Melbourne to Munich on a DR w/o carnet via Korea, Japan and Mongolia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by c4traz, May 11, 2015.

  1. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    Hello adventure riders,

    Update: I have reached my home town in Germany safe and sound in September 2015 after about 32,000 km on the road from Melbourne, Australia. The trip started in April 2015 and brought me and my trusty Aussie registered DR650 through South Korea, Japan, Russia (3 times), Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.

    [​IMG]


    And it all started like this...

    [​IMG]
    In case you care I would like to let you take part in my journey home wards. I started in the 2nd week of April 2015 and am currently sitting in Seoul, South Korea waiting for my bike to arrive in Busan. I hope I can find the time in the next weeks to write bit by bit about the Australian leg of the trip. Since I'm traveling solo and also working as freelancer it may be slow. But I hope that way I can get in touch with bikers along the way.

    After working in Australia the last 2.5 years I got tired of the nasty Melbourne weather and those skinny jeans wearing buggers who think they should brew beer from rhubarb and headed off from Melbourne towards my beautiful home of Bavaria where craft beer is outlawed since 1516. My first big bike trip took me around South East Asia, so that route was ruled out. But I worked out I can do it even without spending 1000s on a carnet via East Asia, Iran would be the only country to avoid. And I would only need to put it on a container ship once to get it off Australia. Korea, Japan and Russia are well connected via ferries. So far the theory.

    I contacted pretty much all companies somewhat in the cargo business to get quotes and did not end up with a whole lot at all. Just for the sake of saving someone a bit of time, I did not get a quote (or reply) from any of these: DHL freight, Virgin/Toll group,
    quantas freight, seaswift.com.au, hellmann.net, transways.com.au, cargomaster.com.au, aircargo.com.au, freightservices.com.au, freightstar.co.nz,
    pjscustoms.com.au (recommended by many others, but seems dead now), DarwinContainerServices.com.au, ctfreight.com, kline.com, interfracht.de, globallinkfreight.com, discountfreight.com.au, masfreight.com.au, fciaust.com.au, swireshipping.com, marianashipping.com.au

    I did get a quote from Ever Global International from Darwin to Japan but at about 2000 AUD quite pricey.
    So after many weeks of googling and writing endless emails I finally did come across "Bikes Abroad" and Ivan gave me a quote for 937 AUD (excluding port charges at arrival) from either Melbourne or Brisbane to either Korea or Japan. Sweet!
    Update: In Busan I had to cough up another 860.000 Won (1000 AUD) in fees, inclusive the 105k for 14 days insurance

    Weapon of choice is a 2003 DR650 (a bargain for 3200 AUD) with a Garmin 62s that doesn't necessarily keep me from getting lost, and brand new Heidenauer Scout on the rear. Lots of thought went into soft vs. hard panniers with the cheapest option - Australian made - being 895 AUD excluding shipping: http://www.barrettexhausts.com.au/panniers.html

    But then do I really want to spend about a 1000 dollar, a third of my bike's value on two metal boxes? That's multiple times what my gear is worth. Shall they steal my dirty underwear, I don't care. I went with two no name pannier bags and a large duffle bag from an ebay warehouse seller named tour-pak. They were on special and cost me in total about 150 AUD, all the straps on the bags were utterly useless to fix them in any way to the bike and in the meantime I have cut them off. They hold onto the bike with a velcro flap and come with a rain cover. I put some additional velcro around the end of my seat as well, so that I can put one on without the other one holding against it. A rubber strap each just in case and a cargo net over the duffle bag and I'm ready. It surprisingly holds well and is not the only ebay cheapo or 2nd hand item of gumtree on my bike. And who needs a tank bag for hundreds of dollars? Am I the only one who thinks that's insane money for a storage bag? Search for "bicycle bag" on ebay and you may be surprised what the friendly guy in Hongkong sends you with free postage starting from a few bucks. Ok, it does not come with a touratech logo hence you are somewhat invisible to most people at the Horizons Unlimited meeting but it holds a small map, mobile or camera and that paper you need to show to some official at the next boom gate just fine. :)

    The racks came from happy-trail.com in the US which including shipping still were far cheaper than anything in Australia (something is wrong down under, seriously). Instead of a center stand I got one of these Australian made portable prop stands in my tool bag: http://andersonstands.com/tour_prop_stand.htm
    That saves you at lot of dollars and kilos and you can use it to get either wheel into the air.

