We are now about 100kms from the Russian border- can't be too precise as we are off our mapped universe so it is a bit of guesswork from here on in. Not having northern Kazakhstan didn't seem such an issue when we looked at our map back in England.
I have managed to scrounge a Russia map from a bike riding friend who we met in Tajikistan (he had already crossed Russia), but the scale is 1 to 8 million so not good on detail and also it turns out to show rail lines rather than roads so possibly more hindrance than help.
You'll soon find out when we end up in Moscow by accident.
We have had some help from another Spanish Mongol Rally team (the Boys from Bilbao) who we met on the road this afternoon- and later flagged down, they were only too pleased to take our panniers for a very bad stretch of road - the rack on one side had snapped and needs re-welding whilst the catch that holds the case on has started to crack on the other pannier so thought it best to get them carried until we reached town - repairs will be done in the morning.
Our journey across the Kazakh steppes was a relatively peaceful one until I decided that we would camp in the middle of one of the flattest places on earth just as a massive electrical strorm was brewing (in my defence, I would like to point out that we didn't know the storm was on its way when we put up the tent). It was very impressive and I even managed to get pictures of Thelma with lightning in the sky around her- I'll be posting those pictures when I get to a decent internet connection again.
At the top of Kazakhstan, we reached the town of Semey- infamous for its previous life as the testing ground for soviet nuclear bombs and still a very radioactive place - now where did we pack that geiger counter? Or did I turf it out to make room for the bikini?
The guidebooks say that they believe there is no risk to short term visitors, which is just as well as we ended up staying there for two nights- a last bit of luxury in a comfortable hotel before we reach Russia, and also a chance to get the pannier rack re-welded. The guy did a fantastic job and refused any payment, whilst his friend ran off to the supermarket and presented us with a bag of groceries to see us on our way- they obviously know something about food supplies in Russia of which we are blissfully ignorant.
Russia - Here we come.
Next HU Events
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- Greece: June 5-8
- Bulgaria Mini: June 13-14
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- Montenegro: June 26-29
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!
Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!