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Old 07-03-2011, 10:22 PM   #1006
dubtruker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trail717 View Post
Wait, how did I wind up here? Quick where is the door, before it’s to late…..sigh, it’s too late.

About 30 yrs since my last real motorcycle ride and lately I have been thinking real hard about it. So this week I go down & take the test on a 3 party bike, pick up my 1st ever M endorsement. Then I search and find this web site. (Planning on some dirt style excursions with my brother who never quit racing & riding and my 23 yr old son who never has)

Just minding my own biz & innocently looking to learn what’s what in the dual sport adventure world before I go lay down any of my $-- “why honey, I will just get the money by selling some stuff on ebay”

But on the way to reading up on all the true DR650 knowledge, somehow I got sidetracked & stuck here, reading about Doug’s latest adventure.

Guess this thread is as good as any of the others for learning all I need to know about the absolute latest is riding gear and current bike technology. And also I get to learn all about manly dirt riding style points & how to talk a little smack about German engineering (I work for a German company & I am sure any clever new twangs will come in handy)

So sign me up as I need to learn everything ‘dirt’ from a true master.

But mostly because I want to find out what Doug has tucked away in those pvc pipe sections. (perhaps a detachable snorkel?)
HAHA! Awesome first post! Welcome from a relative newb myself.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:43 AM   #1007
rowingdude
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How's the bike holding up? I think Harley should contact you about their new dual-sport line of motorcycles they -will- should make.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:59 AM   #1008
mmx74
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To Doug

My congratulations with 4 july
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:32 AM   #1009
Kyler
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Originally Posted by rowingdude View Post
How's the bike holding up? I think Harley should contact you about their new dual-sport line of motorcycles they -will- should make.
The one that will look like an improved Uly?
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:26 AM   #1010
Tony P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trail717 View Post
Wait, how did I wind up here? Quick where is the door, before it’s to late…..sigh, it’s too late.

About 30 yrs since my last real motorcycle ride and lately I have been thinking real hard about it. So this week I go down & take the test on a 3 party bike, pick up my 1st ever M endorsement. Then I search and find this web site. (Planning on some dirt style excursions with my brother who never quit racing & riding and my 23 yr old son who never has)

Just minding my own biz & innocently looking to learn what’s what in the dual sport adventure world before I go lay down any of my $-- “why honey, I will just get the money by selling some stuff on ebay”

But on the way to reading up on all the true DR650 knowledge, somehow I got sidetracked & stuck here, reading about Doug’s latest adventure.

Guess this thread is as good as any of the others for learning all I need to know about the absolute latest is riding gear and current bike technology. And also I get to learn all about manly dirt riding style points & how to talk a little smack about German engineering (I work for a German company & I am sure any clever new twangs will come in handy)

So sign me up as I need to learn everything ‘dirt’ from a true master.

But mostly because I want to find out what Doug has tucked away in those pvc pipe sections. (perhaps a detachable snorkel?)

It's never too late. Look at my ride when I was 67 - but don't wait to see my travels being planned as I go through my 70s.
I was possibly among the oldest to ride the Road of Bones to Magadan (certainly am on other routes and the BAM !) and there is masses of of opportunity for others to beat that.

Don't get hung up about learning from reading - nothing teaches better than actually doing it.
Read to be inspired, not to learn.

Similarly, don't bother endlessly searching for the 'perfect bike' and 'bling'. Buy the bits and pieces as you develop a requirement. The greatest Adventure Riders use bikes that are simple, very well prepared and only with essential added equipment and modifications.

Doug's tubes? Easy.
They are there as there was nowhere else to carry and show the absolutely most essential piece of equipment -
a Colebatch SibirskyExtreme sticker!
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:21 AM   #1011
rtwdoug OP
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Im in Khorog, Tajikistan. seems the 'internet wire' to the region was taken out by a rockslide. I found a poor connection at the post office tho. Probably wont see more inet until Osh, in Kyrgistan. There was a war there last year, altho a small one. I hope they have calmed down by now.

Tajik has taken over my top spot for favorite/most beautiful country. This place is spectacular!

