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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by guerreronegro, Apr 18, 2020.
Insane! Can't wait for the rest...
It turned out not only me was travelling back home but also some ralliers I met on the way decided to do this in the last minute with their cars. I had already got used to having some company around and at this point it was more necessary than ever before. Manu and I got along very well, he was very enthusiastic and open minded for his age, he could perfectly be my father. He liked to interact with locals as much as possible despite not speaking one word, I learnt a lot from him and his travels. He was an experienced overlander and for this travel his finances were quite tight, so he showed me a few tricks to learn do more with less. Like Jorge he didn´t mind the speed limitations and preferred to camp when possible. Better to be in the same page of the same book.
We departed from the hostel a bit late after having some breakfast. When I was waiting for Manu in the street, a random middle aged local came to me as he showed our bikes and asked from the origin country. It turns out her daughter was living in Barcelona and he will be spending his retirement there soon after as I understood from the translator. He then gave me 500 Rubbles and disappeared. This is the kind of surreal stories that were constantly happening to me in this trip. Never seen and likely will not see this happening anytime soon I told myself.
Once on our way we had to first get the road north and then make a left to continue parallel to the Baikal Sea. We had decided to stop and look two hours before the sun set to find a good camping place and spend the night there. On our way we stopped at a Walmart equivalent to get some food and water. The road was in top condition for the most part, some sections were being repaired but the Russians at least used signs to let you know a bit in advance.
There was a police control in the main road and they stopped me for not having my front light on. This time I was lucky and he let us go with a notice to repair it as soon as possible. I had a replacement bulb with me somewhere so I would take care of it later. Many of the stories of corruption in Russia were not applying in my case, I was stopped a few more times and always let go in the act. We stopped in the village of Baykalsk and looked for a place next to the coast. There were some cabins there for the fishing men. We asked if it was ok to put the tent next to them and the ones parking their boats for the night didn´t mind.
We made a bonfire and had some dinner. The sky was getting cloudy and tomorrow it would likely rain so I put the bike inside the tent. We shared some stories from this trip so far and planned the day for tomorrow. After that I headed to the tent, but it was difficult to sleep due to the wind. It tested the strength of the tent poles, and it also got really cold. Tomorrow it was going to be fun…
Great travel, and I'm very glad to see you destroying some stereotypes about Russia
I've not been there, but I've read a lot of RRs, and it always comes over that the people are very helpful and nice. I guess it's just the government that's a bit iffy.
There was a storm in the middle of the night accompanied with heavy rain and wind. The lateral poles of the tent bended against my face while asleep. The inflatable mattress also gave up and I woke up in the morning feeling the humidity in all bones. It was by far the worst night, even worse than the Kyrgyzstan freezing temperatures bellow 0 Celsius. Rain continued with us the whole day so as we woke up we unpacked our rain gear. Temperature also dropped considerably but we were not able yet to get a feel on that one until we got moving.
We went to a nearby restaurant on the road and got a pretty good breakfast and tea for three euro as we were allowed to pay by card. I was so full I could continue all day with this ingest. During this whole trip I had been incredibly lucky with weather only hitting a bit of water in Georgia. But my gear was not the best for this weather and having broken both handguards the globes were getting wet and my hands were getting incredibly cold. Apparently Manu had been there before while doing an Elefantentreffen so he had an improvised solution consisting in cutting a couple 5litre water bottles in half with a knife and attaching these to the handlebar with zipties. This solution worked decently well and as we stopped later to buy another set of globes to wear underneath, it got more or less ok after. There were no motorcycle shops to get better gear so I’d have to wait until arriving to a major city.
But rain continued hitting hard and not only the globes were a problem, but also the boots. So we stopped for gas and tried to mend it with some electrical tape trying to waterproof them in as much as possible before too much water was inside. We found some Russian bikers making their way back to Moscow signaling the end of the riding season on this part of the continent. We also saw a genuine fight between two very drunk locals, one bleeding pretty bad from his forehead. This was around 1 PM. Nobody seemed to care too much about it and eventually stopped but it was shocking to see the whole incident going unnoticed.
The road was in good state but difficult to understand how Russia’s main road crossing the whole country from side to side it was just the size of a secondary road. Fortunately not so much traffic was found so other than the weather there was not much to worry about. At a point it got very cold and because this bike did not have heated grips, I started to alternate hands in the handlebar and the cylinder heads to recover from the numb feeling. When it got too bad we seek cover and waited for a few minutes. Good thing to have Manu on this one other wise it would have been a horrible second day going back. I had to make an average of 600 Km daily to be on track and today due to weather I was already behind. Hopefully it would give a break tomorrow or next weeks as we kept moving west.
We stopped at a pension in the town of Kuytun after a couple failed attempts. We got a double room for cheap plus the place had a kitchen to cook ourselves dinner. The most important thing was to dry everything for tomorrow and a warm shower to recover from last night. While on the kitchen we got introduced to a few cops that were also passing their night there. The guys were very easy going and we had dinner together. They started to make jokes about the mafia and showed us their credentials. After dinner, it was vodka time for them and of course they wanted us to join them also. We felt it would be unpolite to say no so we had a couple of drinks and after that retired to rest. I was starting to understand Russia.
