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zebbs blog

Land of Fire and Ice

travel Posted on Tue, May 21, 2013 04:25:22

It is 04.01 hrs here in Blighty and i’m wide awake. The thought of a new (God I hate this word) adventure always makes me as excited as a kid approaching Christmas. We leave for Iceland on June 17th sailing to Rotterdam first from Hull, before that though there are a few pressing matters to attend to:-

No 1 Build motorcycle

No 2 Attend HU Meet at Donington Park

No 3 Go to Simmer Dim Rally on Shetland and get wasted 🙂

The bike hasn’t been touched since returning from Central Asia all those many months ago, and although there shouldn’t be too much wrong, the rear shock was quite simply overwhelmed by the trip. I’ve sourced my bespoke shock from Mr Mike Capons’ Shock Factory and eagerly await it’s arrival, it’s fitment and it remedying the Tenere dragging it’s sorry arse around stretching chains to death.

That said I will probably be attending this weekends HU Meeting on my new arrival- a 2005 R1150GSA- assuming the osteopath can free this trapped nerve in my hip. Anyone like to comment on why I waited till my body was frankly bolloxed, before I decided to take on this “adventure” lark. Should there be a problem I shall quite simply go in the car. I’ve paid my dues to motorcycling as the very fat file residing in Arrow Park Hospital will attest to. When Kirst and myself were riding through Europe on our trip, we met Joe on the Macedonian Border. He was 19 and on his way to India via Istanbul where he was meeting up with some totty. I thought at the time if only I had gotten in to it at his age. Then I remembered all the other great things I’ve done, places I’ve been and people I’ve met- wouldn’t change a (lot) thing, lol.

Anyway goodnight people.

Moscow, Moscow, a wonderful town.

travel Posted on Tue, July 12, 2011 21:10:10

Boy oh boy Moscow didn’t want to let us go.

Me and my arthritic knees had been fookin walked to near death by Zebb, so i called a halt for the day. Zebb went off to the Kremlin- i went out on the bike to tackle Moscow traffic and pick up some souveniers.

Bad start as, as i started the bike the starter button fell off- whats that all about. Into traffic with my map and steam powered GPS, it was soon apparent i was out of my depth. Stop and ask. It is what any guy would do. After two minutes of my choice of helper turning the map round and round to determine the way up i thanked them and throughgenetically inherited map genius found my way to the first target- Moscow Harley. They did not in fact have ANY dealer stamped shirts (first time anywhere in the world i’ve been bothered to look) but they sorted out some geegaws and doodads- presenting one as a pressie to me for being fookin stupid. Sorry i mean’t an adventure motorcyclist, lol.

Next on the list was MC Night Wolves “Sexton Bar”. Off i went again stopping to ask. The guy said “Follow me and flew off into the trafic- me somewhat more sedately as i am nursing goosed chain and sprockets. He pointed the way and off i went only to come around to the road i’d come in on. A car beeped behind me- no change there then- i looked around and the guy had followed me. BIKER, BIKER he exclaimed. Yes, i said and he spun around and took me straight to the bar, before racing off.

The bar was shut so i went into Mr Moto next door to souvenier hunt. Fook all

Return to Russia- Easy Peasy

travel Posted on Tue, July 05, 2011 03:53:25

The question everyone wants to hear from immigration “So Mr, why do you have two passports”?

Kazakhstan II- The boys get a shift on.

travel Posted on Tue, July 05, 2011 03:50:19

To be announced

Krygyzstan- the forgotten jewel.

travel Posted on Tue, July 05, 2011 03:48:59

Osh be gosh.

The lovely Gulmira, another guardian angel.

Tadjikistan and the Wakhan Valley

travel Posted on Tue, July 05, 2011 03:47:55

To be announced

Oozbekistan Baby- Hot Hot Hot.

travel Posted on Tue, July 05, 2011 03:46:13

To be announced

Calmed in Kazakhstan

travel Posted on Fri, May 20, 2011 16:18:46

Catch up. We travelled East along the coast road of Crimea in all sorts of conditions including a lot of rainsmiley. During a dry spell we found one of Vitalilys rough camp spots and attempted the dirt road up to it- WRONG! Nearly reaching the top. the mud finally overcame Yamahas motorcycling excellence and brought Zebb to a halt. Then dumped him uncerimoniously on his ass. Eventually we righted the bike and manovered it back down to the tarmac.

