From dreams to reality – The ‘big’ trip

Filed in Riding, Travel by on March 20, 2017 0 Comments

Anyone who has met me over the last decade or so will know that I have perpetually dreamt of ‘the big trip’

The definition of this trip has evolved over the years; what started off as a vague plan to ride around the world for 2-3 years has now finally become a more targeted plan and most importantly, reality.

As of today, I am exactly 3 months away from my departure date so I thought to share what I’ll actually be doing.

At the moment, I am focusing solely on the first 6 months of what will be a 14 month ride through various parts of the world that have occupied my thoughts day and night for years.
I will first be air freighting the bike to Seoul, South Korea; however, the bike will make it’s way straight onto a bonded truck to the ferry port of Dong Hae from where I will make the days journey to Vladivostok on Russias east coast.

Once the bike clears customs, this is where the ride will truly begin. Making my way along the Chinese border and taking in Russia as I go along, the destination will be the eastern border of Mongolia at Ereenstav. The commonly used border for Mongolia is north of Ulan Bataar (the capital) at Ulan Ude, however, in the interest of challenging myself nice and early, I’ll be using the Ereentsav border which from a riders account 2 years ago; “when I asked the border guards, they told me I was only the 4th foreigner to cross there all year”

The road along the near disused Ereentsav border between Russia and Mongolia

From here, I begin to finally put rubber down in a place I have dreamt about for years. Mongolia only has paved roads in a 500km radius around its capital with the rest made up of dozens of vague paths sprawling in all directions, many through rivers.

The route I take through the vast countryside, headed west, will largely be determined by the weather at the time and its effect on water levels.

Once out of Mongolia, it’s back into Russia, down through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan along the infamous Pamir Highway and skirting the Afghan border, Uzbekistan, a possible 5 day (and very expensive at $1700) detour into Turkmenistan before heading back towards the Kyrgyz and Chinese border for my guided crossing into Pakistan before finally arriving in India.

How I expect the first 6 months of this ride to pan out

At this point, the plan is to regroup and settle for a month before chasing the summer into the southern hemisphere at the bottom of South America before working my way up towards North America and Europe as time permits.

A little lacking on detail on the Stans I know, but, I will share more on the wonders I hope to see in these countries as preparation rolls on

So how has this trip developed from a multi-year ride to what it is now?

In the past few years I have done long distance touring through the Aussie outback, technical riding with 3 weeks in the Indian Himalayas, 7 weeks in the American southwest for a taste of camping and finally, most recently, 2 months riding from Holland to Turkey and back again to venture into the world of cross country touring.

Having done these various chunks, I have decided to focus my attention to parts of the world I want to explore based on 2 simple ideas.

1. Celebrating my 30th birthday in the vast expanse of the Mongolian steppe and onwards to the beauty of the Pamirs
2. Crossing the infamous Darien Gap that links South and North America aboard the century old Stahlratte.

Mongolian Highways

Hoisting up a bike onto the deck of the Stahlratte

From here on in, it’s full steam ahead for planning and preparation of both myself and the bike to get the most out of what I feel is a once in a lifetime journey

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I take GSXRs to inappropriate places