Hi to all
My name is Paul Wild, i'm from Russia (Siberia), 24 years old. Now i work and live in Holland.
In 2011 i made a long trip: Siberia - Abkhazia - Ukraine - Siberia.
13000 km, 34 days, only me, my bike and the Road.
I just finished the translation to english, but i'm not really good in it.
May be it will be interesting for someone, may be even useful.
“Since New Year I knew that this summer I'm going far away by myself.”
Those are the first words of the trip report from Novosibirsk to Black Sea written by an outrageous girl named Nastya. I've read it at least 15 times even before when I didn't ride motorcycle. I don't know why, but my head got messed up: I knew what I wanted and how to get it. For two years I've been saving up for my first scoot, and look: I'm an owner of gorgeous Yamaha XV400 Virago. I drove my first season without a license, got to 8000 km. Next season I got serious, when it was opening I already had my license. Took my first long trip to Black Sea. (log: http://wodmc.org/articles/217-s-novo...rnoe-more.html
). This season ended at about 25 000 km. By that time, I realized what kind of vehicle I really want. I've been looking for my Super-Magna for almost a year. Throughout Russia: Petersburg, Nahodka, Vladivostok... in the end found it in the garage 1.5 mile away from my home. Sold Virago and purchased Super Magna V45.
This is a legendary motorcycle, that has been produced for only 2 years. Mine is from 1988. The heart of the motorcycle is the derated sport engine V4. At the time of purchase mileage was near 65 thousand. I was not confused by that or the age. Love is blind. To be honest, I've read all of the Sinus's trip reports, so he is partly guilty for my warm feelings towards that motorcycle.
Winter examination of the engine showed, that it never had been examined before ever. Throughout the winter I spend so much time repairing a gas-circulating system, that now I can define every one of the 16 valves by their sound. My little personal touch to this gorgeous bike – additional lighting by 2 55 Wt headlights. Alas, as much as they illuminate oncoming lane, roadside and the stars above... they do not illuminate the road. Also I managed to do a power source for a player, fuel filter and a lighter. Before the start I had bald Dunlop tires, fresh 150 cylinder at the back, 7100 oil.
Me and Magna are contemporaries. I also was born in 1988, though I don't have any mileage over Japan. I love all kinds of extreme, adventures, night, music and everything new.
And, of course, the ladies. All inclusive would be the best.
As I live my life I tend to follow a few rules: combined from Gena Shatov's and myself.
2. The one who's lonely is brave.
3. The one who's a chicken – dies.
5. If you have a doubt about something, then do it.
6. Lose all what is excessive.
That's about it.
I really much enjoy swimming, which's been determining my routes for the past couple of years. I chose The Black Sea just 'cause it was pretty cheap and nice. Because of my work difficulties, a long trip was up in the air. All in all, I had the choice of three: go to Vladivostok and earn a lot of money, Go through a polar circle and earn a lot of money. Or a single trip all the way South, where I could SPEND a lot of money. That was an easy choice.
As always, a nice nap before a trip is a fantasy. Three hours, and off you go.
I put my stuff on the bike, got dressed, and as I tried to stay absent-minded, I turned on the motorcycle, heated it up and drove. Just like the last year – to the sea.
At least the weather was nice. Sun was shining and driving was nice.
Although, during the first 200 km I had some problems. For the beginning, a bearing got loose. I didn't know whether it was from the hub or the steering. You can't go on a long trip like that... on the other hand, if I'd get back in Novosibirsk to repair it, it's a mystery when I will get back on the road. Decided to go 80 kmh and keep a safe distance from cars, because a steering wheel acted all shaky. By the second hour I managed to calm myself down, saying that it can't be the hub bearing, it's just spreaders got a little loose. So I started to go 100 kmh, and then a favorite 120.
But not for long. After another overtaking (there was a lot of trucks), I got busted by traffic police. They escorted me to a car, I said that I can not be deprived of my license, because I had at least 5000 km ahead (and it's only one way), also told them about the bearing. The guys thought I was nuts. I bought them 2 ice creams, they taxed me with 100 ruble fine and I kept on going.
Then somebody tried to con me. Standard situation: the car is on emergency signal, 2 nice looking guys in a suit. As I was stopping, I asked what's wrong.
One of them comes up to me and start speaking english alongside with unarticulated russain about something like they're not from around, they got no gas, they got no russian rubles, only dollars and blah-blah-blah. Then he puts in my hand a fake-gold class ring and says something like “give us some rubles” I look at the ring with a straight face...
- How much?
- Five thousand (shows 5 fingers)
- Don't have that much.
- How much you got?
- 100 rubles.
Then on perfect russian I heard him say: Goddammit! Then he took the class ring, turned around and went back to the car. I went by. After a mile I saw a similar guys on the opposite lane.
