May 04, 2006 GMT

Well, since the last entry we have had some experiances.

We left Romania bound for Moldova, and to be honest, we should have saved ourselves the bother. It cost us money, time and effort that was wasted. It isn't somewhere i would recomend and i doubt you can get a package holiday the from Thompson's, nor will you be able to soon. Although the people there wern't so bad the whole experiance was over in a day, it is like a little place that time forgot and doesn't want to remember. below is a typical building in the capital Chisinau.
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Then we were onto the Ukraine. Customs were a bitch, we had three to go through, all wanted to know everything, they tool my knife and wanted $200 dollars to prevent them from calling the police as it was bigger than allowed, 'it was 4 inches long' so i gave them $10. which i dont think they were happy with but it saved me going through the hassle of sorting it all out without paying. Eventually after about 3 hours of buggering about we were in the country though we were expecting worse as john took 5 hours last time he came in and that was with a push bike.

We saw alot of the Ukraine, mostly at a 45 degree angle. The winds here are terrible, and they always seem to be either cross winds or straight into your face. no tail winds typically. So we started of on day one. All was going well and we were making goood time when Al got a blow out when doing about 65mph. I was about 20 feet behind him and it didn't look good, but after trying to save it three times he went down on the floor, hard.

I stopped the bike and ran back to him and by the time i got there he was on his feet and crouching by the bike so i knmew he wasn't so bad. but his rack was brocken and the innertube was obliterated. So after walking his bike to a nearby petrol station John and i went off into town to find a mechanic who could get it back into town.
After asking a couple of people we found a guy who was more than happy to help and ran around like a headless chicken trying to get it sorted. He did and this is how we got it back to his lockup.
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So anyway these guys spent the rest of the night fixing up als bike, and they did a pretty good job to to be hoest. After they had finished, they decided to invite us to join them for some food and drink. The food was chicken and cheese froim a local shop, the drink was a few beers and there moonshine, which was rocket fuel, so we stayed off of that pretty much.
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They were a good bunch of lads though and were very interested in our lifestyles back in England. Once the morning came we asked them how much we owed them, but again they wouldn't take any money, but we gave them some anyway. A big thank you to Dorick, Varnya, and Roma (spellings probably wrong) but than you anyway, shall speak to you soon if your reading.

So off across the Ukraine we set, and it was going quite well, until Al and i had a little bit of a bump. I was daydreaming down a straight road that was about 500km long with about 5 bends in it, when he slowed down to turn off for fuel and i noticed him at the last minute. I tried to miss him but didn't so our boxes collided and we were both send sprawling across the road. Al was understandable a little upset not only casue i had taken him out, but he had been intimate with Ukrainian tarmac twice within 24hours. quite a good record to set. Here he is after the accident.

DSCI0115.JPG

All in all it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Al had a slightly sprained wrist and a ruptured fuel tank, and i bounced quite well. All this was about 100 yards from about 5 coppers doing speed checks, they came over, told us we would have to get transport through them for the next major town which was 123km away, at $1 per km, luckily an English speaking girl stopped to help, and we told them we would sort the bikes out ourself. Once we told them this they dissapeared as quickly as they had appeared, withouit asking any of us if we were ok, for any documents or for anything else. Seems they just wanted to get a quick buck out of us. So anyway the next couple of hours were spent banging boxes into shape, mending fuel tanks with liquid metal and basically recovering. We hobbled into a town 15km behind us and stayed the night close by in some woods.
The next morning we couldn't find a mechanuic but found some more police, they found a guy who know one so we followed him there. Within the hour we were back on the road. I also got a puncture, two bolts on Al's oil filter lost there threads and had to be re tapped and it did nothing but blow a gale out here.

so now it was the last push to the border. we were about 40km from the border and whoops, Al found himself at the wrong end of a radar gun. 89 in a 70. but nobody really cares out here how fast you go, except the police. They stopped us and took him into a little office by the side of the road and tried to fleece some dollars off of him. Al did exactly the right thing, no, not ask to speak to his superior, or ask him his number, he played the dumb Englishman who couldn't speak russian, not to hard a task to be honest, but it worked, and he kicked him out of the police box by the road out of frustration and tiold him to get lost.

Last but not least on the way out of the Uklraine, another guard stopped Al and tried again to get cash off of him for not getting his piece of paper stamped, which was blatentley missed so they could get some cash off you. Al told him to stick it and went back and got it stamped. So at last we were out of the Ukraine.

All in all Ukraine was full of ups and downs. The Country is a horrible place, but all the people we met, apart from that copper, and the border guards were really nice. So if you meet a Ukranian be nice unless they work for the government.

As i say were in Volgagrad now, but have to go so shall do all of this part fo russia in one go, once were out of it.

