Vienna to Magadan - BAM Road and Road of Bones

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

  1. Colebatch

    Colebatch "Moto Porn"ographer

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    I could not think of anywhere more unlikely for this to happen than in Siberia. I could imagine it in Kazakhstan or perhaps even in Mongolia a long time before I could imagine it in Siberia.

    As you pointed out, you are far more likely to have bad things happen to you in Italy, or Germany or the US than in Siberia.

    There are always freak stories anywhere, but the reality is it is so far away from normal that you cant really take it into consideration. If you are the kind of person that worries about freak events, then you would never leave the comfort of your home.
  2. Azmo

    Azmo beginner

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    Thanks for the extended comment, Xdream

    "Don´t take it too easy and follow some rules, but dont get scared of everything they tell you." - that's exactly the attitude that should be. Just wanted to point out that there's no need to relax on the road no matter how helpful and smiling are the locals and how good the road ahead looks. It's not that you should always be strained and paranoid, but just don't feel over-relaxed.

    Cheers, mate. I am glad you made it and i hope to hear a lot more RR's from such an optimistic and positive man like you seem to be :1drink:D
  3. Azmo

    Azmo beginner

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    I will not argue with you and will not be trying to prove something - you have made your point of view. Continuing this discussion will lead to offtopic.

    Just a short funny story, ok? And i will shut up.

    ..So a man died and an angel meets him in Limbo.
    - Well, - the angel says, - you've done equal good and bad in your life so you are the one to decide where you go - heaven or hell
    - hmmm, let me decide... can i take a look at both - asked the man?
    - sure, - replied the angel. Here's heaven:
    and a man sees some endless white space with floor as clouds. Men and woman, dressed in white just roam endlessly here and there, thinking about something. Pretty happy, but obviously bored.
    - and here's hell:
    Sex, drugs, cards, drinks, all the pleasures at one place - endless casino with strip show - everything you can imagine
    - Well, says the man - it's the hell i want to be
    - Ok, say's the angel, here you go, fare thee well
    .. and a moment later, man finds himself in a giant frying pan with boiling oil and sinners screaming around
    - WTF?!?! screams the man - that's not what i saw?
    - Ah, - says the Devil, - that was tourism and this is immigration :evil
  4. Kostopraff

    Kostopraff Been here awhile

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    So did you go to the Bratsk up at the Baikal? Can you share the photos of the road from Irkutsk to Bratsk?
  5. morkiukas

    morkiukas Adventurer

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  6. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Day 11: Ust Kut - Sewerobaikalsk

    Today it´s gonna be a bit shorter day. I am just going to Severobaikalsk, thats around 400 km. It does not make much sense to go further today.

    And I also wanted some time to prepare for the challenges ahead. So first of all it was time for a tire change. From Vienna to Ust Kut.I had a Pirelli Scorpion Trail mounted and it worked perfectly until Ust Kut. Just the somehow muddy parts made riding not too easy. Now - with only gravel and wet ground ahead - I changed to the MT21 and hope to get until Magadan with it.

    I went to a tireshop and let them do the change. I could have done it myselfe but I thought I will have to fix enough flat tires in the next days anyway.

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    I figured out that the posters are just the same as anywhere in the world. :1drink

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    The gravel road all the way to Severobaikalsk was not bad at all. At times I could go over 130 km/h with a huge cloud of dust behind me. I felt like a superhero on my bike. I made a note to myselfe to sign up for the next "Dakar" race. Why not - I got a Bike named after that race. Figured out later that I will not sign up because they would go over 180 on that road.

    Some burnt forest with new and fresh trees.

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    phantasic riding and great wide open hilly terrain. there is a big river bed down in the valley. I really enjoyed the riding that day. Not much traffic either. I think on 400 km I have seen one truck near Ust Kut and one 4x4 somewhere else.

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    Please - no rain again. It just rained a bit, but it got a bit chilly.

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    Short break and enjoying some sun. (no - I did not cross that "river" - i took the bridge :D )

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    Road changed several times from gravel to sand to rocks to ground.

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    I stopped at this old factory and took some pics.

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    When I got back on the bike I wanted to start the engine, but nothing happened. ADREANALINE pushed again - nothing happened - MORE ADRENALINE. checked the emergency switch - ahhhh :D NOW it works :clap And my friends say, that I would not be able to fix my bike when it breaks down. blissfully ignorant they are :lol3

    Had to cross a quite steep mountain pass.