East we went and the road was excellent up and downy, roundy, roundy. The scenery mountainous, green, and for me the best riding so far. We met a couple in the process of opening a new hotel and was informed we could camp there- sortedsmiley. We dossed there a few nights waiting for our Russian visa to be active. The last part of the Ukraine was again a great ride and we found a nice little guest house type thingy just outside Kerch where we were to catch our ferry in the morning.

14th May

Wiith a 2 1/2 hour ferry crossing in front of us i breakfasted to help calm my stomach. We arrived at the port to see a small ro-ro ferry, personally i was thinking of something a bit more substantial but hey- they must know best. Tickets and money sorted we boarded and were shoved to the front of the boat. We could see the Russian mainland in the distance and settled down taking piccies and what not. The only thing was we were not headed for the bit we thought we were and instead docked the other side around 25mins after embarking. With no time to work ourselves up into a panic we forged ahead into the waitng arms of Mother Russia.

What a doddle the immigration was. The passport and customs staff extremely polite and helpfull. They helped filling in forms and when we couldn’t answer their questions, simply rolled their eyes and wrote anything. So much for the panic we had worked ourselves into during the previous days. WE WERE IN RUSSIA- YEEHA!!!!!

Not only that we were in Russia without a map- cool. Zebb programmed his GPS thingy and off we went. We rode miles across flat as anything fenlands (no ability to post piccies at this time) until with dusk approacing we found a hotel with some smart rooms and booked in for the night. An absolutely wonderful day we shared a few beers and blessed our luck at the border.- Mother Russia had cradled us in her arms and brought us to her brest- ooer.


I had a fitfull nights kip as my stomach trouble started to flare up again I wasn’t a happy bunny adding vomitting to my list of ailments as we tryed to make progress through the mornings freezing fog. Still we rode a 300 mile plus day across flatness and we haven’t scratched the surface. All the time N.E. The riding was good the roads great.

Another great rough camp saw us dig into our supply of boil in the bag meals to try and settle my guts. Mmmmm steak and vegitables with bread dippies.


God i woke up hungry!! Packed, on the road,, Zebb followed a roadside ‘knife and fork’ sign to a small village, where we parked up next to the cafe. It took no time at all to gather a crowd with the cool kids being the first to make contact.

Before the cafe i got out the World Map to show where we had come from and how, people of all ages now, curious about these strangers. Cafe for sugary buns and coffee and out into a media storm. News of our arrival had spread and the local press came to see us accompanied by the headmisstress of the school.

Said, Eugene, Valentina, Elena and Elena

Lots of pictures later (in front of the new cafe) we were invited to stay awhile as the guests of the town. For some unknown reason we refused- i can only put it down to the sudden attention freaking us a bit. I bitterly regret not taking the opportunity to get to know our new friends in Remontnoe better and can only hope they read our adventures and keep in touch.

On we rode NE following Zebbs GPS until we came through this tiny village to be confronted by a dirt track- ooer! Making inquiries it was indeed the main road to Astrakhan the only alternative being retracing our steps for 100s of miles.

This being our first venture onto offroad and light fading fast, we made camp and brewed up. Ready to meet our new challange in the morning. During the night it was confirmed that it was indeed the main road as all sizes of traffic proceeded up it- ALL EFFIN NIGHT.

Morning saw us fit and well for our newest challenge and without a do we were off. I admit to being a bit jealous of Zebb as he was new to offroading and was enjoying leaping about whooping and hollering on Robobike, the hard packed surface the perfect introduction. Only now and again did it break up enough to show up a possible flaw in robobikes handling. 30 kliks later we are wending our way toward the beautiful city of Astrakhan, over a series of bridges and islets.

