From Estonia with love (Round the World)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tsiklonaut, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut the (in)famous boxer perv

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    Siberia.




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    There're some very nice orthodox churches in eastern Russia.



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    Strangely every day many cars if not most the trucks were in a meat muncher mode behind Kariina (who was riding behind me). They kept really small, imminently dangerous distance and rapid moves just like they wanted to kill her, you could literally put a football standing between the bike's rear fender and the truck front grille. One evening we figured it could be the "EST" sign, meaning Estonia. It finally clicked to us the Russians do hate us because we are very vocal about the communist occupation (they still call it a "liberation" and fail to see both the communists and the nazis were occupants for us) from our recent history and finally gaining freedom despite they're being much bigger and more powerful than our tiny 1.2M country they could re-occupy with just a couple of hours if they really wanted to. Hence not particularly positive political relationship. Politics is politics, but what we didn't know the regular normal people could treat us this way...

    Once we ate at the roadside restaurant, there was a very normal looking family of three, a father, wife and a daughter. They kept staring at us and we started to feel a bit uncomfortable. When they moved out the father said "Why don't those fascist Estonians stay in Estonia" at the door (we can speak and understand the russian language). It was a weird situation, I mean why tell this cowardly on the way out - if you really want to say something bad to me, just say it directly into my face. I'll take it and respect anyone's opinion, even if it's wrong. But don't say it on the way out of the door without looking at us while you kept silently looking angrily at us all the time we tried to ate our food...

    At one of the fuel stations while tanking up some men got interested in our bikes, asking where we're coming from. We said from Mongolia. They got a bit more interested, asking where are we from, we said from Estonia. "Idiots" (дебил) said one of them and just walked away.


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    Safety was our concern - once we removed that big "EST" sign it got much better, trucks and cars weren't doing any killer maneuvers that frequently anymore, there was a noticeable difference. In this sense we found it's much safer to travel in an "anonymous mode" in Russia.
    gregMo, shuswap1, legasea and 15 others like this.
  2. Brick Top

    Brick Top Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the update, helps with motivation.
  3. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut the (in)famous boxer perv

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    Our home in the Siberian wild. The nature is fantastic in Siberia, we have a deep respect to it and never leave any rubbish behind like the locals tend to do.


    Once past the Ural mountains, that after fresh from the Pamirs looked more like a small hills, we entered from Asia to Europe, we got into Bashkortostan where Kariina's grandmother lives, in a village near Ufa, the capital of this region.



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    With granny.







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    The village. Despite the decaying looks it's actually lovely here - people still keep their own animals. Cows, chicken, goats, goose roam freely around - it's a nice balance and I'm sure they live much happier here and providing also healthier, better tasting food than in the cramped confined indoor spaces constantly injected with antibiotics in those industrial agriculture facilities in the Western World.





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    Tour around the village Kariina's known since childhood.








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    Public toilet at the railroad station.








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    Railroad is an important part in the Russian infrastructure. The villages are built aside the railroads, stations often are marked as kilometer numbers. And there's no off-hopping spots in small stations, hence it's a big climb to get to the train or a long jump to get off accordingly. But the Russian people always find the way to cope with the situation.







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    Every village in Russia has it's own Lenin. The sign says:
    "All the Power to the communist party,
    peace to the nations,
    land to the farmers"
    gregMo, Treadless, twinie and 14 others like this.
  4. morkiukas

    morkiukas Adventurer

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    love your film photos :clap thanks!
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  5. c.peet

    c.peet Adventurer

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    Thanks so much for your updates. It's so sad that people judge and hate other individuals over some unrelated politicians decisions and invisible boundaries. I'm glad that you guys are safe and well and continuing life's adventures. You do it better than most.
    tsiklonaut, #1Fan and everready like this.
  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Love the panning photo of the train coupler.
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  7. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut the (in)famous boxer perv

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    On to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. Wow, what a change in mentality - as you cross over into their territory you immediately notice it's not Russia anymore - the drivers and people are suddenly civilized to the core! When there's 60 kph speed limit, everybody do 60 (elsewhere they do 100 or 120 kph and don't give a slightest crap about the limits). The roads are in excellent state, clean, no rubbish or dirt on the village streets. People are calm and intelligent in Tatarstan. We really didn't even believe we are in Russia anymore, but it was all in front of our own eyes.

    Later it all started to make sense - Tatarstan is among the highest bidders of independence from Russia from all of their federated states. Russia invests alot into Tatarstan to keep them in their federation, yet Tatarstan has it's own massive oil income, hence they're now better off with two massive incomes (their oil PLUS the russian support money). It really shows. It's calm in Tatarstan for now, but they do have historically a bad blood with Russia.

