Mongolia to Tajikistan, alone on the Sibirsky Extreme Trail.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by willmaniac, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    he lives !
    (sorry abut that border zone mate ;) ... drop me an email with co-ords of that and I will redo the track in that area)
    #41
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  2. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Outstanding pictures!
    #42
  3. Coen

    Coen Been here awhile

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    Amazing story!

    Where can one find the sibirsky extreme gpx file? Can I buy this from Walter?
    #43
  4. cristiano

    cristiano Been here awhile

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    great!
    #44
  5. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ - Scandinavia.
    Great report so far - looking forward to the next installment.
    #45
  6. RokLobster

    RokLobster Far from sanity

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    :lurk
    #46
  7. Brick Top

    Brick Top Been here awhile

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    I am enjoying this a lot thanks
    #47
  8. atomizer

    atomizer Be here now

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    Epic man. Fantastic photos.
    Please continue the story....
    #48
  9. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap Bravo Sir!! :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap




    :lurk


    The E07 is a very good tire!
    #49
  10. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

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    What a solo trip !! Great report and pics so please keep it coming
    #50
    Seba1 likes this.
  11. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    Melbourne
    — Kyrgyzstan —


    At the Karkara Valley boarder crossing between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan we had some problems . I had lost my KZ immigration card which you must carry and hand in on departure . Luckily they liked the bike and decided to let me pass and I didn’t have to return to Almaty to replace the papers, which I was originally told I needed to do.

    First stop In Kyrgyzstan was Karakol, a pleasant town that services a ski resort above it in the mountains. For anyone dropping in I would recommend visiting Karakol coffee amazing beer and pizza !

    I happened to notice my luggage was flopping around more then usual entering Karakol . On inspection turns out it was tied down well but one side of my subframe had snapped ! Big problem with it being aluminium and the closest welder probably in Osh 750km away or back in Almaty which would mean back tracking. I decided to get the small jobs out of the way first. And dropped into a mechanic to borrow a socket to change my front sprocket . He was very helpful and just happened to know a tig welder in town , what are the chances.

    The tig welder of Karakol. He was employed at the local cheese factory as a fitter, where he had learnt to weld stainless and aluminium. Note the pink safety boots.

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    Heading south from Karakol I followed the shoreline of the massive lake Issyk Kul with the Tien Shan mountains just visible behind. I headed east from the lake up the most amazingly smooth switched back road of the trip up to Seok Pass. From 1,600m altitude at the lake with warm temperatures to 4020m on top of the pass with snow ! Turns out the road was so well maintained because at the top was located a Canadian owned gold mine .

    I didn’t hang around long at the summit as Australians aren’t used to these conditions ! So I set off down the mountain as fast as my frozen fingers would allow me. Only a few kilometres down I spotted two tents . The first campers I had seen in 6000km, ofcourse I pulled over for a chat . Turns out it was a local guide and cook running a horse trek through the mountains for two German girls . The guide was a character and was yelling for the girls to get out other their tent and meet me. “ Girls girls girls “ “ boy boy boy “, He was shouting.

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    I ended up pitching my tent with the horse riders and we spent the evening playing card games . Which I’m terrible at. And then singing, which I’m horrible at !

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    The guide proudly told me he had kidnaped his wife and they were happily married, with their 7th child on the way. Half of all marriages In Kyrgyzstan involve bride kidnapping apparently.

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    Now this is a track. The way up to Sol Kul alpine lake .

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    [​IMG] Another perfect view from my camp site.

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    Had some unexpected but cute visitors drop by !

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    This friendly man stopped me on the road out of the lake the next day, and insisted I have lunch with his family. How could you say no.

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    Unfortunately the subframe failed again, so it was time for a dodgy fix. With the help of a local mechanic we braced the subframe with some steel, fencing wire and hose clamps. Instead of drilling holes in my steel section he turned his welder up to max and melted them though. Resourceful ! Suprisingly the fix ended up surviving another 1500km of rough roads and the rest of the trip.

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    For some reason the entire time the mechanic called me Louis not Will .

