Father and son around the world.

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by Tom_Riderslog, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    My family started to travel a lot when I was a little child and when I was a teenager Dad put the riding bug in my ear. After a few long trips in Europe and Africa we decided to travel around the world with two Suzuki V-stroms, following the first couple’s (1928-36) way around who were Hungarians just like us.
    The trip started in 2005 and I started to write a daily log from the beginning. I am currently in Thailand, riding around the forests and mud baths of this beautiful country and the region for almost 10 years now. I hope you guys will enjoy my trip reports and don’t mind my grammar.

    Also, it would be great to meet other bikers for long endure trips, share ideas and beer bills.

    So here is the story of the first day of my trip.

    Day 1. Budapest-Szeged-Border Crossing to Romania-Nagykata-Deva
    Odometer: 650 km

    So this is it, eight in the morning and the bikes are all warmed up on Hero's square, Budapest. About thirty interested friends and other bikers who are prepared to take us to the border are gathered on this sunny day. Just to add to the feeling, one of the major TV channel's crew turned up for the usual -let's fill the program with something- kind of interview. We have been preparing for this day for quiet a while now. The idea of riding around the world with a motorcycle was in fact my Dad's idea. It came in one Christmas eve when our biker friend Samu surprised us with the book of Zoltan Sulkowski and Gyula Bartha, the first duo to circumnavigate the globe with a motorcycle. Nevertheless we both hooked on it as the motorcycle bug was already in the family for a long time. So this is eight in the morning and finally our dream is about begin. There are around 10 bikers who decided to ride along with us until the Romanian border together with a car with some of my friends and my grandpa in it. We have reached the border without any interesting event, nice riding conditions, good mood, a perfect day to see my beloved country for the the coming many many years.

    Crossing over to Romania was probably the easiest border crossing. About five minutes of administration we were already rolling on the roads of Transylvania. As this beautiful area use to belonged to Hungary, communicating with the locals are not an issue. Not as we stopping at every corner for a tea, we are trying to reach the Carpathian mountain before sunset. Our main goal is to reach the Bulgarian seashore by the next afternoon so we really need a long first day ride. The only thing holding us back is the quality of the roads. The constant holes on most of the Transylvanian roads were a sad reminder of the negligence of this region, however, as we approached to the Carpathians the view of the mountains completely made us forget about the shaky road. The Carpathians are the major dividing line between central and eastern Europe with peaks over 1500 meters. I would really recommend this region for bikers as this is probably the best way to get down to Istanbul from Western Europe.

    By late afternoon we were already climbing the Carpathians when the first storm of the trip caught up with us making our progress a bit slower. Finally we have reached Deva, a small city inside the mountains. It took us about an hour to find the only one available accommodation which was moderately cheap with its 15 dollars a night/room price.

    It looks like I have some problem uploading pictures here. I will try it again tonight when I have a better internet connection. :)

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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Oooh, this is gonna be good! Subscribed! :thumbup:

    Ps. If all of your pictures are already on Facebook you can simply copy and paste them to the forum. But be aware that Facebook sometimes changes their links in which case the pictures will no longer appear...

  4. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Cheers Tony,

    I will try to make it as fun as possible. Unfortunately our portable hard drive died in India so lots of pictures lost from Iran and Pakistan.

    Anyway, here are some pictures from the first day. We left with two Suzuki DL-650. Both had around 2500 km. It was a great choice. Light weight and very durable bikes with not a single engine problem, even way after 100.000 kms.
    Odometer at the start

    TV crew doing a useless interview
  5. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    So it's been a week and my post still not up so I guess it got moderated out. Let me try again with some pictures. Hopefully this time it will work.




  6. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Ok, I start to feel like an idiot. I made a photobucket account hoping this time the pictures will go up.

  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Sorry but your links don't work...

    if you are using a PC just right click photo on Facebook, copy, then paste into your post here. Piece of cake :thumbup:

    Your smugmug links also don't work... :(
  8. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Cheers Tony, is that it? I kept trying to paste the url in. Anyway, here we go again. Hope this time it works.

    I'm the one on the red bike and Dad rides the black one.



