Beginner tries a RTW on a CRF250L

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

  1. rattis

    rattis Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,856
    Location:
    East of the seas of Kattegat
    Good on you for not over preparing and not bringing a ton of spares, I'm the same way, load up the bike with a minimum of stuff and just ride.
    I was inspired by Colebatch and others and now you.
    Comrade Colebatch is a bit too hardcore for me although his RR had me salivating.
    Hopefully I can follow your tracks.
    #61
    StanBo and Martygarrison like this.
  2. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The next morning I headed to Lake Baikal from Irkutsk. It was only 50 miles but for me it may has well been 500. The road was poor but honestly I had just hit the wall. I was worn out to my core. Not sure if I had ever in all my life adventures been so tired. I just wasn't recovering any longer, even with a rest day. My 62 year old body was no longer able to follow my 8 year old mind. I struggled into Listvyanka, a touristy lake village on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal, found my lodging near the lake for what was to be the next two days of rest and collapsed in my room.

    After a few hours I forced myself to get up and go forage for food. There was no restaurant near by and I was staying in a fairly primitive cabin with a shared shower so I made my way down to the center of the village, which clung to the coast of the lake. Baikal is an incredible place. Imaging a lake that is 300 miles long, 40 miles wide and a mile deep. The lake holds 20% of the worlds fresh water and amazingly more than the all of the Great Lakes combined. Making it here was one of my primary goals for the whole trip and I was just in awe. I felt a long ways from anywhere.

    The next day I felt a little better but knew I had a problem. I had planned to spend 2 days at the lake then ride 5 days and 1,700 miles to Blagoveshchensk on the Russian/Chinese boarder for my next rest day. I would cross through Ulan-Ude to Chita then really into the no mans land of the Trans-Siberian Highway. This was the part of the famous Amur Highway where services were far and few between and highway men were still known to wander. I had no idea about the potential robbers but I had been told not to stop unnecessarily on this section and to fill up whenever I saw a petrol station.

    My problem was I wasn't sure I could make it 1,700 miles in the next 5 days. I barely made it 50 miles from Irkutsk. I needed a plan.

    37076053_10155883567019151_6646726155602755584_n.jpg
    Baikal cabin. I had a rear turn signal lens rattle off and replaced it with some tape and colored plastic.


    37161151_10155883566929151_3616936352467124224_n.jpg
    Lake Baikal very cool place

    37085141_10155883567329151_7207965028413079552_n.jpg


    37203632_10155883567639151_2368242789465980928_n.jpg
    Listvyanka, mainly full of Russian, Chinese and Mongolian tourists.
    #62
  3. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I had been worried about the next section of the ride for quite sometime but I just didn't know I would hit such a physical wall. I had booked hotels, a boarding house and a hard to find truck hotel so I had very little options. The only idea I came up with was to push my second rest day from Baikal to Ulan-Ude. Ride the 330 miles from the lake to Ulan-Ude, take a rest day then only have close to 1400 miles in 4 days riding. It was best and only option I had.

    Having decided on a plan that I wasn't even sure I could accomplish I relaxed and wandered around the lake shore my second day. I invited myself to a small wedding, ate smoked dried fish for the first time and just soaked it all in.

    37059015_10155883567509151_6274695495717748736_n.jpg





    37013343_10155883567794151_3149459574960947200_n.jpg
    I could just tell they wanted me there

    37040389_10155883567729151_6155383348639301632_n.jpg
    This stuff was everywhere

    37053064_10155883567184151_8932326966770532352_n.jpg
    #63
    Ginger Beard, Cro59, 78er and 14 others like this.
  4. MarkMexico

    MarkMexico "A roving stove gratifies no mice!"

