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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2010, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Default The Ride of Your Life, VVO >> SVO

Hi there!
Vladivostok-Moscow Project! (Vladivostok, Russia is VVO, Moscow, Russia is SVO) I spoze you are reading this because you are curious. Read on...

OK, so many want to know what a little chrome thinngy will make their wheel look cool, or what chrome peg to add here or there and be cool. I just ask - Is it a Cross Country? Forget the doodahs, farkle or whatever you call it. Just think of the basic bike, rider, and gear - no more, and sometimes less. Is it a "Cross Country"??

By that I mean, truely a CROSS COUNTRY!!!! I don't mean on great roads, nice places to stay (like motels or similar), a place to stop and polish chrome, and so on... I mean can a Victory Cross Country go acoss the world's largest country, 12 time zones, dirt and gravel, highway, desolation, language barriers (by operator ignorance), and isolation with no dealers and parts at least 10,000 miles away, with success? Can a Victory Cross Country and maybe you, go across the largest country in the world - Russia?

The TRANS-SIBERIAN HIGHWAY. Vladivostok (VVO), Russia to Moscow (SVO), Russia. Images and dreams of great places... It is the name of the road that is both magical and terrifying. The first 5000 miles is the toughest part. Siber is a wonderful and dangerous place at the same time - the "Road of Bones" from the gulag days is real. What I mean is there is a mystic about Siber. No, I do not plan to go on "The Road of Bones". The Trans-Siberian Highway, such as it is, is certainly enough for a cruiser and me! I am hoping that the road is all asphalt by now, but that is probably not the case. Anyway, "Russian asphalt" and your idea of "asphalt" may vary widely. A construction zone in Russia can be anything from workers doing something to workers who did something and never finished - much to your dismay.

The "Trans-Sib" usually means the railway, not the newer highway across Russia. Mother Russia- it is ONLY 7000 miles, piece of cake. Actually, it may be around 7350 miles, mostly plus or minus. (It may be about 10,000 miles across, depending upon where you measure from/to) Imagine to be in Red Square in Moscow! Red Square is an unbelievable place!

By Russian standards, roads are roads, but not what we in USA might call a road. Some major portions are hard-packed dirt or gravel. If it's wet, then it's mud or something similar, better to freeze it and then go. Difficult conditions? Try 75 octane or 81 octane gas. Can a modern EFI fuel-map be programmed to
adjust for these conditions? Forget what the exhaust sounds like - you just want the machine to run. Try NO DEALER support for 10,000 miles in any direction. Whatever you take is what you have. I hope you have a spare drive belt - Siber can eat one in a second. You hope that the belt with a rock hole in it can last 3000 more miles to Ekaterinburg. I have been told by engineers that it would do so, but who's choice and butt is it in the middle of nowhere? Some of the place names look like badly scrambled and deformed alphabet soup - but that's the fun of it. Your idea of a "highway" or "road" is not anywhere near what it is like in Siber. No, that is not mis-spelled, it is Siber, not Siberia.

This is not an Iron-Butt contest. This trip is mental. Some days may be 300 miles, others at 400-500 miles, others more. Many more will be much less - like 30%-60% of your maximum distance. There are places to stop and rest a bit - to just savor the area or to go on would be absurd with the then current conditions - priceless. The object is to finish, not to do it FAST. Some mosquitos are 3 inches across the wings and just as nasty in the biting department. If you can not read cryillic letters, it will be a little more difficult. Believe me, I know this. For about the first 5000 miles, GPS, WiFi, cell phone, etc. will be sporadic and spotty at best. Your USA cell-phone is junk (wrong band widths) in about 95% of Russia. (So think about the worst!) You prepare for rustic camping, and gratefully accept something more. The projected travel time across Russia is 5 weeks. A multiple entry-business visa for 3 months would be a wise idea.

