UK to NZ - Travelling Ent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by joshuwaa, May 9, 2017.

  1. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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  2. slowbike smallpenis

    slowbike smallpenis Tester of Tooheys Old

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    Gday mate - nice job so far - Just my twopence worth - On your 'rough' mud map you have a line going across Australia below the Gulf of Carpenteria , that would be the Savannah Way - Great ride on suitable bike and experience - there are a fair few river / creek crossings, sand and bulldust there so id maybe head a bit further south and turnoff at the 3 ways to head east, that is of course if you dont mind missing the rock and the rest - The 3 ways turnoff, the road is fully sealed across to the coast and your about inline with Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.

    Enjoy the trip

    #22
  3. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Thanks man! good to know. I hadn't planned it much at all other than "Darwin then east" I'll keep Threeways in mind! The heat is a bit of a worry, I'll be there around Jan or Feb I think, lots of time to plan for that yet though.
    #23
  4. slowbike smallpenis

    slowbike smallpenis Tester of Tooheys Old

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    January February way too hot down the centre mate but doable. Start at dawn ride till midday rest for a while then late afternoon. Just watch for the Roos out there they are big red ones plus the Eagles, lots of road kill and the Eagles are very slow to move especially as they don't like giving up their meal.

    Just plenty of fluids and plenty of tunes on your iPad !
    #24
  5. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Do you mean it's too hot through Alice Springs? Or too hot on my intended route (east from Threeways to Cairns). I know it's going to be god damn hot either way, but is it deadly hot?

    Cheers for help, great to get first hand advice.
    #25
  6. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Another week passed since my last update! I've been updating the blog and facebook in the mean time but getting around to a 3rd regular update is hard!

    I had a bit of a break in Durres for 2 days. I loved that place, the hostel was so chilled and the town was just perfect for me. Then I rode down to Saranda to meet a guy I'd heard about doing a round the world motorbike trip. I don't think he's on ADV Rider but his page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1897435807153389/

    https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/day-25-26-27-recharge-saranda/

    After Saranda was riding to Butrint national park then into Greece. Some really nice challenging riding to get to a hotel after failing to find a wild camp. Then onwards to Macedonia on Day 29, arriving in Skopje in another Hostel for a a day off on Day 30.

    https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/day-28-29-greece-macedonia/

    Day 31 was riding out from Skopje into Bulgaria and to my first wild camp in about 9 days I think. Was awesome to get back to it:
    20170531_080529.jpg

    Day 32 was a long ride, not much to it, just some challenging roads and covering the miles to Varna where I'm sitting now.

    It's Day 33 now which is pretty damn crazy. I've been travelling for over a month. it doesn't feel like it, it feels like I just left, but when I think back over each day it seems like an eternity because so much stuff has happened.

    I hope it's OK just dropping links to the blog in here. I'm happy to copy and paste the text into this report if that's more fitting and easier for people (there's not much point re-writing it) but it will be missing the photos that go along with since there's limits on uploads here. Let me know either way.
    #26
  7. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Here's a little clip of that wild camp in Bulgaria. I didn't happen to record me looking for it, but I did remember to record leaving it.

    #27
  8. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Blog write up of the last 3 days: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/day-30-31-32-skopje-to-varna

    I'm now up to date to yesterday!

    I head into Turkey tomorrow and to a hotel near Çorlu. I don't fancy wild camping in west turkey, I've not heard good things about the crime rate there and this hotel came up cheap anyway. I'm heading toward Bandirma for some tyres since mine are pretty much finished. I'd like to get the ferry from Gallipoli since that's a nicer ride than through Istanbul. Does anyone know if they take motorcycles on the ferry and if so how much or how often?
    #28
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  9. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Wow. A lot happened in the last 3 days. In short: A mad border crossing from Bulgaria to Turkey, that took way longer than it should have. A puncture in the middle of nowhere and a ferry crossing leaving Continental Europe and Entering Asia.

    I've blogged about the first two thus far and they are quite long so I don't want to copy them here.

    Border crossing madness: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/day-33-34-varna-to-corlu/

    Puncture Day: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/day-35-corlu-to-gallipoli/

    Yesterday I crossed on the ferry from Gallipoli to Cardak. It actually felt really weird crossing the gap. Even though it was only a 30 minute crossing it's geographically significant, leaving Europe for Asia.

    I'm in a nice hotel in Erdek now, I'm even half board so I have a terrible buffet dinner included, and a private pool and right on the beach front. But the main thing is it's only about £17 a night!

