Entering final planning phase

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by Sanibel, May 1, 2018.

  1. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Today is May 1st, big day for my planned 3 months trip, starting Aug 1st, 3 months from now. The new guy we hired at work to fill in for me in my absence showed up today. And my 3 year multi-entry Russian visa arrived. That was my final (I hope) potentially insurmountable hurdle.

    Plan is crate the bike, air cargo to Incheon Korea, I fly over a couple days later, pick up bike. Originally I had planned a quick dash to the Donghae/Vladivostok ferry. Wendy Choi recommended I make ferry reservations now as August is busy. Cannot do it online. Tried calling 3 times without making headway, language barrier and my international calling inexperience. Finally went to the local Korean American Baptist Church and asked for assistance. The welcome I received and the help was overwhelming. Invited for lunch, taught a bit about Korean culture and history. Invited to one guy's house next night and we talked for a bit. Once he was sure he understood my needs we phoned Korea. He got the correct person and initiated an email exchange. After sending the requested documents, I had a spot reserved on the ferry. The whole process changed my thinking about spending time in Korea, and I am now shooting for a week to see more of the country. I have reservations at a guesthouse the night before the ferry, and have picked a guesthouse near the airport for arrival. Between times, I have done minimal planning. On past trips I have over planned, trying to mend my ways.

    After the ferry, plans are more vague. West thru Russia to Lake Baikal, south to Mongolia, then west again. Probably Kazakhstan, maybe some other stans although most require visas. Volgograd. Thinking ferry Sochi to Turkey to avoid some areas of civil unrest. Big blank traveling thru Europe. Then roughly towards the U.K. as shipping bike home might be easier in my native tongue. Home and back to work Nov1st.

    I will post more later about preparations so far and keep updating as departure gets nearer. Ride report will be separate thread.
    #1
  2. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    I have been gradually making a packing list. Hard part is taking things off the list and not adding more. Trying to limit myself to stuff I can't do without rather than "this might be useful". Started checking that everything will fit. It does. My luggage arrangements had to be modified due to crating. I ditched my top box that did not fit in the crate for a large waterproof soft bag. Aluminum side panniers are good. No personal items allowed to be shipped with bike, but they will allow riding gear. Therefore, helmet/riding suit/boots/gloves/heated vest will all fit in the top bag. Camping gear in one and tools/spares in the other side box, both with room to spare. All my clothes/personal items will fit in one soft carry-on, so no checked bag on flight. Clothes, etc then are able to fit in side boxes. Top bag will be largely empty while riding, but will hold my gear if I stop somewhere for a few days. In one of his books, Andrew Pain suggests packing naked, so everything I am bringing will fit somewhere.
    #2
  3. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Started doing the medical prep part. Got my hernia fixed 2 weeks ago, open not scope, so I am on restrictions for the next 2 weeks. Bending the rules of course. It needed fixing as I imagine I might be picking the pig up occasionally.
    With the help of an Infectious Disease doctor, have figured out what vaccines I need. Got my first of three rabies vaccinations today. When I was a kid, "rabies shots" were held in high regard for their reputed terror, always different with each telling, but it usually went something like "ten shots in the stomach, and they have to do it every day for a week." It wasn't bad. Also tried getting immunized against Japanese Encephalitis as I will be outdoors in rural southern Korea in rainy season. Low likelihood of catching it, but the illness is pretty bad, so worth getting. Despite calling ahead and having an appointment, the Health Dept did not have it in stock. Gotta go back, that's another 2 shots. Good news is that typhoid vaccination can be done oral. Both shots and oral have fairly low success rates (60-75%), but worth doing as it is a fairly common disease and can thoroughly interrupt a trip.

    The CDC has a good website that lists each country and recommended vaccines and health issues in each, maps with disease prevalent areas along with detailed info on specific diseases and symptoms/treatment.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/
    #3
  4. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    And in a major committment, I coughed up just over $1000 for a plane ticket. Leave Florida Tues evening, 5 hr layover in Chicago. Leave Chicago just before midnight for 13 hr nonstop to Korea, arriving 4AM Thursday due to dateline. I am getting jetlag just trying to get my head around that.
    #4
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  5. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Been doing other stuff getting ready- putting miles on bike to be sure to iron out any problems. Planning on doing no work to it for 2 weeks prior to departure so I don't strip a bolt or screw something up at the last minute. Put the spare rear wheel on and spooned on my new Heidenau K60 Scout rear tire. These have a fearsome reputation as being hard to install and I am pretty inexperienced. Used the zip tie method which made it no sweat at all. Got it pressured up and waiting to confirm it holds pressure. I'll swap it back on along with a new chain and sprockets (they've arrived) for a couple hundred miles of break-in before crating.