Astrakhan. We pulled up inn a baking hot afternoon and managed to secure a cut price room in the Victoria Palace (apparently some jokers stayed there a few years previous on their Long Gadabout- or summat) for the night, but with a Azerbajhany business delegation having booked all the rooms in town we were a bit stuck.

Out on the town- it is lovely. We booked a second night in a “budget” hotel, with the assistance of the lovely Anne-hotel receptionist. She was a mite concerned the room might not be up to our standards, while we were trying to get through to her we had camped in farmersw fields the previous 3 nights, lol. We were gutted when we went there next day to find they had sold our room. With no alternative we hit the road and got a massive 22 kliks before pulling over to sort our kit, finding the roadhouse had rooms to let- things just work out on the road. We were atended to by “Looba” (my pet name for her) and by the time we leFt, were in great shape for the unknown ahead.


The border soon loomed before us, and with a feeling of trepidation once more encountered a breeze of a border crossing. Fair enough time consuming, but efficient and friendly. Once through it was on to the town of Atrau, a big oil money town. Not the cheapest and believe me not the best service but still a few nice building to take piccies of. We took the LP Central Asia recommendation and pulled up at the Hotel Kaim, which was fortunate as the registration office was less than 5 mins walk 🙂 A couple of nights to chill, register, photo things, and it was soon off to Beyneu in the crippling heat. We went out for tea in Atrau to what can only be compared to a very posh Pizza Hut, with guys in suits and ties taking their spruced up ladies for a 15 quid pizza- surreal.

The long labourious trip to Beyneu as the sun tried it’s best to broil us in our riding gear was made sort of bearable by the decent road. I just cannot emphasize enough how hot it was.

Beyneu itself was not the most hospitable place i have ever been to, with ne’re do wells hanging out of cars-obviously pissed- making no bones about the fact they wanted our money. I made the mistake of actually going into Beyneu centre which isn’t necessary as it turns out. The road you want is at the north end of town- turn left at the roundbout by the gas station and proceed over the rail tracks. That was the end of some stunning tarmac, and the start of some real dodgy adventures for Zebb and Robobike.

It’s not the leaving of Lviv that grieves me, but my darling when i get my ass ripped

travel Posted on Fri, May 13, 2011 18:09:58

Leaving Lviv.

What a great town Lviv is, made better by the festival of Batyrs Day and Labour Day. We had to go though so east it was. We hadn’t travelled far when we came across the city of Tsvetsomethingorother where apparently there is a law that prohibits foriegn travellers from riding through the city. It must be just foriegners cos every other fooker was going through it. This was our first brush with the famous Ukrainian police force. After much bolloxing about including the “Come on then, let’s go the station and do it right”. It ended up us both being parted from 30 euros. I was at a low ebb i can tell you. We girded our loins and travelled east to a great rough camp. We were hidden in some farmers fields around 100 yds from the road. I cooked and we got our heads down- cushty.

Shhh….. Gorillas in the mist

Flobba lobba lob, we…….ed.

5th Heading East (Get used to that, lol)
Breakfasted we rode on, and at the first opportunity juiced up. Upon exiting the garage, the sound of police sirens saturated the air- hearts low we puled over. To pull into the gas station we had crossed the unbroken white line, crossing it again upon the resumption of our journey. 2 bikes in, 2 bikes out, 4 offences- 300 euros please. I was devastated. We thought we had been so careful. Zebb went into the police car to sort it out and this time we were relieved of a mere 75 euros each. Happening upon an intrepid group of Aussie optamists on their way to Isreal on Urals (go for it boys), we gave them the benefit of our experience and wished them “Bon Voyage”.

Aussies on the way to Isreal on Urals

With our spirits well and truely in the pan we decided to have a cuppa and discuss our options. Asking the girls if they spoke english was greeted with a round of giggles and the chef appeared to investigate. Korovskyi Rustlan was trained on the Carribean and Princess Line cruise ships so helped us out with the menu. Spirts restored we forged on.

