Hi all. I don´t write here enough but have read lots of stuff since I became a member. Time to be more active. 2 (3 soon) posts in 2,5 years time is pretty lame.....
Anyway. I and my girlfriend Eva took our bikes to Mongolia this last summer. And we actually made it home again as well. We did not even get a flat tire either of us during the trip and that is pretty amazing. We left Stockholm/Sweden in mid june, took the ferry over to Helsinki/Finland and crossed the border to Russia. First night off the ferry was spent in St Petersburg. Drove to Moscow through rather nasty traffic and arrived at our friend Dmitry´s biker hangout in Moscow where we stayed a couple of days. Lovely time. We were running a week late since it had taken quite some time to get the russian visas so Dmitry helped us to get the bikes on the Transiberian railroad. I guess we saved 5 or 6 days by taking the train from Moscow to Irkutsk instead of driving. Time that we much rather wanted to spend in Mongolia instead. We drove from Irkutsk to Ulan-Ude and then crossed the border to Mongolia.
We spent some days in Ulanbaataar and lucky enough both I and my girlfriend Eva got sick at the hotel. Much better to be sick at a hotel in a city than in a tent on the country side. We also ran into our friend Adrian in Ulanbaataar. Good fun to see him so far away from home. We drove west through Mongolia and I guess we took a route abit further north than most people does. Heavy rain and floodings during the spring hade eroded the roads and had created landslides. We had to but our bikes on a lorry for one day since it was not possible to drive because of too big water crossings and landslides. But we were fine other than that. Mongolia was amazing and not many days passes without me or Eva say to each other how much we miss Mongolia.
Crossed the border back into Russia north of Olgii and drove all the way home through Siberia/Russia/Estonia and the ferry back to Sweden. The whole trip took 7 weeks. Some pics.....:
Leaving Sweden on the ferry.
Someone had captured a wolf and kept it in a cage behind a gas station along the road between St Petersburg and Moscow.
Our friend Dmitry´s biker bar hangout in Moscow. It´s called "Honky Tonk". Wonderful place that we enjoyed alot and a must visit while in Moscow on two wheels.
How to secure bikes on a russian train? Bury them under postal bags! There are actually two fully loaded BMW 1200GS Adv bikes in there.....
We unloaded the bikes in Irkutsk in in less than 20 minutes and stayed at the Baikaler hostel there. Great place.
These road machines are actually from Sweden originally. I saw them on the streets around my home town when I was a wee boy in the early/mid 70´s. They are now in Siberia......
We met this australian lad on a bicycle a couple of hours before the mongolian border. He had been riding his bike all over eastern Asia/China and had just left Mongolia. he was heading towards Ulan-Ude and then east again to Vladivostok and then home. Impressive.
Mongolia. Friendliest people ever. Everyone wanted us to take their picture. That happend pretty much every time we stopped.
Don´t find these home in old Scandinavia.
Horrible roads in Ulanbaataar. It was even hard to walk around the city in some areas.
Put on the off road tires we had brought with us from Sweden at the Black Market in Ulanbaataar before leaving the city.
People would get upset if this would have happened in Sweden.....
First night in a ger. The covers for the bikes are excellent if one wants to dry clothes after washing. The heat from the engine makes them dry in no time when under the cover.
Eva and a big bird in Kharkhorin.
Good fun to se a yak in the wild for the first time. It did not take long before we had seen too many of them tho and started to get used to them. But beautiful animals indeed.
Another ger camp. Great way to spend the night. This is by the White Lake. Doesn´t get much more crowded than at the lake in Mongolia. Popular place. We decided to drive along the northern shore of the lake the next day. HARD riding indeed. At least for us on our big bikes. Would not have minded a smaller bike that day.
Some kids from a nearby ger came by our tent when camping one day. We gave them dried fruit and they are their parants invited us to their ger for food and snacks later. Wonderful experience!
They showed us how to make yoghurt snacks and cheese. Noone spoke any english but it works anyway......
We stayed one night at a......I don´t know what to call it. Local hotel/restaurant in a small village. They fed us and we slept on a 6 meter wide rock hard "bed" with 8 other mongolians. Wonderful experience and everyone was very friendly.
