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Old 05-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #1
kuhjunge OP
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Cool2 Sauerkraut & Tofuwurst - Vegan bikers trotting around the globe

Welcome to follow the story of our new life! On May 3rd 2013 we started together with our three dogs our journey around the world by motorbikes.

This is not just another travelogue. More like an open diary, where we tell about anything and everything that affects our lives... Besides motorbiking ethical veganism, fruitarianism, dogs, love of clean nature and sports belong to our everyday life, so for example those are things we will also write about in this blog.

The year 2013 we spent in Europe. The beginning of the year 2014 we were exploring West Africa. Now we are traveling through USA and Canada for (hopefully) over a year! The plans after that are still totally open...

During our journey we are promoting a "cruelty free world". We will do so by helping animal shelters and sanctuaries. More to come on this topic...


We are a German-Finnish couple with dogs as our children. Biking together since 2006! :) We left our home in Lohja/Finland and are without a permanent address as of now. Our home is there where our bikes are.



We already maintained our blog (www.sauerkraut-tofuwurst.com) for about one year before the start. Feel free to read about the preparations and planning as well as more details about the sidecar.

Some of the highlights so far:





























Meet the family
Wolfgang / Wolfi
  • Born in Saarland, Germany and emigrated '93
  • I like good food ("Hauptsach gudd gess") and dark beer
  • My favorite sport is Ju-Jutsu and related weapons
  • Engineer and main mechanic in the family
  • Love to build things (can now spend my energy in the sidecar project and learning to fix our bikes)
  • A topic which is close to my heart reveals in me cheer unlimited amount of energy and enthusiasm (warning: energy level might be hazardous to others)
  • Vegetarian since 2009, vegan since 2010

Ilta a.k.a. Satu, Skippy & mamma
  • Finnish from nationality, but not really a traditional Finn... Fluent in English and German goes rather well
  • Karate is one of my biggest passions and has been basically my lifestyle since 1992! First decade Goyuryu and now Wadoryu
  • Love all sorts of other sports too, like running, swimming and dancing, just can't stay still for too long...
  • Vegetarian/vegan since 1999 and 80/10/10 low fat raw vegan since 03/2013
  • Biking license got on September 2006 and instantly bought my Suzi, which was love at first sit! <3
  • Kind of a hippie, a bit artistic, musical and a real film geek ;)
  • The cook in the family! Love inventing new recipes, especially raw food stuff :)
  • Passionate gardener and will try to invent someways to do it on the road as well...

Hertta
  • Poodle mix
  • born about 2000, rescued to our family in 2011
  • about 11kg
  • half blind and most likely half deaf also, but absolutely adorable!
  • mom's guardian :)
  • loves pillows!
  • snores as hell!
  • loves carrots, turnips, beetroots, apples... A real vegetarian by nature!

Lyra
  • Bichon Frise-Miniature Poodle mix
  • born 2005
  • about 5kg
  • the great 'lumberjack'!
  • loves to hunt leaves
  • indoors only balls are fine toys!
  • apples and pears are great delicacies

Ulpu
  • Toy Poodle
  • born 2008
  • about 1.5kg
  • frisbee geek, the bigger the better!
  • the boss of the gang, eventhough is the smallest!
  • makes cat and chicken noises :)

Our bikes

Suzuki V-Strom DL650
The bike is from year 2004 and has abt. 68.000km on the odometer.

Following extras, modifications & add-ons:
- Lower saddle (came with the bike)
- Jesse luggage Odyssey II (www.jesseluggage.com)
- Givi topcase
- Watercooler protection (Touratech)
- Reusable stainless steel oilfilter (www.scottsonline.com)
- Reusable airfilter (K&N)
- Engine guard (Suzuki)
- Oil cooler guard (Touratech)
- Crash bars


You can find our tracks and downloadable gpb/gpx files here.

We maintain a list of bike and dog friendly accommodations.

