Beginner tries a RTW on a CRF250L

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Martygarrison, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I met Alex at the hotel after my first day. It was great to finally meet him and he had sourced a Garmin map of Russia for me. I had been searching the whole trip both online and at shops and no one seemed to sell them in the States or Western Europe. This would end up being a life saver. He also brought me two liters of oil that I would need on the one oil change I would make in Russia. The CRF250l has very long maintenance intervals (8,000 miles oil change) but I have never gone near that far, normally around 2,000 miles. I would change the oil in Novosibirsk some 2500 miles away then go for Vladivostok another 3600 miles later.

    The second day I walked over to Gorky Park as I had always been curious about it after having read the book by the same name years ago.

    36258393_10155844538659151_5514405500285878272_n.jpg
    Gorky Park

    36236432_10155844538684151_865948853793193984_n.jpg

    36332848_10155844538754151_2713628949715353600_n.jpg

    IMG_6217.JPG
    Carried this oil for 2500 miles. The heaviest thing I carried. I could actually feel the extra weight on the bike.
    #41
  2. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    615
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Man I was reading along and every picture I was saying wow to myself, then you had the caption of ugliest monument! I was laughing so hard. That was one that I thought was actually really cool!
    Great trip so far! Thanks for taking the time and effort to bring it to us!
    #42
    TM1(SS), forgorin, Cmnthead and 2 others like this.
  3. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The Muscovite's hate the Peter the Great monument and even tried to give it St Petersburg only to be turned down.
    #43
    TM1(SS) likes this.
  4. BLucare

    BLucare Inmate At Law

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,090
    Location:
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Well, this journey is awesome so far :thumb I've gathered that this you are slightly ahead of the RR in real time. Where are you at these days? Do you have plans to do the BAM Road in Russia, and/or any of the 'stans? Safe travels to you, brother. Looking forward to following along.
    #44
    Martygarrison likes this.
  5. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I just arrived back in DC. I didn't have time to write a TR on the road and oddly enough on most of the ISP wifi networks Advrider is blocked in Russia. It works fine on a cellular network but I didn't want to upload photos on my phone network.
    #45
  6. BLucare

    BLucare Inmate At Law

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,090
    Location:
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Ah, of course. I just re-read the posts on the first page and saw the bit about the 60-day sabbatical. Nonetheless, looking forward to hearing about the rest!
    #46
    Martygarrison likes this.
  7. deadzed

    deadzed Meat Popscicle

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    230
    What a great report.
    How're your seat mods working out for the higher mileage days?
    #47
    Martygarrison likes this.
  8. landyguy

    landyguy Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Calgary,Alberta,Canada
    This is going to be a great adventure, thanks!
    #48
    Martygarrison likes this.
  9. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,636
    Location:
    The mosquito-y Center of Canada
    I'm in for the trip!
    #49
    Martygarrison likes this.
  10. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I really enjoyed Moscow. It had a European feel but yet completely different. Beautiful city and with all the World Cup fans a real cosmopolitan vibe.
    After two days my next stop was Nizhny Novgord then onto Kazan just over 500 miles away.

    I got an early start out of Moscow trying to beat the traffic again plus I wanted to try and get a photo of Wanda in front of the Kremlin but was thwarted by World Cup security. Of course I got lost, I just wasn't able to follow the Garmin directions correctly. My Zumo 395 has a small screen and I needed to get used to not only following the voice directions but also glance down and insure I was making the right turn. I would get better at this as the ride progressed. I figure I rode about 20 extra miles before I finally was on the M7 Federal Highway headed east. I've thought a lot on how to describe the next two days riding. Simply put it was my hardest two days ever on the worst roads I had seen anywhere in the world. Bolivia has much better roads. The M7 was loaded with trucks and cars wildly trying to pass them. The road was grooved from the truck tires with a mound in the middle plus pot holes I had to dodge lest they destroy my wheels. Cars would pass me on the left or right on the shoulder. If I was behind a truck and moved over to the left of the lane to see if I could pass cars would come up to take my spot leaving me straddling the oncoming traffic on one side with a car next to me in my own lane. Cars coming the other direction trying to pass their own trucks would often have not enough room to make the pass without me moving to the right shoulder. I'm not sure if the fact I was on a small 250 or my lack of riding experience had anything to do with how hard I found this riding.

    I reached Nizhny Novogord, my stop for the night after 280 miles absolutely exhausted. I messaged Alex and described the day and his response was "Just wait" which I took as "You haven't seen anything yet". I was worried. If I found 280 miles so difficult how was I going to ride the numerous 400+ miles, some back to back, I had mapped out on this route. I called my wife Vanessa and told her I'm not sure if I can do this. This was my introduction to the Russian roads. My confidence was shaken.

