Vienna to Magadan - BAM Road and Road of Bones

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Xdream, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Jimdamit

    Jimdamit не стреляйте

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    While it would be interesting to rent a bike in Magadan and ride west, I don't think I would want to jump directly into the deep end of the pool. The road looks like it gets more difficult the further east you go. Ideally, I would do the loop eastbound through the 'Stans and come back west through Russia like Walter did. Too much to see to only go one way. Now if I can get the time off from work and somehow pay for it...:D
  2. Motorfiets

    Motorfiets Long timer

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    yes
  3. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Day 10 somewhere to Ust Kut
    788 km / 10 hours on the Bike


    "It aint over, till it´s over" as I tend to say. Ready for another day in Russia :D

    Ahhhh, got up one hour late and hat to pay about 2 Euro fine :ear I was generous and gave her around 4 Euro and ordered 2 of those crullers (not sure if it is called that way - google translated).

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    I thought its some kind of donut with a marmalade filling. I took a hearty bite and figured out, that there was no marmalade inside. It was more a mix of garlik and onion. Not exactly what I expected and I had to use all my mental skills to keep it inside my mouth.The second one was not much easyer either. I needed some Mars bar and a tea to get the taste out of my mouth.

    Ok, let GO now. While choking those crullers down I talked to some truckers - where they come from and where they go to. One has been to Ust Kut (on the way to the BAM road) not too long ago and said, that the weather was much better there and the water levels were normal. Another trucker agreed. My spirit rose again.


    I told them what I wanted to do. The anwer was: "It´s not possible". You kind of gettin used to that. But they also warned me about bandids and to be careful.

    Time to get Gas and go! In my enthusiasm I probably forgot to tighten my saddlebag properly and the strap went into my chain and broke my chainguard and also ripped the strap. Some repair on the roadside was necessary.

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    The road got worse and worse. Not superbad, but somehow hard to find the right speed. For long stretches it was an ugly washboard road and there were lots of trucks driving crisscross the road finding the best way around the bigger bumps. And the weather was just wet enough to throw all the mud in your face, but it was not raining enough to keep the helmet clear. Not a nice ride at all and also lots of construcktions going on.

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    I had a tea at the roadside and some fir cones. Not sure if they were really supposed to be eaten. But what for would he have sold them otherwise?

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    chief on construction

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    Landscape changed to some more hilly terrain. Very green and pleasent to look at.

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    The spirit rose again

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    This is still the main Highway going down to Irkutsk. You see how drastically the road changes East of Krasnojarsk. But the whole way until Vladivostok is under construction those days. Some stretches are brandew and nice to ride. This one defenitely not.

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    Finally reached Tulun and decided to give the BAM another try. Asking for the road to Bratsk everybody was just shaking his head. "very very bad road." everybody was telling me. The road looked like that:

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    I finally recognized that asking about road conditions is just absolutely senseless. People don´t know how the road looks 50 km from their place. And it changes within a few km´s anyways from supergood to superbad. So you just have to take what it throws at you. You got to ride in anyhow.

    I reached Bratsk in the early afternoon and I thougt I could still make it to Ust Kut.

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    Bratsk has also what was once the biggest dam. 124 meters high and 924 meters long. When I crossed it i thougt to myselfe. "what a dam" but did not know it was one of the biggest on earth.

    Bratsk is somehow the end of the tarmac and gravel road starts soon after Bratsk. The road was dry here and you can clearly see where the gravel road begins.

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    The scenery got more and more hilly and reminded me of the Vienna woods. Very nice and gentle countryside with some small villages on the road.

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    Ah, nice road again. Something really strange is going on in Russia. You drive 200 km on mud and gravel road and suddenly you find the best road you can imagine in the middle of nowwhere - no tows or villages near either. I did not really get it why there is a 30 km stretch of perfect road, but to get to it you ride 200km gravel each side. Somebody told me later that Putin tried to push road constructions in Sibiria and sometimes came to visit. So they flew him in with a helicopter, showed him those few km´s of perfect road in the middle of nowwhere and flew him out again. All around - what he did not see - stayed just the same. :D:D

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    did I mention those graveyards already? :D

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    time for a picnic with Vladimir

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    around 150km before I reached Ust Kut the road got worse again with mud and waterpoddles. Seems that it has rained shortly here.

    And the first wooden bridge - how exciting

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    I reached Ust Kut at sunset and met the first of those bandits the trucker was talking about.

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    Checked in at a Hotel that I found in the city. And a cab driver told me, that 8 days ago 7 russians were passing by on motorbikes.

    10 hours in the saddle and about 14 hours on the road today. had a shower and went to bed. Tomorrow its gonna be a bit shorter day.


