rus / eng


DANIELLE MURDOCH TRIP.     14 january - 7 october 2008.      26900km!!!                         RUS - ENG




I am going to sign off here.... I just want to let you know i am in Russia now, staying with a group of bikers... don't tell mum!  


The ferry from South Korea, was a nice relaxing ride - we got stuck in the
harbour for 5 hours waiting until the dock cleared. Apparently a boat was
broken, due to a storm. By the time we docked it was after 5pm. I had no money in my pocket as I was expecting to dock at 10am and have enough time to go to the bank. As i was being processed through the Stricted Russian boarder control, I think its going to be a long night sleeping on the dock with no food!!


The customs paper work for the motorbike was over within three hours, the only problem, was i didn't have any money to pay the clearance fees and buy insurance! My customs lady then took me to a hotel and paid for it, she then explained that she will pick me up at 9am to take me to the bank , then to get my bike released from customs. Sure enough, she did as she promised and within a another hour i was on the road looking for food and gas! I found food, with not knowing what Russians eat or even been able to say hello, i walked into a restaurant and said coffee and food... out came instant coffee and this meat stew, with
vegetable. The meat stew had huge chunks of fat in it... this was my first experience of the Russians fatty diet... after south east Asia, where they do not eat fat - it as a shock! Second problem - gas. At this point, i didn't think this was a problem - i know where and how to fill my bike up, i have been doing this for a few months now. But in Russia it is a problem. I put the nosal into the tank and pressed the leaver - nothing happened. The lady
starts yelling at me over the intercom. every ones looking and i walk over to her. Ruski Net! she doesn't understand and gets louder and louder, thinking I'm deaf. She then runs out onto the forecourt and put 5l into my bike for me... i say full full... she runs back to the office and puts another 5l into my tank... now i have 10l... i decide this will get me to Vladivostok. I pay and leave, shaking my head... Wonder how they hell do you fill your bike up.


At the next petrol station just out side of Vladivostok, I tried a different tactic, I asked for 10L hoping i was going to be able to put 10L into my tank. At 8L i was full. I had to leave it be and loose the petrol and the money, as i didn't know how to ask for it back. I really have to work out how to get petrol!


I arrive in Vladivostok and start looking for a hotel, they are all expensive... $40 plus. a couple of motor bikers stop to ask if I'm OK... i ask them, if they know of anyone who wants to do a home stay.?? they call around there friends and find someone. I ended up staying in a one bedroom apartment, with a bathroom, the size of a cupboard and a kitchen which wasn't much bigger. It was a cosy situation, but the people were fantastic. they all had motorbikes and we would go out for rides around the town. They asked if i wanted to join them on a motorbike rally - which i did. hundreds of motorbikes all lined up.. i go interviewed by Russian TV and then i met two British guys doing a round the world for charity on motorbikes. My Russian friends left me and i joined the British guys and the rest of the bikers, for a party out of town. This motorbike party was pretty crazy, they had all the usual thing you would expect at a bike party, arm wrestling and wet tee competitions and of course tug of war! The British guys looked after me when a drunk Russian got a bit friendly and asked if i was ready to go back to my tent or his if i thought my friends would mind! I joined the Iron Tigers table to have dinner with them, as i reached over to grab a slice of cheese, the Russians asked me - do you like it? i then asked - what is it? they replied grabbing their own fat around their tummy.... i quickly put the slice of cold hard fat back shots, can sum this night up. the British guys told me to carpet drink - which is something i never heard of before!! one sip and spill the rest on the ground. its sad isn't it - but when you are drinking so many shots in a night of really strong vodka you would be doing it too. I quietly sunk back to my bed later that night, knowing that the drunk Russian didn't know which tent i was in.


I left the party the next day, with a bit of help from some Russians from the
party, as i had no idea where i was! I was quickly left in the dust of the
massive bikes which were all around the 1000cc compared to my wee 250cc. I didn't mind. I found a place to buy food and found my first camping spot in and around a potato field. At first I was a bit concerned with camping on the side of the road, i had thoughts of people stopping and stealing my bike or hurting me... but they soon dissolved when i realise no one can see me. 


As i was as about to arrive into Khabarovsk when my speedo, started to flicker... then stop completely, I was quite concerned as i use this to judge the petrol tank. I pulled over to see if it was just a simple connection, I pulled out my tools to start taking off the front wheel, but i found that the bolts used to hold onto the front axle were fixed to tightly for my little tools. I had to pack my stuff away and search for someone who had better tools. I rolled into the city, and checked into a hotel, as i went to park my bike around the back, i asked the guard if he knew of a mechanic close by, after half an hour of him explaining the same thing to me, and i was dieing of the heat, in my motorbike gear, he finally let me go. I didn't find his mechanic, but i did find another big workshop. When i stopped a guy walked out of the office, it happened to be one of the guys who had helped me navigate my way out of the motorbike party! They didn't just un-tighten the bolts, they took the whole thing apart and looked at it, you could see the cog had been chewed up, I asked then if there was a motorbike shop here i could buy a new one, they said no only in Vladivostok! They put it all back together and I decided its not worth it, ill just carry on.


A few days later heading along the main road to Chita I dropped into a small town to get some food and water. One the way out i met a dutch guy called Pete. He wasn't feeling well so he was ducking into the town to sleep for the night, he offered for me to stay with him, but i was keen to carry on. Within a hour of on the dirt road, i meet up with another dutch guy, who i had met coming the other way! We decided to camp together that night. We found a nice man made lake. Pete and I were still sitting on our bikes watching the locals swimming, when i guy came out of the water, went behind his truck and stripped of in full view of me, he then looked up and saw us staring - well i was giggling as he made a dash back around the other side of the truck! I was in desperate need for a wash so i stripped off into my undies and dived in. When your desperate - shame goes out the window!

I had heard many stories about this infamous road between Khabarovsk and Chita. I heard it was the worst road in Russia. In a terrible state, really hard to ride on your bike. A day into the 2000kms of gravel, i was wondering if we were traveling on the right road. It was a beautiful gravel road, with a few pot holes, but nothing like the grisly stories i have been hearing. Rob didn't agree with me, but he explained his bike was not up to the conditions of the road, where as your bike is perfect. That was the first time, where i felt like i had made a good choice with using a smaller bike for this trip.

We arrived into Chita, Rob bearing a huge smile on his face, for him it meant the end of the shitty road. Rob and I travel together until we reach Ulan Uda, where we go different directions. He was going to carry on to Finland, where I was heading south to Mongolia for a month.









Danielle Murdoch 





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