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Old 09-01-2010, 09:01 PM   #31
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Okie near Muskogee
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gggggggggggggggggreeatttt report

Nice to have friends to help with repairs, but sucks to have some many bikes causing trouble. Still looks like a nice time. Keep up the good work man!
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:39 PM   #32
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:00 AM   #33
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Day 7
It started with bright sun over the lake which instantly makes us happy.

Juho was getting used to new topbox configuration he has now and it seemed to work quite well. Not very convenient to use though.

It didn't take too long until we arrived to first real river that needs to be crossed. We have made plans beforehand that we will walk through water and check for surprises and deepness before trying to cross it. And that we will support each bike from sides to minimize the risk of dropping them.

Well, it didn't work 100% even in the first time. We just couldn't walk that fast with bikes on slippery stones. But everything went well.

Road was getting narrower and more difficult to drive

You go first! No, you go!

Erik likes water. Otherwise he will not stand there I think, it wasn't so warm, not more than +15 Celsius I believe

Well, actually it's a support team to help crossing Mysterious Underwater Obstacles.

When water crossing is too easy, it's always possible to put slippery logs under water and make things more interesting. Let's have a plan against those logs.

We will wheelie over them!

We started to loose count of those water puddles, stream and river crossings already. Nobody wanted to walk on water anymore. Why, when first driver can actually see a little through water? And others can follow his track of course!

It was a dry season. We were a little afraid when thinking how could this track look during wet season.

Proper road, isn't it? Would you like to drive on this road with SUV? It's less than 200km to next village (if you will not get lost ).

After houndreds of puddles and thousands of rocks we took a break and had a lunch. Just here. After 120km my SE's fuel light turned on already. I'm not duing even 30mpg here, mostly on 1st and 2nd gear, will I make to next fuel station, more than 200km away?

After lunch we continued our tradition. First driver straight through water, others following his line. Damn, if we will walk every puddle, we will stay for a week here.

Orienteering wasn't too easy. Roads were split every now and then and then join after some time. In our map was only one road and our gps has only bigger lakes on it and no roads, but in real there was ten's of roads, some smaller, some bigger. We just compared gps track with map and followed our instincts. Sometimes we had to turn back while tracks ended in bush or bog.

A queue in puddle.

Those BMW's are so slow, how long must we wait? We had BMW guys having joke on KTM's and vice versa every time we stopped. Sure we all defended our brands

Bridge a la Russia. A bigger one.

Let's have a group photo, nice place, isn't it?

Drinking water from river, tasted good!

Evening was coming close and that road continued and continued. Nobody bothered about deep watercrossing anymore. Water just is here, so what?

Juho managed to get stuck. It took 3 of us to lift GS off that rock.

Same place, KTM proved why proper ground clearance is necessary.

When in doubt, a lot of throttle will help you!

We arrived Big Rock Alley. And it was long. Despite we didn't see anybody we could see fresh tire marks almost all the time.

GS still in one piece. There's not much more to break anyway.

Finally roads seems to start join more and more and we are getting through that section. We are not far away from Kironsk-Oktyabrskaya road anymore. Suddenly we discovered a runway, abandoned long time ago.

What is this 4x4 doing here? A guard? Sleeping? Is it a military object then? Let's woke him up.

Appers, that he's just a fisherman and sure he was drunk. What did he do there? No lake or river in sight, as much as we saw.
Finally 180km after leaving Umba we made it to asphalt and decided to turn to Kirovsk to get some additional fuel for next offroad section and take a look at Hibini mountains too.

Beautiful view is not telling all the truth. It was so cold, we were all freezing, it's less than +10 Celsius and temperature is dropping. Not good when you have been walking in water all day.

After refueling in Kirovsk a big rain cloud was closing and we decided to turn around and skip a visit to mountains. It was late anyway. Back to Oktyabrsk for more offroad.

But road seems to end here. Where is road going to Revda? On map there is a road though. Asking for directions from locals.

No, you can't go there! There is no road you can drive! You can't cross Kizi river, there's no bridge! I know, I'm an old lumberman!. Ok, ok, if you really wan't to try, go that direction, but... Those are the comments we got Looks promising .

Thanks to Martins from Latvia, who have helped us a lot with route selection before trip, we knew that it should be possible...
Road from Oktyabrsk to Revda started like this.