And then I got in big troubles with gasoline. Didn't fuel up where I needed and end up near Barabinsk with no gas. I thought to myself: “Piece of cake! I'll stop a car, ask for some gas and voila”. By God I was wrong! During my hour and a half tribal dance on the lane with an empty can I stopped 5 cars. That's it!! And even they could not help at all! The country of frightened morons! You see a biker on the road, almost shaved, almost clean pants, help him out, what's the big deal?! Myself, even in an alien country at night on the deserted road when I saw 2 huge dudes on an emergency signal, I stopped and asked what's up... and in Sochi I spent half an hour to pump some gas in some Taxi driver bottle.
Anyway, one of the drivers told me that gas station was 2 only 2 km away, so I figured I can easy push it to it, despite that sun was scorching and I had no water. It was 8 km...
On the gas station, tired as hell, I put the scoot on the footpeg, it folds in, scoot starting to fall, I grab it, then the helmet started to slide from the steering wheel, I clench with my teeth. And as I was staying in this elaborate position, trying to hold the helmet and not let go of the bike, I realized, that some folks were looking at me for some time. Nobody helped.
Nevertheless, I drove 600 km until Omsk, not racing to fast, and calming down the crazy steering wheel.
"Cause I found a way to steal the sun from the sky"
Shinedown - "Fly from the inside"
Arriving in Omsk, I got stopped at the post. There I met an american on 1200 GS. This rascal went from Tokyo to Italy (through Vladivostok)!!... he was on the road for 6 weeks. Shared contacts, I invited him to stay in Omsk and chat, but he had a tight schedule, hotel and stuff. So we said goodbye.
My total day mileage was 680 km. Everything was ok, tightened up a steering, also I made a charger for my mp3 player – always wanted a gadget like that.
Thnx again to Stepa and the guys for the help and staying in the workshop! Shower, repair, evening drive through Omsk... What else to want?
At 9.00 AM started to move towards Chelyabinsk. Planned to go as much as 1100 and get to Zlatoust by night, where my friend Sharipich was already waiting for me. Went beyond Kazakhstan through Ishim.
The road there wasn't repaired, probably as an example to the others, like: Look! And you've been nagging about YOUR roads?! To hell with them. Comparing to Virago, on which I've been driving last time, Magna is a couch on wheels. So, the road was easy. And after Ishim all the more good road to Kurgan.
Then it got worse. Coming to Kurgan, I saw some traffic police. One of them was clearly aiming to stop me. I drop the speed, turn on the turn sign and then... a vicious insect represantative of Kurgan animal kingdom slams at me. Right in the eye (I love to drive with open helmet). Not only the collision was at 100 kmh, but that son of a bitch bit me! Heated up brain explodes with an array of angry metaphors and the mask, my face doubled up in was so angry, as I caught a glimpse of a policeman allowing me to pass me through. Twisted with pain and hatred towards everything that flies and buzzes, I drive through.
For 5 km I laughed at that. Then it got serious. Eyesight started to see spots, and my teeth and head started to ache. I was forced to stop for 15 minutes, until the pain went away. I find it unlikely, that Kurgan has some badly poisonous insects, but with my luck (it’s very wilful), it could have been a wasp, that took a spider from a biology class, and flied home to eat it. But along the way she met my cheek and both the spider and the wasp bit me! Giving that some thought, I decided that this was really improbable, so I took some analginum, closed the helmet and drove further.
"Fate is kicking down the door, but I don't live there anymore"
Sonic Syndicate - "My Own Life"
I was in Zlatoust when it got dark. 1100 km with the finish spot on Ural was tough, so I easily could sleep here, couple a meters away from the road.
But evil Sharipich took me to his house, fed me and drunked me. Traditional kitchen talk and a nice slumber. Splendid. Thnx Anton! Good luck with your Virago!
Start was grim. Unidentified noise from an engine (couldn't figure out what it was), bad weather, thock fog – it was all pretty upsetting. The thought, that I would be able to get somewhere seemed doubtful. But I was determined to go as far as I can. Screw the noise and the weather, I'm going west!
“Drifting to the void with no soul, smoke the freedom with your ashes"
Mygrain - "Final Frontier"
Ural has some nasty roads. Some places are being repaired, but mostly it's a very very dreadful concrete. On top of that, very active traffic, thanks to all the trucks and permanent solid line. All this makes Ural a pretty dangerous route. One time, when a solid line became noncontinuous, I turned on a distance light and went on overtaking vehicles. And then some jerk right in front of me goes on overtaking without turning the turn lights. I hit the brakes, honking the honk, blinking the headlights savagely. This freak gasses on and continue to pass by, I follow him. And then a truck comes out the turn. The moron hit the brakes, I brake both wheels (screeeech!), and luckily manage not to hit his bumper. He goes back to his lane, like nothing happened. That was a last straw! I let pass a truck and catch up with him. First kick – cracked a glass. Second kick – broke his driving mirror. He recoils to a curb, I speed up and drive by. Some truck driver acknowledged my actions with a thumb up.
