4th September – 300km to Vladivostok
(above: the Far East)
My asylum for the night was an elementary school in God knows where, with only Elbow’s One Day Like This in my headphones for company (thanks Pauli). Russia’s Far East has enough cornfields to feed the world, and enough rain to make sure no one goes thirsty…
Our mindset was: we would smoothly roll down south to Vladi (as we now call it), but of course it ain’t over until, well, our singing fat lady would be a plate of delicious Soba noodles in an Isakaya in Asakusa, downtown Tokyo. The recipe for disaster is a simple one: rain and constructions sites, masses of them, and a myriad of potholes, rubble, and orgies of slippery bitumen.
It seems like years ago that a Russian trucker told us in Saratov to “never complain about a bad street, because there could be no street…”
You’ve got a point there, Towarisch…
This might be the moment to sing a song of praise – again – to this wonderful machine that brought me here. It had taken a heavy beating, and every morning I expected to push the starter button with no result. Every hole I crashed into there was a second where I thought, “oh no, that’s it,” but… nothing. Reliability, your name is 1200 GS Adventure. Hundreds of times the shocks when on block, it slipped, it got covered in mud… we drove through temperatures ranging from zero to forty degrees, filled her with shitty petrol, and this mechanical kid pretends it is doing nothing more than carrying its rider to the pizzeria around the corner in Berlin-Mitte.
The truth is that I’m a pretty mediocre motorbike rider, but that thing saves me every time I reach the limit of my talents. I have lost a plastic mud cover at the back, a screw has come loose, and that’s it. I haven’t fallen a single time. Amazing.
The Russians we have met just couldn’t believe that any bike can cross the whole country without a mechanic following in a van full of spare parts, but…hey, mine can.
If all goes well we will ride into Vladivostok tomorrow, and my trip with Pierre will come to an end. After a few days on my own I will take the ferry to Sakaiminato, where it will spit me into the arms of my friends Chris and Ken, who I haven’t seen for far too long. Pierre has decided to skip Japan, send the bike home from Vladi to Germany, and head instead towards Cambodia to see some friends. He says he needs some good nights of sleep, some great food, some smiles and some hugs. Good idea, that sounds like a plan…
6th September – Vladivostok
(above: In Vladivostok)
We made it. Reached the city. I will need a few days to come down…
Andreas from the Circus and Pierre from the Eastseven are on their way to Japan… by motorbike. Andreas is sending us regular updates and you can find the whole archive of the trip here.