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Old 02-13-2014, 01:46 AM   #61
Miikka OP
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Location: Bellingham, WA / Finland
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Chapter III: Coming home

Day 16, June 16th
UB - in the middle of dark russian forest


After finding out that the ship from Vladivostok sails out once a week an a random weekday
(depending on when it happens to arrive and when it happens to be fully loaded)
it was fairly easy decision to revert to plan B: let’s ride home across Russia. Again!

With unlimited time we would have chosen to ride "across continent" just for the sake of it,
but as stated many times, the clock was ticking. We couldn't justify the possible delay of
several days to ourselves not to mention to our families so Vladivostok was out.

Woke up 6:30am and hit the road 7:35. We were a bit smarter with UB traffic on they way out
avoiding busiest roads. The ride up north to the border was pretty uneventful.
Stopped at Darhan to spend our remaining Mongolian money and had lunch at a mongolian barbecue.

We hit the border at 12:45 and got thru at 3pm. So it took us 2h15min in +33C to exit Mongolia.
Another marvellous experience.


Packed up, rested and ready to roll




Bus stop gymnastics, part I


Is it obvious at all that we were looking into different ways of "entertaining" ourselves..?


BIG country, big map. We figured it would take 8 or 9 days to blast back to Finland.


At Guzinoye while fuelling up we (or I guess I should say I) came up with a splendid idea.
Instead of making the detour via M55 and Ulan-Ude we ought to take a shortcut towards lake Baikal and a town called Babushkin.
There was a small(ish) road on our russian paper map and there was a road on Garmin database as well.
So why not?

I do remember hearing some sort of a voice of reason listing out reasons why it may not be the best idea ever…
but who wants to listen opposite opinions. So almost unanimously we decided to take a short cut!


Sub - Chapter: Shortcut to Babushkin

We estimated that it’s about 100km to reach M55 going thru the small road heading northwest.
So the russian adventure began. Initially the road was fairly decent gravel road with some puddles on it.
Nothing major but enough to entertain us riding around them. There were tire marks on the road
suggesting that vehicles do use that road at least semi frequently.


Smoking Kamaz with a drunken guy behind the wheel


The farther we rode the road got less and less…great. Bigger puddles. Deeper puddles.
No way going around them anymore, just had to navigate thru them. Riding thru a puddle is no biggie,
IF you see the bottom and the possible obstacles on your way. Well on muddy puddles you don’t.

After an hour and a half or so we hit first stream (or river). Not a big one. You could call it a stream
but it was deep and fast enough for us not to ride thru. On a light trail bike sure, not with our loaded
Beemers 10 days ride away from western civilisation.


"Wet road"


Someone may have suggested the possibility of turning back but we ended up proceeding..
The further we went it became less and less tempting to even think about turning back.

So we took our bikes across the stream. The bottom of the stream was full of big rocks so our
decision to take the bikes across as a team was the only correct and possible solution. (for us)
Errr, or turning back?




Feeling good about getting across we continued with soaked boots. More water on the road. Road got more
and more narrow. Less and less signs of traffic. Started raining. Road splits into two different directions..

Comparing directions with map and navigator we picked a road that started to look more and more like a path at this point.
We stumbled upon drunken forest workers but did not receive any understandable advice on which way to go.
It was getting late and we had to take a look into mirror and discuss our options. Based on navigator we
were less than 20km away from M55. But it was getting dark. The “road” we we had chosen lead us
pretty much to desired direction but was getting worse and worse. The fallen trees on the road was
a pretty clear sign of no recent traffic. What do finns do? Well since we did haul an axe all the way from
Finland we can just as well bloody use it. Proceed.


Kudos to Jani! He was against the idea but bit his tongue and axed us thru obstacles as if it was his idea of fun times.


At this point it had been forever since last meal. Tired and hungry I had already managed to drop my bike twice.




Never forget to record your shortcomings.


It was time to admit our defeat and call it a day. After 85km, 5h and two river crossings on the shortcut,
we made a camp site and cooked dinner feeling pretty miserable and wet. While setting our bikes on
centre stand Jani dropped his bike and took down mine as well. Lots of cursing but no injuries.
Finally, tummies full of food and obligatory schnapps we closed our eyes and hoped for no bears
to be anywhere near our camp site.

I fell asleep feeling pretty dumb. I talked us into this.





555km, Total 7982km.

