December 25, 2006 GMT
The final (O)leg...You are not a real biker!
One of the great things travelling alone by motorcycle...you simply flag down any biker and a world of generousity and hospitality will open to you
Sacha pulls up on his CBR and the biker network starts to hum.
Moscow traffic (and Sacha's riding through it) are scary.
But he leads me to Oleg...an English speaking, bike crazy Moscovite...who generously offers me a place to crash for the night. When I tell Oleg I took the train from Taiga to Moscow and when he sees my GPS holder is plastic he says with deep disdain, 'Richard, you are not a REEL biker!'
Oleg refuses to let me pay for anything. I meet a gang of his biker buddies in a nearby Lybian restautant. First time I've tried an apple hookah. Moscow is a little overwhelming with its cosmopolitan glitz and sophistication. After the simplicity of the rest of Russia, coming back to 'civilization' was a culture shock I didn't expect nor indeed want.
After a good night's rest and a hearty breakfast cooked up by Oleg, I headed out of Moscow towards Latvia where I hoped to cross the border.
Stopped in here at the Russian equivalent of Home Depot (B&Q for you Angles) to buy an adjustable spanner/wrench to tighten my chain.
Thanks Scottoiler for 12,000 miles of faithful service!
The road to Latvia was interesting. The heavy trucks had created track-like ruts in the road. This was fine if you were cruising in the rut...no problems. The difficulty arose when you overtook vehicles. Crossing these ruts in the roads was like being on a waterskis crossing the wake of the pull boat....a little hairy!!!
I had great satisfaction at avoiding the numerous speed cops. Laughing at their bumbling efforts with my Escort 8500 picking up the signals miles before.
As I approached the border, I decided to remove it. Radar detectors are illegal in Russia.
The first set of cops hit me 5km from the border.
I persuaded them to exchange the 500 rouble ($20.00) fine for a photo oppotunity!
Curly and Mo fleecing tourists near the border!
Another cop nails me just 1 km from the border, but he only charged me 100 roubles ($4.00)
Here's an illegal shot of the border.
Sure enough, depite my pleas for extra time, the obvious accident damage to the bike, offers of money, the rather officious captain of the crossing tells me I have to go back to the town of Sebesh (20km back) and get a border crossing visa from the local police station.
Insult to injury I picked up this nail in my rear tyre at the border...'oh bother!' I said.
and set about the repair
pumped up again!
At the police station, I was told the immigration people had left for the day and come back tomorrow. After a night in a motel, I returned at the appointed hour only to be told the immigration people don't work weekends and come back Monday! Welcome to Russian bureaucracy!
As it was a sunny Saturday, I decided to explore the countryside. I was interested if there was a more remote border crossing I could slip by.
Following my GPS, the road turned into a muddy track, but by now I was an expert with the Russian mud
Luckily Ofren turned up as my efforts to lever the bike out of the swamp proved fruitless
With Ofren's help and advice to turn back (he made a handcuff charade that left no room for ambiguity) I was once again forced to bend out my fairing brackett.
Back on the road again!
Back at the motel, I paid Nikolai (I know, a lot of Nikolai's in Russia) 300 roubles ($12.00) to tighten up my head bearing. No more speed wobble at 90 m.p.h!
Cruised around Sebesh...pretty little town
Decided to get a Russian haircut. Mmmmm....yummy!!!
Back at the hotel met Julia
and her jealous boyfriend Yuri.
Julia turned out to be an insurance agent and for about $10.00 wrote me European greencard insurance for a month to get me home. One of her dinner companions - Andrei - was a bigwig with the Granitsa - border crossing station. He wrote something in my diary in Russian and told me to show it to the police at the border crossing on Monday. How lucky was that!
Next morning, photo oppotunity with Julia and Yuri
and off to the Granitsa!!!
I'm not going to bore you with all the details, but it took me six hours and cost me 3,300 roubles in fines (about $135.00) to cross the border. If I had known this beforehand, I wouldn't have stressed so much about the border crossing. It was only a matter of time and $135.00...Oh well, now I know....and for those faced with the same situation, don't stress....just be prepared to spend a couple of days and flash some cash and you'll get through just fine.
Finally, on Latvian soil and back in the E.U.!!!
Stayed in this rather odd Latvian roadside inn my first night of freedom!!!
Next night in Poland found this great Inn.
Crossing into Germany, battery weak again...no prob. just hooked up the spare battery and got her going in minutes...love this self sufficiency!
Also loved the simplicity of border crossing with a British passport...just a formality.
I also loved the Autobahn. Those German cats really know how to drive. Fast and furious as you like. My fuel costs were now doubled but home was just off my GPS screen.
Decided to treat myself to a couple of nights in Amersterdam.
But I found in Amersterdam that I was the loneliest I had been on my entire trip. As a single male tourist, I felt it a little seedy and was glad to head south ready to cross the English Channel.
Back on the road, I couldn't believe the only place I ran out of gas was on this Belgium Highway
You Plonker Rodney!
I flagged down Sven, who took my collapsible fuel container and a 20 Euro note to a gas station. Sure enough, within twenty minutes he returned with the gas and some change...honesty is next to Godliness. And thanks Sven!
On the ferry from Calais to Dover in no time. Met English biker Terry in the queue. Looking at his teeth, I knew I was nearly home!
A few hours on the British motorway, with the last twenty in darkness on country lanes with no lights! I finally arrived home.
Next morning had a photo opportunity with my parents outside their house
And Yoyo the cat gave the bike a once over
'You need a new chain and sprocketts', he sniffed.
'OK', I said and took her to the nearest Triumph dealership
to treat her after all her hard work
Bikey....a true road warrior!!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 05:57 PM
December 06, 2006 GMT
'Russian' for the border
The weather was closing in. My visa problems at the hotel in Krasnoyarsk, made me concerned about my date with the russian border guards.
Without my merino thermals, I was already numb with cold.
God bless these roadside cafes and the cute waitstaff.
After 400 miles of freezing rain and terrifyingly slick roads, I reached Kemerov.
With my steering compromised by a nasty pothole, my fingers numb with cold and my extended visa due to expire (again), I thought I'd catch the train through the Russian Steppes.
Not so easy. With Nikolai translating on my cell phone, it was established that I needed a train that carried cargo AND passengers leaving from a town called Taiga - 120 clicks north. The very nice station master (strong babushka type) gave me a beautiful old map of the area and directions to Taiga. The train was leaving the next morning at 10.15.
I had the choice of staying in Kemerov for the night or risk the 120 km journey to Taiga.
Chose the latter and paid a taxi driver to show me the route out of town. It was beginning to get dark, still raining and I had 120 kms to ride with suspect steering and poor lights.
I stopped for gas, but when I tried to restart...the battery was too weak. I started pushing my bike down a side road behind the gas station but the further I went, the grimmer it became...then a flash of genius...my spare Russian battery connected to the main weak battery by jumper cables gave me just enough juice to start up.
By now it was dark and still raining. I started back to Kemerov to find a hotel, but instead opted to set up camp just off the main road behind this (I hoped) abandoned building.
I set up camp...English agent....deep behind enemy lines
In the morning, still raining and I had to reach Taiga for the 10.15 to Moscow. The bike wouldn't start again but I used the old spare battery trick to get her fired up.
Freezing cold again, pouring and a map written in Russian! I was never so glad to see this sign (Taiga!)
The ethereal mist around the sign is my exhaust condensing in the cold.
I wasn't home yet. I still needed to find the train station. Seconds after I took this shot, the rain turned to heavy snow. I flagged down some cops and they led me to the train station.
With only seconds left on my simcard, I had to get my bike and myself on the train.
Sergei, the station cargo master helped me out.
He was smiling because he just made a quick 1,200 roubles 'helping' me out with some currency exchange...only gave me 4/5's the rate...but at this point was glad to be out of the snow and the train beckoned.
Wot's the plank for?
Four burly Russian train men muscled her up the final push onto the train.
and lightened my wallet by another 500 roubles for 'uncrated cargo' fees.
All aboard for Moscow!
The bike fare - 3690.00 roubles ($140.00)
Personal train fare - 1670.00 roubles ($ 65.00)
currency 'exchange' fee - 1200.00 roubles ($ 46.00)
'uncrated cargo' fee - 500.00 roubles ($ 20.00)
total fare to Moscow - 7060.00 roubles ($271.00)
Third class on the TranSiberian Express!
Oh yes, my friends...those sweatstains are real!
but sure was nice to have a bunk to call my own
This is my 'glad to be out of the cold, still moving at 50 m.p.h and ready to crash for the night' cheese-eating grin.
Not so fast...remember the two guys who helped load my bike onto the train?
Sergei (on the right) and Nikolai invited me to their private cargo cabin...
for dinner...very nice
and of course....
one for you...
one for you...
one for you...
Hey Kirsten....recognize the ol' vodka eyes???!!!
Not to mention the spagetti sauce.
When I tried to explain the battery charger had 6 amp for faster charging or 4 amp charge for more of a trickle charge, Sergei expounded his battery charger knowledge by pointing to the 4 amp charge and making slow lewd motions toward his lady friend. With the 6 amp, he did the same - just twice as fast!!! Ah, the universal language of love!!!
I have no idea how I returned to my bunk that night....eight coaches away. It was a relief to know all my valuables were exactly where they should be. I had developed on unconscious knowledge of the whereabouts of valuables by this time because I had been using the same pockets for the same items for over three months....serious security system!
Next morning...with me a tad hungover, I took this snapshot of Marina - our coach matron - one thing I learnt quickly was that no-one messed with the coach matrons! But she was very helpful and sweet.
Each coach was equipped with it's own hot water heater. What a blessing this was. With instant coffee (bought from Marina or bring you own) tea, soup, pot noodles etc...this water heater was the social center of each coach
It was fueled by coal and trash from the passengers....brilliant!!!!
Then there's the potty.
That's the daylight of the tracks underneath... a foot operated pedal released the flotsam and jetsom straight onto the tracks....no holding tanks on the TranSiberianiski!
The ends of each coach was reserved for smokers.
The very nice dining room never had any business
Maybe the food was crap?
This cute Ukranian clothes seller tried to sell me a sweater
But my Russian travelling neighbours soon took up the transaction on my behalf led by this lady opposite me,
who demand the Ukranian burn a tuft of the sweater to prove it was indeed real animal hair...it was. She then negotiated me a better deal...about $14.00....and had the deal wrapped up in no time!
These two scamps spoke very loud Russian for three days and nights
After three delightful days and nights we pull up in Moscow.
A fond farewell to my cargo trainmen friends
and welcome to Moscow
Posted by Richard Lindley at 09:00 PM
November 21, 2006 GMT
Riding solo on OK roads I was able to make good time.
As dusk approaches - automatically start scanning for secure, convenient camp site.
It looks good as I sneak behind a hedge just feet from the busy road
After nightfall, just as I was drifting off, this road was passage for three combine harvesters returing from work. As innocuous as this sounds, I was terrified as these as yet to be identified machines roared toward my campsite at about three miles an hour, raking my presence with their headlights. First night alone jitters!
For added security, I took to using the bike as a tent peg
At a roadside cafe, this beauty was my waitress. I found the more off-hand the waitress, the more she liked you, so when I received the cold shoulder, I turned to the Nikolai school of Charm....
and had her eating out of my hand!!!
Having bypassed Ulan Ude, I headed for Lake Baikal.
These wonderful fish sellers...
Offered the bounty of Baikal
Gassing up in Shelekov, close to Irkustk, I ran into Lernya on a fancy pants sport bike. He invited me to join him and his gang at the 'Tourmann' bike HQ.
