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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Getting out quick HOW?

I dunno I think I've had a few low days or something infact many low days lately exacerbated by the absence of sleep , the constant fear of breakdown and unable to fix due to stolen tools is eating at me also.

My question is I am in the Irkusk area and tbh have been having thoughts on ending the trip early. (46 days isn't too bad and I got a helluva long way).

Its 6000km to Moscow and 3700km to Manchester from Moscow this is a 20 day ride at the very least

Its a 800km ride to UlaanBataar 1-2 days at least , UB = bike abandonment opportunities cross to Beijing for a flight home.

Its a 3200km ride to Vladivostok gravel road ie 10 days riding maybe more a 36 hour ferry to S Korea then a 2 day customs and shipping wait.

Question is how on earth do I get out and home quicker than the above solutions since I'm not sure as to if I have the will to complete this trip and I'm starting to think it was a massive mistake in the first place , spending 400% of my planned budget,I'm sick all the time , lack of tools , constant fear , I've lost over 35lb in weight
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  #2  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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yikes, sounds like you've hit the wall. you talk about abandoning your bike in Ulan Bator--if you're willing to abandon the bike, why not just leave it in Irkutsk and fly to Moscow and then home?

My bike is here on temporary import, and I have left Russia without it and come back with no problem.

On the other hand, maybe take a few days to relax, head to Listvyanka on Baikal get a room for a couple days and see how you feel, maybe you will recharge your batteries.
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  #3  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Finding it impossible to relax in russia ,expensive hotel (which are surprisingly noisy) / hostel / bikeclub even camping have resulted in disturbed sleep and I don't think I've slept properly since Georgia. And tbh I feel like a zombie and had to leave early for fear of stabbing somebody to death for keeping me awake for the past 4 days and him thinking its terribly funny.
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Old 1 Jul 2009
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Because you aren't supposed to leave without the bike or so I thought? ....

Damned thing is on my import document and Sochi wouldn't let me leave when I nearly took a ferry back to trazbon , I'm pretty sure I could get to Moscow then a customs officer would say hold on where is your bike, and leave me trapped in Moscow (perhaps an even worse situation than now).
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  #5  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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What kind of visa do you have? I rode my bike to Moscow in early may on a business visa and received a temp import certificate for my bike. A few weeks later (with the bike in Moscow) I flew to Germany and back for a business trip, no questions asked.

If you have one of those auto-tourist visas it might be different, especially if it is single-entry, dunno.

and i don't understand your problems with sleeping arrangements, maybe youve had a few bad neighbors, just move somewhere else. I don't know Irkustk very well but am pretty sure there is a hostel there and also pretty sure there are rooms to let in Listvyanka on baikal, which seems like a pretty sleepy place.
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  #6  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Nikita's Homestead on Olkhon Island is a pretty relaxing place.
The roads on the island were not paved in 2003, but it isn't a really bad ride.
There was only one ferry to the island making round trips, so you may end up waiting an hour or so for the ferry.
Lake Baikal. Island Olkhon. Nikita Bencharov's homestead

You could put the bike on the train to Moscow or Vlad.
This, however, can take time and may be a bit stressful. It is possible with patience.
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  #7  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Sorry if i'm missing something, (not knowing the area where you are) is it not possible to buy/replace your tools as not having them seems to be adding to your anx.
Have you tried the community pages for help ? If you motorcycle is running ok what about making a dash for somewhere you would enjoy more.

Not much help really but meant with the best intention.
Looks like it's dig deep time, hope it works out.

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  #8  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Number 1 Ken, the best cheap hostel in Irkhutsk is the Admiral - yes, it's 4 to a room but only 500 roubles. It's located directly across the Angara from the train station and pretty comfortable. Secure parking is availbel within 400 metres.

Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. Best to relax for a few days before heading further East - Chita to Khabarovsk is exhausting. At least you should get a good night's sleep after all that manhandling the bike on the dirt but you will have to camp as there ain't any hotels.

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  #9  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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keep your chin up!

In Irkutsk there is some really cheap places to stay, and your able to lock up bike up around the back to a fence (I had done so last year)

Also there is a motorbike shop and mechanic that can help you out, if not there is a motorbike club, they are expensive to stay with but I think they would be much better to get your bike fixed at. Ill try and find both places on Google maps for you.

motorbike shop link
motorbike shop +irkutsk - Google Maps
Car market
52.292998, 104.311248 - Google Maps
Motorbike club is about here (sorry I have forgotten the address)
52.299786, 104.310980 - Google Maps

There is also a market just for cars and motorbikes which has every tool/ item to do with them....

If you want to get out of Russia and fast, Mongolia is the best way, the road is great and you will get to the boarder in a day and a half.

In Ulan Bator there are motorbike shops, mechanics (stuff is limited and bad quality) You can stay in the motorbike friendly place which coast a fortune or you can stay at other guesthouses which have secure bike parking.

You may have hit a wall, but don't give up... this is what its all about and it pushes you to the limits, when you get through this little down, you will wonder what it was all about. Everyone hits this wall, I hope you do get through it and im sure you will find many Russians willing to help you out. Best of Luck

oh and to try and sell your bike, it takes about 8 days (in Moscow) to get it all sorted if you have someone who can speak Russian.
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  #10  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Hi Kennichi,

I know the feelings you are having. Trust me, trips like yours have to have these emotions as well as the good ones. I have had several stops over the past 12 months where I wondered what I was doing and felt like going home. Came very close sometimes too.