It's tough to be wet. And tough to be cold. But it's really brutal to be wet and cold! Good job fighting the misery and continuing onward.
Day 57 started with heavy fog. Our gear had been able to dry mostly so we packed everything and proceed with caution in the narrow two-lane main road. Our destination would ideally be Krasnoyarsk, 800 Km away. As the day went by the fog faded and the temperature improved significantly. The rain gear was no longer needed, it was too hot to have it on. Riding in this part of the trip was for the most part ok, good road but sometimes reckless drivers both semis and cars were sometimes doing stuff you see in Youtube. On top of that, sometimes the road would all of a sudden show corrugation patterns similar to what I’d seen in Kazakhstan.
We stopped every now and then anyhow to have a coffee, a food break or both. Petrol is cheap around here so I gave 98 and 100 octane premium fuel a try. Not sure if it was a placebo effect but it somehow felt easier to maintain 70 mph with this. We also met a Moscow local on a classic RD07 Africa Twin. I have the same bike at home, so we chatted for a bit before continuing on the main road. At this point, it felt a bit like driving a lorry, only stopping when absolutely necessary and just trying to cover the most miles within the day. Without Manu, this would have been psychologically harder. He liked to stop more often to buy fruit or honey from locals and generally get immersed in depth within the culture of the region. I liked his approach. His KTM though, was not running smoothly and he would soon have to stop to try and find a more temporary solution to the fuel pump he got adapted back in Kazakhstan. Likewise, my Varadero had finally given up on the rear brakes and the front pads were about to wear down due to the bent disc. We had to find something in this city tomorrow.
We hit a massive traffic jam while entering Krasnoyarsk but managed to skip most of it by splitting lanes. iOverlander worked another time securing a pretty good hostel close to the center and with parking. Even though we arrived at night we had enough time to have some good dinner and walk around the city. Krasnoyarsk felt modern, with lots of led lights and modern architecture. None of us was in the mood for walking after a long day so after a bit of sightseeing it was time to rest.
That is how I like to travel as well. Stop, immerse with the locals, have a few conversations. You never know where that might lead! And reach town early enough to get a good bed, dinner and a walk around to scout the nightlife! Couldn’t get better!
Bravo Sir! Bravo!!
Congratulations Pedro on completing the Mongol Rally 2019 - what a different world it was back then?
This has been an excellent ride report and thank you for all the time you have put into it for our enjoyment. I have always been interested in RR's that cover the 'Stans and Mongolia. Your report has been just wonderful.
The information you have put into it has been quite fascinating and also useful for anyone who is thinking of covering the same route.
Reading and following your route with a second screen running Googl Maps has been really interesting.
When the kids finish school and Mrs Makad & I are freed up , want to show her your RR for encouragement & to try and get her to sign up for the rally 2024 - I don't think on bikes, but in a 4 wheel shitbox! Still challenging but definitely achievable and fun to make more memories with my girl.
Anyway mate , great stuff & thanks again for taking us along for a ride
Been following from the early days. Bravo amigo. A lifetime of memories there, and toilet troubles
Dammit, somehow your report dropped off my radar @guerreronegro; had become accustomed to seeing the sticky at the top that I didn't pay attention to the alerts. Really glad it popped back up!
Going to catch up on the last couple updates, great story on crossing back into Russia and meeting up with the locals who just decided to join you at dinner. Imagine that was both wonderful and tiring after a long day in the saddle.
Still one of the best RRs on here man, well done all the way through.
great updates as always Guerreronegro!! love every bit of your trip. looking forward to la vuelta a casa.
I only just found this ride report and have enjoyed so much reading it over the last two days.
Thank you for posting, wonderful images and story.
While having breakfast, in a restaurant close to the hostel, me and Manu agreed on departing ways as soon as we found a place to fix his bike. I wanted to help him but without wanting it I finally found the guy who could take care of my rear brakes. Manu was likely going to need a few days to do all of the things he wanted to do but he worked as freelance, so he could afford a few more days. Looking for a KTM shop was challenging. We visited three different bike shops as seen on the Internet, but finally found a KTM dealer who would agree to find the parts. The good thing about Russians is that they go to great extents to try and help you. In my case the guy in charge of the KTM shop had a friend of a friend of a friend (literally), who could help me short out the rear brake cylinder. And so, after crossing the city three times and get lost in an industrial avenue, Alexander found me. He knew the bike did not have any spare parts in this part of Russia but was competent enough to adapt a similar cylinder and get it fixed throughout the morning. The guy was an enduro fan by the number of bikes he had around and his photos. After paying him, I moved for some lunch and this time it was a nice juicy steak.
