A Travellerspoint blog

Update number 1

The kindness of strangers

sunny -30 °C

Before I left Penza, I noticed that I had a leak from my water pump on the bike, a common problem and that would explain the overheating! After consulting the Haynes "oracle" I messaged Luke my son and Jack Hanlon at BMW in the UK, who gave me the part numbers... oh well all part of adventure motorcycling... After speaking with my good friend Fast Eddy, he suggested I head for Nizhni Novgorod as he had some very good friends that could help me with getting the parts.
So on Thursday 30/6/16 (my birthday) after speaking with Marrianna, Eddy's friend I set off for Nizhni Novgorod, stopping regularly to check coolant level and let the bike cool down.

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After meeting at a "LUK" petrol station ( my preffered brand..lol) it was a quick tour through the city an out the their cabin in the "Green City" Forest to you and I...

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Where Marriana had even made me a birthday cake made from home grown strawberries, yummy. Bad news I had run out of ciggie filters...lol

The next day I decided to earn my keep by mowing the lawn and painting the kitchen floor and even did a bit of English proof reading for some Professor...

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Had a gentle guided tour of the village, which included a house with a wooden cannon on it's roof! In the evening Marriana's youngest daughter came back from a friends and tomorrow we are all off to visit the Pushkin Museum with Alexey and his wife.

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In the evening we went back to the Hotel I was staying in and had a great meal together. Sometimes the kindness of strangers can be so humbling and restores my faith in humanity...
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Part 2 to follow as I need to have a ciggie and go to sleep.....

Posted by Speedmaster58 11:39 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 14,15 &16

Emotional roller coaster, Police escort and big decisions

sunny

having left the Hotel in Rostov I was having a slight difficulty finding the right road out of town to Moscow, so as you do I pulled over next to a Police car to ask directions. Top blokes, indicated for me to follow them, blues and red lights on all the way to the M4 to Moscow. You don't get that in the UK.

Today was mainly dual carraigeway, boring with the odd toll booth to break up the boredom and one stroppy git in a Lexus SUV who didn't want to let me in at the toll and tried to shut the gap! but a family in a beat up old Lada in the next line tooted and gestered for me to go in front of him....Real people...
Then I turned off heading East into the forests...

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As i had done over 400 miles, I decided to stop at this nice looking Motel...

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I had only just stopped the bike when what I took to be the owner came bounding over to greet me, her name was Olga and I don't think she had had many male visitors lately, as in my British reserve opinnion she was definately flirting... we are British don't you know, we can't have that sort of thing....lol
I ordered some food and she came and sat next to me and I think part of my bill was a beer for her! Everywhere i go my "rollie ciggies" seem to facinate people, Olga thought they were drugs!.. I managed to escape to my room when she took a call, locked the door and had a shower, waited for the coast to clear and went and had a smoke to calm the nerves down!... I still remember watching the film "Hostal"...

I left early in the morning and a couple of miles down the road I saw a fuel station over on the left hand side of the road, so I pull over, fuel up and buy a pastry & coffee, helped by the local police. After finishing my quick breakfast, i turn back on to the road and promptly get pulled by the police... I had crossed a white line to get to the fuel station....WTF... by now he had my passport and driving license and was saying that I would loose my licens for 3 months!.... then it came out....it could be fixed by roubles, bastard!, 2000 roubles lighter (about £25) I was on my way, muttering that I hoped he got the biggest does of clap possible, or words to that effect...lol
It is funny how one little thing can change your mood so much, felt really low and alone, then the crap roads started!, well "roads" is a breach of the trade description act... Then no road, just gravel. The sign said roadworks but no one was working on them, couple of hairy moments when I thought I had lost the front end but managed to keep it upright.. next year the Dakar...lol

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Later on, the sky looked like it might rain a bit, so I decided to call it a night... boy am I glad as the mother of all thunderstorms let rip as I checked in..

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After my usual evening meal of soup and bread and a Chai tea, it was off to my room to sort my kit out and have a look at the map and speak to Jackie, who as usual cheered me up no end and lifted my spirits... Tomorrow is another day...
On a side note, what is it with these country toilets at filling stations?.. a concrete shack with a open pit full of.. and the smell! ... I have found that I can hold my breath longer than i thought...
The next morning, I woke up with a dark cloud hanging over me, I wasn't enjoying myself, the trip had become an endurance rather than pleasure but I decide to head for Samara and see how I felt then..
Well the roads just got worse and at times I was down to 30mph, a good speed was 50mph, standing on the pegs trying to keep my fillings in my teeth.. I paid a lot of money for them you know...lol
By the time I got to Samara, the clouds had come in agai, so I pulled into a Cafe just in time...

