far enough east to come back from the west or if you don't try it will never happen

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by oMeGAS, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Europe
    Day 65 - July 13
    Irkutsk/Listvyanka

    Arrived in Irkutsk and checked into some hostel in the central area and went strolling through the town which is interesting and busy as every other city.
    The next day i went to Listvyanka, on the shore of Baikal using local transport which means vans that leave at random hours, usually when they are full, from places not easy to find. If you cannot speak a word of russian you will have a hard time getting around. Traveling with locals is always an interesting and revelatory experience as you meet the same varied characters, some cheery and talkative some gloomy and silent. I expected to find some old village with no much around but the place is animated by tourist although not that much as to spoil it. I don't think i have ever entered in such cold water before except in winter while it's below freezing outside. There were 25°C outside but when i entered the deep blue water i felt that all my bones are going to crack like an eggshell.

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    After i came back and before going back to the train station to board for Moscow i walked through the central area. There a lot of old authentic wooden houses that i haven't seen before in a city.

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    In the afternoon i started the four days train travel across the country with the final destination in Moscow Yaroslavsky station.
    #41
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  2. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Europe
    Days 66-70 - July 14-18
    Irkutsk - Moscow

    After many, many hours and pages and continuous tadam tadam i arrived in Yaroslavski, before 6am. A total of 4106 + 5193 = 9299km has set a new record for me of traveling with the train that will require a planet with a bigger radius to increase the chances of ever beating it. The time difference of 7 hours between Valdivostok and Moscow gave me some je... trainlag and i was not at all sleepy at that early hour when i usually prefer the dream world. I had to find a place to stay until i would recover the device that should take me back home and just went searching around after checking some places on the ubiquitous internetwork.
    One place refused to accommodate me because i was missing something, something, something, darkside on the immigration card that you're supposed to get if you're lagging longer than i think 15 days on russian territory. But i found Beans hostel and they did not ask for any darkside clearance.

    Some pictures on the way that i don't remember where were they taken unless there's some relevant information in the picture itself
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    Final destination for the metal worm
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    Moscow main train stations(there are several in the same place) are very busy at 6am
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    The streets away from the stations are empty though
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    After checking in at the hostel i went for a red experience as the very red Red square was at walking distance
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    It took me about two days to get a hold of the package that i was waiting. Calling, asking, running around in all directions. It was an interesting experience that took me back to my childhood of communist Romania where security is a serious matter. I eventually got a hold of a big box that had the whole package inside. They made it as small as possible by taking everything off the bike and dismounting the handlebar.

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    Since i did not have any gasoline in the tank i had to go buy a canister and get some from a gas station. One of the guys working there that was just leaving with his truck someplace dropped me near to one. When i came back and entered the building the guy at the entrance started screaming noooo, go out, go out. I had to leave the canister outside and push the motorbike out as they did not let me enter with the canister inside. Maybe i was going to blow up the building.

    After a couple of hours i was all set to go
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    The next day i left towards Bryansk after leaving behind the strongest, toughest, best adventure tire that i have ever had the pleasure of riding. And the rear sprocket.
    #42
  3. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Day 71 - July 19
    Moscow - Bryansk

    Still pestered by the trainlag i took one last stroll through Moscow downtown and it's empty streets just after 5am. With the right kind of music, it's a wonderful experience.

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    Some enjoy a horse ride through at the early hours, a habit that i've also seen in Saint Petersburg.

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    It's always interesting for me to notice the much bigger contrast between the big cities and the rest of the country in these eastern block states compared to the west.

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    And now some(but not too) technical but maybe useful information for whoever wants to know. I know i did want to know before leaving on this ride when i read and i studied and i read some more looking for the tire that would last the longest and also have some off road capabilities. Someone on this very forum said that he got about 15000km or so of one rear tire but i was a bit skeptical. It's just in my nature. But i went for the same tire and i have proven, with much effort, believe me, that you can in fact get that much distance(and many other things) with just one tire that also has, i would say, pretty good off road abilities.

    This is how a Heidenau K60 Scout looks like just over 15000km
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    I was actually planning to push it to Kiev but i decided to not leave for tomorrow what i can do today. They did not have my size in Heidenau brand so i fitted the Metzeler Sahara. A good tire that i have used before and which wears faster. How much faster i have no idea but faster. I also replaced the rear sprocket as its shape was already ludicrous.

    Ready to ride to Bryansk with brand new rear tire and sprocket(-2 teeth for reduced rpm).

