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Author: Ilpo Juvander Created: 12/20/2011 10:33 AM RssIcon
Ilpo On The Road
By Ilpo Juvander on 1/19/2011 10:49 AM
Plan for the Summer of 2011 is starting to formulate again.

This time theme is Caucasus.

And of course this will be an adventure trip with the motorbike – this year not as big as last summer.

So we will be travelling from Finland using some route to Turkey, stop for a family vacation and then continue towards Georgia.

From Georgia we will make quick visits to Armenia...
By Ilpo Juvander on 8/4/2010 9:11 PM
From St. Petersburg we had a short one to Finland and home.

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Only 200km to the border between Finland and Russian and another 202 km to my home. This took us 7 hours. Border took us ~1 hour and most of that time was spent on Finnish side…

So total mileage for this trip 16830 km and made a nice looking circle:

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By Ilpo Juvander on 8/4/2010 7:23 PM

Time to get everything washed... and fixed...

By Ilpo Juvander on 8/3/2010 4:59 PM

Now at sokos hotel palace bridge in st.petersburg,some sauna and spa for reward!

3.8.2010 14:59:18


By Ilpo Juvander on 8/3/2010 1:57 PM
For this day we got an idea: Lets make this day a short one and reward us with a short driving day and a spa in St. Petersburg!

And this was what we did!

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So only 425 km for this day, 6½ hours driving. Woke up early and engines were running before 07:00 and little past 13:00 we were at the hotel in St. Petersburg.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 8/3/2010 1:54 AM
From Nizhny Novgorod we drove a bit pass Moscow, managed to go around Moscow and not stuck on the traffic.

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Weather was good, quite a lot of smoke everywhere.

Managed to find small motel just by the road and our day was there!

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By Ilpo Juvander on 8/3/2010 12:47 AM

At russian still, some 1000km to Espoo. Tomorrow at st. Petersburgh and then to finland

2.8.2010 22:47:45


By Ilpo Juvander on 8/1/2010 11:38 PM
We got wake up visit at 07:00 as agreed on the night before, had quick breakfast and packing and off we go again.

After driving some 2 hours we had first stop and during this stop we noticed that Kari had a nail through his rear tyre so our intended short stop to drink became a bit longer due to repairing of this.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/31/2010 11:48 PM
Day started early, sleeping place was not the best possible… Quick packing and some water from the nearby gas station and off we went.

For few kilometres. Then it was time for breakfast.

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Once we managed through this we started moving again.

From Troitsk road was excellent, we headed towards Chelyabinsk....
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/31/2010 5:31 AM

Crossed Russian-Kazakhstan border late last night and got sleeping place from old train just 15km from border

31.7.2010 3:31:30


By Ilpo Juvander on 7/30/2010 11:40 PM
From Astana we planned to start going forward with a breakfast at the hotel. In this hotel breakfast started as late as 08:00, so we actually got around 09:00 to the road again.

Plan was to drive as close to Russian border as possible.

Once we got out from the city road changed into pretty bad one, next 70 km was all road work and slowed us down quite a bit.

By accident, we managed to choose a partly different road than M36 which guys had been using before, this was pretty new and in good condition.

Driving was good and everything went well, so by evening we were already on the Russian border crossing at Troitsk.

Border crossing was pretty hassle free, only thing they wondered about was some missing papers which we did not get when entering Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan border at Bishkek. But they understood the issue and...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/29/2010 11:43 PM
For this day we had last night agreed to stay in Astana.

I was going to get my motor oil and filter changed, had already 9000 kilometres from the last one back at local BMW dealer in Antalya. While searching for a place using Google I managed to find one Yamaha motorcycle dealer (N51.14683 E71.37254).

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In my Garmin Zumo I had no routable map so I took GPS co-ordinates and just started driving towards that. After a while I managed to find this...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/28/2010 11:19 PM
At 07:00 we started packing our bikes again, long way to go for this day.

When driving along Lake Balkhash we had very heavy side wind which slowed us down a lot. Road was in pretty good condition except one part: At first we saw one car which had rolled over couple of times, but people looked like they were ok, getting their stuff out from the car. This was pretty soon after turning from Balkhash city. Shortly after this all of us drove into oil that was spilled on the road. It was just pure luck that none of us fell on this, it took some hundred to two hundred meters before the oil was out from tyres! And when adding the heavy side wind to this it was really dangerous situation.