    [​IMG]
  4. slowpoke69

    slowpoke69 Been here awhile

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    Great RR, I like your sense of humor too, that video with Valentino was funny as hell! Keep it coming... I'm in! Thanks for taking us along, stay safe!:clap
  5. california1660

    california1660 Adventurer

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    Jeez, I really envy you! Since I read for the first time about this "road", I always wanted to do this trip, but I start feeling too old ...:cry

    Liebe Grüße aus Wien

    Franz
  6. Tomdog

    Tomdog Mapaholic

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    Did you get a better photo of this shy side car?

    [​IMG]
  7. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

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    Fantastic - keep it coming:clap:clap
  8. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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  9. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    Awesome ride report, but did you really reach Ust Kut at dawn, or at sunset?!

    Good job dealing with those tough bandits, Russia is full of them!
  10. Lunatic

    Lunatic Dan Keyhoety

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    Yeh good job fighting off the bandits . In Russia /English we would call them Milkypakasnicks .:rofl

    I'll be ridin in Vienna this year if you would like to swap travelin stories . :freaky

    PM me if your interested .

    Ciao , Dan
  11. Mukaltin

    Mukaltin Adventurer

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    "I had a tea at the roadside and some fir cones. Not sure if they were really supposed to be eaten. But what for would he have sold them otherwise?"

    Cones, is the fruit of the Siberian cedar, they contain delicious nuts:dg:dg
  12. bymbie

    bymbie Been here awhile

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    Awesome report thus far - I love that Hello Kitty toolbag :evil

    When you have a chance, can you post your gear-list? Thanks mate...
  13. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Hi Tom!

    sunset of course. my mistake.

    btw. It seems your report of the ROB on your website got lost somehow :deal :D can you please post it again!

    greetings from austria
  14. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Cool, learned something again. :thumb But do you only eat the nuts or the whole cone? had a hard time chewing. :lol3
  15. Azmo

    Azmo beginner

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    "The scenery got more and more hilly and reminded me of the Vienna woods. Very nice and gentle countryside with some small villages on the road."

    Just in case, not sure if this story reached ADVrider.
    There was a guy, 'Alex aka Scoot', who tried to travel from Moscow to Vladivostok last year. On scooter. Well most of the times he was ok and was posting some scarce reports about his progress, but then strangely disappeared.
    Nothing was found.
    Almost a half-year later, his scooter appeared sold by one of the local road-police guys at some point (don't remember the locality name)
    An investigation (which was forced from Moscow, as lot of his bike-club-mates insisted and created a storm of opposition and pressure to the officials) found the sad results:
    He was killed by one of the locals in such small and nice countryside village (where he stopped with his tent) because he refused to drink with them.

    Once again - guys, who plan to travel to Russia, especially 'a bit far from civilization' - please be careful. You 'old and rusty' bike can be an unseen fortune for a drunk local, who earns like 1400$ a year. Avoid staying outside of cities, or, if you have no luck reaching the city this day - it is better to be without people at all, then be with some people. Siberian wilds are still, you know - wilds, at some points.

    PS: great RR, keep posting!
  16. Azmo

    Azmo beginner

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    :rofl

    cedar nuts are said to be very good for men's health :wink: not sure about the cones :evil
  17. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    unfortunately not - sorry.
  18. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Hi Azmo!

    Thanks for mentioning that story. I thought of posting it, because I heard it so often during my trip. This story was told several times to me, warning me to go on that road. And I heard about 10 different versions of it. First the version you are telling and lots of others which said, that he kind of knew the local bar maid and her brother or friend or whatever got jelaus. Doug (RTWDoug) would know more about the story - he visited the memorial and the place on his trip to Magadan. Whatever happened, the person was killed and that was bad and very sad.

    But it was a few years ago already, and it was the only story I heard of a biker getting killed by russian locals.And there are hundreds of travellers going that way every year. I don´t know how much happens what we never hear of, but about international travellers you would hear those days. So that does not scare me off. You would find stories like that in about every country in the world. You know, in Austria we are specialized in hiding people in our basements for years.

    Otherwise I agree with your suggestions. But aren´t those the "standards" that you should know when going on a trip like this? Anything could happen to you at any place on earth at any time. The fun thing is - I got robbed in Italy, in Germany and in Austria - but not in Russia.

    During my trip everybody was nice to me. I know it could have been different. The only times when I did not feel very comfortable was at some truck stops were people appeared out of nowwhere, talking to me and others sneaking around my bike. Then I just waved goodbye and continued riding.

    It´s hard to find the right words. Kind of "Don´t take it too easy and follow some rules, but dont get scared of everything they tell you."

    Found the report of doug visiting the memorial of Alex

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681994&page=124

    @ Colebatch: You were travelling Russia and Sibira much much more than me - what were you´re impressions?
  19. crash228

    crash228 renaissance man

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    great idea colebatch!
    let me know once it is up and running. :wink:
    .
  20. Mukaltin

    Mukaltin Adventurer

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    You can create a special thread where to discuss this project, there are no large key problems in the implementation of