I am planning and trying to arrange this journey for May 2011. The start would be in Vladivostok, Russia at the end of May, 2011. I have been negotiating with Victory Motorcycles for support and interest in this journey. Initial investment means a motorcycle and all the gear to go on it. After that, everything else is "negotiable" as they say. I would urge you to see the film - "The Fastest Indian", with Burt Monroe. "It is never too late to ride the ride of your lifetime", so said Burt. I saw that film while in Russia with Russian subtitles. It was hard to understand, but I finally got it - even with my poor language skills. It is my inspiration. Go to "ADVrider.com" and look at some of the ride reports and photos from Russia - simply amazing....

I plan to buy the CC shortly prior to leaving - getting first services done and all of that. I hope that Victory will prep the motorcycle. There are a million concerns for a journey like this. I have ideas for added fuel and storage capacity. I have been reading and studying about it for over 2 years. I have contacts across some of Russia, but probably not enough.

If you are interested, PM me or post a reply. This is not a joke. This is not for the faint-hearted. Think about taking your "shiney new baby" across some of the toughest miles it will ever see - can you handle that? This is something for the "RIDE OF YOUR LIFE". If you want to call this an "Adventure Ride", do so. It ain't gonna be easy, but it will live in your memory for a lifetime.

eta moya dva rubles
wb
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2010, 12:02 PM
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White Bear this sounds awesome but don't count on Victory to help you out on this. As much as I love my bike, support from corporate is pretty much non existent.

IF they do step up that would be great.

Good luck and have a blast!!!!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-29-2010, 08:13 PM
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How's the project going?

cheersHarleyman
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 08:25 AM
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Default Trans Siber

Good luck Bear. I hope Victory does step up to the plate, that kind of marketing is hard to buy.

"The motorcycle goes where you point your nose."
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Project Progress?
For starters, I have not heard one thing from Victory. I emailed a few of the bosses, and some underlings, not a peep. A dealer here in Salt Lake City was very interested - if he could have help from other dealers or Vic, but his requests fell on deaf ears. He went to the Vic showing of the 2011 models and no one was interested.

Perhaps it is because the Cross Country is so much of a wild success? If you note, the special offers of $1000 off of bike/accessories after a demo ride do not apply any longer to a Cross Country.

As an update, I did go to 3 FuelIt demo rides and asked about $ numbers. One place in SLC reminded me of the "high-and-mighty" HD dealerships. The others were fine. One of the ID dealerships had 1 white/silver XC. The offers and counter-offers were pretty good. My local dealer has a bad reputation around here, but I thought I'd give them a try.

I knew my numbers and was able to negotiate a very good purchase of a '11 white/silver XC. He could not guarantee that they would get any more than the 5 they already had, so we made a deal. I really didn't want it now (late October), but there was no reason to believe that he would get another white one. So, arrgh, if you want it, you hafta get it now!

Perhaps the time of year was a factor, but maybe not, as there was an even better deal in June for a XC that I know about. Anyway, salesman says the bike is scheduled to be built in late Oct. He called a week later and said not only was it built, it just arrived! So ran off to see the bike in a box- just the way they arrive. Interesting photos and stuff. Even while being cleaned and assembled, people tried to sit on it, gawk, etc. The salesman had to ask people to leave it alone, it was already sold. The bike never made it to the showroom floor, just to the big door separating sales from service.

The deal: white XC for $17200. Special discount of about 50% on setup labor. A special discount of 25% off on any parts/accesories for 1 year (not counting labor). I know of others who were able to get this discount to 30%, I am OK, close enough. The 5 year extended warranty for $440 (dealer cost is $400). If I order a trunk in white/silver within 1 year, 25% off trunk and pieces to mount it, free labor to install.

The weather was howling wind and cold, going to rain. The dealer offered to put the bike in a covered trailer and deliver it, but I declined. I was gonna ride the new Cross Country home. It was cold , around 40F. Rain was soon to come. I got it and rode it straight home to the garage. Kinda hard to keep everything under 3000 rpm, but it is required. I moved crap around in the garage to make it fit and just beat the rain. Today is worse and snow this evening. Since then, there have been 2 major snowstorms here and a blizzard. Today, the "heat-o-the-day" will be about 0F. Most of this is unusual for this time of year, but, heh, it's the mountains.

