My father would suggest that the more appropriate title of this post would be “Having No Plan Is Our Plan.” Although from the outside looking in it may appear so, but we prefer to think of it as flexibility and open to new things.
So for those who are new here, or those like my mother who emails everyday and still finds the whole process confusing (I would say I think, but in fact I know, that this is due to us and not any faults on her side), here is a summary of the original plan, the new plan, and where we are right now. WITH visual aid courtesy of the German:
Original plan: The three of us (The German, his brother, and me) planned to ride to Novosibirsk, meet Jannick’s girlfriend Anina, and then ride Mongolia together. From there we would ride to Lake Baikal, drop Anina off and continue on to Vladivostok. From there we would ship the bikes to Korea, ride Korea, ship the bikes to South America, and ride on up to Newfoundland.
Then we found out German vehicles are not allowed in Korea. Apparently this only applies to German and Croatian vehicles, someone did not sign some silly paper somewhere (or had something to do with the country not really existing at the time) and so getting in is a chance. With luck the official also does not know it, and you get in like the German did 6 years ago. If you are unlucky you just shelled out 700 bucks to put your bike on a bonded truck (another chunk of change) that will take your bike to the port, where you can pay 1200 to send it on to South America.
More money than we were willing to chance.
So then we looked at direct to South America from Vladivostok. With prices ranging from 3000 – 6000 per bike, we just laughed. We can buy NEW ones for that.
But that meant Jannick was on his own. He really wanted to ride across Russia. And though he is German his bike is Swiss. (Even German licenses are accepted, just not the vehicle!). We were not willing to ride and risk being stuck with thousands of dollars in shipping bills, for bikes that were worth only 2.
So in Mongolia we split up, us looking into selling our bikes there, and Jannick went into the Gobi to play cards with Anina.
We met again at the Mongolian border to travel to Lake Baikal and the island of Olchorn.
Then we picked up our new Mongolian visa’s and headed back to Mongolia, saying goodbye to the avid card players, Anina flew back to Switzerland and Jannick continued onwards to Vladivostok, where he will ship his bike to Thailand, and from there who knows! But South America is still on his list.
Our list includes a 9 day stopover in Seoul, mostly so I can eat. (Seriously, I miss Japan, I ache for it. Korea I just ache for the BBQ and Dukboki, which I ate for breakfast). Then onwards to Bangkok, where our new plan is to buy scooters and burn over South East Asia for a couple of months. Then its open to New Zealand or waiting until Spring to buy bikes in the USA.
Leaving Ulan Bator:
To chase summer! It SNOWED in UB today, we are sitting here sweating in Seoul!
And though I will miss Mongolia, I will not miss UB. I love this picture, Seoul, where crossing the street with a walk signal actually means crossing safely as opposed to dodging the oncoming slaughter of cars who are blatantly ignoring any and all traffic rules (both of the red light means stop as well as pediatricians have the right of way).
If you liked this post you might like these: