A solo trip to Mongolia on a 125cc

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

  1. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Day 60 was a miserable day to remember. Yesterday´s drizzle was nothing compared to today´s combo. A good thing was that sleeping in a hotel allowed me to start the day dry. Little did it matter because as soon as I engaged first gear, I was already feeling the humidity in my bones. Temperatures had dropped drastically and as I gained speed my wet hands started to get tense spreading to the rest of the muscles in the lower and upper arm. Wind was also blowing hard, and affected my neck and back which I felt contractured everytime I stopped for fuel. I had got better at driving single handed and using the cylinder head to heat my other hand to relief some pain but this was just a desperate way to keep making more miles until I found a better solution. I tried changing globes a couple times but it was useless as both pairs I carried on me were not water proof, so they just lasted minutes until they got soak wet.

    I started feeling a bit sick and the only thing that made me feel better was a hot drink in the form of coffee or soup where I found one. In Omsk I stopped in the city centre to find a decent place where to make time until rain faded out a bit. They didn´t have much on offer other than a sandwich and coffee so as soon as I saw the sky opened up I left. Omsk was very dirty due to wet particles on the pavement which also made it very slippery. I felt how the rear wheel lost traction as I entered a roundabout and opened throttle. This never happens in such a low power output bike but here it did almost ending up in a fall. I had to get rid of the worn off road tires and put back the road ones I was carrying.
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    Rain keeps hitting me from Omsk towards the west. I tried putting another set of globes for garden use and after this rain goes away. The wind stays and it is so strong it makes me ran out of fuel 60 km more than usual. With 100 octane fuel I should be getting better fuel mileage but the wind didn’t allow me to pass 100 kph on full open throttle. I managed to get on reserve to the next station where I got a well earnt lunch. The sky is finally clear but the road was a bit deteriorated and with increasing traffic this made me stay more vigilant than usual. With the remaining energy I set up my final destination in the town of Kurgan where I saw the sun go down as I entered the city. The sunsets in this part were simply spectacular. I found a hotel in the main street with a good restaurant and I didn´t have much to think after this day. While having dinner I realize I had three days approx. to Moscow left. Tomorrow it would likely be Ufa, and then crossing the Ural mountain range hopefully would steer the weather for the better.

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  2. amol

    amol Been here awhile

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    this may be my favorite ride report ever
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  3. Manifold

    Manifold Long timer

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    Awesome journey young man. If I ever get to Spain I will stand you a few beers
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  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Two months have passed now after leaving home. It felt like I could be doing this for another year no problem. I was already adjusted to the nomad dynamic. What I could not help was to stop thinking how much time it would take me to process all I have lived throughout the 23+ countries I had already visited so far once I arrived home. My conception of the world before departure and now was refreshed. Before this trip I had been working in Sweden, Ecuador, the UK and Spain. I had also visited and lived briefly in China, the US and Kenya. But I had never travelled like this, not knowing where I would be sleeping and subject to constant uncertainty. Like many other overlanders, I am sure this feeling is what comes to many people prior to the trip, and the reverse thought of not being keen to come back to the safe predictable everyday life. It had been intense, and to some extent I was afraid of going back to the previous life, not because of work but on how to handle all I had seen and learnt.

    With this thought I started the day, grateful to be living this epic adventure and remembering all of the people helping me so far. The weather was improving slightly, so that was always great news. I did not know how long I would enjoy it so I had to cover in as much miles as possible. The wind, however, was now enemy number one affecting both mileage and maximum speed. In the first days of the trip, the bike was able to cover almost 400 km on one tank. Now, this was almost half, 220 km with premium fuel. At least the wind was just perpendicular and not lateral. I hate lateral wind, it kills the neck and also dangerous on a two lane road with little shoulders to evacuate with incoming traffic.

