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Old 07-16-2004, 11:41 PM   #226
Possu
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[QUOTE=StromTroll]Great stuff that Pete! Isn't MacGregor running a new 1200GS with CAN bus single wire electrics that have no fuses? Bet they wish they had fuses now
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I'm sure MacGregor & Boorman are on GSA's?
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Old 07-17-2004, 05:21 AM   #227
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Pete's web site

Yeah, I have a web site, but it's, like, half a year behind. I'm going to slow down in Turkey and straighten it all out.

It's www.petefromberkeley.com

The short story is- I rode from California to Ushaia, then back up to Buenos Aires. After chilling out for a few months, I shipped the bike to Japan and took the car ferry to Vladivostok. Rode across siberia and am enjoying Mongolia now (except it's really hot)

After this I'll go back to Russia and into Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and on down to South Africa.

Send me an e-mail and I'll put you on my list of people I stay in touch with

Pete
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Old 07-17-2004, 06:03 AM   #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StromTroll
Great stuff that Pete! Isn't MacGregor running a new 1200GS with CAN bus single wire electrics that have no fuses? Bet they wish they had fuses now
They're running 04 twin spark GS Adventures, I think they're somewhere in the states at the mo. Somebody here spotted their bikes at a dealers last week, wonder if they'll be at Spokane?
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:05 AM   #229
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Striking Viking made it to Vladivostok. Here are some pictures of Japan
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:06 AM   #230
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Japanese countryside
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:07 AM   #231
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What is this the opposite of?
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:12 AM   #232
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Hey Pete-remember this tub?
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:14 AM   #233
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A One-Way Ticket To Siberia
Friday, July 16, 2004
M/V RUS on the Sea of Japan

It’s hard to decide when this odyssey started. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step, what’s considered the first step? Since life is a continuous journey, maybe it began at 16 when reading Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Afterwards, I immediately stuck out my thumb, hitchhiking from California to New Orleans. Or was it when an aging uncle took me to Norway to visit family at the age of ten? Fifty countries later, the East Russian seaport of Vladivostok appears through the fog to mark a first step wandering the globe alone.

Clamoring aboard ship was my first encounter with Russians on their turf. It’s different meeting them in their own environment. After parking next to a team of workers near the M/V RUS, for a moment, we just stopped and gaped at each other. As children, my generation grew up fearing the Red Menace. We were taught in school how to crouch beneath desks when the USSR launched an inevitable nuclear attack to conquer the USA. Then there were images of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at a UN meeting. “We will bury you!” Sputnik—the Soviets had beat us into space—more reason to fear them. The Cuban missile crisis--when the world was on the brink of destruction—one nervous finger from launching humanity into oblivion.

The Cold War. American citizens once blacklisted and ostracized if suspected of sympathizing with dreaded communists had careers ruined and lives destroyed on rumor and innuendo. Then came the pawns, People’s Armies versus Freedom Fighters. Battles for hearts and minds waged throughout the Third World with surrogate warriors clad in rags commanded by military dictators supported by opposing superpowers. Growing up in a Norwegian household provided a different version of world history than taught in California schools. My father explained that Russians were not really Klingons with fangs eating small children. I often wondered if they had similar thoughts.
Now, as we stand face to face, I gaze into a mirror. Briefly accustomed to towering over little, black haired Japanese; it’s startling to discover how much these Russians and I resemble each other. It doesn’t require a DNA test to prove my ancestors made it this far. Big, blond blue-eyed youngsters, wearing shorts and sandals casually slinging cargo onto the decks could easily be descendants of Olav and Erik the Red. These curious men from the “Evil Empire” are likely my relatives.

Once aboard ship I’m directed to the captain’s quarters to settle-up. “You havk Ahmerdikan dohlars?”

“Da.”

“Chew musta pay two hahdred tventy for da pahssenger un von hahdred for da motorcyclick.”

The port city of Vladivostok, once so secret it was off-limits even to Russians, is now the gateway to forbidden lands infamous for mass starvation and Stalin’s Gulags. During winter, the Russian Far East is among the harshest environments on earth. In a moment never imagined, I stand peeling off fresh, crisp Ben Franklins for a former enemy, giddy with the notion that I just purchased a one-way ticket to Siberia.

Since released from Colombian rebels, more than a goal to finish riding to the tip of South America, it was also a mission to complete a world tour with phase two beginning in Siberia. Because of time needed to recuperate I wasn’t sure when. Now, two years later, I’m peeking out a porthole straining to spot land to plant the first major step of this journey. From the edge of the Sea of Japan, we pitch and roll over bubbly swells in monotonous motion not meant for land-based mammals.

It’s good that meager portions of mediocre food are only served three times a day. Who could eat anyway? Boiled cabbage soups, foul smelling hot dogs and eggs packed with onions. I hate onions. Now they say most meals in Russia are served with onions.

After the ship is loaded, it’s time to practice communicating and swap gifts. I have only chocolate flavored protein bars but they are polite enough to eat them thinking they must be American candy. As notorious drinkers, the first offer comes quickly. “You vil drik Rahshin wahdkah vees hus?”

My first time drunk and violently ill was on Vodka and it’s been a nauseating experience to smell it ever since. Images of sickening spins combine with the ship’s pitching and rolling compel a return to my cabin.

