Chapter 33 – Silk Roads to Siberia Pt III – Altai Adventure

February 2, 2014

It was a slow, snowy, slushy, muddy descent from the pass and I was conscious of the pain in my back after picking my bike up off the ground at the border. Unsure if I had the strength to pick it up again should I fall I descended cautiously through the cloud.

After negotiating several switchbacks I came to a group of buildings surrounded by numerous trucks all with their bonnets open and presumably in various states of repair. I was approached by a guy and asked if I’d deliver a 1.2m long steel spike to some guys that were working on the road further down the mountain. I agreed, but failed to see that one end was covered in a thick, oily deposit that slowly found its way onto everything – including my tent!

I dropped the spike off and continued along what must be the longest ‘no-mans land’ I can ever remember crossing. Eventually I came to the Kyrgyzstan border where the first guard looked at my passport and sent me to the immigration office. Within seconds my passport was back in my hand having been stamped and I was ushered off to customs. I found them eating lunch and expected to be in for a long wait. All I got was “You go Osh?” “Da” I said and was told to “GO…GO!” I’ve never crossed a border so fast!

Back on tarmac after entering Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan

…read the rest of Chapter 33


Chapter 32 – Silk Roads to Siberia Pt II – ‘The Roof of the World’

July 4, 2013

Tajikistan

Along with the change of country came a change of weather and as I followed the straight, smooth ribbon of tarmac along the wide valley so there was a storm brewing to the north.

The sky looked ominous as I rode into Tajikistan

…read the rest of Chapter 32


Chapter 31 – Silk Roads to Siberia – Pt I

May 27, 2013

England – Uzbekistan

The long cold winter stretched all the way to Istanbul. The snowline throughout the Alps was still as low as 600m ski resorts normally looking sad and forlorn by mid-April still had plenty of snow and the car parks were full of eager skiers & snowboarders. Even as far south as Serbia I passed through banks of snow on passes only 1500m high. The only respite was the Croatian coast where despite still being chilly the sun was shining.

Along Croatia’s coast road

For a week my heated grips remained on all the time I was riding. During the night when temperature’s fell to 3°C my new, lightweight sleeping bag felt like it prevented me from dying rather than keeping me warm. In fact the only thing warm during that first week was the welcome I received from Mehmet, Apo & Tylan when I arrived at the Kuzgum Moto Adventures clubhouse on the outskirts of Istanbul. Yoshi was there to having flown his bike from Buenos Aires to Frankfurt last summer.

So what was I doing back in Istanbul anyway???

…read the rest of Chapter 31


Chapter 30 – 2012: A Year in Transition

February 16, 2013

Indian Summer

 

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Delhi International Airport where the time is 0320 and the outside air temperature 36°C (97°F)” …WTF!!!

I was on my way to Manali, set amongst the foothills of the Indian Himalaya where I was to spend the summer working with Blazing Trails Tours as an outrider and ‘trainee’ tour leader.

Happy to be back in Ladakh?….I was on top of the world! (Damon I’Anson photo)

…read the rest of Chapter 30


Chapter 29 – Welcome to the Jungle…

May 22, 2012

…”we got fun ‘n’ games”. The bugs ate me alive, I broke my speedometer, tent, laptop, sleeping pad and got stuck in Brazilian customs. Oh…and then there were the snakes…Fun ‘n’ games? Oh yeah…

100% Deet!? Hah…the bugs laughed in my face!

What did I find poking around in this Venezuelan swamp?

…Read the rest of Chapter 29


Chapter 28 – The Altiplano

December 24, 2011

Trip distance and Time trip correct at La Paz, Bolivia on 28/11/11

More photos in the galleries Bolivia 2011 - Chile 2011Argentina 2011

The motorcyclists amongst you may also like the

‘Trails of South America…a photo journal’ gallery which supports my ADV Rider thread

Continued from Chapter 27…

After a painless border crossing at Copacabana (I’d exited Bolivia there in 2009 and so knew the system) I rode on to La Paz only to arrive at Hostel El Careterro just as Mark & Claire appeared on foot to take a look at the place. They’d been staying elsewhere but soon moved when they realized how much they could save my moving to El Careterro.

Bolivian policeman Amadeo Condori was impressed with Rosie!

…read the rest of Chapter 28


Chapter 27 – “Here comes the sun…do do do do…”

September 23, 2011

Trip distance and Time trip correct at Peru/Bolivia border 11/08/11

More photos in the Peru 2011 gallery

The motorcyclists amongst you may also like the

‘Trails of South America…a photo journal’ gallery which supports my ADV Rider thread

Peru

When I first properly looked at the map of Peru I was immediately struck by the potential to traverse it along the Andes, primarily on dirt roads. Despite a government TV advert claiming 10k km of new roads had been built (or should that be ‘surfaced’?) I still rode 3193km of dirt; almost 50% of my total distance in the country. The graph below shows how much of that time was in the mountains.

GPS profile of Peru 2011 route

…read the rest of Chapter 27


Chapter 26 – “Rain drops keep falling on my head…”

August 27, 2011

Trip distance and Time trip correct at Ecuador/Peru border 16/06/11

More photos in the Ecuador gallery

I was a little nervous as I rolled down the hill to the border, filtering past a long queue of traffic in the rain as my Temporary Import Permit for Rosie had expired whilst I’d been back in GB attending my niece’s 1st birthday and best mate’s wedding. As a result I was hoping to bypass customs, go straight to Immigration and then ski across the across the border to Ecuador unnoticed. Mike at Casa Blanca Hostel in Cali had told me how the border was laid out and so as everyone queued for the customs window I slipped down the outside, around the back to the carpark and walked into the empty ‘Migracion’ office where I quickly got stamped out. For once the rain was probably doing me a favor as no officials were outside wandering around. Once across the bridge I was directed to a parking space by an Ecuadorian Policeman and I relaxed and grabbed a quick coffee outside the photocopy shop.

…read the rest of Chapter 26


Chapter 24 – Mexico

February 2, 2011

“Mmmm…that was a bit too easy” I thought as I rolled out of the Mexican border in Tecate. No US exit post, no Mexican immigration, no Customs. No paperwork was bound to make things difficult for me later on so I returned to the border and spoke to a security guard who pointed me to the immigration office. I was given a tourist visa form to complete and told to walk two blocks down the hill to the bank to pay the M$262 (Mexican Pesos) and obtain a receipt. Once I had my visa I asked about Customs and the temporary import document for my bike only to be told they couldn’t be issued there; only Tijuana or Mexicali. Both of those were wellout of my way and so I asked about La Paz on the Baja peninsula. “En La Paz tambien”. Great, no detour required. Read the rest of this entry »


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