The Road to Bangladesh
Taz and his Goldwing head east
In December 2005, Steve (Taz) Taslin, a member of Capital region of the Goldwing Owners Club, G.B. undertook a journey to Bangladesh. In doing so he hoped to raise money for the GWOCGB national charity, the NABD and capital region's own local charity. He was aided and abetted in his quest by Ray (Yetti) Brooking, Capital regional rep. For those who know Taz's sense of direction and timing, this was no mean feat. The following is an account of this journey as it unfolded, in the form of e-mails, text's and phone calls back and forth between the two, across the miles.
"Slovenia 10hrs in saddle. Pissing cold, done Austria."
"Sofia, Bulgaria 10 hrs cold. I am ok"
Update.............."Having agg, Bulgarian border, didn't bring log book"
My reply "Twit. Can we do anything this end?"
Update.............."Got in. just"
" In Istanbul, done 2000 miles"
Update...... " Done France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey"
My Reply " Hope your taking pictures."
Update....... " Only started now as nothing interesting, saw 3 motorbikes in 1500 miles"
Can I thank you all for the support you are giving to the worthy causes that we are collecting for. I am heading for the middle of Turkey. It is not beyond a wing coming here as most of the roads are good and it is cheap. Petrol is on par with UK. The drivers are all nutters. If you like Chinese food, hard luck. There are no paki or chinky restaurants (spelt that wrong, bad borstal education) I saw John the Baptist's arm today in a museum I bet he was here on his Harley. Well they do cost an arm (I never saw the leg) other than that not many Motorcycles. The wing draws amazement wherever it goes.
Day 6 Yetti
Just spoke to Taz he is in Turkey still, a place called Capadosia. It rained all day, temp was 37f and at the moment it is snowing!
I write from a lovely town smack in the middle of Turkey. It is full of very interesting historical caves. The roads are good and the scenery is breath taking. Things are not expensive. I've had a good rub down in a Turkish bath. Snow is becoming a great problem. They don't grit the roads and I'm heading over and through mountain passes. So I will head south and give The Black Sea and Armenia a miss. Otherwise I could wait another week. So I'm heading Due East to Iran tomorrow. My present Mileage is 15133. Romford to Istanbul was 2016 miles the rest is from Istanbul to my present location. I have ridden between 3500 rpm and 4000rpm which is 86mph to 96mph ish. I have put in 273.23 litres of petrol. Roughly 64 gallons. The people in the country are nice, drivers in cities are nutters. The wing attracts so much attention as many people have never seen anything remotely like it. Thanks to all of you lovely people for your words of encouragement and good wishes . If the spelling is wrong WHAT do you expect from a Taffy Paki?
Looks like the roads are getting worse, I have spoken to him and he forgot to put in the email about the bag on the back of the bike that fell off! Only had all his documents in and his camera. He was flashed from behind by a car driver, looked back to find the bag gone. Turned round and there it was about a mile or so back, he said someone up there was looking after him today and if it had gone that would have been the end of the trip, he never was a boy scout.
I have covered 450 miles today and in the process I got stopped by the police for doing 125kph in a 70kph limit so it was an eighty squid fine but what the heck.
I am now in a town called Mus pronounced "mush". It is still cold, 8 centigrade. I have covered the distance in 10 hrs. The roads have changed because there are no tourists that come to the East part of Turkey. The D300, which is the main road into Iran is tarmac one minute then dirt track with pot holes and ruts, then gravel, which makes the bike wander like it's on marbles, then it's lovely tarmac again with Abdul coming the other way with main beams on. The people here react so well to the bike. My bike is parked in the main foyer at the insistence of the hotel manager for safety he says. It is all dirty but I think he wants to make love to it and talks to her. Tomorrow, weather permitting, Iran. I am 350 kilometres from Hakari which is the border town. May I thank you all again for showing Interest. I couldn't have done this without Ginny, Yetti and Oggie Oggie. A great thanks to them.
No news from Taz today, couldn't get his mobile. Will let you all know when I hear from him.