It was already late, after leaving Oktyabrsk soon we turned away from the "road" and set up a camp. Now it was only +4 Celsius and campfire was made so fast that slower from us haven't parked his bikes yet.

Let's get some warm to feet

It's time to replace brake pads. Russian roads are eaten them to metal.

Erik had new pads before trip on his BMW and didn't take spares wth him. Now he has no pads left. We hope we can buy new set from Murmansk, which is currently around 400km away.
Special socks and boots drying device by Oktyabrskyi

It was only +2Celsius and some vodka was necessary to keep us alive during night.
Tomorrow more offroad and some old railway embankment.
Beyond clouds 2011
Beyond arctic circle 2010
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:34 AM   #34
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Day 8
Today's plan was to drive from Oktyabrsky to Revda, then to Lovozero and continue to Murmansk on asphalt. We hoped to be next to Revda previous day, so it looks like it's going to be another long day
Morning was nice.

Experimental waterpoof boots.

We will drive east until we pass Umbozero and then follow Umbozero's coast up north until Revda. There should be old railway and road running parallel all the time and it should be possible to avoid deepest water crossings by driving along old railway embankment.
But first we should go east. Nice and wide gravel road, but big puddles all the time.

Old railway looks like this and while driving here, it was terrible. You can drive below 10km/h or above 80km/h. Everything between will shake bike apart. I lost my small jerrycan here.

One KTM decided to lie down. Again

It wasn't easy to find correct path to north. This should be the road to Revda?

It appears to be right road, so we continued. Road condition was perfect as usually.

Who sayd there's no bridge over Kizi river? Don't trust locals

My KTM started to behave really badly again and we just must find where is that mysterious electrical problem, which turns ignition off for a second. Luggage and fairings off again.

Others had compassion for me

And with luck we found the problem. One wire was loose from plug behind ignition lock harness. This wire was right behind front mask and impossible to see without demounting dashboard completely.

Problem solved and another hour wasted, we continued. Around 50km after Oktyabrsky and 50km before Revda, just in the middle of nowhere we arrived to small village. An old lady is living here, we asking for directions.

It was a picturescue place, but how are they connected to the rest of the world? Or are they?

We continued and every now and then had to use railroad to pass rivers.

Most road bridges are in such condition here.

Wooden road...partially. Very slippery of course.

Sometimes we got stuck.

Wet boots quarantee.

Beautiful views to lake Umbozero...

...and beautiful roads.

More rocks on the road.

Erik had problems on railroad (no rails? )

Seems like rain ahead.

Just before Revda we met local bikers. Old sidecars are very popular here. They were inspired that we came all the way from Umba and one of them told us a story how he was driving on that road on motorcycle when he was 32 years old (what, 30 years ago?). Seems like nobody uses those roads anymore except some silly tourists.

We arrived Revda, it was freezing cold again.

Lada GTI

Local shops in Revda.

It was so cold again that riding to those mountains wasn't very attractive.

But let's go a bit closer though.

Rain is closing.

Unfortunately we arrived to closed gates of mine and couldn't find a route around this. We were all freezing and decided to skip mountains and Lovozero and head to Murmansk. More than 100km on asphalt is waiting us now. It's only +4 Celsius with very strong headwind. Brrrr....
We met bulgarian bikers during one stop. They were heading to Rybachy peninsula and invited us to join too.

It was coldest ride we have made until now. Driving more than an hour on highway at freezing temperatures with wet clothes and boots is no pleasure at all. We found a place 40km before Murmansk.

Some precautions against cold.

Freezing bikers in camp

And despite cold weather, even Juho said, that he has enough for offroad and let's drive on road for some time now
Well, it is gonna be more asphalt now and our next stop will be Murmansk, biggest city on the other side of arctic circle.
Beyond clouds 2011
Beyond arctic circle 2010

randel screwed with this post 09-03-2010 at 11:50 AM
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:43 AM   #35
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i like your style of traveling and your style of reporting.