Enjoy the reading.

kuhjunge screwed with this post 07-01-2014 at 10:58 AM Reason: new plans
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:24 PM   #2
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What a start

It was 2AM at the third of May 2013. The normally silent night was disturbed by the noise of a Beamer motorbike riding in the dark. It was me – Wolfi, transporting the last pieces of trash to the trash container. There I got my long desired chance (issue on my to-do list) to test the newly installed HID50 Xenon lights (and they are bright!).

The night went away and dawn was coming. Still plenty of hassling at this idyllic place which we called home. It was 3AM now and finally I was able to finish packing SilberWolf. With three extra roll bags, I was able to stuff all those things on the bike. It looked like we had far too much stuff with. On the other hand, some of the building work needed to be postponed to later when we anyway do changes to the sidecar. Therefore a few extra parts and components found their way into our luggage.

It felt very cold outside and the meter showed -2C. Ice started to form on the roll bags. It was a bit after 4AM. At 6AM we must wake up to catch our ferry which departed 0915. Better sleep fast if this was possible at all with this amount of adrenalin in our systems. The alarm clock on my mobile was ringing at 6AM sharp and we got out of our sleeping place. Half in trance, we packed the remaining items and moved some stuff nicely away (remember, we sell our house and it should be tidy enough). The last bag of trash was put on the bike, it was 0715, we closed the door to our (soon to be ex-) house and we were ready to GO-GO.

Then Skippy asked me to give her her bike keys (those for the side cases and top case) back. Mmmmhh – which bike keys please?? I did not have any bike keys! Taking a deeeeep breath. OK - they were either inside the house in case of which, our real estate agent would need to ship them to us. In worst case, they were in some of the clothes which went to trash last night. Great! None could do and since we still had another set of keys somewhere, we would use those. Let's go now – the ferry was waiting.

Skippy asked me then where I had put the dog leashes. I said, that I did not have them as I thought she had them. A quick look inside the house and ... Oh NOOOOOO – ALL leashes, I mean ALL of them were inside the house. The three which were adjustable in length and the two with a fixed length. Per**** Saa**** V**** Sch****!!!!! I rushed to my shed and found some 8m of polyester rope. That must do until we will find a better solution. Let's go now – the ferry was waiting.

Since we were in a real hurry, I decided not to fix the trash bag (it was a big 240l one) on my bike and ... of course ... it did indeed fell down when I drove up the steep hill. ENOUGHHHH of this nonsense, I wanted to GO-GO and instead, now I needed to go back to get another one in order to collect our items away from the street. And BTW, where was Skippy? I thought she kept a little bit too big distance as we were in a hurry. Anyway I went back home, passed the trash pile and there she was standing: Her bike did not start. AAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

We tried to push it – no help. We had no car anymore neither a single extra battery to jump-start the bike. Neither do we have a jumper cable anymore (we gave all those things away). I changed the original battery on the SilberWolf to a car battery. This one is well hidden, which would mean that if I want to get there, I needed to take two rolls down, the two huge Zarges boxes and all the other stuff which was now hanging there in between. No way. Thinking hard what to do as one can expect that at 7AM in the morning without breakfast and only 2 hours sleep.

I did not have any kind of thicker cable anymore in the shed since I threw away all cables a few hours ago (I did a thorough cleaning!). Frustration came up. Inhale ... exhale! The clock was ticking and the time to catch our ferry was getting less and less. Then I though I could use the connection cable which was meant for my winch. Lucky me it was in one of the rolls, therefore easy to get and not deeply buried in the sidecar. So I took the part which you connect to the battery and connected the cable to the battery. Good attempt. I then realized that since I have three cables connected to minus, the screw is too short to reach the bolt at the battery. Exactly for this purpose I installed the small emergency tool box. It has easier access instead of digging tools from my huge tool box within the sidecar. So I took a small allen key to lift the nut a little and the bolt could reach again.


