October 14, 2006 GMT
KHARBAROVSK KISSES

Igor was showing us the way out of the city in his car when the unexpected happened!!!

Following him closely in the heavy traffic, he suddenly jammed on his brakes with no warning as the car in front of him had braked sharply, with no reason.

Igor was centimetres away from hitting the car infront, Whereas we, two up on the heavily laden Tiger, weren't so lucky; smashing into the back of Igor's Suburu hard for what the Russians call 'a kiss'.


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We righted the bike, and found that neither Nikolai nor myself were injured.

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Can't say the same about the Tiger.


Front fender smashed clean off.

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But worse than that, do you remember the front fender extender I attached in Canada?


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Yeah, that one. Well, the bolt at the bottom that's securing it...


It was driven right through my oil cooler in the smash.

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The windsheild was broken and cracked into three pieces.


We would have to wait til tomorrow to assess if there was more serious damage to the front end.

Luckily, I had purchased Russian insurance in Vladivostok ($8.00 for 20 days) and the damage to Igor's car was covered....phew!!! (BTW - received an e-mail from Igor...he fixed the car for $250.00 in an illegal Chinese body shop and the insurance company paid $1100.00 to Igor...whoohoo!!!)


But we had to wait, right there in the middle of the road for the insurance assessor to arrive.

Good time for a brew up!!!

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you'll notice the stove operating in the pool of split gasoline!!!! Whoopsy!!!!

But see that guy with the phone? He's putting out the biker distress signal to Kharbarovsk bikers.

Enter Vladimir...with his bike trailer and Land Cruiser


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Ready to head to Vladimir's workshop. We deliberately looked sad in this picture thinking we can use it for the visa extension questions at the end of the trip.

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It was Sunday. Vladimir assured us of the bike's security and said he would start fixing it tommorrow.

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Back at the pad...

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there's only one thing to do....

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oh yes my friends....

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It's VODKA time!!!

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Here Nikolai informs Igor with bewilderment, the correct English pronunciation of PENUS...its PEEEEEEENUS!!!!

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Next morning, Sept 11th!, Got a call from Vladimir saying work had started and they had already welded my oil cooler. Good news!!


Luckily, my insurance company was the same company Igor used.


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After a couple of hours paperwork at the insurance company we headed over to
Vladimir's workshop.

This is the famous 4 wheel drive lada called a Niva. These are still wildly popular not only in Russia but in Europe where they're about half the cost of their fancy SUV cousins.

Nikolai took this picture telling me that for those who speak Russian, this phrase is funny.

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The oil cooler was already fixed and re-installed and Vladimir's mechanics were fashioning me another front mudguard...Russian style

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Looks good to me!!


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Nikolai orchestrated the repair to the windsheild

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Plastic surgeon!!

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The sturdiness of the Tiger meant that the forks weren't bent. That could have been a show stopper.

What was discovered was a loosening of the steering head bearings


Tighten those suckers up!!

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After a dry run

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Turns out the handlebars were bent.

No problem, we'll just straighten them out on Vladimirs pneumatic pressing machine.

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Next morning, time to set off again.

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We lightened the load. Doesn't she look pretty in the morning sun!

Vladimir leads me back to Igor's place on his 400cc dirt bike

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And we make it to the city's outskirts

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Vladimir laughed when I offered him any money. He was such a bike enthusiast that he refused any re-imbursement. He wouldn't even let me pay him for the very expensive oil he gave me to refill me bike after the oil cooler ruptured.


Sure, none of us want to get involved in accidents, but really, what people, what a country.


And thanks again Vladimir.

Igor had joined us for the first 20 km from Kharbarovsk.

At this road sign, we said goodbye and headed off west toward home.

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Thanks for all your help and hospitality in Khabarovsk Igor and Lena.

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Hope to see you again soon.


Posted by Richard Lindley at October 14, 2006 12:54 PM GMT
 



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