June 18. Semey into Russia. 220 km
We packed up and said our goodbyes. One of the guys from the club escorted us out of town. He said if the cops tried to pull us over to keep going and he would stop. I love the moto clubs in central Asia and the ones I met in Europe. America should take note. Doesn't matter who you are, what you ride. If you are on 2 wheels you are a brother. You will get help, food, drink and friendship whether you need it or not.
Soon we were at the border. There was no problem with my paperwork but Sveta was missing the little white paper you get when you come into Kazakhstan. She kept telling them "They never gave me one". But it still took about 4 hours to get her out of Kazakhstan. By the time we were in Russia it was getting dark. We rode to Robstovok to get a hotel room. We found a place that had a room and a fenced in yard to lock the bikes. It was about $80. After we get done unpacking the bikes and we were checking in, they would not rent us the room because my passport was not in Russian. I had import documents for my motorcycle and my visa in Russian, but the lady was insistent that since my passport was not in Russian we could not rent her the room. Сука. At this point is was midnight. We rode to a few other hotels who had nothing. We decided to ride on and find a place to camp. We were both shot. There was no trees anywhere. Just fields. Then finally we found a place to pitch the tent and pass out in a row of trees a couple km from the road.
|Happy Sveta. Finally we get to leave Kazakh.|
June 19. To Barnoul. 250 km
The sun rose and we just laid there. We both wanted to keep sleeping. I cooked noodles and made some coffee for breakfast and we got on the road. Sveta called her friend Andrew once we got to Barnoul. This guy is great. He will help you get any parts you need.. if he can. We all met up with another couple traveling 2 up on a BMW 650 for dinner at a brewery. I have not had good dark beer for such a long time. I was in heaven.
|Andre has ridden Baikal in the winter. Click HERE|
June 20. Barnoul
We brought Sveta's bike to a mechanic to get some new shoes put on and an oil change. We messed around Barnoul for the day. Found a few things we needed/wanted. BBQ pork and sausage in the evening. It was good to eat pork again. It had been nearly 2 months since I was able to eat it. The meat alone I didn't miss. It is the sausages I missed. Sausage without pork in it just doesn't work. Its a beef frank at best. You can't make a pizza like that. My fork seals were leaking BAD from the mud going into Semey. I made the mistake of not cleaning it all before the mud got hard. I took my dust seals down and cleaned them. I cut a magazine cover into a strip about 1 inch wide and pushed it up under my oil seals. I swiped them between the seal and the fork all the way around about 4 times. I left my fork guards up and the nest morning no oil had leaked. Problem fixed. For the record, 8,000 km later and they are still not leaking.
June 21. Barnoul to Belovo. 361 km
|Found a Cheburashka|
Up early and on the road. We had to ride through Barnoul to get east. There is no good route through this city. Soon though, we were on the open road and racking up the kms. Sveta had about 2 weeks before she had to be back at work. This is why we were just going going going. My attempts to get her to call work and get another week or 2 so we could do Mongolia were no use. I think it would have been easier to convince her if she was more comfortable off road. Something I'm going to have to work on with her. We met up with her friends in Belovo and went to his house. Wife and kids there. Banya to clean and a great dinner. They even cut my hair short again... and had cold beer for us.
June 22. Belovo to somewhere off the M53. 481 km
We rode north to Kemerovo to get on the M53. We attempted to get me motorcycle insurance. I had forgotten to get this at the Russian border and I didn't want complications. They would not sell me moto insurance. Not even temporary. Great. Now not legal. Not even a little. I tried but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We got some food at a cafe and continued. I was getting an all too familiar miss in my motor. We pulled over on the side of the road and I went to work fixing my low voltage lead to the coil. This time it is hopefully the last time. I did overkill. At least the symptoms are easy for me to spot now. In the evening we were in the middle of nowhere and we needed a place to stay. My GPS map showed a guest house/camp thing near a river in the woods. It was 1000 ruble for both of us. About $30. We tried to take a walk by the river but the mosquitoes were shredding us. We were sleeping before it was dark.
We left without breakfast. We decided to get it on the road somewhere. We hit some construction in the evening and I learned just how nervous about gravel Sveta was. She had brand new E09s and a great little bike but she would still slow way way down when she got onto gravel. On pavement in the twisties she surprised me how she could move that little 250. I kept having to rotate my right hand more than I thought I would have to. We thought we would have gone further but I got a flat on the rear. The rim tape I bought in Bishkek finally failed. I put a shit Chinese 18 on the bike to replace the worn out TKC80 I was running. We stopped at a hotel after dark. We ate and went to bed.
June 24. Alzamay to Irkutsk. 624 km.
Kilometer after kilometer. This girl just would not slow down. The M53 was so boring. Some places were beautiful. The little villages were great.. but for the most part... there was only one place this is where I wanted to be. We went to a few places in Irkutsk to get a room. First hotel 5000 ruble. We laughed and left. Second hotel 9000 ruble. What kind of place is this? $290 for 1 night? Sveta made some phone calls and soon a guy from the local moto club pulls up and we follow him to a the club house. It one one guys birthday so it was a huge party including the Siberian strippers. I acted like I wasn't interested in watching the strip show but Sveta said "come on, lets go back inside so we don't miss it". It turned ito a late night.
June 25. Irkutsk to south shore of Baikal. 328 km
We went to the motoshop in Irkutsk where I had some Mitas E09s waiting. I got the rear because I knew I would need it in Mongolia. Since I skipped Altai to ride with Sveta, I knew I would be doing some major miles crossing Mongolia twice instead of once as planned. I also bought some Oil for my next change. I knew that would be somewhere BFE. Another travel Hans joined us heading west. He was on his way to Sakhalin. The road south of Irkutsk gets twisty and fun quick. Baikal was beautiful. I kept thinking I was back home next to Lake Superior. In the evening we took a ride on my KTM and watched the sunset over Baikal. The last 8 had gone so fast even though we had ridden nearly 3000 km. We knew this would be our last night together for a while because once we hit Ulaan Ude, I would go south and she would continue toward home. I tried to take in every moment and every memory.
|Someone will be jobless soon.|
|Some strange DIY truck boat paddle thing. For ice maybe?|
|She said she was a "Honda girl" But she sure liked my KTM.|
|The ending... for now.|