Start: N56 21 25.5 E37 31 35.8
Finish: N56 13 48.1 E41 44 03.9 (Somewhere between Vladimir and Nizhniy Novgorod)
Distance: 310 km
I had a very restless night and was awake about 3:00 Russian time. The only sound outside was a strong wind blowing. It cooled off considerably since Sunday.
I started riding only at ten Russian time. I completed the detour around Moscow and started my riding towards the east, towards the Ural Mountains.
For the first time I couldn’t get unleaded fuel. Fortunately the KLR is a happy chappy and can run on different fuel grades and qualities. The worst fuel ever was in the rural areas of Egypt during my 2008 ride. I heard it was only 80 octane at the time.
The fuel in Russia is in comparison to Western Europe quite cheap, just under one US $ per liter. The more one rides towards the east the more expensive it becomes. Going east they had a different system when one wants to fill up. One stops at a pump and then first go to the cashier and buy a certain amount of fuel, for example ten liters. After one has paid only then the pump becomes active and one can start filling up. The pumps stops automatically at the fuel amount paid for. Tough luck if the tank is not full. If you paid more for more but filled up less you can go back to the cashier and get a refund.
At a filling station I bought 3 liter oil as the KLR was due for an oil change. The problem was where to do it. I had all my tools with but to find a container for the old oil was not that easy. While riding through a village I saw at one house a guy working on a car. I stopped and he could help with the old oil. Within 20 minutes the oil was changed and the oil filter cleaned. Now for the next 5 000 km.
I rode more than 4 degrees to the east. At a time the GPS showed that sunset already moved forward more than 20 minutes. It could be that at the weekend I could move into a new time zone three hours ahead of South Africa.
I downloaded many emails yesterday but unfortunately didn’t have time to reply to all. I am going to give replies on some of the questions.
Am I following the Siberian route of Long Way Round?
No. I am following my own route due to my visa valid for only one month. I have to get to Siberia AND back again within one month. I tried so many options to get my bike back from Eastern Siberia but without success. Either it was out of all proportions expensive or it was a no-no.
I have no pressure on me to proof anything to anyone. This is my ride for my pleasure.
Would I again buy a KLR?
No, unfortunately not. If one buys a KLR you are going to be lucky like I am with mine, or you are going to have problems with oil usage. I am so disappointed in the attitude of the CEO and Technical Head of KMSA, the importers of the KLR, in handling this problem. See my website www.naboom2germany.co.za for my reasons given there. I would advise anyone to have a look at other bikes. Yesterday I received a message from another friend in SA who bought a KLR on my advice. Also that KLR seized and she bought a BMW now. Also Jolandie Rust is on a BMW around Africa now after she got stinking support from KMSA. So, no, I wouldn’t buy another KLR until something happens at KMSA. It is sad because the KLR is such a wonderful bike.
What advice would I give to anyone planning a long solo ride?
Go and see a psychologist.
No, it is not that bad but it is hard, believe me. I really miss a mate on this ride because more than ever before I can feel the loneliness. With the Africans I could communicate even if we couldn’t speak each other’s language. Here it is different. This is one of the biggest countries on earth if not the biggest. You cannot set yourself goals like across Africa. On my rides in Africa I could establish that this week I am in country A, five days later I should cross into country B. Here you get the feeling of falling into a bottomless hole. At the moment my next GPS waypoint I am aiming at is further away from me than Malawi from Naboomspruit. One rides a whole day and when you check your progress on a map it is less than a cm on the map. It is demoralizing.
I have to be hard on myself to stay focused and to go the whole way. If you plan to do a solo ride, you must learn to focus and stay focused. Don’t let small things come in the way of bigger things. Easy said, I know.
What works for me is never to stay more than a few days at any place. I don’t want to create a comfort zone for myself and then have to leave it again.
And lastly, tell that to yourself often, every day: You wanted to do the ride, so go and do it! Even if you consider quitting, don’t do it! Bad times never last.