Khabarovsk to Vladivostok

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Long Grass Riding - Russia

Long Grass Riding - Russia

Shortly after arriving in Khabarovsk we found ourselves a hotel.. as we pulled up outside a fancy white Mercedes Benz drove into the drive way.. while Heather was getting prices for the hotel I waited with the bikes. One of the guys from the car introduced himself and asked us where we are headed to and where we have come from. He was visibly interested on he details and he went into the hotel. Shortly afterwards Heather came back and had decided that we would stay in the hotel. I then started to unpack the bikes of anything that was easily to steal…. we really needed to get in and have a shower and clean ourselves up.. we looked every bit the stinky bikers… 10 days with only the most basic of washing really starts to show. Our motorcycle clothes which had been completely cleaned in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia now looked like they have never been washed… all the camping, wet snow, (HL: running away from drunk lumberjacks), grit and mechanical repairs leave stains that just look naaassstttttyyyy… but its all character building.. hahah nothing like walking down the road and people go over to the other foot path because they think your a bum! Anyway enough of our rant on personal hygiene or lack there of…

Spooky Forest - Russia

Spooky Forest - Russia

After entering the Hotel the guy who we met outside spoke to the receptionist and our she guided us to a nicer room.. we didn’t think much of it at first the new room was slightly larger. After cleaning ourselves up and putting on fresh clothes we needed to find the restaurant in the Hotel… we saw on the front that they had an Asian restaurant so we really looked forward to it. It turns out that it actually had a Korean restaurant (we are now only a few hundred kilometres away from North Korea) that did the full Korean bbq experience.. just what we needed good food.. while we sat down and ordered it turned out that they actually served Australian beef, which was a pleasant surprise. After ordering some champagne and our meals to celebrate making it this far we chilled out and chatted.. a short time after our meal we had the guy from outside this time with a Translator come and join us at our table. He wanted to tell us how when he was a boy he always wanted a bike but his parents wouldn’t let him, turned out that he owned the Hotel and was heavily involved in the “committee of the council of Federation on Defense and Security”.. he was a nice guy and he invited us to one of his other Hotels the next day for Chinese lunch. We gladly accepted and arranged to meet him the next day for lunch. He then offered us the services of his staff to help us find our way around the city and to do anything we wanted… it was all a very nice gesture and we really appreciated the offer.

The next morning we decided that we would need to take him up on the offer and use their services to sort out our visa. It turns out that the Hotel in Chita that we stayed at actually didn’t register as they had claimed to have done. That means that we are illegally travelling in Russia which was not something that we wanted to deal with… while we had the availability of people who could speak English and Russian and knew the process we should get it sorted.. The hotel organised for someone from the passport/immigration office to come out and meet up. We all then went by Hotel taxi back to their office, she filled out all the forms for us. We then had to go and pay the 3000 rouble fine each at the bank. Shortly after returning with the receipt we had our finger prints taken and had to sign numerous pieces of paper that our translator assured us said nice things… 2 Hours later we left and all up it was a real pain in the … getting the visas registered and the previous hotel misleading us making it a very expensive mistake.

We made it to the Hotel and met up with the guy who informed us that one of his meeting scheduled had changed and he wouldn’t be able to meet up. He however said that we could go and use one of his private rooms and have a feast.. One of his assistants ordered all the food we would ever want and we ate the best Chinese food I have had in years. The best bit being that it was all free!!! it was a shame that we didn’t have the opportunity to meet up with the guy again.. maybe in another life.. that afternoon we went back to the Hotel to relax on a very full stomach… the plan was to get back out of the Hotel and find an Internet cafe.. reality was that we got lazy and sleepy after eating such a big lunch and did almost nothing for the rest of the day…

The next morning we prepared early to leave the Hotel.. we needed to get to Vladivostok so that we could make it to the Monday the 26th Ferry for Japan. That gave us two days to ride around 775km.. the bonus being that it was now warming up as we headed further south and towards to coast.. now we had daily highs of 6-10c rather than 2c or -2c… as we went to leave we realised that Heathers tyre had gone down significantly and we needed to get it pumped up. We also had to adjust her chain again so that we could reduce the already shocking wear that we had caused it.. An hour and a half later we had sorted all our stuff and got back on our way. But not before breaking the foot pump that we had bought the previous day… piece of crap broke in two pumps… Heather was leading and she lead us right back into the middle of no where.. not to worry we went back to the road the hotel was on and went the opposite direction and found ourselves on the road to Vladivostok.. it was great to see that on the sign as it marks the end of our epic across Russia..

The days ride consisted of us going between tyre pumps to make sure the pressure was okay.. we ended up buying an electrical compressor for $20 that worked only once then the fuse blew.. bugger and that day we ended up doing around 550km finishing just after dark in a little hotel… we ordered dinner at the cafe and had the best kebabs to date… it was time to sleep…. The next morning we woke and did the remaining 225 km into Vladivostok… It was amazing to see traffic again after such a long time.. Vladivostok and its surrounding cities are massive by comparison to everything that we had seen in quiet some time.

After trying to figure out how the hell the maps worked and getting lost several times we managed to find ourselves a few hotels.. Playing the price game between them we managed to find a comfortable place in what was now pure luxury (hot showers and clean sheets)… it was time to relax and enjoy the city before we got our ferry tickets and organised our next phase…. JAPAN..

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