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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guerreronegro, Apr 18, 2020.
Enjoying this writeup so much! Thanks for the inspiration Cheers from Denmark
I was hooked on your RR at the very begining and now you have gone through a lot of the places I have done in Central Asia, Uzbeckistan, Tajyckstan , Kyrgistan and Kazakstan. and of course the Pamir, I loved it all and glad you enjoyed it so much.
Lovely photo's and words make it a pleasure to read now.
This RR gets better with every update. Every time you post a town/city I copy/paste it in google maps and follow along as if I were there. Outstanding, thx for bringing us along.
Truth, brother... truth.
Indeed, lessons we could ALL stand to learn, re-learn, and learn again:
1; Happiness, & having a loving, open, and generous heart can come from any place- and are not tied to material things.
2; people everywhere are generally the same; by & large (aside from a small but significant few)- people, the world over, are good.
Thank you, once again, for sharing these stories and photos. The message of your story is perfectly timed for these strange days we are living out, in the 1st world.
Waking up the next day felt like an extension of dreaming. Elena and her husband were already cooking breakfast when I came to them. In less than 24 hours they made me feel like at home. But this feeling was indeed particularly genuine, characteristic from ex-USSR countries almost I would say. This kind of experiences was exactly what I was looking for when I signed for the rally. They showed me around the house now with daylight. They had a little farm with some chickens and also cows within the same compound. The landscapes of the Altai region in Russia were simply stunning. With little population nor big urban areas around they were a bit isolated but very happy with their lives indeed.
We took a picture together before leaving, another great family to add to my memories for posterity. Following what I started to see as a must in this part of Russia, they didn’t let me go without giving me even more food to carry. I said goodbye to them around 8 AM and left to enjoy the amazing landscapes the Altais had to offer, and also the road. I will always remember well this part of Russia, the weather was a bit colder than usual, just 4ºC in the early morning with lots of fog. The auxiliary LED lights had stopped working now permanently so I added that to my repair list when I had some time for repairs. The main gravel road was in perfect condition and the plan for today was to get as close as possible to Tashanta, the last village before crossing the border to Mongolia. This was another border that was shut during the weekends, so it was a good idea to sleep there so to wake up early next day and be the first one in the queue. Much like yesterday I was able to cruise at a decent speed while stopping to check some attractions like these caves and take pictures. There were many horses around like yesterday running freely, sometimes even next to me as I passed with the motorcycle. Truly enjoyable to ride while alone.
I had two options in terms of routes. I really wanted to follow more gravel roads like the one I was already in and so, when I arrived to Ust’-Kan I could have followed the P373 road towards Ust’-Koksa parallel to the Katun river. The terrain though, was getting softer and marshier. This route by the way, was the one I originally planned to take when I did not know yet it was not possible to cross from Kazakhstan north east towards Russia, being this a border cross only for nationals of these two countries. Since I had my doubts about the state of the road up ahead, I asked a local pinpointing it in my paper map and the face he gave me was a dubious negative answer looking at me and the bike with hesitation. So, I decided to make a left towards Yelo and headed towards the main road leading directly into Mongolia.
The main road (P256) was in top shape and had many services so as soon as I found a кофе sign I stopped to rest a bit and catch up with the diaries.
Brilliant RR!!!!! Thank you for sharing.
great trip, great expression .. congratulations
Bursa / Turkey
I like your name, "Blackbird", my avatar photo is your tumulus at Kahta.
After a good coffee, the best once since probably Turkey or so, the weather started to get a bit warmer. This place also had chicken on the menu with pasta, so I ordered that. The girl I presume owning the place was very nice and made an effort to understand what I wanted to order. The main words for basic food in Russian no longer seemed intimidating, many of them are very similar to some languages I already knew anyways. The sun was coming out dissolving the midst that had been in place since the morning. I was able to see an amazing landscape. Seemed like many Russians spent holidays in this amazing area of their country. There were many Japanese imports camper vans around camping in the many valleys around the Reka Chuya river. This is probably why this rest area on the main road had something more than the previous places I had visited before.
As I finished, I said goodbye to the owner and continued towards the Mongolian border. The road was in perfect condition, so I did not worry about not making it to Tashanta on time. I was happy not to take the other detour early in the morning as I could see how humid and marshy the terrain was from this side of the road. I would have likely run into difficulties. I was stopped by the cops later on. They just wanted to see passport, customs declaration, insurance proof and driving licence. Everything was in order so I could continue. The landscape was truly epic, so I kept stopping every now and then to take pictures and stretch the body a bit. I met in one of this stops Dmitry, a rider from Moscow with a BMW GS. He was riding Russia and his family was next to him but with a car. He told me he was able to cover around 1000 km a day. With this capability he was not so far from Moscow, only a few days separated him from the Altay region.
Today’s distance was about 550 km. Before arriving to Tashanta I stopped in some other villages to see what they were offering in terms of accommodation but nothing interesting popped up so after refueling one last time I headed there. The sun was also coming down and with it the temperatures. It could easily snow I thought to myself, even though this was late August temperatures were very close to 0 degrees. When I arrived to the POI in the gps I saw many rally cars parked outside and surprise surprise, these were many of the teams I have met in Turkmenistan and other countries on my way here. So, almost as if it was a family reunion; after checking in we prepared some dinner together and ate while catching up with the different stories lived so far and the strategy for Mongolia.
Thanks for posting this RR,it's good to see someone doing adventure riding on a inexpensive bike, very inspiring.
Keep on posting!
Enough with the "like", where's the "love" button when you need one?