I was back again solo, after a good two weeks or so with Manu and Jorge. It takes a while to readapt to this reality. I was noticing now the time difference going west as I was able to gain more daylight time. One cool thing was the sunsets lasting longer. After lunch I did 400 km taking advantage on this phenomenon even though I departure Krasnoyarsk at 3pm. Just looking back at the Spot map I could see the magnitude of the distance I was able to cover riding through Russia. Thinking of the struggles on my way in was one way to kill time while riding on the boring two way road for the rest of the day. Today I would be at the same latitude when I entered Mongolia via Olgii approximately.
The next days it was a matter of making progress in as much as possible, therefore, a bit monotone. As much as I enjoyed the company so far, I was more efficient at accomplishing this task alone. It was a bit sad to leave Manu behind though. The rest of the day I was able to reach the town of Marinsk at night. Not much on offer regarding accommodation so I went to a road hostel in the main road with some lorry drivers. Room was more expensive than usual and not particularly welcoming but needed to wash clothes and take a shower. The day was cloudy but overall cold and it somehow felt tomorrow it would be colder.
Oh man, I don't know how many times have I asked myself this question during the course of 2020/21. To think at some point I had second thoughts but chose in the end to carry on with the project makes me a lucky one. I really hope all borders eventually open and the rally can be resumed as usual. Which car are you thinking of? If time is not an issue try to squeeze Iran in. This one I regret not doing it.
To think I have about 200 pages of report in Microsoft Word makes me want to thank you for reading it . I am finishing moving to a new place and hopefully will consolidate everything within this summer.
Funny how the harder you work the luckier you get? Your hard working adventure has given so much enjoyment to so many around the world. I applaud you.
What car? - I think something Japanese, a Daihatsu Sirion or something similar. 4 doors. Petrol. Manual...
Definitely going through Iran. Everyone i have ever spoken to when i was travelling rates Iran highly.
the full trip home musta been CRAZY
Hope your move is going well. Not an easy task to pack everything up and shuffle it from A to B. Good time to purge a bit tho! Best Luck, look forward to reading more of your report when you get the time.
Edit: 200 pages, eh? We are something like 26 pages in here so.... the full trip home musta been CRAZY
It was a matter of time for rain to come back. I was given a break for two consecutive days with a mix of sunny and cloudy weather but today it would rain non-stop though not as bad as in the Baikal lake, more like an intermittent drizzle with better temperatures. I had bought a winter hat in Novosibirsk to wear inside the helmet that also did a good job covering the neck area keeping humidity out. Globes on the other hand were asking for replacement and the forma boots had lost its impermeability feature so I had to revert this by putting some tape around them.
The road was once again a long straight line though with the same taiga landscape. I covered 1000 Km/ 600 miles stopping a total of three times for fuel and food. Petrol is so cheap I kept trying the 98 octane on the bike at just 60 cents per litre. These petrol stations, either Lukoil or Gazprom had very decent fast food like hot dogs or good pastries. I stopped for lunch however, in a lorry rest area that had a buffet menu type with all typical Russian cuisine dishes. It was packed and I had to share the table with a random driver but that seemed to be the case with almost everybody in that place. I just felt bad not to be able to speak the language. With this weather it was time to try once again the local Borsch and gain back some heat. I spent my break time looking for workshops in Moscow to maybe change the chain and the tyres as the Karoo were already unevenly worn. My plan was to stop in Moscow anyhow a couple days and see the city, the last stop in this trip.
Back on the road, I had a couple of close calls. Everytime I tried to overtake a truck I had to calculate everything very meticulously not to end up in a disaster. With just 15 hp I had got the feeling on how to overtake slower vehicles but with long semis it would take a good hald a minute to do this and if another truck came in the opposite direction I would have to abort the operation almost when I ended up overtaking. This was a patience test. Some drivers sometimes would cooperate either by indicating the right timing or by slowing down. Others would just mind their own business. With bad weather and sometimes unpredictable asphalt on the road, concentration was a commodity I could not afford to lose. This would be even worse after the sun was down as my scratched visor would not allow me to see so I had to ride with an open helmet.
I wanted to keep riding to Omsk, close to the Kazakhstan border but that would have implied arriving very late and although I was quite comfortable in mother Russia, it had been a long day, temperatures were dropping down and the best part, I had found a motoclub in iOverlander. I really wanted to try this today, so I stopped in Tatarsk. Now the story gets interesting because when I get to the place the motoclub is no longer there but there I found two locals repairing a Soviet old timer who invited me to join them in their improvised workshop. I helped them replace a suspension component which had to be taken out with an old torch from the soviet era still in working order. I wanted to ask them if there was a place in their private property where to pitch the tent for the night but they denied me this and instead one of them came with me 20 meters to a nearby hotel, paid the night and gave me a shot glass as a souvenir. People following me home could not believe stuff like this would be happening to me so frequently. The more I was heading west, the more melancholic I was getting.
The generosity shown by some is so heart warming. Like others I'm still loving your adventure.