Mongolia to Tajikistan, alone on the Sibirsky Extreme Trail.

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

  1. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    919
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania
    Wow! Great pictures again. This is one of the best threads on ADVrider.
    In Samarkand, did you notice some of the mosques with elaborate design in the stone work but no color, like the tiles in your pictures? When the area was controlled by a more strict Muslim sect (from what is now Iran?) color in architecture was forbidden, so the local masons found a different way to display their art.
  2. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    293
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Just another RR that leaves me wondering why I'm such a coward. Brilliant. In.
    Lern 2 Spel likes this.
  3. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    22,877
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    missed the first installment and have to do some catching up. this time, all IN.

    i'm impressed by your adventure spirit and thankful for finding the time to share.
  4. Dutchgit

    Dutchgit Completely clogless

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,730
    Location:
    Герма́ния
    Fantastic stuff man !

    I've been to Turkmenistan as well but in a truck (During the Silk Way Rally) and we had all the customs and Visa things taken care of by the organisation.
    Ashgabat was very empty back then too, apart from the street sweepers and the Police/Military.
    We were told we weren't allowed to take pictures back then. Never mind that :-D

    We got there starting in Kazan Tatarstan (Russia) and went through Kazakhstan all the way along the west.
    The first day when you hit the plains proper you're in awe about how far you could see but the novelty of that soon wears off to the point of I was asking my navigator if he was sure we didn't need to turn off at every crossroads.

    He once said to me: Do you know why the suicide rate is so low here ?
    I said I didn't.
    He replied: There isn't a FFing tree here to hang yourself from !

    Boring.

    [​IMG]

    Boring without tarmac.

    [​IMG]

    The ferry terminal in Turkmenbashi wasn't very exciting back in 2009

    [​IMG]

    Little old me driving the rally truck back from Ashgabat at 100 MpH ! (I wasn't the rally driver for it though)

    [​IMG]

    This was mine to drive.

    [​IMG]

    Thought I had more pics but they're not on Photobucket. Might look them up.

    Sorry for the interruption.

    Cheers, Ard
  5. roktbox

    roktbox Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Portlandia
    Spectacular!
  6. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,642
    Location:
    MT/Bulgaria
    Fantastic report, waiting for more!!:clap

    I can help with bike storage in Bulgaria, should you need it. There is also a very competent bike mechanic in Varna.

    My bike is currently stored in Sofia, but there are options along the Black Sea coast as well.
  7. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Azerbaijan

    Don’t be fooled by its appearance with a fresh coat of paint . This old ship was a floating hell hole . But we finally made it to the Port of Baku, which turned out to actually be 80km from the city of Baku ! Five hours in customs, passport control, motorcycle temporary import paper work and I was free .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Write up one passenger with shipping knowledge did on a similar Caspian Sea boat on Caravanastan.

    At 154 metres the Nakhichevan is almost the length of the enormous passenger ferries of the English Channel, but barely half as wide. The ship shares the same depth as those of the Channel, but while the Pride of Dover sails with a draft of over six metres the Nakhichevan sails with less than three. Its dimensions are all wrong for the open water: narrow, top heavy and prone to roll like a drunk in all but the calmest of seas. Their crews keep the Dagestans from the sea bed only by steering constantly into the wind. That and fervent prayer.

    Seven years earlier these prayers were ignored when the Merkuriy-2, sister ship of the Nakhichevan, was lost in stormy seas while carrying a shipment of oil from Aqtau to Baku. Force eight winds and six metre high waves proved too much for the vessel, and when the constant roll caused the cargo to break loose the ship was sent into a fatal list. Of the 51 souls aboard only nine were saved.

    As a result of this accident, the shipping company is now reluctant to put too many people on any ferry in case there is another accident.

    My time in Baku was spent catching up on the internet ! eating pizza and hanging out, with my new Japanese friend I met on the boat . The city is very modern and European. Now an evisa is available, Azerbaijan is seeing a big increase in visitors mainly from the Middle East.

    [​IMG]
    Baku is beautiful . Coming from Turkmenistan it was literally entering the free world again .

    [​IMG]
    Old Soviet medals for sale in an alley.

    [​IMG]
    Myself piloting a Mig. Photo credit to the local kid who then pretended to steal my camera .... These boys were having a great afternoon, breaking off parts and throwing rocks at their history .


    Georgia


    The first thing I noticed crossing into Georgia was the driving . The men pilot their 20 plus year old BMWs ( imported second hand cheap from Europe) with little regard for their own safety let alone that of others.

    As we all know when travelling, its best to do as the locals do. So Below is a brief guide,”How to drive like a local in Georgia”.

