2006-06-26 Big start from Switzerland.
So now the big tour starts from ”My” house, Leo is there to say good bye and take a couple of pictures. Really looking forward to get on the road. After two weeks hard work to get every thing finish to the tour hope I have remember every thing if not then it’s to late….. Going to Dani in Zurich to get a alu. box mounted. The box look good, Dani is helping to get it’s fixed to the bike.
Back to Chris +Agata place getting nice food as usual.
2006-06-27 On the motorway in germany
Starting from Chris+Agata’s going direction Denmark, after 650 boring km’s and some rain I’m ending up at the camping in Dransfeld. But I’m really enjoying to be in the tent and making food in the rain. Have connected the PC to the bike to test it and for getting some music seams to work find.
Leaving the camping at 9:00 after packing all the stuff on the bike. So now an other 650 boring KM on the motorway. But that is a travels life…
Arriving in Birkeroed 18:00 and looking forward to one of Birgit’s nice meals. And she do not disappoint me :o)
To day it’s visiting day for mom and dad. First to the hospital to say hello to dad. He is not looking so good, in bed with a lot of tubes and stuff connected to him. He is talking about that he is giving up. His point is why keep going. He maybe have a point because he is only sitting alone home and don’t want to do any thing. Even if people are asking him out he don’t want to come so everybody are giving up. Only Soeren+ Birgit are keep going. Good work…
Also talking about I should not come home if he dieds while I’m away. No point in coming to his funeral, he is dead any way…. And I will maybe get the message to late any way….
Driving to mom after the hospital and have a dinner with mom and poul. After dinner Poul goes to bed. Mom and I have a long talk, funny it first time we ever have that kind of talks,but nice.
Back to the hospital to visit dad, actually for maybe for the last time….. He don’t (either do I) think he will be alive when I will be back in one year. So it’s strange to say good bye how do you say goodbye for the last time…. But now it’d done. On the way to Birgitte and Christian for prepare the BBQfor all the friends, looking forward to the BBQ with all the friends.
Good to see B+C and the kids Pernille and Rasmus.
Doing some shopping for the BBQ. After some problem I get contact with Laurent, good to hear from him. Laurent was delayed from CH with some paper work and some problems with the bike. Have to change the engine and make new engine number so it fit with the papers. Around 18:00 Laurent arrives, just in time. All the others are starting to come.
Still have a couple things on the bike to fix. And Christian is giving a hand with his golden hands and his super work shop just what you need to fix the last things.
2006-07-03 Leaving DK, sailing to Finland.
Starting from Chiratian and Birgitte’s place at 9 o’clock and the destination is Stockholm to reach the ferry to Finland. Had some lucky road finding in Stockholm to the ferry there will bring us to Turku in Finland. We arrived at the ferry half an hour before it have to leave. We couldn’t get a cabin so we found a find place on the top deck of the ferry. It’s was a very long drive so we was complete naked after two beer’s in the bar. So went to sleep around 11 o’clock.
2006-07-04 In Finland, Direction St. Petersburg
Leaving the boat at 7:30 our time. Destination is St. Petersburg. But we just have a little job to fix first. It’s was to get a set of off-road tires. We would need new tires in Mongolia. So we decided to find the tires in Helsinki. After a lot driving we found a big bike shop. There had the tires we want, but the tires where at the store in Turku…… Where we just came from… So after some more driving around in Helsinki we found what we needed. Two tires for the back, Michelin T63 and front Bridgstone TW-301, Dunlop 545. During all the driving around Laurent’s site stand broke so we had to get it fixed as well. So now it was off direction St. Petersburg. But it was 4 o’clock so we didn’t reach St.Petersburg what was the plan, but a camping in Kotka.
Border crossing in to Russia was done in 3 hours, not so bad. But had to fill out a lot of papers before we could enter.
But had to queue up for every single thing.