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    #43
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  4. MonkeyBut

    MonkeyBut Fuel Whore

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Oddometer:
    191
    Location:
    The Armpit of America. NJ
    This is fantastic!!!
    #44
  5. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Day 72-74 - July 20-22
    Kiev

    After crashing in a guesthouse just before Bryansk i rushed to the Ukrainian border hoping that there won't be any problems there with all the tension between these two countries and armed conflicts in the east region of Ukraine. It went pretty smooth and i got completely over the mass media paranoia. There were in fact some machine gun posts as i approached the Ukrainian side but it was all quiet and peaceful. Border guards were friendly on both sides and they did not go through a thorough check up like they sometimes do. I actually never had to go through a thorough check at any border crossing, maybe because i ride a dirty dirtbike. I've only seen others going through the unpleasantness.

    Just one picture after the border and before starting toward Kiev with people waiting or cramming into vans. Very similar to Romania.
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    Not long before Kiev i was almost dry and i refueled in some gas station outside a small village. I crossed Kazakhstan and Mongolia and i was expecting bad gasoline at least in Mongolia. I did use even what was labeled 80 octane and never had an issue. Never messed with the low octane setting that lc4s have. But this one was bad gasoline. Just before arriving in Kiev i started hearing the engine detonating. I pulled in the first gas station that looked charming and filled the tank. It was the one and only time that i ever heard detonation in my cylinder. Never put gasoline in remote small gas stations in Ukraine or Russia. You can kill a big thumper fast with bad gasoline. Really fast.

    I found a nice hostel close the center of Kiev nearby places with good food and a pub owned by a motorcyclist that was selling hand crafted IPAs. Kiev is an interesting city spread over hills with lots of forests and big block buildings from the "golden" era of industrialization along the big Dnjepr river.

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    The monasteries complex at Pechersk with the cave complex where mummified saints lay deep underground in coffins is an interesting place to see. They're all dressed up like kings with some of them having the dried hands exposed. It's a bit of a creepy place filled with people kissing the coffins and paintings with saints. I always found Christian orthodoxy to be doing the exact opposite of helping you overcome your death anxiety.

    I had to wait before being able to get inside the complex because the Belarus president Lukashenko was paying a visit and the place was guarded all over

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    I decided to take the back door
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    There are beautiful botanical gardens around the monasteries, with the steed sides making them look quite exotic
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    With long access tunnels
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    The complex is really big and you can easily spend a whole day walking around it.

    Ukrainian Holodomor Memorial
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    I took a swim in Dnjepr before having a long chat with a friendly local who told me he doesn't swim in the river because it's too poluted. Tough luck, i'll see how that turns out but i already now how it will turn eventually and am fine with it, most of the time.

    Then visited the center area were they had the fights in the winter of 2013/2014
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    I wonder if the huge banner reading "Freedom is our religion" has been there since 2014
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    Yojik was just behind the place i was staying
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    If you haven't seen the movie dubbed by some as "the best animated movie of all times" by Yuriy Norshteyn, you should.

    How's the horse, Yojik? Is she still breathing? You seem to be just as puzzled after all this time.
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    I was planning to head home but decided to take a detour to the Black Sea side and the Danube Delta. Next stop was Odesa to check the ukrainian sea side before hitting the home country again after 75 days.

    I met one specimen of Canis Motoris somewhere between Kiev and Odessa that got stuck to my backside. Ready to ride...
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    [No animals have been hurt during the adventure]
    #45
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  6. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 75 - July 23
    Odessa - Galati

    I found just the place i was looking for, a camping right on the sea side owned by an Ural motorcyclist who was also speaking romanian, born in Izmail.
    The sea water was warm and pleasant, a real treat after the ride from Kiev.

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    A crow tried to dispossess me of my belongings after giving me a looong look
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    Someone must've sent you to get it back. I was just not expecting a black crow disguised in grey feathers.
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    The next day i started riding towards Izmail and was planning to cross into Romania somewhere as close as possible to Tulcea but there are no ferries crossing in that part of the river so i had to ride to Galati and cross there.

    Can everyone please shift to the right so that we lower our chances of capsizing?
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    Back to the familiar roads of Romania
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    I decided to stop in Tulcea as the sky turned dark but eventually made it through rain to Murighiol which is as far as you can go on a road in the Danube delta.
    #46
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  7. Carsten01

    Carsten01 Carsten Rueppel

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2015
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    101
    Location:
    Phoenix
    This is a fantastic ride report. Very well written. And I do like you photos very much.
    Thank you for sharing.
    #47
  8. RoundTrip

    RoundTrip Unintentional deerslayer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Sunny Tucson AZ
    Brilliant! A great ride, great photos and a great report! Thank you very much for sharing.
    #48
  9. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 76 - July 24
    Danube Delta - Constanta

    After i made it late in the night in Murighiol i managed to find someone taking a boat tour through the delta early next morning. They were leaving at 6am to catch the birds at dawn before they scatter because of fishermen boats.