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    and my first river crossin on that trip. I know this could be done on a CBR 600 RR. But hey - it was my first river crossing and the picture had to be taken.

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    Finally the first view of Lake Baikal. Very impressing. If you know the facts about that unique lake, it´s even more jawdropping.

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    Also impressinve are the town signs in Russia. It seems like every little town has to have a sign that is at least 4 meters tall. a bit bigger cities must have a sign at least 8 meters tall.

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    I found a very nice small guesthouse where I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, checking the bike and strall on the beach.

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    The lady at the hotel told me that they had some rain the last days and water levels are above average. But not too bad.

    scanning the horizon carefully for rain clouds before I went to bed. Tomorrow is gonna be a big day.

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  7. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    hey, did you know, where you get when you draw a line from Lake Baikal to the south?

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    means tomorrow I will be in Australia, just a bit more to the north :norton

    crossed 1/4 of the earth in 11 days. I found that cool somehow.
  8. ClayR

    ClayR Animal

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    :freaky
  9. Durden

    Durden Freak!

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    Fantastic Pictures!

    When you say: "The lady at the hotel told me that they had some rain the last days..." Was that conversation in Russian, Russlish, English, or hand gestures? Just trying to gauge how difficult communication with the locals has been thus far - regardless, great job stopping and talking to people.

    Keep it up.
  10. tshelfer

    tshelfer Adventurer

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    I'm joining this report in progress and am loving it. I feel like a kid having to wait until tomorrow for my mother to read the next chapter in an exciting story. Maybe I could read under the covers by flashlight......

    Couple of comments, just from watching the video at the beginning --- First, I'll admit that after only one of those bridges, I would probably give my bike to a Russian peasant and catch a bus to the coast. Second, I'm half tempted to put the V-Strom up for sale and buy myself a Beemer.

    Great stories. Keep it coming.
  11. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    Damn, I would have been even more impressed if you'd ridden through the (brief) Siberian night!

    Have been meaning to blog re the RoB, have been super-busy--maybe this weekend!
  12. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    :D

    If you get impressed on night-riding you will love the story of my last night on the Road of Bones. Holy shit, that was a close call. But it takes some more days to get there.
  13. duroturk

    duroturk Been here awhile

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    :thumb
  14. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    conversation was in russian only. The last time met some english speaking was in Krasnojarsk. Only one person at the BMW store and the receptionist at the hotel. the next person I met speaking english was Doug on the road to Irkutsk and Max, a russian from Tynda who joined Doug on his way to Magadan.

    I started to learn russian about 6 month before I got on my trip. I focused on learning to ask for a room/bed, asking for meal, asking about road conditions, weather, water levels. I learne hot to ask if I can use the railroad bridge to cross the river. etc etc. so very very basic.

    The biggest problem was, that russians are like the french. If they recognize you speak a few words of their language, they start and don´t stop talking.

    I tried to ask "Yes" or "no" questions. Like:
    "Are the water levels high?" or
    "Can I cross that bridge?"
    But whatever i tried - I did not get a short answer. They started talking for 5 minutes and I did not understand a word :lol3
    I started talking back to them in my tyrolian dialekt (a very special dialect from Austria that has about the same speech melody as Russian, but a completely different language of course) That was superfunny at times.

    If you plan a trip like this, I would highly recommend to learn some russian and especially some prases you think you would need to ask.

    Or some people just download an I-phone app and let it do the work. But I personally found it easyer to learn russian than to activate an iphone and install the app.

    *hahah* just recognized - "russlish" :rofl
  15. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    :thumb Thank you very much for your comment.

    Suggestion from my side: If you are along the BAM I would recommend to take the train to the coast instead of the bus. :D You also don´t really want to take a ride with the truck drivers - why? wait for the next chapter.

    in terms of the V-Strom vs. Beemer. You know the saying: It´s not the bike .........:wink:
  16. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Yeah - that tool bag is one of my favourites too. But not everybody is worthy owing one.

    reg. gear list. Can´t find my list right now. If you send me a PM I wont forget and send it to you later.
  17. Xdream

    Xdream Been here awhile

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    Day 12: Sewerobaikalsk - Taksimo
    405 km 12 hours riding time

    The next morning I was ready to leave already at 08:00 from the Guesthouse. I had a big day in front of me with 400 km to go knowing the road will not get better.

