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Old 09-19-2013, 07:01 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by riverman View Post
Loving the report. I check in almost every day for updates. I know it is a lot of work for you to keep it up but am sure I am speaking for thousands when I say it is much appreciated. Keep up the good work.
Originally Posted by blacktiger View Post
Originally Posted by squonker View Post
Fantastic ride report! An amazing adventure, for sure, and your attitudes are spot on despite some serious setbacks that would have had many of us throwing in the towel. Now that I am caught up I look forward to following along as you continue. Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the wolves, it is extremely unlikely that they wouldn't leave you alone.
Your's and everyone else who has commented make me want to keep the RR updated and keep riding so thank you!
Triumph Tiger 800 xc
Walkabout in Russia and Central Asia
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:20 PM   #377
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UB - Lake Baikal - Irkutsk

I wasn’t kidding when I said it was getting cold in Mongolia. A cold wind came through on the day we arrived in UB and we were forced to move from our ger to the rooms inside.

The sunflowers have had their fun.

The Oasis Guesthouse, like Tes Guesthouse in Kyrgyzstan, is a vortex. There are other travellers around to swap war stories and after being on the road and missing the simple things like boiling water with the flick of a switch, a sit-down toilet, and beers (in no particular order) the phrase quickly becomes ‘let’s stay one more day’.

It was like that for us but the weather was our excuse for staying…not the hangover. We stayed an extra day than expected because the temperature was forecast a high of 10 degrees…and 15 degrees the day after so we planned to leave then. Still, on the day we finally managed to extract ourselves from the guesthouse there was a light sprinkling of snow.

Our thoughts were with Stefan the German cyclist who was behind us on the middle route and would almost certainly have to ride through deeper snow.

Random. Somewhere between UB and the Mongolia/Russia border.

I would have loved to have done some exploring through these mountains in the north east of Mongolia if the weather was warmer.

We could have made the border in one day but instead we decided to stay in a town about 70km from the border and use the last of our Mongol money. £10 with parking outside our bedroom window for easy packing/unpacking/security.

Patty made a new friend - a stray pup with attitude. He barked at other dogs that came near our bike. It would be so cool if we could take a pet with us across borders.

The Mongol border was a breeze because the guy walked us around the various places to go and personally saw to it that we were looked after. I had the Mongols pegged all wrong...

The Russian side was just as easy, but unlike the serious Mongolians the border people were having a laugh and joking around and taking photos with us. It felt good to be back in Russia. The movies and pop culture have it all wrong about the Russians - they make you think the Russians are serious and smashed drunk off vodka all the time but in truth it's the opposite. They do love their vodka though.

We stopped at a roadside café for a hot lunch to warm the insides and immediately we had people talking to us and taking photos.

We found a cheap hotel in Ulan Ude.

Two kids are chopping fire wood with chainsaws down the street.

Does it get any better?! Pretty sure my dad would have wore a robe like this in the 70's

New adventure gear. I need some protection around that white chest though

A town on Lake Baikal

Riding around the lake made me wish that I did the BAM. Riding through Siberia even for these few days has been great. I might have to come back with a shitbanger of an enduro and dump it in Mongolia...

A river flowing into Lake Baikal.

With the clearest water I’ve ever seen. I shot this photo off a bridge about 15 metres above the water and it’s still possible to make out every detail of the riverbed.

We were recommended a place to stay in Slyudyanka (on Lake Baikal) so we thought we’d check it out and warm up. Camping is now out of the question cos we’re soft.

The rooms were very cosy and heated and out the back they had a barnya, which is a Russian sauna. Luxury in the cold. It would be so cool to use the barnya in the middle of winter when there is one metre of snow on the doorstep. I’m sure they have all sorts of crazy parties in these things.

When we woke in the morning a gale force wind was blowing outdoor furniture all over the yard but as quickly as it started it stopped and everything became peaceful. We popped our heads out the door for a weather update and noticed why it had gone all silent…heavy snow was falling, but luckily it wasn’t quite cold enough for it to settle.

That white in the mountains is snow.

Notice the gloves. They’re not Klims winter edition…more like Michael Jacksons.

But we had to go. We were only 100km from Irkutsk so no matter how cold it is we can brave it for that long. We just need to make it to Irkutsk before the winter sets in. By now we’ve accepted we won’t be going all the way to Vladivostok. There has been extensive flooding in far east Russia and the Amur River which lies on the route to Vladivostok is still under flood and has been declared an emergency zone. With the flooding and cold it's not possible for us or enjoyable enough for us to ride all the way to the east coast so we’ll freight the bike from Irkutsk to Vladivostok instead. Ending the trip in Irkutsk doesn't disappoint me. The road to Vladivostok I've heard is pretty boring so I don't need to ride it just to say I've done it. I've heard Irkutsk mentioned a lot in peoples ride reports so I feel the need to roll into there on a bike. The trip feels like it's winding down to a close

Slyudyanka on Lake Baikal

The final ride towards Irkutsk was cold, very cold. Probably not the coldest I’ve ever done but it’s up there. If it rained then it would have taken the top spot as the coldest. I had four layers on my upper body so I felt ok but my fingers were in pain. The heated grips didn’t do anything to keep the cold away and they felt as though they weren’t even working. I rode with one hand on the throttle and the other sitting around my groin out of the wind. It's only mid-September we were trying to picture how cold it must get in the middle of winter...we couldn't imagine how -40 must feel.

We stopped 40km out from Irkutsk for some borsch, a delicious Russian dish made from tomatoes, potato, chunks of meat, carrots and various other things along with two cups of coffee each.

