Monday 27 July 2009


23,000km in 105 days followed by 9,000km in 10 hours.
I didn't sleep on the flight and whilst flicking through the inflight entertainment channels what did I find - The Long Way Round, episode 5, in which our intrepid travellers Ewan McGreggor and Charlie Boorman cross Russia and Mongolia on motorbikes. It was quite good fun watching it again.
The bike had arrived as planned and after the quickest customs procedure to date and one hour of reassembly I was on my way. For my first night I headed for an RV park. That's a campsite to you and me, although its not called camping in Canada, its called tenting.

The end of my Korea break

I leave Seoul this evening to be re-united with my bike in Vancouver and to meet my support crew (mum & dad). The flight is at 1710 today but by crossing the international date line I arrive in Vancouver at 1125 today. Its not often you get to have a day of your life back and I feel I should do something worthwhile with it. Unfortunately I think it'll be spent getting the bike out of customs.

Random Seoul Fact: Seoul is the world's second largest metropolitan area, with a population greater than that of Australia.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Shipping a bike in 3 easy steps

First dismantle the bike

Then wrap it in clingfilm

Then put it in a box

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Sobaeksan National Park, Korea

More great roads, more lovely scenery. South Korea feels like a reward after the long slog across Russia.

Not speaking any Korean, and most Koreans not speaking any English makes ordering food in restaurants a bit of a lottery. I normally just walk in looking hungry and wait to see what I get. Although often once its arrived I'm none the wiser.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

South Korea

A smooth crossing of the Sea of Japan - but an expensive one. First you buy the ticket, then you pay to enter the port, then you pay for the Bill of Loading, then you pay the port tax. After that you're allowed on the boat. But the bills don't stop once you reach Korea - you pay for the bike freight, then the customs fee and finally for insurance.

But then 20 miles after leaving the port you're greeted with views like this:

A few days to explore the country before heading to Seoul to make arrangements for getting the bike to Canada.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Yul Brynner

After 3 months, time for a haircut. I thought I asked for something not too severe, but obviously that got lost in translation. The barber's shop was next door to the house where Yul Brynner was born, so you can see where the barbers get their inspiration from.

Tuesday 14 July 2009


Three months to the day after leaving England, and having riden 13,083 miles, I've successfully crossed the largest land mass on the planet.
Next stop South Korea.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Friday 10 July 2009


Some nice camping spots travelling through Russia, but extreme mosquitos call for extreme measures.

Thursday 9 July 2009


I'm not in China, but the view is of China, the other side of the Amur river from Blagoveshchenk. That was one reason for going there, the other was to find a hotel and have an early night as I was feeling a bit weary. That was going to plan. I was having a nice doze on the bed when I was woken by a knock at the door. Three members of the local bike club had heard I was in town (I still don't know how) and insisted I went to their clubhouse to drink vodka.

And so it was that I found myself riding a motorised toilet down the promenade at 11 o'clock at night.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

The Amur Highway

The 3,000km road that links Vladivostok with with the rest of Russia is still being built, which means parts of it are brand new tarmac and parts of it aren't. Although even the bad bits are the sort of road a Mongolian can only dream of.

Five days of Siberian rain and all the muck thrown up from the road was too much for the Yamaha. Yesterday, having stopped for petrol, the bike wouldn't start. A liberal dousing of WD40 and problem solved. Today, however, something much more sinister. Riding up a hill the bike lost power and then cut-out. It would restart but then die when I applied the throttle. I had visions of finishing the journey to Vladivostok on the back of a lorry. I opened the pannier to get the workshop manual out but came to the WD40 first and thought no harm in giving it another spray. Result - problem solved.

A business idea for any budding entrepreneurs out there - a jet wash at either end of the Amur highway. While you're there a Little Chef franchise would go down well, and a Travel Lodge.

Sunday 5 July 2009


After a long ride I arrived in Chita at what I thought was 8.30pm, but somewhere along the way the clocks had gone forward an hour so it was 9.30 (9 hours ahead of home).
The first hotel I tried didn't have any rooms, the second one did but they didn't want to let me have one as the hot water wasn't working. So the receptionist walked me round the corner and it was third time lucky.
Hotel number 2 was hosting a wedding reception and I was invited in for a drink. I told them I needed to sort out a room first so I was sent on my way with a bottle of vodka.

Friday 3 July 2009

Lake Baikal

Random Lake Baikal Fact: Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake, at 1,637m, and contains nearly one fifth of the world's fresh water, more than America's 5 Great Lakes combined.

Thursday 2 July 2009

Back in the USSR

Ulan Ude - home to the world's largest Lenin head.