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Korea, Russia, Stans To East Europe (page 24)

Yakutsk To Vilyuysk 587 km

Chatting with internet travel moto mate Kim who rides a KTM 450 Rally, he said do the Vilyuysk Tract, much more interesting and scenic and avoids 3000km of boring straight road tarmac which on a WR250R at 80km/hr simply is not fun.

Yakutsk To Vilyuysk To Mirny To Lensk involves a three day 1300 km ride.

From there a 5 day boat trip up the mighty Lena river to Usk-Kut.

Leaving Yakustk was 120 km of pure and lovely tarmac, that was to be my only real civilized road.

So Kim said it is a sand topped gravel road and I will blaze it given I had done the Old Kolyma Road like a boss.

Since Kim had done it heavy rain had smashed the road, some parts good gravel and other parts 150-200mm of shittie....I mean lovely Siberian sand.

I am competent enough to ride sand having practiced two up in Central and South America but this stuff took it to the next level.

Even with my Dakar stance of bum way back and had the tap open I could not get on the plane because of softness and rollie boulders underneath that you cannot see from the top.

Nice road!
More nice roads

In places where I managed to get a firm launch into the sandpits it still stole the top gears down one by one so I spent a fair chunk of time bulldozing in 2nd and sometimes 1st gear, when you have to clobber a 600km day this does not work well for your averages.

The other unwritten rule here is you do NOT ride the road if it is wet and while the bigger picture forecast was good a rogue thunderstorm made an unwelcome appearance, at first the dust settled which was extremely welcoming then the glue/porridge set in and was like trying to ride in a gigantic cake mix.

This stuff was trying and a bit hard to keep going constantly in, it was good that it was only 38 degrees too which made it easier LOL

In these parts services and towns are sparse, even hotels or hostels are very few and far between, they also say unsafe to camp too because of drunk Russians and the bigger threat being grizzly bears and I don't wanna be bear fud

At a gas station after filling up I turn on the key and the GPS lights up, I always zero the odo as I use this because the Yamaha speedo is miles out and made worse by my lower gearing.

This time there was a surpise, I had travelled exactly 4000km since leaving home….and as luck would have it I only had 388km of sandpits to my destination and it was still only 10.50 am, shoulda added more to the day LOL.

If riding sandpits wasn’t enough I got held up at 3 sets of roadworks which were very long, long waits on all three set me back time wise and with mozzies havin a crack at me and horse flies wanting a bite it was not a relaxing stop to enjoy the sun rather you become a sweaty lunch. 

I still can’t figure out tho for the population in the air that comes to destroy you every time you bare skin you never seem to splat them on the visor like NZ.

Arriving at Vilyuysk I get off the bike and I musta looked bad, a local stopped within a minute of being there and asked if I need help, I asked for hotel or hostel, he started explaining, saw the glazed look in my tired eyes and said follow me.

Two minutes later I was there with a lovely lady who could not speak an ounce of English but once more smiles, pointing, signs, google translate and some larfs we were good to go.

The place was a god send which set me up for an early exit to Mirny. 

Vilyuysk To Mirny 605km

I knew I was in for a big day, kinda excited too knowing it would be a challenge, so much so I was up and ready and left by 7.15 am ….I know I don’t even get up that early at home.

On this road there are ferrys, 5 of them actually, too costly to build massive bridges so that is how they do it here despite it being the diamond capital of the world, my first ferry and a little unwise I see a ferry so I rock up and the guy says no no no which means I can in Russian LOL.

Next thing about eight Landcrusiers rock up at the speed and closeness of the FBI in movies, there was a TV crew, suits etc, I thought finally they have heard about me LOL…no they had none other than the Yakutian President on board and I had rocked up to the presidential ferry, instant mates with all his crew and some selfies I was invited aboard leaving all the low life normal civilians that had turned up to watch as I travelled with royalty.

On the other side again the race began and they were on a mission passing me at double my speed all arms out the windows with waving and tooting.

So you fullas wonna crack at Russian politics lemme know I have a leg in LOL

Next ferry I was deflated back to a normalton with the President still fucking around doing Presidential things so too bad he misses out on my company, see his ferry in the background, discussions with the lads on here they said that is the Presidents ferry, I said yeah I know he took a photo with me earlier. They stood there in amazement because they are not allowed near him so I had to show them, because the camera was broken I pulled the card out, into the lappy and they all stood there amazed, next thing selfies with EVERYONE who wanted to have a pic with the whiteyfoo who stood with the president.  

My mates!
Dude with the British flag on his shirt was so proud to be wearing it
One of the ferry crossings

Ok, back to the road, the road was SHITE, out of 605 km to clobber less than ¼ was civilized gravel as we know it.

There was sporadic pavement which was bomb-holed and it was a only couple of km long only, the rest was sand, sands best mate, ruts, bogs and these were the good bits.

To say it was trial is underrating it, having done the big day prior I was already a bit spent so going into a harder battle was not my aim, I do remember forfeiting the tarseal and I was starting to question my decision.

Lots of this, some worse some better

At one stage all hell broke loose as hit a sandtrap, lucky I was only going 40 -50 km/hr as 45 dug in, found an uncover rollie rock which tossed the bars and it was all hands on deck to contain it, how I did not get biffed I am not sure but I ended up stopping and stalling out having not had time to change down (apart from hanging on for dear life).

Composed with full nappies I hit it again, slightly wiser and wearier, my visor now has a vale of dust, the sun is straight up and bright making the road very gamma to look at it with no shadows to gauge depth, ruts or anything.

Finally the gravel gods gave me a break and I was on the dirt hard pack, mega potholes but no sandpits and reprieve with some fishhooks… I thought it was getting darker so I stopped, dammmmmnn a thunderstorm had caught me up and was my wingman to my right. In a quick thought I realised I was on the no go stuff at this point so a quick pic and gun it before it catches me.

Sneaky thunderstorm tailing me
10 minutes up the road and a direction change directly away from the storm I thought I had it made with a great road surface and all

I just about made it to Mirny when it all came down, the last 10 km a bit slow due to the hard pack turning to grease then pavement as I entered Mirny.

The Mirny moto club had been informed and I had a number to contact which I did, within 10 minutes I was picked up welcomed and taken to a café to eat which was better than meeting the president of Yakutia.

Back to the clubroom was my digs for the night, some chats and some more snacks they let me too it to sleep which I did very well.

This is now officially the hardest riding day of my life that I can remember (ok not a good example), normally I would do half this distance, I enjoy a challenge but that stretched my enthusiasm a little.

They asked if I needed anything for the bike and I replied with no, they asked how many km have I done, I cranked up the GPS and….4990 so 10 km away from changing oil so that changed the first answer to yes I need to change the oil.

As quick as that one fella left and came back with full synthetic agip oil for my bike, no money was allowed and there was quite the discussion about this, turns out he was No2 in Russia for weight lifting champs and his arms are thicker than Donald Trump, size does matter and he won.

I graciously accepted and the following morning within 20 minutes I had changed my oil and washed my filter.



Author of this article: Twomotokiwis