Across The Black Sea to The Caucasus

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by muf722, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Came back from Hong Kong this morning. Packing the bike and I'm off south and east to Odessa. Ukraine, across the Black Sea to Georgia, tour the Caucasus mountains, through Turkey to Istanbul and eastern Europe back to Sweden. 30 days on my 2012 BMW R1200 Adventure.

    The planned route. 10.000-12.000 km

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    The Caucasus Mountains

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    Travel safety is a concern and I have postponed and changed the route a number of times since 2014 and now I'm happy with the risk.
    I will not cross The Crimea and Russia but take a ferry to Batumi Georgia. I'll avoid the red high risk areas in Geogia and Turkey. And the border along Syria. Amber medium risk is acceptable to me. The Risk Maps are available from SOS International

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    The bike was serviced a few days ago and they found a fault on the rubber boot at the base of the driveshaft. Too late for a part replacement so I made a temp repair. To keep water from where water should not go.

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    Thats it for now. I'm riding to the ferry in southern Sweden going to the first nightstop in Germany
    #1
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  2. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    When will you be in Batumi? I'm in Ankara tonight moving in that direction
    #2
  3. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    The ferry should arrive Batumi september 3rd at 2000. I´ll need to import the bike I guess and then I plan to only spend one night in Batumi before heading for Mestia. I will stay at Hotel Bloom.
    #3
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  4. DanesDownunder

    DanesDownunder n00b

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    Hej brormand. Hav en fantastisk tur og vi glæder os til at se billeder. Fik du købt en ny drone? Stay safe
    #4
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  5. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    11.000kr for en ny drone, så jeg er klar igen.
    #5
  6. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    The ferry from Sweden arrived late evening and with my jetlag, I was badly in need of rest. The hotel in Sassnitz, Germany was unmanned at this hour and I had to find the key from a coded box. I went straight to bed. After breakfast i found my helmet and tank bag forgotten on the ground next to the entrance door of the hotel. Well here on the rear side where I’m parked. The tank bag have my passport, money and bike papers inside, so very lucky to find everything untouched.

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    Long day on the bike. Approx 500 miles and mostly uneventfull. I have nothing specific planned for the legs down to Odessa. So a mix of Autobahn and smaller roads to Kutno, Poland. Random small town enroute. Its been hot all day with 34C 93F and my hotel room will be warm tonight with no aircond.
    Kutno center square
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    I do not think many tourists come here, so the menys are in polish only. Prices are low.

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    I point to the table next to me and ask to get the same as the locals.
    Some kind of cheese pizza and meat filled dumplings. I think I will see these dumplings again because they are a national dish of Georgia.

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    #6
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  7. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Getting to the border between Poland and Ukraine. The Poles process one vehicle per 5 minutes. I took longer when they caught me in document fraud. The original paper document for my bike is old and worn from use and I took some advice from this site to copy it on photo paper. Voila. Glossy and thicker and overall nicer than the original. I used a copy all over South America and all borders took it as if it was the original. Not the Polish border. After keeping me for 10 minutes I could tell something was wrong. They needed a further 10 minutes to process the original and I could tell they were talking of a punishment for the copy. I got off with a warning and was finally released.

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    The border to Ukraine was 15 minutes. Nobody spoke English and when I was ordered to hand my papers to customs they had to get out of the booth and point me the right way. This time I used the original bike document and I hope it will last the remaining border crossings.

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    I ended up in Lutsk. This time in a modern hotel with air conditioning. Its still very hot. My chosen restaurant for this evening is right up against the city castle.

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    Very nice ribs. With salad, warm bread, beer, cheesecake for dessert and coffee it was all less than 20$. I have not found it necessary to change any cash yet and have made all payments in hotels, restaurants, fuel stations and shops with apple pay.

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    #7
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  8. DanesDownunder

    DanesDownunder n00b

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    Jeg kan godt li' at du har taget et billede af et skilt som vel betyder at du ikke må tage billeder!!! Lækker og billig mad og varmen er du jo vant til fra Downunder. Fortsat god tur og glæder os til drone billeder. Jeg har fået lavet et canvas til Cai til fars dag næste søndag af et af de billeder du tog med dronen over vores hus i Bayview.
    #8
  9. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Kameraet tager billeder automatisk, men jeg slukkede for det da jeg så skiltet. De var strenge nok som det var.
    #9
  10. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Roads in Ukraine are bad. The rumour is true. The tarmac bends up in impossible curves and the ruts and ridges are dangerous in places. Not all roads are like this , but a high percentage. Speeds must be kept well below the limit.


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    Another sunny day in Ukraine.

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    A roundabout. And the roadsign instructs us to go the wrong way around. Yes that was the idea. Some cars refused to go.

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    The general speedlimit is 90 km/h or 55 mph. I town its 50 km/h or 30 mph and in combination with a solid white line.
    The locals seem to keep the same high speed all over and rarely slow down and I just follow. Below some cars have slowed down and I pass. They only slowed because they spotted a policeman at the curb. The policeman looked straight at me and waived his lollipop for me to stop. I returned with a gesture to excuse my small mistakes and continued on my way. That happened twice in an hour, so I finally stopped making these overtakes for the rest of the day.

