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A solo trip to Mongolia on a 125cc

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guerreronegro, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    Melbourne

    Haha nice I had nothing but good experiences with the Turken visa and the whole system. I got my invitation via email then turned up at the boarder paid the fees and was in. So no posting passports or waiting at embassies in foreign countries. I was going the other way to you, might make a difference. My boat was delayed due to bad weather but when I overstated my visa it wasn’t a big issue. I have read reports about people being deported ! 5 days isnt much to play with, is it ! Being the only westerner can be an advantage I feel at times like that. The officials took pity in a situation that they could have really taken advantage of me! I even had the hundreds of USD extra on me ready to pay the bribes but they never came. Amazing place. Good work on the fuel smuggling ! I had a 28L tank so i was running on Turkmen cheap fuel for sometime ! I too have no photos of me on my bike in the crazy streets of Ashbagat which i regret.
    guerreronegro likes this.
  2. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    That's a seriously cool story @guerreronegro! What a great way to gain just a little insight into the culture and why things are they way they are. The lack of being able to take pictures is so curious to me, I wonder what the basis is for that rule - especially given how apparently different they are on the Muslim front.

    Fascinating update and story you have from your time there, having images to help would have been nice, but the way you frame the story is excellent. And hey - you did grab a shot of your lunch :lol2

    Look forward to the next one :-)
    guerreronegro and mrsdnf like this.
  3. Tigerkf

    Tigerkf Been here awhile

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    You know what makes me mad about this thread? Every time I'm up later than I should be, I find something like this and then spend hours engrossed in the journey!

    :dirtdog
    td63, ChongLi and guerreronegro like this.
  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Christmas Island
    The road to Darvaza started to get narrower as we kept advancing to the point it was just a two-lane road. The asphalt also got worse but still rideable. I could see sections with mountains of sand and others just dried out. I remember crossing a small lake at some point. Navigating in Turkmenistan made me realize Maps.me is the app to have. It literally shows you every small store or place for food in villages which apparently didn’t have any signs advertising these services. We met a couple of teams from Belgium and Norway in a crossing leading to the restaurant and so I decided to have some lunch with them. This place had some home-made bread which was really good, and the main dish was a bit of the same but filled with meat. It did the job. Meanwhile we started to put everything in common with the rest of teams and how the rally was working out so far for each of us.
    20160101_053746A.jpg 20160101_060459A.jpg 20160101_060544A.jpg
    After lunch we kept moving on towards the crater and soon find out the last petrol station before arriving. There was a lot of people, mostly ralliers but also some locals keen to take pictures with us. Most of the rally cars in the ferry were there. It was going to be quite a night hanging with all of them. Before arriving, I took a couple of detours to check other craters. Apparently the famous Darvaza crater is not the only one. There are many in different sizes and amount of fire. I also tried to approach some dunes, but I fell in doing so. A local saw me and came to help me lift the motorcycle. Surprisingly though, the bike was doing ok with the shorter pinion shaft and lower pressures, but the front tire was never meant for such a thing.
    IMG_20190809_162837.jpg
    IMG_20190809_174853.jpg IMG_20190809_190142.jpg IMG_20190809_190111.jpg IMG_20190809_190124.jpg I proceed now to the crater but the trail leading there was also with some sections of deep sand in which some cars had gotten stuck. There were some locals there apparently making a business out of it charging people to help them get out. Luckily, I managed to ride it without a problem. The Belgians were stuck but they got help from the Norwegians to pull them out. This was my first proper off-roading with the Varadero. Arriving at the crater felt unreal. It is truly something to be seen in person. The whole place in a 500-meter radius smells like gas and its hot, really hot. It almost feels as if you left the gas stove at home on and realizing it later. It almost felt weird to turn on the lighter to turn on the stove to cook.
    IMG_20190809_202854.jpg IMG_20190809_221426.jpg
    It was getting dark, so I looked for a place to pitch the tent and chill. Some of the teams had beers and when these run out, the same locals charging for getting people unstuck on that sandy path they offer beer delivery to the spot. These guys knew the terrain so well they rode Chinese motorcycle without lights in complete darkness through that sandy trail without a problem. The French started to throw paper planes to the crater to test physics and we all got to see how these crossed the massive crater without falling. Dinner time came and I camped next to the Belgian teams. I cooked some canned food I had bought back in Turkmenbashi which was not that bad. Then we kept chatting while walking around the crater and drinking more beer. The Spanish team in the Mercedes van made it the last. They had a problem fueling petrol instead of diesel but got help from the whole village which offer themselves to dismantle the deposit and clear the air out of the system. After they arrived, I retired to the tent, it was the only night I didn’t need a sleeping bag and due to the heat it took me some time to finally fall asleep, almost as if sleeping in tropical weather but with no humidity.
    AbeWhat, td63, scudo and 18 others like this.
  5. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Christmas Island
    The track, some more pictures of the crater, and a very bad quaity video of the road to get there.

