Mayan Prophecy Countdown
For those that read my last post, they may have seen a missing movie, or not seen it is more to the point, well, it is there now but rather than go back and try and find it, you can watch it this way, use your mouse and right click over the following link and select “open in new tab or window” THIS ONE HERE
So when I woke today it was pissing down and I mean it was hard to see anything, not a real good day to go for a ride in Moscow with a dodgy GPS. But, although I thought about changing the timing, there was no real option, Tony was available today, then this evening he and his wife would be heading to their Dacha, a holiday house, so I had to get the oil change done today, whatever! And I checked the weather forecast, it was a 60% chance of rain now, but after lunch it was 100%, so there was no use waiting until the rain stopped because it wouldn’t. I had arranged to meet up with Tony at his place around 11am, so around 10am, I had a way point in my GPS, even though it did not like it, and refused to navigate a road route to it!! So, I cheated, instead of trying to use the roads, I just set it to give me a direction to the way point, this meant I see a purple line between me and that way point, which tells me if I am heading in the right basic direction. I did find the place, it is on the main road going west, and after parking the bike, he took me in his car to the Suzuki dealer to buy some oil.
It did not take long to make the purchase, it took a lot longer to get back to where we started! There were major traffic snarls and it took us 1/2 an hour to go down the road, turn around and be opposite the Suzuki shop going the other way! Then another 40 minutes to pick up my bike and get to Tony’s garage area where we could do the work.
It did not take long to do the oil change and use the surplus to fill the chain oiler bottle, plus I did a few other little things I had noticed. One was the right handlebar end was totally bent over and the hand guard popped out of the bracket. So, I took it off and straightened the bolt again, good as new! While taking my bash plate off for the oil change, I noticed that one of the mounting points had broken again, the same one that got repaired in Macedonia, the weld they did is good, it broke next to it, obviously there was stress in this location. There is nothing I can do about it today, but maybe down the road I can find a welder and a grinder man. The welder to weld the mount point back on and the grinder to grind the bolt holes bigger so there is a bit of flexibility available.
It was while I was putting it all back together that I noticed oil on the left front fork assembly, and it had also dribbled down onto the left brake calliper, brake pad, and brake disc, this was not good!!
It was not a major panic point, but definitely a worry. Tony advised that we go back to his place and get his Russian wife Marina into action. We would ask her to phone the Suzuki shop and see if they had some fork seals. If they did, we could ask them to replace the leaking one, if they could not do it but they had the parts, then we could get his local friend who was a bike mechanic to do it instead. So, the upshot was, after many attempts to call the the spare parts department, Marina finally got through, they had the parts, so I ordered two sets of fork seals(planning ahead now) and they said they could do the repair right now, brilliant news, I better get my arse down there asap
During the above period of time, I had received a few phone calls from the Volkhov Hotel in Novgorod and there was good news and bad news. They had missed that days midday pick up for the Pony Express to Moscow, bugger!! I had called them at 8am this morning and asked them to sort it out, but they must have been too busy to be bothered and now it was too late, it was Friday and the next pick up was not until Monday! They did have a few other options, send it by taxi(yeah right, 550km plus return for the taxi!!!), send it by train and pick it up from central station(not a real safe idea), or Russian Post, it will arrive, not sure of the date though(a definite no). So, I made the decision to have it sent down by Pony Express on Monday, it may get here by Tuesday, but most likely Wednesday, all I had to do was extend my hostel stay.
Of course, once that decision was made a few other options arose, the first was ride up, assuming my bike got repaired that afternoon, or I could get a train up and back. I would need to get back to the hostel and get the girls working on the train option, I could check that out later on.
In the meantime I hopped on the bike and headed down the main road again, it was only a few kms and I had no side roads to take, so finding the Suzuki shop was an easy task Thanks Tony and Marina for your help, have a great weekend away So, it started to rain as soon as I left Tony’s and it bucketed down, I stayed dry though and as soon as I arrived at Suzuki, it stopped raining, hmm, something is going on here!!!!
Now I had to go through the Russian purchase system again, this is how it works. You go to the spare parts department, find the parts you want, they then print out two copies of a purchase order, you then take it to the cashier lady and once you have parted with your hard earned, she stamps the two copies and attaches a receipt to one of them. You then take this back to spare parts and hand them over, he takes one and hands back the other with your parts
A crazy system, but it does work! So, with two sets of fork seals in hand I give one set and my bike to the service department and leave them to it. I go next door to the supermarket and buy some snacks and other food for later on and wait, it will be a few hours. They have to remove the fork from the bike, drain the old fork oil(what’s left) replace the seal and refit the fork. I had a little nanny nap, it was comfortable here
Once I woke up I got my bike back, after I had taken the service paperwork upstairs to the cashier lady and paid up of course. Actually it was quite cheap, an hour and a half labour plus fork oil, $110AU Then I had to get my self back to the hostel, this turned into another GPS drama, for some reason the damm thing decided it did not know where the Chillax Hostel was? But, it had taken me from there to Tony just this morning, wtf is going on here. So, reboot and restore to factory defaults once again and yeah, now it knows where it has been before. Did I mention it started to rain again, as soon as I hopped on the bike, well if I have not mentioned it before I am now. This happened all day, off the bike it stops raining, on the bike it rains and pours!! But this storm cell was slow moving and within a few minutes I was out of it and had a dryish run back to the hostel, things are looking up OK, check out this photo.
What you see there is one of the main thoroughfares through this city, three lanes each way, with the outbound traffic heavy as it is Friday and a lot of people head away for the weekend, as they do everywhere. In between the two is a single lane bordered by a solid white line, enter this lane at your peril, if the Lubyanka(KGB HQ) was still operational and you got caught riding in here, you may get taken away for interrogation!!! Have you noticed the word interrogation has the word TERROR in it, I think that word was born here. Anyway, that lane is for official use only, those with passes or government officials, ministers etc, or police and emergency vehicles, everyone else, stay out!!!
I got back to the hostel fine, only a couple of freezes of the nav system, but I recognised a few streets now and could compensate. I parked the bike up and as soon as I got upstairs I ordered beer then worked with the girls to find out about trains to and from Novgorod to see if I could get my passport any earlier, but this was going to be too expensive or too slow. The fast train was the best, but would cost around $300 return, the slow train would be a 7 hour minimum each way nightmare and the way the connections panned out, it meant a stop over as well! So, I mentally decided to relax, what happens happens, I would wait for the Pony Express. For the record, I decided I would not do the 1500km round trip on the bike, I could not do it in one day, not safely anyway and it would just be too stressful so I then extended my hostel booking before taking another beer and parked myself in the common room with the laptop and started to do some blog updates. This was a very slow affair due to mitigating circumstances, there were many other people to talk to, and we had a bunch of South Americans in the hostel and they were dancing the salsa, it took some effort to concentrate on what I was doing I can tell you Anyway, here is a small taste from early in the night.
I had quite a few more of these this night.
I think it was gone 2am before I crashed out, thoroughly relaxed for a change with no real need to have to get up, nor rush around anywhere. So now I now had the weekend to experience Russia and Moscow in particular, and there were a few things I wanted to see, but I have been told to do some other things which are also of interest to me, namely: ride the Metro, there are heaps of things to see underground here, plus it is very cheap. There are also markets and other things a long way from the major tourist areas to see as well, so I now have some enforced layover time and really, I could not have chosen a better place to wait for a passport return, it could of happened in the back of beyond, so it is a positive outcome for the day.