    I got the tyres changed to the Anakee 3s today, I was not impressed with the Metzeler Tourances really. they were never outstanding grip in the dry and they were pretty bad sometimes in the wet. And they didn't last as long as I was led to believe, though still around 7,000 miles so not awful.

    I'm going to head North East to the Black Sea coast from here and then work my way along there over the next 2 weeks so any suggestions of stuff to see would be much appreciated.
    #29
  10. slowbike smallpenis

    slowbike smallpenis Tester of Tooheys Old

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    It will be dry and draining heat. They are vast distances to cover either way with stops/ fuel about every 200klms.

    I imagine you will have dark clothing on which won't help. Take plenty of water and just pour down your back and chest every now and then.

    There are rest areas that are shaded but the flies will drive you mad. Invest in a $10 insect net is best advice I'd give and a small tarp for shade if you need to rest.

    That region is home to some nasty bities so be prepared for the odd snake to cross your path, they like the heat
    #30
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  11. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Hahaha you are making me feel much better about knowing what's ahead, and much worse at the same time, knowing it contains snakes and deadly heat.

    Hopefully I'll be ready for that when the time comes. I'm still getting used to riding in 28 degress celcius everyday. I'm a brit, i've been riding all winter in the rain and snow, that's my comfort zone.
    #31
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  12. slowbike smallpenis

    slowbike smallpenis Tester of Tooheys Old

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    Nah - just be mindful, its a vast area and not much changes out in the middle scenery wise. In fact onthe coast from say Cairns to Coffs Harbour in NSW is days or riding past Sugar Cane on your RHS and Ocean on your left

    Ive ridden the middle a few times but in the cooler months. You will miss out on the Kimberley but any detours to that region and Broome may add decades to your trip ......

    Google the Kimberley plus Gibb River Road - El Questro or even Cape Crawford, Mt Augustus, Cable Beach much to see and of course plenty to do but you cant see everything.

    not sure on your off road skill level, if you were to go to the Kimberley you can still access across to Ayres Rock / Uluru via the Great Central road - its easier these days and you go through pretty close to the Geographical Center of Australia - plenty of ride reports inthe Australian Regional Forum if you need any further info, but you will still have the heat
    #32
  13. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Update:

    So I did indeed head to the black sea coast and nearly died from a swarm of flesh eating locusts (or something similarly scary probably). I attemped to wild camp on the beach and as soon as the sun set I got swarmed and had to run screaming like a girl. I've written it up in the blog, including crossing the ferry from Gallipoli and my nice break in Erdek: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/day-36-37-38-gallipoli-erdek-and-beach-hell/

    Then I headed along the coast to Cide, it was a stunning scenic ride, but not good as motorcycling roads go, slippy, unpredictable and tight. From Cide to Sinop was much better though, very natural and flowing, though the tar in the road was melting making it slippy and lots of "roadworks" which means the road was missing and had construction workers all over it.

    I've just had a 2 day rest in Sinop. It was supposed to be 1 but I got up this morning and it was binning it down so I just stayed in bed. Proper adventurer me. I'll head off tomorrow in-land for the first time in a while to hunt out some sights. I've got about 10 days to get to Tblisi so I can wander a little. It's no natural for me though, I like A to B and the challenge of doing it, so I just have to trick myself into thinking B is somewhere else...

    Blog for the last 4 days on the coast and a break here in Sinop: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/day-39-to-42-black-sea-coast-part-1/
    #33
  14. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Well it's been a while!

    I've been a bit busy. I'm behind here by 17 days, and behind on my blog by 10.

    I decided to do a lot more riding 15 days ago, instead of short days. I felt like I needed it, but that meant a lot less time in the day. Lovely riding though through Trabzon to Erzurum to Van then Kars: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/day-43-44-45-sinop-to-trabzon-and-erzurum/ https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/day-46-47-48-ezurum-to-van-and-kars/

    That left me up on the plains at 1600m. It was fascinating, I've never been anywhere like it. Being so high up changes the landscape, the plains changes the infrastructure and the wild life and being so far east changes everything else in between.

    That's where the blog runs out unfortunately. I haven't gotten around to writing any more up because it got so busy.