    The next days ride was a little better, the road was maybe not so beat up and I made it to Kazan where I had a day off to regroup.

    36333488_10155846905239151_1118254688962084864_o.jpg
    The Volga River from Nizhny Novogord. This is the new World Cup stadium across the river.


    36316942_10155851146774151_352100173385564160_n.jpg
    Kazan Kremlin the Capital of the Republic of Tartarstan

    IMG_6277.jpg


    36448111_10155851151779151_8309864834099314688_n.jpg
    The France vs Argentina World Cup game was in Kazan

    Kazan was a incredible city. The World Cup atmosphere electric and I was able to regroup mentally and put the last two days behind me. I was turning north now off the Trans-Siberian highway into the Ural Mountains headed to Yekaterinberg a little over 650 miles away.
    #50
    StanBo, sarcus, Meriwether and 16 others like this.
  11. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I left Kazan early the next day and believe it or not didn't get lost trying to find the M7 headed east. My destination was Izhevsk around 250 miles from Kazan. Before long I exited the M7 to E22 northeast into the Ural Mountains which seem much more like forested hills rather than mountains. I was on much smaller and less trafficked roads and had many less trucks. The roads weren't too bad and it was an enjoyable ride.

    Izhevsk is a mid sized town on the Izh River which has been one of the centers for Russian military industry since the early 1800's. It is also home to one of the largest reservoirs in Europe with the damming of the Izh river first built in the late 1700's. My digs for the night turned out to be this beautiful lodge tucked a few blocks off the main street of the city. I arrived at 3pm and later that evening enjoyed watching Russia tie Spain in one of World Cup games with a restaurant full of Russian tourists.

    36439487_10155853735259151_7050910332235022336_o.jpg
    Petty impressive lodge.

    IMG_6343.JPG
    Tram system built in the 30's. Most mid size and even smaller Russian cities or towns seemed to have well used tram systems.


    The next day my destination was the rural town of Kungur south of Perm around another 250 miles away. Roads were fine, but honestly as long as they weren't packed with trucks I would have been fine with almost anything. The Urals are quite rural and you pass through many small villages. Folks were loading up their homes with huge piles of wood for the winter, and most houses had big gardens. Around 100 miles into the day I had a small incident. A Red Tail Hawk or a Falcon of some sort of which there were many swooped in front of me. This was not that uncommon however this bird just didn't maneuver quick enough and hit me square in the shoulder while I was riding around 50mph. It felt like getting slugged yet my armor seem to take the brunt of the hit. There were no feathers nor blood on my jacket so I am hopeful the bird survived.

    I arrived in Kungur were I was staying in an old Soviet built hotel. It looked pretty dumpy however it had attached secured parking, cement walls so I couldn't hear my neighbors, food was good and the staff were extremely nice. It actually ended up one of my favorite hotels on the trip.



    IMG_6349.JPG
    My Kungur hotel room. Cement walls, a balcony and a tiger bedspread. What more do I need.

    IMG_6352.JPG
    My room overlooking Kungur with secure parking below.
    #51
    StanBo, sarcus, Ginger Beard and 22 others like this.
  12. Incredulous

    Incredulous Peanut Gallery

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    588
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    Great stuff. Love Russia reports

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    #52
    Martygarrison and dano619 like this.
  13. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The next morning I had an easy 150 miles to Yekaterinburg crossing into Asia along the way. Yekaterinburg is a large modern city and one of the economic hubs of Russia. It is also the place the Tsar and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. I arrived early and had a nice walk around the city. There is a mall that rivals anything I saw in Moscow and a supermarket that outshines most American ones. I had a day off the next day to walk around and relax.

    IMG_6442.JPG
    Yekaterinburg skyline

    36649416_10155860405159151_7264549199608283136_n.jpg
    Another Tram


    IMG_6467.JPG
    Church on the site of the Tsar and his families execution


    36640249_10155860405314151_1996244831461965824_n.jpg
    Kids in Summer camp
    #53
    StanBo, sarcus, Ginger Beard and 12 others like this.
  14. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    More Yekaterinburg Pics

    IMG_6366.JPG
    Cool car in the Mall

    IMG_6375.JPG
    Incredible supermarket for Russia. This is not normal

    IMG_6378.JPG

    IMG_6392.JPG

    I had a good rest in Yekaterinburg and I was going to need it. The next 3 days had me riding around 1100 miles with back to back 400+ mile days. It was unknown territory for me. One of the difficult things for me riding across Russia was just how dang big it is. Very few days were easy and most days were long however when I would look at the map it was if I hardly moved the needle. These next few days would take me to Novosibirsk and the capital of Siberia. I would be making progress.
    #54
    StanBo, sarcus, Ginger Beard and 20 others like this.
  15. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    221
    Location:
    vancouver island
    Brilliant R.R. & pictures,thanks for sharing,looking forward to the rest of the adventure!
    #55
    TM1(SS) and Martygarrison like this.
  16. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Reaching Yekatrinaberg I had been on the road just over a month and 3,600 miles since leaving Montana. Same as riding across the States and part of the way back. Sounded good until I realized I had 5,000 miles left to Vladivostock and 24 days to reach it. Russia is huge and honestly on my little 250 it can seem overwhelming so I just try not to look more than a few days ahead.