My emergency tool box for quick fixes (operation manual container for tractor)


Then I took out my Leatherman, connected the cable ends. I cut the winch connection cable and un-isolated both ends. Where does one get fastest access to +12V high-power connection point? Right – at the starter motor. One tiny screw and the starter motor cover was removed and BINGO.


The mutilated cable

When holding one cable end on the plus and the other on chassis, I said to Skippy: try to start now and brummmm, the Suzi went on like nothing was ever wrong in this world (I think this SAITO battery does not like cold and freezing weather, it seems to loose its capacity to such an extend that it becomes useless). Now quickly the cover back, put tools away, got another trashbag, collected the trash from our street, brought it away and hit the road. The ferry was waiting.

After an “accelerated” ride to Helsinki and with a big relief we entered the harbor area early enough to check-in in time.

World we are coming.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:14 PM   #3
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Good luck!



Sounds like you will have an awesome journey.

Do you expect many problems crossing borders with your dogs?

JM.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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Safe riding .. Just wondering, are you taking the 'family' and if so what is your understanding of Quarantine requirements of various countries you indicate you will be visiting ...?
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #5
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Looking forward to following your adventure. The BMW looks rugged enough for the trip, that's for sure. I like what you did with it.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:08 AM   #6
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Traveling with dogs

Our dogs did get all sorts of vaccinations, blood tests were done and results were certified by officials. This will allow us easier travel and if the border officers know their own rules well enough, then we should be also avoiding Quarantine. However, if this is not possible and we have a possibility to take another route, then we will do so e.g. we wanted to visit Ukraine; traveling back from there to EU would have been some additional headaches so we avoid Ukraine completely for now.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:16 AM   #7
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Loaded bikes ready to go

Here are a few pictures from the morning of our departure. In the last minute, we figured out that three extra rolls were not enough
So we needed to stuff the rest in one extra bag and strip it on top of another roll ...
One reason why we are so "full" is that we had quite some amount of food for us and for the dogs which we did not want to throw away.



Frozen bikes in the morning of departure.




The umbrella already proofed itself useful



We try to keep the Suzi as light as possible. It is already a heavy bike for offroad riding and each kilo saved is a good one. SilberWolf can carry a total weight of up to 800kg and it seemed that we are volume-limited and not weight-limited.



∼ Wolfi
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:25 AM   #8
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Just Wow



Safe travel, good luck, post lots of pics

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Old 05-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #9
kuhjunge OP
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Video about Farewell Finland ... the beginning of the journey

I made a short video about our beginning. Even though free WiFi is advertised in many places, the connection speed is sometimes so slow, that major uploads cannot be done. So now this comes a bit late, however it comes now

somehow I don't get a preview visible now. So please use the link or click here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcxZWgl-tWU


kuhjunge screwed with this post 05-12-2013 at 10:57 PM Reason: videolink embedded
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
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Finland vs. Germany

Did you get round to watch the icehockey?
I'm german myself, my girl is from Nummela!

My girfriend really want's a rig with sidecar, guess why. Take our daag out riding!
Was chuckling a bit when reading...

Sounds a great adventure, good luck!

P.S. You guys are taking the ferry to Morocco from Algeciras or Tarifa, right? We live in Fuengirola, you are literally driving through there...so if you are up for a beer- welcome!

Chris
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:52 PM   #11
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I take it rainbow stickers in Finland mean something different than they do in the US?
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
kuhjunge OP
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small world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bovino View Post
Did you get round to watch the icehockey?
I'm german myself, my girl is from Nummela!

My girfriend really want's a rig with sidecar, guess why. Take our daag out riding!
Was chuckling a bit when reading...

Sounds a great adventure, good luck!

P.S. You guys are taking the ferry to Morocco from Algeciras or Tarifa, right? We live in Fuengirola, you are literally driving through there...so if you are up for a beer- welcome!

