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Thread: Granny on the Steppes (Mongolia to Kyrgyzstan)

  1. #33
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    Enjoying this report, the contrasts of good and bad are what make it. Russia has gained a few places in my rankings table, it was firmly rooted close to the bottom but this report and Micky's comment have helped. Safe riding.

  2. #34
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    I Haven’t been to Mongolia but spent time in Kazakhstan and Russia so I can’t imagine just how bad the food is in Mongolia for you to be being so positive about Russian food.

    Great write up
    Edited because I cannot type

  3. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by B Murr View Post
    Ye guys sure know how to travel, always a smile and phased by nothing. Great trip report.

    Quote Originally Posted by de crowe View Post
    A great write up indeed, thanks for posting.
    Thanks guys

    Quote Originally Posted by Bin Ridin View Post
    So interesting! A bit worrying when you are showering praise on the Russian food.....


    Quote Originally Posted by Damien View Post
    Great report Mìde, keep it up.
    Thanks Damo

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB_11 View Post
    I’ve been reading this and thinking that it can’t be too hard to find ‘safe’ places to leave a bike after a fortnight away each year because I’d love to ride across Europe and Asia as far as the Pacific but simply don’t have the time to do it in one go.

    Keep it up Mide because you’re planting seeds in my mind
    It's not hard at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Ah .... the Biker's Bar in Barnaul

    Great people, lovely place.

    Great reading, great photo's Mide and Kev, keep it going.

    Great memories too ... I loved Russia, would dearly love to go back.

    I love Russia I would go back tomorrow. The people are fantastic!!

    Quote Originally Posted by landmarkjohn View Post
    Enjoying this report, the contrasts of good and bad are what make it. Russia has gained a few places in my rankings table, it was firmly rooted close to the bottom but this report and Micky's comment have helped. Safe riding.
    The people in Russia have helped us all, time and time again. They go above and beyond. We have made many friends there that we keep in touch with.
    Even the ones who's names we never get, are always in our hearts and stories. So many have so little, and they would give it all to you

    I'll get cracking on the next bit tomorrow eve we've had a busy weekend
    Quote Originally Posted by ymfb View Post
    I Haven’t been to Mongolia but spent time in Kazakhstan and Russia so I can’t imagine just how bad the food is in Mongolia for you to be being so positive about Russian food.

    Great write up
    This comment made me Laugh out loud! It's made me wonder actually how good the food really is in Russia? We did have the thrupenny bits right through Russia and Kazakhstan now that you mention it!
    But the food is truly awful in Mongolia. Someone made the comment last week that it doesn't matter whether you eat or don't eat in Mongolia, you'll still lose weight!

  4. #36
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    Fantastic report, really enjoying it, ride safe

  5. #37
    Arse Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Caught up with the reading. Bloody lovely. Keep it coming

  6. #38
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    Inspiring stuff

  7. #39
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    Thanks everyone for the positive replies

    Breakfast before we left Russia. I’m thinking the commentators in the above comments were probably right about the food in Russia






    Fritz had a really bad stomach that day. Lots of cramps. So wasn’t eating.
    It was lashing rain the next day. A wet, grey, miserable day. We only had about 35kms to the Kazakh border. The tarmac was fine for about 20kms and then deteriorated rapidly. There was a new road being built, so where possible, we rode on it. It just had the hardcore layer(mostly).
    But every so often, we’d have to get off and then we were in troughs and puddles and muck and stones. We were wondering if this was what the roads were going to be like in Kazakhstan?
    Leaving Russia was fairly straightforward entering Kazakhstan was too, there’s no visa required for Kazakhstan so they just wanted details of you and your bike.

    A sneaky photo at the border, they don’t like you taking pics.



    All through our trip we were seeing cars doing the Mongol rally. But here, at the border, we’re 2 Irish reg cars. We hadn’t met any Irish people at all on our trip so I really would’ve liked to meet them. One car had a cork reg, the other a limerick reg. The limerick reg car was painted in Dublin colours 🤣🤣🤣 (this will mean nothing to any of you that aren’t Irish. It’s a bit like Man U, you’re either from Dublin or against Dublin! But there’s no way a limerick man painted his car in Dublin colours!)
    Gave me a laugh anyway🤣

    After we crossed the border, Kev’s bike started playing up again. It had lost power, turns out the injector needed cleaning. So we rode at about 60kms an hour to Semey. It was a little over 100km. We had hoped to visit a museum there and then carry on, but we couldn’t with Kev’s bike the way it was. We found a hotel and tried to book in but, they wouldn’t take credit cards and we had no Kazakh money yet. So kev started stripping down his bike and Fritz and I went to the bank. The rain had stopped but my gloves were soaked. They weren’t very easy gloves to use as if it rained and they got wet, the inside lining came out when I took them off. Same thing happened if it was too hot and my hands got sweaty so I left them there and went without them.
    We only had about 400m to ride. Got to traffic lights, pulled away, and the bike did s little dance and spat me off! There was petrol/diesel on the road. Luckily, I was only going into 2nd gear, so very slow, but slapped my hands off the ground the bank was literally 20m from where I came off so it was grand. Picked up the bike, jumped on, pulled off the road and then the shakes set in my hand was bleeding(not a lot) and were wet (from the rain) and I’d no tissue. Poor Fritz didn’t know what to do with me🤣 I was fine but a little shook. We got the money, jumped back on the bikes (tentatively) and rode back. A big hug from Kev later, and all was well in my world

    Fritz went to bed as he still had loads of cramps. Kev got the bike sorted and then he and I went for a walk to try find the Polygon museum.

    From Wikipedia:
    “The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk from 1949 until 1989 with little regard for their effect on the local people or environment. The full impact of radiation exposure was hidden for many years by Soviet authorities and has only come to light since the test site closed in 1991.

    From 1996 to 2012, a secret joint operation of Kazakh, Russian, and U.S. nuclear scientists and engineers secured the waste plutonium in the tunnels of the mountains.

    Since its closure, the STS has become the best-researched atomic testing site in the world, and the only one in the world open to the public.”

    We didn’t go to the test site, we had considered it, but you need to book tickets and it has to be done in advance. So, we were just going to visit the museum, if we could find it!

    We walked in circles for a while but eventually found a building that we figured was the right place. There was a woman coming out and so we asked her if we could visit. Her English was minimal but better than our Kazakh she talked non stop to us, every so often she’d try to say something in English to us. She was so lovely basically, she told us to come back at 10 the next morning.

    Fritz was feeling a little better and we went out to eat.

    We had the sandwich on the bottom left! It was delicious cheap as chips too



    We went back to the museum in the morning and met Mena again.



    She was so full of joie de vivre this is the only photo I’ll post from that day. The others are too upsetting. The museum has body parts and foetuses and babies in jars on display. All with defects. There are many photos available online if you want to have a look.
    Man’s inhumanity to man is evident and shocking.

    We packed up and headed south. The rain had stopped. We hoped to ride maybe 500km but after the first 100km, the road just became horrendous. It was tarmac, mostly. But it peaked and troughed and was rutted and potholed. We were probably riding at 45/50mph but every so often would have to slow right down. You’d just get to the point of utter desperation and the road would be as smooth as ice, for a few minutes, and then slowly deteriorate again. The really bad stuff was only ever 5/6 minutes at a time, just about long enough to wear you out, and then would be manageable but definitely not enjoyable for 20/25 mins.

    We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got to Ayagoz.

    The people in Kazakhstan we so welcoming and friendly. Every time we stopped people came over to talk to us. The young people were very pleasant and English is being taught in the schools so they had enough to converse with us. It was a really lovely surprise. We weren’t expecting to enjoy Kazakhstan. We had heard that the best thing we could do would be to ride through as quickly as possible but our experience was to enjoy and stop and meet the people

    The man who owned the hotel came and helped us with our belongings and brought us to his garage to park the bikes. He had learned his English from the internet and asked us where we came from and all about the trip. When he came back the next day, he’d done some homework and was asking us about our home countries. He was very proud of his hotel and his town and his country. It’s so refreshing to see that in people. We went for a wander down the town that evening.

    This is the atm, you had to climb over the warning tape and up over the mound of muck to get to the atm🤣🤣










    Next day we had more of the same road all day long.

    We’d been riding for a while and next thing noticed that Fritz wasn’t with us, so we turned around and went back.

    He’d hit a pothole and dented his wheel. He had tubeless Tyres so immediately lost his air.
    It was absolutely roasting and there was no shade to shelter in.







    We stopped for some melon, and had great craic with these ladies at the side of the road.



    Fritz’s machete put to good use









    They were most impressed with my choice of husband🤣

    We carried on and came to this lovely spot.





    The mountains in the distance are on the border with China.









    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #40
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    Great report Mide.

    Thanks for taking the time to post.

  9. #41
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    We stayed in Sarkand that night. The weather was getting really hot the further south we went

    We stopped for lunch and had blinis I was a very happy girl





    The road was still really bad, and it was so hot and we had a lot of kms to do to get to Almaty.
    There was a big lake over to the left, next thing Kev pulled off the main road, heading towards the lake. We still had 50 odd kms to go. We got close to the lake but you couldn’t get down to the lake, there were gates everywhere. Kev stopped and asked if we could go down to the lake and a guy nodded, so we went around the barrier and down to the lake. There was a beach, full of people sunbathing and swimming. We pulled up and decided we’d strip off and jump in for a swim.
    Then a guy came up and told us we’d have to pay. It wasn’t a lot, and to be fair, we were desperate to cool down.
    We paid the man, stripped down to undies, and ran to the lake. The sand was roasting, and then there was a big rocky bit, and it was roasting, so we were trying to get off the hits stones quickly but it hurt too much!!! Worse than LEGO!!









    This young fella came over to us and welcomed us to Kazakhstan he spoke good English. He’s 12 years old and so lovely and confident. He asked where we were from and why we there, then introduced us to his little brother and aunt.



    We were so refreshed after the swim we went back up to the bikes and got dressed again. As we were getting ready, another man came over with watermelon for us. He had no English but through charades and placenames, we told him where we were from, where we’d been and where we were going.



    He then wanted us to join him and his wife for a picnic, but we needed to crack on, so had to decline.
    We hit the road again and soon came to Almaty. We were heading straight to the ktm shop. Kev wanted to get a master cylinder for his clutch. Also, both our brake lights were gone, so they needed fixing.
    The traffic was awful, we were straight into rush hour. Fritz’s bike started over heating and then Kev’s bike started.
    We made it just in time to the ktm shop. The mechanic had actually just left, we passed him at the gate and he turned around and came back in. He told us to come back in the morning
    We found a hotel just over a km away. As always, the first question we ask is, have you availability? Followed by, is there safe/off street parking for the bikes? Followed by how much? And have you Wifi?
    So a yes, yes, cheap and yes later, we paid and asked her where we could park. She pointed to the hallway we were standing in, basically, we’d to bring the bikes in the door, through the hallway, and out the 2nd door to the courtyard!

    I brought my bike through first, it’s only little, so it was grand. Then Kev, he managed ok, but Fritz had hard panniers. He took one off but it was still tight.

    We were doing a right angle in the main door off the footpath too!





    Almaty is a big city and there was a guy from Almaty staying in the hotel so we went for dinner with him and his Mrs. they live in Astana now.
    We were back to dodgyish food again, dicky tummy next day

    We went to a pub afterwards and had a few pints. All the locals we met were lovely.

    Next day, we had to take the bikes out again!









    We dropped the bikes to the garage and the mechanic said he couldn’t work on my bike as it was a Honda. So he phoned the local Honda garage and booked it in there.
    So Kev dropped my bike over there



    The guys in Agent Orange (ktm shop) told us that they offered winter storage for bikes. We had organised to leave them with a friend of a friend in Bishkek and fly from there, but we hadn’t booked flights yet.
    We had a chat and decided we’d leave them in Almaty.
    We wanted to go to Charon Canyon and then to Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan first though.
    So, we booked our flights out of Almaty for 4 days later and spent the rest of the day chilling out waiting for the bikes to be ready. Picked them up that evening. Neither of our brake lights were fixed. Parts needed to be ordered to fix Kev’s brake light and clutch.

    We couldn’t face bringing them back into the courtyard and back out again next day so we locked them up outside.






    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #42
    Arse Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Mide, is it this KTM dealer? Linky: https://goo.gl/maps/P7ELqESjtKD2

    Oh yeah, keep it coming

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