Doing a trip like this is basis enough for admiration and praise. To take the time to share it with us brings you up to another level, at least in my opinion. By sharing experiences like this, in this way with honest words and images, you help teach all of us about what is out there for us to share and experience. Even if we do not take the trip, but offer assistance to others that do, we learn. Thank you.
Wonderful update @guerreronegro, the scenery from that portion of your trip is stunning! So cool to run into another rider and ending up at the same hotel as some of the other rally goers is super cool. I bet it felt awesome to catch up with those folks and talk stories from the different travels. Imagine that alone could take hours upon hours.
A couple things struck me about the image of the hotel you posted. First - the sign...it's in English? I wouldn't expect that from where you are in the world, did the folks running it also speak English?
Second - what's up with that fence next to the hotel? Crazy to see the barb-wire top - what was behind it that needed that kind of protection?
Look forward to the next update man, as always
I was there 2017 and we could park our bikes behind the fence for 5$. We didn't and nothing got stolen.
Nobody spoke English at the hotel then
wow! what a story this has been so far. I have been completely captivated by it for the past two days.
It is so well written and interesting, I am in awe of the generosity you've received and your experiences.
I am very much looking forward to your next post.
Been reading this the last few mornings.......Wowza, what a great adventure!! Thank You !!
Wow, I am amazed to see so many comments in between weeks. I would like to take one mmoment to thank everyone reading the story so far. I never thought that writting a diary every single day would be so gratifying one year later after doing the trip. When preparing it, I also looked for inspiration in other's posts so I guess this is my way to give it back to this amazing community. Thanks.
I think the folks running the place decided to advertise it as an international place given the fact this is just next to the border. There is not much in Tashanta but this place and maybe a couple more houses. So definetely a place for overlanders to stay. I forgot to attach the gps track, if you notice even though the border seems to be a bit far away, in reality the Russian check point is literally 200 meters from this place and then from there to the Monfolian border is probably another 5 km of no man's land. The fence as @G B pointed out was for parking. I was not given the option to park inside and the folks running the place did not speak English either. The whole place seemed to have been remodelled recently though.
Day 44 was finally the day to cross into Mongolia. I shared the room with an Italian team last night and we woke all up together to go have breakfast with the rest of the rally crew. When we exited the building, we could see the border queue was huge. With the border being closed on Sundays there was a huge bottleneck with some Mongolians returning back to their country but mostly Russians entering. We said goodbye with all of the rally participants that were driving cars as I was going to skip most of the queue with the motorcycle.
Thanks to this, I was able to position at the very beginning next to the fence waiting for the Russian official to open it. There were a few Russians on BMWs and KTMs adventure bikes so I stick with them as they will probably make the whole process more agile. Apparently, they do not need a visa to enter Mongolia as I learnt while waiting. This border was one of the slowest in terms of time, not on the Russian side but on the Mongolian one. I think it took me about 3.5 hours to cross and that withstanding I was being one of the first people to cross it in the morning. Since I needed to give a bunch of paperwork to the Russian official to legally exit the country, I lost some time but I wanted to make sure I would have no trouble re-entering the country later on as some people said you had to keep the temporary import permit. I don’t think that was the case since I gave back all of the papers, they give me when I enter.
After finishing the Russian checkpoint, I had to ride an extra 5 km of no man’s land to the Mongolian border. This was the first time I truly felt ripped off. Before entering the border there was a “pool” and a guy with a mini fogger machine claiming a compulsory disinfection was needed prior to enter the Mongolian border. There was no escape from it, it was 50 rubles for spraying the wheels that were still full of dust and mud. Then I had to wait, for about 2 hours because the official didn’t know exactly how to deal with me. The Russian bikers were also there but their waiting time was considerably less. There was a lot of sun and no shade so that didn’t make the waiting time exactly pleasant but I tried to use the time to visually inspect the bike and make sure everything was ok plus also catch up with the diaries. Funny enough I had still some Internet with the Russian SIM card I bought.
Eventually I was called in and I had to visit two more posts and an office inside a building. The whole procedure was not intuitive at all and I just limited to follow the locals in a chaotic set of queues that did not specify which window would be the right one for what I was sent to do inside the building. But after a good one more hour of time all was set and finally, I was free to enter the country. For what I was told, the rally participants driving cars spent in this border the whole day, so I was a very lucky guy. In the same building they had an foreign currency exchange office so I changed some dollars into Mongolian currency. The bills were huge, 100 dollars was about 200,000 Togrogs. I decided to continue with this amount for now and then withdraw from ATMs when needed. My plan was to take my time in Mongolia and take the southern route attempting to enter a bit the Gobi desert so I would spend some days.
At the other side I saw the inverse procedure, people queuing to enter Russia. I met a couple of Germans in a Honda Africa Twin RD07 and we exchanged some words regarding the itinerary taken and what to expect up ahead. Then as I advanced a bit more a guy stepped in the middle of the road demanding me to enter a little house on the side of the road. I read about this place on ioverlander, this was a “compulsory insurance” they demanded it was needed before entering the country. I did not think too much about this in the previous countries as I was not stopped to take care of insurances. In Russia my European insurance was accepted but in the remaining rest I didn’t see any offices to take care of auto or moto insurances like it was the case in Georgia. The insurance was about 10 euros or 23,000 Godrogs. The thing seemed legit as they gave me an official paper with the name of the company and official seal. Still, I was a bit hesitant to what extent would this coverage I barely understood would cover me in the worst of cases. With all bureaucracy taken care of now it was time to get back to the road towards the first town, Olgy. And what a surprise, the road seemed to be brand new asphalt.