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I made a big decision sitting watching the rain in Samara.... I had underestimated how long it would take to get to Mongolia and not allowed enough time for the road conditions (read crap roads).. I had not learnt enough of the language and I was not enjoying myself.. to be honest I felt like a failure and wanted to just get out of Russia as fast as possible.. when you ride on your own your emotions can be very raw... I chatted to Jackie on Whatsapp (thanks to the Russian Simm II have free 3G).. It's always good to talk to a friendly voice and I told her how I was feeling and that I had decided to head for Moscow and Estonia...So now I turned West and headed for Syzran for the night.
After a good nights sleep and a lie in till 07.00hrs! I set of on the M5 towards Moscow at a nice steady 55mph, stopping for breakfast and several chai's Even meeting a Russian Triumph Rocket rider. Even though he couldn't speak English and I can't speak Russian there was a biker bond between us and he even asked me if I was on Facebook...
Talking of Facebook, thank you all for your words of kindness on my ramblings on Facebook, as "Billy no mates" it means a lot to me...

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150 miles later I have stopped in Penza in a Hotel with wifi, Aircon and secure parking. I have booked 2 night as I need to sort my gear out, check the bike over and more importantly.. chill out...

Posted by Speedmaster58 09:00 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 13

Chilling and Admin in downtown Rostov-on-Don

sunny -30 °C

Today has been a catch up day for both washing and sorting out registration paperwork along with getting a Russian Sim, buying supplies and checking the bike out.

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I know Peter Cullen is going to shout at me but I had a coffee in MacDonalds and KFC for dinner... Sorry Peter I can't help it and after having a "flattened Chicken" I kid you not it was on the hotel menu and it was exactly that with a bit of salad and bread....I decided I need more chicken..lol

it's strange watching the world go about it's daily business and not understanding a word of what they are saying but body language is a universal language and you can spot who is not a "happy Bunny"

Been watching Russian TV and I am now fluent in daytime TV....

Tomorrow I hit the road again.. on the M4 towards Moscow and take a right somewhere!...lol

Posted by Speedmaster58 09:26 Archived in Russia Comments (1)

Day 11 & 12

Stunning Georgian mountain roads & Russian hospitality

storm

The lady in the Motel had asked what time I wanted breakfast, 8am would be fine... 8.30 and still no sign of life I decided to just crack on and get breakfast on the run.
After a couple of navigational errors on my part, I finally found the right road to the Russian border and what a road, I thought they couldn't get any better but they did..[
img=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/825469/Georgia_7.jpg]Georgia_8.jpgGeorgia_9.jpg
The only problem it seemed was that it was a national holiday in Georgia and the mountain roads were crammed with people sheep and goats that were not looking to happy as they were lunch!
The road to the border just got better as it reach it's summit, then the line of trucks appeared and then the cars! but a very nice Russian Army guy complete with AK waved on and told me to go to the front of the line... top man.
I had been worried about the Russian Border but the custom guys and guards could not have been more helpful, in all it took me about two and a half hours to get clear.
I then set off and called it a day in a very run down motel in Baksan with no wifi but really nice helpful people However the kebab I ordered..... let's just say I didn't eat much but the salad and bread was good and I always have some shortbread in by tank bag..
The next morning I decided to skip breakfast... and head for Volgograd.. after a few navigation errors on my part.. these Russian signs are not in English you know and my Russian is limited but I am getting better...
I think I got flagged down by one of the numerous police checks but by the time I realised I had passed him! didn't see any flashing lights behind me so I think I got away with it..
Russian driving even beats the Turks and the Romanians and makes them look like amateurs...

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It is funny but when you get low on the road sometimes, something or someone will come along and brighten it up.
Vadim was one of them, I had stopped to have a ciggie and take a picture of the Russian tank memorial and he pulls up on a BMW F650 Dakar, we get chatting and he agreed to lead me to a Hotel in his home City of Rostov-Na-Donu... top man.

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I have booked two nights in the Hotel and they can process my registration, so that is another bit of paperwork out of the way.
Well got to go to sleep now and finished off the shortbread..

Posted by Speedmaster58 11:55 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 10

Georgia

semi-overcast

After a cup of Chai tea and some bread and jam, I set off for the border, once I had be stopped again by the "Polis" it was quick sign out of Turkey and into Georgia.
What a great place, chatted to one of the customs guys, spoke great English and was really welcoming as was the car behind, who was a biker as well.
Changed my Turkish money into Georgian and I was on the road again and what roads, stunning scenery, loads of mountain twisties and really friendly people. I made best friends with a fuel attendant as I rolled him a ciggie, I think he liked it!
Some of the road surfaces are a bit pot holed but there is a lot of roads works and I love the new motorway with only two lanes both on the same side!
Coming out of a tunnel just outside of Gori there had just been a bad accident and unfortunately there was a fatality.. maybe they might think of driving slower next time or do they really need to overtake on a blind bend?
Tomorrow I plan to head into russia but I am just going to go with the flow.... still Billy no mates and the bloody time bandits have nicked another hour! .. I want it back now .....lolGeorgia_6.jpgGeorgia_5.jpgGeorgia_4.jpgGeorgia_3.jpg

Posted by Speedmaster58 09:17 Archived in Georgia Comments (0)

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