Got to St. Petersburg but hadn’t time to do any sightseeing because we had a train to catch in Moscow the 8 July. After St. Petersburg we tried to find a Camping, but we only found some signs to camping, there was no camping. So we ended up in a Motel, It was too late and to dark to find a place to camp.
2006.07.06 On M10 in Russia to Moscow
Started 9:15 from the Motel back to the complete bad traffic on the M10 the road to Moscow.
Driving on Russian roads is a very interesting experience. Russians are not using there indicators and over taking on the right and left side and some times while you are overtaking somebody you are being overtaken. But after a while you get use to it and do the Russian driving. Reach Moscow around 8 o’clock and had to find Ivan’s flat. (Ivan is a contact that Laurent found though the internet). Ivan said we could just stay at his place during our stay in Moscow. Laurent did a great job navigating though Moscow to Ivan’s where the traffic was even worse than on the M10. Borrowed a mobile phone from some very friendly beer drinking young people on the street. Got contact with Ivan’s wife, Ivan was not home, but no problem. Ivan’s dad came and showed where we could park our bikes while Ivan’s wife make some food for us. So I must say our first meeting with Russian people is very very positive.
Today we start with driving though Moscow in the busy morning hour. If we had done some mad driving then this was out of hand. Had to drive between the cars to at all move forward and the air was completely black from smoke from trucks and cars. We had to go to the station to get ticket for the bikes. The plan was to take the Transsiberian train from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk in east to save some time. Had some problems to find out where to get the ticket to the bike until we found a nice young girl there could speak some English. So we got the ticket for the bike (only 260 roubles per bike). Rest of the day was sightseeing and take pictures in Moscow (Kremline, red square, etc.). Got back home to Ivan’s one and half hour to late we walked the wrong direction from the station to Ivan’s place. (And we have to find our way trough Mongolia….). Ivan’s wife told that tomorrow there will come two other biker and stay at her place. There plan was to go from Moscow to Vladivostok. So we will hopefully have a little time tomorrow to talk with them. Because tomorrow we have to leave Moscow with the transsiberian train.
Up early to pack the bike and get off to the station. While we was packing to two other bikers arrived. Had a short talk with them about our plans and what there plan was. When we arrived at the station for loading our bikes they told us the ticket we had was NOT for bike but only for hand luggage and not for motorbikes and there was on cargo wagon on this train. So we couldn’t get on the train. So now the big show started to find out what to do and that is not easy when they only speak Russian and we don’t speak Russian. But the people was very help full so the way it worked was we called Ivan’s wife there translated between me and the “train” people. So it ended up with we had to call Ivan’s wife 6-7 times before every thing was clear. I the end the boss of the two “train” guy’s, there had help us, came and it turned out that he was also biker. So he would fix every thing for when we had to load the bike. Every thing was postponed two days because it was the first there had cargo wagon. He also organized that we could leave the bike at the station until Monday. We went to town center of with Moscow with the two other bikers Zarko and Nikola and had a look on the night life in Moscow.
Had a relaxing day with a sightseeing tour with Ivan’s wife, Zarko and Nikola around Moscow and dinner at home.
Waking up at 6 o’clock because Zatko want to make an interview with us for his video project. We had to be at the station at 8 o’clock with the bike to get them loaded. When we arrived at the station at 8 o’clock there was a small welcome committee waiting for us. The two stations guy’s, the boss of the stations guy’s and the boss for the cargo loading at Moscow station. So this time we had no problems with loading the bikes on the train. SO at 10 o’clock all paper work was done and the bikes was loaded. Now we just had to wait until 13.35 to get on the train. We got a cabin for 4 persons where we had the two to beds.
Traveling with the transsiberian train is an interesting experience. We was traveling on second class. Meaning we was 4 persons in one “kupe” with two bed over each other. And we had the two upper beds. Our train trip was 3 days. So that mean we had to spend 72 hours in this “kupe” eating, sleeping, etc. During the trip there is not much else to do than eat, sleep, read a book, look out of the window and talk with some of the other people on the train. Whet down to 3 class to see how that was, there was no “kupe” so only on big wagon with beds. After 3 days we were happy to get out of the train in Krasnoyarsk and get on the bikes. No problem with unloading the bikes and get the paper work done. Back on the Bike YES……
Found a hotel to get a bath after 3 days train trip. Walked around in Krasnoyarsk but not much to see.
