From Vladivostok I got to Khabarovsk in two days. But it was not easy as the weather was getting worse the further inland I went. It was during these two days of getting totally wet and cold, sliding on snow and not being able to see the road properly as my visor was fogging up, that I decided not to ride any further. I set myself the target to get to Khabarovsk only and from there arrange alternative transport across the coldest parts of Russia. Just as well. The winter this year was particularly long and harsh with April temperatures still reported at -20 degrees centigrade in parts of Siberia.
Luckily straight upon arrival to Khabarovsk city centre, whilst looking for a hotel I met Pasha, a member of the Russian Pistons Motorcycle Club who understood exactly what I needed at that moment in time- somewhere safe to park up, have a hot shower...warm up, eat and rest. He arranged for all these except the latter. Man, we drank a lot of vodka...and slept little that night...
All the guys in the club were so supportive and helpful that I did not have to do anything except decide what to do with the bike transport, which they would arrange. In a few days the bike was on a truck and I on the 4 day train journey to Krasnoyarsk where people from the Barghest Motorcycle club were waiting for me. Again here I was looked after until we picked my bike up from the freight depot and I was ready to ride again. My trip followed this trend across the whole of Russia. Everywhere I went some motorcycle club would have already been informed by the one I stayed at previously that I am on my way. Hence I just rode from one city to another where at the end of the day I was greeted by bikers who provided me with a bed, food, a tour of their city , and more vodka... As such I have only good things to say about Russia and its people. They love visitors and even the traffic police are easy-going if you have a laugh with hem. I will definitely come back to see the places I've missed due to the cold weather and meet up with the guys who helped me so much.
In Ukraine I gave the bike a good service, had a look around the rather pretty Kiev, and was off again. First to Krakow, then Auschwitz, Czech, Germany, France and Spain....seeing family and friends along the way.
Well, this is it. I am very grateful to everyone who's helped me, but in another sense I am most thankful to the motorbike that's never let me down. I've travelled some 60,000km and apart from the usual wear and tear, 4 punctures, 2 headlamp bulbs and a clutch cable, nothing has broken.
My trip is over. It took exactly 2 years to the day. Without a doubt the best thing I have done in my life so far. I am a little sad that this time of complete freedom is over, but on the other hand I am looking forward to having a normal life for a while and making use of the fresh outlook I gained on my journey.