    So I set off on my trip and after 10 km a car driver gave me a wave and I thought, oh well, probably lost my cheapo paniers at the last pothole. But turns out it was a rear signal bulb. Must be a good sign. ;)



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Adelaide
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Typical Aussie chicks, staggering home from the bar early in the morning.
    [​IMG]
    #1
    Joris van O likes this.
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,904
    Best wishes for a safe journey home and thanks for taking us along :thumb

    Will you be able to register your bike in Germany once you're home?
    #2
  3. Not the Messiah

    Not the Messiah Old enough to know better, but slow learnin'

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Melb'n, 'Straya
    Waddaya mean ya don't like Melb'n weather?:huh
    Um, can I come with you?:lol3:lol3

    Good luck with the journey, looking forward to following along.

    Cheers
    Brian
    #3
  4. ninja97

    ninja97 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    melbourne,australia
    Nothing wrong with Melbourne weather, at least it don't snow here 😃.

    Hope you have a great trip, and a safe one.

    You are going to do my dream trip so I will be all ears to hear about it.

    Are you going to do the BAM road or Mongolia or just straight through Russia ?
    #4
  5. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    565
    Location:
    Back to reality.... WestOz
    Good luck mate. Good decision with the Melbourne weather! Hope the dr serves you well.
    #5
  6. TouringDave

    TouringDave Tri Moto Veritas

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,282
    Location:
    Frankston, Vic, Aust.
    What's wrong with the weather? It's only 13° C at the moment.....Balmy.

    Have a great trip. :clap
    #6
  7. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    I will arrive in Vladivostok and go through Mongolia as well, I don't want to make too long a stretch in a single country. So hopefully I can visit the Stans and reach home via South/East Europe. :)
    #7
  8. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    So first day I did the Great Ocean Road (would be great if not so packed with cars), camped behind a backpackers guesthouse and was glad to have brought my ski pants that double as warm wear for cold nites and rain wear on the bike, 2nd day to Adelaide seeing dead koalas and mostly dead kangaroos. A black one just grazing right on the edge of the road. I did not have much practice at all with my GoPro and sadly I think I did not catch much more than the road under my feet the first three days. One bows the head a lot more than one thinks with increasing speed.

    Upon leaving Adelaide to the North I was quite happy to see emergency telephones with little satellite dishes plastered all over the highway. Well those would come in handy in the outback I thought. Except they must have ran out of phones about 30 km out of Adelaide. The cross winds were heavy on my neck, hiding in the right distance between a road train helped. Cruising through the vine yards of South Australia was quite nice and more curvy than one would imagine. But they seriously like fences there, more than the most uptight German neighbourhood, just there were no people, cows or sheep near or far... just fences, fences everywhere. You would take a while to find a spot for a tent off the road. I passed Port Augusta where for the first time in Australia I saw a big population of aboriginees. The petrol prices quickly creeped higher (from 1.30 AUD to 1.90 AUD close to Uluru) and the outback folks grew more peculiar depending how big the town is. Biggest town between Port Augusta and Alice Springs is I think the dusty desert town Coober Pedy (aborigenee for 'white man in a hole') with 1700 people. The further you go the calmer you get on the empty highways and slowly a routine sets in, you suddenly take only half the time to pack the bike in the morning or set up the tent in the evening as on the first day. But you spend lot of time on "where the hell did I put x, shit I lost it, damn it was stolen, oh here it is..."

    Getting up close to sunrise to pack up the bike, though always avoided riding outside daylight and only had one kangaroo running across the street in what was still safe distance. Cows on the road here and there and the eagles usually take a while till they decide you are big enough for them to take off from the roadkill. The dead kangaroos are mostly not a nice sight, the birds go for the eyes and lower end first. I always wondered where the kangaroo bones go though. Only saw a dingo once.

