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

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

  1. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    I sure hope Honda stands to the reputation of Africa Twin and does not cloud your sabbatical (of course, as a gentleman, you would never allow any bad influence to Katrina's well deserved recovery :-)).

    By the way I travelled this spring together with my daughter and another family on old ATs from Greece to Albania.
    In Igoumentsia the RD03 of my daughter needed a little fix and Bill Kotsis from Honda Κώτσης helped us in a great way and without any delay. Depending on your place in Greece he may deliver some support:

    https://www.facebook.com/motokotsis/

  2. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Thanks for that DunkingBird I've just had a look on the map and the location possibly doesn't suit. We have a couple of leads, but nothing locked in at the moment. Once the front end comes off, obviously the bike goes nowhere until we return from Australia. So ideally we need to be somewhere reasonably close to Athens for a bike shop.

    Honda Australia threaten you with excommunication if you have any work done on the bike by anyone other than a Honda dealership. Now my take is, that under Australian consumer law. That is at best misleading and in fact wrong. But the last thing I want to do is get in a shouting match with Honda Australia, whilst the bike is on the other side of the world and still under warranty. Fortunately though, we get 24 months warranty, unlike most other countries that get 12 months only.

    So if anyone out there knows of a Honda dealership within a reasonably short distance of Athens I'm all ears. :ear
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  3. neil p

    neil p Been here awhile

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    A friend had location responsibility for the AT foto shoot here in Andalucia and Morocco a few summers ago. They had about 10 of them in different colours and engine specs. All pre-production without numbers. An impressive moto and surprisingly capable in the hands of an expert.

    We have an AT 650 in the family stable. Stone age technology compared to the bells and whistles on the new 1000.
    gperkins likes this.
  4. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Look who we caught up with, Kinga. After waiting anxiously in Tashkent, she too got the good news that her transit visa for Turkmenistan has been approved, so has now made her way down to Bukhara. Unlike us though, she'll cross over from Kiva, much further to the west. It's such a random thing the Turkmeni visa. There is no telling if you will get it or not. The success rate is about 50% and there doesn't seem to be any pattern to why people get denied. Anyway 3 happy people enjoying a beer and catch up. Maybe we'll see one another in Iran or maybe Europe next year, who knows. Ride safe Kinga and we'll see you again.
    [​IMG]
  5. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Increasingly Grumpy Super Supporter

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    Looking forward to your report from Iran. Cheers...
  6. Squily

    Squily Squily

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    We're still waiting to hear back from Honda Australia who are "investigating" our claims of the anodising problems before deciding whether they will honour a warranty claim on our bikes. So it would be good for you to mark the position of the triple clamp bracket on the fork tube (so they can confirm the wear is in the back etc) and it would be good for you if a Honda dealer opens your forks (to cover you). I understand it will be much easier transporting the tubes alone without the inner bits, so you're a bit snookered either way. But hopefully Honda Australia will admit there is a problem after 'investigating' ours, which I think will open the path for no-issue warranty claims for other riders. If they want to be persistent, they could insist on inspecting every bike which will be a major pain in the butt for everyone.
  7. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Cheers Sqilly, thats pretty much my take on it. I've been watching carefully on both the AT FB Aus page and here in the Aus regions section. Thats why I plan to remove the forks at a dealer, so as to try and avoid a bun fight with Honda Australia. I'm expecting wear, then I'll bring the stanchions home bare without any extra weight, but like i said i expect to be also bringing the wheels home. Honda Australia will not cover you outside of Oz. I specifically asked them that question prior to leaving home and got an affirmative. But when push comes to shove, guess what, nope.
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  8. 10ecjed

    10ecjed Been here awhile

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    Well now. Thanks for the status. Good job. I've been very impressed with your ride. A little envious too I admit.
    Looking forward to reading more. Ride on
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  9. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Cheers 10ecjed, thanks for the kind words. We are currently in Mary Turkmenistan and the interwebs are as expected, a bloody great pain in the backside. I can connect the phone to the hotels wifi, but not the laptop. Now that is extremely restrictive, especially for this fat finger Luddite. Also many websites are off limits, also bloody frustrating

    Anyways we just got back from a morning out at Merv, wow, what a site. Not a lot left there now, but certainly enough to spark the imagination. If you have a few minutes, do a google search on Merv.