2006.07.14 In Krasnoyarsk.
Relax day in Krasnoyarsk and update day for diary etc. Went for a work and for getting some thing to eat at the water of the Yenisey river front but not much to see.
2006.07.15 Direction Irkutsk, “Our hours”.
Packed the bike and got food and petrol. Went of in direction of Irkutsk on okay road sometimes there was big holes but in general okay road. After around 300 km we started to look after a place to camp, but it was not easy because we were actually driving trough a swamp. But in the end we found a nice place. So we stopped the bikes but after 10 second we had to leave our place again, the air go black of mosquitoes….. A little later we found an abandon house. So we moved in got some food and enjoined out house after a good day of riding.
2006.07.06 Direction Irkutsk, Mosquito camp
Moved out of our house and hid the road around 8 o’clock still in direction of Irkutsk. Now the driving started to be interesting, the road start to be the way we have being waiting for… Meaning that this main road between two big Russian cities (Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk) some time didn’t exist, no road only big big holes and dirt tracks where trucks and cars and motorbikes between each other was fighting there way trough. This was a really what it all is about ;o)
End of the day we found a little side road where we found a nice place where we could camp. With not to many mosquitoes we though…. Maked a fire to try to get rid of the mosquitoes but it didn’t help much. So we had a fast dinner and the mosquitoes also eating us and then we whet back to our tents.
2006.07.17 Direction Irkutsk, First mud road.
Waking up to the sound of rain it’s actually pissing down. Had to get out to adjust the tent, so there was the breakfast served for the mosquitoes. Around 10 it stopped raining so we packed all out stuff on the bikes and went off. But there was just a little problem. The road we went off last night was now very muddy after one night of rain. We had still normal tires on the bikes. We spend around 1 hour to the 1,2km to the main road. At some point the mud got so sticky that the front wheel couldn’t turn around. Try to control a motorbike in mud where front wheel is not turning around is not easy. After we got to the main road the road was fine. The plan was to stop at a Motel on the way to Irkutsk. Normally there is a lot Motels on the road, but when you need them there is non. So we ended up in Irkutsk around 1 o’clock and spend a hour to find a hotel, we used lonely planet for finding the hotels, but the first 3 addresses there was no hotel..
2006.07.18 In Irkutsk, relax day.
Had a long sleep went to a internet café (The connections here in Russia are not very good, so we had problems with download of pictures) and a pizzeria. The plan for to day was a short drive to Listvyanka at the lake Baikal. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world 1637 m and is hold one-fifth of the world’s fresh unfrozen water.
Stayed in Listvyanka to do some service on the bikes and relaxing. But we didn’t do much service because it was raining must of the time. So did some reading and met a Russian girl at our pension there could sing a Swiss song, but we could not recognize the song…..
2006.07.20 Direction Ulan-ude, Beach camp (Baikal)
Finish the service on the bikes and left in direction Ulan-ude. We had a plan to go to the island Olkhon in lake Bailak, but because the weather we went direction Ulan-ude there is the last town before enter Mongolia. Found a nice place to make camp at the beach.
2006.07.21 Arrive in Ulan-ude
Packed our stuff and went direction Ulan-ude. Not much traffic and easy road. In Ulan-ude the faces are now change from European look to more Mongolian look now we are entering asia. Ulan-ude is the last town before Mongolia.