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    #10
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  11. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Great stay in the city of Vinnitsja. Hotel apartment and food was perfect, and now another day with nice weather on the last leg to Odessa. Road conditions is still a factor and were in places the worst I have seen. When I tried to assess the time required enroute with Google maps, it refused to calculate my selected route and wanted me to take a longer and faster roads instead. Well. Mine route was not fast, but interesting. Some tarmac was being repaired and gave an extra hour roadworks delay. But I'm not in a hurry today as the ferry is scheduled for tomorrow. In an earlier plan, I wanted to make the ferry leaving 30 Aug, but it would have been impossible to reach. My calculations show I may be a few days short for my plan, but I have to be back home for work on the 26 Sep. My bail-out plan if I run out of days, is to leave the bike in Istanbul, Turkey and fly home. Getting the bike home will be a future problem.
    The last stretch south to Odessa is on fast motorway 110 km/t or 70 mph. Its not smooth and things started to fall of my bike. I bring an old worn bike cover for weather protection but mainly to allow for parking in unsecure areas. On the motorway a car pulled up along side me and signaled for me to stop. They had observed the cover falling off half a mile back. The Ukranian motorway allow for u-turns and 20 min later I found my cover on the road side.
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    Lunch on the road is soup, salad, main, bread and water. 4$ in total. The waitress used a translater on her phone and asked if "roast potatoes" would be OK with the main dish. Meaning french fries.

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    I had to use the facilities in the back yard

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    4 star hotel i Odessa. Parking next to the entrance. I had a 1 hour massage to save my back.
    Tomorrow i need to check in at the ferry terminal latest at noon for a 6 pm departure.

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    #11
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  12. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    If you need to get insurance for Georgia much easier to get online good luck

    https://tpl.ge/
    #12
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  13. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Yup. Found it online at home, and have a printed copy of the policy with me. 20 Gel = 7$
    #13
  14. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Streets of Odessa

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    Went to an Italian restaurant. Still waiting for the main course, and having a 1 liter Sangria. So I ended up with a doggy bag. Perfect as a lunch pack for tomorrow.





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    In the morning I had time to visit some of the markets and go to the beach.
    #14
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  15. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Parked in front of the ticket office in Chornomorsk (20 min south of Odessa). The ferry leaves at 1800, but they require you to check in and get a ticket before 1200. Customs is from 1300.
    Online I had made all the correct entries for the bike, but first they gave me the wrong ticket, and then when they found mine, it was full of mistakes. No chairs to sit in, no coffee and two hours of frustration.

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    I was well prepared on my navigation, so easy to find the office, and then Customs.

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    The other ticket belonged to Allan Karl. An american travelling on a "BMW-Moto" as well. Hes a writer, author, tv-host, wine expert and world rider.

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    Check out his site at www.worldrider.com

    His vanity plate gave him problems at all border crossings. The border control can not believe that there is no numbers on a number plate.

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    #15
  16. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    MS Greifswald is a ferry with UKRFerry. Build in 1988 first as a pure cargo ship then converted to take passengers as well. Lower deck is cargo trains , upper is trailer trucks, a few cars and the two BMWs.
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    The route is close to Crimea and then direct Batumi, Geogia. 1000km in 48 hours.


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    3 set meals a day. A announcement is made when the food is on the table. No choice of food and a fixed seat and table. I'm seated with 5 germans and a japanese. 95 % of pax are truck drivers.
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    I track the ship to reach the port in Batumi at 1837 local time. Promising for a 2000 arrival.
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    #16
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  17. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    First day I shared a few bottles of wine with Allan, and now we have moved on to Vodka with our new Geogian friends
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    This group work moving wind turbines from the Danish company Vestas.
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    Sunset over the Black Sea.
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    Selfie with the Batumi skyline
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    #17
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  18. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    s
    special order license plate, available in any state in the US at an extra charge.
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  19. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Its 18:49 when the pilot comes out the help with the docking. Batumi skyline now in focus.

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    The ferry arrives in port
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    The trains need to exit first and meanwhile all passport control and paperwork for vehicles is done onboard.
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    Finally at just before midnight, its time to ride.
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    #19
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  20. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Batumi is the Las Vegas of Georgia. The many Casinos are filled with Russians and Turks. DSC02686.jpg
    Allan and I ride to Hotel Bloom. My reservation gives me the last room, and Allan is set up across the street. The Georgian alphabet is unique.
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    An Italian advrider is also a guest, but we do not find him. IMG_4414.jpg
    I join Allan for late night supper. First sample of Georgian cuisine. Here the warm bread is mixed with cheese and an egg. We have beer and 5! wine bottles on our table. We were lucky that a couple of wine makers had done some wine tasting and let us take over the bottles. The feast continued back at the hotel lobby and together with some Germans, we all said goodnight at 6 in the morning. Not ideal for my planned 9 o'clock departure.
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    #20