    You see lots of caravans, many Aussies even tow their boat through the outback, pickup trucks that could transport a bike in case of emergency, also the locals have CB radios in their car for communication. It's not even half as wild as the city people make you think (as usual). Little rest areas every 60 km or so give you a bit of shade and sometimes but not always a big water tank where you can fill up your bottle. The signs say it may not be safe to consume but I drank the water and also the unfiltered tap water for maybe a week and didn't have problems. Petrol is available at all roadhouses and towns and I never had to switch to reserve, met a local who did the same roads with a 14 l tank and only needed his jerry can twice. Didn't see many bikers until close to Uluru, the solo ones where locals (one Australian lady on a Harley to her new job in Darwin), the others moved in groups. You also meet solo cyclists around Alice Springs and 4x4 groups that go through the Simpson desert, something I neither have the knowledge, skills or confidence for to do.

    The roadhouses always provide a warm meal, and most often come with a caravan park as well. I paid in average maybe 18 AUD for an unpowered site. Expensive for a patch of grass or sand many will think. But after riding 600-700 km that gives you a shower, a nearby place to eat and have a cold beer, a socket to charge your batteries, a place to wash your dirty socks and some other people to talk to.

    The size of the cattle stations is nothing short of mind boggling for European standards at least, Curtin Springs near Uluru is one of them with an interesting history http://www.curtinsprings.com/

    I saw a piece of land for sale in Queensland with 160,000 hectar. Imagine owning a property bigger than the city limits of Manila. Dirt roads with old painted truck tires or similar mark the way to them, but hard to say how far you'd need to go in land. They have their own grocery shop that gets filled with a truck every few weeks.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    Probably not a 2003 model, the reason why this awesome bike is no longer sold in Europe is that it doesn't pass the EU emission restrictions anymore.

    I learned that after I got the bike but never wanted that to keep myself from doing the trip with it. :)
    #9
  10. deaninkl

    deaninkl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    KL, Malaysia
    Hi Martin, great to see you are on the road again. I will be following from Malaysia, so keep those instalments coming. Best of luck and stay safe.

    Dean in KL
    #10
  11. Dr3amin

    Dr3amin n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    South Western Australia
    :thumb Good to see some more Aussies doing the whole RTW thing! I like the way you've set yourself up too, Cheap, simple and it works! Worse comes to worse if something breaks its not great loss and easy to replace. Good luck on your future endevours mate, I'll be cheering you on!!
    #11
  12. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    Appreciate the feedback, guys. Glad that someone enjoys my yarns :)

    250 km outside of Coober Pedy I came across a group of backpackers that tried to make it to Alice Springs in a beaten car against a mechanic's advice. Now they were backtracking, stopping every 50 km for a break to let the engine cool down. They had quite some explaining to do.
    Starting from Marla to Uluru the flies became terrifying and I wish I'd have had a hat with a fly net. Especially when you put the tent up. More than once I slapped my glasses out of my face. Uluru has 3G reception while 130 km before I had to use a good old coin phone. :)

    As a European we often have a somewhat romantic view of the Aborigines. Sitting in the sand clapping sticks, exchanging dreams with an emu and painting caves, I thought. But then I often saw them begging in the cities for money that goes straight into a pokie or lying on the street, empty eyed. The white man has done terrible things to them, and sort of gave up expecting anything from them.

    After Alice Spring where it was a bit greener, I saw a car at the roadside with about five Aborigines. The signs already said it's 2 km to the next roadhouse. Since further South they advertise restaurants that are 400 km away, it's relatively close for outback standards.
    He said I'd be the first to stop and gave me a high five. They would have run out of fuel. My eyes wandered to the older lady with the slightly unkempt hair and those two mango god gave her jumping out of her shirt in any direction, staggering (or dancing, not sure) and yelling while holding a VB can in one hand and a jerry can in the other. I figured they haven't run out of beer yet. But you gotta set priorities, after all it's hot out there close to noon and you cannot drink petrol. I offered to fetch them some and was more thinking of 2-3 liter, though the guy went to bring me the 30 liter canister not the 5 liter one the lady was dancing with. "Well not sure if that will fit under my jacket", I thought and tried to reason with him for a short while. But hey, I left the engine running for a reason. Will he think about why a foreign guy was the first to stop? Not sure.

    At the roadhouse then another car with Aborigines also with no fuel cap (but at least a sock stuffed in), and also no license plate came from a dirt road strewn with empty cans. The petrol stations seem to be their new watering holes. An old Aborigine walked up to the girl and said "VEEBEE", the girl with what seemed to me was a UK accent treated him courteous like any other customer "six or 12?", he replied "VEEBEE". After serving him she continued burning garbage in a oil drum outside.