After this we took a break and had something to eat.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/28/2010 12:36 AM
This time day started without any breakfast and quite early.

We had some issues finding hotel stuff on this early hour in morning, but eventually we got them and they came to open the backdoor for us to get bikes out on the road.

Right after we left from Toktogul we started climbing up towards mountains. We had two passes over 3000 meters high on the way.

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First pass was just slowly driving upwards through very green areas, magnificent views! Highest point was Ala-Bel Pass ~3170m. Road was in excellent condition so we were also driving on normal cruising speed all the way.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/26/2010 11:14 PM
Morning came again and it was time to leave from Sary-Tash. From the bicyclist we had already learned that we would go into some high mountain passes again, road would be under construction for the first 70 kilometres or so. There were Chinese road workers everywhere building new road over the mountains.

This was now the day that we would pass the restless area of Osh located in Fergana Valley  that we had heard so much about.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/25/2010 11:18 PM
This was the day we start approach towards Kyrgyzstan and Sary-Tash. There was so much on the news about situation in there so we were a bit waiting mode to see what was the current situation over there.

Day started with usual breakfast followed by packing of bikes. There were also other guests who were on tour with jeeps, they were not daring to enter Kyrgyzstan at all!

I was not putting on any special clothes, morning looked like an warm one so just plain outfit with warm long inner clothes. No Gore-Text inside.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/24/2010 11:37 PM
Morning started a bit later than usual as we had agreed to have some service for the bikes. Got some breakfast first with couple other tourists in Pamir Lodge.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/23/2010 11:30 PM
After sleeping outside day started again quite early up in the mountain. Daylight revealed the river where we washed up last night and we started packing our stuff again:

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During the night it had rained quite a lot so roads were a bit wet, but views were just great!

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/22/2010 11:57 PM
At Ayni we started day early. Now we were me, Kari and Anders driving together which was actually very good since the roads started getting worse and worse.

At first we were driving excellent roads, new asphalt on the road and everything looked good. Then we missed one turn that would have taken us on the scenic route across mountain, and this got us to the Anzob tunnel.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Anzab Tunnel is a five kilometer long tunnel located 80 km northwest of Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe. It connects the Tajik capital to its second largest city, Khujand. It is also a transit route between Dushanbe and Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/21/2010 11:50 PM
Day started with an breakfast at the hotel 07:00 and followed by normal packing routines. At 08:00 engine was running again and I was on my way towards Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan border.

While driving through the city I noticed that on every street corner there was policeman standing. Direct route to the border crossing was closed due to this, I needed to drive through some unpaved road to get to the border.

On the way there was also one river crossing, on this point there was also police checkpoint and I needed to pay 7$ or 20 local currency to get forward.

It was almost 50 kilometres from the hotel to the border so that took a bit longer than expected.

At the border there was no issues nor any payments. From Turkmenistan side everything went smoothly, just a stamp on the passport, checking of transit visa document where they had pointed my route and exit border crossing and off I was towards Uzbekistan border.

On Uzbekistan border there was three doors, two of them just took...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/21/2010 10:41 PM

Now in Tajikistan together with kari and anders from team2

21.7.2010 20:41:05


By Ilpo Juvander on 7/21/2010 12:31 AM
Day started at 07:00 with small breakfast, some bread, cheese and Fanta from hotel. I was probably the only guest in here...

At 08:00 I was already at the border when it opened, got first ticket on the gate and then headed towards next control point. Iran side was pretty much hassle free, after waiting a while until some local had their passports sorted out I got it stamped as well. Then it went to some customs control, they did not check any of my luggage, just papers. After this was the stamp to carnet and I was ready to go.

At some writings this Bajigiran border crossing was mentioned so that after Iran control Turkmenistan crossing was closer to Askhabad, but at least what I now saw was that it was right after Iran buildings.

Again, once I entered Turkmenistan border, I was assigned one officer to walk all the doors with me. I counted 12 doors where they all wrote down same information and gave me receipts like this:

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/19/2010 11:38 PM
On this day my idea was to drive across border of Iran and Turkmenistan, but things happen…

This day continued directly from Day 22, I was just driving through the night to get to the border.