    -Overtaking can be done at any time, it’s up to oncoming traffic to get out of the way. It’s unlikely other road users want to be involved in a head on collision. Exploit this fact.

    -If the car in front is trying to pull out onto a busy road, without the aid of traffic lights. Get on your horn, pressure them into pulling out at an unsafe time.

    -Speed limits thru towns are optional , near misses with people crossing roads is their problem. Remember your inside 2 tonne of metal traveling at speed. Pedestrians and bikes need to respect this basic physics.

    -If traffic is banked up in front get on the horn, long loud blasts are most effective . If possible force a rude overtaking naouve into on coming traffic. Claiming that one position in a long line of slowly moving cars will save seconds on your journey. And most importantly give you a sense of superiority.

    -Remember you bought into quality German engineering for a reason . No maintenance required . In the unlikely event the car does start to make undesirable sounds, just turn up the stereo.

    -Most importantly remember at all times you’re the owner of a mid nineties luxury car , you own the road !

    Luckily these dickheads can’t get their shitboxes into the mountains on the rough tracks, so that’s where I headed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Climbing up through the clouds .

    [​IMG]
    The tinny mountain Village of Omalo.

    [​IMG]
    View from my homestay.

    [​IMG]
    Dronie.

    [​IMG]
    More mountains and villages. This is Ushguli and it couldnt be anymore perfect .

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    Georgia is old churches

    [​IMG]
    Big mountains

    [​IMG]
    And perfect camping spots.

    [​IMG]
    Feeling the love again.
    gremlyn, KTMInduro, NSFW and 33 others like this.
  8. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,491
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Spectacular photography!
    willmaniac likes this.
  9. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,187
    Location:
    Satellite of Love
    Amazing that the people with the least are always willing and eager to share what little they have with travelers while the rich just seem intent on keeping everything for themselves...this is a fascinating RR...enjoying it very much...
  10. Dutchgit

    Dutchgit Completely clogless

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,730
    Location:
    Герма́ния
    Another set of brilliant pictures and a nice story !
    MORE MORE MORE please !
    willmaniac likes this.
  11. DGR

    DGR G650X

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    451
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Wow... Both your photography and storytelling are frontpage worthy! Where can I nominate this topic?:clap

    Can't wait for your next post :thumb
    willmaniac likes this.
  12. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    623
    Location:
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Absolutely awesome report!
    willmaniac likes this.
  13. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,848
    Location:
    Ft Likkertail , USA
    Glad to see you’re back. What a great RR! .......Again.. :lurk
    MrKiwi likes this.
  14. Lern 2 Spel

    Lern 2 Spel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2018
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    England
    The most casual RR I've ever read. If anybody else damages or drowns their bike, they'll write an essay about it and include 20 pictures of the crime scene. You just throw up one picture and one sentence and move on.
    poppawheelie and td63 like this.
  15. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,077
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Whatever happened to the OP? Incredible RR!!!!!!
  16. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Melbourne
    haha I guess that comes from my Enduro background a few small crashes and some minor damage is all part of the fun. I had a fair few annoying niggling problems though , fuel leak , cracked radiator, snapped rack which turned into a snapped sub frame some very bad fuel resulting in a couple of mornings she just wouldn’t start and around 7 punches ! At the time it was obviously very annoying but looking back it made me stop, slow down and interact with people ( mostly mechanics ! ) in places I would have otherwise blasted through.

    I made this small video below and it has a ripper crash that happened in the dunes in Mongolia. It looks ridiculous now but for some reason I assumed the dune had a rounded crest not a drop on the other side ! Stupid hurts.




    ( a few of the shots are from a separate trip I did in Mongolia on a Chinese shitter ! I might tell that story on here at some point )


    I’m still alive and kicking. The bike is stored in Bulgaria at the Moto camp . I have no plans for overseas trips this year unfortunately, but I’m researching the TET for 2020, see how we go. Keep slowly working that ol DRZ around the world one block of annual leave at a time!
  17. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,201
    Location:
    Hellas
    TET from Bulgaria up to the alps is truly amazing!
    Bulgaria,Turkey.Greece,Albania,Montenegro,Bosnia,Croatia,Slovenia.
    Still waiting for the Bulgaria to Turkey part,but i'm sure this will be ready soon.
    tet.jpg
    For any info about TET check here and here.
    Until then,stay safe!
    Dan Alexander, Dutchgit and MrKiwi like this.
  18. Dutchgit

    Dutchgit Completely clogless

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,730
    Location:
    Герма́ния
    Glad to see some of your fantastic imagery again mate ! Looking forward to reading the RR.
    Cheers, Ard
  19. Dr3amin

    Dr3amin n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    South Western Australia
    Awesome photos man!!! Looks like a pretty amazing couple of trips!