I had 1 issue with a ripple in the seat fabric, which the dealer promptly sent for warranty. The replacement from Vic was worse than the one I already had. No deal. The dealer had a blue and a black XC and a cherry XR. The seat on the Cross Roads was the best (tightest) so the saleman asks how to get it off. I told him a simple 6mm allen. We put my seat on the XR and I now have a new seat. Simple. The dealership should get a lot of credit for trying to fix stuff and be a good dealer. They even gave me a semi-fair trade-in value on my C50. Great, I didn't have room for 2 bikes anyway.

I now have 302 miles on it. Not enough for the first 500 service. Someone said the bike is the color of winter. I want to take pics of it outside - sort of in its "camo gear". Of course, if I turn my back on it, I'll never find it again. I have been on a few (OK, 2) rides and drew a crowd of HD folks. No surprise there, 99% of everything was HD. There have been initial derisive comments, but others soon become friendly and ask questions about it. The 3 most noticed items are - big aero bars, the "106" engine badge, and the big bags. I just say I wanted something different.

Still working on the RU trip. Maybe not the Cross Country, but something else. I want to do the ride, with or without a Victory. Whatever - it will still be one helluva ride!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 11:41 AM
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CONGRATULATIONS on your XC!!!

I was really hoping that I was going to be wrong this time around about Victory Corporate.

It is what it is BUT you got a great bike!!!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 12:57 PM
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Please forgive me if I sound a little negative here, but why would Victory even want this ride to happen? This isn't cross country, it's cross death! I appreciate your adventurous spirit, but your proposed ride is borderline with insanity.

"Whatever - it will still be one helluva ride!" - If you want to go out with a bing bang, then yes! Go for it.

Victory would be insane to put their stamp on a semi-suicidal mission. The only thing left to consider is how your trip would end. The following scenarios rush in front of my eyes:
- You get mugged, robbed, and beaten up, as the Russian militia watches the "stupid american who got lost in Russia".
- You get ran over by a drunk driver (plenty of those in Russia).
- You get arrested for simply not showing your passport quick enough to the militia officer who pulled you over. Btw, Russian jails do not come with the American Hilton Hotel treatment.
- You crash your bike as you fall victim of horrible roads, extremely poor road signs, and drivers with no regard for safety.

If by a miracle none of those scenarios happen to you, how would you do an oil change? Would you carry an oil kit with you? Where would you get your gas? You realize some gas stations in Russia sell 72 and 80 octane fuel? The Cross bikes are designed for 91+ octane fuel.

Here's a list of things to avoid, for those travelling to Russia:
http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/rus...fetyrussia.htm.

Ride on the North American continent as there are plenty of dangers here. You don't need more ways to lose your life, and you only have one to lose. Once again, I don't mean to sound like your mother, but this is an insane task for any rider to undertake.

Please add your bike's year and model to your signature. Here's why.
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Riding: 2011 Cross Roads & 2016 Springfield
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Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Last edited by CrossRoads; 11-30-2010 at 03:19 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 04:02 PM
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Default Trans Siber

Crossroads you ole killjoy you. Just think of some of those amazing Russian women (yes, there are some AMAZING Russian women) and all that history. I remember seeing some documentaries of the first people/crews to cross North America by car. This trip sounds similar to the hazards and travails those people faced, with polar bears thrown in for good measure.
Bear, i admire your spunk and vision.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porchdawg View Post
Crossroads you ole killjoy you.
Sorry. I didn't mean it that way, but "safety first," right guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by porchdawg View Post
Just think of some of those amazing Russian women (yes, there are some AMAZING Russian women) and all that history.
"The one-night stand might seem like a fun addition to your trip. After all, Russians are gorgeous! But a one-night stand can turn into the nightmare of a lifetime if you contract one of the STDs or STIs increasing in frequency among members of Russia's sexually undereducated population. AIDS and other sexually contracted disease are huge problems in Russia, and there is no sign of their decline."
From: Important Health and Safety Tips for Russia Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by porchdawg View Post
I remember seeing some documentaries of the first people/crews to cross North America by car. This trip sounds similar to the hazards and travails those people faced, with polar bears thrown in for good measure.
And how many of those folks died of old age?
no.gif

