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    18.000km on the road

    Monday, December 3rd, 2007

    Our motorcycle journey is over, so it might be the time to have some conclusions.

    First why don’t we take the bike in south-east asia. The reasons are two-fold. The first one is the cost of transport, we would have to fly the bike from Kathmandu to Bangkok and then again from Bangkok to Bucharest which would be quite expensive. The sea-shipping from Kathmandu is much cheaper.
    The second reason is that Vietnam doesn’t allow big motorcycles (more then 200cubic cm) on its territory. As we want to make a tour (Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Thailand) we can’t really leave the bike anywhere and come back to pick it up.

    The bike performed admirably throughout the 17.800 km of the trip. The damage to the bike is pretty minimal: the left rear view mirror was broken in an encounter with a van in Iran but I managed to buy a (second-hand!) iranian honda mirror that fits, the lid of the right-hand pannier had a dent from a truck on the Manali-Leh road, and the bottom of the same pannier is dented from a fall in Rajastan. All this incidents took place at very slow speed or even standing still 🙂

    Apart from the fuel pump which left us stranded on the side of the road twice, we had effectively 0 problems with the bike. This was probably due to a bad case of beginner’s luck as we didn’t even had a flat tyre the whole way…

    If you think of doing the same trip with same enormous amount of luggage (and two-up) it would be a good idea to change the rear spring to a stiffer one. The stock spring is much too soft for such a load and you lose a lot of suspension travel due to sagging. A high performance shock is not strictly necessary (although is certainly nice if you can afford it). If you decide to keep the stock spring try to distribute some of the load to the front of the bike. We had all the weight on the rear and the front was very light and prone to wobbling.

    A long-range fuel tank is both very expensive and un-needed. We had a 6 litre jerry-can (less then 10Euro), and we only used in Baluchistan and in the Himalayas. Even there we could have managed without it, as there were people selling fuel from jerry-cans on the side of the road.

    The Metzeler Tourances performed admirably, the back tyre is squared after the trip due to the load, but the front is still in very good shape. They are not off-road tires by any means so on the sandy and muddy parts you have to be careful but they have decent grip in the wet and are very hard to wear down. A good choice if you decide not to carry spare tyres.
    The panniers performed reasonably well (although I still thing they are a bit flimsy). They are rated for 10kg each and we carried almost double…

    One of the things that you might want to consider is an alarm. I’ve installed a cheap car alarm with a pager. It has a shock sensor, a leaning sensor (set to engage when the bike is taken off the side-stand) and a trunk-opening sensor wired to the seat. The alarm is installed in the toolbox under the seat. Also a bike cover is a must have especially in India.

    we kept records about our spending, this will be detailed in another post.

    One question that is likely to be in you mind if you read this contemplating a similar trip is “How difficult is it ?” . While difficulty is a relative thing so my assessment doesn’t really help, it is almost certainly that you will find the trip easier that you think. Once you are on the road you solve the problems as they arise and you don’t have much time to worry about it. There were some tricky parts (baluchistan etc) but they aren’t as daunting as they look from back home.

    This being said, expect some very long days when things don’t go as planned and you are quite stressed (our worst day was between Sukkur and Multan), but after you get through them they don’t affect your trip too much. There is so much beauty and excitement along the way that the difficulties that you encounter are comparatively too small to matter.

    Before we left there was much discussion among our friends if it’s wise to leave with a single bike. It’s quite clear that with a larger party some of the problems are easier to be dealt with, but it also causes additional ones. If you decide to go in a larger group be sure that you really know (and really like) your travel companions. We were lucky to met very nice people on our way and we went together for a while, but it’s a big difference between riding together for few days and riding together for 6 months, if you choose your companions poorly you will compromise your whole trip.

    We are quite happy with going alone, we managed to get over the hard parts by ourselves and I think it added to the feeling of freedom and unburden inherent in this trip.

    After almost 4 months and 18.000km we are convinced that riding is the best way to travel and hope we will be able to repeat this trip.

    Without any real connection 🙂 , I add some pictures from our second forced stop. Repairing the fuel pump in Madhya Pradesh with some 20-30 spectators.

    gorakhpur01.jpg gorakhpur02.jpg

    gorakhpur03.jpg gorakhpur04.jpg

    Pokhara parapanting

    Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

    Dupa ce in Goreme nu ne-am dat cu balonul pt. ca era prea scump, in kathmandu nu ne-am dat cu avionul din cauza ca era prea scump mi se facuse dor sa zbor un pic. E adevarat ca intre kargil si srinagar am reusit sa decolez un pic cu Grasu’ dupa ce am luat o denivelare gigantica un pic prea repede, dar aterizarea a fost cam dura si dupa pumnii din casca Ioana nu a parut sa aprecieze….
    Asa ca in Pokhara am decis sa fac un zbor cu parapanta. Toata lumea decoleaza de pe Sarangkot, un virf de vreo 1500m de unde e cea mai buna panorama a Anapurnelor.

    Am ales zborul lung de 2 ore in speranta ca putem evada un pic catre munti. Instructorul, un francez care zbura din ’89 a fost foarte simpatic, pacat ca nu stia engleza asa ca am fost obligati sa ne conversam in franceza mea de balta.