At 2.600 meters altitude a couple of hours before arriving to Tosontsengel.
There are actually 200 meters of tarmac in Tosontsengel. With speed bumps. How disapointing.
Tosontsengel is also the coldest place in Mongolia during winter time. Often around 50 - 55 below zero C.
A mongolian petrol truck.
We found this temple out in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful place.
One could point the camera in pretty much all directions and get a good pic. This is next to one of the rivers that we actually could not cross. Was just too deep. So we loaded the bikes on a small lorry, strapped them up tight and crossed the river. The very friendly folks that helped us took us past some landslides as well. 8 hours with the bikes on the back of the lorry and us inside. A nice change and I would not have wanted to drive the bikes passed the area where there had been landslides. The rains had just washed the roads away. The lorry driver for sure knew what he was doing.
If you ever visit Olgii, don´t go to the Irish pub in town. They have no irish music, no irish
, no irish coffe, no irish food, they speak no english and they don´t even hate Oliver Cromwell.
The mongolian military took us in, fed us and we could keep the bikes inside the military camp in Tsagaannuur on our last night before leaving Mongolia. Very friendly fellows. And they too wanted us to take their picture.......
The Altay region in Russia. Absolutely gorgeous!
Eva found a new rear tire for her bike.
This guy seems to be moving his “staff”…….
The fog/mist you see in the back ground. BIG forest fires further up north and we drove through that shit for almost 4 days.
Some sort of religious parade walked down the street in Omsk. Nice city. Would have been nice to have seen it in clear weather.
Kazan. A must visit if you´re ever in that neck of the woods. WONDERFUL city. Would not mind at all to visit Kazan again.
The sign says Irbit. The Ural motorcycles are made in Irbit. I want one.
The Ural museeum in Irbit.
We got a police escort since we did not find our way to the Ice Cave in Kungur. The russian police can be very friendly when a rather determined 1,86 cm tall swedish woman tells them that they should give us an escort.......
Russian ice cream in Perm.
We were lucky that Thomas, a German gentleman living in Perm since 7 years and married to a beautiful Russian lady, guided us around the Perm 36, one of the 10 000 Gulag camps that existed throughout Russia. We´d never found the camp without him and also not been able to share his knowledge of these camps. Perm36 is the only Gulag camp left intact we were told. A must visit if you´re near Perm.
Gulag: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom
The ride from Nizhniy Novgorod to Torzhok northwest of Moscow was long and the traffic got more and more crazy the closer we got to Moscow. We saw this horrible car accident north of Moscow near Torzhok. A car had collided front to front with a truck and there was not much left of the car. We saw a dead woman laying on the road and I guess she had gone through the front window of the car and it´s rather likely that she had not used the seat belt. Both me and Eva felt sick after having seen that. They had just left her there in the middle of the road for everyone to see.
We entered Estonia and the difference between estonian traffic and estonian roads compared to the russian traffic situation (at least around Moscow)..... It goes from total chaos and bad roads to calm and relaxing driving on perfect roads...... As soon as we entered Estonia and started to relax on the bikes we realized how damned tired we were. I almost fell asleep on the bike. But we made it to the ferry in one piece.
Why put up a ash tray in a cabin were smoking is not allowed and place a "no smoking" sign over it…..?
We entered the archipelago outside Stockholm the next day.
Felt good to be home again 7 weeks after leaving old Stockholm but we´ve had a wonderful time both in Russia and Mongolia. Mongolia is soo different from anything else and we very much want to visit this fantastic country again. I suspect that lots will happen in Mongolia during these next 10 years. The chineese are building roads and I suspect that one will be able to drive on tarmac from east to west in Mongolia within 10 years. It will be less of an adventure then but I do hope they will be able to keep their culture and their lifestyle through the changes.
Here is a web link to our wordpress blog about the whole trip if someone is interested in reading more:
Hope you enjoyed the pics. Will try to be a more frequent visitor on the HU site from now on. We´ve been members for several years now but has not written much. Will be better from now on. Happy New Years and all that. Thanks.