Where my bike took pride of place.
With relief, not a vodka bottle in sight, but plenty of beer
After 99 bottles of beer, my convoy escorted me...
to Boris' apartment, complete with a 1945 BMW. Boris left me to spend the night with his girlfriend! (No, he left the apartment to spend the night at his girlfriend's apartment...he wasn't THAT hospitable!)
and a russian kitty!
God bless these Russian bikers!
Next morning, after such hospitality, I felt obliged to join the 'last ride before winter' bike rally. Here we are just before heading to out to the bike rally.
Gassing up, it starts to rain.
and gets increasing colder and more miserable in the busy Irkustk traffic. Here we stopped because one of the guys had an accident with a taxi.
Outside a big sports stadium about 300 bikes gathered for the rally. Including the Baikal Bikers
This is the main dude of the Baikal Bikers in the center. Max off to the left was kind enough to be my guide out of the city.
In the pouring rain, following Max through the streets of Irkustk was a harrowing ride. I joined the 300 strong bike rally for about 30 miles. We had a police escort and a very irate column of Russian drivers behind us. At about 4.00 p.m I finally started my ride, by now very wet, cold and with little prospects for a good campsite. Here I stop at a cafe to warm up...yes, that's steam from my very unwaterproof, waterproof jacket!
With the wet weather, many potential campsites were off limits because of the muddy and dangerous side roads. My lights were seriously compromised by the accident in Skovorodino, as was my helmet visor, but unable to find a decent campsite, I was forced to ride in the darkness. Cold, wet and hungry I pulled into a cafe to warm up, have dinner and assess my options. That's when Yuri and his two chicas forced their hospitality on me.
Fumbling with my phrase book, 'Mafia' was the reply when I asked him his profession
But when Yuri realized the girls were more interested in me than him...
he was happy to see me on my way...as was I. He had a very unpleasant vibe about him especially after the youthful hospitality of the Tourmann bike gang. I headed off into the dark, damp night.
But, as usual, a suitable campsite availed itself within a few kilometers. I had by this time become an expert in making camp by starlight. Good night's sleep and beautiful sunshine next morning. Very cold though.
It was this morning that I'd realized I'd left both my long sleeve medium weight and zip up winter weight merino wool thermals back at Boris' apartment in Shelekov...250 kms behind me...bummer!!
Pressing on, I picked up victuals at this colorful grocery store.
Came across Marianne and Jchenna riding across Russia using pedal power
bad case of 'helmet head!'
Long stretches of very bad roads slowed my progress. I wanted to make Krasnoyarsk before dark. I had called ahead to the Hotel Gostiny Dvor. (First one listed in budget section of Lonely Planet). Having parked my bike around the back I went to check in where I met another Russian Souka (arsehole). Despite a letter from my Russian Lawyer (Nikolai!) explaining my extended visa situation, and calling Nikolai on my mobile to further explain, this twit wouldn't let me check in because my visa had expired...I was most displeased, but quick as a flash, whipped out my camera and she tried to duck behind the glass. hehehehe
Please, if you're visiting Krasnoyarsk, don't stay at the Hotel Gostiny Dvor.
I called the Hotel Turist and checked in no prob! Nice to dry everything out after my soaking a couple of days before.
Krasnoyarsk I'm sure is a interesting city, but after my shouting match with the souka at the other hotel, I was thankful to call it a night!
Next morning, after a great complimentary breakfast I was ready to head to Novisibirsk. If I had known what this day would bring, I would have stayed another night in Krasnoyarsk.
Posted by Richard Lindley at 06:09 PM
November 06, 2006 GMT
After five days on the road, a little R&R at the Hotel Turist was just what the doctor ordered.
Next morning, Nikolai and I went off to explore Chita.
The city has a strong military presence
Aswell as signs of (ahem) Russian businessmen.
Still don't know who this dude is.
Even with Nikolai, we couldn't find an insurance company. We call our friendly
Chita biker Micha who shows up quick as a flash....
and takes me to my Insurance company where this nice lady signed me up for another 10 days for the princely sum of 200 roubles ($8.00)
Nikolai wasted no time talking to this one about his future insurance needs!
While Nikolai explored further, I needed to address the missing engine mounting bolt. Micha had arranged for his friend and mechanic, Micha (same name) to pick me up from the hotel. He took me back to his workshop. Wife and kids came by for a photo opp.
Micha informed me his 1984 CB 750 had been from Chita to Vladivostok...TWICE!!
I knew I was in good hands.
He roots through a big box of bolts until he finds one that's appropriate. The new bolt requires the frame to be retapped to receive it. Here he is tapping out the existing hole.
But what does he discover?
not one, but THREE major cracks to the BIKE MAINFRAME!!!
First, he has to get the new bolt on...nothing like a 3lb lump hammer to get the frame to line up....yikes!!!
This is bolt installed by Triumph.
This is the bolt installed by Micha!
It may not be pretty, but, with thousands of miles ahead, it's solid as a rock.
But what about the cracks to the frame?
Enter the Doctor!!!
After stripping the bike down and preparing the cracks in the metal
Micha goes to work with the oxy-acetylene!!!
Damn fine job!!!
finishing touches with a can of silver paint
Back in business!!!
Micha was a true mechanic. He reversed the front fender so that my mudguard extender became the solid leading FRONT edge of my fender...genius!!! Brilliant Russian ingenuity using the materials to hand to provide a solution. In America, a new fender would have been ordered, would have taken four weeks to arrive and would have cost me $17,495.00 plus tax!
When a torx driver broke, Micha took a nasty gouge to his finger. Didn't swear, didn't shout, just wrapped it up and continued to work!!!
The work had taken all afternoon...about six hours. Bear in mind he met me at my hotel, led me to his workshop and put aside all other work to fix my bike. Ahh the brotherhood of the bike!!!!
Micha charged me 1500 roubles for his troubles (about $60.00). I didn't have the roubles on me, but was very glad to give him a crispy Franklin for his troubles. This is his bike next to my undressed Tiger.
Last night in Chita, Nikolai with a haircut. I had spent the last 3 weeks with Nikolai and he had made the trip far more interesting and fun. I was sorry to part ways, but was also ready to go on solo. Thanks Nikolai for all the good times!!!
Sadly, the very next night, Nikolai was set upon by three thugs who beat him up really badly...they re-arranged his face, literally. He was in the hospital for a few days, then went back to Kharbarovsk to heal. He is now somewhere in Korea living free!!! God bless and good luck Nikolai!!!
I was lucky enough to meet the beautiful Olga on my last day in Chita. We are still e-mailing each other....I'll keep you posted!
And thanks to Micha who offered non stop help throughout my stay in Chita. He led me out of the city and directed me to the road to Ulan Ude. Thanks a lot Micha...true biker spirit!!!
Here I go again, on my own...
Posted by Richard Lindley at 05:40 PM
October 27, 2006 GMT
Bumping and grinding to Chita
The sun beat down on gravelled ground
On and on we rode
Through makeshift lenses viewed the land
and cautiously we trod...
After the accident, we were more careful....no more 60 m.p.h on the gravel. Nikolai as the injuried party, was especially nervous.
I was unable to find any visor to replace my scratched one. With the visor up a lot, it meant I was inhaling a lot more dust....what's that song...Dust Gets In My Eyes?...
My rear view vision was impaired by Nikolai so he kept me posted when these cars approached. They passed us at speeds in excess of 70 m.p.h
and travelled in packs
sometimes to their own detriment
these guys were saved from plunging off the road by the armco.
But had been waiting a week for a tow truck...no AAA in Russia.
They were given food and water by passing traffic. We only had coffee and
sugar for them.
But provided some distraction.
Tight parking outside this cafe
was the best food in Russia!
Found a camping spot next to the trans-Siberian railway
Next morning, ominous approach of the Siberian winter!!
After drying out in the sun we go from this....
Another long day in the saddle - only 150 miles today -but we had coffee and kielbasa.
Hey Igor...checkout the 'twisty' thermos...hahaha!!!
Coldest night so far
Time to switch to decaf?
Around lunchtime, a grinding noise warranted investigation
Plastic chain guard snapped in two...must have been a rock kicking up
Couple of cable ties fixed this.
But while down there fixing the chain guard, I noticed something that was much more alarming.
One of the main engine bolts had vibrated out. The photos don't begin to indicate the pounding the bike was taking. This was a serious problem. I didn't know how serious until I got to Chita.
We always drew a crowd...
'Plenty of pussies, but only one dick!!!' observed Nikolai
We knew the last 60 miles to Chita was paved and by now, with the pounding to the bike and ourselves we were ready for any kind of pavement.
Soon after we passed this sign...
We hit this beautiful newly paved stretch of road...ahh, bliss!!!
But it only lasted 10 kms. It gave us a glimpse into a future crossing of Russia.
Alas, back to the grind
With 60 miles to Chita, we finally hit the paved road again. Stopped for a celebratory coffee. This is me 'milking' my camelbak!!!
With just an hour of daylight left, I put the hammer down
The road was bad because it was so uneven. At speed, hitting these undulations with a passenger put serious pressure on the suspension.
But with night falling, we made it to Chita where the Chita bikers magically appeared to welcome us and lead us to the appropriate hotel.
Welcome to Chita. Thanks to Micha and the boys!!
Two up from Vladivostok to Chita? We must be crazy!!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 08:59 PM
October 23, 2006 GMT
Escape from Skovorodino...
Here's Nikolai's stemming the flow of blood from his hand. He's also bootless as he had to surrender his boots when he was pinned under the bike.
Close up of some of Nikolai's road rash. It was his index fingernail that took the worst hit.
He was fixed up for free at the clinic. Yes, that's right...free health care...what a concept!
So, how did I come off?
The first reason, without doubt, was pilot error. I had taken to riding very close to the verge constantly seeking the best route through the rough roads. There is often a gravel build up on the edge of the roads as shown in this photo.
It was the end of a gruelling day, sun in my eyes...
Nikolai took this shot seconds before we crashed
When I hit the gravel build up I knew I was in trouble. When you're riding solo, the immediate reaction is to standup on the footpegs. When you're riding two up, manoeverability is impaired by the dead weight of your passenger. I had two choices. I could keep going off the road into a tree, or I could try to manoever back to the road.
I chose the latter of course, which made the front tyre 'snowplough' into the gravel, loosing valuable traction and BAM!!!!! down on the flinty Russian mountain road at 35 m.p.h.
I was fine thanks to my ARAI helmet. Always wear a helmet kids!!!
I was wearing fingerless gloves so I could have easily had my hands mashed if it wasn't for the fine safety design of the Triumph.
This guy couldn't take the bike but Nikolai gets a ride to Skovorodino to try and find a tow truck.
In his absence, I had determined the damage wasn't too bad
Fairing took a nasty hit but she started right up. These folks took our gear and the broken bike bits and we rode in convoy the 3 kms to Skovorodino.
Nikolai had managed to hook up with the local Mafia dude who had a car wash business. Managed to get the bike secured.
We got a cheap hotel room, bought some food and champagne and cheered ourselves up. At this point, there was talk of putting ourselves and the bike back on a train to Khabarovsk and call it a day. There is a shock period that always accompanies an accident. Compound that with being so far from home, the uncertainty of the damage to the bike and being in an unfriendly Russian town. Thank heaven's for Nikolai's good humour and companionship.
Next morning at the car wash, Valerie and Dima offered mechanical assistance. Check out the difference between the handgrip guards. The right hand one saved my throttle hand being mashed.
The fairing brackett had bent again. We bent it back into it's place. I wonder if BMW GS Adventurers have this problem. With the Beemer, the fairing brackett is an extension of the main frame, not a bolt on item like the Triumph.