    The next day was Kyrgyzstan’s national day, celebrating 26 years of independence from the Soviet Union. A random guy on the street in the morning gave me a shot of vodka to help me celebrate.

    That morning the bike just wouldn’t start, I checked fuel and spark all good, new plug, still nothing. With the help of a very drunk local I got a push start down the street. Nothing ! At that point my friendly mechanic found me, “Louis“ he greeted me with. He insisted on towing the bike down the busy main street behind his car, which was frightening at speed with a short rope. Still no go. Back at his workshop I was about to pull the carby out to inspect, suspecting bad fuel. Before I could get my tools out the mechanic pulled the fuel hose off, sprayed brake cleaner directly into the carb hit the estart and the bike started instantly. Shooting green flames out the exhaust.

    I was sent on my way with the can of brake cleaner for next time.

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    The rest of the day I spent searching for a game of Buzkashi, the National sport . Which appears to be a mix of horseback polo and rugby played with a decapitate goat. YouTube it ! I was sent from village to village but never found a game unfortunately.

    That night the can of brake cleaner provided to be very handy as my MSR petrol stove jet blocked up.

    A couple of days later after many epic mountain passes, I arrived in Osh. It finally felt like arriving in Central Asia, the city was smoky busy and alittle dirty. Osh is famous for its large bizarre which was once a stop off alone the Silk Road.

    The Tess guest house Osh. Full of crazy adventurers. This guy had just arrived from France.

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    I spent afew days camping in the lush garden and ordering burgers , fries and pizza which the guy at reception would get his mate to deliver. It’s the kinda place travellers intended to stay for 2 nights but always stay longer.

    It was time to hit the road and explore my last country. View from my home stay in Sary Tash . Up in those mountains is a 4600m pass which is the Tajikistan - Kyrgyzstan boarder .

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    This was the Kyrgyz customs guys cabinet at the boarder post. Im obviously not the first adv biker to visit here.

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    Next time Tajikistan. My last country for 2017, which turned out to be the toughest off them all.
    #51
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  12. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Love it! Another place I have to visit on a moto. I’m mostly a solo rider, too. I enjoy the freedom and challenge of it.
    #52
  13. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    Melbourne

    It’s not an adventure until somthing goes wrong ! Was a great section of track I would do it again. Cheers for all your efforts in putting these tracks together. Epic.
    #53
    Colebatch likes this.
  14. fussraste07

    fussraste07 Edelserpentinschleifer

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    Hi willmaniac!
    While I am able to see the pictures from the first page, all images starting from Sept 18 th are broken and only showing this:. Am I the only one to experience this? Can you check and perhaps re-upload at some point?

    Also, I'd like to get an impression from you, after the ride: How much worse is the CRF 250L compared to your DRZ400, in general, and specifically in terrains like Mongolia?

    And, another question regarding: Did you get the (Sibirsky Extreme) track from Walter directly, or did you buy the DVD (or both, which I plan to do)? I have already started to collect fund, bought a navigation, saved fund and plan to go the same direction, either next summer or Summer 2019.
    #54
  15. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    May 21, 2015
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    31
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    Melbourne

    Photos seems to be working for me . Maybe try refresh ?I really liked the crf, it did lack alittle punch which you would expect at only 250cc and I found it little cramped as i prefer a taller bike. I chose the drz as they are very cheap to buy in Australia and reliable. At times did I wish I had a 690 or kitted out 500exc. Yes! But for a trip like mine all you really need is a light weight bike, off-road orinented tyres , softluggage and somthing you know how to work on with spares to suit . Blue ,yellow, orange or red I dont think u can go wrong .
    #55
  16. fussraste07

    fussraste07 Edelserpentinschleifer

    Joined:
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    Pictures are now working. I should not read advrider in office, where my company blocks them. Sorry about that.

    Thanks!
    #56
    Andyota likes this.
  17. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    May 21, 2015
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    —-Tajikistan —

    Crossing the border post into Tajikistan was freezing up at around 4280m . It was a little depressing with the border guards living up in tiny huts that doubled as living quarters . Literally a bed beside a desk in one office. This was the first time I was asked for a bribe on the trip.