    Am decolat un pic prea tirziu, pe la 2, asa ca termica era cam slaba, o singura zona era mai activa cu o termica destul de violenta. Am urcat citeva sute de metri si , dupa vreo 2 inchideri partiale am incercat sa evadam catre munti. Nu am reusit, ne-am intors in termica si i-am zis instructorului ca mai bine uitam de XC si ma lasa sa ma joc un pic. Ne-am dus catre oras, francezul mi-a lasat comenzile si pentru vreo 30-40 de minute m-am jucat de-a pilotul.

    Am reusit sa prind o alta termica, am mai urcat citeva sute de metri dupa care am zburat in spatele unui vultur pentru citeva minute. Era ditamai pasaroiul si zbura foarte calm la vreo 20-30m in fata parapantei 🙂
    Spre sfirsit ne-am dus deasuprea lacului si am exersat un pic tangaj si ruliu 🙂

    Desi nu e chiar la fel de distractiv ca zlin-ul, am fost foarte incintat de toata afacerea…

    paraglider01.jpg   paraglider02.jpg   paraglider03.jpg

    paraglider04.jpg   paraglider05.jpg   paraglider06.jpg

    paraglider07.jpg   paraglider08.jpg   paraglider09.jpg

    rafting pe bhote koshi

    Friday, November 30th, 2007


    dupa 10 zile in kathmandu ( n-am mai stat nicaieri asa de mult) am fugit 2 zile cu excursia la rafting. Treziti foarte dimineatza, am clantzanit din dinti tot drumul – fo 70-80 de km de kathmandu- si ne-am gindit ca in apa albastra si curata de munte tre sa fie genial 😀

    “nici nu voi ca sa ma laud,nici nu voi sa va-nspaimint”…bhote koshi e cel mai “abrupt” riu nepalez si are 4 grade pe scara raftingului (din 6)

    pe la 10 am ajuns la locul de imbarcare.  aparuse si soarele si se facuse caldut. baietii cu barca erau deja acolo, ne ateptau sa dam si noi la pompa…de incalzire.Ne-au facut instructajul : cum sa dam din visle, cum sa ne dam dam prin apa, cum sa ne salvam 🙂 Ne-am dat cu 2 olandezi destul de mieunati 🙂 si cu un instructor super simpatic, calm si zimbitor, si un ajutor de-al lui si in plus erau 2 caiacisti care se invirteau in jurul nostru, sa ne adune daca e cazul.

    prima zi a fost destul de usoara, doar citeva portiuni rapide, mai mult ne-a testat cit de rapid raspundem la comenzi 🙂  apa era rece, am stat noi doi in fata si luam niste valuri meseriase… da’ ne-am obisnuit repede, cip a sarit si de pe o stinca de fo 4 m in riu…era super adinca apa, era mirat ca n-a atins pamintu 🙂

    ne-am intors in tabara, ne-am parcat in cort si am papat si baut o bere cu ceilalti participanti la activitati si cu instructorii…toti usori dusi cu capu 🙂 era o super veselie acolo pe malul riului. I-am convins sa ne faca si un mare foc de tabara…a fost fain fain 🙂

    a doua zi, ne-am echipat cu costume sexy de izopren si jachetzele impermeabile (+cascute galbene si veste de salvare) si am dat drumu la barca in fata corturilor ….super agitata apa, facea niste valuri de numa-numa si cascade si virtejuri… genial !!!!

    poze de pe apa n-avem, aparatu foto a preferat sa mearga cu autobuzu.

    bhote-koshi1.jpg  bhote-koshi2.jpg  bhote-koshi3.jpg

    bhote-koshi4.jpg  bhote-koshi6.jpg  bhote-koshi5.jpg


    Friday, November 30th, 2007

    dupa ce am rezolvat cu vizele, cu transportul lui Grasu si cu biletele de avion, am dat o fuga la rafting si ne-au mai ramas citeva zile pt pokhara.

    dupa 8 ore in autobuz, pentru un drum pe care Grasu’ l-ar fi facut in 3 ore… am ajuns in pokhara.

    Un oras de munte linistit, cu un lac in care se reflecta piscurile Anapurnelor, fara nebunia si mizeria din kathmandu.

    Azi am urcat pina la world peace pagoda, ne-am dat cu barca pe lac si ne-am uitat cu jind la parapantisti.

    pokhara08.jpg   pokhara07.jpg   pokhara06.jpg

    pokhara05.jpg   pokhara04.jpg   pokhara03.jpg

    pokhara02.jpg   pokhara01.jpg

    si dupa-masa am facut rezervarea pt zborul cu parapanta de miine 😀

    shipping the motorcycle

    Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    for several different reasons we had to ship our faithful bike from kathmandu (more about this in another post).

    the horizonsunlimited recommended shipping agents (eagle eyes and new worldlink) were less than helpful so we used another company, public freight.

    since we are in no hurry to get the motorcycle to bucharest, we chose to ship by sea. The bke goes from kathmandu to calcutta by truck and from there to europe by ship. It should be in bucharest at the end of january at about the same time as we will.

    after deciding what parts of our enormous luggage we can send home and what we must keep,


    we took the bike at the warehouse and prepared it for shipping

    grasu01.jpg grasu02.jpg grasu03.jpg

    our target was to fit everything in under 2 cubic meters, so we had to try different combinations 🙂

    I took off the front wheel, the windshield, the handlebars and the blinkers.

    grasu04.jpg grasu05.jpg

    after the crate was ready we put everything inside and tied them as secure as possible

    grasu06.jpg grasu07.jpg grasu08.jpg

    grasu09.jpg grasu10.jpg grasu11.jpg


    here is a short movie… we don’t need no stinkin’ forklifts