    For quite some time I wondered how VB can be the most sold beer in Oz even though you never really see people drink it... until I got to the outback.

    Further East I met a contractor who gets his hands dirty in remote places since many years and shared the story of how he was servicing those 300.000 $ homes the government puts up for families in aborigine communities. They used the cabinet doors for a camp fire in the living room and after the toilet was filled to the brink and wouldn't flush anymore they continued doing the same with the shower. You may want to think again if your job is really so bad.


    [​IMG]
    One of the rest stop water containers, signs discourage you to drink it though.
    [​IMG]
    Bangers, mash, pint. Fuel for another day.

    [​IMG]
    The guy at the bar is trying to make a deal for some Aborigine art.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This photo holds a lot of true blue Aussie culture. You see thongs, tatts, stubbies, Bali singlets and drunk people arguing. Found the mistake? Yep, the person who appears to be working is a Kiwi. ;)
    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. ninja97

    ninja97 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    303
    Location:
    melbourne,australia
    Looks like you found the real Australia :rofl
    #13
  14. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    17/04/15 I catch the first rain in Alice Springs since months and it doesn't stop all day, my jacket and shoes are drenched, the tent won't dry, decide to stay another day and make laundry under the shower. Hang out in the laundry room as it's the only sheltered place. I help the camp site lady with the empty cans and she gives me a ride to town. Pretty disappointing, but at least I can fill up on cash and visit a post office.

    18/04/15 Who would have thought I need all my warm clothes, the jacket inlet and the ski pants I took for riding in rain around Alice Springs, it's pretty cool out there in the morning and suddenly the rain comes back, first time I put the pannier rain covers on. Later it gets very warm or rather hot, changing again. In Tenant Creek on the way you see once again police babysitting abos already in the morning, bouncers in front of bottle shops. I meet young guys, AMOS, who go to the Aborigine communities in huge offroad ready trucks/buses to celebrate Christian services, I see my first dingo. Make it to Barly Homestead, the crosswinds in the plain lands are horrid, as if they'd rip your head off, passing road trains make it worse. Though you can't work it out if they are full or not until they pass, empty ones are harmless. Women's day celebration in the pub, big event for the youth on the stations, they see their friends not too often I reckon, they dress up like neat cowboys, the girls in retro dresses, first I thought must be a theme party but that's their going out wear. Nice folks though, the bartender has to tell some truck drivers to "pull their head in", they don't get to see too many women I guess. Surprised out there is no prostitution at all. In Germany that's normal along the autobahn.

    19/04/2015 Strong crosswinds again, thousands and thousands of termite hills in shapes like desert buildings, the locals put shirts on the man shaped ones, sleeping in Kloncurry, even in shit holes likes that you meet backpackers serving in the pubs or working on camp sites. I see a herd of camels close to the road taking off.

    20/04/2015 Boring ride ever since I went towards East, around Mt. Isa is the only part which is somehow fun to ride in the whole outback. So glad to leave it, you'd want to do this on a Harley, or maybe not at all. I hoped to make it to the coast today but when I stop for gas in Charters Towers I see my rear tire... lucky me. I call two local bike shops, one Suzuki dealer has the DR650 stock tires, sweet, appointment tomorrow morning, could have been stuck for days here if not. The town is very pretty, old gold rush place with even a stock exchange.

    21/04/2015 Only one on the tent ground, a runaway dog decides to take off with the kangaroo tail bone I took of a skeleton and left in the sun to dry. He comes back without it, happy as a clam. I call the town council from the dog's tag. The owner comes soon after and leaves after the dog's running towards him without saying "thank you" or "hi" for that matter. Sure buddy, like I have no other things to deal with than your dog. The Heidenauer only lasted me 5500 km. The front Pirelli or what it was lasted about 7500-8000, I decide to change both. The guy says chain and sprocket would need replacement half way to Brisbane (I don't think so). 362 AUD for everything including two new tubes at Gold city motorcycles, short ride to Townsville.

    22/04/2015 Notice they left out the front rim lock in favor of a hole. Great... I can't be bothered to go back, would cost me too much time, have to catch the ship cargo cut off date. Also notice a missing screw on the bar holding the safari tank and one of the engine case cover, but no leaking oil.

