Departure date is approaching fast. You may think that, by now, we would be ready. After all, this is not our first trip….
Well, we are almost ready… but the bikes are not! The parts we ordered for my XT250 took 5 weeks to arrive… and thanks to the incompetence of the senders, I had to track the parcel down to some Post Office depot in the East end! Anyway, I found my parcel eventually. On the TTR side, same story waiting a very long time to get the parts. That is the problem with relatively rare bikes.
So the TTR is still with Stewart, our trusted mechanic, but both bikes need very little done now (replacing the sprockets and chains, check valves clearances and have a check over to ensure all is fine). So, in theory, both should be ready by this weekend. So we can take them out for a test ride and also a “pack test”. I want to make sure that all our luggage is fitting properly on the bikes, (fitting, weigh distribution…) and there is no last minute drama. Our luggage will have the same set up than last time.
On the XT, I will carry the 59l Ortlieb roll bag with all the camping gear, guide book, maps not in used and few small knickknacks, all secured to the bikes with a “Packsafe mesh”. I will have an additional small roll bag with my waterproof clothes (“plastic” over trousers and jacket) and thermals.
The TTR will carry the soft panniers. They will have our “non bike” clothes and shoes, pharmacy and everything else (parts, tools, WD40 etc…). The spare inner tubes are on fender bags (one each).
In addition, I will have a “tank bag” that can carry the current road map, water, camera and others bits.
Documents (like V5, insurance docs etc …) will be in our backpacks.
Total weight of all our luggage should be about 25kgs.
I have been investigating further our itinerary and found that the hydrofoil I wanted to take from Northern Siberia to the south, along the river Ob, no longer exists. Not ideal, as there are no roads connecting, the only way is taking the river Ob. Or a 1,000 miles detour by road (Russia is Big, as I said previously!).
I quickly sent an email to one of our Russian friends, who rode with us last year in the Altai. He lives in Siberia and I figured he may find out for us. After few phone calls he found a ferry and provided me with all the details. Thanks Anton!
To ride as light as possible, I have been cutting the Russian guide book that was the size (and weight!) of a brick. I just kept the parts of interest to me. I also cut the Russian Atlas, packing only the few pages that I need.
Speaking with one of my young colleague, whose family is from St Petersburg, she mentioned the Scarlet Sail festival. It is a big graduation event in St Petersburg, and worth the detour. This year it is on the 25th of June. So, although in general we keep away from big towns, when on the motorbikes, we will try to spend few days there. After all, not sure we will ever be back in that region again!