RTW on a H.A.T. In the slow lane.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    No point hanging around Bishkek whilst we await our Uzbek visa, which could take up to 10 working days. So first stop out to an industrial area on the west side to pick up some spare 6204zz bearings for the rear wheel, after donating our spares to Dariusz a week ago in China. Forty five minutes later after crossing Bishkek and exiting the town on the east side I could hear a distinct tickity-tickity clunk, tickity-tickity clunk. Fook, your kidding me! The decidedly dodgy Indian bearing of indeterminable parentage, fitted in Kargil Kashmir, had gone tits up after only 5000 klms or there abouts. Nothing for it, but to turn back and find a suitable place to conduct a little motorcycle surgery.
    Bearings can be found here, Russian if your brave, Japanese if your sensible. I'll have NSK, Nachi, SKF thank you very much.
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    I'm a firm believer in a "poor man pays twice" philosophy. Dodgy Indian bearing after 5000 klms.
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    Smiling workshop owner who wouldn't accept any money for the use of his tools and facility's. Friendly mob, these Kyrgy's.
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    Well, mostly friendly, if they wear a police uniform treat with a huge dose of caution. We were warned that the average copper earns US $80 per month and the average apartment in Bishkek is US$300 a month. Now you don't have to be Einstein to figure out that simply doesn't add up. Anyways about 2 hours out of Bishkek and on our way to Issyk Kul ( Issyk lake ) we were pulled over for the first time since leaving home. Accused of speeding, he had me doing 74 klm/hr in an 80 klm/hr zone and tried to bluff a bribe out of me. I arced up and finally he realised I wasn't going to bend to his little scam. So in frustration he says "go go". "Yes and up your's too sir, I don't need to be asked twice".

    Perhaps the authorities need to pay their finest a living wage. Seems a simple enough solution to me. :evil
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  2. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Whilst organising our SIM card in Bishkek we had Sophia a very friendly local with a good handle on English help us through the phone activation process. On saying our goodbyes she suggested if we were going to Issyk Kul ( which of course we were ), then we should stop by her accomodation, which appeared to be very reasonably priced. All in, bed and three meals a day for 900 Kyrgy's SOM or about Aus $18 a day.

    This seemed a sensible thing to do. Buuuut, on arrival we quickly discovered that the place was an old run down Soviet era camp and it was now being utilised as a kids summer camp. We had a good laugh at this and thought argh, why not, another new experience. Oh, the food hadn't changed since Stalin was a boy, it was starchy stodge with a capitol S. None the less it did have a unique and quaint charm.

    The fountain had seen better days.
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    Ditto the umbrella's, apparently the sand is trucked in.
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    It did have lovely views though. We are currently at the foot hills of those far distant mountains.
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    An interesting fact. Issyk Kul ( lake ) to this day and many decades previously has been used by the Soviets to test submarine technology, particularly their torpedo's. Apparently it's suitably distant from those pesky bour-geoise westerners, that they can develop their weaponry in private. Perhaps those days are now in the past.
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  3. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Just killing time in and around Karakol, Issyk lake, Kyrgyzstan.

    The orthodox churches around here are done with a certain panache, thats for sure.
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    Bringing in the hay, Kyrgyzstan style. Boy did I do my fare share of this as a kid growing up on the farm. We had a Fergy tractor though. Always horses too, but they were for riding only.
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    Derelict cranes, presumably Soviet era. Has this something to do with their submarine or torpedo testing? I have no idea. I can't imagine it's for loading a few hundred kilo's of fish.
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    There is plenty of this sort of stuff about to remind you of the recent past.
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  4. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Your've got to love a Ural, especially one with this much patina. The owner was a camera shy local Kyrgy, your going to have to trust me here. But it was a toss up which looked the more worn out.
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  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Time to move from one lake to another. Many say that Song kul is the most beautiful lake in Kyrgyzstan. It's high in the mountains, at a little more than 10000 ft. We certainly haven't visited them all, so can't really pass comment. During the summer months, farmers and herders from lower altitudes bring their stock to these high mountain meadows to take advantage of the short summer pasture. It all makes for a beautiful and classic central Asia scene. To supplement their income, most herders have a second or even third yurt set up to accomodate tourists. Thus we had our first night in a yurt, pretty cozy actually.