Thank heavens for the Touratech crash bars. Major engine damage avoided
Also the right hand aluminum pannier took a major hit. Because the box was mounted to a steel frame, made specifically for the Tiger by Motosport, the Triumph was bulletproof and this crash proved it. I used my 'fast steel' two part epoxy to fashion a repair to the damaged corner of the pannier.
Time to call out all the King's horses and men again...
To put my windshield together!!!
This is the bluntest drill bit in Russia
It's alive, IT'S ALIVE!!!!
With some cable ties, re-salvaged bike bits and packing tape...
The 'brave Englishman' is ready to continue his journey
Thanks to Valerie, Dima and the boys at the carwash
They refused money when I offered...true sign of quality.
Was very glad to escape from Skovorodino.
Despite initial doubts, Nikolai decided to continue on our odyssey.
The boys back on the road to Chita.
Posted by Richard Lindley at 07:21 PM
October 18, 2006 GMT
West to Skovorodino...
Good roads for the first hundred miles to Birobidzhan.
Birobidzhan was the last city on the Russian roadsign where we left Igor, if you want to check your ability to read Russian. The funny double sided C creates the sound zjjjjjj as in Birobidzhan.
Russian cities, with the exception of the big ones in the East, have no ring roads. So you go through every city, town and hamlet. Not such a bad thing if you're not in a hurry.
Each town has it's own unique name sculpture. This again is Birobidzhan.
East meets West at a gas station.
Although we didn't know it, this is the last time we would see bitumen for 1800 kms!!!!
Roads were still OK. Just much slower speeds.
We would come across huge piles of sand and gravel, waiting to be spread.
Some were rideable...
and some weren't
Never mind, just take the detour
which brings you back onto the road....glad it wasn't muddy!!
But we make it to the other side...thankyou Mr Putin!!
We met this lady in a cafe....She's from a Russian tribe called Irkut. Notice the mongolian features.
Here's Nikolai sporting a black fox pelt they had for sale.
This is very typical of the gravel roads. They are very well made, but you'll notice the corrugation, which makes for the 'find the best route' game. A few hundred kilometers of this will make your teeth rattle. Speed here 45 m.p.h.
This is our dust trail....shot taken looking backwards at speed.
and speaking of dust
Pretty caked at the day's end. At least I had a helmet visor. Nikolai used his balaclava as a dust mask!
The worst road surface was after they spread this type of gravel seen here on the left...
and before trucks pack it down it's like driving through golf balls...all rear wheel steering...and with two up, a little scary!!!!
We stopped for dinner. Nikolai said a town like this was a product of communism. Since the fall of the wall, people living out here in deep Russia, have not much opportunity so you have a lot of young men drinking and gambling.
After we asked the restaurant to bring us a table so we could watch the bike, Nikolai explained to the crowd of young men that gathered around us that we were in a convoy of motorcyclists, with two back up vehicles driven by some bad ass Brazilian dudes. He said he made up the story to prevent them from following us out of town. The cost of our dinner ($10.00) was monthly wages for some of these folks. And me with $12 K in my pocket!!
The young girl to the right smoked incessantly and had quite the potty mouth according to Nikolai.
A little depressing to see such poverty
The one kid in the middle was a bit odd. Nikolai said he was probably already hooked on sniffing glue. He might graduate to vodka if he doesn't die first.
Doggy was friendly though....or was it the borscht?
We saw a train loaded up with military vehicles on the way in.
Military strength but people with very little...the legacy of communism.
Nikolai, frugal traveller that he is, would always fill up at the town pump. Good clean free water at least!!
Found a good campsite a few miles later. We had ditched Nikolai's tent to lighten the load after our Khabarovsk 'kiss'.
Crouching Nikolai, hidden tiger!
Catching up with my journal waiting for the coffee to brew.
Bread and kielbasa and coffee - breakfast of champions!!!
Came across this abandoned truck...
and it's unsuccessful rescue mission of this bulldozer
We had covered 250 bone and bike rattling miles, but here is the sign for Never, just 15 kms from Skovorodino.
This footbridge coming up...
Saved us a few kms
But on the other side, there's trouble brewing when some vodka soaked locals show up.
Although I didn't know at the time, not speaking Russian, but the guy sporting the camoflage was telling me I wasn't welcome here and he should beat my face in.
Nikolai managed to get everyone smiling again.
Especially this cutie
Who turned out to be the guy's girlfriend. At this point, instead of violence, he hexed us by telling us we were going to have a nasty accident.
Just 10 minutes later and 3 kms outside Skovorodino, his jinx came true.
Thousands of miles from anywhere, with injuries and a broken bike.
Was this the end of the trip???!!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 08:40 PM
October 14, 2006 GMT
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'.
We righted the bike, and found that neither Nikolai nor myself were injured.
Can't say the same about the Tiger.
Front fender smashed clean off.
But worse than that, do you remember the front fender extender I attached in Canada?
Yeah, that one. Well, the bolt at the bottom that's securing it...
It was driven right through my oil cooler in the smash.
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!!!
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
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.
It was Sunday. Vladimir assured us of the bike's security and said he would start fixing it tommorrow.
Back at the pad...
there's only one thing to do....
oh yes my friends....
It's VODKA time!!!
Here Nikolai informs Igor with bewilderment, the correct English pronunciation of PENUS...its PEEEEEEENUS!!!!
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.
After a couple of hours paperwork at the insurance company we headed over to
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.
The oil cooler was already fixed and re-installed and Vladimir's mechanics were fashioning me another front mudguard...Russian style
Looks good to me!!
Nikolai orchestrated the repair to the windsheild
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!!
After a dry run
Turns out the handlebars were bent.
No problem, we'll just straighten them out on Vladimirs pneumatic pressing machine.
Next morning, time to set off again.
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
And we make it to the city's outskirts
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.
Thanks for all your help and hospitality in Khabarovsk Igor and Lena.
Hope to see you again soon.
Posted by Richard Lindley at 12:54 PM
October 12, 2006 GMT
Beautiful paved road from Vladivostok to Kharbarovsk.
Weather was beautiful, as was the countryside...this Russian Far Eastern stuff was a breeze!!!
Roadside stands selling locally grown produce. This is the only way for a lot of Russians to make a living. A lot of the stands were selling honey. This shot's for my fellow beekeeper back in Boston....Hi Jayne!!!
Decided to camp halfway after an easy days ride. Found this spot by a lake.
Followed minutes later by a spectacular moonrise!
Oh what a beautiful morning!!!
Having let air out of the tyres to go on the mud, I killed the battery using my cyclepump to re-inflate.
No problem....Just flag down a friendly Russian...
All juiced up!!! thanks very much!!!
Made it to Kharbarovsk by nightfall where we were greeted by Igor and Lena
After a delicious dinner...
....Igor led us to his unfinished apartment. Igor, Lena and Kysenia had been living with Lena's mother for the last three months while their place was being fixed up. It's very common in Russia for many family members to live together. The apartment will be the height of Russian chic when it's finished.
This was my space
Nikolai chose the west wing
Next morning, tour of Kharbarovsk....
Beautiful church. A lot of these churches were recently rebuilt after the destruction of buildings by the nice Mr Stalin.
Illegal photo inside church
Kharbarovsk was my favourite Russian city. It had beautiful architechture.
This building was 150 years old
and the look and feel of what the Russians call 'European'.
with the hustlebustle of an affluent western city
But the stamp of communism is always close at hand with their ugly concrete structures juxtaposed against the newer, more attractive buildings
The river Amur not only provided a beautiful backdrop
But was also a trade highway for light...
and heavy industry which generates the wealth and affluence of Kharbarovsk
Kharbarovsk by night
Street side mobile Chinese cobbler
But he was too expensive for Nikolai so we found another to fix his shoes
This lady is a postal worker
I sent some unwanted stuff back home. In a Russian post office, first you get in line for them to measure your package. Then they take this muslin material and sew a custom fitted package cover with one of these old sewing machines, right there in the Post Office!!! Then, once stitched up, you get in another line to pay for it. Takes about two hours to mail a package.
Russia is as beautiful as it is big. But there is also a brutal life and death element that is more apparent here. Whether it is the Mafia dudes zooming around in expensive cars or these poor cats that were killed by a pack of dogs right by the secure parking for the bike.
Well, the next morning (now Sept. 10th) it was time for the big off towards Chita.
Unfortunately, the bike was electrically dead. I suspected it had something to do with the hardwired radar detector lead shorting out during heavy rain.
But Igor, Nikolai and myself went in search not only for a new battery, but also a Russian battery charger. NB. When travelling through continents that use 240V appliances, make sure your 110 V devices have the capacity for 240v system.
My beautiful (and very heavy) optimate battery tender was useless once I left North America, and I had to buy another charger to boot.
Igor and Nikolai told me to stay in the car because they could get a better price...you know, being Russian an' all.
Here's Igor in the Russian auto part markets.
Finally, juiced up, packed up and ready to say goodbye to Igor, Lena, Kysenia and Lena's Mum.
or so we thought!!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 05:25 PM
October 10, 2006 GMT
The road from Slavyanka to Vladivostok was good for the most part. This picture above is very typical of all Russian roads west of Ulan Ude. There is obviously going to be a very swank highway one day, as most of these sites were active with workers and heavy machinery but it's at least ten years off.
Passing traffic was easy for motorcycles but as you can see, cars were also using this sizeable dirty hard shoulder.
A couple of hours riding saw us to the Hotel Vladivostok
For about $55.00 a night for both myself and Nikolai, we had a room on the 7th floor overlooking the bay!
No really! this is the view from our hotel.
Well, with such a nice hotel room it was time to tackle a problem that had been gnawing at me ever since clearing customs and it had to do with the f@!!ing russian visa.
The problem was that at Zarubina, where I got off the ferry, they stamped my passport with my visa starting from the ISSUE date, not the DATE OF ENTRY as specified by my Lonely Planet guidebook.
It was due to run out on the 17th of Sept. and what with all the delays and repairs (and good times) had in Slavyanka, it was time to see if we could do the impossible....extend my tourist visa.
Here Nikolai was invaluable. Not only did he speak the lingo, but he also had a very wiley streetwise way about him that allowed him to penetrate Russian red tape.
Of course, red tape wasn't the only thing he was good at penetrating!
After our breakfast of bread, kielbasa and instant coffee (Nikolai knew the best to buy of everything)...
we set off to tackle russian visa extensions.
We met Hawaiian Sean in a local eatery who told us to go to his russian fixer Julia.
Julia ran a 'help the tourist' type business. That was the difference between her and Nikolai. She was doing it to make money, whereas Nikolai was doing it to help me out just because he was enjoying helping me and was my host in his country....he was also better with his people skills.
So, we managed to find the OVIR or the PVU in Vladivostok. Nikolai hit it off with the guy there - Sacha - who told us it was no problem to extend the visa because of our accident. All we needed was a letter from my foreign embassy verifing what we were claiming was true.
Off we go to find the British Embassy.
No-one knows where it is. EVERYONE knows where the American Embassy is because they just built a huge five story building to house all the important goings on.
I make a bad decision at this point. I figure as a Green Card holder, they could help me out with this letter thingamajig.
As soon as we pull up, a heavily armed guard waves us on and tells us - in Russian - not to loiter. When it became clear that we were here on official business the whole "strip down to your shorts and prepare for the cavity search" routine came out. Then, naked and trembling we were brought before a woman who sat superciliously behind bulletproof glass and sniggered at our manhoods.
Ok, I exaggerate a tad...