Doug
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Old 07-05-2011, 04:39 AM   #1012
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I'm sooo looking forward to this part of the report. Sambor's ride to Afghanistan absolutely blew my mind with the beauty of the place.

Stay safe & ride on.
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Old 07-05-2011, 05:13 AM   #1013
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I woke up about 6am, looked out the window, & saw we were circling offshore. Great, I wonder how long this will take? So I went back to sleep. I woke again at 8, & we were docked. So I got all my stuff, & headed on deck, then down to the bike. There were about 20 people getting off the boat, I don’t know how many were crew, & how many were passengers.
So I ride off the boat, & am told to stop by a building, & park the bike. Everyone is in line, but Im told to sit on the bench, while they decide if Im moral enough to visit Turkmenistan after having been to such brazen democratic countries such as Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Canada.
So I sat. finally, all the locals were thru, & they decided to deal with me. Fill out this form. Fill out that form. Pay this fee, pay that fee. Where are you going? What are you doing here? What is your job? Blah blah blah.
One paper they gave me had a map of TM on it, where I choose my route. Theres 3 roads. Not a big decision. So then they mark my route, so when Im stopped, the police can make sure I haven’t wandered off the route, and spread capitalist propaganda into the peaceful villages. Also, they see how many kilometers I will travel, and charge me, as the fuel here is subsidized, and very cheap. That cost me 48 bucks. Then a port tax or some such bullshit, because I dared to leave the boat. And a decontamination fee for the bike (which was never decontaminated)
And so on. Finally, Im told I can go, so I ride to the gate & wait for someone to let me out.
And I wait. I walk back to the building, they say I forgot a form.
I forgot? How in the fuck am I sposed to know I didn’t do all the forms?
So to another building. Another form. Another fee.
Back to the bike. 30 minutes later, Im back to the building, to find out still another form needs to be done.
Im just crossing the country, not trying to move here!
This guy wants a bribe.
No
Screw you. Heres the paper, can I go now?
Finally they let me out. YAY!
I make it 500 feet, & stopped. Police checkpoint. Guy is nice tho, offers me lunch & a coke. I accept the coke. They have a coke bottling plant in TM, and are very proud of that. He fills out info in a book that will spend the next 50 years in a closet, to be thrown out one day.
Finally, Im on the road!
Oops, stopped again. Im not gonna make good time here. They didn’t give me 5 24 hour days, they gave me til midnight Friday. Its 2pm Monday now. 4 ½ days to go. And 1200km
Again, on the road. Its friggin hot here. And dry. And brown. Did I mention the heat?
I was hotter than a freshly fucked fox in a forest fire.
Im ridin down the road, & everyone is eyeballin me. I’m thinking longhaired bike riders are not the norm here. I was told by a couple guys who have been here not to come, but you know me, that just makes me want to see what the fuss is about. I was told about being followed by the police, having my camera searched, and everyone watching me. Well, people were watching me for sure. And taking pics of me with cell fones all the time. But it seemed more from curiosity, and to show there friends than anything official. I never felt threatened, & every time I stopped, a crowd would gather, asking me all kinds of questions. When they learned I was American, the eyes would always open big. I think most had never seen an American before. The response was always positive tho, and the cameras would come out again.
‘Honest Habib, this crazy American was riding a motorcycle! Look, I got his picture!’
Its 600km to Ashgabet, and theres only 1 town of any size in between, so I planned to make it to Balkanabat tonite. I got there ok, after dodging the holes in the road, & many stray camels. Camels are everywhere. They like to sleep on the warm roads at nite, so its best to end your travels by then. I got to Balkanabat ok, & found the hotel. There is only 1. and those greedy bastards know it. A single room is 70 dollars. But of course Im told the singles are full (I saw no other people there) and a double room is 100. ouch! No internet. No breakfast. Just a room. I wouldn’t have stayed, but Im not sure of the TM rules for camping, and Im not wanting to get bothered by the cops, so I pay it. It was big & fancy, but crazy price. Of course for a local, it costs about 5-10.00. the locals have everything cheap, or free. I guess to keep them happy so they wont cause any problems. Gas for heat & cooking is free, but matches aren’t, so many people leave the stoves on all the time. Water is free, petrol is about 1.00 a gallon. You get 5 free loaves of bread a month for every person in your family. Its such a great place to live!
So anyhow, heres some pics. Not sure if they will be ok’d by the government or not.

