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Ekaterinburg to Perm - 362kms


View As the Crow Flies Russia 2019 on stevecrownz's travel map.

Today was not supposed to go as it did.

When we left Ekaterinburg at 0745 in the morning the plan was to travel 657km to Izveshk, the home of Kalashnikov (eat your heart out Taxinda!).

After an uneventful ride we were about a third of our way into the journey when, at the aptly named 'village' of Waxapobo brother David decided NOT to go around a corner at 122km/hr. I was probably less than 20m behind him and in horror I watched the whole thing unfold as he started to lean into the corner before realising he was going way to fast, straightening, spearing straight across the road to narrowly avoid a sign and disappearing down a steep gradient.


I stopped as quickly as I could and definitely expected to find my brother dead or at least seriously injured when I went down the bank to him. The loud cussing coming from the area of his crash soon dispelled thoughts of serious injury.

Fortunately (for the rest of us, not David) John and I caught the whole thing on our GoPros. For the definitive tutorial video on HOW NOT TO TAKE A CORNER ON A MOTORCYCLE click on the link here. We don't recommend you try this at home. We are pleased to advise that no INTELLIGENT life forms were hurt or killed in the making of this video.

David on the other hand injured his shoulder and knee; neither seriously but enough the be painful reminders of what not to do for the rest of the trip.

David's excuse for this monumental blunder was that he was looking for beavers in the lakes to the side of the road and misjudged the distance to the corner (or simply didn't see it). Hmmmmm, we will believe you bro...


As well as being unbelievably lucky that 1) there was no opposing traffic when he decided to occupy their space at 122km/hr, 2) he managed to swerve to avoid the somewhat unforgiving sign-post 3) that there were not ditches, fences or other unseen obstacles in the area he decided to investigate at speed and 4) he escaped with very little damage to his person except his pride, David also lucked out in that the damage to his bike was relatively minor. This consisted of 1) bent handlebars on the RHS, damaged right fairing (already cracked), bent foot brake, cracked handlebar mount and broken right pannier lock.

We were able to effect 'Kiwi repairs' roadside and, after determining that David had at least the same limited faculties he had before the crash, we decided that David and I would ride into the nearest major town, Perm, and that John would continue with the original schedule and go on to Izveshk.

David's bike after we its roadside repairs:

The ride to Perm was uneventful, David led and I followed in case any bits fell off him or the bike.

Posted by stevecrownz 05:02 Archived in Russia Tagged crow crash versys as_the_crow_flies Comments (0)


On the doorstep of Europe

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This beautiful city is one of our favourites so far.


Ekaterinburg is known for the golden-domed Church on the Blood, built in the early 21st century on the site of the 1918 Romanov executions, Ipatiev House.

The Russian Imperial Romanov family (Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) and all those who chose to accompany them into imprisonment—notably Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp and Ivan Kharitonov, were shot and bayoneted to death in Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg) on the night of 16–17 July 1918.

The epoch of the monarchic Russia ended and the epoch of the Soviet Russia began.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Execution_of_the_Romanov_family for more information.


This red room is situated where the basement of Ipatiev House was previously located. It was in this basement that the murders of the Romanov family took place.

After the murders, their bodies were then taken to the Koptyaki forest where they were stripped and mutilated. In 1979 and 2007, the remains of the bodies were found in two unmarked graves in a field called Porosenkov Log.


Ganina Yama was a 9 ft. deep pit in the Four Brothers mine near the village of Koptyaki, 15 km north from Yekaterinburg. In the pre-dawn hours of 17 July 1918, after the execution of the Romanov family, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (who had been murdered at the Ipatiev House) were secretly transported to Ganina Yama and thrown into the pit.

A week later, the White Army drove the Bolsheviks from the area and launched an investigation into the fate of the royal family. An extensive report concluded that the royal family's remains had been cremated at the mine, since evidence of fire was found and charred bones, but no bodies. But the Bolsheviks, realizing that the burial site was no longer a secret, had returned to the site the night after the first burial to relocate the bodies to another area. The secret Bolshevik report on the execution and burial did not give the location of the second burial site, but the description provided clues.

Seven chapels were later constructed at the site, one for each member of the royal family. Each chapel is dedicated to a particular saint or relic; all members of the Romanov family that was murdered were subsequently canonized to sainthood.


Posted by stevecrownz 13:23 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia customs vladivostok versys carr as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa Comments (3)

TRIP HAZARD #3: The Short Drop

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In New Zealand, and probably many, many other places around the world, in areas where there are no public sanitation systems toilets often comprise some some for 'seating / supporting arrangement' mounted over a deep hole dug into the ground to collect the aghhh, ummmmm, well you get the picture.

At home this is fondly called a 'Long Drop' for obvious reasons.

Now, Long Drops are rarely pleasant things to use but unless you opt to grab a torch or miner's helmet and peer down into the gloom the chances of being confronted by something left behind by a previous 'tenant, apart from a foul odour, is low.

In Russia, and in particular Siberia and the Eastern areas, they have brutalised the Long Drop and developed a particularly odious contraption, the Short Drop.

In its purest form, the Short Drop is simply a mounted platform raised 300 to 500mm off the ground with a hole cut in it for bodily wastes to pass through onto the nearly ground.

I have had the misfortune of needing to use (for number ones only thank god) short drops on a number of occasions and suffice it to say some were so absolutely rank and foul that I simply could not stay long enough to take any photographs. Oh, and forget European type thrones, we are talking squatters here folks.

Here is a BETTER one.


These are typical of most road-houses / truck stops in Eastern Siberia.

Posted by stevecrownz 06:42 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia customs vladivostok versys carr as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa Comments (0)

We Regress to being Varsity Students

Accommodation in Tomsk

sunny 30 °C
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Steve has developed a friendship with a Geology professor from a university in Tomsk over the last four years, Alexey, who very generously provided us accommodation in Tomsk and was waiting outside when we arrived. Alexey cannot speak English so translate apps on smart phones got well used.


Below are photos of the excellent accommodation provided which is normally used for students.

Entrance to the property is by security gates so no worries about the bikes.


Entrance to the building is via a security door that would do Fort Knox proud.


Entrance Foyer and Lift


Foyer and passage on our floor


Our apartment door is also made of steel and very secure, just look at that lock. As for the key ...


Inside we were fortunate to have a full kitchen, dining area, large living and a bedroom for Steve. I got to sleep on the pullout this time which I guess was only fair after Vladivostok.


So overall we were in luxury.

Alexey and his wife Jane have also very graciously acted as our guides and showed us Tomsk as well as hosting us in their home for dinner. A more welcoming couple would be hard to find. We hope that we can return the hospitality in NZ one day.

Posted by Zamiam 12:38 Archived in Russia Tagged russia siberia as_the_crow_flies tomsk Comments (0)

Sights of Ulan Ude -1

Home to Siberia's oldest people and one of Russia's most colourful indigenous people, the Buryat

overcast 28 °C
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As mentioned at the end of the last blog entry, Ulan Ude had been selected as the location for one of our "rest" (as in no riding) days.

John had the hotel recommend and book a local Buryat guide to show us as many of the sites at time permitted but first we did a self-guided tour of a Buddhist museum with a dedicated display of Buddhist medicine - fascinating, and to think the knowledge and techniques on display date from hundreds of years past.


Posted by stevecrownz 07:59 Archived in Russia Tagged museum crow russia siberia ulan_ude carr buryat as_the_crow_flies Comments (0)

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