Heavy Metal around Mongolia and Central Asia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by timolgra1, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Heading deeper into Siberia the road begin to become more variable.
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    Often turning to dirt[​IMG]

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    Sometimes concrete sections
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    This is the main road east
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    At last the riding becomes more interesting at times.
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    We meet a local bike enthusiast, he shows us photos of his bikes...the common language worldwide.
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    #21
  2. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Back on tarmac we meet the Irkutsk bike club heading for a rally in Europe, they've a long way to go!
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    More encounters in Siberia, these two lads have cycled across Mongolia from south Korea and are heading for.......Portugal!!!
    Much later in our trip we stop at two cafes in Kazahkstan and find they too had called there, small world sometimes.

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    Pete and I enjoy a coffee break
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    The Trans-Siberia railway became our constant companion.
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    #22
  3. bettingpython

    bettingpython Adventurer

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    :lurk Ok count me in. Got a total for all the fines paid this trip? You guys don't write for fastbikes by any chance?
    #23
  4. Frey Bentos

    Frey Bentos Probably doing a drawing. Or scratching my arse.

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    Excellent.
    #24
  5. j0ney3

    j0ney3 Been here awhile

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    subscribed!:clap
    #25
  6. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    We stayed in a truckstop in Kansk.

    A town full of good looking women.

    But oh no, Rick and I get invited to drink vodka with a group of truckers.

    It's all going well, once raised, your glass mustn't touch the table until empty, we eat smoked Baikal fish and other foods between drinks.
    Five bottles of vodka later, we've run out so a bottle of brandy is found.

    One of the truckers wants to see my bike round the back in the truck park.
    Reluctantly I go with him.


    "I love you he confesses" pretenting and hoping for a misunderstanding I tell him yes " I love my bike"......"No" he insists, "I love YOU" and invites me to his truck.
    I tell him to feck off and beat a hasty retreat back to the bar where Rick is unknowingly being chatted up:D


    My 'companion' returns and brushes his leg against mine.
    I make a second retreat, this time to the safety of our room and tell the others of my ordeal, which was fairly frightening.

    Rick storms into the room ten minutes later, "they're all fecking gay" he shouts and has had a similar lucky escape, but didn't thank me for leaving him alone with them.

    The cafe's often sell a type of sausage roll, which is a sausage with strips of pastry wrapped around them.

    They became known as 'Trucker's Knuckles'.
    #26
  7. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    At last some flat tarmac, the undulating potholed surface often found in Russia gives the bikes an early pounding.
    Baz's top box comes off and is dragged behind him for a while before I could attract his attention.

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    Camping in Siberia is simply a matter of pulling off into the woods and finding a quiet clearing (and hope that no truckers turn up)!

    Huge mosquitoes found ways to bite you no matter what defences you tried, and lying in your tent listenening to the nearby Trans-Siberian was a sound I'll always remember.
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    Not all of us enjoyed five star luxury:eek1
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    #27
  8. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    So to the southern tip of Lake Baikal, a real milestone in our journey.
    Pretty girls try to sell us dried fish and the people become more friendly
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    We find somewhere to stay and locals lets us put the bikes in their garage before driving us out to eat and drink.
    On the way back the burly driver asks us if we'd like to drive his tank!!
    Oh yes!

    In the darkness of his his big yard the twin petrol V8s are fired up and we pile inside taking it in turns to drive. Awesome.
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    Then we're shown some of his relics from the 1st world war.
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    #28
  9. BykBoy

    BykBoy Meshuganeh Super Supporter

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    OH YEAH! This is going to be a great thread! :ear:clap
    #29
  10. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Heading up the east coast of Baikal the railway accompanies us.
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    Following a back road round the coast we find this.
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    And a perfect campsite. Baz gets some washing done.
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    Camped on a spit of sand and grass, we're between Baikal and this lagoon behind.
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    Lying in my tent that night watching the sunset over Lake Baikal, I reflect on where we are. It seemed such a long way on the map.
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    And watch the fishermen try to get there vehicle out of the sand and stones:D
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    Tomorrow we're going to Mongolia!!!!!:clap
    #30
  11. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    The idillic sunset gave way to a chilly night and a cold wind blew off Lake Baikal straight into my tent.
    The North Face Tadpole tent I was using is well ventilated with a mesh inner door and roof more suited to warmer places.
    I found sleeping with my head at the far end a great solution.


