Saturday, 30 June 2012

Lazy days in Ulan Bator Mongolia

Well this will be my 3rd and last night at the hotel. I have to check out tomorrow because the hotel is full!

Going to head off to try and meet up with the GobiGirls, Belle and Nads. I am getting a bit worried as I havent heard from them in a few days. I am sure they are fine and its just me being typically worried lol

I spend most of my days wandering down to the park and watch the older people play chess and draughts. I even had a game of chess but got my butt well and truely whooped!

The cost of living here is relatively cheap, today I bought 3 cans of beer, packet of cigs, 2 bananas, bottle of water, packet of peanuts and a packet of biscuits for £4.

I have a couple of downer moments. I went to get paracetamol and the girl on the reception desk said they were really cheap, when I got to the chemist they asked for nearly £7. So I said no thanks. 
Walked to the tourist place, I often pop in to say hi... anyway, she says paracetamol are really cheap. So tried another chemist and got charged 40p for a pack. so you can see I was being ripped off!

Also this morning walked to the Sky supermarket, to replace the beer from the mini bar I had used (£1.50 mini bar price, supermarket 50p) and she asked me to put my daysack into the locker, not a problem, so off I went to get 2 beers and a bottle of water. Paid for them and while I was putting the stuff in my daysack, an older woman asked to see my receipt. I was furious because this woman had stood and watch me pay for the goods. Luckily for me, the receipt was in the carrier bag. I said to her "Do I look like a shoplifter". sorry but that incident left a sour taste in my mouth.

Of course with all cites you get statues and monuments. so here are a few

You also get stunning women, not that I spend much time looking at them but I do tend to spend a lot of time down the park lol

I am also looking at changing my route, well after all it is an adventure!
If I can get the bike shipped back to the UK cheaply, Then I may get the train or fly to China, from there make my way south and visit Hong Kong.
In Thailand I will try and buy a small cc bike and head down towards Australia.
The only country I need to get a visa for is China (Australia has an on-line application form) the rest I can buy quite cheaply at the borders.

Well I check out of the hotel tomorrow and not sure where I will be staying, so heres till the next time I have internet access.

Ride Safe Will

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mongolia welcomes me with a big smile :-)

So I am now in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia or UB for short.

So heres the story of how after 9,000 miles I arrived in this fantastic city.

After leaving Irkuts with a working back brake and a slighty lowered bike I was glad to be back on the road, the oil leak continued and I have to check and top up daily, not a lot of oil, I reckon about a teaspoon a day.....I have now started to think of it as a constant oil change !

Dazzer and Leigh decided they wanted an early start, I was happy to take my time to Ulan Ude where I would meet up with the Gobi Girls Belle and Nadine, they had travelled on Chinese copy Honda C90. I had previously met them on "The scooters in the Sahara" trip to Bansang Hospital in Gambia and couldnt wait to see them again :-)

The Gobi Girls

Riding along, having rode some very tough sections of road where they were digging up the old road and replacing it with a new one (they lay a temporary one of rocks, gravel and mud). I hit disaster or should I say I hit the road or rather slid down the road!  I had hit a diesel spill. The front end start to slide and weave and just as I thought I had everything under control the back end jumped out. This resulted in a tank slapper and I knew I wasnt going to recover from this.
So I low sided the bike and let go! I bounced and slid for about 50 metres watching the bike slide away in front of me! my bike came to a stop just on the edge of a 10 foot drop. As soon as I wriggled my hands and feet I was up and heading to the bike. Some kind Russian road workers helped me get the bike up and much to my surprise it started .
Of course my screen was gone as well as my right mirror and massive scratches down my pannier cases but all in all I think I came off quite well despite the fact that I was travelling at 55mph!

I am ok, a little bruised!

The new streamlined version lol

This car had came off at the same section of road

Russian workers who helped get my bike on the road

Unfortunately I was wearing my gortex waterproofs at the time

Gaffer tape fix needed lol

So after a wee delay I was off and soon to meet up with the girls ( I had last seen them in Turkey, which seemed like a lifetime ago).