More coordinates for google earth from our campsites.

Moldova 47 18.705N 027 42.343E

Ukraine 46 41.812N 030 01.66E

Ukraine 46 46.962N 036 45.435E

Be back soon.


Be back soon.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 03:38 PM GMT
May 11, 2006 GMT

So, since our last post we have managed to get into and out of Russia pretty much unscathed. Apart from the four and a half hours it took us to get in all went well, and to top it off the cafe next to the border crossing was closed when we were in so we couldn't even get a coffee.

All the stereotypes you have of Russians are true, they are nice people but can be a little loud at times. They struggle to make ends meet and they love to drink vodka.

Here's us in a mechanics house who moved from Germany to live in Russia with the local narcotics ploice head and a local pc who left his post on the outskirts of town to join us.

DSCI0137.JPG


We think it was all planned as the narcotics head had met us in a petrol station about 200km back and we asked him for directions. They said we were the first English people to go to there town. Maybe, maybe not but they were very pleased to meet us none the less, and very accomodating.

We went to Volgagrad on our way through Russia were we stopped to do the tourist thing at the local statue (Mother Russia) which was erected to commemorate the thousands who died in WWII fending off the Nazi's. Its a very impressive statue it has to be said and can be seen from miles away.

P1010121.JPG

So onward from Volgagrad and towards the Kazak border. It has to be said though that Russia is a massive country with not much in it. We travelled for distances of 300km without seeing more than a petrol station some farms and cows. But the weather was good and we couldn't complain. Though it has to be said the public conveniances leave a little to be desired.

DSCI0124.JPG

This was among the worst but we had to let you lot at home know what hardships we encounter when busting for the loo.

So into Kazakhstan we came, John finally got his hands on something with a little bit more kick than he is used to. Perhaps he should have kept it for Gail im sure she would appreciate the extra lenth!!!!!!!

DSCI0151.JPG

This was in no mans land between the two crossings. The Russians were finally glad to see the back of us. But the Kazaks new we were coming but it was no problem at the entry. We were done and dusted quite quickly besides one of the button pushers best attempts to keep us there till Christmas.

A new country and new roads. this has been one of the worst we have encounterd so far, and this by all accounts is a good road.

image

Some of the smaller roads are mud and i can only imagin what they like in the winter when the temperature drops to -40 odd which it did this winter. But they are quite good fun when they are dry, though the ruts can be a little hairy at times.

on our second day in Kazakhstan Allen needed a new tyre, so we went round a town trying to find one that would fit. As always we attract quite a bit of attention and we met up with baha, Sabr, Aliya, Sayle and Asel who led us around thir town trying to find a tyre. After about 5 tyre shops, 2 bicycle shops and a market we eventually found one that was 21". So Al went off to get it fitted while John and I had somehting to meet back at their house.
DSCI0154.JPG

Here we all are after a some food and some tea in their living room. Very nice people and thank you for all your help.

DSCI0155.JPG

Kazakhstan is also a big country with not much in it. We often encounter things on the road which perhaps should be elsewhere, here are some things we have seen while we have been out there.

DSCI0166.JPG

DSCI0167.JPG

John made this into some handy bungees.

DSCI0172.JPG

image

They asked me to swap, but the thing was a death trap and i wanted to get home in one piece.

Allens gone off to get his bike fixed again so i dont have any grid references but shall put them up next time.

Shall post again soon when we get a chance.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 12:00 PM GMT

So, since our last post we have managed to get into and out of Russia pretty much unscathed. Apart from the four and a half hours it took us to get in all went well, and to top it off the cafe next to the border crossing was closed when we were in so we couldn't even get a coffee.

All the stereotypes you have of Russians are true, they are nice people but can be a little loud at times. They struggle to make ends meet and they love to drink vodka.

Here's us in a mechanics house who moved from Germany to live in Russia with the local narcotics ploice head and a local pc who left his post on the outskirts of town to join us.

DSCI0137.JPG


We think it was all planned as the narcotics head had met us in a petrol station about 200km back and we asked him for directions. They said we were the first English people to go to there town. Maybe, maybe not but they were very pleased to meet us none the less, and very accomodating.

We went to Volgagrad on our way through Russia were we stopped to do the tourist thing at the local statue (Mother Russia) which was erected to commemorate the thousands who died in WWII fending off the Nazi's. Its a very impressive statue it has to be said and can be seen from miles away.

P1010121.JPG

So onward from Volgagrad and towards the Kazak border. It has to be said though that Russia is a massive country with not much in it. We travelled for distances of 300km without seeing more than a petrol station some farms and cows. But the weather was good and we couldn't complain. Though it has to be said the public conveniances leave a little to be desired.