    24/25th Riding down to Caloundra, staying in tiny towns. In Rolleston, one Chile and one Columbian backpacker girl working at the bar, they say the town has 40 people but yesterday there were 70 in the pub. They have a 2$ pot happy hour. ANZAC day morning in Yarraman, some sweet riding to the coast, the local bikers often twist their head instead of raising a hand or what. Not sure if it's a "Hi" or a "Get lost", looks more like the 2nd, especially when it comes from a Harley rider.

    26/04/2015 The very old German lady in the red cross shop gives me rags to clean the bike for free, refuses a donation "all for the trip" she says. I clean bike at a car wash but the water gun isn't giving me any soap, then scrubbing chain and sprocket on the camp ground with a 2$ can degreaser from reject shop, happy no one complains.

    27/04/2015 Drop the bike in the morning at MotoLife, all the staff except the secretary arrives on bikes, very friendly service, I have to make a snap decision. Should I leave the kangaroo skull in there? Stuffing it into the tent bag. Not the lil Koala fur though, too risky. They even bring me to the train station which is like a 25 minutes car drive, sweet. Take the train into Brisbane. Staying in backpackers dorm, first bed in weeks, though I rather sleep in a tent then in a room with 6 people where you can't open a window.

    28/04/2015 I cancel my health and bike insurance, get a cheque sent for about 60 bucks, can't hurt. Get myself health insurance from worldnomads instead.

    29/04/2015 I get thumbs up from Ivan that the bike passed customs, wow, I'm leaving Australia, so sudden, I did not want to book before I knew the bike is leaving shores for sure. Book a plane next morning, 800 AUD direct flight to Seoul, a good deal I reckon, the old bloke in the dorm snores like the sound when you start your old school lawn mower.

    30/04/2015 Get up before 5, change the last AUD for a complete ripoff commission at the air port to USD, yes, you shouldn't do that anywhere near an airport. The flight uneventful, a stewardess and a older middle eastern lady ask me to help with her trolley's stubborn handle, it won't fold in. I try hitting it with my fist, the handle breaks and falls apart *cough*, stewardess thanks me anyway and the lady seems unconcerned. Good deed of the day?
    #14
    roadcapDen likes this.
  15. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Some souvenirs. Not mine
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The true adventure riders, Queensland museum.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    30/04/15 (continued), I reached Seoul station at late evening, maybe I took wrong exit, but nothing much is there, I jug my luggage around, tired, first guesthouse is too pricey 50.000 Won, first guy I ask for directions is actually Singaporean, first taxi driver doesn't know the addresses I noted down earlier in the airport. 2nd taxi driver also can't work it out but promises to take me to a cheap guesthouse. Mmmkay.. but I shouldn't have doubted, for a few dollar he brings me to a nearby hidden minbag (Korea/Hongkong style tiny single rooms, 35.000, not cheap but I'm tired, it's very clean and has wifi and AC. The taxi driver even calls the place to confirm the price and walks up with me to ensure they give me the price, wow. I later send an email to his company suggesting him for employer of the year. So I'm back in Asia after years, hey? Have to get used to the fact again that simple things aren't that simple if you don't have a common language. Better preparation on my side would have helped but not like the todo list was ever empty anyway.

    I get a sim card valid for a month which is quite expensive, 35.000, with lots data/call/txt balance I will unlikely need. It includes access to the wifi that's everywhere in the urban area but it never lets me connect and they can't help me either. I change to a place in Hongdae, lots universities, lots nightlife. Found the place on airbnb and thought it's a dude renting out his couch but actually it was a dude renting out his comfy leather couch in his guest house. Still better than sleeping in the badly aired dorm room bunk beds, 10.000 Won, a bargain, I stay for weeks, start working for my old company from remote. Better do, woah look at all these expenses. I go for a dentist checkup, get new glasses and a haircut, the last weirdly was the hardest as in Hongdae once can only find expensive super stylish salons. I want some old Korean uncle give me a 5$ buzz cut. Picked the wrong suburb for that. The people are indeed very flashy dressers, guys, girls, even dogs wear makeup, no kidding. Go out drinking with the hostel folks, fun since a few others also stay for longer term. Beer and chicken is a fun Korean concept where you share a plate of oil drenched chicken pieces and pitcher of beer. Soju is dirt cheap, a dollar a bottle, makoli looks like milk and tastes somewhat like medicine, it has to grow on you, they say. Going for food they fill the whole table with little plates, but it's still quite affordable. But Kimchi every day, really? Germany once also was very poor and the cuisine is not known for it's variety, but we managed to diversify away from potatoes and cabbage a little.

