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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 20 Jun 2007
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R80/7 UK to Vladivostok. (Then to Korea)

Got a bet on !!

Met a nice old dude with a nice shiny R1100 GS (Absolute mint condition) with all the aluminium furniture and the Garmin and the Touratech stuff and about two grands worth of BMW Riding Gear and Helmets with the bike to bike radio and the mp3 player etc etc etc. Anyway, talk turned to adventure and I dared to suggest that he didn't really need all that stuff. ( He toured Ireland last year and is doing the Highlands of Scotland this year ) Bit like the housewife who runs the Range Rover to the shops and back. Furthermore, I carelessly boasted that if we set off together my old airhead would get to Vladivostok just as well as his expensive thingy and it would not cost me half as much in repairs. He took my teasing in good spirit, politely declined the challenge and we departed.
Later however, in the cold light of dawn, I berated myself for being so obviously envious of his bike and bigmouthed into the bargain then set about justifying at least part of my boast and actually DO IT!

So, I reckon an old R80/7 Police bike ,fairings, panniers and all! ( Yep! I can think of a whole bunch of reasons why this is not adviseable but read on..) can go UK to Vladivostok without having to crawl around the potholes and puddles so long as the route was carefully planned.
I want to take the most direct route from Europe to Vladivostok without wasting time. Sightseeing is for another gig as is Mongolia and all the rest of it.
The bike, of course, will need as much tarmac as I can find but will be expecting some icky roads now and again. Obviously can't cope with really rough stuff so looking for a route or alternate routes that will give me a chance to get there in one piece without an entourage and support crew. I expect to be going solo and my name is not Saunders so it is not a time trial with thirty second stops for a pee!

I've checked other peoples trips and routes but it all got fragmented and confusing since some roads have been improved , even since last year, and conditions have no doubt changed so I'm looking for up to date first hand info on exactly how much Tarmac (or smooth gravel) lies between me and Vlad..

Obvious again, I will not be doing this in winter or spring floods or whatever so I will time it to suit weather conditions as best as possible.

So, that's the story... Just looking for a route now. Even if you only know about fifty miles of good road, please let me know where it is so I can build up a picture. I've got a huge world map on my wall and intend to mark the known good bits of road across Russia until all the bits meet up. Then I'll go.

This question is not about the bike so please don't reply to tell me to get an F650 or something. The gig is about getting an ex-Police R80/7 there so I will focus on that. I have already started to prepare the bike.( I haven't told her yet.. she thinks she is getting dressed for a party!)
OK, if you have something techie to add that would assist the old girl.( tyres, suspension etc) I will welcome constructive input but I thought that would be better dealt with in the BMW tech forum.

Look forward to your comments.
Regards
Ian.

P.S.
From Vladivostock, I will be going on to South Korea ( probably Sokcho) but thats another gig I will get into later.
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R80/7 UK to Vladivostok. (Then to Korea)-bmw_79r80police.jpg  

R80/7 UK to Vladivostok. (Then to Korea)-pic0005.jpg  

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Old 20 Jun 2007
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Thumbs up Of Course!

Mate, before the R80G/S came out, the R80RT was THE ATW (being British you can appreciate the "correct" spelling of Around The World!!) bike. You will probably loose the fairing wars (take lots of small cable ties to stitch it back together) but I'm sure there will be times that other riders will be envious of the comfort you have. I know you want to ask about roads, but a quick word of encouragement can't hurt.

Kind regards

Nigel in NZ
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Old 21 Jun 2007
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Words of encouragement welcome!

Nigel,
First of all, thanks for taking time to reply and for the words of wisdom.
I am anxious to explore the route and mapping options in this forum because, without a good route me and Lucy ( That's my R80) will be in a tight spot.
The old girl is superb on roads but turns into a cantankerous old sod when the going gets really rough. Unfortunately, I won't have the luxury of gunning her over things, more like slithering round them but that is the challenge innit!

I will start a thread in the BMW tech forum in order to get some feedback on all the other important stuff like, tyres, suspension, electrics and all the other things I will be sorting over the coming months.

I do welcome comments and advice in this forum, especially positive words of encouragement ( Can't buy them on ebay!) but I would be happy to continue discussion on any related subject either by mail or in the approprite forum.

Regarding a route, I have decided to take a gps device as a back up to my very rusty map reading. In view of this, I would also appreciate any gps info or tracks etc. that can be imported into Fugawi, OZI Explorer or Mapsource Worldmap. ( I am also playing around with various mapping solutions before I choose which to use.)

The proposed route is quite simple:- The straightest (practical) route from UK to Vladivostok. Slight deviations are OK to avoid the dreaded Carnet, getting arrested or getting shot. Oh! Not forgetting terrain limitations on the bike.

Regrettably I won't have the time or resources to visit Mongolia ( Darn!). That is for another time and ( maybe) a different bike.

I will however jump the ferry from Vladivostok to South Korea. Probably Sokcho where I will cruise around for a few weeks. I've been to Korea before and know there are some really great roads there which are little used by cars because of the newer Expressway taking the bulk of the traffic except bikes which are banned from Expressways or Toll roads.

I am also working on a mapping solution for Korea although I believe Garmin now do a Korean version of the Zumo with maps in English. More on that if requested.

Thanks again for the words. Apart from the encouragement, it gave me an opportunity to waffle on a bit more about the trip.
Regards.
Ian.
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Old 21 Jun 2007
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I don't think you've got anything to worry about. We did that route but through southern Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus through Kazakhstan and Mongolia to Vladi. Didn't make it to Vladi on the bike though. Not because it was so tough through Russian, because it's not (anymore) but because one of the gaziljions of second hand Japanese cars on their way to Moscow hit my Mrs.

So if they can do it, you certainly can. You could do it on a R1, actually, that's been done as well......

The Zilov gap is gone now thanks for a massive road construction from Chita to Khabarovsk.

Good luck.
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Old 21 Jun 2007
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Re: Route through Russia

Hi, and thanks for your reply/ vote of confidence.

I'll have a good look at your suggested route. It would seem that the trip is not as uncommon or even as difficult as it was a few years ago, as the road surfaces improve.

I can almost see a future where the main highway through Russia will be dotted with service stops, guest houses, cafe's etc. for the RTW lot and little repair and tyre shops with mobile service and breakdown trucks. Yes! and by that time all the KGB trained police will have retired! ( say no more!)

Fantasy apart, I'm quite confident in myself and the bike. I just have to stick with what is possible and avoid pushing the bike past its limits.
From what I have gleaned from other travellers, it would also be a good idea to stay 100% legal. This of course means that everything is covered by the correct permissions, insurances and visa's. Avoiding speeding tickets ( Speed detector on the shopping list!) and not overstaying my welcome etc etc.
( I really hate paying fines so try to avoid them by staying legal)

Got to admit the speed thing is tough and don't know how to totally avoid that.

Thanks again for the input.
Ian
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