3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Where you've been and what you done
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DanielS
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3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by DanielS » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:39 pm

Being employed and having limited time off does restrict your big trips somewhat, however with some careful planning, mostly by Paul, we managed to get 3 weeks this year riding our own bikes, mostly around Mongolia. Paul and I did Iceland back in August 2013 for a few weeks. We get on great, sure there are some different talents when it comes to riding, interacting with the locals and things like that but we work well together. What I lack, he makes up for and vice versa.

Paul was on his F800GS which he's had since new. It had a full service, new HyperPro front springs and oil along with a few other bits and pieces. I had sold my F800GS last year and had a 2009 650 X Country with Hyperpro rear suspension, X Challenge forks with Marzocchi internals all done by Hyperpro. An Excel 21 inch front wheel and normal other mods.

So the plan was simple. Ship the bikes to Irkutsk then on 11th July pick them up and make our way to Bishkek where we'd fly home from on or around 2nd August. The planned route was the Northern route through Mongolia as shown here.
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It wouldn't go quite as planned though.

We'd shipped the bikes there a few months before hand, and unfortunately due to a bit of naivety we'd assume they would clear customs and we'd just pick them up. As you can guess though, Russian bureaucracy knows no bounds and it ended up taking us 2 full days to get them. Paperwork, more paperwork, duplicates, stamps, lunch hours and photos took up 2 solid days. But we got there in the end.
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As you can see, the bikes shipped with no front wheel and my poor G650 X Country doesn't have a centre stand. Unfortunately everyone except the foreman had left for the day, so we had no muscle to help with the bike and promptly broke the front mudguard while laying it on it's side to refit the front wheel. I was hoping that would be all the damage we'd have.

First job, while riding back to the hotel, was to get the front mudguard bodged. I couldn't ride with it off as even the 10km ride back to the hotel in the rain had me covered in road grime being flung up. I pulled in, at about 7pm, to a auto-service garage and found a true gem in the machine room called Viktor. He spent about 2 hours meticulously making brackets and rivets and my front mudguard was perfect. Best of all is that he wouldn't accept a penny. It was a "Present from Russia to England" What a fantastic guy.
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Paul and I spoiled ourselves at the hotel again that evening, 2 days of horrible customs, but we were ready to leave Irkutsk first thing on Wednesday morning and get going.

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minkyhead
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by minkyhead » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:43 pm

subscibed (thumbs)
whats the wether forcast ..wheres me map

DaleC
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by DaleC » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:52 pm

I read the write up from Paul on Horizons and am now looking forward to the other perspective, especially as I have been dreaming of Mongolia for a few years now.

Keep it coming (thumbs)
Keyboard Adventurer! :D

DanielS
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by DanielS » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:13 pm

It'll be much the same Dale. I actually had to wait for Paul's reports so that I could remember what we did on the days. I took the photos, he made the notes :)

PHILinFRANCE
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by PHILinFRANCE » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:28 pm

I'm in (thumbs)

DanielS
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by DanielS » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:57 pm

We managed to leave our luxury of the Marriott in Irkutsk on Wednesday morning. The Marriott is a great place to stay, not cheap by Irkutsk standards but the staff were great, a real fun bunch. A young girl, Arina took a shine to Paul and was always full of smiles and happy conversation.

Paul asked her recommendation for dessert one evening after eating in the hotel restaurant and she came back with the biggest ice cream I have ever seen. She needed two hands to carry the bowl. I wish I had a pic of her face as she came towards us and said something along the lines of "A big ice cream for a big man", it was priceless!

Anyhow, enough with the luxury, we were on the bikes and heading towards Lake Baikal. The world's largest freshwater lake. It's so large it's almost a sea! The views of it coming in from the road were nice.
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Our target for the day was Ulan Ude. It was all tarmac with a few roadworks so a nice introduction to riding in that part of the world. We had a few hotels lined up in Ulan Ude and ended up meeting a few other people at the hotel that evening for a meal together which was nice. We managed to park our bikes in the garage along with a couple of other BMWs. It was a proper BMW Fest with 3 of them being yellow :)
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Ulan Ude I am sure would have been ok to spend an afternoon or day there. In fact a couple of the people we met were spending a week there I think. Bike repairs and maintenance and just relaxing. Paul and I however needed to get moving as we'd "lost" 3 or 4 days so far due to weekends and customs.

The plan was to get to the border with Mongolia early in the morning and get going. We weren't that early though and decided to hit the border when it reopened after lunch. I can't remember if it was 1pm or 2pm, but anyway we got there 5 mins before it opened.

The roads to the border were empty and quiet. It was pretty warm, over 30 degrees c I reckon but as long as you were moving it was ok. The bus stops are all quite nicely decorated and we found one that wasn't full of cows taking refuge in the shade.
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The formalities crossing into Mongolia were painless enough. It's weird being a brit and you tend to queue for everything. However it's not the way it works with forms and offices and things, so it takes some getting used to.

Paul had gone on a weeks' intensive Russian course and I know about 10 words. The problem though are the signs, I can't get my head around them, so thankfully there was always someone who spoke a few words of English and pointed us in the right direction.

Once into Mongolia off we went. Happy days!

We headed for Erdenet and enjoyed the lovely views and monuments. The monuments are quite common with the blue material tied to them.
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Of course, we now start seeing yurts as well.
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I can't remember what time it was, but we found a hotel and checked in. We had lost an hour so it was pretty late and we took a walk into town to try and find somewhere to eat. Everywhere was closed and the only "Fast Food" place we found was not pleasant so we gave it a miss and raided the mini bar, nothing like a sugar rush before bedtime. The nights where we did sleep in hotels it always seemed we got the top floor rooms and lugging our luggage up and down all the stairs became tedious after a while. I guess it's a downside to having soft luggage as it looks an easy target, especially in a city. Saying that however, we didn't have a single incident or feel threatened anywhere. Apart from one chap who was quite harmless really, will come to him later.

Anyhow, our first full day in Mongolia, roads were perfect, life was good. Surely it was too easy?

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chunky butt
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by chunky butt » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:58 pm

Me too.....sounds brill

anagallis_arvensis
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by anagallis_arvensis » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:29 pm

Great, keep it coming!

Allan F
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by Allan F » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:34 pm

Hooked, keep it coming & thanks for your hard work & time.

jkay
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Re: 3 weeks around Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Post by jkay » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:47 pm

More,more and more brill keep it up (thumbs)

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