Ritsikirja notes:

- We are getting better (or lucky) crossing borders. Exit 2h15min vs 5h entering
- Shortcut to Babushkin. Starting to look like a BAD idea.
- Went to bed 10:30pm. Gear below knees all wet and no hope of getting dry because of the rain.
- Grizzly bear encounter; do not run, do not yell, play dead. Black bear; Do not play dead, fight back.
Errr, do russian bears know these rules..?
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:01 AM   #62
Kalevala
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Loistavaa! Very nice!
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Travel light, let`s hunt some orc.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:45 AM   #63
Redkrouge
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I had to say it

GREAT
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The Odessa File
Four days off on the roads of Switzerland
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:41 AM   #64
villho
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As a fellow Finn, it's nice to read about your trip - keep the story coming!
Quote:
Went to bed 10:30pm. Gear below knees all wet and no hope of getting dry because of the rain.
After reading your comment on the wet gear you have, I have one trick in my sleeve to share with you. I've done the same a couple of times with a pair of hiking shoes, so it should work with riding boots as well:

If you have firewood or ample supply of fuel for your stove, there's a good way how to get at least your shoes dry during the night; pick/collect a good amount of stones (if there is a stream close by, round and clean ones from the stream are the best) with diameter approx 5 cm/2", and heat them in a fire or boil them with your stove so that they are heated thorougly (although, make sure that they are not TOO hot). Then, but your shoes upright in your tent vestibule, fill them with the hot-ish stones, go to sleep, wake up and put your dry shoes on
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:46 AM   #65
jsum
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Neat story !

Nice to read Your story as I´m planning/ hoping to do same next year ... writing down all the towns You have passed and checking the map weather to take same route ...

Enjoying friday beer and reading it twice !
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:34 AM   #66
Miikka OP
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Thanks fellas!

And Villho's hot tip on stones as a drier is a keeper! Koppi.
May require quite a bit of extra cooking fuel but I have to try it out
in the future at least for shit and giggles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by villho View Post
As a fellow Finn, it's nice to read about your trip - keep the story coming!
After reading your comment on the wet gear you have, I have one trick in my sleeve to share with you. I've done the same a couple of times with a pair of hiking shoes, so it should work with riding boots as well:

If you have firewood or ample supply of fuel for your stove, there's a good way how to get at least your shoes dry during the night; pick/collect a good amount of stones (if there is a stream close by, round and clean ones from the stream are the best) with diameter approx 5 cm/2", and heat them in a fire or boil them with your stove so that they are heated thorougly (although, make sure that they are not TOO hot). Then, but your shoes upright in your tent vestibule, fill them with the hot-ish stones, go to sleep, wake up and put your dry shoes on
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:54 AM   #67
SamRus
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Miikka!
This is a fantastic story! Keep it coming!
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:04 AM   #68
Miikka OP
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Chapter III: Coming home...Russian dessert

Day 17, June 17th
Shortcut - Baikal

Slept til 7:15 and had a quiet breakfast. At least the morning broke sunny.
Decided to walk a bit around the “next corner” and investigate by foot.
150m meters down the road we found a collapsed “bridge” and overgrown road on the other side.


Ghost of a bridge (bad pic though)


We were only 15km away from M55 but there was no way of going thru this bit.
(If our lives depended on it, we could probably have built sufficient bridge in one full day to get across.
But since there was no guarantees what we might find behind next corner there was absolutely no
point to even consider that option.)

So tails between our legs we made a U-turn (dejavu) and began the ride of shame back towards Guzinoye.
At least we knew that the road back was passable but at the same time we were dreading few of the
water obstacles that we had been happy to leave behind our backs the previous day.






Chin up and onwards. We kept reasonable pace but did not want to rush and damage anything
on our way out of the woods.

That’s when usually something tends to happen:



“WTF?”

Took me a while to realise what happened and how/why. (besides not being Travis Pastrana)
Smallish log was hiding in the grass in a 45 degree angle in relation to my direction and it threw me
and my bike quite successfully sideways in a fraction of a curse word.
I was puzzled but fine. Pannier got some looove.



..Gorilla tape to the rescue!

This is one of the cons of aluminium/hard pannier. When damaged, not that easy to mend back together on the road.
We used a big rock to bang it back to "shape" but lid would not sit properly. Waterproof..? Nah.
Pros? Safe, lockable, easy to use/pack + you can attach extra stuff easily on it.
Protects even fragile items.
But it's always a compromise.
Having the opportunity to choose again....tough one. I still might go with aluminium pannier.
Only tempting soft choices (for me) would be Steel Pony Luggage and the relatively new AdvSpec Magadan.
Since mine is now fixed (with hammer, rivet gun and silicone) again I may have hard time
justifying buying a new set.

Back to the story..

After countless water obstacles we made it back to Guzinoye. (in 4 hours) Fuelled up at the same
gas station as previous day. Our shortcut cost us 22h, 170km and a modified pannier. But hey,

It's supposed to be a challenge, that's why they call it a shortcut.
If it was easy it would just be the way
”. (Rubin, Road Trip)


We were both pretty relieved after making it back to bigger road without real damages.
Obviously the biggest threat was flooding the engine. That would not have been fun to deal with.
Especially with F800 design needing to dismantle half the bike in order to reach spark plugs.