Upshot of it was, not only could she not help me with the letter, being a lowly Green Card holder, but we suspect she put a call in to the OVIR because the next day Sacha - we were told - was in the hospital and could not be reached.
We left the American Embassy and continued our search for the British Embassy.
Finally above a kindergarten, with no street sign we reach our goal
where we discovered the delightful Lena all too ready to help us.
Lena wrote us exactly what we needed, bless her. Unfortunately, she had a boyfriend, but we still got her champagne and chocolates as a thankyou!
So armed with our letter, we went back to the OVIR where we met a Russian souka!! That's the russian term for 'unhelpful bitch' who told us that Sacha was in the hospital and basically to f@!" off.
Undeterred we tracked down another branch of OVIR across town, sat and waited for an hour and were told by a very nice boss lady, that because of my accident and subsequent time delay in Slavyanka, together with Lena's letter and my pictures of the accident, we were - under russian law - granted an automatic ten day extension.
This is Nikolai and myself outside the second OVIR office.
This whole process took about three days of running around Vladivostok and was a royal pain in the arse. The upshot of it was that if you're planning on coming to Russia, get a visa that's more than double the time you expect to stay. My whole trip was marred by the official bullshit redtape that still is Russia. The ONLY way to stay clear of Russian authorities is to make sure you do all of their ridiculous paperwork, stamps, visas, forms etc...to a Tee.
Another thing that struck me was the difference between the American Embassy and the British Consul.
The American Embassy could not have been more unhelpful. I can't prove that they tried to undermine my attempt at visa extension, but Nikolai was sure that the woman at the embassy called the OVIR which is why Sacha was in the hospital indefinitely.
The British Consul was understated, understaffed (just Lena at the time) and couldn't have been nicer.
Anyway, Vladivostok is the former forbidden city of the Russian Naval fleet
But is now a busy port servicing trading between Japan and Korea.
The streets are full of Japanese and Korean imported cars
And, of course, russian hotties
For our last night in Vladivostok, we arranged to meet Sean and Julia in a club.
We went and were charged 300 roubles a piece at the door (about $12.00) and sat down to very boring strippers doing the usual choreographed stuff.
Sean was propositioned by a hooker....$300.00 of which she claimed that she had to give half to the bar.
The whole thing was sordid, seedy and I couldn't wait to get out of the place feeling as though I was the tourist lamb brought to the slaughter.
We escorted Sean through the streets of Vladivostok hoping Nikolai could introduce him to a more organic type of russian girl. Being so late, the pickings were slim
"she wants to kiss me?"
"Er, yes, by George, I think he's got it!!"
This girl was somewhat intoxicated as was Sean, so we hailed him a cab and called it a night.
We had been in touch with Igor from Slavyanka, who had travelled back to his home in Kharbarovsk with Lena and Ksenya. Igor invited us to stay, and that was to be our next destination....about 800 kms north.
Next morning all packed up and ready to hit the road to Kharbarovsk!!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 05:17 PM
September 12, 2006 GMT
1st September: Russian Motorcycle Diaries
Off the ferry into a bustling, very hot customs hall filled with Koreans and some Russians.
The customs doors open and the Russian officials start processing people through at about one every 20 minutes.
I'm spotted by a sharp eyed official who brings me to the front of the queue. I suspect that this was a little side business for the officials but for a few dollars more I was glad to be out of the broiling crowd.
More Russian documents were given to me...all in Russian!!! The official spoke no English, but took me to the office and gave me the English versions for cross referencing.
That's where I met Nikolai, world traveller, fluent in Russian, English and women, always in a good humor and my new travelling buddy.
He travelled light, but I offered him a ride as I had a spare lid and he promptly took charge of my customs wrangle.
For $100.00 payment to the official, I was out of there in no time!
The bike was overladen and cop cars appeared wherever I went!
With Nikolai's help, this is what happened my first two hours in Russia!
This is Nina - more on her later!
Went looking for a campsite and the road deteriorated to a muddy track. Unfortunately, the tires I got in America were no good in the mud...like a hippo on roller skates!
Unfortunately, this very minor 'get off' hit the faring hard, bent the headlight frame so the steering was obstructed.
luckily the beach was only a couple hundred yards away. We made camp.
Next morning 2nd of Sept. was raining hard
babushka selling crabs...sorry luv, not today!
With some new Russian friends, came up with an idea to re-align the bent steel
With the bike between two solid posts...
I'd use my ratcheting tie down straps to bend the metal to where it need to be.
The adorable Ksenia lends a hand.
mission accomplished...back in business!
We were invited to celebrate our success by Igar,Ksenya father. A grand time was had by all!
Lena, Igar's wife and Ksenya's mother. Wonderful lady!
Everyday, Igar would catch fish for dinner. Love this shot of Kysena with fish.
Igar and me...with just 'a little bit' of vodka!
Couple of Russian sailors and me in Slavyanka
September the 4th. Packed up and heading to
Posted by Richard Lindley at 09:32 AM
27th August in Korea
Joanne drops me at the airport and I leave the States for South Korea.
Uneventful flight, arrive at Incheon (Seoul Airport) with little idea of how to even find the bike, clear customs and transport it to Sokcho...300 miles away where the Dong Chun Ferry provides service to Zarubina, Russia.
Everything was clean, modern and full of technology. Remote controls for everything. But not bad value at $90.00 usd per night.
Just call and they will pick you up and drop you off anywhere in the airport.
Had to find my bike and had a Schenker of Korea helping me. Jinwook Lim was especially helpful as he spoke excellent English and orchestrated the extrication of my bike through the customs and onto the bonded freight.
Running after Mr Nam of Schenker trying to get the bill of laden...need this document to clear customs
Found the bike and got the bill of laden from Cathay Pacific Cargo division
The next few hours Schenker of Korea through Jimwook Lim arranged for bonded freight passage of my bike from Seoul to Sokcho and the ferry to Russia.
The Koreans do not allow motorcycles on their expressways, and as the only road out of the airport is one of these forbidden roads (the toll booth people will stop bikes) the only choice I had was for bonded freight. That also served to bypass any temporary import duty the Koreans wanted to charge.
Anyway, for about $250.00 usd plus various airport charges and sundry expenses which all came to a grand total of about $400.00 I secured passage for the bike to Sokcho.
I took a bus for about $20.00 and arrived late in Sokcho to find a cheap $30.00 hotel room and sleep.
Sokcho customs office first thing. Although no-one spoke English, they were all very friendly and helpful
Breakfast Korean style....didn't know what most of it was, but for $5.00 I wasn't complaining
Shoes off no matter what in Korea
sitting on the floor for brekky
Never figured out what came out of the pipes
Hoorah....first sighting of the bike
The bonded freight yard has direct loading to the ferry. I decided to let them take it on crated and I would re-assemble during the 17 hour passage to Russia.
and there she goes, never once having felt Korea asphalt.
This lady was giving out free ice coffee for Christ.When in Rome....
Finally on my way to Russia, One way cost me about $170.00 for economy class. The bike they charged $200.00. Bit steep I thought.
Ferry runs three times a week in the Summer. This one left at 3.00 p.m. on Thurs.
found the bike in the bowels of the ship. Hot as hell and noisy like a jackhammer.
Stripped down to shorts and t-shirt. Earplugs in and start work.
Curious crew members checking out the bike
All dressed up for her date with Russia.
Took me about 9 hours to get her ready.
Economy class gets you a bunk in a shared dorm.
My bunk - #612
Ready for Russia?
The door is opening onto my first glimpse of the great country.
Posted by Richard Lindley at 07:34 AM
Shipping bike and Visas...August 14th
I was still waiting for my Russian visa and my time slot at the Triumph dealership.
Tim Whitting at Schenker of Vancouver proved to be my main man for shipping the bike.
Another very helpful Tim!
Tim arranged shipping to Korea for about $1400.00 usd
Headed back to Vancouver, where Timmy continued to play host and show me the
delights of the city. Took a bike ride through the park area of the city, did the famous 'Grouse Grind' which is a 2,000 vertical climb up Grouse mountain.
grinding up the Grouse Grind
Timmy barely broke breath because he was
cheating using special energy arm bands
As a thankyou to Timmy for his hospitality, we went out for 'all you can eat' sushi
Timmy slowing down a bit
You get the idea.
Thanks Timmy.....you're the best!!
Well, Roland at Western Power Sports told me there was some kind of screw up
and my tires wouldn't arrive till the 23rd.
I went down to Seattle to receive my Russian visa, as well as being charged a cool
$265.00 for leaving my green card in my passport when I went to cross the border.
I picked up my visa and was alarmed when they issued it from that day...the 22nd to the 17th of Sept.
Finally rode my bike to Western Power Sports where Roland arranged everything.
When the bike was ready I went backstage where Stewart help me pick out a crate of the many there and secure the bike for the oversea flight.
Stewart the master crater
forks didn't quite fit the cradle
Nothing a little grinding couldn't fix
the crate, not the bike you understand
Securely in the cradle
Joanne shows up ready to give me a ride back to White Rock BC
all crated up
and ready for Russia
Stayed the next few days in White Rock...beautful seaside town and home of Gary and Joanne.
and Joanne...kind, generous and fabulous cook
Tor...Gary and Joanne's eldest. Thanks for the tennis match!!
Avalon...Tor's beautfiful daughter
2nd son Chris with his wife Brandi
Good times....can't thank you enough!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 05:20 AM
August 20, 2006 GMT
STURGIS AND BEYOND - INSTALLMENT #2
FOR CLARIFICATION, THE START OF MY TRIP BEGINS WITH THE SECTION ENTITLED
'LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING'
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY READ THE 1ST INSTALLMENT JUST SCROLL
DOWN TIL YOU COME TO THE 'LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING'
THIS IS THE 2ND INSTALLMENT
AFTER MY PUNCTURE, THE SUN CAME OUT, THE ROADS WERE
FANTASTIC (ALTHOUGH I TOOK IT EASY ON THE CORNERING
WITH MY NEW PLUGGED TIRE,) BUT NEEDED A CAMPSITE TO
DRY OUT AND RE-ORGANIZE MY GEAR.
lucked out finding this perfect site near Wawa
IT WAS NOW THE 3RD OF AUGUST, I SPENT HALF THE DAY
LEISURELY WASHING, DRYING AND RE-ARRANGING MY
GEAR AND THOUGHT AGAIN HOW NICE IT WAS NOT TO
HAVE ANYONE TO ANSWER TO.
TRAVELLED AROUND LAKE SUPERIOR (FANTASTIC VIEWS,
GREAT ROADS) AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, THOUGHT I'D
TRY TO FIND A FREE CAMPSITE.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE OVERGROWN PATH WAS A LITTLE MORE
TREACHEROUS THAN I THOUGHT AND FIND MYSELF TRAPPED
UNDER THE BIKE, SWEATING PROFUSELY, BEING ATTACKED
AND BITTEN MERCILOUSLY BY INSECTS....SOMETHING STUNG
ME ON MY RIGHT ANKLE WHEN I HAD TO SURRENDER MY BOOT
TO ESCAPE FROM UNDER BIKEY.
doesn't she look peaceful!
THAT NIGHT AFTER I FOUND A PARK CAMPSITE, MY FRIEND BRAD
(GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND CHENEY FOR THE UPCOMING BIRTH
OF YOUR FIRST BORN) IN BOSTON REMINDED ME THAT STURGIS
MOTORCYCLE RALLY WAS JUST ABOUT TO START. THE TIMING
(ALTHOUGH COINCIDENTAL) WAS PERFECT. SO I HEADED SOUTH
BACK INTO USA THROUGH MINNESOTA.