I am 250 miles West of Tehran. The weather is absolutely lousy. It has snowed and my progress on the road has been dismal the roads are not straight; they are filled with trucks travelling at 40 mph. On top of that I cannot see very well because the screen is icing up, so I have to stop every once in a while to clean the ice. I am wearing 2 pairs of gloves but my fingers and toes get cold. Petrol is one-third the price of UK.
The drivers are the worst this side of hell. They drive in the dark without lights on. When they do put them on it's main beam, they don't signal and they overtake on blind bends. They see the bike overtake, then try and make you stop so that they can look at the bike and ask how much in American dollars.
I also find it hard finding any hotels as all the signs are in Farsi (Iranian) also a lot of the road signs are not in English. Top speed by law is 110 kph. The surfaces are not as bad as Turkey.
My orange phone won't work so if you get no contact phone wise do not worry. They hate the Americans but every hotel wants dollars. Credit cards won't work. I parked the bike up in the hotel's underground garage where some sod nicked my waterproof trousers.
It was snowing this morning so off I went to try and buy some. No luck. His conscience must have got the better as he sent them back. It wasted 4 precious daylight hours, as the day is short. I had to walk half a mile to find this Internet cafe in the slush. But you are all worth it. Sorry no happy things to say but it can only get better.
I am 370 miles from the Afghanistan Border. Done 535 miles today, bloody boring. Don't ever take a motorcycle or car into Tehran. You take your life into your hands. I skirted it but there are no signs, and very few roads are numbered. I was using E44 it was very cold and very boring as there isn't much to see in this part of Iran.
I got stopped again for speeding but they couldn't understand "OLLOCKS OFFICER NOT ME". So they waved me bon voyage in Iranian. People are pleasant and helpful. In the town I am staying at, the local police with all the red lights showed me to a hotel with secure parking, which was very nice. You cannot leave the bike alone in the streets otherwise they would strip it.
Food. If you like lentil soup and hamburger and rice that's all they eat No Kentucky, Big Macs, No beer, Sex, Music, only instrumental allowed, FUN innit.
Everyone asks for CDs. I haven't seen any large bikes. The local car here is the old Hillman Hunter, still made under licence called PAYKAN. There are lots of modern cars. The Japs and Peugout have the market. Tomorrow I head for the holy city of Mashad. Its about 150 miles from Afghanistan border.
That is when the fun begins!
I have had to take my Jerry can to make sure I get through between towns. It may be a while before I can contact you again; touch wood the bike has been splendid.
Before Steve left we were working out the best place for the 4-gallon Jerry can, it ended up on the back seat with loads of padding. He said getting petrol will be a great problem in Afghanistan, as petrol fill ups could be as much as 200 to 250 miles apart or more, do not think an 1800 could quite do that?
I am in Mashad. One of the holy cities in Iran. Close to 5000 miles covered now. On Friday I will enter Afghanistan at Herat. I hope to cross it in three days. It's a bit iffy as the old Taliban are still in the rural areas. So if you see a geeza on an orange bike with a turban and beard. He nicked it off me (But he might be looking for a future Treffen site (If GWEF allows them in).
But seriously I will be ok cause I got you lot behind me, and I want to get all that dosh for our club charities. Roads have been good and poor. But I have managed to average good speeds. I have passed a very large desert DHASTE KABIR.
Temps have gone up a bit, but I don't play the radio in case I offend so I have had desert on both sides and nothing else. My headset is so tinny I rather play on the speakers. (1800 speakers are not as loud as the 1500 ones).
I washed the bike today and threw the jerry can away as it was no good and got a new one for three pounds. I paid, ONE POUND TWENTY FIVE PENCE ENGLISH MONEY per gallon ! I will answer your emails, cross my heart. (Wait a minute I'm Muslim)
The land of no Licence, Mot, Road tax, Number plates, and age limit. Speed limit, anything goes. Just don't hit a goat or anything else. IT'S YOUR FAULT WHATEVER.
Two hours at the border. They can't read any European lingo at all. Its Friday all is closed, Sh*t.
The Wing causes man to go find official who can stamp paperwork (BIG CROWD) He asks me what to do! I show him, thank him and I bugger off ASAP.
Ten year olds are a problem; they follow me on 125s in town and are dangerous. Five on a bike is common. Camels and donkeys use the road as well as a load of people who have no road sense.
