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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. husqvarna

    husqvarna Been here awhile

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    Absolutely excellent report and so good to hear of whole countries of friendly people when some seem to have so few.
  2. TemeculaRider

    TemeculaRider Been here awhile

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    Have enjoyed every single word and picture. What amazing people. Can't thank you enough for taking the time to document and share this. If only this were a series, or a film at least!
    ricochetrider and guerreronegro like this.
  3. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the kind words. I wish I could have had a bit more time to document this trip on video but sadly that takes tons of effort and skill I do not possess. Writting the diaries at the end of the day was often hard. I cannot imagine what it would be to be pendant of setting up cameras and so on. The video result is much more rewarding in the end but also has some negative aspects, specially when interacting with the locals.
  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    This year with COVID I have started to get into bikepacking more and more and I just do not cease to remember these guys going up these mountains doing 60+ miles every day on touring bycycles without any suspension and fully loaded. It is truly epic what these guys did.

    Completely agree!
  5. Coffeeman

    Coffeeman Coffeeman

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    I have read this thread from start up until now with only a small break to sleep. I am totally enthralled. Amazing stuff! What an achievement!
    guerreronegro likes this.
  6. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, MICN Supporter

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    Hey guerreronegro! I found this RR and have spent the last few days getting caught up on your adventure! I love your storytelling and the way you travel, as it’s a style very similar to my own. I love to travel solo and be open to the people, the experience and whatever the universe provides...

    Looking forward to reading about your experiences in Mongolia. That was a very special place for me and I daydream frequently about getting back someday.

    Keep the updates coming mate!

    Tahoe
    guerreronegro likes this.
  7. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    So after spending a few minutes with Raul talking and enjoying the landscape we said goodbye and continued carrying on each on our steed. I was able to recover some heat but this was far from being done. I reckon it was around 42 Fahrenheit or 5 degrees and extremely windy. The globes I was wearing were definitely not up for this environment. The road to Karakul kept getting worse and worse, I had now to stick to the right shoulder as it was the most uniform piece of surface around. The Kara Kul lake started to appear in the horizon with a very bright tone of blue. It was really something to keep contemplating as I passed through.
    DSC02791.JPG
    I know some of the teams camped there for the night and I would have definitely given it a try if it wasn’t for the bad weather and timing. I also started to see mor yurts indicating nomadic tribes around, this would start to be more common in Kirghizstan. Although I was not sure if this would be true nomads or yurts just for tourists as the village of Karakul was also full of cafeterias and other tourist-specific infrastructure. Also yurts I didn’t know at the time, had subtle differences in their construction from region to region as I was told later in Mongolia.
    DSC02784.JPG
    The road kept alternating between good tarmac, bad tarmac, good gravel, bad gravel, and just dirt road. Many motorcyclists kept passing me with bigger adv bikes, I was still not able to surpass 30 kmh and it was starting to be a test of patience and endurance to cold weather. Good news was I didn’t have to worry about the engine anymore overheating as the sun disappeared and it was well covered in clouds. I will see most of the motorcyclists later at the Kirghizstan border.
    DSC02779.JPG
    As I approached the border, I was pretty sure the temperature had dropped close to 0 degrees Celsius. The wind was just glaciar and I was shivering constantly. Both my hands and back were in pain due to coldness and if I stopped for whatever reason I will just have to keep moving physically to heat my body. This was the case when I reached the border. Thank god there were some ralliers also waiting and they let me enter their car with the heating on. This probably saved me from having some sort of hypothermia later in the day. Their car was not doing much better due to altitude just getting it into first gear to move a bit to advance in the queue implied burning quite a lot of clutch. For me it was the same, I would rather move the motorcycle by hand.

    We were around 7 people waiting at the queue and this was the kind of border with zero IT equipment. Every single record was recorded by hand by the officials and that took around 25 minutes per person. So yeah it took quite a lot of time. If it wasn’t for the friendly British people who let me rest in their car it would have been a nightmare to withstand. Then once everything was finished with the passports, they would let us go in the most bizarre piece of territory on earth, a 20 km zone of no man’s land. Literally it was 20 km from the Tajikistan border to the Kirghizstan border going maybe 500 meters down of the mountain in the process. Being no man’s land this section was pretty abandoned and by far the worst of all the Pamirs. Interestingly enough, there was a hotel right in the middle. I guess there was demand for it for people without a proper visa to enter either Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.
    td63, liv2day, VTbeemer and 8 others like this.
  8. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

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    A hotel in no man’s land…that is pretty odd. Of course it must be on the territory of one of the nations, but still…

    I can think of quite a few scenarios that would be odd at the very least.
  9. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    It goes something like this. I too believe that place must be under the jusrisdiction of what according to google maps seem to be Kyrghyzstan. But it is also very strange that as I tried to zoom in in both google earth and maps the image would become completely blurred as if they were not allowed to show satellite imagery of these areas. Very weird indeed.

    upload_2020-10-18_11-14-45.png
    upload_2020-10-18_11-17-23.png
  10. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    enjoying the updates

    thanks again.
    guerreronegro likes this.
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    That border crossing sounds nuts @guerreronegro, especially freezing your arse off while waiting for a hand-copied process. Good thing the other folks were there to offer some respite from the cold.