Please add your bike's year and model to your signature. Here's why.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riding: 2011 Cross Roads & 2016 Springfield
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-30-2010, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrossRoads View Post
Please forgive me if I sound a little negative here, but why would Victory even want this ride to happen? This isn't cross country, it's cross death! I appreciate your adventurous spirit, but your proposed ride is borderline with insanityIf by a miracle none of those scenarios happen to you, how would you do an oil change? Would you carry an oil kit with you? Where would you get your gas? You realize some gas stations in Russia sell 72 and 80 octane fuel? The Cross bikes are designed for 91+ octane fuel.

Here's a list of things to avoid, for those travelling to Russia:
http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/rus...fetyrussia.htm.

Ride on the North American continent as there are plenty of dangers here. You don't need more ways to lose your life, and you only have one to lose. Once again, I don't mean to sound like your mother, but this is an insane task for any rider to undertake.
I suppose some rebuttal is in order for "Crossroads" statements. I have been to Russia quite a few times, can read maps and signs, get around, and have a beginner/intermediate knowlege of Russian. I am aware of all the points being "warned about" in his link.

As a matter of experience, make 5-10 copies of your international driver licence. Put a new picture on it and stamp it. I mean like a round blue/green/ or black stamp that a notary uses. This will be accepted as a driver license. The FSU is a suckker for a stamp - nevermind embossed stuff - really, I know.

If you want, make 3-4 copies of your real license and laminate them together for 2 sides. Same result. Don't give up the original.

On passport, the original is only needed when enetering and leaving Russia. Do not let it out of your posession for any reason. Make 10 photocopies of the front page and RU visa page and have them "stamped". Give the copies to hotels for registration or to get train tickets, etc. It works. The RU registration thing is a big mess, and applies to someone staying in a place for 3 days. They have no understanding of a moving target, so don't drag your feet, move on.

Travellers checks are useless. I know this for a fact - 8 out of 9 banks don't do travellers checks. Don't bother. Have good clean crisp, not-wrinkled $ dollars and change 'em as you need them. Don't be pissy about the excahnge rate - just do it. These guys are trying to make a living just like you. In all my trips I never tried Russian vodka. OK, yes, 1 time. I rented a car in Kyiv and went to the "eastern cities". Ever been to a charming place called Chernobyl? - nice quiet town. The windshield pisser was out of fluid. There aint no PePBoys or JiffyLube anywhere. So I stopped at a small magazine (shop) and bought a liter of vodka for about $1. I poured this into the W/S pisser and it filled it up. There was some left over, so I was going to chuck it and guys on a bench watching me had a fit. (remember the drunk trait?) I gave it to them instead. I tell ya, 100 proof vodka cleans bugs and snow just great! However, learned lesson, be sure to close the airvents next time - gag, gag!

As "Pro", western russia, from Ekaterinburg, is more civilized (?) and the roads are better. Better gas is more plentiful and easier to find. A "Con" is more crime and graft. In general, the militsia are somewhat polite if you know the "methods" or the "rules". At customs, you do not understand Russian so you have no problem. Goofing with you will only cost them money in the long run, so you are let go, or just a "small fine". If you must resort to some "fine", you put 100 ruble ($3) in with your paperwork and pass it to the official. He reads whatever the papers are and hands the paperwork back to you. Somehow the 100 rubles has disappeared. You did not offer bribe and he did not ask. It is how it is done.