    The bikes were brand new, we got them abut a month before the trip


    We made those panniers, only the welding was done by someone else but made and designed by us.




    Saying good bye to whoever came down with us to the border. That is my Mom on the picture.



  9. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Deva-Bucharest- Bulgarian Border Crossing-Burgas
    Odometer: 650 km - 1299 km

    So we are officially touring around the world with the first sunshine shining through the peaks of the Carpathians. The road is pretty slippery after the night's rain with lots of leafs on the tarmac. Surprisingly all of a sudden the road became very good. The night before when we arrived to Deva it was bad as it can get but the morning it was just great. Hold on, was it the road or just our tiredness and the constant rain made everything look awful?


    Either way the morning scenery was just out of this world. I had thoughts to just screw our itinerary and spend a week or even a month in the Carpathians and discover all the wonders this place has to offer. The bikes are just made for this curvy and hilly terrain. Not a single hick up from neither of the bikes even when we are pushing them hard in some serpentine with fifty something extra kilos on them. Unfortunately the fun is getting close to its end, the landscape is flatting down like a freshly made up bed, realities of Romania hitting us as no more charming mountains around but dirty cities with lots of ran down Dacias.


    Little before 10 am and we are already shooting distance of Bucharest, as we are progressing into the dream and of course the daily etap we decided to skip Bucharest and try to get out of Romania as fast as possible and have a dinner on the shore of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. As we are battling with navigation on the outer ring road of Bucharest, gravitation win over Dad as we stop, pulling him and the bike down to the ground, I almost followed him as I couldn't stop smirking and laughing under the helmet. Our lunch was rather satisfying somewhere on the very shady outskirts of Bucharest where we made quiet a scene arriving with two fleshy, colorful bikes.


    The first slightly eventful border crossing waited for us in the early very early afternoon today. We decided to cross the border over the Danube, my beloved river which banks accommodated my whole childhood. The friendship bridge as formerly called stretching over the two countries with its huge iron structure, a strong reminded of socialist times and its style of architecture in the 1970's. Today the bridge is called Giurgiu–Ruse Bridge, named from the two cities it connects on each side of the border. Leaving Romania was just as easy as one would spit into the Danube but as one would say, letting the trash go is always easier than accepting it. This is exactly what happened to us on the Bulgarian side. Neither of are smoking but just in case we bought 3 cartons of cigarettes at the Hungarian border just in case we need it or we can just barter with it in some deep jungles. Oh well, of course the first question of the Bulgarian custom officer was towards cigarettes and alcohol in our boxes which we vehemently denied. Either our strong denial or the curiosity towards our gear made the officer order us to empty all of our boxes. Seriously? Two days before we packed them so carefully just to be opened and completely emptied now? Long story short, our cigarettes were confiscated and after some negotiation we were on the way towards Burgas, the city where it all begun for me 20 something years ago.
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Gday & welcome to GTR.
    Many thanks for posting your amazing trip. Its gonna be a good read & I'm looking forward to it.
  11. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    I also have just hooked up to the thread - greatly looking forward to your taking me through this most amazing of adventures.
  12. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Thank you guys, to be honest this isn't the newest trip. We started the trip in 2005 but as we haven't went back yet I would say we are still on the way around ;)

    The first night we spent in the tent was quiet uneventful. We planned a rather short day today, only about 400-450 kilometers to Istanbul. Our campsite in Burgas was a small camping with a private beach. However it was nothing like the Sunshine coast on the other end of the city where we originally planned to stay. In the previous blog entry I’ve mentioned that I am from Burgas. It is partially true as my parents had a lovely vacation there exactly nine months before I was born. The exact place of this holy event however turned into a German built mega hotel so thes chances for my mission to lie on the holy grass of the Sunshine coast camping quickly vanished. Nevertheless, our campsite of the other end of the city was just as great for about $5 per tent with some local families camping there too.

    The way from Burgas to the Turkish border in the morning was fairly good, nothing like the way from the Friendship bridge to Burgas. Sometimes we felt yesterday that the giant holes on the road are left there as an obstacle for NATO tanks if the West every decided to invade Bulgaria. As we reached the border we met an American couple, travelling around the world from San Francisco on a fairly similar route as us.