2006.07.22 Leaving Ulan-ude?????
Left the hotel after the normal bike packing routine. After around 30minuts Laurent stops in the middle of nowhere he don’t want to take a picture… His bike just died so our first bike problem. Try to start it but no way it will start. So first check dose the engine get petrol, yes looks fine dose the ignition work, easy to check just unmount the ignition cable to see if there is a spark when try to start the engine. No spark so we have a ignition fault. Yamaha is known for a ignition fault. The ignition coil burns and that was exact the problem we had. So I dragged Laurent to the closed petrol station (15 km). From where we will try to find a place where we can repair the bike. There was a young guy there tried to tell us some thing be we didn’t really understand what it was so in the end Laurent went with the guy while I was watching the bikes. After an hour or two Laurent came back with a truck. Where we could load the bike and drive to the place from where the truck driver (Alex) came from and at this place we could repair the bike at this place as well. Laurent had also borrowed the boss internet connection to order new parts. Again people was very help full.
Whet to tower where we meet 3 other bike drivers. Also coming from Irkutsk and going direction Mongolia. One of the bikers a girl had done a lot of bike driving around the world. The last 7 years she had being working for 4-7 month per year and then driving on bike around the world the rest of the time.
2006.07.23 In Ulan-ude.
Went to town to do some internet. But again the connection is so bad so it was not possible to down load any pictures. Meet again with the 3 other bikers for dinner.
2006.07.24 Try again to leave Ulan-ude.
Alex (the truck driver) come to our hotel and said that a guy in the firm had repaired the coil. So we should pack our stuff then he would pick us up in 9 minuets. Mounted the new coil on the bike and it worked great….. The bike was just a “little” hard to started. So we was very happy. Packed out bike and ready to take off with the bikes running idle BUT suddenly Laurent’s bike stopped again. He tried to start it again but it maked a very strange sound. So unload all the stuff and back to work. The coil the guy had repaired was in bit and pieces. We had luck in unluck that the engine was only running in idle when the coil went in bit and pieces. If the engine would had being running “full” speed it could have destroyed the hole engine. Now there was only option left and that was to wait for the new parts. 4-6 days……. Shit. We planed a tourist tour to port Baikal.
Left Ulan-ude around 5 o’clock with the train direction Slyudyanka and this time on 3th class. That a kind of an experience… People are close packed, each of them and us packed in a bed. No air condition or open windows (I don’t why closed windows) and people had being on the train for maybe for 3-4 days and a lot of them was eating smoked fish that you could buy on each station where the train stopped. So I was happy we should only be on the train for 6 hours. Slept at a stone museum in Slyudyanka.
Went to the station in Slyudyanka to get the train to Port Baikal, just to find out that the train was not running today but first to morrow. Now we were stocked in Slyudyanka there is not very interesting. So we changed plans again again and when to a little town called Arshan 2 hour bus drive from Slyudyanka. Got a home stay very basic a bed a toilet in the garden for 150 rouble. Walked to a little Buddhist temple in Arshan.
Whet back to Slyudyanka with the bus at 8 o’clock to be in time for the train to Port Baikal. Got on the train this time, no problem just after 20 minuets the locomotive broke so we had around an hour for a “new” locomotive. The train track between Slyudyanka and Port Baikal was a part of the old Transsiberian track this 150 km long track have 39 tunnels and more than 200 brigdes and it take around 5 hours to do the trip. So it’s not a high speed train….
2006.07.28 Back to Ulan-ude.
We took the train back to Slyudyanka at 2 o’clock in the night and there was no light in the train so luckily we had our head torch with us so we were able to find a place to sit. We spend time time with sleeping. Quit cool 12 degree out site and on heading in the train. Then the train back to Ulan-ude 6 hours. I think we have now done our part of driving on the Transsiberian train. Back in Ulan-ude we tried to get some news about the spare parts but no luck…… I must say I’m looking forward to get back on the bike direction Mongolia.
2006.07.29 Dancing in Ulan-ude.
Did some working around Ulan-ude and update diary, pictures etc.. Went to travel agency if have any idea where to rent a bike, so we could do some driving around while waiting on spare parts, but no there was no places to rent motorbike or cars. But the nice young girl knew where there was a disco in Ulan-ude. So we went there in the evening and got some beer and did some dance.