Generally a "Con" about eastern russia is that it is desolate, bad gas, miles between places. OK, so every been to NV? I asked Vic about the gas octane and they said the engine would adjust to it - but with much less power and response. No secret there. Oil change, do it myself. It is far safer out in eastern russian than the west because of people counting on each other. Hospitality from total strangers is something no american can understand. As of
this year, the Trans Siber Highway is paved all the way from Vladivostok to Moskva and St. Petersburg. Putin did a TV video of driving it and arriving in Vladivostok - it was a big deal.

There are many "pro and con" about such a trip. Someone like (Walter) Colbatch may see it as watered down, but would understand and approve of the trip. RtwDoug ( Doug Wolthe of Alabama) would certainly understand the attraction of such a trip - even if not on a Harley or a Victory. Sherri Jo Wilkins would know what the attraction is. I know in my heart that Burt Munroe would know why I want to do it. Many others, including friends, think it is a crazy idea. Of course, most don't know where Lake Baikal or the Vitim Bridge is. Boy, I want to at least see that bridge, let alone cross it.

I know of 7-10 biker types across Russia that would come to my assistance if I asked. We had a rider from Vladivostok who was loaned a BMW 1200GS(?) to ride for a month all over USA. Members all over the country helped with his trip, visa, bike, food and meals, etc, etc. I have had biker friends who I have never met go to bookstores in Moskva to get something for me - and send it here. Yes I paid the cost, but it was simple trust - not so common
in USA. I think USA could benefit from pedestrials being a legal target - makes em move a little and keeps off the fat. I tell ya that I was really careful watching cars no matter where they were - good exercize!

Bike safety - only ride in daylight. Lock up the bike at night. Militsia will offer to put it in their garage and come and get you the next day to collect it - no kidding! Hotels will allow you to park the bike by a front dest or even in your room. Bike clubs all over russia will watch for you offer lodging, repairs, meals, and so on. Use a
cable lock for jacket, helmet, whatever if you want it all together on the bike. Put the Garmin GPS in your pocket.

If you post a "Ride Report" on places like "advRider.com", people will keep track of you. If you need help, the internet is your friend. On bad places in the road, momentum is your friend. Bike clubs will go out of their way to help fix anything that may be needed. Forget having a McD everywhere - learn to adjust. By far the worse thing
I have had to have was Mongolian soured goat milk - or whatever it is made of! If you don't like your in-laws, just paint this stuff over you door on 3 sides (like Passover) and the relative will never come by. Just kidding, but it is bad stuff.

The more I travel in the FSU (former soviet union) I find more that I like. I find "world views" - the USA is not all good and certainly not all bad. Same for Russia. Same for Ukraine. There is a very different view of USA elsewhere. It seems that "national interests" always seem to align with the political goals of whoever is in power
- not what you or I think. I have been shown great respect because I gave respect also. It is a funny thing, but most folks want to just get along and have a peaceful life - no matter what our "Big Goombahs" tell us. A biker is a "special person" in Russia, and most folks will try to help him/her.

OK, off my little soapbox. What about being wasteful with $20,000 to buy a motorcycle? A MOTORCYCLE - ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? YOU COULD BUY A GOOD TOYOTA FOR THAT!!!! I have heard that from americans and Russians alike. The trip, well, at least the russians try to figure out how to do it with logistics, repairs, parts, lodging, and so on.

If your level of adventure is going to the store or a local park, OK. If your level of adventure includes rides across USA, and even, heaven forbid! to Sturgis, OK by me. I would like a little more than that for my adventure trip. The largest country in the world seems OK by me. Trans Siber Highway. Sorta has a nice ring to it, doncha think? Das vedanya, poka.

The BAM road link: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=533442&page=1

rtwDoug on a old HD: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...hlight=RTWDoug

rtDoug on a HD chopper: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=578506&page=1

rtwDoug on HD-Panhead:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...Panhead+Russia

MotoSiber - Lord Macieck: http://motosyberia.com/shop_en.php

Colbach, aka Capt. Magadan:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...n+extreme+2010

Sherri Jo from Austrailia: http://www.sherrijowilkins.com

eta moya dva rubles.
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