The next day, which happened to be my 40th birthday, over lunch at the Gutov Beer House we spoke with Joon about the challenges ahead for him. It was going to be even tougher than we thought. Since arriving in Russia, he also had his wallet and plastic cards stolen! I thought to myself "boy this guy is in for a tough time !"
Tony, Terry and I had a chat amongst ourselves, and decided that Joon should ride with us to Khabarovsk. It was just under 1000km away and we were following the same route as him anyway for that stretch. It would give us time to give him some riding tips, some language lessons and an introduction to Russian culture and the way things were generally done in Russia.
Our next few days would be a ferry and maintenance stage. We were effectively ferrying the bikes from Vladivostok to Vanino about 1300km (800 miles) north. Vanino was the start of the BAM Road! We knew some bike guys in Khabarovsk, and Tony and I needed to service our bikes after the Road of Bones, and before we started the BAM, so we would need to pass through Khabarovsk. Khabarovsk was also on the Trans-Siberian Highway that Joon would take.
While we were busily incorporating Joon into the team, Tony's phone rang. It was the shipping agency. Our bikes had arrived in the port and we needed to collect them, now!
Another discussion followed. We could have stayed in Vladivostok another day and had a bang up party that night for my birthday, but we decided to hit the road. Joon would go back to his hostel, pack his things up and meet us back at the Gutov Beer House; Tony and I would head down to the docks and fetch our bikes; and Terry would get his bike ready to go. All meeting back at the Gutov at 5pm, ready to roll!
It was time to get this show on the road.
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Joon - he could hardly have be greener!
Showing one of the Gutov girls my big telescopic lens: