rus / eng


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




The mother ship and I left 5am to head up to the boarder for Russia. I was raining and really cold. I stop to put on my waterproof jacket and pants. My hands were soaked and frozen. I was stopping every 50kms, to warm them up on the engine. We arrive at the boarder at 12pm. I got shown through to the front of the que and was quickly processed on the Mongolian side. I could see Simon and Moud were a few cars behind, having some sort of problems. The funny thing about the Mongolian customs, is that you can walk anywhere you want too... I had to jump over to the entry side to find a man than needed to stamp my papers, then back onto the exit side, to get stamped out of the country. No one checked my bags, unlike the buses that came through... i was free to do what i wanted. I drove up to the gates into the Russian side with my passport in my mouth. I was again pushed to the front of the que and the gates opened for me. I then had to go through the dip for my wheels, this time i took the car one! no mistake there.... and headed up to the Russian Customs. I got stamped in and my papers processed and i was a free woman in Russia. I went to the bank, got some lunch and then sat down to read a book. Two hours later, the mother ship caught me up. I hand them a mars bar and say congratulations! They apparently got the full search. All there boxes where opened and looked through. Nothing of mine was even looked at. We camp near a town 100kms north of the boarder. In the morning, I went to the outdoor bathroom near the road, as i was pulling up my pants a car came around the corner. I walk back to the van and tell the others we have visitors. Three drunk Russians come stumbling towards the van, Simon, steps outside to great them, Two of them have come around to the front doors of the van and are trying to get in, luckily they are locked. Two poke their heads into the back door, to find us sitting there and they rambling on about wanting Vodka and money. I pretend to not understand them, they finally leave us to pack up and move on. We are planning on arriving in Irkutsk today, we had to complete a lot of kilometers to do so.


The drive around the lake made it worth while, the road follows the edge of Baikal Lake, I was enjoying the corners on my new road tires. The van was performing well with out its clutch. We arrive in Irkutsk around 4pm, Moud and I walked down the road looking for an obscure little guesthouse, while Simon looked after the van and my bike. We return to find Simon missing and my bike moved. We turn to find him talking to some young Russian who were all drink beer in the park. The guy explained we can stay at his friends house if we have a screw driver to get into the building with. We like the idea of staying in someone house, but we need to get registered and we do not really like the idea of breaking into this guys house! We declined telling them our reasons. He reply that he can get our visas registered, because his mother works at a hotel and his friend is OK with us staying at his house, so we hand him over the screw driver and we enter the house. We cook pasta for everyone and the vodka comes out. The owner of the flat come home, and it turns out all OK. I decided to sleep out in the van near my bike.


Simon, is really worried about his van, he gave up using the clutch a long time ago. Every time we stop, it either must be on a hill or we have to push it, to ensure it is moving fast enough to bi-past the clutch. They want to get to Moscow as fast as possible to get it fixed. Simon comes around to the idea of letting a Russian mechanic look at it and adapt another piston for it. So we head out to the car market in search of a new piston, which we find, then we found a mechanic, who adapted it and now it works. Simon and Moud then decide to join me to see Olhron Island. We head out there everyone in high spirits. I am now riding with no luggage, except my puncture kit. I am on holiday from my bike touring.... i am luggage free and having fun with my bike. We arrive at the ferry to the island.  We are stopped by some Russians how pour us a shot of vodka and hand us some food.


I let Simon have a ride on my bike, while i enjoy riding in Moud seat in the van. It was  a very strange sensation being in a car... not controlling it, not feeling every bump you go over and hearing music.... not my singing. We find a camp site near the beach. We plan on being here for two days... its a holiday within a holiday.


Simon and Moud had to leave for Moscow they were in a hurry to get to the October fest. I was going to wait for Guillaume and travel with him.

The following day Guillaume arrived and we headed out to Lake Baikal to spend the night and visit a wooden architecture museum. When we turned up at the museum, we were not allowed into it. Apparently there was a conference on where the president of Russia was going to make an appearance. Guillaume starting talking to a bus full of old English people, asking if we could sneak in with them. That when the guard, came over and explained we were allowed an hour. We raced in and toured through all the different buildings. As we were leaving a group of Russian musicians came up to us and offered us some tea and fruit. this was strange to the customary vodka shot! they got dressed up and played a tune for us.

We didn't get very far that day, 40km north of Irkutsk. We had to stop and find a hotel as it was pouring with rain and we were soaked. It was raining the next day so we decide to stay another day.

We were back on the road, the sun was shining and we managed to put in a solid day. The sun came and went through out the day, so we were getting completely wet, then drying out again.

In Novosibirsk, Guillaume  needs a new chain, he has made his one last over 20,000kms. we head around to the motorbike shop 8pm exhausted. They guys in the shop asks, where are we going to sleep that night, we had all ready decided that the grass in front of the shop was looking good to pitch our tent. (the shop was a bit out of town so we would have been OK) one of the guys said we could come home with him. We were taken back to his apartment, where he and his wife lived, they fed us gave us a shower and showed us there wedding photos, which turned out to be a huge motorbike party with over 500 bikers! We were given a tee-shirt from their wedding and taken back to the shop to fix Guillaume bike.

Guillaume who had a very short visa could not afford to hang around so he left while i looked around the city.It was sad to say goodbye, but i was not going to compromise my trip to suit his visa. A couple of hours later i too ws back on the road, wondering if i would catch him up. I camped just out of the city. That night it was so cold, I couldn't sleep! In the morning, i woke in a panic to see i had finally gotten to sleep, but then slept in! its was nearly 10am! i quickly packed up to find my bike does not like the cold either. I flattened my battery trying to get it going... i then had to push it through the bush and up a steep bank onto the road where i flagged down a truck driver to help me push start it. This morning was going really well.... some one stopped to help, and it was away laughing... i stopped to get gas and breakfast where i realise it was in fact 8am i had crossed two time lines! it was so cold, I put on my wet weather suit i brought at the motorbike shop as my other jacket and pants wore too thin and i was getting just as wet with them on as i was off...


I now had on all my clothes, except that skirt i packed for the special occasions! I was freezing, I was stopping often, to get coffee and warm up. The people at the truck stops where buying me chocolate bars, offering my clothes and sometimes giving me 100p! I decided then, that between the rain and the 6deg c temperature. i not really having a good time. I then thought ill make a dash to Moscow too. I had completely given up on camping, the over night temperatures were well below 0 deg. So i slept at truck stops, they were cheap and comfortable. One night i sat down to have dinner when a group of guys came over and asked me about my motorbike, i explained my trip, they couldn't believe it! They join my table and brought with them Vodka, and some food. We spent the night  exchanging information about each other via drawing pictures on a paper napkin. It was a good night, they started to ask if i wanted to go back to one of their trucks, I declined and slipped away to my bedroom.

Around Ufa, i got pulled over by the police 4 times in one day, the first guy asked me about my visa registration, why is it a long time ago, i just said i had been camping - he let me go.  30kms down the road i was pulled over for doing 100km in a 40km zone. When i took my helmet off and explain where I'm from and what Ive been doing, they also waved me on. another 50kms down the road i was pulled over for passing a truck on a corner. The road had a broken line indicating that i could pass, but apparently, the sign stating that there is a corner over rides this, he tried to get 1000p out of me, I said that's too much. After a while, they let me go. Then i got pulled over for doing 90kms in a 75km zone. (you have to remember, my speedo a few months a go, so i had no idea how fast i was going) This police man, quickly dropped the speed zone down to 50km/hr thinking they will get more money out of me, I knew what he was doing and start getting annoyed. His guy then asked me for 50 Euro! I laughed at him and said who has 50 Euros! I was now really pissed off.I started to ramble at them, explaining i did not have the money to pay them... After a while he told me to get out of there.. so i did. That's when i started following cars or trucks, that i thought were going a good speed. I never go pulled over again.

A few days later, traveling between 700-800kms a day, i arrive in Moscow. Tired, cold and i was not sure what i ws going to do next, i was pretty tired of sitting in the saddle.








Danielle Murdoch





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