Hi, my name is Phil and this blog describes a Solo Round The World Motorcycle Trip I am starting in May 2012. The blog also contains info on other motorbike trips I have made. It is named after the Lee Marvin hit from the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon. It just seems to sum up how I feel when I am on the road. I was born..etc..etc..

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Monday, 2 July 2012

21 - 25 June 2012

Thursday 21 June – Day 49

On the road at about 7.30 and heading for Novosibirsk.  Further down the road I met a Russian couple on a Honda Shadow stopped at the side of the road and had a good chat. There seem to be a few more bikers in Russia which gives me hope that I will be able to find tires to fit my bike.
Couldn’t find the Hostel I had found on the internet and was about to rough it somewhere when a guy on a bike pulled over on a Honda and introduced himself as Anderson.  He called a hostel he knew on his mobile and I followed him there.  The owner was a young guy called Elly and he showed me a nice room with 3 beds which I had to myself.  The cost was 470 Roubles per night. Result!

Anderson explained that he worked at a motorcycle dealers and I said I would come and see him tomorrow as I need tires and maybe some electrical repairs.  He drew me a map which looked fairly simple.
The email address for this hostel is .  It is only 200 metres from the Central Station at Lenin Street 50 and I highly recommend it.  Elly’s mobile number is +79139159449.

Friday 22 June – Day 50

I had a lie in for once and then rode down to Anderson’s motorcycle store.  The map he had drawn me was spot on and I found it no problem.  The store is called HSCmotop and they have plenty of bikes for sale and a selection of quality clothing and oils etc. They stripped my bike down completely to try and fix my electrical problems and I was getting nervous how much his was going to cost. 
The bikes in the showroom are all approx. double the price they would be in the UK. The repairs took all day and I sat around waiting.  The mechanic showed me a faulty wire in the ignition which I could never have traced. At about 18.30 the bike was back together and I got a bill for 3310 Roubles (about 68 quid).

This evening I sat and drank a few beers with Elly in his lounge and we chatted about life in England and Russia.  He is an interesting guy and his family had moved to Siberia from Poland back in 1905.  He is part Jewish and has also spent time in Israel and America so we had plenty to talk about.

I mentioned the visa registration process and Elly offered to help me complete the forms and take them to the post office.  This will be a real bonus and I can relax and get on with the good stuff.
Saturday 23 June – Day 51

Decided to bite the bullet and buy tires from Anderson.  He has a Metzeler Karoo on the shelf at a discounted price to fit the rear,  and a Continental TKC 80 to fit the front.  Total cost is 11,300 Roubles, about 233 quid which is not too bad.  They are good off road tires and if these don’t get me through to Magadan then nothing will.

Sunday 24 June – Day 52

Elly wanted to get out of the city for the annual birthday celebrations. It clearly wasn't his thing and he asked if I wanted to come to his Dacha to swim in the lake.  This sounded good to me and we headed out of the city in his 4wd.

We swam in the lake and I noticed that there were people camping on the beach for free.

Later we ate kebabs then headed back to the city to watch the fireworks display.  I sat up and watched the England game live until 5am.  They were outplayed by Italy and even though it went to penalties I think the best team won so no complaints. 

Monday 25 June – Day 53

Packed my bags ready to leave for Irkutsk and went to post office with Ellie to register my visa with immigration.  No problems and I paid a fee of about 300 Roubles.  We were told to come back and pick up the paperwork at around 19.00 today.

Elly had stuff to do and I went to pick up my tires from Anderson's motorbike store.  I came back to the Hostel but there was no one around so I had a kip in the gardens.  After a while I decided to go for a quick spin to get some bread and fruit.  I was on my way back when I was waived down by the Police.  I was not doing anything wrong but I guess I stand out a bit.

The officer spoke rapid Russian at me and I explained I was Angliski tourist but he was unimpressed and said 'Russki Police' and repeated the Russian he had just said and knew I did not understand.  I knew he was probably asking for my documents and I realized I only had my passport with me.  I showed him this and he showed me his driving licence and asked for mine.  Oh shit!
I tried to explain it was at the Hostel but he just laughed as if I was a complete idiot and was about to have the book thrown at me.  I was told to sit in the Police car and he started filling in forms and talking loads of Russian at me that I didn't understand.  He finally realised I didn't understand and tried to communicate a bit more using his hands and a pen.  He explained that the bike was to be towed away and made the sign of hand cuffs towards me.  My heart sank and all I could think was Oh my god!

I have been in some minor scrapes on my trips and always managed to find a solution but I had a real feeling I was in deep s**t this time and had visions of the bike being crushed.  After much saying of  ‘please, please’ and ‘I don’t understand’ (in Russian of course) and 'Hotel 2 minutes away' he indicated I should go and get my licence on foot and come back to the car.  I hot footed it back to the hostel but there was no sign of Elly and i was still locked out.

There were a young couple in the gardens and I asked if I could use there mobile phone for a moment.  I had Elly's number in my wallet.  I called him and explained what happened and he said he would be back in 1 hour.  I was staring to panic a bit and ran back to the place where the Police were.  I was relieved to see the bike was still there and I tried to explain to the officer.

He was not best pleased and indicated again that the bike was to be taken away.  I went back to the hostel to wait for Elly.  When he arrived I grabbed my documents and ran back to the Police again.  He looked at my driving licence but was not happy.  I showed my international driving permit and this seemed to do the trick.  Amazingly he indicated I was free to go and take the bike with me.  I couldn't believe it and I think his partner said I was very lucky.

After all the drama I decided to stay another night at Elly's place.  He had picked up my visa registration documents and I put them with my passport.  Elly was off to his Dacha to spend time with his son David and introduced me to a woman who would be looking after the Hostel for the night.  I settled down for the night a four pack and some nibbles.

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