    I found heavy traffic on a twisted road. This was the beginning of the Ural Mountain range. It was beautiful. I could see many little posts selling all kinds of things from food to souvenirs, same ones you find on Moscow but at real prices. Also the villages around this area were charming, all houses made up with wood and mud. I guess this must be the holiday place for many Russians around. Traffic in some sections got really bad and filtering was not really an option because of the upcoming traffic on a narrow road. This was a game of patience once again, so I entertained myself checking the map with possible POI in the meantime.
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    I then started to see different trees and a lot of lakes. Camping thoughts came to my mind but my health had seen better days. I was truly lucky not to have fallen ill after the previous days and I could not afford to stop just to stay in bed. After a bit more riding, fueling and more riding, I stopped at a sightseeing place just before going down the hill. I met another rider in another classic Africa Twin from Moscow. He told me I was not far from the big city, two days at the most. In this place, there were many people on paragliders. It was great just to stop riding and chill for a while. I opened maps.me and found a guest house passing Ufa, one hour away.

    I arrived still with daylight and this place, Otel and Lili, was like an oasis compared with what I had seen so far. It was a small country house run by a family. They prepared excellent food and gave me an interesting conversation for the night. Tomorrow I would be aiming for Novocheboksark following the Volga river, and if I was not able to make it, Kazan would be plan B.

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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Caught up on your last couple updates @guerreronegro - brilliant! The story from the previous page with you helping the two Russian guys remove a suspension piece and then getting your hotel paid for by one of them...just amazing man. It's so refreshing to read commentary like this; and your report is filled with different examples from different countries of simple generosity being offered freely and without any expectation of reciprocating. Just plain wonderful.

    ^^^^
    This. Throughout this truly epic adventure of yours @guerreronegro, I've been continually impressed with your attitude. Regardless of the challenges, both mechanical and physical, you've always been a beacon of positivity in your writing. Thanks for that - it's one of the reasons I've enjoyed following your report from the beginning.

    Look forward to what comes next, especially any pics of the guest house you hit from the last post.
  6. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Thanks @liv2day. I think part of my misery those days it was outweighed by people's generosity along the way at the end of the day. Besides the diary I was also making some videos for an Instagram account summarizing the day. Just checking the ones corresponding to this week I can transport back in time and feel the toll in the body back again. But yeah, positivity is key in any motorcycle trip solo or not solo, if mind fails, then it is just a domino effect for the rest to collapse
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  7. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Had an early start after an excellent recovery in this guest house. I head downstairs to have an equally good homemade breakfast. While waiting I tried to catch up with the diaries, at this point in the trip it was becoming increasingly harder to complete. I was running out of Internet data so I planned to stop at a Beeline shop and add some credit to keep the line operative. The diaries, I learnt about an app that would make a voice recording and transcribe it automatically. I would give it a try these days, going to bed so exhausted and start writing diaries is not the nicest thing to do. Could not imagine what it would be if I was filming and editing video.
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    Out there it was cold. I could see the windscreen and fuel tank had been under low temperatures in the night as water traces were visible all around. We took a picture together with the hosts and added another goodbye on the list. It was a long time since I tried couch surfing so in my first stop, after filling credit, I sent a request in Kazan. If it was accepted, I would get to see a very famous and cool city, if not, I would continue to the next town, Novocheboksarsk. I also found an automotive retailer so I bought some oil as I had to change the oil soon, so if possible, I would do the same as in Kazakhstan leaving the used oil in a workshop.

    The rest of the day went by just like that. Weather was cold, but not miserable as other days. Most importantly, there was no wind, and this let me advance quite fast gaining back also fuel economy. Roads were getting wider with more lanes as I approached Kazan. Unfortunately, I didn’t secure anything in couchsurfing in the end. I continued my way but now taking secondary roads that went nearby the Volga river. It was the best part of the day, zero traffic and cool view of the river. Even better was the temperature was getting quite warm all of a sudden and I had to take off some layers of clothes. I had two hours of daylight left and I found a very cool beach area. Many people were chilling there waiting for the sunset. I decided to pitch the tent next to a group of friendly kids who didn’t mind my presence.
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    After mounting the tent, they came to me with some boiled potatoes in aluminum paper, and some tea to share as they were curious about my character. I tried to explain with the translator in a nutshell. Some of them spoke English and it was good company. Eventually as it was getting darker they had to leave so I started working in changing the oil. While doing this, I met another character, Jacob. He had a beach house right behind where I have camped. He was not bored by that but rather wanted to invite me to go inside claiming this was a spot where many young people came drunk late at night and I would not have a good rest.
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    I kind of wanted to camp because the place was amazing, but his offer was much better plus he had some beer, and that was a huge point to consider. He helped me pack everything again and we put the bike inside his house. Jacob had already been drinking a bit, while doing this he almost fell three times in the sand while walking. For Jacob it was the first time he had met a foreigner and in his own words, he was honored, to have me at his place for the night. I could feel the authenticity of his words. These same words I had heard them a while back while in Serbia, and experienced them throughout the Asian continent. We drink for a while until midnight and then he walked me into one of the rooms.
  8. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