    Wild flowers in a high mountain pasture. Katrina thought they were, "forget me nots'. Perhaps the original wild variety.
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    Approaching Song kul from the east.
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    Our digs for the night. Short drop, thunder box, behind and to the right.
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    Our host, along with his wife, daughter, son, his wife and 4 yo they arrived here in May and will stay until September when the weather turns bad. Kygyz's people have a great affinity with their horses. You'll see people riding horses everywhere.
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    Another herders camp by Song kul. There are many around the lake. From what we can gather, the land up here is held communally.
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    Typical of the scenery along the south shore of Song kul. Those gathering clouds would prove to be nasty, with a capitol N. :devildog
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    Short cut back to Bishkek, the very, very good section of the "short cut" :dirtdog Oh, this "short cut", was twice as long as the east route.
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    Old adobe yurt in a field. Obviously there was some significance to this structure, for in the past an ornate timber protective cover was added. Beyond that, would be pure speculation. But i'm prepared to have a shot; grave perhaps?
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    Having entered Song kul from the east and seeing there was a road all the way around with another road exiting from the west. It seemed only obvious to head that way back to Bishkek. We didn't allow for the approaching thunderstorm, the steep gradient down, once over the pass, then the road turning to soupy spew. In part by the tip (dump) trucks carrying out coal from the little coal seam on the mountain side. With a lot of luck, I kept 400 odd kilos upright, until we slipped and slided to the bottom. For some strange reason, these moments never see me get the camera out. :hmmmmm

    Having returned to our little comfy hacienda in Bishkek, we await progress on both our letters of introduction (LOI) to Uzbekistan and accompanying visas. My, the wheels turn slowly in this part of the world. It's frustrating no doubt, but there is little to do other than wait. I guess I can go trouble shoot the failed heated grips.
  6. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    Love that scenery. You could do worse, you be back in an office working... :lol3.

    Had to open google maps to just check to see where you are, nice to learn a little about these countries through you...
  7. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Office, what is this office you speak of?
  8. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    sorry that was meant to be you could be back in an office - yeah just me sulking :(:
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  9. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Yeah understood, this and similar has been my office for far too long. I've been called many things, but shiny arse is not one of them. :lol3 However, Katrina on the other hand :amazon

    One of the main engines of the Oceanic Viking. Wartsila Wichmann. Hey look, hair and no glasses, about 10 years ago. Still as good looking as ever though. :photog
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  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    When we met up with our son Darcy back in Georgetown, Malaysia. Along with the Fuji XT2 camera and lens', I had him bring over, an in situ tank fuel filter. The type the motocross and enduro guys use. It seemed to me a much better option than the cheap, nasty and bulky thinners filters I was carrying.

    Anyways, I though it was high time I took it out of the tank and checked as to how much crud had accumulated. To be honest i was very pleasantly surprised. Here is the results after about 20000 klms through Asia. It's quite reassuring actually, of course there will always be that one time when you get a really shitty load of fuel. But touch wood, all has been good so far. For those with Africa Twins and are interested. To my knowledge there isn't a dedicated filter for this bike. This one is a modified filter for a late model Suzuki RM 250/450. Just trim the flanged neck down and carefully insert.

    Oh, the failed heated grips, was simply a result of a blown 10 amp fuse. I fitted after market Oxford grips prior to leaving. The reports on Hondas OEM heated grips were patchy to say the least. The Oxfords are a little agricultural, but work well. Going over the Khunjerab pass a week or so back i had them cranked right up. So I'm guessing that blew the fuse.