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Old 09-03-2010, 03:04 AM   #36
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Awesome pics and a great report

Current bike: KTM LC8 990 Adventure (2012)
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Old 09-03-2010, 05:37 AM   #37
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:55 AM   #38
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It looks cold and dark in the nights. In what time of the year did you do the trip?
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:20 AM   #39
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Just few weeks ago. We started August 9th and returned August 21st. It was dark only for couple of hours, depending very much from clouds too. Polar Day is only during June and July there, we reached 71st parallel.
It was warm when we were in Karelia and also in Finland, above +20 Celsius, southern part of Kola peninsula it was around +15...+20 and northern part (Murmansk area and Norway) it was constantly around +4...+8 Celsius, during night around freezing point.
Norwegians said it's common temperature for this time of year.
Beyond clouds 2011
Beyond arctic circle 2010
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:07 AM   #40
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Absolutely incredible, and inspiring. Love your style.
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Old 09-03-2010, 11:12 AM   #41
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Fantastic ride report! What an adventure.
5f? Is that like riding down a 90 degree cliff face into a lake of fire? I thought 4f was bad. Abdelhub

"Assembled Spectator Scoring With Incriminating Photographic Evidence" or A.S.S.W.I.P.E. - Granparacer
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:11 PM   #42
randel OP
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I must warn those, who love mud and water, it's going to be quite boring ride report from now on. Only concrete buildings and statues of Murmansk, northernmost continental point of Europe, foggy mountain roads in Norway and such crap.
Good news too - my camcorder is working again and videos are just downloading to computer. Stay tuned!

But now back to Day 9

Our wordsmith Raul writing another episode. Nobody hasn't actually seen yet, what he's actually writing day-by-day.

We had our first (and last) incident with milicija (Russian police) before arriving Murmansk. We left our camp few minutes before Raul and Juho and while trying to catch us, they overtaked a vehicle where it wasn't allowed and we all were stopped few km's later by a milicija. It appears that in that before mentioned vehicle was a VIM (Very Important Milicija) and he had called to them . Anyway, we suddenly forget all russian skills we had before and milisija couldn't explain us what was that bad thing we did. So they let us go.
We arrived Murmansk and a mandatory picture now.

If you have seen these pictures, you have seen most of this city.

View to Murmansk from nearby hill.

They have the BIGGEST CONCRETE MONUMENT we have ever seen before. Close up pictures can't show real size of this monster!

We were here! +8 Celsius and very strong wind, it was better not to take helmet off. From left: Raul, Päärn, Juho, Erik, me

Where we can get some brake pads for BMW?

This young lady (sorry, no more pics, unfortunately all our photographers forget what they were supposed to do suddenly) was a shop owner and they were selling different motorcycles, snowmobiles and jets.

And while it's so easy to order brake pads for next week, no Dakar rear pads in stock at the moment. Our creative minds compared available 1150GS pads with Erik's worn pads and decided they are good enough after some modifying. We were guided from shop to some local motorcycle club garage with necessary tools available.

Juho grab a grinder and started to modify brake pads. Even russian bikers looked quite shocked. Well, you do cut brake pads smaller and grind them thinner until they fit, don't you?

New brake pads installed and braking efficiency doubled, we were ready to discover Murmansk again.

Bus drivers should probably know, how to drive to this BIG monument.

Sure, they know, but explanation was so long we still get lost. It's probably not THAT street?

A church and the city.

Finally after some forbidden U-turns we found it. This thing is HUGE!

To Defenders of Soviet Polar Region 1941-1945

and a mandatory Eternal Flame. We had so many monuments (a lot smaller though) like this during soviet time!


Mandatory freezer magnet for Raul. So easy to make him happy

Small cafe where we had lunch.

And while Murmansk was so noninspiring regarding night-life we decided to leave city and put up our tents somewhere else.

Smaller monuments were everywhere, dedicated to defenders of specific hills, areas etc.

Road to west was nice and smooth.

After boring and freezing 100km we found nice campsite next to Titovka river. I lost all my two trolls there. And still no fish!

Camping started quite uneventful. Erik was repairing his pannier.

Raul was writing another mysterious story.

To make things more interesting, Raul decided to juggle with axe. Unfortunately he wasn't as good as he expected. Result was predictable.

And long lonely nights in freezing russian weather made Juho's GS Canbus system go mad during night. But we discovered it yet in the next morning...
Beyond clouds 2011
Beyond arctic circle 2010
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:15 PM   #43
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Great report.

Makes the moto-touring I've done in the western US look like a cake walk.
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:32 PM   #44
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:24 PM   #45
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"When I was younger I was afraid I'd die riding now that I'm old and falling apart, I'm afraid I won't."
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