The next day after a lazy start and some sight seeing in Ulan Ude we set off for the Mongolian border. We couldnt have timed it better because we got there just before the border shut for the night so they rushed us straight thru.
We stayed at the border place in a very rustic hotel with no shower but at £4 for all 3 of us we were not complaining.

The next day we set off to see the monastery and a wild camp, However my leg was in such pain due to the accident I couldnt even stand up on the pegs. Even getting on and off the bike was a struggle, so I decided to head straight for the capital UB.

I stayed in the Ghengis Chan hotel but at nearly £100 per night that was way over my budget, So I used Hotel to find a cheaper one. So I am now staying at the Kaiser hotel just off Peace avenue right in the centre of the city.

Mongolia is so different to Russia, the people are so much more friendlier, though this may be that more people speak English, in fact, on my drive in to UB the traffic system is a nightmare as theres only one main road thru the city. The lanes are marked as a dual carriage way but often you see 4 lanes of traffic.... its defiantly No Prisoners lol. Anyway back to the point, many people shouted out of the car windows "Welcome to Mongolia" or the would toot and wave madly!

Well I have some more pics to post of the city but that can wait till tomorrow because now its time for a read  and bedtime :-) 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Heading for Mongolia

Still on the road heading east, it seems like every night we put our clocks forward by 1 hour, we are now 8 hours ahead of the UK.

So a couple of days ago my back brake started to play up, so we bled it and it was ok. then one day no back brake!! quite scary as we hit the bad roads.

The roads have been a mix of fantastic smooth tarmac to chewed up bumpy roads and then you get this... without any warning. So you find yourself constantly watching the road ahead, which is a shame because theres a lot to see.

So, one day I notice Daz and Leigh have stopped at the side of a road, at first I thought "they have left something at the hotel" so I turn round and there 100 metres from the road is this

Two bears!!! fascinating to watch but scary at the same time. we sat on the bikes taking photo's, just incase they decided we looked like a tasty lunch !

So I put an SOS out to Sveta in Samarah, telling her that my brakes need looking at. She finds a guy called Dmitry who speaks English, so meet him and head for a Hostel. The hostel owner knows a biker called Alexy. He turns up and organises a trip to a motorbike service shop.

So we go off and the service guy strips my brake to find dust is the problem. At the same time the lower my bike and chop a little of my sidestand because I have been struggling to stand my bike up.

So all is now well and we make preparation to head down to Ulan Batar Mongolia where I have a new set of tyres waiting for me.

okay, this is a stuffed bear, there was 4 stuffed bears..... good job I do not have a phobia of bears !!
and that is sweat on me... the days are very hot and sticky! I am not complaining when I think of the weather we get in the UK.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Long roads of Russia

Well it has now been 2 weeks since I entered Russia with Dazzer and Leigh. We have rode many many long and boring roads together. Every now and then we split up and meet up further up the road, bit like a massive game of hide and seek !

I have met some fantastic people in Russia, starting with Dennis, I was sitting eating pancakes when this massive bloke jumped off his bike to say hello, Dennis is like a tower block ! I like to think of him as a Gentle Giant :-)

Talking of pancakes, it too me almost 20 minutes to order 2 pancakes with cheese on! in the end I had to resort to my little book of pictures to get some, I went off muttering to myself as I found a quiet corner to eat the said pancakes.

Anyway, back to meeting Dennis, I told him my clutch cable had broke and he said no problem come to Samara and took me to meet with Alexander and his lovely wife Sveta.

As we were riding along we passed Dazzer n Leigh, they tagged on to us and we all made it to a lovely motel, food and drink was enjoyed as we talked the night away about motorbikes and travelling.
The next day we set off for Samara and after a long days ride (where Sveta had decided to do a Superwoman impression and come off her bike..... thankfully no bad injuries and her bike was up and running within 30 minutes) we arrived in Samara.
we then dropped off the bikes at a motorbike service shop and headed off to the Hotel for the night.
The next couple of days the bikers took us everywhere and got the bike all sorted, They even managed to get my clutch cable repaired :-)
I dont ever think I could thank the guys n girls enough for all the hard work they did for us :-)

Sveta, a real SuperWoman !