    Attached Files:

  6. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    Green Valley, AZ
    I've never seen the crater before, or heard about it. Thank you for posting this, I'll have to do some reading on it. Amazing!
  7. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Sloppy 300 rider Supporter

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    X2, that looks like an amazing place.
  8. mrsdnf

    mrsdnf Long timer

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    Nice picture with your bike and the glow of the crater behind you.
    Old Codger and guerreronegro like this.
  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    @guerreronegro - that crater...nucking futs! I have never, in my life, heard of something like that nor would have believed something like it existed prior to reading your report :eekers :eekers :eekers. Mother Nature sure is something else. I mean, that's simply otherworldly to me - a crater that's on fire and stays that way :eek7. Had to do a quick google search on it - geologists set it on fire in 1971 to prevent the spread of methane and it's believed to have been burning ever since. Dude - I was born in 1971...maybe it's a sign I should heed given it's called the gates of hell :lol3 :lol3 :lol3

    Really cool update! Must have been something sleeping in your tent next to that continually burning fire :thumb :thumb
    Lone Stranger and guerreronegro like this.
  10. festeradams

    festeradams n00b

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    @guerreronegro, I have just read your RR from beginning to end and can only say well done and keep it coming. A number of us are stuck in various parts of the world at present. Your contributions make us at least dream of future places to explore.
  11. forgorin

    forgorin Stuck in Japan

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    A bit of a rude question. I am thinking of doing what you did, and I am wondering (about) you spent in total on the trip.

    Reading this has lit the fire under my seat to finally do the rally. I have been thinking of it for the past few years...

    I have being enjoying your story telling and photos.
    mrsdnf likes this.
  12. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    This is a very relative question and if you decide to go ahead with it you will see I will depend on many factors. On an average I spent about 2.5k not including motorcycle nor the gear I was carrying. So this only accounts for petrol, accommodation and food basically. I camped about 20% of nights and another 20% I was invited to pass the night at someone's place. The rest it was in hostels or each country's version of Airbnb. Food is sourced cheaply but I also cooked myself some days. I also spent some money in fixing the bike and doing it's maintenance. For 70 days out of home it was a contained budget but I have seen people done it with much less and people also spending as much as twice.
    td63, NaMi, klaviator and 1 other person like this.
  13. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

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    Be Adventurous and go solo. You will meet and get to know locals much quicker. There are so many good, helpful people in the world. If you have problems, most locals will help and try to give a good impression of their country. For me, Chinese and Russians were the most giving and helpful people. And I thought they would be problems. People treat you without regard to how the governments interact. Mongolians aren't my favorite people. Most feel they can grab anything you possess and look at it-if it's in their sight. Many almost demand you drink with them if they have alcohol flowing.
  14. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

