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22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
After crossing Kazakhstan I'll cross the east of Russia to Vladivostok then by boat to South Korea. I plan to ship the bike to Darwin while I take a holiday in the Philippines then ride Darwin to Melbourne meeting a friend in Brisbane.

New Zealand in the new year and hopefully ship from Aukland to Vancouver before riding south into the US and across to the east coast

677 Posts
fantastic! i have a garage, a futon and a couple of tools in reno. feel free to take advantage.
and safe travels!

22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
6th July 2015
Catch up .....

Been a while since I updated this thread...

After the Imola world super bike round I travelled around Italy for a couple of weeks until the motogp round at Mugello.. a long held ambition to get to that event was well worth it. Check the youtube video for my feelings about the event...

After that I headed south and crossed to Greece at the beginning of June.

A very happy couple of weeks at holiday destinations in Greece until I eventually crossed the Turkish border.

Turkey is a country of contrasts. Holiday destinations on the south coast. Messy in the middle and the lovely north coast along the black sea. Lovely countryside spoiled by the amount of rubbish deposited along the shore and coast. Amasra is a highlight. Lovely little seaside town. and the road out of it is fabulous if a little roughly surfaced. But is get progressively busier and less "pretty" the further east you go.

Crossing into Georgia was a delight. It feels like a nice place to be. Overnight wild camping just south of Potti was "accompanied" by a the local cops who stayed all night. Not sure if that was for security or just to make sure we moved on - I had hooked up with Stuart and Oli who were travelling to Baku along the same road for a while.

Making the trip to Tbilisi in one day was a bit of a drag, but not out of the way with decent roads. Tbilisis was initially a cacophony of traffic, noise and general chaos, but as I had to wait for my Azerbaijan visa to start it gave me chance to look around and the old town is a great place.

the driving is chaotic - lots of police (judge dread style) cruisers. and lots of very damaged unroadworthy and dilapidated old cars competing for space with new expensive motors on packed roads around the city. Tbilisi is a city of contrasts, One very scruffy and falling down in places, another modern shopping on hectic busy main roads and the old town with tree lined cobbled roads and lovely old shops and street cafes.

If you're tired of Europe's "perfection" its acceptance of modern tourism that basically feels like just one step away from home. Tbilisi is the antidote.

I decided to stay put for a while - My Kazak visa didnt start until the 13th July and I might as well be in a place I like rather than stuck in Baku with no way out until the visa kicks in.

21 July 2015
Kool Kawasaki Krossing Kazakhstan

Currently in Atyrau on the Ural river - heading for Uralsk and then onto Aktobe. Long diversion to avoid the direct "road" between Atyrau and Aktobe that I have been told is tough going. I think a bit too offroad to put the versys through I think.

Plenty of time to take the "scenic" route to get to the Russian border by 3rd August

BTW on the first day in Kaz I travelled from Aktau to Beyneu and was extremely close to running out of fuel - I neglected to refill my spare fuel cans prior to travelling. At a fuel stop I managed to put in just over 20 litres.. Interesting when the tank is quoted at 19!

But was on fumes by then. Lesson learned but the bike didn't fail me

14th August 2015

So just over two weeks to cross Kazakhstan. Rough roads, dirt track, gravel, packed sand and pretty much every other "style" of road you can imaging and the bike coped with it all. A TKC80 rear tyre provided more than enough grip in any conditions and the demands of burning hot new tarmac - including a section of still wet un-dressed tar that coated the underside of the bike.

The Heidenau K73 "wet" front lives on! 15000km of hard roads and its still only about half worn.

I crossed into Russia via Semey in Kazakhstan - the site of Russian nuclear tests from '49 to '89. Not a place to hang around too long I think. I got to Irkusk by the weekend and spend a little time around lake Baikal and onto Ulan-Ude before making the journey towards Vladivostok.

Had a little "off" in the rain in Irkutsk on wet tram tracks under puddles and raised above worn out rough tarmac. Bent the handlebars, but crash bars and kits saved the day. Straightened everything up the next day and moved on.. ho hum!

Currently in Chita... Last outpost before crossing the 2000km to Zhabarovsk

PS a very useful app for your phone/tablet (android.IOS) is maps.me which works for offline navigation once you've downloaded the routing/maps for the country you need - using opensource mapping it is THE most useful app I've ever had the pleasure of using. For any journey you might want it is highly recommended

18th August 2015
Well after 3 days and 2100km I made it across what used to be the Zilov Gap, but with a modern road bridging that gap these days daily distance can be measured in hundreds of kilometers as opposed to meters prior to the road being built in 2004.

For me it was still challenging to cover an equivalent distance of lands end to John'o'groats and back to the English border without passing through any town of village and relying on remote fuel stations with secured cashiers behind bars and truck stops. Two nights wild camping served for peaceful accommodation with only the mosquitoes and crickets for company.

Now I'm in Khabarovsk I can take a bit of time to check out the bike. The temperature warning light came on during the ride on Sunday. A quick check revealed the radiator was caked with a concrete like mix of mud and sand thrown up during a wet ride through sections of road works east of Ulan Ude and given the hot temperatures we've endured through Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan not to mention the fluids lost after the spill in Irkutsk I'm not entirely surprised. I cleared the radiator as much as possible in a river but will give the bike a bit of TLC before moving on again.

With 750km to Vladivostok I will travel there on Saturday to begin sorting out my transit to South Korea

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