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    NICE! Thanks so much for
    continuing this story. I remain enthralled by every new chapter.
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  9. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Early in the morning, Jacob was already up in the kitchen preparing breakfast. My Internet had ran out again as we watched many videos last night plus translation. Because I did not understand any of the SMS telling me of this, Jacob offered to translate. Then he calls a friend and tops it up remotely. When I realize this, I try to pay the guy but once again, he would not accept any money. We exchanged numbers and make another picture to remember him. Same as we many others in this trip, we keep texting every now and then via WhatsApp.
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    The first thing to do was crossing the massive river to the other side of the Volga. At the other end, a cop stops me. We shake hands I give him the papers and he let me go. This one was a nice fellow; you could see it in his face. In the next hours rain started to appear but nothing disastrous. My diet had slightly changed in the last couple of days while on the road switching to chocolate bars and fast food. Not exactly the best, but I had to cover many miles and this was just the fastest. Still, part of the experience I guess.

    I met a couple of Russian riders at a petrol station who spoke English I have seen them two petrol stations ago. They had been touring for 7 days in two separate bikes. The couple gave me their number in case I needed something in Moscow. I made it to the capital still with daylight but traffic was dense. Luckily, I was able to filter it making my way through the four rings as rain was intensifying. I didn’t care much; I was too excited to be here. First thing I do was to ride directly to the Kremlin. The night lights all around the city made it nice to ride around it. Then, it was time to go to a cheap hostel I had booked a few hours ago. I planned to stay here for two days so as soon as I checked in I booked a couple activities to do tomorrow while making dinner
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  10. Manifold

    Manifold Long timer

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    Just a great thread. Many thanks for taking us along on this unfinished as yet journey
  11. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Very good!
    the Red Square is cool, l remember going to a grocery store inside a mall and bought some food and 100 proof Vodka, it went down as smooth as water...
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  12. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Time for a day off. I am not a city fan, but Moscow deserved a day off yes or yes. Also, after 10 days of heavy miles on the road riding almost like if I was driving an international truck with very bad weather, it was time to stop. The hostel had a washing machine so it was time to take care of laundry while doing some tourism. I found a city tour in one of the hostel booklets and within it, some activities, within it bunker 42. I made the online reservation and proceed to go for a walk to the Red Square. It was not far from the hostel and arrived in 15 minutes after crossing some of the bridges in that area of town.
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    The tour started in two hours, so I explored the city centre checking, St. Basil´s cathedral and the State Historical Museum on my way to Slavyanskaya Square where I had some breakfast. The guide arrived a few minutes late due to traffic congestion. Then we did more or less the same itinerary I did previously walking but this time explaining its history behind, marked by wars, monarchs and religion. I pay attention to some details and write down literature to do my fair bit of reading at home with more tranquility. We were recommended to go to a market located on the east part of town. I would try to fit that later in the day so I could see the underground. The tour and the Bunker 42 visit overlapped so I left it earlier, just when they were showing the building in which the Romanov´s used to live. It was not far, just 10 min to the entrance of the bunker itself.
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    There we were explained how the Soviets were to act in the event of a nuclear strike, facts about the Cuban missile crisis, and see a replica of the fat man soviet equivalent. The bunker is built 65 meters underground entirely covered in concrete and with super thick steel plates on top. Impressive to imagine how to handle those while down there. Also, the guide showed us some of the galleries and escape routes on a cut section scale replica of the bunker. Probably it is still connected with some key accesses in the city.
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    Once finished I went out for lunch and started messaging with Nikolai, the rider I met yesterday in a Gazprom petrol station. He said he could help me out find a chain and a rear sprocket. If easily available, I would change them and take the chance to also change the tires. So, while he confirmed me that I moved to the market the previous guide mentioned in the underground. And indeed, it is probably the most beautiful underground I´ve ever seen. Two tickets costed me around 1 USD so that was a good deal to move a great deal of distance.
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    The market was definitely something to see as well. Items ranged from typical Russian items like Matrioskas, Vladimir Putin tshirts, winter hats, and military uniforms. Locals also spoke many languages and made their best to sell me something, as soon as they spotted me. I bought an army winter uniform to wear underneath in case weather got even worse and a couple compact souvenirs. Then it was time to go back to the hostel.