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    Farmer's palace in Kazan is awesome.






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    One of the main churches in Kazan.







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    Testing out some local craft brew - excellent stuff!





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    Gates of the Kazan kremlin. Yes, there are kremlins in many big cities of Russia, not just Moscow.
    twinie, Saso, TwilightZone and 11 others like this.
  8. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University

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    Yay! :clap:dukegirl:thumb:deal
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  9. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University

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    Just had to go wiki Tatarstan! Very interesting thankyou!
  10. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut the (in)famous boxer perv

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    On to the Moscow. A busy metropolis. We made it all the way to the 'zero point' of all the road distance markings in the vast mother Russia.

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    Right smack in the center of Moscow's Red Square. The funny thing is when approaching the Moscow often distance signs increase in distance! So not sure if they got the zero point marking right afterall... Or it's another KGB's cold-war era "smoke and mirrors" trick, LOL.






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    In the central metro station there's a war memorial, a soldier with a dog - the common myth among the russians is that if you touch the dog's nose it will bring you luck. Hence the bronze nose is touched a lot.







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    Red Square Kremlin. An iconic place!








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    And the Red Square from not that known angle. I think this is where it gets it's name from, not the Kremlin on the opposite side.








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    Probably from things the most impressed we were was the metro - Moscow has a very nice and functional metro with original station interior designs.




    And it's just a days ride to home from Moscow. A bloody cold ride! We were blue from our faces and no wonder when we crossed the border the Russian side officials asked if we're Ded Moroz (the russian Father Christmas) and Snegurochka (the helper of Ded Moroz). We all laughed!

    It was great to be back at warm home - we both fell sick immediately since the adrenaline rush was finally off and our bodies acted according to the normal conditions again.

    Here's our Eastern-Europe, Caucasus, Central-Asia and Mongolia loop:
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    Distance: 23 100 km (14 400 miles)
    Countries: 13+1 (Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, (Transnistria), Georgia, Armenia, (Nagorno-Karabakh), Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Mongolia)
    Days: 95
    Nights in tent: 43
    Nights on the ships: 4
    Highest point: 4655 meters (15 272 ft) above sealevel (Ak Baital, Tajikistan)
    Highest swim: 2080 meters (6824 ft) above sealevel (Tolbo Nuur, Mongolia)
    Lowest temperature: -3C (+26,6F) near Novosibirsk
    Highest tempereature: +40C (+104F) in Northern Uzbekistan desert
    The longest in one spot: 7 nights (Ulanbaator, Mongolia)
    Crashes: Suzuki 6, GS 5
    Punctures: 4
    twinie, kwakbiker, gregMo and 24 others like this.
  11. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    What a wonderful life you have! I enjoy these short visits into your world.
    Ride on my friends!
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  12. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University

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    Thankyou so much :thumb
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  13. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Thanks so much for the wonderful photography and stories. I really enjoyed your book as well. I like how the story I knew well was written so differently by Kariina.
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  14. makad

    makad P/T Shed Dwelling Hermit

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    Wonderful, just wonderful. Thank you
    What now for the DR? Retire or rebuild?
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  15. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

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    Just another GREAT report ! Thank you.
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  16. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut the (in)famous boxer perv

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    Thank you all! :]

    We'll rebuild it I think. Looking at around the net then all of the sub-600cc thumpers (with very few exceptions such as CRF250L) tend to self-destruct and need frequent rebuild when doing continental-distance travels. Remember they are designed as a lightweight sunday playtoys, not for the heavy duty global long haul.

    Opened up the head: piston rings were seized up on our DRZ. It seems it doesn't like a bad fuel either - lots of carbon buildup. It's a magic it run all the way to home with almost a non-existent compression, so we want to give it a second chance! Just rebuild it before every major travel is a good idea I think, albeit expensive, mind.
  17. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    Look at the bright side...

    You can over-bore and get a little more displacement out of it!

    I used to do cross-country on a Yamaha RZ-350. I carried a fresh set of pistons/rings just in case.

    Be well my friends.

    -Brad
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  18. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    So is it back to work for now before the next adventure, that gap on the world map just got a lot smaller...
    edd-nor and tsiklonaut like this.
  19. twinie

    twinie Been here awhile

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    Brilliant....

    So, what's next?!

    Coming back to "normal" life surely has got your travel juices going again....?
    tsiklonaut likes this.
  20. Tinnman

    Tinnman n00b

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    The last 2 months I have been reading this RR from the start.
    One word: Unbelievable.
    What a great adventure, thanks for the report.

    Now what will I do with all my time at the office:y0!
    tsiklonaut and edd-nor like this.