    The one hour process to cross the border felt like an eternity, little we know that this one hour border crossing will be the fastest for the coming year. After paying the visa on arrival fee the Turkish custom officers were asking for an extra document. We suspected that it is just about some extra money and after some negotiation they let us enter Turkey so we forget about it quickly. Of course the question for that mysterious paper will come back again and again later on at every border crossing.

    The highway to Istanbul was amazing, even better quality than we have back in Hungary. This, the pretty mediterranean landscape and the hospitality of the locals quickly get Turkey in a special place in our heart. Everything was so relaxed, we were shocked when stray cows crossed the highway at the petrol station or when we ordered the cheapest food on the menu which was kebab and the waiter kept bringing more and more meat, of course for no surcharge.

    We arrived to Istanbul in the late afternoon which was a major mistake. We learned after that arriving into a huge and unknown city during afternoon rush hours aren’t the way to go. Still it only took as two hours to find a very nice camping near the sea, sorry readers, we are beach obsessed riders.
  13. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    It seems like the format has fallen apart so I deleted the pictures and re-post them here.


    The first few kilometers in Turkey


  14. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Thank you David, I try to do my best to make it as fun to read as possible. I have been out riding lately a lot so I didn't have time to post new stories until today.
  15. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Today is the first day that we decided not to go any further but look around in Istanbul and spend the day with sightseeing. I still have the buzz in me and all I want is to ride further and further but it would be a sin to miss out Istanbul. Thinking back now we should have spent at least 3-4 days in this beautiful city.


    I am very mesmerized with Turkey actually. This country gave me something new what no other country did before. I have been around quite a few African countries and most parts of Europe but this amazing mixture of East and West spiced up with Muslim traditions and extremely friendly locals instantly made Turkey one of my favorite country. Talking about friendliness, we do a large part of history with the Turks. Hungarians fought against the Ottoman empire for generations and we had been occupied for over 150 years by them. Inevitably we share not just a part of our history but also lots of linguistic and cultural elements. After only 2 days in Turkey we are already used to people giving us fruits, free teas or just a few good words after they found out that we are from Madzsaristan, as they call Hungary.

    Riding in Istanbul is great, nothing like in over regulated Europe. Here you can horn, overtake, turn, stop, speed or basically whatever you want and surprisingly the traffic is flowing, not jammed, or at least not for us. The only thing you have to make sure -heard from locals- that when you are in an accident, your vehicle's front should be ahead of the other one as the vehicle behind is always in the fault. I don't know, we haven't seen many accidents and luckily haven't been involved in one either.

    The day quickly went buy and even thought we planned to squeeze all the wonders of the city in our very time constrained sight seeing trip, a few places left out. We still manage to visit Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi palace, the main bazaar and the Golden Horn. Whether we made the bad decision to leave next day and leave the other 100's of sights unexplored will remain a mystery for now but the riding bug was already getting it's way, pushing us towards Ankara, the capitol city. We spent the late afternoon with some more fiesta on the beach nearby our campsite, listening stories from locals and mentally preparing our self to leave the European continent and cross over to Asia, which little we know about yet.
  16. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Great to see some worldwide illustrated story … The “posting” part seems to be solved now … I am keen to follow the adventure. Thank you for sharing this.
  17. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Thanks Jurgen, yes the posting issues are solved finally and I'm working on the time issues now, I try to post new updates every day or two thought.
  18. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    After spending a great day in Istanbul today we have to say good bye to this great city. I am the kind of person who fell in love very easily, whether it is a great looking girl, a new dirt bike or a fun hobby (nothing is more fun than riding) I can fall in love with it instantly.

    Well, Istanbul is the great example. I took her only one day to move in my heart. Since we left Hungary I kept pushing dad to go faster and cover more distance as I am chasing my dream to cross the red dessert in Australia with kangaroos jumping around me and spend the night next to a billabong.

    Today we decided to break camp early and beat the morning traffic in Istanbul but we managed to mock around quite a bit so we ended up in the worst morning traffic so far. After fighting our way through the sea of angry morning commuters we arrived to the Bosphorus Bridge. This mighty structure which was completed in 1973 connects Europe and Asia on its and a half kilometers long asphalt stretch.