    It was a beautiful morning and I enjoyed the view of fisherman on the Lake and the mountains surrounding it.

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    Passed small villages along the lake.


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    a nice wooden church


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    Filled up Gas


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    And got the daily "face shot".


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    The landscape around Lake Baikal is so beautiful. I really fell in love with that region. The sun was shining, I was in good mood and the landscape just added that special flavour to make it a perfect day. I could not imagine it being any better.


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    Believe it or not - this was not more than 10 minutes later than the above shot.

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    The sun did not really come out again that day. But it also did not rain too much. A few short showers, but otherwise just cloudy.


    The road was good for the first 150 km or so. It changed constantly between tarmac and gravel and sand. i found the gravel and sand road best to ride.


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    The first unpassable bridges showed up and I had to use the riverbed to get by.


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    The bridges got more and more "interesting".

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    After around 150km the road got remarkable worse. A lot of big water holes that were not possible to avoid. But they rolled gently and were not really deep. So the riding was still ok.


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    After that came a section with really really bad holes. Thousands of them and impossible to avoid. They were smaller as the ones before, but those were really deep and had sharp corners. So you had to be extremely carefully. Some of them were avoidable by just lifting the front wheel a bit. But sometimes there were some much that you could not lift enough. :lol3 And it would have been easyer to lift the front wheel with an 690 ktm than with the beemer. Another problem was, that the road looked good from further away and only at the last moment you seen those holes.

    See the video that follows later for more details on this section.


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    It´s not really difficult riding in terms of riding skills. But don´t forget when you look at the pictures or the video that you have to ride those roads over 400 km and more than 10 hours a day where you have to stay focused 100% all the time. That´s what makes it a challenge.

    There´s one of the longest train tunnels in the world on tha BAM. They cool it down in summer because otherwise the permafrost ground in the tunnel would melt

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    I came from this valley below


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    did I mention the city signs? This is a small city, the sign is only 4 meters tall.


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    I came to a river crossing where a truck got stuck. Water was about 70cm deep with some strong current. I wanted to try to cross, but the truck driver told me that I should take the railroad bridge. I did so. It was around 4 pm at that point and the truck driver was stuck there since 7 in the morning waiting for help.


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    A few kilometers further there was the other truck that supposed to pull him out of the river. :rofl (sorry)


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    I passed by and found some other russians who tried to pull this one out with a wrench. I waved friendly and passed. Then I heared a woman scream after me and I stopped. I recognized immedeately that she was somewhere from Europe. I got off my bike, hugged her and said "I am so happy, you are the first women I meet after 7 days!" She went a step back and replied: "I am married!"

    :rofl that was sooo funny.

    It was a couple from england on a 4x4 and they invided me for .... Tee of course :freaky.


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    They told me that they were trying to get through to Tynda too, but waited for a week at the Kuanda River to cross but it was not possible due to the high water level. Also no Kamaz did go through the river the last week because water was too high. And the bridge guard wanted to charge 3.000 Dollar to let them over. So they had to turn around, go all the way back and down to irkutsk to get to the Road of Bones. Whoo that were no good news at all.

    He also told me about some really deep water that you were not able to avoid or go around just after Taksimo. Deep water with huge rocks in it.

    I continued with mixed emotions but wanted to get as close as possible to the Kuanda Bridge that day. Before that some other bridge crossings had to be done.

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    I forgot that there was again one time zone to cross and I was missing again an hour of daylight. I reached Taksimo with about 1 hour of daylight to go so i decided to stay in the hotel there overnight instead of going further and sleep in the tent.


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    Had a warm shower and called my wife at home. Told her: "The best day so far. bridges, Watercrossings, broken trucks, bad roads - thats exactly what I came for. This is Sibiria as I had imagined it. I did not get disapointed."

    Was hard to fall asleep with so many impressions in my head and so excited what tomorrow will happen.
  18. euskalherria

    euskalherria euskalherria

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    Thanks for share your adventure with us. :clap:clap:clap:clap

    :lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk:lurk
  19. Gripforce

    Gripforce Ski Bum

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    Your RR just keeps getting better and better! Woooohooo!
  20. mariomcarvalho

    mariomcarvalho Adventurer

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    i love this thread...:clap:clap:clap