The following day we headed for Khabarovsk. In a fuel station about 700km from there we met Lisa, a biker (and Doctor) from Khabarovsk. We chatted and she gave us her mobile number and said to call her when we got to the city and she would help us find a hotel. Great! As we arrived into Khabarovsk, about 5km from where Lisa said to ring her from, the rain started so we pulled into a side road to put our waterproofs on. As we did, a car turned in and stopped. We thought he was just looking at the bike but he said ‘hotel?’ and started to use his phone. I said ‘thanks but we have to ring a friend who will help us’ to which he replied ‘your friend is Lisa?’ – ‘Yes’ I replied – ‘I am Lisa’s brother’ – so he called her and she came to meet us. What are the chances that driving into a city, where we’ve never been in our lives, that the very person that turns onto the same road as us, at the same time, would know who we were. Again, we were astounded. I know I keep saying about it being a small world but it’s instances like this (and the fuel guy who knew Doug and Polly) that reinforce this view. So Lisa gave us the option of a hotel or one of the local bike clubs, so we opted for the bike club. She took us to meet the president of the Lynx Amur bike club and he let us stay at their clubhouse for 2 nights while we cleaned the bike up.
|Ivanich - Lynx Amur Bike Club|
|'All bikers welcome' at Lynx Amur|
We headed for Vladivostok on the Sunday to be there in plenty of time to get organised for the mid week sailing to SK. It was a long ride and at 8pm we were still looking for somewhere reasonably priced to stay. We were outside one expensive hotel, using their free wi-fi, when a guy pulled up in his car. He made a phone call and gestured for us to follow him, which we did. He took us to another bike club, the Russian Samurais and one of the guys, Dmitry said we could stay at his house. This was great news. It is a huge house with 4 floors, high up in Vladivostok and each level has a balcony with great views overlooking the city.
|Vladivostok at night|
|The new bridge will be open soon|
The next day, he took us to see Yuri and Svetlana to organise the tickets for the ferry. At night we went out for a ride with a group of other bikers from the city over the bridge to the Russian Islands. We’d never heard of these but we saw a beautiful sunset before riding back to the city.
|Dmitry on his Harley|
|On the Russian Island with Vladivostok in the background|
The next day we took the bike down to the port and left it there to be loaded then finalised the customs etc. In the afternoon, Dmitry offered Iain the use of his Honda Pan European (the same bike as the Brit cops use). So with me on the back of Iain and Dmitry on his Harley we set off for a ride out of the city and some lovely food in an Armenian cafe. On the way back, we pulled into the gun club that Dmitry is a member of and Iain was able to do some shooting. At night, along with a few other bikers, we rode to the local beach ‘Shamara’. Again, we were not expecting what awaited us. It is like a beach resort on the Costa Somewhere - bright lights, beachside restaurants, cafes and arcades. Right up until the last night, Russia kept on surprising us.
|Iain on the Pan European|
|Iain on the Harley|