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Old 08-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #76
rtwdoug OP
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I dunno why, but Ive been sick the last several days. Post ride stress disorder or something. Anyhow, I think the best cure is a road trip, so Im gonna take off for a bit, to Serbia, and then ?
Be back in a week.

Doug
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:30 AM   #77
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Get better and relax!
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:44 AM   #78
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Get better
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:12 PM   #79
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Great report,as ever

And yes,when you feel sick-"the best cure is a road trip"

I´ll start saturday for a few days...

MJ
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:28 PM   #80
rtwdoug OP
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road trips are good medicine. true, it may not cure me, but it takes my mind off of being sick :)
Went up to Serbia, & in Kosovo now. Tomorrow to Macedonia, but think I'll detour thru Albania first

Doug
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:16 AM   #81
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You're that close already, you could just pop round and give me a hand in the shed tomorrow.

(Some old lathework and bike-building always helps...)

Cheers,
Greg
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:47 AM   #82
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Get well and get your ass back here.....there's work to do!
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:43 AM   #83
rtwdoug OP
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Back in Bulgaria after a short 6 day trip, which included 5 countries, 1600km, visiting friends in Serbia, a bike run in Macedonia, a 2 day biker party in Bulgaria, some crappy Albanian roads, crazy traffic in Kosovo, and a slight wiring mishap on the bike :)
I feel much better now.



now back to our regularly scheduled program..........
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:44 AM   #84
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There was some road work as we got close to the border, but it wasn’t too bad. Right before we got there, there was a new church being built next to the road. They were actually cutting the marble for it right on site, from big chunks cut from the mountain behind






Off in the distance, you can see the Geo border


We passed there pretty fast, nice people, no problems. As this border hasn’t been open long for foreigners, we were sort of a novelty. The it was about 5km to the Russian border, on a crappy road thru tunnels that had nice big holes full of water, no lights, mo markings. Fun!
When we got close, traffic was backed up a good ways. We stopped, but after a few minutes, I decided not to wait, so we went to the front of the line, & ducked in line at the barricade. A Russian guard yelled at me, Poly translated it as ‘does the order have no meaning for you?’
Basically, he was bitching at me for cutting the line. Luckily, they let us in anyhow. This border took a bit longer. They don’t like my passport, as its well used, & has had extra pages added twice. Then they didn’t like my bike papers, or my license plate, as it has no numbers. Finally, they let us in.


Traffic waiting at the border
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:50 AM   #85
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I stopped at an insurance agent to buy a couple weeks worth.


We went up the road to Vladikavkas & got a room. When we got to town, I found an ATM to get some rubles. While I was there, these 2 guys stopped. They were some sort of secret police, well, the one was, the other was Spesnost, Russian special forces. Nice guys, just curious about us. We asked them about problems in the region, as we are in North Ossetia now, but they said it was ok, a slight problem to the east thru Gushetia, and not to stop while we are there.



That night at the hotel, there was a wedding. Lots of people were there, and about 9pm we heard a ruckus outside. We looked down from the balcony, & a big fight broke out, about 15 guys & a couple girls. A couple of the guys got the shit beat out of them, it went on for 15 minutes or so. No shots were fired, no cops ever showed up. Poly was looking over the balcony, it was bothering her, so I told her not to look. Her reply, ‘Im afraid I’ll miss something!’
I filmed most of it, but it was pretty dark, & didn’t come out too good.

We had been looking at the map, & decided that instead of heading east to the Caspian & back along the same road (we were warned to stay on the main road only) that we would go to see Mt Elbrus, which is the highest point in the Caucus mountains, and if its in Europe (they are still arguing this point) that it’s the highest in Europe.
Theres a road that goes 100km to the base, then you have to backtrack, but my friend Dmitry from Moscow said it was worth seeing.
I felt better about this, because although I don’t mind going into sketchy areas, I don’t feel comfortable taking Poly there.
So the next morning we headed to Elbrus.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:53 AM   #86
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It was a hot ride, but it got cooler as we got higher. There was a military checkpoint about ½ way, they logged us into a book, & looked at our docs. The area by the mountain is very close to the new republic od south ossetia, formerly part of Georgia, and so they are keeping tabs on the area. There are also Chechnyen terrorists hiding in the mountains, there was a wall full of pictures of wanted guys in the police station. We got close to the end of the road & agreed it was worth the trip. Its so beautiful here! The road ends, & theres some motels, a ski lift, and some old babushkas selling souvenirs. Poly had been wanting a sheepskin for her seat, so we bought one here, it was only 20 bucks, and done really nice. There was also a bearskin for 200, but I wasn’t sure how that would work at the borders, but I was really tempted to buy it.








They also had some snazzy hats. Poly wanted one, but wouldn’t fit under her helmet


I thought I’d be great, for an abba reunion tour.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:54 AM   #87
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The next morning, we decided to take the lift to the top. The lift goes to 3800 meters, the peak of Elbrus is 5600m. We met a couple guys from Poland



Then got on the lift. Theres a small dirt track that the jeeps use, I was tempted to try it, but it was really steep & rocky. Maybe next time….



The good lift ends, then its just ski chairs. Old soviet ski chairs. They were not confidence inspiring


The safety catch was just a ¼ inch indent


The scenery was amazing!

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Old 08-14-2012, 10:55 AM   #88
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At the top, was a base camp for climbers. These old tanks are now motel rooms. Behind, you can see the twin peaks of Elbrus





Nice cafe


Fun job, toting water up a frozen slope


Then heading back down, it was a bit chilly up here





Back on the road again! Poly found some wild rasberries



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rtwdoug screwed with this post 08-14-2012 at 11:01 AM
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:10 AM   #89
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One word, Brilliant!!
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:29 PM   #90
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Cool ride report!!
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