    Once we have decent wifi we'll post pics.

    Tomorrow we cross over to Iran, maybe there perhaps.
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  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Nearly every day there is a little anecdote that is worthy of posting, but rarely do you remember them when it comes time to update the blog.

    Yesterday after a few hours of hard riding through the Iranian desert at 40 + Deg C, we were in dire need of a cold drink and an icypole (popsicle to some). Having procured both at a road side stop and whilst savouring the chemically enhanced flavours of the icypole a cop car spied us from the highway. Or more accurately the bike, he came to screeching halt some 20 ft away. The following is pretty much exactly what happened.

    Cop, winds his window down, "come here"

    Me, If you think i'm going to get of my arse and interrupt my icypole to go over there, your've got another think coming sunshine. I says to myself.

    Cop, Must have read my mind, because he stepped out of his car and approached us. Ok, thats got him on the back foot. I lick my icypole.

    Cop, "Where you from, Germany"

    Me, No, "Australia"

    Cop, "Australia, you from Australia"?

    Me, "yes Australia".

    Cop, "passport"

    Me, "why"?

    Cop, "passport"

    Me, "why"?

    Cop "PASSPORT"

    Me "WHY"? "Look over there, on the back of the bike it say AUS, we are from Australia"

    Cop, turns on his heals and buggers off back to his car. Good, we can now finnish our cold water and icypoles in peace.

    I neglected to mention the cop in Tajikistan who "recorded" me doing 74 klm/hr in a 60 zone. Miraculously, it's always 74. I was doing 62 according to the GPS. After 5 mins of back and forth nonsense, I looked him in the eye and said "fucking BULLSHIT". His eyes grew as big as dinner plates, he replied "bullshit"?. I confirmed, yes bullshit, he turned and walked away and we rode off.

    I agree some may use a different approach, but if a few minutes of cordial conversation doesn't resolve what is an outlandish lie, then escalate it, I say. Works for me. Katrina was at first very dubious of my approach, she is now an active participant. Good for her I say.

    So we are now in Yazd, it's hot, we have what seems good accomodation at the "Friendly Hostel" and whats more, half decent wifi. So hopefully there will be an update shortly.
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  11. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Another moment whilst I think about it. Entering Iran was one of the easiest, friendliest and strangest of all.

    First up we were both ushered into an office and kinda interviewed by an immigration official. Essentially just asking where we intended to visit and a couple of other harmless questions.. Once out of here I was invited into another office, Katrina was asked to remain outside. It was immediately obvious by the stethoscope on the desk that this was a doctors office. Okay, now what, i ask myself? An A4 sheet of paper was thrust in front of me with a list of questions that required either a yes or no answer.

    Have you had a cough anytime in the last month?
    Have you broken out in a rash in the last month?
    Have you had diarrhoea anytime in the last month?
    Then another 15 or so more questions of a similar ilk.

    Of course I answered no to all of these questions. Never mind the fact, that 2 weeks ago I had the mother of all attacks and daren't move too far from a toilet. As I was about to leave, the Doc said "no, no". Now what about your wife, has she suffered any of the above illness's?

    What, shouldn't you ask her that? But no not here in Iran, where you quickly learn that man is no 1 and woman is no 2. It's just how it is and if you decide to come here, you need to be prepared for it.

    Also all woman over a certain age are required to wear a head scarf. Katrina is not pleased.
    [​IMG]
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  12. Yannick

    Yannick Asterix the Gaul

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    Excellent ! You really made me laughing with your cops stories !

    One thing comes to my mind about Iran, wich is a country in constant evolution thanks to WOMEN STRUGGLE. But yet they still haven't the right to drive motorbikes and have to wear a headscarf ... Does Katrina have to wear one too, even as a foreigner ?
    I really hope one day women will take the power in this country, and will take their revenge on the islamists ... and I'd like to see it untill I'm alive.

