Friday morning came sunny but the weather changed to snowing before my departure from Vantaa towards Dusty Wobbls Nest, located in Joroinen. Distance was due to be only some 300km and temperature was between +1-5 degrees in Celsius so I decided to dress myself with all that warm underwear which was due to be carried with me thru the tour. In practice that meant I have Rukka Allroad (updated version of this is Rukka Gobi) riding suit and under it I wear Rukka Outlast long sleeve and long johns topped with micro fleece layer, warm GoreTex gloves and shoes. While I was dressing for the ride, last days popped back to my mind. During those days I’ve been really trying to figure out what is going to be essential in my packing list because all that stuff I’ve been thinking (well to be honest… wishing) to carry with me turns out to be way too much. Something must be left behind but what the heck is it, I’m going to need all of them during those three months our FIN2PAMIR tour takes. Also my fast food for 3 weeks in Mongolia outback requires one rack pack. After many tries and repackings I finally found all that stuff packed over my bike and into aluminium panniers on which I was even able to close the lid. Yeah, believe it !
Pair of spare tires are seated on a plate replacing pillion seat. When I attached it there was immediately a friendly comment about it’s versatility like using it as a diving board because of its length which still could be adjusted longer while having rear suspension for providing some bounce and … 😀
Tools are the heaviest items to carry so I’ll pack them first in to pannier and above them I lay my clothes in waterproof pouches to keep them dry. I’m also planning to store used underwear in such one which hopefully also keeps that stinky smell away from clean clothes until I have opportunity to wash them. My camping gear is packed in another pannier and my camp bed and mat are seated as back rest for driver. Because we don’t plan carry anything valuable on our tour I’ll keep my PMR and mobile phones, books, maps and snacks in tankbag where they can be reached easily. Additional fuel is carried in canisters attached to holders which replaced pillion pegs. The bigger one takes 8 ltr fuel and another is combined (4+1.5 ltr) canister which timberjack use to carry fuel and oil for their chainsaws. I’ll fill the smaller with whitegas for my multifuel burner and another with normal fuel.
After these preparations I found myself maneuvering my “Yebi” (aka YellowBee) towards a motorway. It was feeling pretty heavy but still it was stable to handle. Because I had additional fuel I didn’t worry amount of fuel in tank which –of cource – caused me unplanned stop on the route. ‘No problemos’ I thought and soon tank was filled again but pressing start button gave me feedback, tick-tick-tick sound from start relay. What is wrong now I thought. I had installed a new battery two weeks ago and now it’s dead! I tried few times to start it by pushing but no luck. I was able to stop one lorry driver who had extra battery and cables in his car and soon my Yebi was singing again, thanks to that kind gentleman! The rest of riding before arriving to DW Nest, road was wet and it was snowing a little but temperature remained fairly above 0 degree of Celsius staying in +1 Celsius.
When I arrived to our DW Nest, Ali was finished preparing his “Peto” while Sakke was making some minor adjustments on his “Elukka”. I kept on wandering where they have put their gear because their bikes looked like missing all the same gear I’ve been wrestling with in my garage. After a while Esa also arrived on his “Black Stallion” with jacket snowy and eyeglasses foggy. He had been riding in a light snowing with lips tight sealed trying to be careful not to break his brand new Yamaha. Soon our team was wandering around the bikes and making final preparations for the next day. It was almost three o’clock before we felt asleep after having a sauna. Saturday begun with a light snowing again and we decided to keep our thumbs up for some warmer weather for the day. Ali and Esa begun installing rack pack mountings on Black Stallion while Sakke and me were inspecting Yebi’s battery. Reason for running out of its juice yesterday was loose negative cable connection. It must be kept on eye while on the tour if it loosens itself so easily. Maybe the connector point on battery is a bit too hard metal, we’ll see that later.
Before midday we heard sound of motorcycles arriving and there was Harri and Antti from Team2 and Ilpo from Team3 who came to check how our Team1 was doing. Unfortunately Kari had been busy and he wasn’t able to join. Sakke’s wife Lea had been also busy while sewing Partner tags on our riding jackets, making coffee and she also prepared delicious lunch for all of us so many thanks to her! Soon our teams hit on the road. Sakke and Ali had been planning a shake down trip for us on various roads containing tarmac, wet sand and even some mud. Our route went through curvy roads and places which are definitely beautiful during sunny day but now we had only grey weather available. In Puumala we stopped for a coffee break and other customers in Café came immediately to ask whether we have some MC concentration going on or are we going somewhere further because four bikes had spare tires tied to bikes. Well, we tried to explain in humble way about our shake down ride and about our FIN2PAMIR tour plan but mentioning 3 months through Mongolia, Pamir mountains and Silk Road on a motorcycle freezed their faces somehow because only they could answer was “WHAT, are you serious?” Then we began to wonder don’t they know that you don’t need an aeroplane to get there and there’s a road which takes you there. Only thing one need to do is pack a bike and ride to there, like we plan to do 🙂
After a coffee break Harri began to wonder why his Xenon fog lights didn’t work in a proper way and he found out the same problem with his battery that I had yesterday – loose cable connections on similar battery I had! Let’s see how long time does it take for Kari to mention the same incident. Sakke noticed that his Elukka is dripping some oil and soon he remembered that he had done bash plate installation in wrong order causing it. A few minutes and it was also fixed.
After farewells Teams 2&3 left towards home and we decided to continue our SD ride. Sakke was leading the group like eagle flying on a curvy road and the rest of us were following him. I tried to be alerted because temperature dropped again to +1 Celsius and I was a bit worried if there might be icy spots on the road. Everything went well until we turned to some paved path, shortcut to the DW Nest through forest. I don’t know what my Yebi has against trees but on snowy ice my front tire slipped left side like a blizz I had very slow speed, like walking, but heavy bike had so much moving mass that when Yebi wanted to taste pinewood it really went for it faster than I realized. Guys helped me to get Yebi up and damages were only broken windscreen, right side winglet and front brake reservoir. We decided to call a day and returned to nest. A couple of hours later I had Yebi fixed with Ali’s assistance. We cut a new wind screen from polycarbonate plate and it fits so well that it looks like belonging to there. Esa was also making more mounting points for rack packs to his Black Stallion which regarding Esa managed all day very well. Returning home via motorway the self made screen created a turbulence which tries to raise my helmet off so maybe I’ll have to think over once more what to do with it. Overall the whole weekend was a success. It helped to realize that final packing has to be tested before leaving home. Loading bikes will take some time so it should be started with enough time available. Belts, bandits, leashes etc have to be good quality so that they’ll last the tour. Suspension and rebound has to be tuned for carrying heavier load than normally. Even though we didn’t have punctures all tire repairing tools should be easily accessible. Thanks guys, this was a nice weekend with you and there are more nice days to come during our Adventure! Many thanks also to Lea who took outstanding care of all of us during weekend. / Seppo 🙂
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