    For human hardware stuff, I just cleared my 30 days post-op from hernia fix so will resume exercise program, makes it easier to pick the pig up if I'm in a little better shape.

    I've been half-heartedly trying to learn some Cyrillic alphabet letters. Wasn't making much progress. Picked up a couple of Russian language CD courses from the public library. Been doing them 30 minutes a night last few nights. It is hard because I am a numbers/visual/spatial brain guy, much poorer on auditory learning. My mouth and ears are not accustomed to these sounds. However, I am finally getting somewhere, will go back and look at written Russian later. I figure a bit of Russian should carry me all the way to the Turkish border.

    Also been trying to figure out communication issues. Until just about 3 years ago, I used a flip phone, late adopter of this new smartphone idea. I don't want to take my work phone. I have an old iPhone 4S that I've used just as a GPS, but it has no SIM card so it won't work overseas. I've learned enough to figure out what I need. I think I'll just pick up a used iPhone 6 before I go. Looking at buying a SIM card for Korea or Russia prior to departure so I can test it beforehand and have it up and running on arrival.
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  6. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

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    Hi, speaking a bit of russian will make your trip more easy for sure, but understanding the cyrillic alphabet helps as well - things like reading street signs and being able to figure how it sounds will come in handy :-)

    Regarding smartphone, something loaded with google translate is a good backup for when language skills fail.
    #6
  7. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    The language course I am working is just verbal, although I have found that switching to the web,getting the translation and seeing it written helps with my pronunciation tremendously. I just naturally have little auditory comprehension. It is almost like my ears are dyslexic. Also helps me figure out all these crazy ass letters they got.
    #7
  8. Wonkyconk

    Wonkyconk Adventurer

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    I know it's a long way down the line but when you're in the UK I'd be happy to put you up and show you around.
    Genuine offer.
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  9. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    OK, thanks for the offer
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  10. elron

    elron Still Standing

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    In for the RR, While I'm OC enuf to really appreciate your preparations - and they seem well thought out - Do not let overly detailed planning carry over into narrowing your scope for the ...adventure.
    #10
  11. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Great advice. I have been preparing heavily, but this will kind of end once I get underway. Difference I guess between preparing and planning. I am getting better at curbing my OCD tendencies. On my Alaska trip, I had accommodations lined up for nearly every night on the way up. I am going to try to be more spontaneous. I've booked a room the day my flight arrives in Seoul, the night before the ferry leaves Korea, and the day of arrival in Russia. That is the extent of my rigid schedule. I've got maps and ideas but no firm plans for how I'll spend the week in Korea. It gets even more vague from there. Very much against my nature, but it leaves things more open to exploration and spontaneous experience.

    Hoping Siberian roads will refine my skills so Mongolia will be manageable. Hoping Mongolia will be difficult enough to harden me sufficiently for the Pamir Highway. If not, I can go another way without really feeling failure. In Alaska, I went about 2 miles up the Dalton Highway and realized I was ill prepared- deadly combo of adverse weather, wrong bike and lack of skills. Turned around, no regrets, as that road was not the point of the trip and not doing it did not diminish the adventure.
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  12. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    IMG_5959.JPG IMG_5960.JPG Just finished my typhoid vaccine schedule this evening. Have mounted and installed the new front tire. I just did the valve check tonight. Upper limits of normal, allowing some tighten up with use. Not planning on re-checking during the trip.

    Tool kit assembled. Much of it fits in the tool tube, another little sack full of stuff. Sack also includes a tow rope, zip ties and some duct tape.
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  13. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Installed new rear tire, chain and sprockets last night. Hoping they will all last the whole trip, carrying spare chain and F/R sprockets. Have 16 front, have spare 16 and 14 front for when roads get poor. Checked rear brake pads (last set misinstalled and wore poorly) which are fine. Over the next 2 weeks, I'll put another 100 miles or so on the bike to wear the new off the tire, then a oil change and ready for crating.
    #13