Now, afterwards, it’s easy to laugh at it and I’m actually happy that we tried out that shortcut.
Life is too short to play it safe 100% of the time! Return leg of the trip could have been boring as
hell but that shortcut made it an adventure!

After getting some groceries and lunch it was time to hit the pavement towards Ulan-Ude.
Fuel stop At UU and some rubbles from an ATM at gas station. Jani’s bike did not seem to like that fuel,
it kept coughing every now and then.
Stopped and greeted a biker couple from Australia. They were actually only the second sighting of
bikers (excluding UB) on our whole trip. I had the expectation that we will run into similar clowns
like us on daily basis. Not so much, we only saw one other group of 3 bikes on our expedition.


Australian 2 bike convoy


We made it to southern shore of Lake Baikal and of course had to take a picture.


Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world. Also the deepest: 1,642 m!!!




Found accommodation in town of Baikal and it was time to dry our gear.




First time I've personally seen a tent inside a hotel. But it was dry by morning.



482km, Total 8477km

Ritsikirja notes:

- Left pannier + tool tube needed mending
- Jani had the honour of finding his first tick on this trip.
- After surviving our shortcut…Jani: “I’m SO NOT leaving pavement ever again!”
- Had the hotel to ourselves. Not a soul in the hotel besides us. Twilight zone?
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:38 PM   #69
Miikka OP
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Location: Bellingham, WA / Finland
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Shortcut to Babushkin revisited

After rereading my description of our little shortcut I feel like I need to
add something to the story. It didn't feel...wet enough!

So bare with me...I put together a short clip. It's a 5min footage so no adult beverage needed.
(optional, usually improves the results)


Babushkin shortcut from Miikka Leino on Vimeo.




And the location:

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Old 02-17-2014, 08:49 AM   #70
Miikka OP
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Chapter III: Russian dessert

Day 18, June 18th
Baikal - N55 33.255 E98 37.191 (gostinitza)


After successfully drying our gear overnight I had a splendid breakfast at the hotel. The russian lady
kept talking and bringing more food, I kept nodding and responding in Finnish. Jani was unable to attend
any eating related activities (again) at this point. He was suffering from stomach issues and his overall
condition was far from optimal.

We decided it would be wise to rest a couple more hours so we took it easy that morning.
10am Jani announced that he is ready to roll.



Faboulous looking hotel


Jani thinking healthy thoughts..


Getting my hands dirty


Morning riding weather was challenging. Low temp + all the moisture from lake Baikal combined with
mountains on south resulted in fog. Poor visibility added to Jani's half ok condition made us settle for local marching speed.
So we rode thru our first tank of gas in a line like poor piggies.

Then life once again threw a joker at us.
My bike started acting up on that day’s second tank of gas. Didn’t feel too crippled but slightly lazier
and a helluva lot thirstier. The “ride computer” kept showing clearly higher than normal fuel consumption figures.
That can always be taken with a grain of salt but next time fuelling up confirmed my concern.
Bike was drinking way more fuel than normally.
Our bikes are not identical (pipes, booster plug etc) but fuel consumption so far on the trip had been
pretty equal. Mine ate maybe one litre or so more per 300km’s on highway. Now suddenly about
a litre per 100km’s..


We soon learned what triggered this condition. Whenever I opened up the throttle to (near) fully open position
the bike started gulping fuel. Turning the engine off and back on reset the situation back to normal???
So if I rode with a “gentle touch”, easy on the throttle, not opening up more than absolutely necessary…bike
was behaving normally -> consumption remained normal. But as soon as I overtook a truck and needed
to Accelerate the bike started drinking gasoline like Dom Perignon.

Had a pitstop and removed the first possible cause, booster plug. Maybe it had had enough
and wasn’t functioning properly?


Removing booster plug


KISS (keep it simple stupid) has never been my strongest suit.
Notice the fashionable gorilla tape and lid closure system on right pannier..


Testing continued.. Nope. Booster plug removal had no effect. Same symptoms remained.
Our GS911 tool gave one fault code: Lambda sensor. That code may have been triggered at any point,
but that was our only clue at that point. Not much to do about it besides the old fashion wiggle,
blow and kick procedure.

No help.

The main concern was that the bike wouldn’t last home if it kept drinking that much fuel.
The bike can’t possibly burn that much extra fuel without some side effects. Would some of the fuel
find it’s way to oil pan? How long would the spark plugs last?

With lots of questions we arrived at a random Gostinitza for the night at 8:30pm.