Passed Tehran on very early in the morning, no traffic at all. Managed to get lost a bit since some roads were closed due to some road work, but found the planned route towards Turkmenistan.

My route was taking me through some very nice mountains, but this was my mistake as well. This road was full of small trucks which blocked me from moving fast enough… so I started running behind the schedule very soon.

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I climbed very soon after...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/18/2010 11:32 PM
Very soon after the start of the day I found out that last night decision to call it a day was right. Next 200 kilometers were almost all either road works, road not done yet or under work.

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Riding a bike during dark hours would have been a nightmare and very challenging. Road was missing all signs and road paintings and it was switching from one lane to another all the time.

Daytime riding was not that bad. I started day early, at 06:05 am engine was already running and I was all ready to take off.

First 300 hundred kilometers was quite easy, but things started banging again. last 250 kilometers on Turkish side was full of police and military checkpoints, stopped counting at 12… Almost all of them...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/18/2010 12:30 AM
Day started early, I had clock waking me up at 05:00, quick shower and off I go. Anne was still almost sleeping…

At 06:05 I had everything on the bike and engine running. Plan was to drive as close to Iran border as possible using D-400 road.

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Beginning was the same as before towards Antalya, after that excellent highway but then road started going around some mountains and mileage stopped running. It was soon pretty clear that I could not drive...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/17/2010 12:01 AM
Tomorrow morning at 06:00 it starts again towards Iran. Some 1500km driving ahead.
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/7/2010 4:13 PM
Woke up early on the morning, had an service served for my bike at 8:30am. Some 60km drive there and same back in the hot weather…

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Agreed service was to change motor oil, oil filter, valve clearance check and general inspection for the bike.

After few hours waiting got bike back washed and serviced, not I’m ready for the next part of the trip.

According to the report, everything is ok, even break pads were still good. Those I have now spare ones with...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/6/2010 12:46 PM

Waiting for local bmw service to fix my bike for the next part of the journey

6.7.2010 10:46:40


By Ilpo Juvander on 7/3/2010 7:48 PM
This was the last day towards meeting my family at Antalya airport. Started morning early, I had only 140 kilometres to the Antalya airport.

Road took me through some mountains and then down again via small canyon. On this road I first time took ABS button into use and disabled that. I have had some previous bad experiences with my LT on this bumpy small roads where all breaking power had been gone and I had some near situations on going out from curve. But with ABS disabled, no issues. My R1200GS Adventure is one of those rare bikes where you can disable this feature.

When coming down from the mountain, air was getting warmer and warmer. 38 degrees Celsius when I finally came to Antalya town.

I had one more stop to be done at the local BMW dealer to see if I could have my bike serviced here. I needed basically oil change, new oil filter and valve check.

When I got there, we agreed very quickly to have this on next Tuesday and on the same time one of the BMW recall ones was to be done...
By Ilpo Juvander on 7/2/2010 10:21 PM
Had an *early* morning, started the bike before 9am and started driving towards Egirdir, which is a city by the lake, a bit more than 100km from Antalya.

On the way spotted one GS driving behind me and once I stopped to get some water, this bike followed me to get gas. It turned out to be an Canadian guy, living in Dubai who had just flied to Istanbul and rented a bike from there and is now driving around. We drove few kilometers like this until I turned south towards Antalya from Sakarya.

From Sakarya road was excellent, partly newly done, partly under work but in general in good condition.

On the way enjoyed according to my tradition (which is to have one Big Mac Meal On The Road in new country) some food.

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By Ilpo Juvander on 7/1/2010 10:59 PM
Day started as normal, not so early as I was not expecting long journey from Sozopol to Istanbul.

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Route I chose was excellent, this was small road that approached Turkey from Bulgarian side, lots of turns and it took me 650m high. Couple with bicycles and one motorcycle came towards me otherwise I was pretty much the only one moving on that road.

Border control was really fast, nothing special.

After I got on the Turkish side, road was 3-4 lanes wide, newly done and parts of it was still under construction. Quite an contrast to what was on Bulgarian side.

Rest of...