    It's one beautiful place where you can spend days or weeks but i believe that if you are not really a fisherman, which i am not since the end of my childhood, or very fond of birds which i am but i wouldn't call it a passion, you would probably get bored after a while unless you find some other interesting way of exploring it. It's endless channels and vast expanses of water with lots and lots of birds.

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    The pelicans are truly amazing to see taking off in big escadrilles
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    Se-neaca pe apa solzoasa lumina, zeule mare!
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    I left after the tour with the intention to make it to Gura Portitei, a place between the sea and the system of lakes south of the delta which can be reached by boat only and maybe by motorbike if you're lucky. I just followed the road going through villages on the shore to Sinoe.

    Passing by Enisala fortress
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    Another beautiful day for riding...
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    ...and a day spent riding in the sun is not a wasted day
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    From Sinoe i took the offroad towards Channel 2 crossing in hope that i can then make it to Channel 5 crossing and eventually to Gura Portitei
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    I decided to not push further after reading the sign that it is forbidden to cross Grindul Lupilor due to bird nests and other creatures inhabiting the narrow strip of land between the waters.
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    After being thoroughly checked by the local patrol...
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    ...i bribed them...
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    The poor thing ate all my ukrainian biscuits
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    I turned back and reached Constanta that same day where i met the brother of my mother that i haven't seen in many years.
    #49
  10. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 77-81 - July 25-29
    Black Sea side - Bucuresti(slightly) - Zarnesti(Piatra Craiului)

    Hanging around for a few days at the Black Sea shore after more than 15 years brought back memories.

    Costinesti. Nothing else is worth picturing in that resort but the shipwreck.
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    Mamaia still has the old promontory standing but probably not for long although concrete from communist era has been famous for being far more difficult to demolish than to build.
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    I did not linger for too long through old sea memories and started toward home. I avoided Bucharest like the plague and visited Piatra Craiului which for me, i can say it even now after seeing it again after almost exactly 15 years, is the most beautiful mountain in the country. I found the same valley where i camped 15 years ago, Vladusca...
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    ..and did the exact same south crest route.

    Piatra Craiului does not need anything else but light, eyes and good legs.
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    Black goats
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    Edelweiss
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    The mountain has a true crest through the middle that sometimes becomes just 1m wide for crossing, with vertical precipices of hundreds of meters.
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    Back to the low forest after around 7 hours on the south crest.
    This makes for a good meal and a muscaria trip you'll never remember but you'll never forget.
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    #50
  11. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Day 82 - July 30
    Zarnesti - Baile Herculane

    Funny thing is that i just realized that once i ended June while going from Mongolia to Russia and entered July i actually kept posting with June instead of switching to July and am wondering if it was my subconscious wishing for June not to really end :). I corrected all the posts to July.

    Getting close to ending the ride back where i started and about time to wrap it up. It was just really difficult to find the time to do this.

    Packed the tent in Valdusca valley at the foot of Piatra Craiului
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    Just when making it back in Zarnesti i noticed engine oil on my right boot. The darn inspection glass on the ignition cover went slightly inside and engine oil was spurting out at a rate that was not sustainable for proper engine functioning for long. I found a bus garage on the side of the road and opened the ignition cover right there trying to see if there's some way to fix it.

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    There was not much i could do but push it back out. The whole is tapered so i just pushed the thing hard enough and hope that it will stick. I did not have loctite with me and was not keen on waiting for it to dry anyway.

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    I realized that i should have welded the hole back in Tbilisi when Niko gave me that option also. But it did hold all the way back home.

    I passed by Transalpina which is the highest, now paved, road in Romania. Last time i've been on it was many, many years back when there was no pavement and the road was pretty bad and a fun to ride. Besides being completely empty. This time it was paved and full of cars. I liked it way better before.
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    I made it to Baile Herculane and being quite tired i stopped for the last night before hitting home again after 83 days of magic.
    #51
  12. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

    Joined:
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    Day 83 - July 31
    Last day of magic

    Two last pictures from the last day when i made it back home. One from a small village between the hills that i've never been to before named Bogaltin, not far from my home town...
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    ..and a non selfie selfie right from the spin doctors' room.
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    For those who haven't done something similar i can only say go do it but be warned, it will change you forever and something will start spinning and spinning in your head, a kind of magic fever. The old you transcending beyond the limits of your consciousness to create the new you.