    Careful filter removal.
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    Looking pretty damn clean.
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    Now inside out and this is about it. Quick shake down and back in it goes.
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    Our next maintenance issue will be dealt with on Monday. I'm naturally heavily biased towards using the front brake, so in preparation I brought the front pads off the wreck at home. it didn't occur to me to bring the rear pads. Well mistake, the rear pads are about buggered. It seems the only option in this part of the world is take them to "Sergi" up the road and have new brake material bonded to the old backing plates. Here's hoping they'll get us to Turkey, where I'm sure I can get some proper replacements.
  11. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    Hi Graeme, I'm surprised to read one of the last sentences of your latest updating : "I brought the front pads off the wreck at home." Do you mean you actually have your wreck at home ? I'm just surprised about this, because according to europeans insurances agreements, this would just be impossible, and I just couldn't imagine this could exist somewhere in the world. Here, after a non responsible accident as occured to you, the wrecked vehicule would be refund to you so as to buy a new one, you would just have the right to get back all your personnal items like comfort seat, GPS mount and wiring, etc, etc, but the wreck by itself doesn't belong to you anymore but to your insurance company wich is gonna sell it to a professionnal wrecker (who will sell your bike in spare parts) so as to get back the more money as possible. So here trying to take appart the originals spare parts is simply impossible, because they don't belong to you anmore.
    If things are different, and the way I understand it in Australia, so you're really the luckiest insurance customers in the world.
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  12. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    I fully understand your question Yannick and Australia is more or less as you describe, with a couple of slight variations. The short answer is, I did not have fully comprehensive insurance, the 17 year old did. I never have, except for the first year of owning a new 91 Heritage softail. I've always backed myself and until that fateful day last August, I have never had a motorcycle accident in nearly 40 years on the road on 3 continents. Also 20 or 30 years ago, fully comprehensive motorcycle insurance in Australia was notoriously expensive. Perhaps as much as $800 per year. Admittedly it is now much cheaper.

    Police historically in Australia would make an assessment as to which party was to blame for the accident. They no longer do that, unless one or both parties to the accident are injured and need hospital treatment. In our case the attending ambulance officers assessed all involved and declared us all OK. Although both Katrina and I, went to the local hospital later, to be properly checked out. I was convinced that I had mild concussion and still believe that. Also there were no independent witnesses. Curiously numerous people arrived soon afterwards and were quick to offer their opinions.

    I did say that the police no longer apportion blame and in this case that is what they did ( not officially declare who was at fault ). One of the attending police officers admitted to me privately that the 17 year old was definitely to blame. It doesn't get recorded in their report though. So I got no help there.

    Once the insurance company of the young lady assessed the police report, they contacted us and declared that each party should carry there own costs. In a legal sense that was fair I suppose. But in reality we were seething. But what could we do? In Australia there is a 6 year window to pursue damages in such cases. We still might once we are back home.

    Now that brings us to the wreck. Because there was no involvement of insurance company's in a legal sense, the bike was not declared a statuary wreck. We were free to take it home. Or at least to my brothers wife's house, as our home is leased out whilst we are traveling. Other than a totalled front end, the bike could potentially be put back on the road once and if the frame was inspected in a jig and submitted to some NDT and declared safe. If I were to break and part it out, i could very nearly recoup most of our costs. But I have no plan for that. Our youngest son immediately thought the motor would be great in some kind of buggy. Ever the optimist is he, makes me laugh. Oh, he's also the son whom asked me at the age of 6 or there abouts. "Dad when you die can I have your motorbikes?" I laughed and said "yeah, fair enough".

    Finally here in Australia, if an insurance company takes possession of a damaged vehicle, often the owner has first option to purchase back at a modest sum prior to the wreck going to auction.

    I hope that helps.
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  13. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Seeing as we have time to kill here in Bishkek and it's 100 deg F outside, it gives me the opportunity to spend a little time editing and culling down the photos. This really is a time consuming task.

    Anyways i discovered some of my first amateurish efforts with the GoPro. I did make a promise at the start to try and keep everything in the "here and now". But I'll make an exception for this little clip. In rural Australia this is a common occurrence, throw a gravel road into the mix and things become interesting. :nod
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  14. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer so quickly and so fully Graeme. In fact insurance rules are the same as here, but I just thought you had a refund of your bike because for me it was clear you were not responsible for this accident, as I didn't have all the elements of this story.
    Here when you have a new bike the agent always try to convince you to take a full protection, and despite it's way cheaper than in Australia, I still find them too much expensive. I purchased a new 800 Tiger last february and my broker said "of course we go on a full risks option", I could see the disappointment on his face when I answered "no, I just want the same level I have for the Road-King ..."