Give Yogi a hug. It woudn't be a Russian cafe without some type of stuffed animal

We arrived in Irkutsk mid-morning and went to Motosalon to see if they knew of any transport companies and/or if they had any bike crates laying around. They had neither but the lady and the guy jumped on the phone and started calling around and soon enough she found us a freight company and her husband could do a crate. We were also put in touch with the Irkutsk motorcycle club where we could stay until the bike was sent to Vladivostok.

The club house

Everything has to be smick to get through Australian customs.

And how should we dry it? In a barnya of course! Patty had to go through all the velcro on our boots and pants with tweezers to clean out the grass.

We felt a bit bad putting mud in the club house but once we cleaned up after ourselves we think we actually cleaned the place up

And now for the bike. Before…

And after. Using a toilet brush and tooth brush to get in around the electrics and those hard to reach places and a wire brush to clean the grease packed dirt off around the hub and chain I got it to a reasonable looking state.

Despite all that I’m still expecting Australian customs to say it’s not good enough and whack us with a whopping big steam cleaning bill.

Now for the crating. The ladies husband didn’t want me around the yard to help with the crate So I took the shield off to get the dimensions/cost down and left him to it

Meanwhile we got stuck into vodka shots at the clubhouse. Something gives me the impression Patty wanted to be saved not taken photos of...

We walked into a chicken shop in central Irkutsk and were surprised to find the aussie flag. We found an aussie chicken shop...who would have thought?!

A historic part of town the locals call the 31st Quarter.

Job done and crate delivered to the freight company for freighting to Vladivostok where we have a shipping contact waiting to collect it (Yuri Melnikov at

After 23,000km's it was time to say "see you later" Australia will be her fourth continent

Would you believe that same TKC lasted the whole trip. The TKC on the rear is poo for mileage, but good in the dirt.

That same afternoon we boarded the Trans-Siberian to Moscow which took 4 days. We’re going to visit all those places in Europe we didn’t do on the way through like Poland, Czech, Hungary and of course Oktoberfest. We’re meeting some friends in Stuttgart for another beerfest then making our way to the UK for a flight home to Sydney...maybe via Asia, we’ll see how the finances are and when the bike arrives because I don’t want to pay storage fees at port.

The bike should arrive in Melbourne early November so if customs allow the Liger into the country I’ll do my best to ride dirt all the way to Sydney through the Vic High Country, Bendethra, Hill End etc etc…can’t wait! I need to do some serious planning for all that though because I don’t have any tracks for any of that. I'll post the aussie leg of the trip on this thread too

For now, we become backpackers.
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Walkabout in Russia and Central Asia
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:50 PM   #378
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Brilliant story. Thanks for writing it up for us.
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:33 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by GuiltyParty View Post
Good stuff. We've gone the opposite direction and we're in Moscow now after being on the Trans-Siberian for 4 days. Asia would have been the logical way home but Patty hasn't done some countries in Europe yet so we're backpacking around now.

I still need to catch up on your report man. I've been waiting until I can sit down with a beer and read it properly...the BAM needs this sort of attention
I don't think anyone expected that. i have head the weather in eastern Russia has been difficult the year. All the best to you both in your travels.


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Old 09-20-2013, 12:07 AM   #380
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Great RR mate..All the best,happy backpacking .Start a local RR link when you get up and running in Melbourne .
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:30 AM   #381
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I'll post the aussie leg of the trip on this thread too

Thanks for a great RR. I'm looking forward to the next bit!
Riding Any Road
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:29 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by GuiltyParty View Post

Does it get any better?! Pretty sure my dad would have worn a porn star moustache like this in the 70's

Fixed it for you.
"(I could start another bandwidth wasting thread on getting there, but I think I have started enough pointless threads for the year already)"

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Old 09-20-2013, 08:54 AM   #383
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Hi GuiltyParty,

One of the best RR's ive read and through a country that I love. Let us know how you get on back in OZI. How much would I need for such a trip, ca ?
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:42 PM   #384
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Originally Posted by Yorkybar View Post
Hi GuiltyParty,

One of the best RR's ive read and through a country that I love. Let us know how you get on back in OZI. How much would I need for such a trip, ca ?
+1 Awesome story you guys. Can't wait to see you ride the liger in Oz this winter!
If you go to the gym everyday and workout you don't feel as sore. Same with riding bikes. The more you ride the easier it gets. -JDowns

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Old 09-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #385
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Wow, just an amazing ride report. I really enjoyed your report, but i'm feeling sorry for your bike.

I think that al the problems gave an extra dimension to your trip?
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:21 PM   #386
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To bring back the bike in a reasonable looking state. Really?
That's showroom quality.
Must have hurt to undo it from its load of memories.
Smart move though: now you are obliged to do dirt roads to bring it back into its proper element.

You're resourceful and tenacious which made for a great story and reading, thanks.

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Old 09-20-2013, 08:50 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by Matt View Post
Fixed it for you.

Pretty sure my dad would have worn a porn star moustache like this in the 70's
Hahahah my thoughts exactly!!

Ripper of a trip and report Craig and Patty. And as much as I'm also sad that its drawn to a close for you, I'm very much looking forward to some rides and camping back in Oz with you. I can't beleive its been four years!!

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Old 09-20-2013, 11:50 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by GuiltyParty View Post
.......For now, we become backpackers.
I enjoy your report so far.....Dont stop posting even as a backpacker!

Be well!
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:04 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by zandesiro View Post
I enjoy your report so far.....Dont stop posting even as a backpacker!

Be well!

Keep in touch
Noah 08 KTM 690 ADV. 125,000 km. 42 countries. 5 continents and counting.
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:04 AM   #390
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Great RR!!! Can´t wait for the Aussie RR!
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