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    Guerrero, congratulation on the 125cc ride. I met 2 guys that did a Mongolia loop on 125 cc Chinese bikes a few years ago. That was bold. I would feel pretty secure riding a newer Honda anything. But riding in sand with little horsepower and heavy load isn't a good combination, anywhere. I hope you had stiffer suspension springs to compensate. Now that you have a good taste of ADVriding, what's next.
    live2ridetahoe and guerreronegro like this.
  15. Lone Stranger

    Lone Stranger Been here awhile Supporter

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    The whole thread is cool!!!
    guerreronegro likes this.
  16. Manifold

    Manifold Been here awhile

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    Great thread. Looking forward to more. Bravo young man. Trip of a lifetime (or the first ;) )
    guerreronegro likes this.
  17. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Those Chinese motorcycles I have seen a few, they seem to just get going for as long as the Hondas. The Varadero was completely stock. I just adjust the preload to the max and when riding on sand deflate a bit the tires. I was surprised to see how agile it was after the new sprocket wheel was installed. Maybe it does not have the horse power to climb massive dunes but on normal ones I was able to go much smoother than a 1200GS fully loaded. I will write about that when I get to Mongolia.
  18. randob300

    randob300 Adventurer

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    "I will write about that when I get to Mongolia."

    What a sentence to be able to write. I've so enjoyed reading through this trip...amazing job, guerrero.
    Klay, chilolac, ricochetrider and 2 others like this.
  19. stumpmj

    stumpmj Been here awhile

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    I don't comment on these threads too often but I'm loving this ride report!!! Please keep it going!
    chilolac and ricochetrider like this.
  20. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    I was not able to catch more than 3 hours of sleep due to the heat. Certainly not the best way to start a day. The plan was to get to Nukus in Uzbekistan and avoid complications related to the 5 day visa. It did not seem to far on the map, about 200 Km or so and the road was paved. The rest of the teams were going to take a shortcut to get to Bukhara, a little bit more east but I wanted to take a detour and go visit the remaining of the Aral Sea north of Nukus. As I started to gather everything to put it back on the bike I started to feel great pain in the stomach. I quickly associated it to the canned food I ate yesterday bought in Turkmenbashi. It was going to be a tough day. I took an Ibuprofen hoping for the best but the damage was already Done. The Belgians offered to carry my bag in their car so I could ride easily through the sand while going up the hills and avoid complications. We made a few more pictures with the daylight and much less people around.
    On the way out to the main road I met Paul and Holly who had decided to camp close to the crater. Paul had a wreck yesterday and tear his ear against his helmet. The Spanish team in the van had luckily find them and patched him up. They were going to spend the day at the crater and then follow the same route as me so we said goodbye for the time being. 2020-04-17.jpg
    I was left alone, the Belgians were probably waiting for me up ahead at the crossing. I had now the hardest section of sand to undertake going up a hill. I was convinced the locals delivering beers and charging people to get unstuck were deliberately putting the sand themselves on that narrow track. I was not able to continue on the steep hill and got stuck. Soon they appear from nowhere demanding me money and to lend them the motorcycle so they could go on top. This was perhaps one of the few little incidents I had in the whole trip. Not that they were aggressive or anything but I denied completely and told them to go away. They didn’t. It was not difficult to get it out, all I had to do was get off and operate it while walking. I did that and three of them got in the back pushing and making gestures of how much effort were they doing. In the end they were insisting so much I decided to give them the equivalent of 1 dollar in the local currency which I was not going to use as I was crossing the border today. Even with that I felt guilty for giving money away for a service I did not need. It felt more like a blackmail.
    Later, I was able to caught up with the Belgians and retrieve my bags. We said goodbye for the time being as we knew we would be crossing paths rather soon than later. My stomach was getting worse by the minute and it soon made me stop in an emergency fashion to dispose of that cow meat in the middle of the desert. To make matters worse, the heat was also killing it, so I had to constantly drink water to not loose focus.
    AbeWhat, td63, scudo and 8 others like this.