Korovskyi Rustlans’ gaff. Recommended too lift your spirits (apfelstrudel is nice too).

We made camp on the shores of the Black Sea just after passing through a village- amazed at how lucky we were to find such a flat piece of ground. Zebb went to the village to see if he could buy some eggs, but was largly blanked. Our amazement at our lucky campground find, faded slightly when the village kids came out to play football, to find two strangers camped across one of the goals- oop’s lol. Curiosity finally got the better of them and they came over en-masse to see who we were. World map out, sweets, out, piccies on the bikes, it was great. The traffic that came to the site in the night was quite impressive i and was wondering if we hadn’t found the local dogging site, lol.

Ah that will be the goals then, pmsl.

Next morning saw us packing when one of the kids from the evening before ran over and presented us with a dozen eggs and straightout of the cow warm milk- running off before payment could be offered. A couple of the sunniest eggs youve ever seen later we were off.

At the end of the road i told Zebb i ws going to take a picture of the road sign to remember the location, so pulled off the rod parking alongside a black sedan type car- low and big. I troll off to get my piccie and come back to get a right going over by Zebb. Appaarently i had inadvertently interupted a dubious roadside deal involving windows opening, money going in, package coming out- oops.

Where it could (apparently) of ended for Henry “The Innocent One”

Another great dys riding saw us rough camped alongside a lake, infortunately not far enough from the main road for Zebbs liking. Anyway we kept our heads down to avoid detection, all to no avail as we were visited by someone who i suspect was the farmeri suppose asking us what we were about. Our complete lack of anything other than scouseze made communication impossible so the guy drove off, with Zebb issueing dire warnings about being kicked to death in our sleep by unknown assailants. Be ready to act at a moments notice.

Later in the night i’m sat there sweating in my kit with weapons to hand, listening to that twat snoring. I think ‘the fookers can kick me to death in my sleep for all i care i’m knackered’ – kit off in me bag. In a flash it hits me, like a bolt of lightening! I’d come on holiday with Jasons long lost cousin- Zebb Bourne. I was in ‘The Zebb Identity’ with no way out for months, lol.

Putting down a log before my adoring fans lynch me,lol.

travel Posted on Tue, May 03, 2011 10:23:13

3rd May Hotel George,Lviv, Ukraine.

Life is about to get a lot tougher on the road as we have been living the highlife in hotels and good camp sites. But hey that is tomorrow.

28th April. Leaving Leipzig it was motorway work to Wroclaw (pronounced VrotsLove)) on a v hot and dusty day. 200 odd miles later we pulled up at the Etap, had a beer, got changed and went to town. The city centre is lovely and bouncing with life. After feeding we cruised the centre till we came across Bernards, where a 3 piece was banging out some hard rockabilly and blues- in we went then where we bumped into Bootle boy done good Rob (mini cooper fan)and beautiful bikerchick wife Pasha. Nice to meet you both and keep in touchsmiley.

29th April, Wroclaw to Auschwitz (Centre for Reconcilliation and Discussion) More boring motorway work with the only piece of light relief being us bumping into a group of girls from Liverpool Uni hitching from Wroclaw to Budapest for the weekend. I cannot tempt the lads past the local Little Chef most of the year and they all have megabikes. At Auschwitz you can camp and they have good facilities.

30th April Auschwitz to Camping Pastewnik, Przeworsk. Never really considered Auschwitz a party site, but a group of visiting students kept me awake most of the night. Up and attem i say. We tryed the local roads but it was slow going, with major roadworks everywhere. Visited a Salt Mine and was enjoying more sunny weather, until Zebb uttered “This could be the hottest day yet Henry”. Almost immeadiately the thunderheads started to gather and boy did we kop it. Big man sized freezing cold raindrops battered us, accompanied by crazy forked lightening and deafening thunder. Bit scarey really. Camp set and we are in the bar and the conversation turned to our “tarp poles”- these stand above our heads while riding, and extend to set our tarp from- or lightening conductor rods as Zebb called them. My bowels loosened as i realised we had just ridden through the storm with the s/s poles pointing heavenward. .

