Beyond Arctic Circle – Russian Adventure

To start from the very beginning, we planned to visit Russia already in 2009, but due economical situation many of us had to gave up this idea so we postponed our trip to 2010. It also gave us more time to rethink what we are really looking for and where to go. Now I can say that despite technical failures, unexpected road conditions and difficult weather we had a perfect adventure.

murmansk3This was our route – with ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki, then to russian border and through Karelia up to Kola peninsula, along White Sea coast to Kuzomen desert. After that through old roads to Murmansk. From Murmansk to Norway to visit northernmost point of continental Europe (not Nordkapp, which is actually an island) and back home. All in 2 weeks.

Despite long planning and preparation we packed our stuff in very last day, and one of us finished packing 4am, and can sleep full two hours before rushing to harbour. But everybody arrived almost on time and here we are, 7.00am, lined up for check in. Two hours later we were 80km more north in Helsinki and waiting fin long queue while finnish police was checking every driver with breathalyser. No problem with us.

Despite light rain we were happy to be here and after an hour Helsinki was behind us and we were cruising east at 100km/h. 270km to russian border and we planned easy 4hours to be on russian border.
Wrong! Only an hour later Paarn was complaining his KTM loosing power and only one cylinder working now. Now that was unexpected – so early and we have already problems. But with enough technical knowledge we avoided panic and started step-by-step technical inxpection. Electrical problems were exluded after short debate, so it must be fuel! Nobody didn’t expect that Päärn had installed cleanable fuel filter, but so it was. It was really useful improvement. This is what we got from filter. Mysterious jelly. And while we don’t have best fuel in Estonia, we didn’t expect to find this. We were cautious about russian fuel quality, but I can say that russian fuel we used was actually very good quality.

After 30 minutes KTM was running again and we hit the road again, And another 30 minutes later we were draining that fuel filter again! After that KTM was having some balance problems so it took a little nap. It was the first, but definately not the last one. Let’s talk about top heavy bikes.

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