    Thank you for sharing your story and your amazing pictures. Good luck for facing the 100°F ... I would be melting at that heat ...
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  15. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    And here's........... Sergi
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    $20 Aus and 40 minutes later he had turned this
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    Into this
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    Apparently Iranian brake pad material. Hmm anything is better than running out of brakes halfway through the Pamirs.

    Upon my return to our guesthouse we had good news in our email inbox. We now have our LOI for Uzbekistan, so all being good we will have our Uzbek visas tomorrow. Then we'll rush over to the Turkmenistan embassy and lodge a transit visa application. Here's hoping we are back on the road maybe Wednesday. :pope
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  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Uzbekistan tourist visa done, Turkmenistan visa in progress. We can now leave Bishkek tomorrow morning. We can hopefully pick up the Turkmenistan visa in Dushanbe in about 10 days time. But it is never guaranteed that you'll receive your Turkmenistan visa. So it's always a good idea to have a plan B for this part of the world. To help explain our next 2 months or so hopefully, here is a little map of our intended travels. We really do hope that our preferred route comes to fruition. Much more to see and do that way. Well from our perspective in any case.

    Blue is our preferred route, red comes into play if we fail on our Turkmenistan visa. Here's hoping that all goes well.
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  17. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    All the best, here's hoping...
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  18. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Cheers MrKiwi, it feels like we have been stuck in and around Bishkek for ages. None the less we've done as much as we can here. We will know in about 2 weeks if we have the Turkmenistan transit visa's. If so, we can pick them up up in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Except for the heat we are really looking forward to this leg of our little odyssey. In fact, ever since leaving Australia, this part has been one of our major goals, bring it on. :pynd
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  19. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    I've been paying close attention to your both routes. I'm not in your shoes, but if you have to take the red one, given that Uzbekistan is gonna be as flat and boring as hell, I would definitely like to have a look at the Aral sea before it desapears completely, or potentially human kind manage to fill it back again ... as they say, they're trying to reverse the situation former Soviet Union began by diverting rivers flowing into it.
    Last year I was following the journey of a young Dutch girl who departed from Australia to join the Netherlands on a XT250 and was following approximately the same route as you do. Once in Iran she opted to go south to visit some wonderfull places like Ispahan, Shiraz moque and Persepolis (north east of Shiraz).
    In case you'd have never heard of her before, here's her RR at the page dedicated to Iran : Chick on the Chook Chaser-page 8. Maybe those pictures and the nice story-telling would convince you it's worth an eye on those amasing ancient places.
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  20. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Hi Yannick, visiting the stranded fishing vessels far from the current shores of the depleted Aral sea would be a highlight of Uzbekistan for sure. A sad highlight no doubt, but one we would undertake if we end up going that way. In many ways Uzbekistan is a real struggle. There is very little petrol available, most vehicles run on LPG. All receipts have to be kept. Pedantic border officials can check the money you bring in, then the money you take out along with your receipts and it all has to add up. If not they can confiscate money. I can't really see it coming to that, but we have read some stories..........

    So you know Chantelle eh. Dutch, "chick on a chook chaser". She did indeed go the red northern route, because she was denied her Turkmenistan visa. It's a real lottery this one. We know of husband and wife, where one gets it and not the other. The stories are endless on this visa. We just need to cross our fingers and hope for the best.

    Katrina particularly has been following Chantelle, who is now back in Australia by the way.

    Either way it will be an experience thats for sure. Thursday night should see us in Osh, where there is the chance to fit a decent front tyre. We'll just see what Patrick of Muztoo has on offer. Otherwise it's back on with the old Mitas that we have been carrying around for the last 5000 klms or so. At least until we are through the 200 klms of gravel of the Pamir hwy. :ricky This front Vee Rubber is EVIL.
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