    I have been thinking for a while how to celebrate this trans continental crossing and finally I decided to send a text message to my friend on the middle of the bridge.

    "Hello Tibi, I started to write this txt from Europe but I am already halfway through the bridge and hey.. hello from Asia"


    The landscape in the first few hundred kilometers in Asia wasn't as appealing as I thought it will be. Long straight stretches of highways with great resting areas and dried out fields.
    We arrived to Ankara in the late afternoon and headed to the only campsite indicated on our map. One thing I have to point out here. We didn't use any GPS throughout our trip and only started to use travel books like Lonely Planet from India. So our Cartographia map indicated one campsite in Ankara which we found, well, we found the location but no campsite to be seen. We asked the locals about it and the same thing was told to us over and over again, "There is no camping in Ankara". We thought it is impossible as our map was pretty accurate so far. As the night approached, we called up the Hungarian embassy where we got the same information, no campsite.

    To solve this riddle, we stopped at a petrol station to figure out what to do. At the station there was a rather good looking and friendly young lady, about my age, early twenties. She introduced herself as the owner of the gas station -inherited it from her parents- and she is more than happy if we stay there.

    It sounded rather weird but after she sent her staff to pick fruits for us and make some dinner, we decided to stay there overnight. Nevertheless, it was a great decision. We parked the bikes inside the gas station's shop and slept on the roof of the gas station. Well, what more a budget rider can expect than a 1000 star hotel.
  19. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    Follow your trip and report with admiration dear neighbour !! Keep on posting and having us informed of what happens next on the road !! Good luck & do enjoy !! Ride safe !! Rgds, Franz
  20. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Thank you Franz, dear cousin as we call you guys so often ;)

    How are the dirt tracks around Chiang Mai nowadays? Are the mud dried up yet?
  21. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Waking up in the morning with the sun and the smell of gasoline is exactly what a biker needs for a good day. I feel it was such a luck not finding the camping last night and sleeping on the roof of the gas station. Although last night we parted from a bottle of whiskey, shared it with the guys working at the gas station, in return they throw a little dinner party from us. Nothing really fancy, just whatever they eat normally with some picked fruits from the bushes around. Since there was no shower facility around the station we got the right adventure smell by the morning which I don't mind at all.

    After the morning tea (for free of course) we decided to go and look around in Ankara. The city is nothing like Istanbul. I haven't felt any magical connection between me and her like I felt in Istanbul. The city is built on many small hills, similar to Rome with fairly small traffic in the morning and pretty chilled temperature.

    After an hour we decided to skip any further sightseeing and head towards Iran. Our destination for the day is Sivas, the city on the Anatolian mountain range. The road to Sivas was pretty busy. Lots of trucks use this highway on the way to Iran. About halfway to Sivas we encountered continuous roadworks which caused immense amount of dust. I was actually pretty happy about it, imagined myself racing on a Dakar, overtaking big trucks in dust clouds, it was fun. Especially when we reached the mountains and this "struggle" according to Dad is took place on a curvy, hilly road over 2000 meters high.

    We arrived to Sivas early afternoon and started to look for some accommodation. After about half an hour we decided to move further up the mountains as we couldn't find anything apart from hotels. Oh god, why don't we use Lonely Planet. The landscape after Sivas became even more hilly. Some of the peaks around here are way over 3000 meters and we are riding over 2000 meters above the sea level. We can feel this high elevation on our own skin, as the sun goes down the temperature is started to drop and we ended up digging out our winter jackets to solve the rather nippy situation.