    I was enjoying Siberia and the lure of pressing on to Magadan would have to be for another day.

    Heading away from the lake we stop in a small town, the locals all resemble Borat and I get collared by a middle aged woman who is the local English teacher and wants to practice her language.
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    At long last we've stopped heading east and take turn south past Ulan Ude and towards the Mongolian border.

    I see a bike ahead and quickly catch it, it's got a UK number plate, we all stop.
    We meet Dennis, an Australian travelling from Britain on a type of GS airhead by himself, his route is similar to ours. A lanky sort of pure Ozz and one of the most well travelled people I've ever met, I warm to him immediately.
    Later it's agreed he can travel with us during our month in Mongolia, our route is much more ambitious than his but he felt comfortable to do it in our company.
    So began what I hope will always continue to be a great friendship.

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    Next to the Mongolian border three local girls introduce themselves, the one on the rights not bad looking and I have an email address if anyone's interested, as for the other two, well as I got to know Dennis better I reckon he would:evil
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    Late afternoon and we're poised for entering Mongolia, a moment I'd anticipated for a long, long time.
    Would it be all I'd hoped, would it present the challenges I sought and the freedom I yearned for...................?
    #31
    Jean-Luc likes this.
  12. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    This is just fantastic! The kind of stuff I run home from work to see the updates. I love the trucker story. Too funny. I also love the Land Rover, what a great rig. Dont forget to post the pretty girl pics.
    #32
  13. skiandbike4fun

    skiandbike4fun Adventurer

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    I spent 3 1/2 months studying abroad in Mongolia and got to visit several places, including Lake Baikal. I've been dreaming of taking a bike through Mongolia for several years now, this ride could not have been anything short of absolutely stunning! Anxiously awaiting the rest of the report! :clap
    #33
  14. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    A smartly dressed young man who works at the border helped us through customs.

    Once through, I race towards the others, jubilantly sliding the back wheel sideways and stopping in a cloud of dust YEEHAA!!

    We'd only been on the road for 18 days, one of those was spent stuck at the border. So that was the 7,000 mile liason stage over with.

    It's late and we need to eat, the border official takes us to a decent place to eat around 20 miles south.
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    Fatty mutton soup followed by six of these each, they are fatty mutton pasties, our host manages only two, Baz just about manages all six:clap:bow not to be outdone, I do my best but stall at five and a half and nearly throw up.
    The taste of fatty mutton is a big part of Mongolian cuisine mmmm!


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    #34
  15. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Once over the border and into Mongolia the whole world changes straight away.

    The road to Ulaanbaatar is tarmac but the landscape, people and way of life is strikingly different.


    Flippin' fantastic! I was so excited at being there and was to feel that way every day for the following month. Years of dreaming, all the accounts of travel I'd read, the place names, the incredible history all fell into place and I was actually there, riding my perfect bike.

    I won't ask the reader to excuse my enthusiasm at this point, for me this is the ultimate expression of motorcycling and later in the trip I'm sure you'll understand how I experienced the ultimate in motorcycling freedom, it simply doesn't get any better.
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    #35
    Jean-Luc likes this.
  16. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Ulaanbaatar, pronounced Oolanbarter, was our first destination.
    A sprawling city in the centre of this wilderness, it was around 36degC as we got there.
    Another major milestone in this journey, a great moment for us all I'm sure and for me a fairly emotional one
    .
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    We all felt it had been a hard grind of a ride to reach this point and knew I was lucky to be alive after the near crash, perhaps it all made the moment sweeter. But if we thought the 7,500 miles to get there had been hard then we were in for a suprise, many of the following 10,000 would prove a test for us all, it was only now that the real ride started.
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    #36
  17. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Riding into Ulaanbaatar was our first experience of feeling like a celebrity in a city, several more were follow in other countries. Cars toot their horns, drivers and passengers all wave, it must be obvious we're a long way from home.