Our garage for the night


712km, Total 9211km

Ritsikirja notes:

- Jani found one more tick in the morning, Miikka 2. All successfully(?) removed.
- While Jani took his morning nap, Miikka replaced 2 blown fuses.
Barkbuster LED lights seem to have a short circuit..
- First bike trouble on the trip. Consulted on the phone with a service shop in
Finland and got some troubleshooting advice. No luck solving the problem so far.
But bike runs, carry on.
- Gostinitza had a proper sauna!
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:45 AM   #71
Miikka OP
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Chapter III: Russian dessert

Day 19, June 19th
N55 33.255 E98 37.191 - Marin

Proper breakfast at Gostinitza and couple more attempts on fixing the lambda sensor in the morning
by looking into the wiring. Tried to search for loose connectors but everything seemed fine and tight.


Moment of maintenance in the morning


Back to the road at 8:50. Jani announced that he was was done being sick!
My bike was still doing the same weird stuff.

As long as we rode steady 110km/h with no rapid accelerations the bike was fine. Thus our plan
was to ride steady speed and all the overtaking needed to be fast and smooth..
Jani stepped up and took the lead bike position and informed me if I needed to slow down or just
keep coming and pass everybody. Lead bike / wingman system worked great as long as the traffic
wasn’t too heavy.





Bugs like us


We like these local bus stops..


..and so do local cows!




Decided to find a place to stay at town of Marin. That wasn’t as easy as normally. The place we finally
found open did not have restaurant so we had to hit the town in order to find dinner. For some reason
that turned out to be even more difficult. Tried several doors and places, all closed.
And it wasn’t even Sunday?! We were starting to feel defeated and bought food from a small
shop to go. Town of Marin was not kind to us.


Normal evening "maintenance" to check all bolts and nuts and such.


First time checkin air filter after crossing Mongolia




Slightly sad dinner


797km, Total 10032

Ritsikirja notes:

- Always pick a motel / gostinitza that serves food!
- Sena intercom charger busted. Now only 1 charger to operate with.
- Minor maintenance in Marin. First time cleaning air filters during the trip. Surprisingly clean after 10000km’s and crossing Mongolia.
Well, maybe clean is too strong of a term, but way cleanER than expected.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:10 PM   #72
Jorik
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Hei,

Great ride! Intrigue. What further? I'm worried about Jani's condition and O2 sensor of your bike.

.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:51 AM   #73
Miikka OP
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Chapter III: Russian dessert

Day 20, June 20th.
Marin - N55 10.343 E75 54.918 (tent)


8am on the road without breakfast!
After our experience previous night we decided to leave town of Marin without any attempt to find breakfast.

Sunny weather with temp around +16C. Riding felt good again and we accidentally burned thru
our second tank of the day without stopping once. Coffee breaks are for sissies?
Temperature rose up to +24C and sun kept shining on us.











After our not so successful “shortcut” we were once again pretty much fully adapted back to
our blast thru Russia -mode!
So it was back to this:

Blast RUS from Miikka Leino on Vimeo.




At the end of the clip you can see a police car sorting out a fender bender. The russian slightly odd
law or system seems to require that all the vehicles that were part of the accident have stay put until
police has “sorted out” the situation. Well…that’s a lot of fun for everybody else. It WILL create a nice
traffic jam. But hey, at least police is happy!?

I figured out a way to “fix” my bike after triggering the gas drinking mode. Riding on 6th, shift down 2 or 3 gears
-> proper engine braking -> slowly accelerate back to marching speed (without opening the throttle too much). Result.
So whenever that happened, I’d gain some speed and commence the engine braking procedure…problem “fixed”.

That lead us thinking that the actual problem might be in TPS (throttle position sensor) or fuel pressure sensor.
Jury is still out.

Gear was dry so we decided it was time for a camp night again. Found a nice spot at 8:30pm.





"Adjusting" Sena





adult beverage improves any repair attempt?





Kudos to "Lost Rider"




Normal maintenance stuff, GS911 fault code readout, no faults.
Dinner and time to crawl into tent..

895km, Total 10953km

Ritsikirja notes:

- Miikka does not seem to operate well without breakfast. Kept sulking all morning til lunch.
- VIO pov camera on Jani’s bike gets a hit (rock?) and camera head is busted. Removed the unit at camp site.
- More gorilla tape needed on Jani’s Sena intercom.
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:20 PM   #74
Woland
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Great RR, thanks for sharing and sorry about the ice hockey ;)
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:22 PM   #75
Miikka OP
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Dementia is a bliss...all I can remember is Finland beat USA 5-0!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woland View Post
Great RR, thanks for sharing and sorry about the ice hockey ;)
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