    So sometimes I eat western fast food, and I don't like these travelers who go like "Oh my god, how could you for once not eat the local food, it's soo yummy!" Well, it's fast, easy and call me weird but a burger does make me happier than chewing on chilli cabbage.

    The ATMs are a rip off left right and center here, 4000 Won fee for each 100.000 out, then my handpicked Australian bank for low fees still takes 2.50 $ off me on their end. My German card is not accepted anywhere until I find Standard Chartered banks who don't mind it, what a relieve, no fees either end.

    07/05/15 I contact Wendy, a lady in Busan who works as shipping agent. After looking at my documents she says it's not possible for Germans to ride in Korea and no one but the owner may pick it up. Wow, fantastic news. I'd have to get my bike from the port to the ferry to Japan by bonded truck. Cool. Reason being is that there where some international road safety conventions where countries agreed on some basic rules, 1926, 1949, 1968, different countries signed at different times. Germany earlier than Korea with Germany arguing we don't need to sign the later ones as we already joined. Now in the year 2015 Korea stubbornly sticks to the country's that joined at the same time as them, at least that's what I understood from a quick research. Sweet, I try to reason with her, Korea does do accept German driving licenses. Also my bike is Australian, not German. That seems to make a difference. Slowly, very slowly her brick wall gives in. She says I may get it.

    10/05/15 I cycle along the Han river, cross the bridge on a narrow bicycle path with my gopro in one hand, well until the girl in front of me brakes suddenly for no reason. Gotta fall of sometime, hey?

    11/05/15 Going for Korean bbq with the local tour guide who will bring us around the DMZ, me and a French girl take a bite each off a green chili and spend the next 20 minutes under the water dispenser. Now the tour guide says "That's not spicy at all" dips the chili in the sauce and hardly touches his tongue before starting to scream and using the wet towels to scrub his tongue.

    13/05/15
    I wander around Gangnam, take the elevator up a random building, further up the stair cases, last a ladder up the AC block and I'm rewarded with a great view. Those "sky towers" are usually a rip off where you can't even take proper photos through the glas panels all around, this is free :). Check out Seoul's last "slum", Guryong, soon to be demolished, poor huts but far from a slum. Dogs start to bark and someone gives me a friendly X with his arms, time to leave.
    The arrival date of the ship keeps changing, first I'm told it reaches one day early, then two days late.

    14/05/15 The guesthouse runs low on toilet paper, the two brothers running it are completely disorganized and one of the English teachers living here hasn't paid in weeks. I still sleep on my couch happily. We guys who are here for longer run the reception more or less. The houses here have a keypad door lock, makes it easy.

    15/05/15 Checking out "Thursday party", a western bar filled with pumped up American army personal, you wait 25 minutes for a drink. I persuade my hostel buddy to make a soju run to the next convenience store, helps. I'm surprised how the locals leave their mobile phones completely unattended on the table in a crowded bar.

    16/05/15 Less than 3 hours sleep, going on DMZ tour, we get to ask a North Korean defector questions, he seems oddly jolly for his dad being killed and his mom imprisoned. Five huge tanks on trucks come our way on the highway, little huts dotted along with soldiers, would love to go along here with my bike. It's pretty touristy closer to the border, a propaganda movie, "Lousiana" fast food joint, theme park, but peeking over to North Korea and seeing the huge flag, some people working in the fields is still an interesting experience.

    17/05/15 Take a train down to Busan, ship supposed to reach 18th and able to pick up the bike on 21st Wendy says. She asks me how long I want to stay in Korea for insurance and temporary registration, I randomly pick 2 weeks, should be enough to tour the country, it's not too big.

    20/05/15 Wendy gives me the costs for port handling, warehouse, insurance etc. 930.000 Won, wow that's a bit of a shock. I whinge, make bank runs as much as possible. I take an empty wodka bottle to the next gas station and let it get filled, no questions asked.