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mx
    Hi Marty, thanks for the RR, which is quite a treat since I've never seen Russia or the places you are traveling to. One question: what is the comfortable cruising speed of your 250?
    #64
    Martygarrison likes this.
  5. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hi Mark, in the US 58 mph was a sweet spot for all day cruising. I would round this up to 60mph. Same for Western Europe. In Russia 50 mph was just about it due to traffic and road conditions. Also in Russia it wasn't really cruising speed that was the limit of the Honda it was acceleration that was needed to pass. This is what really slowed me down in comparison with bigger bikes I believe.

    PS these speeds are on a stock CRF250 with a 13/40 drive train.
    #65
    Nixels likes this.
  6. Xylx

    Xylx Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    212
    Location:
    Idaho
    This is amazingly gutsy. Just heading off on a LRP across Russia with six words of Russian. Really interested to see how this goes. I'd be pretty hesitant to do this trip despite decades of riding, Russian language skills, and a fair knowledge of how to fix most things on my LRP (now LWP). So I'm in awe.
    #66
    Martygarrison and Dread like this.
  7. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The next morning I left for Ulan-Ude. The ride is about 330 miles, backtracks through Irkutsk, heads over a small mountain range to the southern tip of Lake Baikal, follows the lake for around a 150 miles then routes into the Selenge river valley for the remainder of the ride. It rained all day but the ride itself was beautiful. Following the lake I was riding parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway and there were many trains in both directions. The views of the lake combined with the trains created an idyllic scene. I was hoping to get to Ulan-Ude sometime in the early afternoon but the rain combined with the twisting mountain roads really slowed me down. I still was not comfortable on mountain roads in the wet, especially going downhill so I would pull over from time to time to let traffic pass me. Reaching the city in the late afternoon my hotel was full of busloads of tourists, primarily from Mongolia. There was also a Russia amateur basketball tournament in town and the hotel had numerous teams staying there. I had successfully pushed my rest day ahead so as to cut the upcoming section on the Amur Highway to 1400 miles over 4 days before a rest in Blagoveshchensk on the Russian Chinese boarder.

    The next day I had to check out Wanda as I was getting strong petroleum smells off the front of the bike. I was worried that my fork seals had blown and the fluid was blowing back to the exhaust. I took some pics of the bike and sent them to a collection of riders far more experienced than me to see what they thought. I then had time to walked around the city, which I really liked. It was a true mixture of cultures with lots of Mongolian shops intermixed in traditional Russian city. I tried to rest as much as possible so I hung in my room a fair amount as well.


    37227547_10155890448269151_5049418236148318208_o.jpg
    Ulan-Ude, home of the worlds largest monument of Lenin's head


    37209778_10155890448094151_9043749649768251392_n.jpg
    The thing is big


    37176898_10155888771834151_3065750834160599040_n.jpg
    This had me worried


    37133916_10155888772154151_2147404800990380032_n.jpg
    Stuff was burning on my header



    The next day I would head off to Chita and the start of 1400 miles through the Far East Siberian Taiga, what I considered the crux of the ride.
    #67
  8. Ian640

    Ian640 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    274
    Location:
    UK
    Hi Marty,

    Is that tar from the road? You can get this in hot weather. It might be worth having a look under the rear fender to see if there is anything similar. Also, if you've been stuck behind other vehicles it may be residue from their exhaust gases.

    Great trip by the way.

    Cheers.
    #68
    Martygarrison likes this.
  9. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,784
    Location:
    Central AR
    Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

    nlp
    #69
    Martygarrison likes this.
  10. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,454
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Good comment and I agree.
    #70
    MarkMexico, Martygarrison and Dread like this.
  11. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    All of my contacts came back with the same thoughts. Indeed it turned out to be muck from all the road works.
    #71
    Ginger Beard and Little Bike like this.
  12. Doug e fresh

    Doug e fresh n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2018
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Loving the RR so far. How is the honda doing for you so far? Also what camera have you been using?
    #72
    Martygarrison likes this.
  13. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The little 250 had 0 mechanical difficulties, used 0 oil. Only issues were the roads breaking my incandescent front turn signal bulbs multiple times and a rear turn signal lens rattling off. My camera is an Iphone 6+.
    #73
  14. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I headed out for the 416 mile ride from Ulan-Ude to Chita in the pouring rain. The road while paved was not that bad, normal potholes and the like. Traffic wasn't too heavy either as the number of trucks and cars was definitely decreasing the further east I rode. I started running into road works after about 50 miles and the riding became much more difficult. The road with the pavement stripped off for the road works became a muddy mess. My E-07 tires immediately became caked providing next to no traction. Having never ridden in mud before it felt like I was riding on ice. I estimate I rode around 50-60 miles of pure mud in 10-12 mile sections that day. I was forced to ride very slowly with my feet off the pegs to maintain my balance. I almost went down a couple of times but was lucky to keep the bike up. It was extremely tiring and at least once I pulled over and hung my head wondering what I had I gotten myself into. The only way out was forward.

    Somewhere around 60 or 70 miles from Chita I had a short break in the rain and I pulled over for one of the few photos I would take on the Amur Highway. Having dismounted the bike I was in a completely desolate and isolated section of the road, beautiful however. Having been stopped for a few minutes the first car that passed stopped a hundred meters up the road. A large Russian man got out and started walking towards me, which had me a little startled being in such a remote place. As he got closer he called out "OK?", relieved I called back "OK" and gave him the thumbs up. He replied "OK" and walked back to his car and drove off. He was only checking to see if I needed help. This made my day.

    I entered Chita an hour or two later to find the city basically under water. The roads were completely flooded and I rode slowly trying to find my hotel with the water up to my header which was vaporizing and covering me in steam as I tried to negotiate the roads. I arrived at my hotel some 14 hours after I left Ulan-Ude once again exhausted. I ordered two bowls of borscht and collapsed in bed. What a day, as hard as any I had experienced on El Capitan.


    37328007_10155893096344151_112603343737585664_n.jpg
    A rare photo on the road. This is were I was asked if I was OK by a passing motorist

    IMG_6792.JPG
    Far East Siberia, hard to capture the beauty with an IPhone


    IMG_6794.JPG
    I mistakenly carried all of my documents in the front pocket of my Badlands jacket. After 14 hours of rain it soaked through


    37283790_10155888995299151_8616232973106151424_n.jpg
    Borscht, I love this stuff
    #74
    StanBo, Amphib, FishHunt and 21 others like this.
  15. Speedmaster58

    Speedmaster58 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    25
    Location:
    Myddfai,Llandovery. Wales
    Love this RR, brings back memories of my ride in Russia in 2016, like you I got addicted to Borsch, mainly because it was the only one on the menu that I recognised:D and the road works were always a nightmare for me too and you are spot on with speed..50mph was tops especially with some interesting driving from other road users:D
    #75
    Ginger Beard and Martygarrison like this.
  16. Dread

    Dread Putt-Putt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    479
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    :clap

    This RR is fantastic. I’ve gotten myself in spots where the only way out was forward, and sometimes the soul searching goes deep. But in the middle of Siberia?!?! Nah, I just had to get off the hill. Outstanding!
    #76
    dmason, Nixels and Martygarrison like this.
  17. Martygarrison

    Martygarrison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hi deadzed, I have a Renazco Racing seat which for day rides is fine. For this trip I added the sheepskin and it helps a bunch.
    #77
    Richarde1605 likes this.
  18. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3,478
    Location:
    NSW Australia
    A sheepskin always helps, it must be the lanolin...
    Dunno

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    #78
  19. Gham

    Gham What's for lunch? Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,574
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.
    Just a great ride report,my wife walked by the computer while I was reading and asked "why are you looking at flowers?" I told her "this is where the Czar and his family were executed"...she just looked at me like I was nuts. It's just too hard to explain it to people,even my wife..great job!
    #79
    TM1(SS), SteveTheLocal, td63 and 7 others like this.
  20. NateLePain

    NateLePain Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,784
    Location:
    Central AR
    #80