09-10 Day 62 (Day 2 in Almaty)

Getting closure on a few items


Travel FromAlmaty, Kazakhstan
Intermediate LocationFreerider Motorcycle Service
Ending LocationAlmaty, Kazakhstan
Starting Odometer32,547
Ending Odometer32,553
Miles Driven Today6 Miles
Total Trip Mileage8010 Miles
Countries visited Today 
Countries visited on trip US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan

Getting Closure

As I write this blog, experiencing the travel day-by-day, and doing my best to write everything down, I find that sometimes, I leave a few loose ends. On any given day, there are so many things that happen, and when they happen, I never know how significant they might be, with some turning out to be a big deal, while others turn out to be nothing burgers.

But, this morning, Burke asked a few questions, about a few things that turned out to be significant, but for which I completely forgot to tell the end of the story. So, let’s put a few things to bed, shall we?

What happened to Mina and Feroz?

You will recall that when Mina and Feroz attempted to enter Kazakhstan, they were rejected by the Kazak authorities because their visa specified entry by air, not by land. Well, their bike was placed into the van, and the Kazak authorities transported them back over no-mans-and to the Russian border. They had been provided some paperwork that explained the situation so that when they met with the various authorities, they would have a less-difficult time, getting things straightened out.

Once back at the Russian border, they took a cab all the way back to Yekaterinburg, which is several hundred miles. The cab driver apparently was really great, and they had a good ride, but the cab driver received a ticket for not wearing a seat belt by the Russian police, as they reached Yekaterinburg.

They were then able to get the visa straightened out, and jumped on a plane to Astana, Kazakhstan. We arrived in Astana a few days later, and met up with them at our hotel. We took the bike out of the van, gave it a good power-wash, and they were once again ready to rejoin the trip, and have been riding with us ever since.

How did the traffic stop end?

When traveling to Almaty, with our guide leading the way, and me riding in second position, we came around a corner and noticed a police car approaching us from the opposite direction. To be honest, the rural roads of Kazakhstan are mostly straight, but passing tends to happen whether there is a passing zone, or not. But, in this case, I do not believe that we were speeding, or that we crossed the white line, indicating that we might have passed illegally.

In any case, the police officer turned his car around, and came upon us from the rear. The guide had slowed way down, and was anticipating this little bit of trouble. The police officer caught up to us, and indicated that the guide was to pull over. He then pointed at me, and at every subsequent rider, indicating that we all needed to pull over.

We all sat on the side of the road while the police officer talked to the guide. As I mentioned, it was like a Mexican Standoff, except that it was more like a Russian standoff. Cliche’s aside, we sat on the side of the road, waiting for something to happen. Apparently, after much discussion, the police made it clear there would be a fine, and they asked for 25,000 Tenge, which is about $80 USD. But, our guide did not have much cash, and held up a 1000 Tenge note, which was accepted. 1000 Tenge is the equivalent of about $3 USD.

My cold – Status

I’ve been dealing with cold symptoms for about a week now. In general, I’ve never really felt rundown, but have been experiencing congestion, and a very slight headache, every now and then.

I’ve used up all of my American cold formula tablets, and had to resort to purchasing some cold tablets when I was with Rinat yesterday.

Many of my meals have been a warm and hearty soup, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep each night, and I’ve been generally successful, sometimes getting 9 hours, other days getting only 7 or 8. As a result, I feel pretty good, but the congestion is still lingering, so we’ll have to see how this all plays out.

One more rider suffered with a cold

As it turned out, as the cold was coming on to me, it was also affecting Karin. I think she got it much worse than me, because while in Astana, she found that she needed to take a rest day, and recover. The tour doesn’t really allow for schedule changes, so, once again, we loaded her bike in the van, and she stayed an extra day or two in Astana, flying to Almaty to meet us at the hotel when we arrived.

This tour is scheduled for 73 days, and you can imagine that over the course of 2 1/2 months, things like this will happen. So, for now, we press on, dealing with traffic stops, visa issues, cold and flu symptoms, and whatever else the Adventure gods think to throw at us.

Freerider Motorcycle Maintenance

For the 6 of us that had our bikes serviced at Freerider, we needed to be back at their shop at 3:30 in order to pick up the bikes. We arrived on time, and began to talk about the bike maintenance.

These guys are very reasonably priced, and do a pretty good job, but their facility is much less of a gleaming steel building than the BMW facility.

As it turns out, Gerhard’s Honda had brake issues, and it was not in serviceable condition. After much discussion, we left it there overnight, and I rode back to the hotel on my own.


Shef restaurant

This evening we have a group dinner, sponsored by the tour company.  They chose a restaurant named Shef, and as soon as you walk in, you see a number of pieces of dried, aged beef, hanging in a glass cabinet.  I was hooked at soon as I saw that, as I’m an enthusiastic carnivore.

Dinner was great, I had a salad, mushroom soup, and a filet, accompanied by some vegetables.  But, while my meal was delicious, the dinner selections of two of the other riders really deserve recognition.

Mike’s Burger

Mike ordered the burger, and when they delivered it, none of us knew what he had ordered.  And so, without further delay, take a look at the video of the waiter, delivering the burger.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (Martin’s Chicken)

Martin ordered a chicken, and it looked like a small chicken, sometimes called a Poussin.  In any case, it was delivered with the same fanfare as the burger.

What will tomorrow bring

Well now, we’re approaching the Kyrgyzstan border, but we’ve still got one more day in Kazakhstan.  I guess the ride will be a little over 200 miles, and we’re told to expect mud, sand, gravel, and potholes.  So, it seems that forewarned is forearmed.  And, now we’re ready to do battle with the road, the elements, and our own demons.

We’ll leave at 8:00, and travel to Shonzy, a small town in Kazakhstan, where we’re expected to spend the night at a hotel that has a naturally heated pool.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.