    The ride from Kars back to the coast was immense. Just a ton of different scenery in one day: Started off on unpaved roads out of Kars. Then rolling hills around a lake near the Georgian border, then dead straight over the plains. Up and over a mountain pass with little drifts of snow hanging on. Then through a canyon that belonged in a movie. Down a twisty forest mountain road to the coast to finish with the sea side. Barely had a break in all of it, the awesome just kept coming.

    Then I crossed into Georgia and headed to Batumi for a couple of days. I met up with a guy I emailed a year ago on HUBB about joining up to cross Iran. It never came to anything but he turned up in georgia the same day so we hung out for a couple of days. We waited for another friend to catch us up, one I'm meeting to cross china in august. Together we all rode from Batumi to Chiatura, then to Tbilisi, then stepantsminda at the Russian border. It was an awesome couple of days, perpetually either drunk or hung over. The first time I've ever rode with other bikers and it was in Georgia with 2 travellers, pretty amazing experience.

    I crossed into russia a couple of days ago with a Russian guy we met on the way to Tbilisi. My two friends departed south, one to Iran, one to Armenia then Ukraine to get back to Europe. The Russian guy was an incredible help. he had 1000km to ride that day but he stuck around at the border and sweet talked me through, we made friends with a high ranking officer and he sped me through customs. It still took 3 hours though all in all. We rode through the centre out from Vladikavkaz and got stopped by the military. He spoke to them in russian and then gave me the "we need to leave now" nod. (he doesn't speak much english at all) he later told me they wanted to call the FSB because he thought I was a foreiner trespassing on military land. Best avoided. He refused to leave me and take that faster road (he was allowed, I was not) so we ended up stopping at a hooker motel at about 10pm, having made about 200km of real headway.

    He left at 6am the next day to try and ride 1800km home in one day, it didn't work be he made a damn good effort at about 1200! I rode alone up to Elista and then to Volgograd where I'm sat now.

    Getting an oil change and a few checks on the bike tomorrow, I only have 5 days left on my Russian visa so I'm going to try for an extension, I have a month to kill in Kazakhstan so I can afford to shave a few days off that.

    I'm also trying to organise tyres in Almaty. I have road tyres at the minute with only 2000 miles on. I can buy some 80/20 tyres here but would have to carry them for a month which I don't like the idea of. But if these are the last tyres I'll find for 5000 miles I need them.

    As always the shorter updates and some photos are on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/travellingent/
    #34
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  15. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Ooops. OK It's been even longer since the last update! But a lot less has happened to be honest.

    I'm now in Osh, Kyrgyzstan on Day 84, in TES Guest House.

    I left Volgograd after a couple of days off, an oil change and fixing my indicator. Made it to Saratov for a night then off to the Kazakh border. No issues at all exiting Russia or entering Kazakhstan but it was a VERY long day to Uralsk, Kazakhstan. I was hoping to take a few days off there but the town was pretty dire and I couldn't find a cheap hostel so I started on the road to Aktobe and stayed in the worlds worst motel for the night. I also ended up buying a guitar in Uralsk! The friends I met up with in Georgia bought me one off a market as a leaving present, it was a really nice gesture and funny because then I had to carry it. But carrying it made me realise I was really missing playing, I used to play almost everyday. So I found a music shop in Uralsk and bought a nice cheap 3/4 acoustic that play pretty damn well for a £40 guitar.

    Then I started crossing the Steppe, first to Aktobe, with a few uneventful days off there. Then one of my longest ever days on the bike to Kostanay, half way to Astana which I did the next day. Both days were about 500 miles, 12 hours ish on the bike. Pretty arse killing but there was really nothing worth stopping for. It's just so vast a place and so flat. The people were lovely though, I made a lot of petrol station friends and truckers and cars always waved or gave a thumbs up as they overtook me or I them.

    A few days off in Astana and met a couple of travellers to have beers and food with and chat, which is always really nice in a country that can feel very isolating. Another 2 very long days to get down to Almaty with a wild camp in the middle of nowhere to split them up. A few days off in Almaty getting new Tyres and Oil, and fitting the chain and sprockets I've been carrying since I left the UK. Cleaning the air filter and finding and securing some replacement bolts. The roads in Kazakhstan were generally pretty good but some stretches of monster pot holes and off road roadworks diversions are punishing.

