We made it to London!
With no support vehicles, no sponsors and no idea about what each day will bring, we finally finished our trip! Here is a summary:
We left Vladivostok, Russia on May 19th 2015 and arrived in London on September 2nd 2015. That's a total of 106 days or 3 and a half months on the road.
We rode through 25 countries (not including Hong Kong or Greece (which we couldn’t enter because the border office ran out of Insurance documents!))
25,080 kilometres were ridden from Emerald, Australia to London (Surprisingly close to our estimate of 25,000km). On average, that’s over 200 kilometres per day for 106 days.
Over $2,500 AUD each was spent on visas (That's about the same as what we spent on food for the whole trip!) We paid a company to process all of our visas before we left. The process took 3 months and we got our passports back the day before flying out of Australia. Just in time.
Zane parted ways with Alex and Todd in Azerbaijan to meet up with his girlfriend. On the day that he was meant to meet up with her a car pulled out in front of him and he hit it head on at around 100km/hr. Luckily he walked away with only stitches in his lip, some amnesia and aches and pains. His bike is a write off and still remains at the police station in Bosnia.
The most difficult border crossing was coming into Uzbekistan where they went through absolutely everything we had, down to turning our laptops on and searching for religious and sexual content and evidence of drug taking. They really didn’t like a photo of Zane drinking a beer from about 5 years ago (seriously). We were delayed there for a further few hours because of a power outage. We were asked to move our bikes and ourselves out of view of the security cameras so there was no evidence of the Border Police’s inefficiencies. Surprisingly, the border crossings into Afghanistan and Iran were very easy with no luggage or bike searches or lengthy delays.
Flat tyres: Alex 1, Zane 3 (Nails love Zane's rear tyre!), Todd 0 (and still on same tyres he left Australia with!)
We nearly ran out of fuel on the Trans- Siberian Highway, so we ran on reserve at about 70km/hr until we came across a fuel station. When we filled up we had less than a litre left in the tank.
$1,200 AUD was spent on fuel per person. Fuel was cheapest in Iran and Turkmenistan at around $5 AUD to fill a tank and most expensive in Europe at around $30+ AUD to fill a tank.
Cost of haircuts: $3.50 AUD in an underground walkway barbershop in Almaty, Kazakhstan, $5.90 AUD in Batumi, Georgia and $157 AUD in London!!
Mechanics – how did KLR 650s go? The bikes were a really good choice – they were cheap, light, and easy to fix. We did however have the following issues (but they are mostly just wear and tear): worn out steering stem bearings, worn chain and sprockets, blown light bulbs, failed welds on pannier racks (all six pannier racks cracked in Mongolia and Tajikistan), lots of loose bolts, an issue with backfiring on deceleration, broken electrical switches, a small radiator leak in the extreme heat of Uzbekistan and burning oil when travelling at over 100km/hr for really long periods.
Best places to ride: the Pamir Highway (M41), Tajikistan for the amazing scenery, Mongolia for its open steppes and freedom, the Mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Russia’s Trans-Siberian Highway (arguably the longest highway in the world) and along the coast of Turkey, Montenegro and Croatia.
Best places we stayed: The Royal Petrol Hotel, Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan (because of its name), gers in Mongolia, camping at Khyargas Lake in Mongolia, TES Guesthouse in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Pamir Marco Polo Guesthouse in Afghanistan, a caravanserai in Azerbaijan, Sedat’s Hotel (Biltepe Otel) in Turkey, free camping at ANZAC Cove in Gallipoli, an apartment with views of the Old City of Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Ben and Sarah’s place in Putney, London.
Most welcoming countries: In general, most countries were friendly and welcoming, primarily because we are foreigners. I can’t think of one country or place that wasn’t welcoming. In Afghanistan, Todd and Zane got a very warm welcome from the Afghanis, partly due to the fact that there are hardly any tourists entering the region. Like everyone says, the Iranians are very friendly, but out of all of the places we visited we got ripped off the most in Iran.
Best food we came across: Borscht and Pelmeni made by babushkas at the truck stops (KaΦes) along Russia's Tran-Siberian Highway, soft serve gelato ice cream in Uzbekistan, Shashliks in the Stans and Iran, Horse in Mongolia (some parts of it), wine in Georgia, baklava in Turkey and pork knuckle in Germany.
Thanks for following us on our trip and we hope we have inspired some of you to get out there! We will be making some videos from our GoPro footage so stay tuned!