    The next 3 days had me going 1,100 miles crossing into Western Siberia at Tyumen then continuing east to Omsk and finally reaching Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia. I was concerned about the upcoming ride as it had back to back 400+ mile days which was far further than I had ever ridden.

    I really can't remember much of the ride from Yekatrinaberg to Tyuman which turned out to be a nice city however the next 2 days were just brutal. On the ride to Omsk you are on a slightly raised road for a few hundred miles as Siberia at this point is a mixture of marsh and some farmland. Riding Wanda I generally start hitting the wall around 280 miles so the last 120-140 miles required hours of just gutting it out. I would stand every 20 minutes or so just to get in a different position and also for blood flow to my legs and butt. I reached Omsk late in the afternoon exhausted. Omsk is an industrial center of Russia, but on a small motorbike it just feels big and dusty.

    36734403_10155865495604151_6413508520896888832_n.jpg
    Omsk, Western Siberia

    36686747_10155865495684151_7543390115825975296_n.jpg
    Wanda looks pretty small from my hotel window


    The next morning I was still fatigued which didn't bode well for the second 400+ mile day in a row. It was as expected just a war of wills. Luckily I had a rest day coming up. After the last three days I began to wonder if a Honda CRF250l may not be the best bike to cross Russia. I was whipped.

    IMG_6517.JPG
    Novosibirsk


    IMG_6530.jpg Novosibirsk had a pretty hip downtown with lots of cafes and bars.

    The next day I drove over to a motorbike shop that Alex had found for me to change the oil and finally off load those two liters of Bell Ray I had been carrying since Moscow. Unfortunately the shop didn't do service work on Sundays but they gave me a pan to drain the oil and I was able to change it on the side of the shop. Nothing like the feeling of fresh oil!

    Next milestone Lake Baikal, 1200 miles and 3.5 days away.
    #56
    crashkorolyk, StanBo, sarcus and 16 others like this.
  17. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Leaving Novosibirsk I continued on the P-255 and the traffic began to lighten up. Not only fewer trucks but also less cars as well which resulted in far less beat up roads. The terrain changed fairly quickly from the marshes of Western Siberian to more hilly and winding roads. I passed though numerous small villages comprised of classic wooden Siberian homes, shops and churches. Folks were still selling berries, honey and the like but now new products appeared. Full on real stuffed animals like Wolves, Mountain Lions and even large standing Grizzly Bears. Pretty wild. I followed and crossed the Trans-Siberian railway numerous times and frankly it was very scenic. Long trains laden with coal were common although I hardly ever saw passenger trains. Road works were also prevalent but they were well marked and normally had flagmen. At one point and I can't exactly remember where I passed a prison or gulag if you will. I stopped and snapped a photo but the armed guard in the tower waved me on. I followed his orders. I spent my first night after a 400+ mile day in Krasnoyarsk a beautiful city located on the Yenisei River and surrounded by hills or small mountains. Two more long days brought be to Irkutsk a modern city only 50 miles from Lake Baikal. I had very heavy traffic last 60 or 70 miles into Irkutsk and once again I was spent upon arrival.

    36868146_10155874739184151_8534518527355256832_n.jpg
    P-255 Novosibirsk to Irktsk

    36890694_10155874739124151_8185883198576656384_n.jpg

    36879523_10155874739169151_6019108692081770496_n.jpg

    36849482_10155874739349151_840337547195318272_n.jpg
    Prison along the way, the guard in the tower had a large rifle.
    #57
  18. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    More P-255 Novosibirsk to Irkutsk.

    36915108_10155874739559151_4767509849992855552_n.jpg


    36989015_10155874739504151_315064532953202688_n.jpg

    IMG_6577.JPG

    36946600_10155874739594151_1420342008295194624_n.jpg
    When you are solo you tend to take pictures of yourself
    #58
    TM1(SS), StanBo, sarcus and 15 others like this.
  19. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3,450
    Location:
    NSW Australia
    You are eating the elephant one bite at a time :-)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    #59
    Martygarrison likes this.
  20. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,947
    Location:
    riding
    good to see you posting here Marty, looks like you had hell of a ride
    #60