. You strip off and open the tap to fill one of the basins with BOILING water...then walk very gingerly across the slippery floor( you're walking past butt naked guys and I can't imagine the consequences of a slip) and pop the basin on the bench.... ladle cold water in to desired temperature and wash off. Lovely.
Having done this we then went into the main hot room. The temperature of that room was just above that of a Blast Furnace..AAAAAGH!! EEEEEEEEK! FAAAAACK! I was rendered amost unconscious. My nostrils were burning, my lungs were seared and my tadger was smouldering. --I thought it just can't get any worse than this. WRONG!
Terry clearly didn't think we were suffering enough for our art, so tipped WAY TOO MUCH cold water onto the hot stones of the banya. Within a few seconds the temperature shot up to Nuclear Meltdown. I thought I was going to spontaneously combust.
Walter's sadist tendencies were now exposed and he picked up a little bunch of birch twigs, dipped them in the cold water and started to beat the bejasus out of Terrys back..to my surprise Terry was muttering (I'm sure it was delirium)..."oooh! that's great Walter"...oooh! a little lower....a bit to the left" and he recpirocated on W's back -who was similarly appreciative. Now I'M fuckin' delirious.....
Terry offered to give me a gentle flogging and I was now too weak to protest. What actually happens is they dip the twigs in the cold water and when they flog you, the water droplets fly through the air, are superheated and hit you like a boiling hailstorm. AAAAAAAGH!!
THAT WAS IT ...Carl Lewis couldn't have beaten me out of the Banya..I charged out into the cooling Blast Furnace room washed and and got some gear on, then went to sit under a veranda where one cools off until the sweat breaks.
Fortunately there was a cold beer on the veranda so I made that suffer a very short death. Take that you ba*tard!!
No wonder the Russians can fight like buggery! The Banya sends them mad. You do feel fantastic afterwards but I'm still not sure it's worth it.
Thanks for your kind comments. This was pretty much what I (and P who was a rock of support) did across the next 24 hours, just tore the bike to bits again, changed the fuel filter AGAIN, tried re-routing the fuel lines, checked all the electric connections and ensured everything was as it should be. I got to the stage whare I can now take all of the back of the bike -luggage racks, electrics fuel tank etc-off in about 20 minutes
Regarding our proximity to any kind of support, there were a couple of motor factors (spares type shops) locally, but these were of course largely catering for agricultural spares and the more common Russian cars-so we had to source whatever we could locally, and that was very little. The nearest KTM agent or motorcycle repair shop of any size or competence was at Barnaul-about 3-400 miles away.
Yana's husband, Hassan is a great guy and went the extra mile and more to help, running me around these shops in his van and just being a great support. I'll post a pic later-he was to become a pivotal character in this saga.
Yana's husband Hassan arrived. He was based in Barnaul, 600 km (400 miles) away, and popped down for a day or two. He offered to show us some local sights tomorrow, to drive around the auto shops to see if anything would help Rod's bike, and to take Prutser to show him where eagles dare (Prutser is a keen birdwatcher)
rofl this RR gets better :) BTW - I'd avoid Turkish hammam's for much the same reason
I see clean faces again
Maybe for not been eaten by wolves
We were of course starving and Yana disapeared with her pal ( whos name eludes me) and knocked up a great meal for us all in no time.
We then had a severalness ( less so for P and B as they're not big drinkers) of liquid delight and the evening wore on. Yana was firmly of the opinion that all drinking should be accompanied by VERY LOUD and appalling Europop, This is a mix of has-been UK 70s popstars...Suzi Quattro/Smoky/help me here Walter -who's the one with the jugs?and one-hit European /Russian pop singers who trade on that one hit for the next 20 years. It's a massive market.
Suzi's a perfect case in point-she was a New Yorker biker-chick type rocker who had a few big hits in '72-73, went on to appear in Happy Days and then disappeared into the nostalgia circuit.
When I was in Ekaterinburg...who should be wagging her leatherclad 60+ arse at me from a poster for a forthcoming concert but Suzi.
Time alas hasn't improved the quality of the music ( it was shit then...why would it be any better 40 years on?) but Yana was determined..WE WERE HAVING IT! so rather than fight it we bought in and some very bad dancing was the inevitable and grisly result. We have the proof but I'm not sure its appropriate for an audience as tender as this one before the watershed.
These are seriously hospitable people -and do they like a party.
They have a saying - "chu-chuch" which is like "poco a poco" or " Just a little one" so when they brought out the vodka I declined (T and W didn't) and Yan and her pal said..." chu-chuch?" . I weakened ... Vodka improves with repeated tastings so the dancing alas got even worse, we looked like our legs had become boneless.
Not that I am old and remember it in my 5th form common room or anything but could that be "The Promises, Baby it's you"?
Speaking of tyres, I had an Pirelli MT21 on the front my Xchallenge which worked quite well. There is a group of hard core airhead GS riders here is South East Queensland that use them front and rear and swear by them. I wouldn`t have one on the rear if I wanted long wear, but the front seems to wear OK. Anyone tried here tried them?
A wee search and look what I found.
..nice trip - again !! ;-) mr. colebatch!
this year i was drivin through slovakia - wanted to go up to danzg long the ukrainian boarder-
but the ktm failed after one week in the 3 country courner -
i had to wait 5 days(!) for parts and had only one week to drive around there and back over hungary-
i KNOW how nasty this trails can be if it is raining-(in the pic the fullyloaded ktm of my friend)
after week 2 i was drivin alone and got stuck in the woods 2 o. 3 times working my ass of to get the ktm out of the mudholes -
so maybe next year i try to drive to stalingrad(now volgograd) where my grandfather was killed in WWII- well see-
good luck and greetings from austria
Yep. I used them a lot before I discovered the Dunlop RR208 and the Desert. The MT21 is as you say a good gripper but wears very fast on the rear. I did my first in between Tennessee and Moab-about 1800 miles . I'm just too mean to change rubber as soon as that. They're fine as you say on the front , but as a "driver"-no thanks .
It was Sabrina-an Italian girl of miniscule talent but enormous jugs that sang mindless teeny pop and I'm sure caused a near-fatal epidemic of monkey-spanking, consequent hairy palms and permanently impaired vision amongst 14 year old boys . "Boys. Boys Boys" was her big hit and she'd make the puppies bounce up and down when she was delivering the dirge. Her fave trick was to make a raspberry ( rhyming slang..work it out) pop out of her top when singing and " not notice" it was showing. She's about 35+ now, still doing it and still looks great. Not that I've noticed.
Brilliant report, like many others I'm lurking every day for updates. Love Rod's tongue in cheek comments about the Russian sauna. Also as a fellow 690 owner curious as to what the problem is.
Re MT21's I use MT21 front and Dunlop D908RR on the rear for trips to Morocco on my XR650R and find the combination great, though back home in British mud the MT21 obviously isn't as good as a knobbly but sure as hell better than a TKC80.
Walter made some very pertinent comments about adventure bike suspension earlier. Got to agree the standard suspension on the 690 is not great and certainly not a patch on my XR650R, though of course that started out as an enduro bike (with no cush drive or electric starter) which has been modded for adventure riding. I like Walters idea of transforming a 570 Berg.
The jury is still out as to which is the best bike for me, the old but very reliable XR or the 690. It's good to have the choice.
Keep it coming, I'm loving it.