IT'S UNIVERSAL THAT WHEN YOU'RE RIDING ALONE ON A
LOADED UP MOTORCYCLE, YOU'LL MEET ALL KINDS, ESPECIALLY
OTHER MOTORCYCLISTS.I STOPPED FOR BREAKFAST IN TWO
HARBORS MN BECAUSE A NEON GREEN DUCATI CAUGHT MY EYE.
THE OWNER WAS A 59 YEAR OLD TEARAWAY NAMED RICK
(ALAS NO PICTURE) WHO WAS GREAT COMPANY.
HE TOLD ME TO TAKE ROUTE 34 WEST TO GET TO STURGIS AND
HE ALSO TOLD ME TO VISIT A GHOST TOWN IN MONTANA
A FEW MILES DOWN THE ROAD, RANDOMLY STOPPED INTO
A CHIROPRACTOR AND HAD DR. ROBB ANDERSON CRACK
MY BACK FOR $30.00....TALK ABOUT MINNESOTA NICE!!!
all straightened out again
FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD, SAW A LINE UP OF OLD BRITISH
BIKES. STOPPED AND MET WITH THE OWNER....I THINK HIS NAME
WAS BARRY KOLSHOI...MY APOLOGIES FOR BAD MEMORY. HE HAD
A SHOP FILLED WITH
BIKES FROM THE 60's 70's and 80's.
fully restored norton commando....very nice!!!
IN THE NEXT TOWN, I WAS GASSING UP WHEN BOB PULLED IN ON HIS
ORIGINAL '71 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE (EXCEPT FOR THE APEHANGERS).
HE WAS AMAZED TO DISCOVER A TRIUMPH SPECIALIST LIVED ONE
TOWN BACK. HE HAD THE BIKE FROM NEW (OR AT LEAST HIS FATHER
DID) AND DIDN'T KNOW OF BARRY! AMAZING, LIFE IN A SMALL TOWN
HIT ROUTE 34
LONG STRAIGHT HOT AND EMPTY!!
I DECIDED TO TRY 100 MILES IN AN HOUR. WAS ACCOMPLISHED
NO PROBLEM, BUT THE GAS CONSUMED WAS INTERESTING.
A FULL TANK AND RESERVE CAN GET ME 250 MILES MORE OR LESS.
WITH THE HAMMER DOWN, A FULL TANK AND FULL RESERVE
(I CARRIED A GALLON ON THE BACK SPECIFICALLY FOR
THIS EXPERIMENT) TOOK ME A MERE 160 MILES! 90 MILES
I STOPPED FOR GAS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE WHEN
THIS MID WEST FARMER'S DAUGHTER PULLED IN AND
SHYLY LET ME TAKE HER PICTURE
mid west cutie!!
WELL, STUGIS IS EVERYTHING IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE.
I HAD TO PAY $56.00 FOR A CAMPSITE BUT LUCKILY FOUND A
SITE RIGHT NEXT TO LARRY AND THERESA WHO HAD RIDDEN
IN ON A HARLEY ROADKING FROM OHIO
A GROUP OF US WENT DOWN TO 'THE ARENA' WHERE THERE WAS
A LOT OF DRINKING AND BABES
AND AS THE NIGHT PROGRESSED THE GIRLS GOT A LITTLE MORE
BUT QUITE FRANKLY, THE NOISE, THE DRINKING, THE SWARMS
OF HARLEYS WERE INCESSANT, AND AS MUCH AS I ENJOYED
ALICE COOPER PLAYING HIS HITS FROM 30 YEARS AGO, IT
WAS NICE TO GET OUT OF STURGIS.
THE NEXT DAY LARRY, THERESA AND MYSELF WENT OUT TO
SEE THE FAMOUS SITES OF THE BLACK HILLS.
THE CRAZYHORSE MEMORIAL IS SPECTACULAR. STARTED
OVER 50 YEARS AGO AT THE BEQUEST OF THE LAKOTA TRIBE,
ONLY HIS FACE HAS APPEARED. HUGE AMOUNTS OF ROCK
HAVE BEEN REMOVED HOWEVER AND WORK PROGRESSES
SLOWLY BUT SURELY...
to give you an idea of the scope of the project
WHAT'S ESPECIALLY REMARKABLE ABOUT THIS PROJECT
(AND PERHAPS WHY IT IS TAKING SO LONG) IS THAT IT
IS BEING DONE WITHOUT
ANY FEDERAL AID. THE FAMILY OF THE ORIGINAL SCUPTOR
IS CONTINUING THE WORK AND THEY FUND EVERYTHING
WITH ENTRANCE FEE ($5.00) AND DONATIONS. IN FACT THEY
HAVE TURNED DOWN OVER $10,000,000 IN FEDERAL AID.
HHHMMMM....SOME KIND OF POLITICAL STATEMENT AS THE
FACES OF THOSE DEAD, WHITE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS LOOK
DOWN FROM MT RUSHMORE ONLY A FEW CLICKS AWAY.
a 1/34 scale model of what the completed mountain
will look like...see the real one in the distance...
MY LAND IS WHERE MY DEAD LAY BURIED
ONTO MT RUSHMORE. NOT NEARLY AS IMPRESSIVE BUT TOOK SOME
SHOTS HERE THAT SHOWED OUR RESPECT FOR THE AMERICAN IDOLS
I HADN'T STAYED IN A HOTEL YET AND FEELING THE NEED OF
A GOOD SHOWER STOPPED INTO A MOTEL TO ENQUIRE ABOUT
ROOM RATES. THEY TOLD ME $100.00 TO WHICH I'D REPLIED
HOW ABOUT $50.00. THEY SCOFFED AT THAT.
WITH STURGIS JUST A FEW MILES BEHIND ALL THE LOCALS
KNOW THAT MONEY IS TO BE MADE FROM THE TWO WHEELED
TRAVELLERS, SO I KEPT GOING LOOKING FOR CAMPSITE.
IT TOOK A LONG TIME TO OUTRUN THE GANGS OF HARLEYS.
FINALLY CRUISING IN WYOMING I SEE SOMETHING LOOMING
BETTER FIND A CAMPSITE....BUT BETTER YET, JUST BEFORE
THE HEAVEN'S OPENED I WAS FLAGGED DOWN BY LOUIE, ON
A HARLEY ON HIS WAY TO STURGIS. HE ASKED IF I KNEW OF
A CAMPGROUND, I REPLIED
'DO YOU WANT TO SPLIT A ROOM?'
ET VOILA, MY $50.00 HOTEL ROOM SUDDENLY APPEARS.
LOUIE WAS FROM SACRAMENTO CA, BOUGHT SOME BEERS
AND WE WATCHED BEDRAGGLED RIDERS GETTING SOAKED
BY A VIOLENT PLAINS THUNDERSTORM. HE WAS UP EARLY,
EAGER TO GET TO STURGIS
thanks for the beers Louie!
devils tower...bit like Disney with all the Harleyfest around Sturgis
Met newbie rider Dave in Wyoming on a Triumph - rare sighting around Sturgis
Biker's concerns - deer in Montana very close to road
RIDING DOWN LONELY ROUTE 12 IN MONTANA, QUITE BY
CHANCE I SEE INGOMAR....THE GHOST TOWN MY BREAKFAST
BUDDY TOLD ME ABOUT.
I PULL IN TO MEET JERRY ON THE PORCH OF THE JERSEY LILLY
AN OLD WILD WEST BAR RUN BY TERRY....ALAS NO PICTURE!
SHE POURED ME A SHOT OF JACK (I MEAN, REALLY, WHAT
WAS I GOING TO ORDER?) MADE ME A BUFFALO BURGER AND
A BEAN SOUP THAT KEPT ME FARTING FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS!!
TERRY SAID FOR A COUPLE OF BUCKS I COULD SHOWER UP
IN THE ABANDONED GYM. SO OFF I GO TO THE HUGE BUILDING,
COMPLETE WITH DUSTY TROPHY WALL AND SHOWER UP IN THE
BOYS LOCKER ROOM...KINDA EERIE.
SHE ALSO OFFERED ME THE TEEPEE, BUT DECIDED TO PITCH
MY TENT. WAS GLAD TO BECAUSE IN THE MORNING, THE TEEPEE
HAD OTHER OCCUPANTS. NOT SURE WHO THEY WERE, BUT I
WAS STILL FARTING STRONG...COULD HAVE BEEN AWKWARD....
teepee or not teepee?
HEADED TO GLACIER NATIONAL PARK,ON THE WAY MET EARL,
BOB AND JOANNE.EARL (ON THE LEFT) CARRIED BALL BEARINGS TO WARD OFF ANY TAILGATERS, BOB (EARL'S NEPHEW) WORE A 9MM 17 SHOT
HANDGUN ON HIS HIP AND MADE THAT GIANT TRAILER SO JOANNE
COULD RIDE WITH ALL HER CREATURE COMFORTS....TRUE LOVE!
STAYED AT TWO MEDICINE CAMPGROUND IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK.
not bad digs for a night
MET JIM TRYING TO STEAL MY CAMPSITE! WE AGREED TO
SHARE IT AND HE BROUGHT OUT THE JOHNNY WALKER!
OFF THROUGH THE PARK - NICE SCENERY!
LEFT THE NATIONAL PARK AND BACK INTO CANADA.
BRITISH COLUMBIA IS A SPECTACULAR PROVINCE. IT'S EVERY
BIT AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE COUNTRYSIDE OF USA, BUT
WITHOUT THE 'DISNEY' FEEL.
THE FIRST NIGHT I SPENT IN BC WAS AT ONE OF THE
BEAUTIFULLY MAINTAINED REST STOPS. BETTER THAN
MANY CAMPGROUNDS I'VE STAYED IN.
damn, dropped again!
legs, not back - bikey weighs 700lb fully loaded
back on the road again!
Nice bridges in BC
1st meeting with Gary and Joanne - more on them later - wonderful folk!
this cloud caught my eye
foods for the overwait?
got off the beaten track to find COALMONT, interesting welcome!
and the sign right next to the 1st one
condom ads in the restroom of the COALMONT hotel
John and Josh - father and son who owned and ran the
COALMONT hotel. They charged me $12.50 us for a
bowl of chili and a shot of Jim Beam...shoulda asked
for the menu first I guess!!!
I WASN'T AT ANY STAGE ASKED TO SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, BUT
HEADED NORTH TO FIND A CAMPSITE. FOUND ONE LATE, PITCHED
TENT AND CRASHED. READY TO GO EARLY IN THE MORNING,
BUT DIDN'T WANT TO WAIT AROUND FOR THE GATE TO BE
UNLOCKED SO DROVE THROUGH THE TREES ONLY TO FIND IT
HAD BEEN BOOBY TRAPPED WITH BARBED WIRE. AS LUCK
WOULD HAVE IT ONLY THE FRONT TIRE WAS AT RISK, BUT
WAS FINE. WHIPPED OUT THE LEATHERMAN WAVE ($70.00 -
INVALUABLE TOOL), CUT THROUGH THE BARBED WIRE AND
MADE THE GREAT ESCAPE.
WAS ON A DIRT ROAD FOLLOWING MY GPS WHEN CAME ACROSS
TWO BULLS IN THE ROAD STARING ME DOWN....NO PICTURE AS
I GASSED IT QUICK. WAS GLAD MY BIKE WAS GREEN AND NOT RED!
10 MINUTES LATER STARTLED A BLACK BEAR LUMBERING DOWN
THE ROAD, AND TEN MINUTES AFTER THAT, CAME ACROSS A
MOUNTAIN LION OR COUGAR.