    We stay at the Oasis, an aptly named place beyond the centre run by an Austrian couple. The owner, who's name escapes me, is an ex offroad biker and Moto crosser, I say ex as he believes Mongolia is too dangerous to ride in and warns us to take care. There are no reliable medical services in the country, an accident could mean a flight to Bejing for treatment and that's if your lucky.

    We need to rest a few days, change tyres and service the bikes before heading south to the Gobi desert.
    Rather than sleep in the guest house we take over three of these Gers (yurts) in their compound. It snows!
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    The stove is lit and we settle in to enjoy our surroundings, who knows how long it'll be before we're clean and comfortable again after leaving here.
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    #37
  18. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    Having the bikes in perfect condition was a priority.

    We'd used Tourance and Trail Attacks to get here, it was a shame to throw only part worn tyres away but Rick didn't want their weight on his Landy in Mongolia. He had agreed to take our TKC80s for us with him though which was a real bonus:thumb

    The original plan was to have a pair of TKC80 tyres flown out to UB and for anyone considering a trip like this then that's a very good option, use DHL and they'll even deliver to an address ie, the Oasis, or pick them up from the airport which would be a drag. The same goes for any unexpected spare parts you may need, get them sent to a destination on your route if possible. A rear 1200 oil seal was ordered from uk in Russia and sent to UB. Dennis had a tyre delivered from UK by Royal Mail!

    Use the Lonely Planet guide for both Mongolia and Central Asia, many other travellers will be staying at their recommended places and you'll meet them which is useful for picking up information.

    Learn to change your own tubeless tyres, brake the bead with small tyre levers or use your imagination, lube the beads with shampoo and find a compressor. The mini ones often carried are not quite enough to seat the tyre, but Rick had one only slightly bigger which just about did the job (take a right angle adapter for the rear valve), if it still won't seat try joining two luggage straps together and wrap them around the tyre, struggle, swear a lot and you'll get them on. They lasted until Istanbul, a hard 7,000+ miles away.

    I gave my bike a full service here, all oils, valve clearances, throttle balance, brakes shake the dust out of your airfilter, save your spare for when you really need it! In anticipation of the many river crossings I'd made a rear diff breather extension to come under my seat. (not applicable to 1200s).

    Remember the biggest mechanical problem likely to be encountered on a trip like this with a heavy bike is suspension related....as poor Baz found out, so keep your bike as light as possible and fit the strongest suspension you can find.....and there opens a can of worms.

    Pete makes his waste oil container.
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    Baz on a steep mechanical learning curve discovers some black stuff in his engine.
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    A rear oil seal is change on Pete's 1200
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    Decent rubbers fitted, the bikes taken to a car wash where three girls dry them off and we're ready to rock!
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    ...er, but I think we'll wait for the snow to stop first
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    #38
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  19. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    We're still not ready to go, Dennis needs to make a second visit to the Kazahkstan embassy for a visa so we head for a day and night on the town in a taxi.
    It's a bit cramped in the back and Jarvo lets ripp a fatty Mongolian mutton fart that rattles Baz's thigh and the driver has to open the window before we're all poisoned.
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    #39
  20. timolgra1

    timolgra1 Been here awhile

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    So it was a great relief for both us and the taxi driver, who was still holding his breath, that we were bundled out into the main square and fresh air.
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    Mongolian history is remarkable, yet the rural people are generous beyond belief, respectful, strong, resourceful wonderful company although some are perhaps still reeling from the communist influence.
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    We tried unsuccesfully to find some traditional throat singers so went to the museum instead.
    Chinggis Khaan was long gone but there were some other ancient relics on display.
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    #40