I left UB at around noon. Got lost trying to find the road north to Ulan Ude, and therefore couldn't make it to the border before it at 6 o'clock. 70 kms from the border, I noticed a heavily loaded road-bike with elaborate aerodynamic fairings parked in front of a local rest-stop. The rider was a Bulgarian named Costa. He wore a leather jacket, big round earrings and long hair. It would be an ordinary sight somewhere in California, but definitely not so in Mongolia. Costa is also a graphic designer. He left home 4 months ago and rode through Russia to Ulan Ude. He had just crossed the border less than an hour ago, and was curious about my trip. We had some food together talking about each others experiences. It was past 5 so we decided to camp together. We left the pavement and started climbing on the ...Read More

A month has passed since my last post here. It wasn't just a break from writing, but also riding. Somehow, the two seem to work together. I've only started moving one week ago so you haven't missed much of the road. A few things have to be known before I proceed. Turkey is where I was born and raised. My family and friends live in Ankara, the capital. This has been a psychological mid-point on the route. This is where the west ends and the east begins. This is where I intended to take a 15 day break to see my family, apply for visas and take a good look at the bike. I did all of these, but it took twice as much. Central Asian beurocracy operates in a weird way. The embassies have no authority in approving a visa application. They're like post offices where you submit and ...Read More

Baku to Turkmenbashi Ferry I thought I'd through in my $.02 about the Baku-Turkmenbashi ferry as I've received many PM's, emails, etc. about this. The B-T ferry is a rail car ferry primarily and takes on passengers and vehicles(including trucks), space allowing. It leaves on a scheduled based on when the rail cars are loaded onto the ferry and on some occasions, can leave sometimes 2-3 times a day. Once a day is the norm though and ask the Customs guys there info about the departure times and rail car loading to best gauge things. There is a similar ferry to Aqtau(Kazakhstan) but only a couple times a week. The Azeri ferry company that runs it owns a fleet of about 5 ferries. It takes one day to cross the Caspian and docks in the harbor awaiting another one of the previously arriving ferries to unload. Once unloaded, that ferry awaits rail cargo ...Read More

Hi Salva 2 options exist for Turkmenistan; FIRST : 'official tour' which requires 'loi' and requires participation of the tour. This is the option we chose, tour & loi came via David at StanTours (who is excellent). Using this option meant we had an emailed copy of our loi and then when we arrived at Turkmenistan port of entry we were there issued with our standard tourist visa (the visa matched in length the number of days the tour lasts, which in our case was 5 days). SECOND OPTION : 'Transit Visa' Using this option avoids the 'loi' and the 'official tour' thus saving some money. But you have to specify date of entry and date of departure. I would guess you could get away with requesting 7 days for transit (doubt you'd get longer). Transit visa can be obtained in Istanbul or Ankara (Turkey). Even though you have a specified date of entry, ...Read More

In theory you need a paper & stamp for every night you're there .. usually you can get the next hotel to include the camping days in their registration. We took all the slips out of our passports before we got to the border. NO ONE askesd for anything about registration, so we're thinking it's just another way for tourists to spend their money there. Read More

As time passes, and the route becomes somewhat clear, the countries and visa requirements are determined. I'll need to have a flexible entry-exit date for each country I'm going to apply for a visa. So far, the list is as follows: United States (Greencard) United Kingdom (Visa) France (Schengen) Switzerland (Schengen) Liechtenstein (Visa) Austria (Schengen) Slovenia (Schengen) Croatia (Passport) Bosnia and Herzegovina (Passport) Montenegro (Visa) Albania (Passport) Macedonia (Passport) Greece (Schengen) Turkey (Passport) Georgia (Passport) Azerbaijan (Visa) Turkmenistan (Visa) Uzbekistan (Visa) Tajikistan (Visa) (Can be bypassed) Kyrgyzstan (Passport) Kazakhstan (Passport) Russia (Visa) Mongolia (Visa) Russia (Visa) South Korea (Passport) Read More

I'm starting to dislike this acronym. Round The World. Because that's not what I'll be doing. I'm going to ride my bike. I'll move westward because I don't want to face the sun. I'll probably do it for such a long time that it won't be economical to turn around. The world is round. I just want to ride it. Hereon, RTW stands for "Ride The World"... Read More