    Edit : You have posted one more update while I was writing my post, so yes now I know Katrina have to wear a head scarf too ...
    MrKiwi and gperkins like this.
  13. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Yep Yannick, all woman over a certain age have to wear a head scarf including foreigners. Although we have been here only a short period of time, we have had the opportunity to talk to locals. Our take is that change is gradual and it is occurring. A theme we have heard here and other countries, Vietnam for example, is that "we younger generation will have our time, we just need to be patient". I think the word patient carry's a lot of weight in these situations and many are prepared for it.

    Woman here can certainly drive a car. In fact we've seen quite a few cars where men are passengers and a woman is driving. So there is equality there. Your possibly quite right about woman and motorbikes though, I can't recall seeing a woman riding a motorbike, other than a pillion passenger. We've engaged in conversations, where both men and woman speak freely, or in fact the local Iranian woman will initiate the conversation. But like I said, we've been here barely 2 days and it's a little unfair and difficult to generalise. One thing is for sure, they're a friendly lot, no doubt about that.
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  14. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Lets step back a few days to Turkmenistan. Hmm where to start? If you have ever ridden the SW corner of the USA or any number of the far flung areas of outback Australia, you'll immediately identify with Turkmenistan. Hot, flat, dry, saltbush, wind blasts, not a living critter to be seen. It was a struggle to get a photo of anything of interest. So we just took a few shots on the fly and hoped that something amongst them would be worth keeping.

    Our goal for the day was to make it a good 2/3 the way across Turkmenistan to the city of Mary. Here we would stop for 2 nights, principally so as to take a look around the ancient city of Merv. Now most might have picked up on the fact that we are partial to a little history and it's history you'll find here at Merv, in spades! I won't bore you with all the details, but for those that are interested heres the inevitable link http://wikitravel.org/en/Merv Except to say, that one point in history there was no larger city anywhere else in the world. Yep, it was and is big and important.

    Taken on the fly, could be outback Oz or Arizona, but no, Northern Turkmenistan.
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    Whoa stop, something to get a shot of.
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    The Great Kiz Kala. This is a fortification built in the 15th century.
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    Katrina inspecting one of the many kilometres of earthen and rubble defensive walls.
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    They just go on and on and on. i mean the site is colossal.
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    If these walls could talk.
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    It's hot, it's dry, it's dusty. It's the Sultan Sanjar mausoleum.
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    This tiled dome was simple, but striking none the less.
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    The "Oval building", the first major structure built here in the 6 - 5 th century BC. it's neigh on impossible to convey the scale of it, a simple photo doesn't even go close. It is 20 hectares ( 50 acres ) in size and the walls up to 30 metres high. The effort to move this much earth and rubble is impossible to imagine.
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    Down in the car park you can fairly easily make out the bike, to the right is Katrina under the shade of a tree, after saying, "stuff that, you can walk up and get the shots, I'm staying here". It's 40 odd degrees C remember! Oh, another busy day at Merv the ancient and hugely significant historical site.
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    A local sees Miss Hatty and comes over to investigate. It's a HHH brand, I know nothing more about it, but I may suggest that they gleaned some styling cues from 80's Yamaha XS 650's perhaps. Also damn near makes my rainbow catalogue.
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    These little cutey's were spotted amongst the ruins. Mum was nowhere to be seen, but there was a bowl of water nearby, so I guess someone was taking care of them.
    [​IMG]
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  15. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    These IZH (russisch ИЖ) Motorcycles have been imported to the UK under the names Cossack, Neval and for a very short period Kalasnikov.
    Emission standards in Europe have killed these 2-strokes bikes as far as new imports go.
    http://www.cossackmotorcycles.com/izh.html

  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Kalsnikov eh, probably both first produced in 1947 and the design hasn't changed since. Am I even close? It's all an education thats for sure. Thanks DunkingBird.
    DunkingBird likes this.
  17. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    upload_2017-8-20_11-58-47.png
    You are really close :clap
    The Ak-47 and the IZH Jupiter (derived from the Izh-49) were both produced in the Izhmash Concern which was founded 1807 and later renamed to Kalashnikov Concern (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalashnikov_Concern).

