Joon needed to get a mobile phone. South Korea and Japan have different mobile phone systems to the GSM world (everywhere except Japan, South Korea and North America) so he will need to be in contact with family, friends and other travellers like us along the way to Europe. His South Korean format mobile didn't work in Russia so we helped him get a new phone (as it happens also South Korean but in the international GSM format) and a Russian SIM card. We told him to text us every day with where he was and how things were going. We wanted to keep as close an eye on him as possible because we were parting ways later in the day and were genuinely concerned for the guy.
Then it was off to the bikes. Sasha the mechanic had argon welded Joon’s clutch lever back together, and everything was in readiness for the road, so we packed up and prepared to leave.
Joon rode with us to the main road and the fuel station where we topped up with fluids and fuel. We said farewell to him there at 2pm and wished him all the best. He was heading west to Birobidzhan, and we were headed north east, to Vanino, and the start of the BAM road.
It was still very much a ferry stage for us … there was not a lot to see until we turned off the main road. It did feel a little like riding thru the east coast of Australia … lots of forest, long empty roads, sparsely spread out towns. We stopped for a bang up lunch in the town of Mayak.
By 6pm we turned off at Lidoga, the turnoff to Vanino. We had fuelled up for the 333km road, which I assumed would be all dirt. We would have to push the speed to get to Vanino by nightfall. To my (and Terry’s) disappointment, the road was asphalt … at least the first 60 km was. The fun and the dirt started after the 60 km mark. This was Terry's first proper taste of dirt since leaving England, and he had come for the dirt!
The road wound thru low hills, following rivers and was a lot more twisty than the dirt roads we had ridden further up north. The first few dozen miles was just getting used to the feel of the new knobblies on the dirt road, but once the comfort factor increased, we cranked up the speed.
“Enduro Terry” saw a chance to speed past a van in some thick mud and ended up in the mud himself. His first hour on dirt roads of the trip and he muddies himself up. Humidity was near 100% all day.
After the halfway mark, the speed cranked up again to 115 km/h as the roads were a bit straighter. with 70 km to go and darkness not far away, we hit asphalt again. The 200 km of dirt roads were behind us and the bright lights of Vanino came into view just before 10pm. By 10:15 we were showering in a hotel by the Pacific Ocean, BAM railway in full voice across the street.
We were now in position to start the next phase of the project, the BAM Road.
Now the proper riding (and proper photography) begins ...