    For those who stayed until the end this is how it looks like more or less. It's only the 2wheels riding part. The missing rest is boat over the Caspian and train from Vlad to Moscow.
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    I will end on a funny note with an excerpt from "Some remarks on Kafka's funniness from which probably not enough has been removed" by DFW:
    "...the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home."

    Teaser...

    I was quite set on making it to the US over the Pacific and the fact that i did not cross the Pacific does not mean i did not make it. I did make it and came back from the west but i cheated by using a profile company for flying over the Atlantic. But i did have the most amazing journey of my life with the most amazing people that i have ever had the pleasure of meeting through the most amazing country on the planet for various reasons but not for all. I hope that i will find the time to share that part also, but just in case that it will be later rather later than sooner and just to tease you off this is what came out of it, more or less:
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    Going for the first time to ride the United States right after seeing the kazakh steppe, Mongolia and the russian far east is a truly surrealistic experience. I absolutely recommend it.

    I will also take the opportunity to say a big Thank you! to the eleven advrider buddies that have hosted me through the 25 states that i have touched. You know who you are.

    More teasing:


    Cheers to every adventure rider out there and thank you for those expressing their presence in whatever way!

    As Bon Scott used to sing... ride on... ride on... ride on...
    #52
    elron, Saso, chudzikb and 1 other person like this.
  13. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    981
    Fantastic trip, and looks like you hit a lot of the good stuff here in the U.S.!
    #53
  14. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

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    Only the good stuff chudzikb, only the good stuff...
    #54
  15. chudzikb

    chudzikb Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
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    981
    As it should be! If you are going to do it, DO IT!
    #55
  16. Sanibel

    Sanibel Long timer

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    Jun 13, 2016
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    1,025
    Location:
    Sanibel FL
    Great RR, planning East to West starting August. Inspirational.
    #56
  17. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

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    It's that time in Belgium when you don't want to be outside. It's windy-gloomy-humid-cold. You want to fill your head with as many sunny-pleasant memories as it can hold.
    A good moment to try to go through the US tour that i did after the east ride. So here it goes...

    The not very long introduction is that i took a company that flies some of its fleet over the Atlantic and made it to Toronto on a sunny day of August 10. I have there two cousins that i have not seen in many years, probably over 10, plus their kids, plus their children and their children children. My cousin is at 50 years of age mother to 6 and grandmother to an army. A woman that i am proud to have as a first degree cousin and also the woman that resembles my mother in an almost uncanny way. Good moment to pay them a visit. I planned to search for a two wheeler in Toronto and start a ride from there towards the west side of the continent. Not a very specific plan, just a few places i had in mind like Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Giants, Grand Canyon, Monument valley... and let the rest unfold by itself. Just go with the flow. But Toronto was not the place to rent or buy a motorbike in a short stance. I eventually found someone from London or somewhere near by, if i remember well, that was willing to rent or even sell me his V-Strom 650 and then buy it back after i'm done but i would have to wait for another week or so.
    I decided to try my luck in US, should be easier there to get hold of an engine, i thought. And since one of my cousin's son was well established in Troy Michigan, just next to Detroit and was also a motorcycle enthusiast, there i was, in a train to Windsor and over, no, under the river to US territory. Visited the downtown Detroit and after about half a day jumping from one bus to another, being the sole non African passenger of a bus for about an hour and a half, with strange beautiful people and language, riding north i made it close enough to Troy and finally met Val who by now was almost 30 years old. Last time i've seen him he was about 3, the year after the so called romanian revolution and before he made it with his mother and 3 siblings to a refugee camp in Austria where his father had escaped after the communist regime fell in the country. They all made it to Toronto eventually and here he is in Troy Michigan. With his help i got hold of a KLR 650, just what i needed, and on the 18th the magic of the thumper between two wheels riding the planet resurrected.

    Some of the pictures between the arrival in Toronto and jumping on the legendary KLR.