    There I collected laundry and had a quick shower before going to a motorcycle shop and meet Nikolai and Aleksandra. There I bought the spares and then they told us it was possible to change them in the workshop underneath us. We changed the rear sprocket only as the front one was relatively new. The chain was not entirely bad but just to have a piece of mind on the short way home left, I changed it. The people at the workshop lend me all the tools and helped changed the tire and chain, I couldn't be more grateful for this, it really had saved me a lot of time. The front brake disc was still impossible to find but i will wait till i reach Spain as I already have learnt how to handle the bike like this.

    One would thought that in Moscow things would be different, but once again I was not able to pay anything for the workshop service. Russia is different. We took a picture together, shacked hands and I left in the rain.
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    Thankfully, I was able to dry everything back in the hostel so nothing to worry about. Tomorrow I would be crossing back into the EU. I didn´t spend time measuring distances nor border difficulty because of how intense the day had been. This would have to wait for tomorrow on the go.
  13. dancingweasel

    dancingweasel Virtual Tourist

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    I'm really enjoying your ride report, and to write it as you go must be doubly difficult! I'm surprised to learn that the Romanovs were killed in Moscow, as I thought they were killed in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals.
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  14. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the comment and you are right, I have made a mistake on my notes while transcribing this, i will correct it
  15. dancingweasel

    dancingweasel Virtual Tourist

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    I'm not surprised if you make the odd mistake, your head must be absolutely full with what you have been doing.
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  16. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    The hostel I was staying it was fully booked, so I got on an early start trying not to wake everybody. Most of the equipment was ready so it did not take long. The weather looked very cloudy, more or less the same as yesterday but the forecast assigned a fair degree of probability to rain on the way. Most of the times I do not believe too much what the foreacast has to say because to a great extent I have been very lucky with weather.

    Exiting Moscow was also done fairly fast and quite an experience navigating its wide streets with lots of lanes. The rear tire and the last maintenance with the new chain felt great. I had about 8 hours of riding plus the gift at the border. As soon as I exited it started to rain heavily and also wind currents were no joke. I stopped to put everything I had waterproof on. At the beginning it was ok, but this heavy rain persisted for the whole day making it another day for the top 5 worst. Like other times I stopped when I couldn’t just continue. The boots goretex were just not working with this weather so I changed shocks and put a plastic bag to keep the feet dry. Then I also put the military uniform I bought in the Moscow market as humidity was starting to make its way in.

    So, with a change of clothes and now looking like a penguin I resumed the riding. Normally I would say this kind of riding is the best recipe to fall sick but after 64 days on this kind of routine, the immune system had built quite a good defence. I would try to alternate my misery every one hour and a half with stopping and eating something hot, try to dry the boots and wait if the weather would give me a break but it was clear today was going to stay like this for the rest of the day.