Chris
I am not too much of a icehockey fan myself. My wife loves soccer (Fussball)


Thanx for the invitation, lets see when we get there - no detailed plans made yet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by conchscooter View Post
I take it rainbow stickers in Finland mean something different than they do in the US?
Rainbow flag has many meanings and I think that many meanings are similar in many countries - including Finland. I am promoting human rights and the freedom to be what you want to be. Thus here you can find what I am thinking of it. I remember those team building activities at work and "freedom for the individual" has been one of my slogans for a long time.

Wolfi
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:58 PM   #13
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Nice start. Am Innnnnnn. Awaiting your entry in India.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #14
kuhjunge OP
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Via Baltica



Estonia

At the noon of Friday 3rd of May we arrived with the ferry to Tallinn and after letting girls do their businesses we started our journey towards Tartu. We got greeted by a beautiful and warm spring weather, so even though we were extremely tired (slept only 2 hours in the previous night!) it wasn't too uncomfortable to drive. Almost instantly we had some nice sand roads and one very interesting tractor path which was supposed to be a normal sand road...







First break somewhere between Tallinn and Tartu in the beautiful and peaceful countryside on an abandoned farm.




Sidecar works perfectly with girls and especially Hertta feels very homey there already :)





Girls were first thinking of having tangerines for lunch, but in the end they preferred their own goodie sticks :)






After about 280km we arrived to the outskirts of Tartu to an interesting old USSR-style suburbia. We stayed two nights in the dog friendly Starest Hotel. Pretty ok place with a park right besides it and the staff spoke very good English and right in the downstairs was an ok Asian style restaurant with many vegan options We forgot to take picture of the hotel, but here's some pictures of the funny neighbourhood...





We still don't understand the logic behind the numbering of the houses...





Devils Salon right beside some sort of church, well why not





Wolfi got his first beer of the trip. The beer was good, but Wolfi too tired to smile.





As Wolfi told in the earlier post we forgot girls leashes back home, but luckily he took some rope with to make new ones. So on our second day in Tartu we did some shopping and Wolfi could do the leashes while I had some sleep...






Well done!


Latvia

On Sunday 5th of May after a well rested weekend we started the second leg of our journey and headed towards Latvia and that's where all the troubles started... Well nothing major, but still some annoying little things!



I had my first fell when we were looking for a place to rest and someone (not me!) decided that in the middle of a very windy field would be a great place to be! The tractor way was very bumpy and had nasty soft sand, so off I went... nothing bad happened, but it always pisses me off! Also just some minutes before when we were driving I just happened to think, that should we add to our blog a counter for falls, just for fun... Should never think such things!

Some kilometers after that the village dogs started to hunt us! There really was some totally crazy dogs who tried to catch us and one tiny Westie almost got a bite of my ankle! Few kilometers after that I saw a HUGE (almost bigger than my bike) mix breed approaching the street from its yard and I really had to give some more gas to get away from it! That really is one totally crazy hobby they have and I can only hope they won't be hit with any vehicle...



In Latvia the summer temperatures finally started to catch us and we were pretty sweaty when we finally reached our accommodation in the idyllic countryside. After 282km we got to this cool looking cabin in Madona.





This 10 persons cabin was all for us. In the first look it seems very great, but in the end all the things don't really work there... The sauna/shower waters go to the totally wrong directions which was very sad to see for a Finn and the cool looking downstairs has no fireplace or any heating what so ever! So we were rather freezing in the evenings... but the pond was very sweet and the yard was nice and big. There we played with Lyra and Ulpu while Hertta wanted to be a cow (yummy fresh new grass!), and I had my first sunbath :) I also got my 'talviturkki' finally off, totally freezing water, but very refreshing!






Next morning Wolfi started to do some small maintenance on the bikes, when he noticed this in my Suzis back tire! I must have caught it on the last sand road because I didn't notice anything special when driving the whole day. Wolfi got it out fine and also got the hole well fixed, but still that was brand new tire and didn't need this so soon!








That was one big screw, 11cm! I was just joking that no need to get screwed for a long time now... I know, I have a horrible sense of humor sometimes






In the Baltic countries there is quite often a crane living on peoples yards, either on the roof or on these kind of poles. I've heard they should bring good luck. At least they look very sweet and this one most likely has a feast every day because the pond next to it is totally full of frogs!