The next few days were just long riding days, can you imagine riding a road that is straight for the next 40 miles ! or the sat nav saying, next turn off in 122 miles ! its crazy and quite boring, the only way to pass the time is to sing to yourself... so you can see.. I have now gone "Road Crazy" 

Some days I have to look at my watch to work out what day it is... often I think back to Turkey or Bulgaria.. thinking it was months ago when it was only a few weeks ago !

I forgot to say, spent 2 days in Volgograd or Stalingrad where we spent the day doing the tourist thing. The memorial of Mother Russia is spectacular and is well worth a visit

So I now find myself in Novosibirsk, I think this is the halfway point. Tomorrow I head off towards Ulan Ude and hopefully within a week I should have entered Mongolia...... Until the next time.... Thanks for reading and ride safe :-)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Russia sends a warm welcome

Welcome to Russia

The Border crossing was quite smooth taking around 2 hours including leaving Georgia. The border guards were really pleasant and were interested in our trip.
Finally all the paperwork was dealt with and the barrier was opened and for the first time I was in Russia

As you can see I was pleased as punch to be in Russia

And so was Dazzer and Leigh!

We stopped at a large town to find an ATM and a crowd gathered to ask questions about our trip. one guy took me in his car to a cashpoint so I could get some Roubles. it was quite scary being driven by a Russian as there appears to be no rules on the road!
While I was away, a guy called Alic offered his house for us to stay in. So we followed him home, was shown to 2 massive bedrooms and then stuffed with food !!! 
Then we were given a real Russian welcome and out came the vodka !! needless to say, Dazzer sloped off to bed quite early. I was daft enough to stay up ! mind my head was in bits in the morning.
I dont think theres enough words to thank Alic for his kindness and hospitality. we were treated like Kings!

After 2 long days of riding we are now in Volgograd, formally Stalingrad, where we will do a couple of nights stay and head into the city for our tourist fix.
I also need to see if I can get a clutch cable and some oil to do a service on my bike as I have now done over 4,000 miles since leaving home almost a month ago.

Goodbye Turkey hello Georgia

Well after a good nights sleep and my last Turkish breakfast consisting of boiled eggs and cornflakes... not all together though! it was time to say goodbye to Turkey.

As I left the hotel the skies were starting to look black and I just knew it was a matter of time before the heavens opened. Time it would seem was about 10 minutes into my ride. Also I had noticed the clutch felt a little slack, so I stopped to put on my waterproofs and gave the clutch cable a quick glance and this is what I saw

Not good news! it would appear that only one strand was operating the clutch.
So off I went to climb 8,000 feet over a mountain summit and down a mountain in stotting rain and little clutch left!

The Calvary arrived in the shape of Iain, Debz, Dazzer n Leigh.  We soon had an emergency cable fitted and was on our way (my spare clutch cable is sat on my workbench in my garage at home, yep forgot to pack it !!).

The sun had come out as we approached the Georgian border, this look like it was the first day it was open, as it was very new looking and there were lots of top brass and photographers hanging around. needless to say we were thru in a few minutes...... then the heavens opened again.

As we hit the first town and started to look for an ATM a guy offered to show us a hotel, at £8 per night it was really nice and comfortable.

The next morning Iain and Debz headed off on there own while me and Dazzer headed towards the Georgian Military Highway.  This is a fantastic road though a little worn in places.

We progressed up towards the border finding a small hotel for the night, we also met 3 Czech guys and had a crazy night speaking a mixture of English German and Czech.... there were quite a few beers n shorts consumed.

The following morning after breakfast it was time to do the last few miles to the border, though the scenery and mountains were stunning the road at the summit was hardly a road, more like a rough gravel, pot holed lane ! well worth the hard work though.

Then it was time to enter Russia........