    On to Bishkek for a couple of days getting over a bug with nothing much happening then another 2 day ride to Osh with a camp in the middle again. So happy to get back to mountains. It was strangely emotional riding toward them out of Bishkek. After 3 weeks of nothing but totally flat roads and towns since Russia they looked so inviting. A very enjoyable ride it was too, lots of stuff trying to kill me, from the drivers, surprise pot holes and the tarmac just disappearing all together for no reason made it a bit more exciting. I camped wild by Toktogul lake (thanks iOverlander). The second days ride wasn't quite as good. Some nice road to start but then it was down into the hot, dusty towns which didn't really seem to end, just back to back towns all the way into Osh.

    I'm planning to meet a friend again in Dushanbe (One of them I met in Georgia who I'm joining through China) and we're going to do the Pamir highway (Wahcan valley) together, rather than alone, for moral and mechanical support. Neither of us have experience with rough roads, river crossings or altitude so being together should help. It should take around a week, maybe a little more to get back to Osh, then we have 2 weeks to kill in Kyrgyzstan so I'll probably head back toward Bishkek and explore Issyk Kul in the north east. Before returning to Osh again to head to China.

    Volgograd to Uralsk: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/day-61-62-63-volgograd-to-saratov-uralsk-kazakhstan/

    Aktobe to Astana: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/day-64-to-72-aktobe-to-astana/

    For the mechanically inclined, I'm trying to locate the source of a rattle that started in Kazakhstan, I've started a thread on StromTrooper here to figure out if the bike is about to explode or not: http://www.stromtrooper.com/v-strom...stions-discussions/379818-2010-wee-rattle.htm
    #35
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  16. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    There's also a little video summary of my first 50 days I forgot to post here!

    #36
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  17. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi 42

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    nice video. I must learn how to do this.
    #37
  18. Manifold

    Manifold 67,000 MPH

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    This is some travel. I hope you keep posting here. I'm sure there are more people reading, even if they not all comment.
    #38
  19. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Made it back to Osh! Pamir complete. I am pretty exaushted but it was incredible. 7 days of riding, almost all long days and almost all camping. I think we averaged 20kph most days, thanks to very rou

    The bike made it with no real damage! I had to take it really easy for a lot of it, max 40kph due to the huge pot holes that threatened to crack the cast wheels and rip the centre stand off. But some stretches were great, not too extreme just fun gravel, patches of sand, water crossing and very high passes.

    There's a bunch of summary photos here https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/posts/818126621694607

    I met up with a friend in Dushanbe (https://www.facebook.com/okimototravels/) and we ended up riding with Peter a Dutch guy (https://www.facebook.com/wired4adventure) and Antoni a Czech guy too, they were leaving for the same route on the same day so we formed a little gang. The Dutch guy had a lot of off road experience and the Czech guy has done a big trip previously so they were a great help to us, with zero off road experience. We wild camped for a few days, and camped at guesthouses a few days. The camp on the final evening was fantastic, if a little cold, by Karakul lake at 4000m.

    The Green House Hostel in Dushanbe was great, a mediocre hostel at best, but so many bikers there for the couple of days we were there. Including Graham and Katrina of http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/chasing-rainbows-rtw-on-a-h-a-t.1172713/page-24 Kinga of https://www.facebook.com/onherbike and Janet and Charlie of http://russelsenroute.com/ among others. We had a couple of great evenings out chatting travel and bikes. So nice after 3 weeks pretty much alone on the Steppe and down into Kyrgyzstan.

    I'm sure there's a few V-Strom 650's completed the Pamir but not many with a guitar strapped to the back. The only casualty of the Pamir, the fret board of my beloved is coming away from the neck, the corrugations and massive pot holes have taken their toll. Frets 4 to 7 all sound the same now, not ideal. I'm staying in Osh at least a few days so I'm going to attempt some fixes here. It shall be saved.

    20170730_134407.jpg

    20170727_165113.jpg
    This fine dust was deadly, hidden underneath 3 inches of bull dust was very uneven surface that threw you around everywhere, I was in the lead and didn't notice what it was until late, I only just made it across unscathed, coming well out of the seat twice and nearly getting my feet caught up in it. The guys behind weren't so lucky, having to also contend with the massive cloud of dust I'd kicked up. No injuries or damage though, just laughs and getting back on the road.

    20170727_163856.jpg
    #39
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  20. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    I skipped the knowing how to do it part by just spending ages doing it :D I have no idea what I'm doing with video editing so that took me hours and hours. I'm pleased with how it came out though, the next should be better. I've been using ShotCut, free and pretty good.

    Thanks! Keeping everything up to date isn't easy but I'm doing my best and it's worth it :)
    #40
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