    Some more information:

    http://www.ellaspede.com/the-bikes-behind-the-iron-curtain/


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  18. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    So our short stay in Turkmenistan quickly comes to a close. The high hotel costs, the restrictive route we must follow and the sheer lack of points of interest for tourists compels us to keep moving south to the border with Iran. It was slow progress though, although it was only one hundred kilometres, most of it was restricted to 60 kph. That had us at the border at a difficult hour, 1pm. Half an hour into the Turkmeni's lunch hour. Nothing to do but sit and wait until 2pm when they would start processing people through. Well thats what we were told, the truth is, it was closer to 3pm and nobody seemed to have a clue what they were doing, nor did they care. Frustrating thats for sure. An immigration official fingering through my passport, all the time sniffling and wiping his severely running nose with the back of his hand. He seemed to take exception to me, when I asked him not to keep pouring over my passport with his snotty hands. His response was, "but it is interesting" he said. Then have what looked like a pre pubescent teenager customs official go through our luggage and ask if we were carrying guns. We had that question coming into Uzbekistan as well. It seems reasonable to assume that they have an issues with guns in this part of the world. It took much longer to get out of Turkmenistan than to get in, thats for sure.

    Entry into Iran was described above, so no need to go there again. Now we just had to push on as far as we could and try and make some distance. We have modified our original plan of running east to west across the top of Iran, then south. To just cut straight down towards Yazd and then Shiraz through the heart of the Iranian desert, which can be brutally hot. But it would gain us some days and take us directly to the points of interest and avoid the congestion and mayhem of the far more populous northern Iran.

    It should be noted here that the roads in Iran are the match of nearly any in western world. Well layed out and sign posted. The drivers hmm, it is early days, but we have seen worse. Their most annoying habit is their constant tooting and blasting of horns, purely at the excitement of seeing a foreigner riding through their country. It's their way of saying hello.

    We broke a golden rule and rode into the night a little, being caught between major towns. Found a hotel in Torbat Heydariyeh and crashed for the night. A big day in the heat.

    No matter where in the world you are, the local bakery is usually a good choice, Mary, Turkmenistan.
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    More of the same as you approach the Iranian border from Turkmenistan[​IMG]

    Cotton Farming has been a staple right throughout this part of the world.
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    Welcome to Sarahs indeed, now where is it? Border town, Turkmenistan.
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    Ok, now we are following the border between Turkmenistan & Iran. Security has stepped up, many fences, watch towers and CCTV cameras every 100 metres or so. It seemed prudent to keep moving, don't stop and take a shot on the fly.
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    It's hot, bloody hot. Desert country between Torbat-Heydariyeh and Tabas central Iran.
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    applying some lip balm after hours in the searing heat.
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    Believe it or not, I don't mind riding in this sort of country, acclimatised to it maybe.
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    We came across this random military wreckage in the middle of the Iranian desert. I have no real explanation other than I'm reasonably sure it's just derelict and neglected curiosities, but who knows?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  19. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Tomorrow we push onto Shiraz, or more accurately Persepolis, yep you guessed it, another ancient historical site. So whilst we have reasonable wifi it seems prudent to catch up. We've enjoyed Yazd immensely. It hasn't morphed into an outdoor showcase museum like Samarkhand. It's a living, breathing small city, that just happens to have a fair amount of intact history. I'm not at all sure what the recent UNESCO world heritage listing will bring. But this isn't France nor Italy, so I guess the tourist flow will remain slow. I see no reason why it should stay that way. The welcome you receive here is genuine and overwhelming, there appears to be no animosity towards any one nationality. We sometimes get confused as US citizens and at no time are we ever greeted with anything other than a smile. But then that is no different to anywhere else of course.

    So a final look at Yazd before we move on.

    Cooling towers that catch the wind, over a water storage cistern.
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    Ruined fort of Meybod.
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    Ruins of Kharanaq, central Iran.
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    Ok, is everyone on?
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    Dowlat Abad gardens, Yazd, Iran.
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  20. 10ecjed

    10ecjed Been here awhile

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    Wow