After 5 km, I stopped at a gas station, waiting for that ***** for 10 minutes. He didn't show up. After a 100 km I stopped to take a lovely view on a Sim village. That's when I saw a familiar GS.
It turned out that american (Howell Gibbens) decided to wait for me in Chelyabinsk for a day, in order to travel in a pair, which he said to me in e-mail. Having no internet, I didn't get it, but if we met, why not? So, we drove together. Near Ufa, once again I was 0 on gas, but Howell helped out with his spare (note to myself, get a spare gas). In a cafe, where we stopped to eat, we started a chat (I'm a fluent speaker), and I found out that Howell works in Hollywood as a sound engineer, and he just finished a new film “Captain America: The First Avenger” and the director of this movie is his friend and the owner of this GS - Joe Johnston (Idalgo, Jurassic Park 3 etc). So after “Avenger” Howell decided to freshen up and took a trip through Russia. So it was a pretty interesting encounter.
We drove 'till Samara. Roads there are awful. And once again, too many trucks. As I was driving with an opened helmet (it was hot) with Howell driving behind me, dust and sand from the trucks tires gets in my mouth. And I thought: If I spit it out, what if I'd get it on Howell... then what his opinion on russian people would be? So I kept on swallowing dust. Under Samara, we parted. He went to his hotel, then through Voronezh to Ukraine. I needed to go south.
I didn't go to Samara, stayed in a village, where I spent almost all my childhood. Total mileage by a day - about 800 km.
Perhaps, there are only 2 people in this world who know the meaning of these photos to me.
I'm freqeuently asked: why do I drive like that alone on a motorcycle? I can't answer clearly. Sure, the car is safer and more convenient. Despite all the talk, bikers are not trying to stand out from the world. On the contrary, they are much closer to it, comparing to anyone else. They are not hiding behind a tinted glass and warm roofs. The world is right here. Stretch a leg and you can feel the scratchy pavement, warmed up by the sun, sliding after you mile by mile. Stretch an arm and you can feel wind in your hands. Solo rain drops, getting under your coat like little spies or furious rainfall flow, washing off all the weariness, erasing your trails, and giving you a whole new world. Silent night, lighted up by a playful moon. Your usual life disappears. Everything is divided on the things you need, and the things you left there – behind. And in front of you is a road and nothing else. You see life in a different way. Different people, different goals, everything is different. And until you see it with your own eyes, until you feel it with your own body... you'll never get it, not a chance.
And life can be really various. Village I arrived in demonstrated it. And not for a first time, you know. No job, no money, Youngsters don't even drink. Why, if you have to pay for it? On the contrary, marihuana, which grows almost everywhere. You can smoke your brains out and life is bright again.
My friend (when we were 6 happiness was measured by caught lizards and lobsters) now is high every day, he does not study, has no work, can't go to troops (Echoes of wild childhood). As we were walking in the night, he mumbled that he is fine. He doesn't need anything. Sometimes, he goes fishing. You can store weed for winter. That's his life: torturing his mother, happy about his life, not changing anything in his life.
But someone does better. Both my friends (also grew up together) are really beautiful and smart girls, graduated from school. Now, they're trying to get a degree in Bezenchuk, a settlement nearby. They're both working, one in the post office, one – serving beer. Salary – about 4000 rubles (130 dollars) per month. 1500 from that goes to rent a 1-room flat, I think it goes without saying that it ain't no suite. But what you gonna do? To escape from a village to Samara, for starters, you need money. To get money, you need to go to a city. Ain't nothing you can do about it. You can steal, only there is nothing left to steal. Agriculture is gone, the cattle slowly dies out. Because you need money to feed it, but there is no money. And this is European part of Russia. Go East, and you'll see worse, much, much worse... talk about a versatile country.
That was my unhappy thoughts when I drove to Volgograd in the morning, August 18th. Another 1100 km went by fast (had to go to Samara and back in the morning + 200 km). Started to get a hang of the road (ABOUT TIME!)
Really, solo long-trip on a bike is like meditation. As someone properly said, first you think wise thoughts. But they run out after about 200 km, then unwise thoughts come out. Then even they run out. You start to sing. After you make yourself hoarse, you start to breathe on the panel, and write something silly with your tongue. Anything what come to mind. Then you are completely bored. And then you arrive in a meditative state. It's like Kracauer said:
“…By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to¬day existence — the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes—all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand…”
Each passing kilometer gets you closer to your goal and, if you understand it, you keep going on.
“Risk my soul, test my life for my bread. Sped my time lost in space. Am I dead?"