2006.07.30 What to do? (Ulan-ude)
Slept to 12.30, went to “downtown” to get a coffee and some thing to eat. Tried again to upload stuff to the internet but no luck. Russian internet quality….. We have a long talk what to do. Because we could only be in Russia until Friday (The bike permit runs out).
So the conclusion was to find a way to get Laurent’s bike transported to Ulaanbaatar and order the parts again but this time get them send with UPS and not use Swiss post and TNT there was in the first place stupid. Even we told Mitterer (Mitterer is the guy there there fix spare parts for us) to use Fedex or UPS.
2006.07.31 New try (Ulan-ude)
Talk with the girl from the travel agency to see if she can organize some transport of the bike to Ulaanbaartar, Momgolia. She we try during the day. While I will do some service on my bike. The old guy there had repaired the coil first time have repaired it again and say we should try again. But I’m not sure it a good idea if it breaks again it can damage rest of engine. But in the end we decide to mount the repaired coil. The Russia also says it will work as they say “It’s Russian Mechanics” But I also have to “repair” ignition switch. So I can first mount all the stuff tomorrow because the glue the on ignition switch has to dry. I the meantime Laurent have being talking with Mitterer to get a status on our packet, but the only thing he can say is it in the custom in Moscow….. Not were good news. So the means we have to go the bike to Mongolia. We went back to the girl at the travel agency to hear if she had any new. It turns out it will cost 6000 rouble to get the bike to the Mongolian boarder. Then we have to find out how to get the bike from the boarder to Alaanbaartar. So hopefully the bike will start tomorrow… Whet to dinner with the girls from the Travel agency.
2006.08.01 Getting out of Ulan-ude. :o)
Big day…. If you are Swiss (1 Aug. Swiss national day) or you have to get a bike to start…Mounted all the stuff and the bike started Jubiiiiiii. Laurent take a test tour and it seams to work ok. So lets get pack and get out of here direction the Mongolian boarder. We drive 3 hour with out stop, but keeping the speed to a max. 70 km/h to not make Laurent’s bike breake. Find a very nice place to camp. I have really looking forward to do camping again after more than a week in town. The whole thing putting up the tent do cooking etc.. Is so good. But after the sun goes down there is to many mosquitoes so it time to get in to the mosquito free zone (the tent).
2006.08.02 Crossing in to Mongolia.
Get up at 8, making some coffee and packing the stuff on the bikes. We only have 20 km to the Mongolian. We were curious to see how hard it will be to in to Mongolia. But it turned out not be that big deal. We spend 3 hours to get out of Russia (1h) and in to Mongolia (2h). All the people at the Mongolian boarder were always very nice and smiling.
How to get in to Mongolia:
Have a visa to Mongolia (Easy it get a tourist visa at any Mongolian embassy).
At the boarder:
Get insurance for the bike (820 roubles for one month).
Fill out Import paper for the bike ( 1$) and get it stamped.
Fill out personal paper and what kind of money you have with you.(I had 1600 $, 8000 rouble, seams to be no problems).
Fill an other paper for the bike (Also some kind import paper) and get it stamped.
And then it time to cross the boarder, the last boarder guard the take the two bike papers.
At the boarder they are very helpful with all the papers, just take keep calm.
After the boarder we went direction the Mongolian Buddhist temple Amarbayasgalant khiid. The road was a good paved road, only the last 35 km the temple was dirt road but no problem for the bikes. Found a “ger” where we could get a bed for 4000T (4 chf.).
Make a nice dinner (salad and pasta with tomato sauce) out site out “ger”.
We stayed at the temple in our "ger" today one reason was it was pissing down. But in the afternoon it cleared up so we went for a drive around. Which was very nice. We drove to a top of a "mountain" and got a very beautiful view over the valley. Mongolia is a paradise for off road driving.