I spent most of my Monday staring at these fellows... The pond was full of interesting action and sweet croaks. They seem to be some kind of cannibals also, at least there was many hanging on to one dead fellow and others fighting to get in! I have plenty of cool video, so maybe I'll do my own nature documentary one day... :)





Kucuru dzirnavas is an old mill which is turned into a guesthouse and party room. There is also a small museum which is full of EVERYTHING and in the yard is many interesting things as well, like this old bike. So very nice place, but everything's just not working fine and the owners speak very poor english and german, but at least is a very dog friendly place



Lithuania

Tuesday morning 7th of May we continued our trip in a rather hot weather and in Lithuania the summer totally started! Beautifull light green leaves everywhere and very warm breeze! 270km of heavy sweating and we were approaching our next destination... but the last 3km were HORRIBLE for me! Soft sand or drift sand, like I call it, because that's how it behaves. First two kilometers I survived rather ok even though twice almost fell after going from one ditch to another... and then came the fall! I fell on my left side and the bike even went still some half round on the ground and that's when my left sidecase carrier got twisted! I didn't get hurt at all and anyway that's not what a real biker is first worried about, my first worry was of course my Suzi! :) Wolfi came to my rescue and we got Suzi fine back to her tires and rest of the road I 'tiptoed'... Still plenty of things to learn and this was anyway my first real encounter with this kind of sand!





Well twisted carrier system which we will fix at the Mueller Gespanne, when we'll get there. The reflector part of the left blinker got fixed with black tape, which I have now in three of my blinkers. It's the adventure style!





The sidecase got also a little bump, but Wolfi got it beaten back the way it was.







We got the Camping Mindunai all for us! It's real fun to travel off season! At least hermits like us love it :) Very beautiful place on a lake and girls got again plenty of play... but they also got fleas! Luckily not for too long! I think the blankets on the beds contained some fleas and that's were girls got them for a moment. I found about a dozen in the end and after one day we didn't see a single one anymore so I guess they didn't manage to multiply or so...  Was very nasty experience and I've never seen fleas before so wasn't first sure what they were, but in the future have to pay more attention to these sort of things! Tick season also started, but those are a familiar thing to us. So we remember to have a check every evening and the tick tweezer are always nearby.



Here we stayed only one night. We wanted to stay two because it was so beautiful and peaceful, but the next morning a big crew of noisy park workers arrived and the fleas were giving us the creeps, so we decided to continue towards Poland...


- Ilta




P.S. Wolfi wanted me to mention that the keys I thought I left home were actually in my jacket pocket, which was already packed to my sidecase. So them I found instantly when we arrived to the ferry
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:12 AM   #15
kuhjunge OP
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Laugh Video of Baltic roads

Here is a short clip to illustrate what kind of roads you might hit in baltic countries

Click here to see the video or copy/paste this link: http://youtu.be/-DutLA4Ovlw

For the Baltic countries I used a map with a scale of 1:400000 - the roads marked with white were typically dusty gravel roads and sometimes caused some smaller surprises.

The streets marked in yellow and orange typically caused biggest surprises. Their quality ranged from totally horrible i.e. bumpy, holes in the street, borderline asphalt/gravel might have high edges to brand new and smooth.

Generally the streets we rode in Latvia and Lithuania were the worst. The front suspension on my sidecar needed adjustment. The bike/helmet camera quit its services most of the times on those roads and that's why I do not have clips from there.

 Most "interesting" are those roads which have asphalt in the centre and gravel left and right. Typically both are in bad condition with the gravel given an opportunity of even bigger potholes compared to the asphalt. As everybody wants to ride the middle part as much as possible, here seems to be some way to "play chicken" with the traffic coming from opposite direction.

And even though you think you go fast - maybe we rode at about 90km/h, watch the mirrors for the local heroes ...



∼ Wolfi
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