Look closely - there is a mountain lion just below the little
tree in the middle staring back...my zoom was on full!.
ARRIVED IN VANCOUVER AND MET TIMMY, TAMARA'S BROTHER IN P.E.I
Timmy, my gracious Vancouver guide and host
WE WENT TO GRANVILLE ISLAND - MARKET EXTRAORDINAIRE
Gone to the dogs! streets of Vancouver
WENT TO AN AIRSHOW - THANKS JOEL AND BOB FOR THE ENTRY AND BARBY!!
life's cruel when you're old and past it!!
Security for the Stealth Bomber...seemed a litte excessive...
but the girl with the machine gun...now that's hot!!
Here you go Dad, the EH 101 - my Dad used to sell these when he was in corporate world
Although the Candanians call it a Cormorant
SO RIGHT NOW I'M WAITING IN VANCOUVER (FANTASTIC CITY) FOR MY RUSSIAN VISA. WASN'T PARTICULARLY HARD TO GET BUT COST ME $30.00
US FOR THE INVITE AND ANOTHER $100.00 FOR THE PROCESSING
FEE...TAKES A WEEK IN SEATTLE. THEY ALSO KEEP MY PASSPORT
FOR THE WEEK.
DECIDED TO DO SOME MAINTAINANCE ON BIKEY.
Here's the new front mudguard extender - note the bolts this time!
Found a couple of leaks in the Scottoiler feedtube
A little GOOP and rerouting fixed the problem
Ready for new tires?
All cleaned up and raring to go - whoa horsey!
thanks for all the cleaning products Gary!!
Posted by Richard Lindley at 06:08 PM
August 14, 2006 GMT
LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING
ANYONE WHO WISHES TO CONTACT ME;
my email is in the copyyright link at the bottom of the page
ALSO, ANY NAME, PLACE, PRICE OR FACT I GET WRONG I TAKE FULL
RESPONSIBILITY FOR. IT'S ALL WRITTEN FROM MEMORY.
MY NAME IS RICHARD LINDLEY, I'M 42, AND HAVE BEEN LIVING AND
WORKING IN BOSTON AS A GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR THE LAST
SIX YEARS DOING MOSTLY RESIDENTIAL RENOVATION AND
LAST YEAR, I BOUGHT A BRAND NEW TRIUMPH TIGER 955I WHICH IS THE
BREED OF MOTORCYCLES THAT HAVE BEEN MARQUED AS THE
'SPORT ADVENTURERS' OR 'BIG TRAILIES'.
AT 42 I'M STRONG AND FIT
ENOUGH TO DO A LONG BIKE TRIP
....SEE HOW DICK PICKS UP BIKEY IN THE BLOG PHOTOS....
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I WILL ALWAYS
LOOK BACK ON AS AN ADVENTURE I DID JUST FOR THE HELLUVIT.
1st, find a willing cameraman
2nd, grab handgrip with one hand, anything within reach with the other
Ready to push
Give it the old school try
IT TOOK ME OVER A YEAR OF CAREFUL RESEARCH,
PLANNING AND SAVING TO GET TO ZERO HOUR.
TWO BOOKS I HEARTILY RECOMMEND ARE CHRIS SCOTT'S 'THE
ADVENTURE MOTORCYCLING HANDBOOK' AND GREG FRAZIER'S '
RIDE THE WORLD'. BOTH PROVIDED AMPLE INFO. TO ALLOW ME TO
OUTFIT AND PREPARE MY BIKE, AND A BASIC EDUCATION AS TO
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN I LEAVE THE MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE
PLAYGROUND OF AMERICA AND CANADA.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE TECHNICAL DETAILS OF
MOTORCYCLE PREPARATION, THIS SECTION IS FOR YOU,
FOR THOSE NOT, JUST SKIP ON DOWN TO THE NEXT TITLE:
'FINALLY - LIFE ON THE ROAD'
BUYING A BRAND NEW MOTORCYCLE A YEAR AND A HALF BEFORE
MY TRIP TURNED OUT TO BE A GOOD CHOICE.
I HAVE BEEN RIDING MOTORCYCLES FOR THE LAST 30 ODD YEARS,
THEREFORE, BY THE TIME OF THE BIG KICK OFF, I WAS ALREADY
'AT ONE' WITH MY MACHINE.
NEWER BIKES OFFER RELIABILITY AND GRIN FACTOR. MY BIKE
HAS AN IN-LINE TRIPLE CYLINDER 955 CC INJECTED POWER
PLANT TO BOOST ME AROUND THE WORLD. MUCH OF MY
CIRCUMNAVIGATION WILL BE DONE ON BITUMEN SO I
WANTED A BIKE THAT WOULD CRUISE AT 90 MPH WITH
EASE. I WANTED A BIKE THAT WILL ACCELERATE ME OUT
OF ANY POTENTIAL ROAD TROUBLE, THAT WILL TAKE A
BEATING AND I WANTED A BIKE THAT STARTS EVERY MORNING
- AND I MEAN EVERY MORNING.
THAT SAID, I'M HAVING MY BIKE SERVICED AT WESTERN POWER
SPORTS NEAR VANCOUVER AS I WRITE THIS AND I'M HAVING THEM
PUT ON METZLER TOURANCE TYRES. I WORE OUT THE STOCK
METZLER ORIGINALS TRAVELLING 6,000 ACROSS NORTH AMERICA - WHICH
WERE VERY GOOD FOR THE TARMAC, BUT LITTLE USE OFF-ROAD.
Couldn't quite make this hill climb
Even worse on the second attempt
I HOPE THE TOURANCE TIRES (WHEN I DEFLATE THEM A LITTLE)
WILL HANDLE THE SO CALLED 'ZILOV GAP' AND GIVE ME ENOUGH
TREAD TO TAKE ME TO THE DEALERSHIPS OF ULAN UDE WHERE
I CAN SWITCH THEM OUT FOR ROAD TIRES.
I KNOW FROM MY DIRT BIKING EXPERIENCE THAT WHILE KNOBBY
TYRES LOOK COOL AND GIVE THAT ESSENTIAL IN-THE-MUD LATERAL
DRIVE, THEY WEAR OUT QUICKER THAN A NEW YORK MINUTE ON THE PAVEMENT. I HOPE THE TOURANCE TYRES WILL FIT THE BILL....
I'LL LET YOU KNOW MID RUSSIA.
OK, SO WHAT ELSE DID I DO.
FIRST, I CHANGED THE PLASTIC SIDE PANNIERS FOR ALUMINUM ONES.
THE NEW TOUGHER ALU. BOXES CAME WITH STRONG TUBULAR STEEL
RACKS SPECIFICALLY ENGINEERED TO FIT MY BIKE WHICH ADDS A HUGE AMOUNT OF ' GET OFF' PROTECTION. SOME OF THE COMPANIES I CHECKED
INTO WERE TOURATECH, MOTOSPORT, HAPPY TRAILS AND JESSES'
bikey in the shop
EACH ONE HAD IT'S OWN ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE.
I WAS GOING TO GO WITH HAPPY TRAILS BECAUSE NOT ONLY
DID THEY HAVE THE BEST PRICE ($750.00) BUT THEY SHAPED
THE BOXES TO FIT AROUND MY HIGH EXHAUST TO INCREASE
STORAGE SPACE. I DIDN'T GO WITH THEM BECAUSE THEY
USED 0.80MM THICK ALUMINUM AND THOSE EXTRA WELDS
TO SHAPE THE BOXES I FELT COULD ULTIMATELY BE A PROBLEM.
TOURATECH ($960.00) AND JESSE (+$1000.00) OFFER A GREAT PRODUCT BUT THEY WERE BOTH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MOTOSPORT ($825.00...THEY ALSO SHIPPED THEM FOR FREE)
WHOM I EVENTUALLY WENT WITH. MOTOSPORT USED 1.5 MM THICK ALUMINUM,AND THEY FOLD THE CORNERS - NO WELDS - WITH AIRCRAFT STYLE RIVETING ON THE BOTTOMS. THEY CAME WITH A WATERPROOF GASKET AND A
LOCKING LATCH BOTH OF WHICH I MODIFIED. ONE OF THE BOXES
LEAKED FROM DAY ONE, SO I CHANGED THE ANGLE OF THE LATCHES
TO PROVIDE MORE WATERPROOFING PRESSURE WHEN CLOSED
...SEEMS TO WORK. ALSO THE LOCKING LATCHES WERE LIGHT
WEIGHT SO I ADDED SERIOUS HASP AND STAPLES TO BOTH ENDS
OF BOTH BOXES FOR ADDED SECURITY.
added beef for the boxes!!!
NEXT I ORDERED A HIGHER WINDSHEILD FROM CEEBAILEY
($130.00). UNFORTUNATELY, OR SO I THOUGHT AT THE TIME
, IT WAS TOO LOW. IF YOU WANT GOOD HIGH SPEED WIND
PROTECTION, THE SCREEN SHOULD BE LEVEL WITH YOUR
NOSE WHEN RIDING....THIS WAS LEVEL WITH MY CHIN. DO
I SEND IT BACK AND GET A BIGGER ONE? THE ANSWER
WAS PROVIDED BY TOURATECH WHO OFFER A UNIVERSAL
WINDSCEEN EXTENDER($115.00). THIS HAS PROVEN TO BE
THE BEST OPTION, BECAUSE FOR LOW SPEED OFF-ROADING,
THE CEEBAILEY SCREEN IS HUGELY BENEFICIAL FOR VISIBILITY
AND LESS DAMAGE POTENTIALS FOR ANY 'GET OFFS'.
CEEBAILEY ALSO PROVIDED ME WITH ACRYLIC HEADLAMP
PROTECTORS FOR AN EXTRA $20.00.
I BOUGHT AND ADDED MUDGUARD EXTENDERS FRONT
AND BACK.($20.00 AND $30.00 RESPECTIVELY) ALTHOUGH
I LOST MY FRONT ONE SOMEWHERE IN CANADA - I BOUGHT
A NEW ONE AND THIS TIME I WILL THROUGH BOLT IT WITH
STAINLESS NUTS AND BOLTS AS WELL AS AN EPOXY GLUE.
JUST GLUEING THE FIRST ONE WITH EPOXY FAILED TO HOLD...
YOU LIVE AND LEARN.
MY MODEL TRIUMPH HAS A DESIGN FLAW THAT RESULTS IN MUD,
SMALL SHARP OBJECTS ETC BEING FLUNG INTO THE OIL COOLER
AT A HIGH RATE OF KNOTS....THE OIL COOLER??? FOR HEAVENS
SAKE TRIUMPH, MAKE A BIG TRAILIE FOR TRAILS NOT JUST FOR
GIRLIE HIGHWAY RIDERS...MY APOLOGIES TO THE HARDCORE GIRL RIDERS...YOU GUYS ROCK.
THE FRONT EXTENDER KEEPS NASTIES OUT OF THE TENDER
PARTS AND THE BACK EXTENDER STOPS THAT MUD SHOWER
ON YER BACK ON WET DAYS AS WELL AS PROVIDING AMPLE
ROOM FOR OTHER COUNTRIES LARGER NUMBER PLATES.
TOURATECH ALSO PROVIDED ME WITH VERY EFFECTIVE BUT
UNOBTRUSIVE CRASH BARS ($250.00). BETWEEN THE ALU
BOXES, CRASH BARS AND THE HANDLEBAR END WEIGHTS,
WHEN THE BIKE FALLS....NARY A SCRATCH!!! TAKE NOTE YOU
CHROME POLISHING, HIGH WAX SHEEN, FIBERGLASS COWLING
UP THE WAZOO GLORY BOY CROWD. NO CRYING WHEN A SIMPLE
SIDESTAND SLIP TAKES $756.32 OFF THE VALUE OF YOUR CROWD
PLEASING SUPERBIKE. MY TIGER IS PROTECTED COMPLETELY
FROM THE STATIONARY SIDEWAYS GRAVITATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT
. see 'how Dick picks up bikey' section!!