Other people have suggested finding a nicer hotel and relaxing for a bit but sometimes that isn't enough especially if you are missing home. There are many options for you, including a flight home to be with friends and family and then coming back out later or just pushing through the trouble. Just remember that the feelings are normal, we all have them, and that they will pass eventually. Try not to be too rash in your decisions though, you don't want to do something you regret for the sake of a couple of days.

Good luck n ride safe,
Ol
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  #11  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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Kennichi, .. sometimes the road seems endless and the bad days are followed by even worse days. We've all been there and the more options that enter your mind the more confusing things become. Maybe it's time to STOP and take stock of everything. Phone home, talk to family ... they'll encourage you. You've done the difficult part, East of Irkutsk Russia changes, the people open up, the dangers seem to diminish and Russia gets into your heart.

Chris in Tokyo mentioned Ol Khon on Lake Baikal (Roads still not paved but quite easy) .... It's quite possibly the most beautiful and tranquil place that I've ever visited on a bike and it's the kind of place that changes peoples lives. Camping on the island is Free (and Peaceful), food is cheap. Nikita's Homestead is a haven for Overlanders, a perfect place to meet others, to Chiil, to recharge and decide on the future direction. Maybe the best result would be to find a fellow traveller (4 Wheels or 2), and travel together for a few days. Share the burden, regain the smile.

Whatever you decide, everybody is behind you all of the way .... things will improve and a lack of tools is just an opportunity to meet new people.

All the best .... Geoff
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  #12  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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The homestead place sounds good. I get that brick wall feeling, usually after the initial high of riding instead of working wears off. It's a mixture of frustration that the locals are insane, theiving, noisy, beauracratic bar stewards intent on ripping you off and good old fashioned home sickness. The theft will make it worse.

My solution is expensive. Book into a hotel where western business people hang out and the locals call you sir for a couple of nights. Have few s and get a good nights sleep. Use the day to replace your kit. With new gear, some expensive inside you and an earful of whatever commercial scratting about the business boys are doing, getting back on the road is like a new start. Having other overlanders to talk to and an island where you've no bike parking worries has to be better than drinking over priced Budweiser and listening to sales guff, so I think it sounds good.

Manchester, this morning BTW is under cloud with the temperature pushing the 30's. It's not the place to be for a peaceful life.

I say stick with it and stay the right (Yorkshire) side of those hills (even if you are way over)!

Andy
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  #13  
Old 1 Jul 2009
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I think I understand what you are talking about very well.

Me&my girlfriend spent about 7 weeks in India on a bike 1,5 years ago. We were actually going from Europe to Australia, and spent a total 6 months on the road, India was one part of the journey.

India was probably the only country, where I sometimes felt like I really want to get the hell out of, right away. Dont get me wrong, I also liked it a lot, and it was a huge experience. I certainly do not regret going there.

But it was also very, very consuming, hot, dirty, noisy, smelly and sometimes corrupted. Lots of problems with both of our stomachs, too. And boy what a traffic! I think traffic (on top of the others that I mentioned) was the thing that really did it for me, as I was the one who was riding, and had to take care of my pillions safety as well. The risk of being killed or injured on those roads was very real. And I knew most of this, because I´d been there before. Still all that became very exhausting. The idea to travel on a low budget didnt help, because we usually spent the nights in some real ratholes, that were too hot and noisy to sleep well.

We considered leaving the bike somewhere for a couple of weeks, and spending Christmas back home, then return to do the rest of India. In the end we didnt do that, but I must admit, it was a tempting idea for both of us at the time. There are lots of good memories from India, but I also remember how we really hated being there sometimes, it is a tough country to travel by road. I think the flights home weren´t too expensive, either.

I think that´s what I´d consider first, before abandoning the trip altogether. Go somewhere quiet to just relax and sleep well for a few days, and if that doesnt help, then get flights home and back.
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  #14  
Old 3 Jul 2009
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I've actually made a dash to Ulan Baatar which is ok ,took me 2.5 days book took 3 hours on the border going back and forth to get the bike in. Entry to UB city is depressing feels like a mini baku from what people have described.

I camped in the steppe got rained on , anybody around UB for a few s or something? (I am holed up in a hostel near the golden gobi which is very very grim but faced with a $90 hotel or a $6 hostel its got to be the hostel).

I replaced my tools after spending 8 hours at the car supermarket Colebatch talked about on his blog , I am now armed with some 50cm tyre levers some patches and an even bigger pump. Tyre levers are

Shineya instrument montage btw.

But in doing so lost a couple of books to theft, feels like I can never win everything seems to get pilfered (hard boxes next time).

Still not feeling great I very very nearly booked a flight out to Beijing to get home

I have effectively deleted my blog where snide and nasty comments were coming in which were making me feel worse. But least they have Skype here so I can speak to the GF friends and family which is perking up my morale a bit.

The bike has developed a mystery problem , 2 days ago I turned the key it woudnt stop, I hit the kill switch it wouldn't stop, so I stalled it.

For the next day it would be hard to start as if the battery was flat even after 100s of km of riding to charge the battery up , but then letting it rest in Mongolia for a day it seems fine again.



So yeah again anybody in UB up for a night out and about?

Thank you everybody for the advice.

Kind regards
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  #15  
Old 4 Jul 2009
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Goon on ya

Hey Kennichi,

Good on ya man. Just read this post and wanted to congratulate you on continuing the journey.

I know exactly what you're saying, I had a moment or two like that in Nepal - now in India - but as you know you just have to keep on pushing because I'm repeatedly told it's all worth it in the end. And I'm sure it is.

As for the snipping on the website that's a real shame that people without the balls to do what your doing have made you take it down, but I understand, that shit sure does get to you.

Keep marching mate, we'll all get there someday.

Nathan and Dot.
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