    21/05/15 Last bank run, got the cash, got the documents, got the petrol, to the port at 3pm, meet with Mr. Kim, a colleague of Wendy, we go straight to the temporary vehicle import, a small lorry stands there with a BMW box on it, my bike, yaay. Haven't seen it getting packed up in Caloundra. 2 gents in the office, one young girl, pretty quiet, they look at my paperwork, I start to unpack in the meantime, the old lorry driver asks "you go world", he likes the idea. The young girl comes out asks me if I'm German, ok, hope that goes well, I start unpacking the boxes, despite her telling me I should wait. Wanna get out of here quick, fix the handlebar, windscreen, mirrors, they come out another 2-3 times asking me if the bike is really Australian. They can't make a clue out of the registration papers, I point to the ".gov.au" domain, a quick google search would help too. I'm pretty sure a bogus paper from whatever country would have passed their screening too. They don't check the engine number, they don't even eye my luggage that's packed up with the bike. I connect the battery, Mr. Kim goes off to get me insurance, when he comes back I pay him 860.000, he gave me "discount", maybe the whinging helped. We walk out, the customs guy at the gate is not interested, gives me back the wodka bottle with petrol. I'm hoping but it's not enough to start the fat bumblebee though, walk to the gas station just around the station exit, the attendant doesn't like my glass bottle, I get a 2 liter water bottle, he accepts. The custom girl comes by, we exchange gifts, a small pet koala for some instant coffee, maybe she thought I'm extremely tired after seeing me with 2 l of red bull colored liquid coming in. Well, still not enough to get fuel into the lines out of the Safari tank. I push bike and luggage to the gas station, 700 m, and still manage to walk faster than some Busan folks. It starts, mirrors a bit loose, clutch handle feels too high, but happy that my Garmin knows the station close to my guesthouse, after it doesn't like the coordinates. Takes me ages to find back though, I'm really terrible at city navigation and the overlapping under/overpasses bridges and off-limit motorways don't help. But all went smooth, a guy in a custom jeep gives me the thumbs up, happy!
    #16
  17. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    A bit of addition to my days in Brisbane:
    While hanging out in the Queensland state library and taking advantage of their sweet free services, huge lounge + wifi (not that common in Oz) + power outlets as many as you need I figured it's a good idea to try sort out some contacts in Korea. I googled and facebooked and came across Aren's blog http://busanbyday.wordpress.com/ when searching for the insurance process in Korea and also the facebook group "ROK Riders", I asked them where in Busan I could get a service for a big bike. Thinking of the lost motor cover screw I also tried to find a Suzuki dealer, all the website was Korean but I could find an email address. Not that I thought I would get a reply, but well... within hours I got a reply, not an automated one but one from the Overseas manager of Suzuki Korea Bryan. And boy did he sort me out, he gave me the address of a Suzuki dealer and explained that there's no DR650 in Korea though asked me for the bike's details and not only ordered the screws from Japan but also sent them express to Busan. Suzuki - way of life. I met people who got snide looks at BMW dealers when they only bought a 800. This is premium service for a guy who never spent a dime for Suzuki Korea nor is a well known rider with a big blog. I did not even had this thread started. The screws came in a pack of 20 and where 20.000 Won, a bargain :)

    22/05/15 I met Aren and Steven earlier the week for beers, two very accommodating local expats and the two last remaining members of the Wandering Waygooks motorcycle club, after a few beers they asked me to join them for a weekend camping trip, sweet. So I was under pressure to get my bike out of the port and it ready to hit the roads.
    With more help of Bryan and fiddling with Google maps until I was confident I had the right coordinates, I made myself on the way to the garage, a tiny corner shop but with two display shops up the road. I called Bryan and handed the phone to the mechanic, soon enough the owner was there with my screws, awesome. I let them change the oil (about time after 8000 km), clean the air filter and some bits here and there, they also found a screw for my Safari tank, in the meantime some Korean Harley rockers showed up with white cowboy boots, later on they asked me to join their overnight trip but I was taken. The shop owner's daughter was sent off to take me for lunch. A nearby sit-on-the-ground Korean restaurant. The table was filled with a dozen dishes and I dug in. We sat there until they called us to come back, getting up I realized my legs were exchanged for toothpicks, I stumbled, left of me the glass door, right of me 5 guys eating lunch, close catch, slooowly I put my boots back on, how to explain I forgot how to walk? I sheepishly asked for the bill which the girl already sorted out, holding on to the door I made a few careful steps, it got better, slowly... they showed me their dealership and I spotted a expander cargo net on one of the parked Harley, something I looked around all the markets and asked for in all the variety and bike shops. Mine felt like it was giving way soon, it was a critical part of my luggage system so I wanted backup. I asked and was handed one from the back room within 30 seconds, that was easy, completely sorted out. 75.000 for the service with 20k for the oil and 20k for the screws express sent from Japan, lunch and cargo net that was very decent for this part of Asia. Bryan made sure I got everything and I was on my way :). After a dinner of still moving octopuses legs, sea cucumbers, bright green pancakes, firework sticks on the beach, makoli and beer I made it to bed at 2.30.

