A solo trip to Mongolia on a 125cc

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

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,107
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Enjoyed the update @guerreronegro, great pictures of Budapest and your lunch looks awesome. I really like seeing the architecture in different cities and cultures, especially considering how old some of those buildings must be.

    A question about the charger I see in the shot of your lunch. I have the same one - how well have you found the solar re-charging capability to be? I haven't tested it in the field, typically take a nice Anker I have for multi-day trips. But have considered using it and strapping it to the bike so the solar cells get sunlight while riding.

    Looking forward to your next update, going stir crazy :lol2 :lol2
    #61
  2. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    Well this unit has a 24000mAH battery but before leaving for the trip I tested it charging and discharging it at home and I was not so confident of the solar capabilities. It can take quite some days with good sun to charge the whole thing so I just kept it as a back-up for emergencies or situations like this and also as an auxiliary light while camping. If you use it casually like this (also charging it with the solar as you go) you can have it for many days without it discharging and every time I slept with a plug nearby I would charge it overnight. I also had on me a 10W portable solar panel with 12V output I would plug in the bike's battery for everytime I was outdoors and needed to charge something smaller like the intercomm using the USB connectors on the bike.
    #62
    klaviator, Hannda and liv2day like this.
  3. Hannda

    Hannda Short, fat, bearded, old & slow

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    46,522
    Location:
    Not yet far enough away from town
    I'm really enjoying this adventure. Thank you for taking us along.:thumb
    #63
    guerreronegro likes this.
  4. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    Something that came to my mind as I was starting the Varadero was that I would not have any service in Serbia as it is not part of the Union so I downloaded the OSM maps on maps.me to guide me to Milan’s location in Belgrade. I hated being so dependent on the phone but today was resulting to be a long riding session (400+ mi). The Varadero was proving to be a good steed so far, it was comfy, and it didn’t seem to complain about the extra weight loaded on it, with good weather on my side I was able to maintain a steady 65 mph all the way redlining it all the way. The 3000 mile mark was getting close since I left home, so I had to start thinking of looking for a place to change oil and filter. I carried some spares with me but for now, I would keep them if possible. On the road, I saw many cars pulling trailers with old VW Passats on the top. I wondered if this is where they end up after they have served their life cycle in western Europe. Not that I like to engage in stereotypes but in Spain this is one of the top ten stolen cars and the common say is they end up in eastern Europe. I was a bit more puzzled when in a rest area I saw a bunch of other cars missing wheels that seemed abandoned. I didn’t want to think more about this, so I tried to get it out of my head although I kept seeing these trailers all the way until I reached the border. The officers at the border were in a good mood and they even stamped the Hungary exit seal on my passport upon request. I crossed into Serbia quite fast and immediately felt the culture contrast. Everything was written in Cyrillic and I had a great time testing my alphabet knowledge trying to pronounce every sign on the road. I studied a bit of Russian while in China knowing it would come handy in this trip, and the only thing I managed to learn besides some generic words, was the alphabet letter equivalents in Latin. The language, of course, was completely different.
    IMG_20190723_155435.jpg
    IMG_20190723_162528.jpg

    On the secondary roads leading to villages I started to see many signs written by hand selling honey and similar products. I found this delightful and stopped in a petrol station to fill the deposit and exchanged some currency observing one of the bills featured Nicola Tesla. The personnel in the petrol station was super friendly and offered me their phone so I could connect really fast to the Internet. Milan told me to meet at one of the hotels next to the Danube approaching the old part of the city. Once there, I found out there were many open WIFI networks and connected briefly once again to signal the exact place as the hotel complex was quite big. He came in his Suzuki GSF 650 Bandit and took me for a brief ride to a local restaurant to enjoy national cuisine. I asked for a recommendation and he suggested to try the Pljeskavica, a sort of Serbian burger steak but without bread this time. He went for the Kobasice or sausages which looked equally good. The side dish was a common cheese from the Balkan Area and some tomato. All delicious. His girlfriend came by to say hi briefly as she had to go somewhere else. Milan told me about how he knew of the rally and that he tried to join one year but like many people including me failed to gather a team. He also recommended me a motorcycle route bordering the Danube with Romania all the way down to a lake. I noted it down in the phone and decided I will be extending my stay in Serbia as I skipped Romania.
    IMG_20190723_203058.jpg

    I say this is the major perk of travelling alone. I cannot see this happening if I was in a group, I had a lot of contact with the locals, in this case, the Serbians, and they all resulted extremely friendly and helpful. Milan would have invited me to his place for the night but he couldn’t as it was busy at the time so he helped me sort out a cheap hostel next to where he lived. He also called his mechanic who looked after his motorcycle to book a space for tomorrow to change oil and filter. If that was not enough we stored the motorcycle in his garage for the night as well and because he had to take his car out in the process, he gave me a private tour around Belgrade at night. I couldn’t be more grateful nor lucky.
    IMG_20190723_214522.jpg