I PURCHASED A RADIATOR PROTECTOR FROM TOURATECH ($150.00)
...BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY. THE FRONT MUDGUARD EXTENDER
NEGATED THE NEED FOR THE OIL COOLER GUARD, WHICH WAS JUST
AS WELL AS TOURATECH USA COULDN'T SECURE ME THE LOWER GUARD
EVEN WITH FOUR MONTHS NOTICE!!!!
Note the mud on the lower section which is the oil cooler
WOLFMAN EXPEDITION SERIES PROVIDED ME WITH MY SOFT BACKS
(SAVE THE TANK BAG) THE TAIL($160.00) AND DUFFEL BAG ($100.00)
HOLD ALL OF MY CAMPING GEAR AND CLOTHING....THEY ARE
WATERPROOF AS LONG AS YOU CAN FOLD THE ZIPPERLESS SEAMS
AT LEAST TWICE, THEN SYNCH THEM DOWN. I GOT TWO SETS OF
TANK PANNIERS ($80.00 PER SET). - ONE SET ACROSS THE TANK
AND ONE SET IN FRONT OF THE ALU. BOXES - PROVIDED EXCELLENT ADDITIONAL STORAGE FOR THINGS LIKE BIKE COVERS, TANK
BAG RAIN COVERS, PERSONAL WASHBAGS AND NUMEROUS OTHER
EASILY REPLACEABLE ITEMS...THE BAGS DON'T LOCK, BUT THE
BIKE COVER (LIGHTWEIGHT TRAVEL COVER FROM DOWCO -
($50.00) PROVIDES SOME DETERENT FROM THE LIGHT FINGERED
LARRY'S. THE TANK PANNIERS ARE RELATIVELY WATERPROOF,
BUT BECAUSE THEY HAVE ZIPS, I HAVE FOUND THEM TO BE A
LITTLE SOGGY FROM TIME TO TIME.
I KEEP MY ELECTONICS BAG, SPARE PARTS BAG AND TOOL
BAG IN THE BIG ALU PANNIER, MY MEDICAL KIT, BAG CONTAINING
SECURITY LOCKS ETC...CAMPING HATCHET...NOT A GOOD IDEA
TO PUT A HATCHET IN MY EXPENSIVE SOFT BAGS!!....BOOKS,
THERMOS, CAMP STOVE ETC IN THE SMALLER PANNIER. I GOT
ONE BIG AND ONE SMALL SO I COULD KEEP THE OVERALL WIDTH
OF THE BIKE DOWN. LANE SPLITTING MANOEVERABILITY AND
DOOR WIDTH PASSAGE CAN BE CRUCIAL!!!
I bought the holdalls from the Sears tool department, each one different so I know what bag to fish for
I also lined each box with contact paper, no black alu. residue over everything
MY TANK BAG IS THE TOURMASTER EXPANDABLE ONE. EVEN
THOUGH IT'S NOT WATERPROOF, IT DOES COME WITH AN
EFFECTIVE RAIN COVER. MY TANK BAG IS MY MOST USED
ITEM. IN THERE GO ALL THE THINGS I NEED ON THE ROAD
ON A DAILY BASIS. AS ONE DISCOVERS PRETTY QUICKLY,
WHEN YOU NEED SOMETHING OUT OF THE TAIL BAG OR
ALU BOXES, THINGS HAVE TO BE BROKEN DOWN AND
STREWN AROUND TO GET TO SAID ITEM. IF SAID ITEM
IS IN TANK BAG, ONE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE TO STOP....OK, OK
I'VE LEARNT THAT PULLING OVER TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
IS A MUCH BETTER OPTION THAN FUMBLING THROUGH THE
BAG WITH MY LEFT HAND IN MOVING TRAFFIC. MY TANKBAG
CONTAINS MY LIGHTWEIGHT GLOVES, SHADES, SUNBLOCK,
PHONECHARGER, INTREGRAR IV SOUND SYSTEM, RADAR
DETECTOR - PASSPORT ESCORT 8500 ($340.00), RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES AND CHARGER, XENA DISC LOCK,
WITH MOTION DETECTOR ALARM, CHEQUE BOOKS, COMPRESSOR
(CYCLEPUMP) FOR THOSE SLOW LEAKS, STAMPS, DUMMY WALLET
, CABLE TIES, RUBBER BANDS, SIDESTAND PLATE, SPARE PHONE ETC...
IT EASILY CLIPS OFF FOR REFUELING OR TAKING WITH, IF NEED
BE. COMES WITH BUILT IN BACK STRAPS FOR EASY CARRYING
AND IS ALL AROUND JUST A MARVELLOUS ITEM...NOT TO
MENTION THE DETACHEABLE CLEAR MAP WINDOW AND MAP
STORAGE POUCH. I DIDN'T GET WOLFMAN'S TANK BAG
BECAUSE IT'S WATERPROOFING MAKES IT MUCH LESS
ACCESSABLE....BIT OF A PAIN IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN RAIN
IN TWO WEEKS...KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
OTHER SUNDRY ITEMS....AIRHAWK SEAT PAD ($160.00)
...WORKS PRETTY GOOD ALTHOUGH THE SECURING STRAPS HAVE
ALREADY BROKEN ON THE BACK. DEER WHISTLE...SO
FAR SO GOOD. $10.00 COMPASS ON DASH...GOOD
COMPLIMENT TO THE TANK BAG MAP AND GPS....GARMIN
ETREX LEGEND CX....EXCELLENT BY THE WAY...ABOUT $300.00
...I CAN PLOT A ROUTE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AND IT
WILL GIVE ME WRITTEN (NOT SPOKEN) DIRECTIONS...HOPE IT WORKS
IN RUSSIA WITH ALL THE ROAD SIGNS BEING IN RUSSIAN
....I'M STUDYING RUSSIAN BUT IT'S PRETTY TOUGH GOING!!
ONE OF THE BEST PURCHASES I MADE WAS THE
INTEGRAR IV MOTORCYCLE AUDIO SYSTEM FROM
J&M AUDIO ($450.00) I CAN PLUG IN MY RADAR, GPS
(IF IT WAS A TALKING ONE) CELL PHONE, MP3 AND
IT HAS A BUILT IN FM RADIO. I PURCHASED A REALLY
GOOD SET OF IN HELMET SPEAKERS, ALSO FROM J&M AUDIO
($240.00) TO COMPLIMENT THE UNIT.
OK, ENOUGH FROM YOU GUYS WHO GET OUT THEIR
SOAPBOXES ON MUSIC FOR MOTORCYCLES. HERE'S
THE FACTS FOR ME. OVER 40 MPH, ROAD NOISE CANCELS
OUT A LOT OF OTHER SOUNDS AND SOUND TRAVELS AT
ABOUT 700 MPH WHEREAS LIGHT TRAVELS AT 186,000
MILES PER SECOND. i'M VERY VIGILANT!!!! FOR THE
NEWBIE MOTORCYCLIST, PERHAPS BLASTING OUT VAN
HALEN IN TOWN AT 25 MPH IS NOT A GOOD THING, BUT
WHEN I'M SCREAMING DOWN A DEAD STRAIGHT ROAD
IN SOUTH DAKOTA WITH NO-ONE AND NOTHING FOR MILES
I CAN LISTEN TO PINK FLOYD IF I WANT...OK!!!. ALSO,
THE RADAR CUTS IN IMMEDIATELY THROUGH THE MUSIC
AND I KNOW OF AT LEAST THREE SPEEDING TICKETS IT
HAS ALREADY SAVED ME....THE IN HELMET SPEAKERS ARE
PUT INTO THE CHEEKPADS OF MY ARAI QUANTUM II($500.00)
AND THE SOUND IS SO GOOD THAT I WEAR MY EARPLUGS
AND JUST TURN THE VOLUME UP TO MY LIKING. IT'S A GREAT
SYSTEM FOR THE DISTANCE RIDER, ESPECIALLY FOR THE
INCOME GENERATING SCAM ALL STATES IN THE USA CALL
THEIR SPEEDING LAWS...I MEAN REALLY....YOU GET ON A
MACHINE THAT IS DESIGNED TO CRUISE AT SPEEDS IN
EXCESS OF 80 MPH, ON BEAUTIFUL SMOOTH CURVING ROADS
WITH A POSTED LIMIT OF 55 MPH!!!! COME ON, GET INTO RADAR TECHNOLOGY...WHICH IS BTW THE ESCORT 8500 ($340.00)....
SENSITIVE TO OVER TWO MILES....HEAR ME LAUGH AT THE COPS NOW
HAHHAHAHAHHEHEHEHEHHEHEHEHEH - PAUSE FOR BREATHE - EHEHEHEHHEHAHAHAHAHHAHHEHEHHEHEHEHEHHAHAHHA
ALSO, BE AWARE THAT RADAR DETECTORS ARE ILLEGAL
THROUGHOUT CANADA AND IN SOME US STATES. THE COP
HAS THE RIGHT TO CONFISCATE YOUR DETECTOR IF HE
FINDS IT. I MAKE IT QUICKLY DETACHEABLE, BECAUSE
LEGAL OR NO, COPS DON'T LIKE TO SEE A FUZZBUSTER
BEEPING CHEERILY ON MY HANDLEBARS.(BTW SIDEWINDER
RADAR MOUNTING ARM ($25.00) BUT CHANGE THE PLASTIC
TIPPED LOCKING SCREWS FOR STAINLESS BOLTS,
OTHERWISE YOUR FANCY DETECTOR MIGHT BE BOUNCING
DOWN THE HIGHWAY.
OK, ENOUGH OF TEMPTING FATE, LET'S MOVE ONTO RIDING
AT A STORE CALLED MOTOSPORT PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
IN ACTON, MASS YOU'LL FIND - ALBEIT AT A HIGH PRICE
- EVERYTHING YOU'LL NEED FROM DAY RIDING TO THE BIG
I CHOSE, OR RATHER THE SEXY ROSE - MOTORCYCLE
SALES SIREN - WHO WILL FLIRT YOU INTO DROPPING
YOU'RE ENTIRE WAD - PERSUADED ME TO PURCHASE
THE REV'IT 3/4 JACKET AND MATCHING PANTS. I MUST
SAY THE JACKET HAS BECOME A PART OF ME. ALL MY
VALUABLES STAY WITH ME IN THEIR CAREFULLY ALLOCATED
POCKETS. EVERY POCKET HAS IT'S ITEM AND IT STAYS
THAT WAY. I DON'T LOSE ANYTHING IF I STICK TO THIS
SYSTEM. ONE FEATURE THAT I HAVE FOUND TO BE FANTASTIC
IS THE BUILT IN CAMELBAK HOLDER. YOU HAVE TO PURCHASE
THE BLADDER SEPARATELY - DON'T SKIMP HERE UNLESS YOU
ENJOY 3 LITERS OF WATER IN YOU UNDERPANTS...ABOUT $30.00
- THAT FEATURES AN IN JACKET LINE WITH THE 'BITE AND SUCK'
SPIGGOT OF THE WATER BLADDER COMING OUT OF A GASKET
ON MY LEFT SHOULDER. THIS PROVIDES ME WITH A 3 LITER
WATER SUPPLY AND ENCOURAGES ME TO DRINK ON THE
ROAD. NOT TO MENTION HANDY WHEN YOU WANT TO
BRUSH YOUR TEETH IN THE BUSH. DEHYDRATION IS A MAJOR
FACTOR BECAUSE WITH WIND CHILL, YOU DON'T EVEN FEEL
IT. BOTH PANTS AND JACKET HAVE THE BUILT IN ARMOUR,
THE ZIP-IN BREATHEABLE WATERPROOF MEMBRANE
(GOODBYE RAINGEAR) AND A ZIP IN THERMAL LAYER.