    23/05/15
    All my stuff in a dorm room was no longer a easy fit and I was happy to go camping, lugging everything between guesthouse preferable not on ground floor and the bike sucks. Less than three hours of sleep later I set off to meet the guys and their partners, we rushed out of the city carefully ignoring each and every red light, set ourselves up for a bogobi bbq and headed for a camp spot up North under a bridge by a small river.

    24/05/15
    The next morning we split up at a national park, since I really wanted to sort out my ferry ticket. I stopped in Andong in a small guesthouse. Wendy wasn't keen to help me with the tickets unlike the other bikers since I don't have a carnet. A 2nd time she told me it's not possible what I'm trying to do. Well I read different. Coming by ferry you can use the Customs Form C5014 to temporarily import a vehicle to Japan, even saw one biker who did so coming by ship or plane. Well, I was on my own, but not for long, I was the only foreigner in the guesthouse and quickly asked to join the drink and snack session. Surprised how inclusive they were with everyone where the small groups and solo travelers didn't know each other. I learnt some Korean drinking games and don't remember when I got to bed but according to the unreadable whatsapp messages it was not before 3.30.

    25/05/15
    Budda's birthday and I felt like I could sleep in a ant hill but got driven to a temple and had to walk up there, really enjoyed the monk's endless oh-wa-sip-bee-loo chanting and wishing nothing more than sleeping in the grass. Back at the guesthouse I got told it gets closed at 3 pm, so I had to go, I set off and left the city heat, needed some fresh air in my face. Followed roads randomly, they were completely empty, gorgeous roads but neither cars nor bikers out there. I stopped by a small old house off the main road to take photos and was asked to come inside by the 13th generation removed grandson of the once owner, a writer. He was a proud owner of a R1200 GS and served me water and honey melon while showing me his weekend home and little temple. I camped under a bridge again where some fishing boats where towed, did laundry in the river and slept early after eating the little food I had by chance.

    26/05/15 Woken by a fisherman who offered me coffee and asked if I'm hungry, these Koreans are just so darn nice. I made myself on the way, Korea is motorbike heaven, not much traffic, Harley riding easy cops, considerate car drivers, perfect roads, curvy, endless hills, I got to Donghae at the East Coast, they even have camping resorts at the beach, but at Sunshine coast prices for a tent I rather took a mingbak for 25k. I called the ferries one by one, they spoke basic English, I was told there is no ferry between 1st and 11th June, that's terrific news, I'll get into trouble if I stay longer than 4th June, sent them all my documents, they ask for a carnet, I try to explain I don't need it, they check with Japan customs, ask for a exit ticket from Japan, I say I will get later, they check again, no call back

    27/05/15 (today) Still trying to source a 31/05 ticket, they promise again to call me back, waiting..., I can't go straight into Russia because I don't have the visa. I should have checked the ferry schedules, was lead to believe by the website they go daily, but seems they take turns servicing the same routes, but not all take vehicles. Gosh I'm happy when this shipping shit is over... why am I doing this on my own.
    #18
  19. c4traz

    c4traz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Oddometer:
    130
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    First time I see a dog farm, they are huge.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. sparkingdogg

    sparkingdogg Prisoner In Disguise

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    7,758
    Location:
    Omahell, Nebraska
    Nice writing, nice pictures

    Ride safe and be well!
    #20