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Old 07-18-2004, 06:16 AM   #234
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Trouble Ahead?
Vladivostok, Siberia
Sunday, July 18, 2004

What’s best about adventure travel is the people you meet along the way. When trapped on planes, boats or trains, there’re always like-minded people from foreign lands available for swapping tales. It’s those you meet wandering that make it worthwhile. All the crew and most of the passengers aboard are Russian except for half a dozen Japanese. But there’s enough common language between us at mealtimes to discover what we’re each doing.

The Russians have bought used cars in Japan and are importing them home for profit. Depending on the scam, each are permitted three to ten cars so they bring relatives to increase their allotment. If the cars are missing certain major parts, there’s only a few hundred dollars duty owed, otherwise it’s several thousand. The swimming pool has been drained to accommodate vehicles and rusted decks are packed with boats and cars missing wheels and engines to be later re-assembled in Moscow. Lenin turns pinwheels in his grave as capitalism thrives in the land of Bolsheviks. The “Red Menace” is green with US dollars.

Boarding ship signified a reluctant commitment. Before leaving California, two last-minute kidney-stone surgical procedures were not entirely successful. After surgery, for proper drainage, doctors left two plastic stents inside my organs. The size of coat hanger wire, ten inches long and curled on the ends, one tip was inserted in each kidney and the other in my bladder to keep urine flowing until stone mineral fragments pass naturally. After the second surgery, the doctor assumed all five stones had been adequately pulverized and we just needed to remove the stents in two days.

To everyone’s dismay, a final Cat-scan revealed a dime-sized stone unaffected by treatment. This one would require more complex procedures taking several weeks. It also meant a longer period of recovery and further delay of an already one-month-late schedule. Although the doctor said it was possible to travel with the stents inside, it would be dangerous and extremely uncomfortable. Lacking patience to wait further, I opted for plan B-- surgery in Germany at the hospital where the ultrasound procedure was invented.
Previously not realizing or caring, how bad it would be, I now sit guessing whether it’s too late. If walking a few blocks, I pee blood, the further, the more blood. There’s a constant urge to urinate whether needing to or not and when I do, it’s hold-on-to-the-wall painful. Pain is manageable, but when the doctor advised that there’s a chance the stents could shift into another organ, I convinced myself that it can’t happen. With these issues in mind now, I’m more conscious of what could go wrong. In Japan, I mulled over this decision every second. Bite the bullet and grab a jet for Los Angeles, get treated and be back on the road in a few weeks or roll the dice and keep going?

If something does go wrong, there is no competent medical care until reaching Germany seven times zones away in late September. Emergency services don’t exist. Once entering Russia, because of strict importation laws, exiting without the motorcycle is illegal. The next country is Mongolia, without hospitals outside the capitol. If it was all asphalt to Germany, this would be easy but there’re three thousand miles of off-road riding between here and there.

From years of Martial Arts, a mental mechanism has developed that commands, never turn around. This generally works well but now, I wonder. Today, the excitement of reaching Siberia is tempered by the somber realization of what lies ahead.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:47 AM   #235
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hey SV, i'm really enjoying the read.

i spent 6 months in mainland japan in '89 and truly miss it..

i love the culture and the language..

i look forward to your posts.

good luck in siberia and the rest of your trip....
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:10 AM   #236
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"Pain I can take, but when the doctor advised me that there’s a chance the stents could shift and move into one organ or the other". Holy crap SV take care of yourself! Germany is a long way away. Ride SLOWLY and watch out for drunk drivers. Especially drunk truck drivers.
Godspeed and keep the posts coming.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:54 AM   #237
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sv dont push it that same voice will tell you when its enough. take care of yourself you sob ive been reading your stuff for along time and youre my window to the world. there is no question of your strength and courage, but just like the machines we ride, our bodies need an ocasional trip to the shop. better take care ive been waiting a long time for this trip my prayers are with you be safe and listen to yourself.
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Old 07-18-2004, 11:48 AM   #238
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Glen, I got your book last week, and haven't been able to put it down. An amazing journey.

Now, as I sit here captivated in real time by your latest adventure, part of me thinks this stone adds an element of "man vs. himself" to an already incredible story, but another part of me thinks you're pushing your body way to far on this! I'm sure you can handle the pain, but you might not get another chance to be this close to reasonable medical care once you start across Siberia.

My vote (like you even asked!) is to get it taken care of. Now.

Ride safe and stay healthy.
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Old 07-18-2004, 06:20 PM   #239
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It's certainly going to be a close call but what else is new? We always wish when something goes wrong that it could have been anything but this. Too bad we don't get to pick our crisis. In retrospect maybe I should have waited, but like a dumbass, I had to be sure. I was a month behind and my Russian visa is only good for three months. As it is I can't leave now without my bike so the only option is to reach Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia and re-evaluate the situation from there.
Thanks for the concern.
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:27 AM   #240
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Good luck with whatever option you choose re: stent removal?

I envy your trip but not your current predicament How far is it to Mongolia & can you fly out of there to the US & still leave the bike safely with out import/customs complications?

BTW, I e-mailed guilty.com re: ordering a couple of copies of your book but no reply? I'll try again today.

Good luck!
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