Truckin through Russia – 2009 World Tour Progress Report

[Original post by Elliot Mogerman – Transferred from]

We woke up, ate a good breakfast of latkas, egg, and ham with juice. The semi pulls up and is very high off the ground. Ilya, myself, Mike, and the driver try and figure out how to lift the 600 lb beast onto the semi. Mike finds an old steel door on the side of the building and we all manage to roll the bike up the door as a ramp onto the truck. I tie it down, we put the luggage in the back and I take my first ride in a semi ever. The shocks are not as nice as the bike or any car I have been in so it is a fairly bumpy ride. Normally the trip from this city to Vladivostok should only take 6 hours. I think our average speed was 30-40 mph and we left at noon.

Ilya arranged for us to meet one of his friends in the city and get the same type of help there that we have received so far. We ended up getting to Vladivostok at 4 in the morning. Our contact was asleep and not answering his phone. So we end up sleeping in the truck. Actually I didn’t sleep at all as the Russia mosquitoes are unforgiving. I did nap for about an hour in the morning when the sun came up. Around 8am we got in touch with Grady, Ilya’s friend, and he met us not too far away. We go the hostel and unload the truck, bid farewell to our driver, and get checked in. Immediately after, Grady takes us to a place to eat, and we go on a quick tour of the city seeing the center square, historic district, and the promenade beach walk which is on the Japanese sea. We finally get back around 8pm to the hostel, which our room overlooks a harbor, and go to bed.

Then with business in mind, we wake up and head to the boat dock to arrange our transport. We pay an up front fee to reserve our cabins and then have to go to customs. We get to customs which is a different part of the city and have to wait an hour due to lunch. When they return they tell us to wait another hour. Then no one speaks English, but finally we get a man who independently works with customs and for a fee helps us get everything in order. There is more to be done when leaving and entering a country by ship with vehicles then crossing a land border. So he helps us write letters we need in Russian and takes us back to the ferry dock. He helps arrange a pick up of my bike at the hostel and will take it to the customs loading zone on Thursday. Then Friday he will help us with the rest of our paperwork so we can breathe easy until we leave on Sunday. But he is coming over tomorrow to discuss questions and sort through some issues.

We go eat Russian bbq, shashleek, a schwarma wrap, and get back to the hostel early evening. That boat stuff took all day with customs. So we watch some tv on the laptop and go to bed. In the morning Mike leaves to get new tires as his are worn down and the flat repair he had is slowly leaking and will not make it to Japan. I stay to relax and let my bites heal. Write a blog, and do more research about repairing my bike. Mike through a motorcycle hub received some contacts at bmw I will be calling later. Turns out the dealers in Japan will not do warranty work and I will have to pay up front and then ask bmw for reimbursement. And there is actually one in Toyama, the city we arrive in, but they are closed for a few days after we arrive due to a holiday. But I might be able to save money on shipping the bike and get it repaired there. Tonight I will contact the people at bmw and see what I can plea for.