June 26, 2000 GMT

Zaporozhskaya (15-06-2000) till Soci (26-06-2000)

The next day I went to the east end of the Crimea to take the ferry to Russia. I arrived just after the ferry had left and the next one was leaving in 3 hours. Waiting and waiting. Finally we were able to go aboard and had the 20-minute trip. Because I was on my motorbike I was able to leave the ferry first but it had no effect at all as my immigration was the most difficult one by far (because of my visa) and I was put aside and had to wait till all others had passed.

The next stage was to get insurance for my bike and to get the temporary import declaration of the custom officials. The advantage of being the last one was that the customs officials were busy playing cards so they waved me through without any luggage inspection at all. They only asked if I had any weapons with me.

My first intention was to follow the Black Sea coastline and go directly into Georgia on to Turkey. But I had one complete week so I decided to spend some days in the Caucasus Mountains. And I was really glad I made that decision because the scenery was beautiful. Rough mountains complete with glaciers between green areas of grass filled with all different colours of flowers. The most beautiful place was Dombay. It was the furthest south I could get and getting no too close to Chechen.

Bike with the Caucausus mountains, on the background the village of Dombay.

Bike with the Caucausus mountains, on the background the village of Dombay

Driving back a couple of hundreds km. to the Black Sea coast as the roads through the Caucasus Mountains do not exist. At the border post below Sochi I was refused to pass. The border was only open to locals because of the tensions between Georgia and its rebellious district Abghasia. I could take a ferry in Sochi to Batumi or use the Vladikavkaz - Treblisi border (which was a 1000 km. detour). Because of the overland nature of my trip I chose for the second option and I was able to make it to the border post just in time before expiring my Russian visa. And also carefully avoid to camp too close to the Chechen problem area (Although with exception of the frequent police roadblocks and checkings I haven't noticed any tension or what so ever.

At the border post they refused to let me pass again. Saying that ALL overland border crossings were closed to foreigners (there are only 2, and I tried both of them!). The Russians refused to let me leave the country, so the Georgians were not to blame. Their argument was: government rule from Moscow. But they said the situation in Georgia was too unsafe because of the many Chechens who left their homes after the Russian attack. Only crossings by sea or air were possible. So I had to go back to Sochi again, driving the same 1000 km. back. But... my visa was expired. The military guided me to the OViR office in Vladikavkaz for visa extension but they were closed.

The next day they first said I was too late because my visa was already expired. I told them the whole story and also some super hot-shot was involved. Finally they agreed to give me 4 more days to reach Sochi again. The also expired temporary import form of my motorbike was not any problem at all.

In Sochi I was lucky to catch the next day ferry to Trabzon in Turkey, as there were not any ferries to Georgia at all. From Trabzon it was possible to take the ferry to Georgia but that was useless to me and my Georgian visa was almost expired as well.

At the check-in at the ferry there was a huge problem about my expired temp. import form despite earlier sayings. My motorbike was illegally in Russia and they were able to confiscate the bike. The solution was found in me signing a paper saying I parked the bike on the customs depot for four days. It costs me USD 48. But they also knew I had no choice at all.

Posted by Martin Rooiman at June 26, 2000 03:04 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

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

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

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


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!