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Old 09-29-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
CheckerdD OP
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Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Dave Rankine, Reno NV
Oddometer: 1,268
Rode Russia 2014

I flew the bike, an F800 GS, to Korea and had a good time riding there for three weeks. I and 5 friends got the ferry from Donghae to Vladivostok and rode across the country. I expect to cross into Lithuania tomorrow. So here is some information for you. 1) Use the freight people who everyone else uses Wendy Choi in Korea and Yuri Melnik for Russia. These guys know what they are doing, don't overcharge you and save you a lot of trouble getting the bike in. 2) We got Russian insurance from Motorcycle Express and in addition got Russian liability coverage from Yuri. I think this was smart because the latter gave us a form in Russian saying we were covered. The Motorcycle Express coverage was a green card not in Russian. 3) The road is paved the whole way except where they have it torn up for new construction, curve straightening etc. I was surprised how much construction was going on mostly to upgrade the road. 4) You can get 87 or 91 octane gas the whole way. I had only one stop where I had to put 87 in. The rest of the time it was 91 - e.g. 95 RON Gas is about a buck a liter. 5) We generally kept to a 100 KPs speed limit and had no interactions with cops. 6) We did not camp. Everyone including the locals say don't camp. It's dangerous in Russia. The only persons we met the whole trip who were camping were two French Bicyclists and they were camping by hiding out. 7) We put a lot of planning time into hotels. Generally we would look at a town say 300 to 400 miles down the road and then go to Booking.com to reserve. We then put the coordinates in our GPS. God help you if you try this trip without a GPS. We have Garmin Russia. Some days we only went 200+ miles such as where we thought their might be a lot of construction. 8) We took a day off about twice a week which was whenever we were in a place with something to see. 9) We never learned to speak more than a few words in Russian. That was fine. Samsung phone with a translator was nice to have. We always had reception even in the boonies in Siberia. 10) People were really friendly and helpful. 11) If you have any problem, flag down a Russian motorcyclist. They really help each other out. It's possible to stay with motorcycle clubs, but if you do, realize that their idea of hospitality includes drinking you under the table. 12) It rains a lot in Russia in June and July and it can be surprisingly hot. So we figured late August and September was a good time to travel. I think we were right, but maybe we would have been warmer toward the end if we had left Korea say in the first or second week in August rather than the 3rd. We did get rained on quite a bit our last 5 days in Siberia when it rained part of every day. 13) If you do this trip realize it's a really big country. It's about 7000 miles from Vladivostok to Lithuania. Also it's mostly flat, straight two lane. So the trip is more work than say riding from the US to Alaska or Argentina which I have done previously. My advice is go to those places first. 14) We had no problem getting MC oil at MC dealers and we even got a Motull oil filter for a BMW GS at the Kawi dealer in Kazan. They let us change and dump the old oil for free. 15) Road traffic is mostly trucks. Say 5 tractor trailors for every car. That is just as well because the truckers know how to drive. Russian car drivers are awful. You have to drive defensively around cars. Their worst habit is tailgating you, but they do other crazy things. 16) Learn something about how to order food in Russian or from a picture book. Russian waitresses can't deal with people who say things like "serve us anything." 17) The only people who showed us any hostility were a couple of drunk right wing wackos on one occasion. I actually enjoy thinking about that incident. Dave
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