Left "our" ger at the temple in direction of Erdenet for visit the world 10 largest cobber mine, but when we arrived at the mine we were not allowed in. So we went in direction of Ulaanbaartar a around 400 km drive. In the end of the day we were caught in a big thunderstorm so we had to park the bikes and take cover under a big piece of plastic until the storm was over. After the storm the we setup our tents for the night. With a nice camp fire.
Started out in direction Ulaanbaartar in nice sunny weather. we had around 250 km of Mongolian road driving in front of us. Mongolian road driving meaning a track or 10 tracks in the middle of a grass field. So the challenge is to pick the right track. Here the GPS is a great help. The road condition was fine the road was manly dry, but it would be much harder if the road had be all wet. With out any big navigation problems we arrived in Ulaanbaartar at Gana's guest house there should be the oldest hangout place for overlanders in Ulaanbaartar,so there must be some thing for us.
Went out to had a look at the town and check out our mail to find out how the situation was with out spare parts. The parts was still not send from Switzerland.
But it looks like the Russian repair works fine even the bike it a little hard to start.
The internet connection here UB are great, had a "skype" (www.skype.com) phone call with Chris in Zurich for one and half hour and payed 1200T (1,20 chf) for that. Internet price is 800T (0,80 chf.) per hour.
Today we got the website updated. I could connect my own laptop direct to the internet. Here in UB there is also cafe's there have free wifi internet connection. Compared to Russian the internet in Mongolia is much more developed.
We are still waiting for the spare parts. We using the time to relax making service on the bikes and talk with the other in the guest house.
Today is a very good day 10:46 DHL arrived at Gana's guest house with a package to us. It's was better than x-mas evening. We start right a way to change to the new part. We also changed to our motor cross tires we had with us from Finland. So after a whole days work we are ready to take of tomorrow direction Gobi. We also had a little adjustment on laurents carburetor. Adjustment of the secondary carburetor, openings point of the secondary.
We a really looking forward to get of tomorrow.
We was not able to get the second package there arrived yesterday with a bus from Russia, so we had to use some of the day to get the package. Our Russian friend Zina (A Russia girl there helped us to translate Russian.) had organized that the package send to one of our other Russian friend. Would get on a bus to Ulaanbaartar so we could get our package. Around 2 o'clock we was able to pick up the package at a hotel in UB where the bus driver have left to before going back to Russia. So Out here every thing is possible....
Today we are leaving UB, Ihave being looking forward to this moment, to get back on the bike. But I have to say we also had a good time in Gana's guest house meeting all kind of other interesting people. Our plan was get to Mandalgovi to day 276 km. The first 40 km was on asphalt road. But after that it was back to "normal" Mongolian standard roads, meaning only a track. We stopped 30 km before Mandalgovi. At that we had being driving 5-6 hour off-roading. The track are changing all the time from big holes, to sand, to washboard where it's impossible to control bike. The camp was in the middle of nowhere and that is there a lot of here in Mongolia, very beautiful.
Got ready early, ready for some more off-roading. Stopped at a Mongolian "ger" "restaurant". There is a family living in "ger" but to get a little extra money, there are makeing food to people. The whole family are there looking at what is going on. It's interesting to get in contact with the people, they are very open. First they have a look at the bikes and the kids try to sit on the bikes trying the helms our bike gloves etc. We take some pictures of them and the very interesting thing for them to see the pictures on the camera or even better see the video we have done.
Driving to the duens
Driving around in the dunes, My bike have a break down. The same problem as laurent so it was very luckily we already have a spare part. So we had to make engien repait in th middel of the dunes. But we had a lot of fun driving around in the dunes.
Dessert driving , arriving at the police station
Left from the police station direction Shinejinst. Had some super nice driving in the mountains and time to time also some tricky driving so we had some crashes. Some of the driving was in some dried out rivers very interesting driving and very beautiful scenery. We stopped at a "ger" camp to put up out tent. That means that all the people from the ger camp are coming to have a look at the two bikers. So while we were setting up our thnt
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