F2 Chris & Daisuke around the world


'Twas the night before departure and we were by no means ready to go. Preparations went on late until the night, and we still didn't get going on time.

We left our respective homes in Tokyo at about 7 a.m. on June 4, 2003. Two hours later we met in Kawagoe outside of Tokyo to make our way to Toyama prefecture. Later in the afternoon we took a dip in a hot spring at Kusatsu before seting up camp at Shiga Highlands. The temperature took a big dip after we left Kusatsu. A warm 20 degrees centigrade at Kusatsu fell to close to zero by the time we went to sleep at the ski resort (no snow left) where we camped. We got the proof we needed that our sleeping bags would keep us warm at night on most of the anticipated climates we will travel through.

The next morning we stopped by the Goshiki Spa for (another) bath. The outdoor bath there is quite popular, but Daisuke was more impressed with the water properties of their indoor bath. Our next stop was the city of Nagano where the winter olympics were held in 1998. There Daisuke canceled his mobile phone service. From there it was straight to Itoigawa on the sea of Japan. There we discovered that Chris had a burnt-out tail lamp.

A BMW car dealer on Route 8 sold Chris a new bulb (and a spare) for his tail lamp and were back on track. We proceded to Takaoka city in Toyama prefecture. Just outside of town we camped at a site that overlooks the port of Fushiki. There was nobody else at the campsite, so we didn't have to pay to use the facilities.

Chris suspened his moible phone service in Takaoka the next morning. After that, we filled up the bikes with gas, bought some last-minute supplies and some Japanese sake as a gift for Russian bikers. We found the ship easilly, but the customs house was a bit of a challange to find. All our pre-boarding formalities were finished by 2:30 p.m. and we headed for the Mikhail Sholokhov.

The representitive from FKK Air Service eventually arrived to get us on the boat. Accompanying him was another rider, Kenji Nakayama from Nara who is riding his BMW GS to Europe. The front desk manager for the ship came to get our papers and assign our rooms. She informed us of meal times and other formalities. Meals are free, but drinks are separte. They can be paid for in Rubles, Dollars, or Yen.

The immigration procedures were supposed to be right after boarding, but the immigation official was late. It seems a ship docked without permission, and the officals were busy with that. The procedure itself was simple, and took almost no time。We just had to wait for an offical to get around to our ship.

Almost all the passengers on the ship are Russian. It was almost like we were already in Russia before the ship left Japan. Russian announcements, Russian food, Russian beer... We had a private cabin, so it was not like the second-class cabins on the Hokkaido ferries where everyone is packed together. The cabins have four bunks, a shower, and a toilet. All three of us riders were put up in a single cabin.
The rooms even have electricity (Russian-style plugs) so we could charges up our electronics and work on updating the website.

At just past 8 p.m. the ship finally departed for Vladivostok and the real start of our adventure.


平成15年6月6日 午前7時をまわった頃、それぞれの東京の自宅を出発。







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