    I learnt Belgrade had been torn down many times due to being at the centre of conflict of powerful surrounding empires throughout history. The city is divided by the Danube splitting the old from the new towns. I wished I would have taken more pictures but since we were in the car and at night it was not worth it. I would have to wait for tomorrow. After this, we went back to Milan’s district to check-in for the hostel. It was closed due to being a bit late but luckily my friend was able to sort it out and soon a lady came down. Have I mentioned how lucky I was? The place was a brand new hostel and the room, meant to be shared with 10 more people was empty so after drinking a welcome shot I said goodbye to Milan and schedule an hour to come to pick up the Varadero from his garage next day. Falling asleep I think took under a minute that day.
    IMG_20190723_224316.jpg 20200502_232708.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #64
    chilolac, klaviator, Xcntry and 17 others like this.
  5. dengwynn

    dengwynn AT LARGE

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    204
    "If travel is to have any value at all, it must be done alone." (Paul Theroux)
    #65
    +venture, Aces 6, Red liner and 4 others like this.
  6. richnyc

    richnyc Wishful vagabond on a bike

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Around NYC, mostly
    Love your travelogue. Great stuff and awesome pics, keep it going;)

    BTW, in the last pictures... What a great reference to Nikola Tesla on Serbian banknotes... We need more scientists on our banknotes worldwide!
    #66
  7. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,278
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Brilliant report!
    Keep it coming. :lurk
    #67
    Old Codger likes this.
  8. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    112
    Location:
    Ventura County Ca.
    Love your report and Pictures keep it coming..:clap:clap:-)
    #68
    guerreronegro likes this.
  9. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    332
    Nice to see you in Serbia ;) . Btw Milan ate ĆEVAPI not kobasice/sausages. Its the same meat as your PLJESKAVICA just a different shape :)
    #69
    td63, ricochetrider and guerreronegro like this.
  10. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    Thanks for the clarification, I tried to write down names as I went but this one I had to look up ;)
    #70
    johnnybgood8 likes this.
  11. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    Sleeping in a bed after two camping days, I have to admit felt great even though it was not for many hours. I checked out and immediately went down to meet Milan. Navigating through the block was a bit more challenging with daylight as I had to cross a bridge and didn’t remember nor caught well references at night.
    IMG_20190724_072549.jpg Milan was already there by the time I arrived and thanked him for his hospitality. He recommended me to visit Saint Sava Cathedral until the mechanic shop opened. In the area, there were some cafeterias opened so breakfast was first. The guys there filled my camel bag and after backing up the memories I went inside the church. This was not the first time I entered an Orthodox church but every time I entered one I am amazed by the architecture style, the domes and its paints.
    IMG_20190724_094924.jpg
    IMG_20190724_094005.jpg
    IMG_20190724_094440.jpg

    IMG_20190724_094452.jpg

    Without knowing it, it was already time to go to the workshop. I wrote the address on the GPS and crossed Belgrade to get there. I found it a bit difficult to find as I was led somewhere else, luckily someone redirected me to the place not too far away. There I met Marco who kindly invited me to go in while he worked on the bike. He had an Aprilia race bike in the garage, so I entertained myself checking his and other bikes around. The people there were very professional, and I had the bike ready in about 45 minutes. I left the place thinking already in heading to the Danube but then I got a text from Milan after 20 minutes of leaving remembering me of my lumbar belt I had forgotten at the workshop. I thought my phone’s roaming was not activated in Serbia but apparently the SMS came in no problem. So, after losing 40 minutes in city traffic I made it back to the shop and recovered the lumbar belt. I thanked the guys once again and this time I went for good.
    IMG_20190724_103042.jpg