DSCI0124.JPG

This was among the worst but we had to let you lot at home know what hardships we encounter when busting for the loo.

So into Kazakhstan we came, John finally got his hands on something with a little bit more kick than he is used to. Perhaps he should have kept it for Gail im sure she would appreciate the extra lenth!!!!!!!

DSCI0151.JPG

This was in no mans land between the two crossings. The Russians were finally glad to see the back of us. But the Kazaks new we were coming but it was no problem at the entry. We were done and dusted quite quickly besides one of the button pushers best attempts to keep us there till Christmas.

A new country and new roads. this has been one of the worst we have encounterd so far, and this by all accounts is a good road.

image

Some of the smaller roads are mud and i can only imagin what they like in the winter when the temperature drops to -40 odd which it did this winter. But they are quite good fun when they are dry, though the ruts can be a little hairy at times.

on our second day in Kazakhstan Allen needed a new tyre, so we went round a town trying to find one that would fit. As always we attract quite a bit of attention and we met up with baha, Sabr, Aliya, Sayle and Asel who led us around thir town trying to find a tyre. After about 5 tyre shops, 2 bicycle shops and a market we eventually found one that was 21". So Al went off to get it fitted while John and I had somehting to meet back at their house.
DSCI0154.JPG

Here we all are after a some food and some tea in their living room. Very nice people and thank you for all your help.

DSCI0155.JPG

Kazakhstan is also a big country with not much in it. We often encounter things on the road which perhaps should be elsewhere, here are some things we have seen while we have been out there.

DSCI0166.JPG

DSCI0167.JPG

John made this into some handy bungees.

DSCI0172.JPG

image

They asked me to swap, but the thing was a death trap and i wanted to get home in one piece.

Allens gone off to get his bike fixed again so i dont have any grid references but shall put them up next time.

Shall post again soon when we get a chance.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 12:00 PM GMT
May 16, 2006 GMT

Across Kazakhstan we came via Aktobish, Kostanie and now we are in the capital Astana.

We were in Kostanie when we made our last entry, and while the bikes and John were sitting outside, he was mobbed by the local biker club. They were thrilled to see us and couldn't believe their luck. They helped us find some tyres through a guy called Roman (rom,arn) not sure how its spelt. Sorry Roman if its wrong. Anyway Roman was a bit of a character, he was Kazak motorcross champion 4 years running before being involved in a car accident while on a bike and broke about 8 bones. He cant ride now but still loves cars, has a garage, owns the local motorcross club and drive 'full gas' everywhere. Full gas was about the only english he knew so it was said repeatedly, and i can see why he learnt it. Probably the best way to describe his driving. We got by though as he knew a little German as do i and lots of arm waving does the job nicely.

So we got the tyres, and were taken back to Sergey's. A member of the local bike club where we were given a Banya. This envolves stripping off, getting in a red hot sauna, then being thrashed with leaves. Not everyones cup of tea no doubt but it was very refreshing and its rude to say no., We all needed the wash so was quite welcome. 1st time i've been beaten by a man while naked though, cant speak for John or Allen ;). Cant say as i shall make it a regular thing though.

image

Then it was beer and Vodka all round. Was a long night but a good one and we made some good friends in Kostanie.

So we left Kotanie earlyish one morning, but unbenokw to us the local tv cameras where there and we had to endure 2 hours of interviews. Everyone has 15 minutes, well i have had mine now and it was plenty. Quite annoying to be honest but there you go. On the plus side we did get a police escort from the city so no problems leaving that day.

One night in a field we had our first experiance of rain. So far the most rain we have had was about an hour or so back in Hingary, but that night it rained for about 7 hours and we had a little trouble getting out of the field the next morning.

image


We then made it to Astana, the Kazak capital. This is a nice city that is being injected with lots of money. Also here again we were found by the local bike club who insisted we stay at a place of theres. Another nice night with a roof over our heads, but again it was a late night of Vidka and beer. Still feel a little rough from it right now to be fiar but these things happen. Thank you to Sergey (again) and the guys who helped us here.

image

So tonight we are heading out of Astana for a place to sleep then on towards the russian border. Hopefully we shall be fine, im sure we shall, will post again as soon as we can.

some more pictures below.

See you


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image

image

image


Posted by Colin Patrick at 02:03 PM GMT
August 13, 2006 GMT

thought i'd better add an entry as it seems some people have been a bit worried that we havent entered anything in a while. (thanx rob for putting the notice up, i'll contact you soon and have a chat.)
al and colin are back in the UK and john is in the US,
we're just going through all are photo's at the minute and will have a full big update for you shortly. thanx for everyones concern!!
the next one will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Posted by Allen Starkey at 12:17 PM GMT
 


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