July 15, 2006 GMT
Seoul Korea

July 1 & 2 Saturday & Sunday, Seoul Korea, speedo reeading 26,668 km

Left Anchorage, finally, thanks be to god ! at 01.00 on Saturday morning. I arrived in Seoul, Korea after flying through seattle and over the international date line to arrive Seoul on Sunday at 17.00 on July 2.

Total culture change obviously. No english spoken. No english signs.

Sign language and smiles gets me great attention and a feed of octopus !
mekorea.jpg


octopus.jpg

Met 2 great korean guys on the flight who offered to help with english translation the next day... and since GSM doesn't work, sat phone was great !

July 3 - 6 Monday - Thursday, Seoul Korea, Speedo reading 26,668 km

Doesn't look like I'll be doing any mileage in Korea. Round to Fedex to try to clear bike. Finally got Fedex guy to bring me to customs. Short story is no import on a temporary basis is possible, only by paying duties - I push and I'm off over to another office to try there. Yes it is possible but they need 2 days to get approval by department of transport, 1 day to arrange insurance etc. This is the only hope after a day of no food and lots of no's.. My options are :

1. bonded truck freight to Sokcho for a ferry out of Korea past North Korea and into Russia.

2. Other airfreight to Vladivostok

I had hoped to bluff my way through here but no joy. Spent 2 x days with the main man in Korea Fedex transport S. W. Kim who was fantastic. After 2 days he has convinced atrucking company to truck me and the bike to Sokcho the next day and to hold it there for delivery by me to the ferry on Thursday. Off we go so...
fedex.jpg

Quick lunch stop en route with the drivers...
drivers.jpg

Beautiful drive across Korea West coast to east to the Port at Sokcho, fantastic very "jungly landscape withdense forests, rivers and small hills rolling into each other... great biking territory. Bikes are illegal on the Expressways here though - funny stuff, so in theory if I had cleared it in Seoul I couln't have driven out of the airport which is only accessible by expressway... I have only seen 2 bikes here in the few days.

Next day I shout at Sokcho customs for 4 hours before giving up... but the pushing forces them to give me access to the bike which will help.

Wednesday I get to visit and prep the bike in the warehouse/ bonded duty free yard for the ro-ro on Thursday. I convince them to let me drop some gas in and to check if it runs ok after the airfreight...

dfreedrive.jpg


seems to be fine... little light on the front maybe ??
wheelie.jpg

Afterwards into town for a look at the garlic market
garlic.jpg

- pick out some fish for lunch
fishcatch.jpg

and wait until tomorrow for the ferry...
waitingforf.jpg

Yeehah !! Ferry arrives on Thursday morning - my ticket back into the saddle !!
ferry.jpg

Get the bike on and strapped down - I insist on doing it myself with my own ties...
ferrytie.jpg

Great cabin and a view onto the North Korean coast and on we go...
nkorea.jpg


7 July Friday, Sarabino, Russia, speedo reading 26,668 KM

We dock at 10.00 at Sarabino after a $2 breakfast of last night's canteen food... but I'm here ! We wait for 2 hours before disembarking...
docked.jpg

Into the customs hall and wait -
customs.jpg


takes until 15.00 that afternoon to get in to Russia, through customs, through immigration, get insurance, through the police controls (21 over the next 24 hours...)
21checkpoints.jpg

Most of the ferry guests are Chinese from Hunchun which is ahort drive away. They are on shopping trips to Korea. Sarabino is on afinger of land right beside the North Korean and Russian borders, a real forgotten space.

Finally fueled and off it's 220 km of bad roads to Vladivostok - I hit a patch of axle-deep gravel too fast and lose the bike - can't get it up without unpacking so I wait... finally a local truck driver arrives and I'm off again - forget to get the camera out - will do next time !

Arrived late into Vlad - followed a bus with centre written on the front
vladbus.jpg


and stopped at the train station to find my bearings ... along comes Sasha and Fiodr (hope the spelling's right !!) from the Iron Tiger's bike club

sasha.jpg

iront.jpg

Sasha was dropping the guys off who are heading up for a bike festival in Novosibirsk with their bikes on the Trans- Siberian train ( a 4 day ride !). Sasha drops me up to Hotel Vladivostok (he knows the boss) checks me and the bike in
(good secure parking under the hut)
lock-up.jpg

then takes on a tour... to the train station - it's acool 9,208 km to Moscow by rail on the Trans-Siberian - more by road
cool9208.jpg


on to the submarine from WW2 complete with original torpedoes...
torpedoes.jpg

periscope.jpg

To the harbour church..

church.jpg

and all over town to some of the best views of the city. Vladivostok was a closed military port until Perestroika, so no foreigners could visit until then. Also around that time they began the process of linking it with the rest of Russia by road - a project that is not yet complete.

One thing I have to note for the record - the women here are not pretty, they are not good looking - they are stunning !!! And many, many of them - I've never seen so many beautiful women in one place. A real dudes and babes hangout - men are men and women are babes - very macho society.

Finally we end in in Sasha's favorite restaurant - Studio Coffee - where his friend Evgeniy is the Head Chef - i get to try his halibut with spiced cream and baked banana...

8 July Saturday, Birobidzan, 27879 KM
I set off to hit Birobidzan and succeed - another 1000km day - reasonable road with only 50km dirt. A taxi (biker) offers to drive ahead of me out of town for free !! I head through 3 major cities (which always takes time). In one I am escorted through by a Goldwing who does a U-turn when he sees me, finally a japanese guy living in the next town drives ahead of me.

Hot weather, but lots of friendly faces when you stop... including lots of Ural bikes
uralbiker.jpg


Julja on the right insisted on a spin up the road
girls.jpg

Lots of accidents on russian roads - here a crane lifting a car fell on it... and got lifted out by another crane...
crane.jpg

generally a traffic jam is a crash
crash.jpg

Lots of these repair ramps for trucks along the route...
repair.jpg


I pace along the Chinese border for the whole day...
china.jpg

past real rural Siberia, this boy is drawing water
boywater.jpg

duckcow.jpg

I finally arrive at Khabarovsk, a beautiful town where I spot this church while trying to find my way out...
churchkh.jpg

bikechurchkh.jpg

Around 22.00 I pull into Birobidzan and finally track downa hotel where the bike gets the royal treatment again...
lockupbiro.jpg

Posted by Kevin Maher at July 15, 2006 09:09 AM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

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

contest pic

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!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

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, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

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.

Susan and Grant Johnson 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

amazon

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.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

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 ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

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!