    It was already midday and I headed to Smederevo stopping in some small villages on the way. There were many archaeological sites in this route, and I marked on the maps.me one next to Kostolac. Going in the small village I found a big hermitage and headed towards there to look at it closer.
    IMG_20190724_142759.jpg
    A bunch of locals soon came by and tried to communicate with me, but I did not understand the language. But then appeared Antonija who spoke English and told me they wanted to show me around. They gave me a beer from the closest house to where we were sited and then we went to an excavation site Antonija was in command of. Turns out the area was filled with archaeological sites and this was their last discovery. They had dug a 13 feet hole but there was still some work to be done. After that, one of the guys came with the hermitage key and I was invited to go in. Couldn’t feel more grateful for their hospitality really.
    IMG_20190724_144336.jpg
    I was told to go a couple of kilometres northeast if I wanted to see a big excavation site. So again, I followed the local advice and arrived to this excavation site.
    IMG_20190724_152754.jpg
    IMG_20190724_152922.jpg
    #71
    jeckyll, chilolac, klaviator and 12 others like this.
  12. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,211
    Location:
    Out There Somewhere
    WOW. This really is a great report, one of the best I've seen!
    SO this is a rally, not a race, yes?
    And there is no imposed timeline (or route) for completion? Only a start date/place and a finish line location?
    #72
    chilolac and guerreronegro like this.
  13. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    Yes, it is not a race and you are allowed to choose whatever route you feel like. Startline is in Prague, from there on you are on your own until Ulan Ude, Russia
    #73
    klaviator, Red liner, MYUMPH and 3 others like this.
  14. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2020
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Christmas Island
    This turned out to be an Ancient Roman city well preserved. There was no one controlling the access to it, but I saw some people inside so I figured it was opened to the public. Most of the complex is accessible, even the sections underground which make you feel like Indiana Jones. I had to use my flashlight to walk through the buried corridors. Really interesting visit indeed. The Viminacium complex had also a Mammouth park with a skeleton of the animal but I arrived too late and this was the only place opened. Happy with the visit I continued my march through the Danube.
    IMG_20190724_163448.jpg
    On the way back to the main road, I had a good reminder to not incline the bike too much on the apexes. The tarmac was really polished and with some tiny stones on top making me almost fall. Nothing happened but I started to ride paying much more attention on the road as the tarmac looked the same in the connecting roads up ahead. It was lunchtime, I decided to stop in the next village which was packed with restaurants and camping areas. I planned this trip with the idea of cooking many meals myself but so far, the prices were acceptable and the gastronomy delicious. Better to take advantage of it while I could. Central Asia I was told, it was nothing special.
    IMG_20190724_200246.jpg This place, Srebrno jezero, looked like the perfect camp for the night, surrounded by a lake and the Danube with plenty of space to put the tent. There were many fishermen enjoying of a wonderful day. But I barely had covered much ground for the day and there was still plenty of daylight so after lunch I continued following the river enjoying the landscape between Serbia and Romania. There was an impressive fort on the road, the Golubac Fortress, and more archaeological sites. I was done visiting more landmarks for the day and limited to enjoy the road along the Danube deviating briefly to see a concurrent canyon at 44°32'30.0"N 22°01'43.6"E and the Danube river closer. This was being a blast, I promised myself to visit the Balkans again for a separate tour and with a more capable bike half loaded.
    20160115_020350A_snap.jpg
    IMG_20190724_201649.jpg
    Passing Donji Milanovac, I had to make the decision of where to pass the night. There was a bit of daylight left and decided to go for the next town, Negotin. I didn’t realize there was a mountain pass in the middle, so I made it at night which was something I told myself to avoid in as much as possible. I guess I had to get used to it, inevitably sooner or later I would be in this situation whether I was ok with it or not. With no Internet connection I did not really know where to go. The town was not too big and soon found a guest house for cyclists that took me in. Bojan kindly offered me a beer upon checking in and we talked for a while. He offered me to camp for free in the backyard of the house or a room for cheap. I decided to go for the room, it was dark and had zero motivation to place a tent while drinking a beer. Bojan's son studied International Relations and we talked a bit about the ongoing efforts of Serbia trying to go in the EU and the still problematic relationship with Kosovo in this process where most EU countries recognize the latter as a sovereign state. The day had been long so after the beer and chitchat I went to rest.

    Attached Files:

    #74
  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,107
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Wow @guerreronegro, what an amazing few updates since the last time I checked your thread! The hospitality you encountered with Milan is incredible, as is what you found when visiting the small villages and getting to see the archeological digs. I mean, that's truly something else - to be so far from your home and be so welcomed like that...restores some faith in humanity just reading it.

    Great pics and the story telling along your journey is excellent. Such amazing experiences thus far and you still have lots of ground to cover.

    Fully enjoying this, please keep the updates coming. Still under lock down until the end of May and who knows what June will look like. This is a great reprieve.
    #75
    chilolac and 9w6vx like this.
  16. SoosCreek

    SoosCreek Angle of Repose... Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Seattle Ish
    Very interesting report! I appreciate the effort...
    #76
    guerreronegro likes this.
  17. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    880
    Location:
    East Texas
    Loving this report, descriptions and pics - thanks for sharing and keep it coming
    Safe travels
    #77
    chilolac and guerreronegro like this.
  18. Flying Frisian

    Flying Frisian Born to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    883
    Location:
    Oregon, Dual Sport Paradise
    #78
    guerreronegro likes this.
  19. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    332
    Great report!

    FUNFACT - 18 Roman emperors were born on the territory of today’s Republic of Serbia.
    #79
    richnyc and guerreronegro like this.
  20. AFKDX/KLR

    AFKDX/KLR 06KLR650,06DL650,15WR250R,14CB500XRR,02BMWGSA

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Savannah ga
    Great ride report! I remember you telling us about this but it’s great to see the pictures and read all the details.
    #80
    guerreronegro likes this.