    About 250 kilometers after Sivas we have arrived to Erzincan. Luckily we found an English speaking local on a pushbike just outside of the city who told us to go pass the city and we will find a creek where we can set up our tent. Sounds great we thought and headed right out of the city. The guy was right about the creek. It was a great looking little creek and guess what, there was a camping as well. I think we were the first visitors this year but nevertheless the owner and his son was very friendly. They offered us to stay there for free, eat for free and drink for free. The owner, Kazim Akpolat turned out to be a returned migrant who spent many years in Germany and visited Hungary many times. God, feels like everybody in this country has some sort of connection to my beloved Hungary.
    It turned out that Mr Kazim's son is an enthusiast biker. He was telling us stories about his adventures around Anatolia, and in the middle, mountainous regions of Turkey. He offered his Mondial 250 mct for a test drive but as the local alcohol, got in our heads and the long day ahead us tomorrow we decided to decline his offer and get some rest



  22. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    I hope you guys enjoying the trip report so far. If you have any feedback or comment I would really appreciate to hear it. I'm quite new with blogging and I don't want to make uninteresting reports.

    I also started a website and a facebook page where you can check my and my friend's trips.

    I always had a great passion for riding but recently I found it fascinating to actually write down and share my travelings and weekend enduro madness just to make the grey weekdays more fun.


  23. Tom_Riderslog

    Tom_Riderslog Member

    Odometer: 3067 km - 3575 km

    Last day riding in Turkey through lots of military check points. Meeting with two pairs of cyclist and a constant rain and hail storm in the afternoon.

    After a lovely and rather wet night -we had to consume some amount of vodka and whiskey for medical reasons- we had to say good bye to our lovely hosts and head towards Iran. The way to Erzurum is more and more started to resemble my imagined picture of the Middle East.

    The villages we pass looked poorer as we advanced towards East. Flat and dried out prairie replaced the nice hilly area and the temperature rose.

    We planned the first oil change for today; it has been 3000 kilometers passed since we left Hungary. First we thought we made a mistake not doing it in Erzincan as it seemed like we will even have problem finding a gas station, let alone a shop to buy motor oil.

    As we are getting closer to Iran and Iraq, military checkpoints started to pop up. Not just a simple checkpoint we experienced earlier with a few police officers and the regular free tea. These checkpoints were serious with armored vehicles and tanks pointing their barrels towards the road.

    Finally after one of this checkpoint we spotted a small garage with a fairly big stock of motor oils, they even had matching oil filters which really surprised us. After changing the oil, the owner –as we already very used to- invited us for a tea and let his staff wash our bikes in the main time. He even gave us free shoe shine for our boots. I will really miss this Turkish hospitality and only hope Iran will be just as Turkey.

    Today we met two couples, both of them on a bicycle trip. First an Australia couple travelling from London to Sydney and another French couple on the way to Beijing from Paris. We only talked to them briefly, asked whether they need anything as there wasn’t a single village for the past 100 something kilometers. As we passed them about 25-30 kilometers we spotted a sheep farm and decided to take some pictures when two huge Kangal dog started to run at us. We barely could drive away from them. Kangal is a large bodied Turkish breed, almost the size of our bikes. Dear reader, please excuse us for not taking a picture of these beasts. Nevertheless I can’t stop thinking about those couples; I hope they passed the dogs safely.

    A lovely Australian couple on the way to Sydney from London

    As the afternoon caught up with us Mother Nature decided to make us work for our goal, reaching the Iranian border.

    First the wind started to blow with very strong side gusts and then the raining begins. It was so abrupt that by the time we got on our raingear I felt the wetness on my underwear. Oh well, my first shower since Istanbul so I can’t really complain.

    The raining sometimes late afternoon turned into a hailstorm. Without any building or shed or any kind of protection we had to get keep going with the small pieces of ices playing an orchestra on our helmets.

    Trucks waiting to cross over to Iran

    About 8- 10 kilometers before reaching the border, trucks and semi trailers started to appear in long lines. First only one lane and then later on in two and three lanes with the drivers having their dinner next to their 18 wheelers.

    By this time Little Ararat or Mount Sis was dominating the horizon. Turkey’s 6th highest mountain looked gracefully as the sun disappeared behind it.

    Surprisingly we found a very decent hotel on the Turkish side of the border. For about 5 dollars we finally had the privilege to sleep in a bed, dry up our clothes and take a hot shower. It doesn’t sound very challenging not to sleep in a bed for a week or don’t shower for 3 days, we done triple the amount of that in our previous trips but after a few hundred kilometers in a cold rain and hailstorm I really think we deserve some luxury.

    Little Ararat (Mt. Sis) from our hotel window

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