    I'm really curious to hear how it went once you made it through no man's land - what an experience.
    guerreronegro likes this.
  12. orcocop

    orcocop n00b

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    Great report Guerreronegro, what a friendly people in an amazing trip.
    I'm following you.
    Saludos desde Zaragoza, buen viaje compañero!
    guerreronegro likes this.
  13. orcocop

    orcocop n00b

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    IMHO the most important thing about this trip is that you don't need an over priced over complicated only a dealer can fix bike.
  14. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    It is a very important factor indeed. Although the Varadero is a simple reliable bike, many of its components are difficult to obtain outside of Europe. There are not many bi-cilinder 125 bikes in the market also and in the case of the carburetors failing options in these countries would be somehow limited. When preparing this trip I put a lot of my confidence in the motorcycle´s reliability and issue preventive maintenance in as much as possible. Worst case scenario I guess it would have been possible to swap a Chinese engine easily available in this frame to keep going.
  15. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    This day was becoming one of the toughest and most demanding in terms of energy so far. Those 20 km of no man’s land were no joke. It demanded extreme concentration due to its muddy and uneven condition while going down a steep hill. Once at the Kyrghyzstan border, we were told to wait another hour or so at the gate. Again, I was lucky enough to seek shelter in one of the cars as I was freezing my ass off. A mix of rain and snow started to appear but very weakly. When they let us in the customs area, we had to go to a slightly better office than the one in Tajikistan (that was more like a hut) but still with no IT equipment. One by one we were given admission in the country and then each of us resumed itineraries.

    I was exhausted and needed something hot in order to continue. I was starting to show symptoms of a congestion so in the first village I stopped to put some petrol and at what seemed to be a cafeteria. I was lucky enough to have exchanged currencies with the Slovenian rider as I had more than enough for the time being to cover all of these expenses. In the cafeteria I met some of the Russian riders that were also standing at the border. It was there that I understood the meaning of a sphere of influence between ex-soviet states. These guys were given preference before all of us and also them speaking the same language helped them move quite faster in their tumultuous bureaucracy ecosystem. Curiously enough there were also some Spanish tourists in the cafeteria, always nice to meet some fellow countryman.

    I went straight to the counter to order a hot chicken soup that literally revived me. They also had some chicken meat, so I also got a bit of that to recover some lost calories. While sitting there I could see how light snow kept falling down. Then a Norwegian team also standing at the same border cross came in and we joined tables to have lunch together. Good to have some company to put in common the itineraries each of us would be following. According to some Intel of other teams ahead of us, the road was in brand new condition so getting to Osh was possible that same day. Kyrgyzstan has amazing areas to explore at the geographic location I was standing but in the state I was, and with this snowy weather I was simply not up for the task of exploring so the most sensible option was to keep following the main road to the capital. I finished heating up the body with a hot instant coffee and although this is not something, I recommend trying in any of the Stans, this one was totally worth it.

    The road from Sary-Tash to Osh crossed a mountain pass and for a road bike it would have been paradise. It was as described by the other teams, brand new asphalt probably from Chinese origin due to geographical proximity. I enjoyed this road quite a lot and the best of all is that in a matter of an hour I lost about 3000 ft in altitude getting the bike to respond much better and gaining more temperature. I had a blast on this road and all of the drivers I crossed were friendly honking and switching their high beams to salute. I only had one incident and it was almost arriving to Osh, in which a kid showed very hostile behavior by throwing me an object (I reckon it was either a potato or an orange) while passing down the road. I didn´t give it much importance but when put in common with other riders passing that same area they described also something similar. Good to remember that not everything in this trip was going to be necessarily nice, and also to keep an eye open just in case.

    I arrived to Osh almost as it was getting dark and in the rush hour apparently with loads of traffic. Most noticeably rather than the traffic was the incredibly levels of pollution in the air. When I lifted the visor of my helmet I could feel the particles. Many drivers let me pass and roll down their windows to speak with me in while waiting for the green lights. It was a nice feeling to finally have arrived after probably one of the toughest days so far. My destination for tonight was a hostel in ioverlander with the maximum rating. I needed to rest properly and recover for tomorrow.

    Attached Files:

    td63, jprepp, DavidM1 and 1 other person like this.
  16. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    No photos from this part of the day. But I forgot to add one while crossing the Karakul lake showing how close the Chinese are setting their fence literally invading Tajikistan´s sovereignty.
    Screenshot 2020-10-24 123919.png
    upload_2020-10-24_12-41-8.png
    9w6vx, jprepp and mrsdnf like this.