Steel Dragon - "We all die young"
I remember one moment on the road. I drive and one car ahead started to act freaky. I see the lane turning left ahead. I put my leg on the brake, in case the driver chooses to brake and turn left. Yet he accelerates, I do the same. And then this douche changes his decision, turnes on turn lights and slows down. And I realize, that I'm screwed. I can't get past him from the right, because some truck already there. Slowing down will do no good. As the car starts to turn, I already see the spot on the driver's door that will hit my wheel. Nothing flashed before my eyes. Just one sad thought: “That's it, folks. End of the road. And it's my fault! Classic. Then someone will read the article something like violation of the speed limit, biker lost contol blah-blah-blah. That's a pity.” And then I heard a melancholic voice of a guy, laying on a couch and staring at the celling: “Well, try to go past him left.” Don’t know what'll happen, but it worth a try. I sit back to my seat (already started to stand in case of my heroic flight), accelerate... and go past a car, going through an oncoming lane, at the distance of an inch away from his bumper. All this happened in split second. Then I was driving normally for like 20 seconds, then it hit me. Adrenaline went through the roof, pulse raised, muscles (that turned to stone) started to ache. After a second I became all sweaty. Sweared at myself next 50 km… BTW, This bit of the road through Samara and Saratov districts is the WORST road I've ever seen in the west part of Russia. And it goes for about 300 km. I decided that this is the last time I went through this route. Nice pavement starts right after a bridge through Volga river and ends on Volgograd district.
That evening I drove nowhere again.
"A lonely road сrossed another cold state line" Avenged Sevenfold - "Dear God"
I planned to arrive in Volgograd, but where to stay remained a total mystery. I had no map, not to mention GPS. I don't think I'll have GPS ever on my bike. That goes for a clock as well. That evening was the first time I used a help-list I got from Sinus forum. One phone call, and already some stranger gives me directions to a place, where local bikers'd meet me.
After a short ride through night town, I arrived at a meeting place. And after 10 minutes I got off my bike at the Volgograd Bike Post. I didn't have a time to take off the helmet, when my left hand was holding a beer, and my right hand was holding a plate full of pelmeni. What can I say? Instead of staying through the night and going away I stayed for a day in this wonderful joint.
The owner there is THE MAN – Yurich, riding 805 American Suzuki Intruder. He has been holding this post for three years, also has his own bar, and plans to open a bike parlor in the near future. Neat, huh? He is one heck of a moto-adventurer and a mechanic.
Right on, Yurich! Thnx again!
The other guys were pretty juicy as well. Met Alex the Fuhrer, which drove 80.000 km on his own repaired BMW.
He digs archeology and history, loves to dig out old bombs, human bones and spare parts for his bike from Volgograd ground, knows everything about The Battle Of Stalingrad and explosion engine, listens to Manowar and a fan of long-trips. We even wanted to go to Krasondar that night (I even promised that I'm ready for a long-trip at the 90 kmh speed), but at the last moment we thought: screw it, let's hang out here for another night.
Can you recognize this film?
Anyway, in the morning of the 20th of August I drove to the sea. I planned to drive in Krasnodar and then based on a situation. I chose a shortcut through Salsk instead of a federal lane (the one I got lost the last time). I think this is a magical place... because I got lost! AGAIN! All in all, I drove in Krasnodar in the night. It was 150 km till the sea on a perfect pavement. They went by instantly and voila! I'm at the shore!
I still got some powers left in me, sooo... why not visit Abkhazia? (Despite my promise to myself that I'll never ride on this serpentine road at night). So I ate a snickers bar and an energy drink (first meal in a day so far) and drove on this road. Well, everything was normal. Loads of trucks, no passing by, average speed 20 kmh. After 1100 km that was unacceptable to me. So I simply stood on an oncoming lane and drove on it. My bad. Police was sharp, and I'm at the curb. They shoot my heroic motions. Then a trade started. First price – 12.000 rubles. I only laughed, saying that I only got a 1000, so file a report if you want. They started to write. In the end, we agreed that they will drive me to the nearest ATM, where I'll give them 3000 rubles. Shameful, but I really needed my license.
It turned out, that I was just at the bad place on the bad time. They got the lane covered. Money suction was like a transporter. For the past 40 km I counted 5 cars with the flashers. They track violators on purpose (everybody violates duuh), and take money. I drove the remaining bit like a law-abiding citizen just in case. I arrived at the border at night. There they found a bag of green tea, afterwards they made a full-on search of my stuff. They hadn't found anything suspicious (I hid all suspicious well) and let me go. BTW, every type of mandatory insurance is now off – now you can visit Abkhazia for free. And at 4 AM I'm at Pitzunda.
That’s it. One week and 5 thousands kilometers. I’m finally on the shore. I’m glad.