Vladivostok to Khabarovsk, Welcome to Siberia.

After around 24 hours on the Ferry we arrived straight into a dreary, cold and grey Vladivostok afternoon.   

Once through Customs and Imigration we were met by Yuri and Svetlana from Links Ltd, our Russian Shipping Agents who handed us a mountain of Russian paperwork requiring signatures, thank god they were there as this would have been a nightmare to do by yourself.   Shortly after we headed off in their van to purchase some Russian SIM cards for our phones which is significantly cheaper than international roaming, Svetlana set both our phones up and we could communicate again.   I was then dropped off at the hotel I had booked which looked nothing like the photos on Wotif but it was a warm and dry place to wait for our bikes to clear Customs the following day.

At 9.30 the next day Yuri picked me up from the hotel and we all (Kinga and a Japanese couple) were taken out for breakfast and a quick tour around Vladivostok.   

After lunch we all met up again at the port to collect our bikes, this Japanese couple are planning on putting their 50cc Scooters on the Trans Siberian Railway and taking them to Moscow where they will then ride around Northern Europe, and people said I was crazy…..

So here we collected our bikes from the Port, then it was off into the Russian traffic to orientate ourselves.

After a few hours getting lost on the streets on Vladivostok Robin and I returned to our Hotel where we stored the bikes for the night as far out of site as we could.

Then it was off for a walk to a local restaurant for dinner.

This was our view over Amur Bay from our Hotel room.

And the next morning as Robin and I prepared to head north.

Kinga was going to join us but her riding gear was not loaded with her bike when it was originally sent to South Korea and it still had not yet arrived in Vladivostok, she would no doubt catch us along the Trans Siberian Highway at some point as it is THE only Highway through Siberia.   

So we headed off into a cold overcast morning back towards Russkiy Island to get some video (where we rode to yesterday) then  It was onto the Highway destined for Khabarovsk, the next major city around 760 kilometres north of Vladivostok and this is what we saw along the way;

Siberian General Store

Siberian Fast Food, Shaslik shop but he wasn’t open, dam, so we found our first Camp site along a dirt road just off the Highway.

Well it was very cold that night (0 degrees) and it rained heavily all night, so the dirt road we came in on turned to this.

But we made it back to the Highway without any falling off.

Then it was heads down into the cold and rain for another day on the Trans Siberian Highway.

After another camp, this time not as cold and only a little rain.

We rolled into Khabarovsk again in the rain and found a great little Hostel called the Kakadu Hostel (just couldn’t resist) and these kids thought our bikes were cool.

So after securing the bikes in a locked Garage nearby we went off for a great meal, finally got those Shasliks and they were great then sleep.   The following day (today) was a walking tour of Khabarovsk;

Ussuri River Waterfront.
Yes more Trams, you’re not the only one Melbourne
Ussuri River Waterfront
The Ussuri River, to the right is China
Yes it’s a Bus that runs on Electricity
Mr Lenin I presume

So travelling on the Trans Siberian Highway has been interesting so far, the drivers are ok but the centre line is optional and they will often pass at the wrong time even trucks and buses and you either slow or pull to the right so they can get past, once you know about it you can prepare in advance.   Roadworthy is not part of the Russian vocabulary as most vehicles are in poor condition and some of the trucks only travel at 40 or 50 KPH on the Highway which causes massive traffic jambs until everyone just pulls out to pass all at once, the Highway speed limit is 100 but again that is optional for some drivers.   Warnings for roadworks is also non existent you will just turn a bend and they will be right there fixing the road, we rode through a long stretch yesterday where it was just 3 or 4 inch deep mud and slush, no signs or Stop Go lights or people you just make your own track and make sure someone coming the other way sees you, I found it easier to ride in the truck ruts as it was stable and not as slippery but my bike is now a grey mud colour instead of red.

The weather has been cold 8 or 9 during the day and 0 overnight and we have had some rain as you would expect for early Spring but it’s not that bad if you are prepared for it and travel to suit the conditions, we have just learned that tomorrow (April 30) will be 6 degrees and rain all day, we have booked another night at the Kakadu…….

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