    The worst part was the spraying of water by trucks. I could not undertake these in this weather so I had to stay well behind. Also the helmet at this point the visor was too scratched and with heavy rain I had to lift it up to see something. Hopefully traffic was minimum until the border. I stopped one more time at the Russian side to refuel cheaper and tried to dry everything one more time in a lost battle. Clearing Russian customs was not bad although they checked the passport a few times as they are not used to it. At the Latvian side was a good one hour of waiting and filling forms. This was the worst, stopping and just withstanding the rain with no possibility for cover.
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    In the meantime I looked in Booking for the closest place to sleep with a drier. I found one not far away in a town called Malta. The night came and finally after crossing, in one hour I was there.I was probably happier to arrive there than to Mongolia itself. This was a guest house ran by a nice lady living there. She helped me to set up the drier and without having to explain her any more details, I went to sleep right away.
  17. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Bueno!
    Many moons ago in Mokba l went to the red square, Lenins tomb, rode the subway and among other things bought 110 proof Vodka from a huge market that has everything!
    Still have a sickle n hammer brass army belt buckle traded on the black market for American jeans.
    This was before the "Wall" came down in Berlin, lots of propaganda everywhere...
    Great pics!
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  18. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

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    With my gear dry and a more or less clear skies I was full of optimism once again. The host let me know my rear light was not working so I put that in the list for the first stop in the morning. We said goodbye and I started looking for a place to have breakfast. I found one just by the road to minimize stopping times. There I changed the bulb and had what was on offer in the menu. I was distracted trying to figure out the weather because at times it was sunny and at times it got really cloudy. When checking the weather on the phone this was still not clear, with many of the locations on the road changing forecasts it was difficult know which route to take or if I should even take it.

    I assumed the worse and started to prepare psychologically for it. After crossing briefly Lithuania into Poland I could feel strong currents of wind blowing laterally. I did not want to stop due to my time constrains but this got much worse and forced me to stop several times indeed. The thing was, I needed to get moving and the weather was not going to improve plus I did not got anything booked yet as I wanted to wait at least until 6PM to look for surrounding areas. When I stopped I could only see greyish clouds coming into my route so I decided to keep moving at a slower pace on the very right of the motorway avoiding trucks or staying behind them. Some could easily overtake me as with this wind the motorcycle did not have any speed maneuverability whatsoever.

    It got quite scary as I could feel how the motorcycle was literally moved one meter to the left without me doing anything. I have never experienced anything like this and it got me thinking about stopping and looking for something nearby. But the wind was intermittent and in the end I managed to adapt to this.

    After lunch rain started to appear in the equation. It started light but in combination with 20+ mph wind speeds it was no joke. The level of focus put in riding drained my energy quite fast and I have to stop a few more times because it was really getting dangerous. Now I had make up my mind and I knew I would be staying at another guest home close to Poznan so I booked the place. It was only one hour and a half away so even with rain, I should be able to make it. This would also allow me to reach Belgium in maximum two days, and Spain in approximately four.

    This last one hour and a half were for sure the worst day on top of all previous worst days so far in this trip. The clouds gave place to massive precipitations, and I got once again wet to the bone. I prepare in advance in the previous stop and put all clothes on but it was useless. Prolonged time withstanding spraying from trucks will test the best waterproof gear. I started to feel pain in the hands and articulations, sometimes with muscle cramps begging me to stop. And so I did to get something warm, in the petrol stations had soup as a fast menu offer. I was not far away at this point and it could not get worse than this so while enjoying the soup I hoped for the very best.

    It was the worst 20 minutes left I have ever been exposed as a rider. I had to stop in the middle of a bridge in the middle of the A2 motorway because the rain was just too much for me to handle. The remaining 2 km I did only on the shoulder and at 15 mph speed as I was not able to see anything and I had to do this without the visor of the helmet. Never have I had so much fear riding a motorcycle and I hope to this day I will not be exposed to such a situation ever again. Arriving at the guest home felt great. This one was ran bya big family who invited me to join for dinner.

    After taking a shower I accepted the invitation and particularly enjoyed the homemade digestive liquor they have. They asked me seeing the situation if I would stay one day or two, and at this point I was ready to stay one more if needed but apparently the weather would improve for tomorrow. After withstanding all this trip, it turned out the challenge was closer to home than I expected
  19. mrsdnf

    mrsdnf Long timer

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    I sit here reading, shaking my head in wonder and amazement.
  20. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows Supporter

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    +1