I CHOSE TO NOT PACK THE THERMAL LAYER AS I HAVE
A GERBINGS ELECTRICALLY HEATED JACKET($300.00)
WHEN THINGS GET FROSTY, NOT TO MENTION A
SELECTION OF ICEBREAKER MERINO WOOL SHIRTS
($90.00 EA) AND THERMALS. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO
SKI, SNOWBOARD AND MOTORCYCLE AND DON'T LIKE
TO GET COLD, GET INTO THE LUXURY OF MERINO WOOL
. NOT ONLY CAN YOU LAYER UP DIFFERENT WEIGHTS,
BUT IT KEEPS YOU COOL WHEN IT'S HOT, WARM WHEN
ITS COLD AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DOESNT' STINK!!!
EVEN AFTER DAYS ON THE ROAD...ALTHOUGH I DO
ROTATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. IT KNOCKS THE SOCKS
OFF ANYTHING SYNTHETIC....REALLY...TRY IT....I KNOW
IT'S EXPENSIVE, BUT YOU REALLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
WITH THIS STUFF....ICEBREAKER IS THE COMPANY,
THEY'RE OUT OF NZ.
I BOUGHT FANCY DAYTONA GERMAN MADE MOTORCYCLE
BOOTS ($400.00 THANKS ROSE!!) AT MOTOSPORT, BUT
NEVER LIKED THEM. INSTEAD I PLUNKED DOWN $150.00
FOR WATERPROOF BOOTS FROM GALLS. THEY DO MORE
POLICE UNIFORM STUFF, BUT LOVE THE BOOTS.
ONE LAST THING....HEATED GRIPS...LOVE EM. LIGHT
GLOVES AND HEAVY WINTER GLOVES, GOTTA HAVE EM.
I'M THINKING OF ELECTRICALLY HEATED GLOVES THAT
JUST PLUG INTO THE SLEEVES OF MY ELECTRICALLY
HEATED JACKET...WE'LL SEE.
ONE MORE THING I ADDED....SCOTTOILER...AUTOMATIC
CHAIN LUBRICATION SYSTEM. FOR ALL OF YOU WITH CHAINS
AND LONG DISTANCES TO RIDE, GET ONE OF THESE...
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF FOR IT. JUST KEEP AN EYE ON
THE GRAVITY FEED AND SUPPLY. CAN GET MESSY, BUT
WITH THE CORRECT ADJUSTMENT, THEY'LL MORE THAN
PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN NON REPLACEMENT OF CHAINS
AND SMOOTH RUNNING OF THE BIKE. IT'S A LITTLE TRICKY
TO FIT, BUT GO ON, YOU CAN DO IT.
TIE DOWN STRAPS OF THE RATCHETING VARIETY PROVIDE
THE SECURITY OF ROCK SOLID BAGGAGE HOLDING....
DON'T EVEN THINK OF ANYTHING STRETCHY.
FINALLY - LIFE ON THE ROAD.
IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT AND TIME CONSUMING TO TIE
EVERY LOOSE END UP IN MY LIFE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS
OF FREEDOM. I'M NOT GOING TO BORE YOU (FURTHER)
WITH THE DETAILS, AS I'M SURE ALL OF YOU HAVE THAT
BIG PILE OF 'I'LL GET TO THIS ONE DAY' MAIL AS WELL
AS ALL OF THAT PERSONAL LIFE ORGANIZING STUFF
THAT YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD DO.
SO ONE OF THE THINGS I WAS FORCED TO DO WAS CLEAN
UP MY ACT. MY GOODNESS, IT FELT GOOD AS ALL THE
SHACKLES OF THE 'GOOD' LIFE FELL AWAY, AND IT WAS
JUST ME AND MY RIDICULOUSLY OVERLADEN MOTORCYCLE
CRUISING UP 95 NORTH.
FIRST STOP TO SEE MY GOOD FRIENDS IAN AND KATHERINE
WHO WITH THEIR THREE CHILDREN WERE KIND ENOUGH TO
GIVE MY KITTY, LUCY, A NEW HOME. FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH
LONG TERM PETS, YOU'LL UNDERSTAND THE EMOTIONAL
TRAUMA OF KITTY OR POOCH SEPARATION, BUT I KNOW
SHE'S IN A GOOD LOVING HOME....THANKS IAN AND
THEN UP TO PORTLAND FOR A DAY SAIL AND SAY GOODBYE
TO UNCLE RICK AND AUNTIE VICKY
Thanks for all the great skiing last season
FIRST REAL MOTORCYCLE CRUISE WAS WITH GREG
AND TROY. BOTH SNOWBOARDER AND SKIER RESPECTIVELY
THAT I MET AT SUNDAY RIVER LAST PISTE SEASON. TROY
IS A SEASONED RIDER WITH A PRISTINE TRIUMPH DAYTONA
955i AND GREG IS ON HIS FIRST BIKE, THE TRIUMPH 800CC
THREE GLORIOUS DAYS UP IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, STAYED WITH FRIENDS UP THERE AND JUST TOOLED AROUND MT DESERT ISLAND - THE THREE AMIGOS!!!
Greg Troy and me attop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
LEFT THEM AT A GAS STATION IN NORTHERN MAINE AND HEADED
OFF TO CANADA MISSING THE EASINESS OF THEIR COMPANY AND
FEELING SLIGHTLY ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME.
CROSSING THE CANADIAN BORDER WAS A BREEZE, AND ABOUT 10
MILES LATER THIS DUDE ON A SUPERBIKE ZIPPED PAST ME DOING
OVER A TON, SLOWED DOWN SO HE COULD PULL A 60 YARD, 90 MPH
WHEELIE RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME THEN STREAKED OFF, WEAVING IN
AND OUT OF TRAFFIC, CROSSING ALL THE LINES.
I PREFERRED RIDING WITH GREG AND TROY, BUT THANKS FOR THE
UP TO PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND....HAVE YOU SEEN THAT BRIDGE
THEY BUILT ACROSS THE SOUND? 9 KMS LONG...JUST AMAZING....
YOU HAVE TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT.
FINALLY GOT TO HANG OUT WITH TAMARA AND MARTIN, MY VERY
BUSY BOSTON FRIENDS AND IT WAS SUCH A PRIVILEDGE TO SPEND
TIME WITH TAMARA'S FAMILY, WHO EXTENDED SUCH HOSPITALITY,
I FELT LIKE THE LONG LOST SON COMING HOME.
Me with Tamara's husband Martin...nice legs boy!!!
BUT ACCORDING TO MY FISH/GUEST RULE (YOU KNOW AFTER THREE
DAYS THEY BOTH BEGIN TO STINK!) I HEADED WEST VAGUELY TOWARDS TORONTO WHERE I HAVE AN AUNTIE.
leaving the Mossey household in PEI
Thanks Tamara for a great visit
FIRST NIGHT OUT UNDER THE STARS. ALL THE CAREFULLY BOUGHT
CAMPING EQUIPMENT TURNED OUT TO BE FANTASTIC, MY TWO MAN
TENT (HILDEBERG NANO - (450.00) ASSEMBLED IN A SNAP IN A
CAMPGROUND IN CANADA ON THE SHORES OF A BEAUTIFUL FRESH
WATER LAKE. WENT SWIMMING, WENT TO SLEEP ON MY THERMAREST
MATTRESS ($80.00) AND WAS UP AND ON THE ROAD BY 7.00 AM.
BIG DAY ALONG THE TRANS CANADA....NEARLY 700 MILES THROUGH
BIG RAINSTORMS....HAHAHAHA ALL THOSE BARE ARMED BEANIE
HELMETED HARLEY RIDERS COWERING UNDER BRIDGES....AS I SAILED
BY AT 80 MPH LISTENING TO JOY DIVISION!!!
END OF THE DAY, ANOTHER OPEN FAMILY INVITATION (THIS TIME REAL
FAMILY - MY DAD'S SISTER) AND THREE DAYS (NB THREE DAY RULE!!)
OF GREAT FOOD, VISITING RELATIVES....AUNTIE PAT, UNCLE JOHN AND
MY COUSINS IAN, FEE AND MEREDITH WERE GREAT.
here's John after perusing my blog for a few minutes
FEE ESPECIALLY IS SUCH AN INSPIRATION, BECAUSE DESPITE HAVING
MD (MUSCULAR DISTROPHY) SINCE THE AGE OF 3, LIVES IN A SPACIOUS
TWO BED APARTMENT, HAS HER OWN WEBSITE FOR PROOF READING....
CHECK IT OUT AT www.WrittenProof.ca ....AND HAS THE BEST SENSE OF HUMOUR OF MOST PEOPLE I KNOW.
SPEND AN AFTERNOON WITH FEE, AND YOU'LL BE RE-EVALUATING
YOUR OWN PATHETIC WOES....SHE'S AN AMAZING PERSON.
NOW THE ADVENTURE BEGINS. WITH NO DESTINATION OR FRIENDS
OR FAMILY AHEAD, IT'S JUST ME AND BIKEY ON THE ROAD. AT THIS
POINT I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT TRAVELLING ALONE, WITH NO-ONE
AND NOTHING INTERFEREING WITH WHERE AND WHEN YOU WANT TO
GO IS TREMENDOUSLY LIBERATING. I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING MORE
FUN THAN TRAVELLING ON A FAST, FUNCTIONING AND FULLY EQUIPPED MOTORCYCLE THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL LANDS OF NORTH AMERICA.
I HEADED NW TOWARD TOBERMARY. I TOOK THE FERRY OVER TO
MANATOULIN ISLAND WHERE I MET BRUCE AND DICK, TWO RETIRED
FORD EXECS, ON DUCATI AND BMW RESPECTIVELY. BOTH LIKED TO
RIDE AT 80 MPH PLUS, WERE EXPERIENCED RIDERS AND GENERALLY
WE AGREED TO RIDE ON TOGETHER AND SWAPPED STORIES OVER
DINNER BEFORE SPLITTING A CAMPSITE. THE HEAVENS OPENED DURING
THE NIGHT, LIGHTENING STRIKING VERY CLOSE ALL AROUND AND
POURING, POURING POURING RAIN. STILL WET IN THE MORNING BUT
DECIDED TO GET UP AND GO. ALL MY CAREFULLY STOWED GEAR GETS
THROWN IN WILLY NILLY AS BRUCE 'DECAMPS' IN ABOUT A MINUTE
WE RIDE FAST AND FURIOUS THROUGH THE POURING RAIN, BUT ALL
OF US COMFY IN OUR RESPECTIVE RAINSUITS.
WE SAID GOODBYE OVER LUNCH IN SAUTE SAINT MARIE, STILL
POURING - I HEADED NORTH AND HAD MY FIRST BLOWOUT.
a little deflated on the shores of lake Huron
ooking back to the corner I came around at 70 mph with a flat back tire, with oncoming traffic.
Here's the gash in my rear tire. The metal thing is part of my repair kit
Don't leave home without it
All fixed up in no time
Took a moment to ponder....
On what could have been
Posted by Richard Lindley at 10:28 PM