    The small CNC machining factory that my cousin and her husband now run is the first place that i stopped after landing in Pearson
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    Took some time to visit Niagara one day with my aunt, my cousin and two of her grandchildren
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    Like brother and sister should be


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    Just downtown Toronto
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    This one does not need any introduction
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    Craft beer festival at the Steam Whistle Brewing, just at the foot of the previous giant
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    Heading to Windsor, or i should say leaving Toronto and Canada behind
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    Somewhere in Troy Michigan while riding on a bicycle to Moosejaw to acquire some things that i decided i would need along the way
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    Typical American huge open space
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    Troy is a beautiful place, very humid while i was there
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    Val's beautiful children
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    And the lucky KLR 650 that was going to cross the US continent twice in six weeks. Trusty companion.
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    A fervorous Trump supporter
    MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
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    It was pretty great when i was there. I wonder if it's greater now.

    First day of riding was from Troy Michigan to Chicago. Ended up in a natural reserve camp ground somewhere between Aurora and Naperville. I payed 30 dollars just to pitch a tent. Damn, i was used to eastern Russia where i would pay not more than 10 euros for a motel. This is going to be expensive, i thought to myself. And it was. But it was worth it. I spent most of the nights in the tent with the exception of two nights spent in a motel in Buellton CA and about 13 nights at different advrider buddies some of them in the tent or in a hammock. Great people.

    The beginning of the second day
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    I will try to come back here as i find the time and eventually go through the whole thing. The pictures are taken with a CAT S30 phone camera, the same one that crossed the Kazakh steppe and the Mongolian desert, just raw and unedited as I decided not to spend money on a fancy and expensive camera. This was not a photo tour, this was 97.777% riding and discovery of the US. As much as can be done by a mortal in about six weeks.

    Cheers
    #57
    elron, Saso and chudzikb like this.
  18. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Jan 4, 2012
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    1,678
    Location:
    Central fly-over land.
    Very much looking forward to your ride report of the USA.
    #58
  19. oMeGAS

    oMeGAS derspy

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    Europe
    I actually spent the first night in Blackwell Forest Preserve. I just found it on the map. It's amazing what you can do nowadays with what i would call AI. I actually made it here after reaching another camp that was not a camp after all and a friendly police patrol pointed me to this one. The young lad that was attending the camp at that late hour agreed that spending 30 dollars for a night just to pitch a tent was too much. I spent some time chatting with him while he was trying to fix the radio in his old Chevrolet. He had the idea to reset it by cutting the battery and he found that doing that will prevent the engine to start by tripping something, something, something dark side. He called a friend and told me that if the car is still there in the morning they couldn't fix it. He had to go to his second job after his night shift. All this was very new to me but the friendliness was really overwhelming. As i reached the camp when it was already late in the night and there was no shop in the camp or anywhere near by he offered me his only apple. The next morning the car was gone. And so was i, to reach a Trader Joe's. Being from Europe i got some advice before leaving Troy on some of the shops that might fit my picky appetite. I'm actually not that picky and i can adapt to whatever diet i encounter along the road. But i did find Trader Joe's to be quite good when it comes to good food and some more. Unfortunately after Minnesota I couldn't find any, all the way to California.

    I lost half of the second day trying to figure out why did my phone stop having any signal. I had bought a AT&T sim from Troy but for some reason i stopped getting any signal somewhere after leaving Illinois. So i stopped at an AT&T shop with the guys there being very open and willing to help. We changed the sim twice with no luck. They said that my phone does not work with their network being from Europe and all. Really, than why did it work in Michigan and Illinois? I spent half an hour on the phone with a girl from technical support and then another girl from higher technical support and eventually gave up as my phone and their radio network refused to make peace. The final conclusion was that the phone was not compatible with their network. Oh well, it started working again somewhere in South Dakota and then stopped again in Idaho and resumed in Nevada. It was not the phone itself, it was some incompatibility between the phone and some of their probably old radio network towers. I made i that day to Madison KOA camp ground just off I90 when the night was already settling in.

    Before making it there i stopped briefly and without any intention in Genoa, Illinois at a car show. I was just lucky enough to enchant my eyes and whatever is behind them.

    And here it is ladies and gentlemen...

    But first the horse power that made it all happen and then we'll move to heavier stuff
    [​IMG]

    And now the all American pride, exquisite pieces of engineering art...
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    John Deere, why not, by all means...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Genoa Illinois, Main St. corner with Washington St. on August 19 ,2017
    [​IMG]

    Good night and thanks for watching.
    #59
    ShimrMoon, shuckinator, elron and 3 others like this.
  20. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    471
    Location:
    Lowlands
    I somehow missed your RR but I’m happy I found it. :thumb

    Just caught up reading, very much looking forward to reading about your American adventures.

    A 100km north of Belgium the weather sucks as well, so plenty time for you to do some writing :lol3
    #60