Author: Ilpo Juvander Created: 12/20/2011 10:33 AM RssIcon
Ilpo On The Road
By Ilpo Juvander on 6/29/2011 2:23 PM

Catched ferry just minute before it left, so in 30 minutes we will be in Asia side

29.6.2011 12:23:38

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/29/2011 12:32 AM
We started early, I was up just after 6 am. Went to breakfast right after it started and on the way initiated the hotel room payment process. This was really a process which took like ½ hour during which we had our breakfast… But finally we got hotel paid and started packing our bikes.

While packing our bikes there was funny familiar language asking about us, there was one Finnish man working in Pristina for few weeks and staying on same hotel as us. What a small world!

We started engines before scheduled take-off time at 7:30 am so well on time.

Some small traffic to get out of the city, but once we got to the main road everything cleared out to be just fine.

Small journey from Pristina to the border of Kosovo and Macedonia, just some 65 kilometers which took almost an hour.

Border was very simple to pass, just few cars in the queue and off we went.


By Ilpo Juvander on 6/28/2011 2:42 PM

Strike on greece border and we are stuck here...

28.6.2011 12:42:56

GSA refuel after 623 km driving: 34.62 litres

28.6.2011 14:43:59

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/28/2011 1:13 AM
This day was our day off from road. We decided to stay in Pristina, Kosovo and spend day just walking in the city and relaxing.

Some pictures from Pristina.

Our parking in front of the hotel:



By Ilpo Juvander on 6/27/2011 1:51 PM

Enjoying day in pristina,kosovo. Continuing tomorrow towards macedonia. Today just relaxing!

27.6.2011 11:51:32

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/26/2011 11:31 PM
This was our second transit day, a short one from Budapest to Pristina, Kosovo. Planned driving was 700 km.

We started just after 9 am from Budapest, headed to the highway and drove directly to Serbian border. Border crossing was fairly simple, briefly looked our passports, did not check bikes papers at all.

On Serbian side road was quite good, most of the parts toll road which we took to speed transit. Toll was usually just few euros.

Near Belgrad we had small detour via airport because of small orienteering issue, road signs were all covered with bushes and we turned just one crossing too early. Zumo quickly started recalculating new route, but we decided to add our own flavor into that as well…


By Ilpo Juvander on 6/26/2011 11:32 AM
I have been using for years for hotel reservations and in general have been quite happy with selection of hotels and prices.

But – and here is the catch: Just last knight I realized that reservations made by are not really confirmed reservations!

They just send your reservation request via mail/fax/phone or what ever and there is no guarantee that you have a reservation when you come to the hotel. If hotel is full, reservations made by have no priority and all others will be served before you.

I had reserved our hotel in Budapest some 2½ months in advance and when we showed up at the hotel last evening, receptionist told that hotel is fully booked and we did not get any room from that hotel! Instead we had to find another one from other hotel.

Lucky for we had motorbikes to travel, so no did not need a taxi or any other transportation for this purpose.

Have to think now twice if I use in the future to reserve hotel rooms or not.

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/26/2011 2:57 AM
Today was the starting of our Caucasus 2011 Tour.

We left from Helsinki to Tallinn with last ferry and plan was to start driving right after we get to Tallinn direct route to Budapest.

And that’s what we did!

Once we got to Tallinn, it was already raining. I had put my gore-tex liner under my jacket and trousers already on the ferry, but decided to put also rain suite on before we started fuelling our bikes for the planned SS1000 ride.

Once bikes were fuelled, paper work for the ride done (we got our witnesses from two Italian girls already on the ferry) we started the ride.

We were following exact route with same fuel stops as I had done on the way to Rota 2009, so no big surprises waiting.

Only thing that messed things was the weather. It rained all night, stopped once we got to Poland, but started again later on in the evening. So we were really wet!

Ride itself went just fine, we were two hours early in Budapest, which is not really ok for basic SS1000 ride…...
By Ilpo Juvander on 6/21/2011 11:17 AM

We have SPOT device to follow where we are. Public link for this data is

Link will be active from the time we leave on Friday.

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/21/2011 11:14 AM

Just 3 days left for Caucasus tour!

21.6.2011 9:14:09

By Ilpo Juvander on 6/14/2011 12:38 PM
Today all needed trip paperwork is done: green card, passport with all needed Visas and drivers licenses.

Some final checks for the bike, new tires, valve check etc. and then my GSA is ready as well.

We will go from Helsinki to Tallinn on 24th of June and start riding towards Budapest which is our first stop. This is some ~1700 km ride from Tallinn.

From Budapest we continue through Serbia to Pristina, Kosovo. After this towards Macedonia, Greece...
By Ilpo Juvander on 5/26/2011 1:09 PM
I have been struggling with this error now for good few weeks and finally managed to get this working.

Issue has all the time been that HID cold start amps have been too high for can bus to handle and it has been just disconnecting power from HID with error short circuit.

I started measuring how much it draws and saw that it cuts of power exactly on 6A, but once it had light on after couple of trials, hot start amps were only ~3.5A … 4.1A.

So how to get around this?

I managed to come up with an idea to power this Xenon HID lamp first from direct battery power and once engine has been running for a while, switch back to can bus power to get rid of LAMPF! warning.

And here’s how I did this:


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.


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:


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!


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.


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.


Weather was good, quite a lot of smoke everywhere.

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


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.

IMG_1970 IMG_1971  IMG_1973...
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.

IMG_1959 IMG_1958

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).


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

IMG_1839IMG_1840 K1JDcwQ3r47sCNBM3603ks3kskXL01...
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:

image image

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

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.