The fine looking vessels in the port





The papers they gave me to carry along with me



My route map


Caspian sea



I’d take a break in the shade, if there was any



Maybe under the camel?



This woulda hurt



In Balkanabat, statues of Turkmenbashi, ‘leader of the turkmen’ he was king/dictator/president from after the USSR time til he died in 06. theres gold statues & pictures of this guy everywhere. He was quite the megalomaniac. EVERY office has his picture. It’s the law. He wasted SO much money on all these statues & monuments, how about making a good road? Oh yeah, they don’t want people to travel anywhere. Funny thing, the new president looks just like the dead one. I guess it was easier than changing all the portraits.
Oh, and here is a pic of him. All his portraits look like a glamour shot. They have him in military uniforms, business suits, etc. its always the same face, same serious expression, but different outfits. Its like the Turkmen Barbie or something.




You know, someone from the government there is going to read this (they are very paranoid & inet/phones/hotel rooms are all bugged) and I bet if I want to go back, I wont get a visa. Well, I’ve been there, & although it was interesting, Im not too concerned on returning.

While at the hotel, I met Vincent from Holland who was touring the area with a guide. If you are on transit, you don’t need a guide. If a tourist, you have to have a guide & stay at approved hotels. So we went out to dinner, & found a restaurant where a bunch of women were having a shindig, looks like they were having fun. I hope they don’t get in trouble!


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Old 07-05-2011, 05:46 AM   #1014
Daniii
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Hey Doug, Just saw your bike in this month's American Iron Mag. The aluminum cases looked good, but looks like you've got it sorted out since that photo shoot. Keep on, man.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:33 AM   #1015
DanEngels
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Sorry, I could not resist!
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:20 AM   #1016
Patrick46
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Hahahaa.....that's AWESOME, Dan!!!! ^^^


"Doug the Adventurer".........goes where no American has gone before!



you be careful out there, son!
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:43 AM   #1017
xmonger
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Originally Posted by DanEngels View Post
Sorry, I could not resist!
If there was ever any question about Doug being able to travel through TM again, your post sealed his fate.

Doug, thanks for another epic RR.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:07 PM   #1018
Oldpatch
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Wow, the Azeri pics were terrific, stuff like this is why I keep coming back here. I like to get my news firsthand. Travelers like Doug are real eyeopeners, straight unfiltered impressions of a part of the world that gets only the back of the hand, if that, from our Big Media. With their view of Central Asia you’d think everyone was wandering out of mud huts and savaging each other on every street corner. Not sayin’ it doesn’t happen, but Baku looks like a liveable place and then some, and that’s just the point; it looks like people everywhere are mostly trying to just get along, get by and lend each other a hand if it’s needed. Looking for dougs and ducking the dicks. Makes me think that the next time somebody asks me where to find something in my hometown that I might just take them there. Maybe make the world a little better for it. And dammit Doug, now I have a Dirtster itch that needs scratching…
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:11 PM   #1019
benho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtwdoug View Post
Im in Khorog, Tajikistan. seems the 'internet wire' to the region was taken out by a rockslide. I found a poor connection at the post office tho. Probably wont see more inet until Osh, in Kyrgistan. There was a war there last year, altho a small one. I hope they have calmed down by now.

Tajik has taken over my top spot for favorite/most beautiful country. This place is spectacular!

Doug

Hey Doug looks like you've got a hell of a ride goin on out there, can't wait to check out your others. I hitch hiked the Pamir Highway to Murghab in 2007. Best views I've ever seen, and if you don't like crowds of tourists you've found the right place. We found a "truck stop" of sorts to post up at on the way out there complete with food and an outhouse.

Have fun with the police checkpoint near Murghab, shouldn't be an issue with your GBAO permit. Rock on.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:54 PM   #1020
Deputy_Dawg
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Was at the book store earlier browsing through magazines and saw a picture on the front of 'American Iron' that looked familiar. And there inside is a story about Doug and the Dirtster, and about his current trip. Didn't buy the mag but I did read the story - good coverage there Doug.
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