Miles on the clock.

travel Posted on Wed, April 27, 2011 18:20:18

Woo hoo, we did some miles today me old mateys. 302.6 miles from E&Ds’ to Leipzig. But more of that later, first the “Eggy and Dino Chronicles.

Both Zebb and myself have known Dineke and Egbert since the late eighties and have met up in both countries before now to enjoy each others company. With that in mind we arranged a stop over in Netherlands to iron out any unforseen last minute problems. Arriving Friday we did the catching up bit, then got straight into Eggys’workshop. To cut a loooong story short, Eggy with his unrelenting enthusuasm and expert craftsmanship spent 3 days transforming mine and Zebbs dogs into eminently ridable machines- although mine still suffers from being severly overweight (awaits commentssmiley). My list reads:- pannier frame repositioned and fit altered to secure pannier properly, gloop installed, aux power socket installed, seat shortened, top box mounted, luggage rack
strenghthening plates welded in, tyre mounting frame on rear of top box, lengthened handlebars by 20mm a side, fixed satnav. All inbetween firtling with Zebbs’ “ROBOBIKE” and entertaining us as a genial host along with the lovely Dineke as hostess.

Sorry i stole 3 day’s of your lives but it was worth it. Of course tossing it off for 3 days in blistering sunshine has a price to be paid, and pay we did as we set off in the rain this morning- poop! Both bikes riding like good’uns we hit the highway to head East. Following Zebb i got to 65(ish) and almost shit myself as i experienced a massive tankslapper. Slowing down the bike righted itself and i carried on to our first petrol stop at a somewhat more sedate pace. It’s just carrying too much weight too far back. Relocated spare tyres and a few more psi in the rear and off again, comfortably managing 70+ mph. The weather cleared and apart from a horrendous crash on the opposite carrageway an uneventful trip. Bring on Wroclaw.

While we are thanking people. I’d like to say thanks to Fat Wallet Carl and Fast Eddie Dodd for their efforts in making sure i left the country. Erm…. hang on a mo.


Finally away.—-Full Blog Click Categories On The Right

travel Posted on Sat, April 23, 2011 16:59:33

Well it had to happen in the end- i finally ran out of time to do all the things you have to do to get away. Hence why i’ve just blown nearly 100 euros on replacing equipment that is lying in my front room. We’re here near Enchede, Netherlands, enjoying the hospitality of Dino (Dineke) and Eggy (Egbert) while Eggy puts the finishing touches to the bike i’ve known was making this trip (or at least attempting to make) for the last two years- hey they don’t call me Mr Procrastination for nothing. Just little jobs like, strengthening the rack, fitting the top box/ tyre rack/ gps mount, etc, etc. The Wirral didn’t want to let me go as within 200 yards of setting off the panic set in ”Oh my God, my papers”. Frantic shuffling of paper later and Tommo returning to Zebbs place to check there, revealed my paperwork safe in my tankbag. A couple of miles later in Liverpool, Zebb had his first wobble as plumes of oily smoke started to billow from his XT. We stopped, got off the bikes to witness the disgorging of the oiltank contents over the road, path and anywhere else it could go. No drama, as closer inspection revealed he hadn’t tightened his oiltank filler cap- at least i’m not the only nugget. Boat trip was silky smooth as was the trip to Marjo and André’s place- our first stopping point. Anyone who hasn’t Dutch friends should seek some out immeadiately as their hospitality is second to none. They rode over to Goor with us next day and passed us on to Dino and Eggy where we stay over the Easter weekend. I’m furious with myself for leaving behind all the little knicknacks i’ve collected to take with me, some of which i cannot see me repalcing on the road, simply because i wouldn’t know where to get them. The good thing is that the initial sheer panic and apprehension (and i honestly felt physically sick at times) is now over because whatever we have forgotten we will have to live with(out). Finally i give a huge thanks to Zebb for sorting the paperwork out over the last year. A mammoth task, as anyone who has been on an adventure like this knows, and one he rose to conquer.