    Back down the mountain I rolled into the small township of Karakul where I met my Czech friends from the Tess guest house in Osh, who snapped this photo.

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    I booked myself into the first guest house I spotted, that I happened to recognise from other motorcycle travel blogs. Simple but a very comfortable place to spend the night. I was very glad to be out of the wind, wearing a MX helmet for 7000Km was starting wear me down.

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    These kids were playing a game that involved throwing stones at goats vertebrae. The first to knock their bone outside the circle, scratched into the dirt won. No iPad's here.

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    The next day I was off down the Bartang Valley. Karakul provided very little in the way of supplies, so I set off with the hopes of finding another homestay for dinner that evening.The Bartang valley road is a remote track that follows the Bartang River for around 300km from Karakul to Rushan. Nearly all the way from Kyrgyzstan to the boarder of Afghanistan. Most of the way the track is cut into the steep valley walls, often only a couple of feet above the water level. The locals are often cut off by flooding or landslides. With steep mountains and very few areas of flat land growing crops and scratching out a living in this part of the world is tough.

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    That evening after a full dawn to dusk ride bumping down the epic Bartang valley. I met a friendly man who directed me the nearest “ Hotel “ which turned out to actually be his own mud house. He had his daughter’s English books on hand, and was going very well self-teaching. We spent the night discussing global warming which he was very concerned about.

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    I had read about the remote village of Jizev that is located up in the mountains only accessible by a 6km hike on a gnarly single track. The next day I found the entrance which is a swing bridge across the river with a big "welcome" painted on the opposite side, but other than that it has no signage. I back tracked to the closest hut and arranged through gestures to leave my bike parked outside this family’s house for the night. I had zero hesitation about leaving my bike behind along with most of my gear everyone was so friendly and genuine.

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    Freezing glacial melt meeting the muddy Bartang.

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    I found the hike very hard, but ultimately worth it!

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    The Village of Jizev . There are actually 3 small hamlets all located beside small lakes. 9 families in total. They are nearly totally self-sufficient with only sugar tea and biscuits carried up the track by donkey.

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    From here I exited the Bartang Valley and started to feel very ill. Nearly every westerner gets sick in Tajikistan I was told, and I was no different. Toilet paper is very hard to find in these parts, I will just leave it at that.. . I was relieved in make it to the large town of Khorog located just over the river from Afghanistan and find a room with flushing toilets. From here my plan was to cross into Afghanistan at Ishkashim and see how far I could ride up the Wakhan corridor. Ultimately I decided against it with still a very crook stomach and limited time remaining before my flight home. Maybe next year.. For those interested for the large sum of 150 US in Khorog you can get an Afgan visa on the spot at the embassy.

    Instead i rode up the Wakhan Valley on the safer side the Panj river. Before joining the Pamir hwy crossing the 4700m Ak- Baital Pass and finally crashing in Murghab. Then back through Karakul over the boarder into kyrgyzstan and back to Osh. Riding the entire Pamir hwy and visiting Dushanbe will have to wait another time. As it was time for me to sadly finish my trip, store my bike and head back to work in Australia.

    Afghanistan across the river.

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    Next year I’m planning on riding Turkmenistan, Iran ,Georgia and Turkey maybe even further . If anyone has any tips please post them . Biggest issues appears to be entering Iran without carnet and obtaining a Turkmenistan visa. Any difficulties in storing my bike in Turkey for possibly 2 years ? Cheers Will.
    #57
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  18. Dutchgit

    Dutchgit Completely clogless

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    Nice thread with bloody brilliant pictures !
    #58
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  19. Dorsland

    Dorsland Long timer

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    Excellent trip and great pix. I'd like to single out a country as outstanding riding terrain but the entire route looks like riding heaven. Add in those watermelons on the ferry and I'm already packing my bags.
    #59
  20. Poka

    Poka Adventurer

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    great photos!!!
    #60