Tomorrow I ask the police for safe passage to Khandahar, Mid Afghan which is 350 miles or so, as the road is infested with bandits. They say they will escort me, Please God. They also said a bribe would go a long way, so we will see. Many dangers ahead till I reach the Khyber Pass.
I was considering turning back to Iran and giving Afghanistan a miss. But eight bloody days to get a bleeding visa. So Sh*t or bust.
I leave at 5am and hope the Taliaban are still tucked up with their teddy bears when I fly past. They shot some one in the town I am going to yesterday and the coalition army are still down parts of that region. I have no choice. I want to come to the Capital party and if I wait for the mountain passes to clear of snow I wont make it.
Left at 5am got 80 miles Hit a rock punctured a small plate on the front of engine. Put bike on tipper lorry, came back to hotel Hope they can weld Aluminium. I am OK. Its like this place won't let go. I will have to start a wing region!
Update Day 15
I need the plate with the drain plug at the front of the engine with gasket. Plus semi synthetic oil. My daughter will DHL it to me. I have also asked John Higgins as he may have the time to locate and fetch it. Please assist otherwise I will grow a bleeding turban out here. I was going (as you shouldn't do) 80mph on a brand new bit of road. 85 miles from my hotel, trying to get past the Taliban Area before they started waking up when I hit this rock the size of a football. It was there for decoration purposes only.
Anyway I was lucky I was 1 km from a town and I had a bit of oil pressure, so I limped into this village, parlayed with the headman who wanted 100$ to take the bike back 85miles which I didn't argue with, he got a load of blokes, 10 I think. and put it on a slightly over heating Dumper truck, so undignified but it got me back. Two big bundles of hay in sacks each side, ensured the bike wasn't damaged and off we went. To be honest I thought that was the end of the adventure, and I was very upset.
When I got back to the hotel we had to manhandle it off. Bloody heavy. By the way, I got a young man to straddle it all the way in case it went over. Imagine my joy when I saw that it wasn't the crank cases but the plate. So I knew I could carry on with rest of the journey. This will put me back a week but I hope happy days are here again soon.
I have met Spanish and Italian coalition forces here. This country is still run by local warlords, believe me. Mike, a UNESCO guy I met, is clearing anti personal mines. He also has to decommission 400 T74 Russian tanks to make sure they can't kill anybody. The other 100 the government want. What for? A "symbol" was the reply.
Half the people carry Kalashnikovs which puts the willies up me. Mike has nearly 1000 tons of rocket propelled grenades, guns and ammo to destroy and would you believe pirated stinger missiles made in Pakistan with computer guidance. You get $42,000 if you hand one that works to the Yanks as a disarmament incentive. I wont give up guys help me get there. Mike by the way hails from Oxford Good Old England Bless him I wouldn't do his work for all the Wings in the factory.
Phoned Steve tonight he is a bit fed up with the delay but at least he is ok. If any one out there could help him out with getting the bits he needs quickly give me a ring. The parts are front bottom engine cover (its got the drain plug in), Gasket, Synthetic oil (5 litres) And ? 1 litre dot 4 hydraulic fluid
I think they are trying to start up a region.
Every time I leave the bike they undo the covers and sit on it and take pictures. They don't ask. They just put the belly cowling to one side put it on the centre stand and do as they please, in the day time, maybe 3 times a day. I have employed a guard to keep them off. Maybe it will work? Mike thinks I can get the ali welded at the airport as aircraft are made of ali. I am going to wait as I have still 2500 miles to go and I would rather be safe than leaking everywhere.
Day 16 Update
It will take 2 days to come to UK, 3 days to get it out here, If I am lucky, I must thank Mike Harrington's set-up. I thank Kevin and also J. Higgins for running around for me. They cant DHL it straight to me apparently?
There is a castle here from 1BC that Alexander the Great had as a pad. Looks like they will put "Taz woz here" too. I have read the forum and it made me laugh. Thank you wingers for your humour and donations. How do you keep the little buggers off your bike? Move it by pushing it 2 times a day. They still find it.
Taz will also have to find some oil and Dot 4 out there as it seems that it would cost a lot to air freight this sort of stuff as it is combustable.
Situation is getting bad here as bombing this morning 200 miles away. Our town is under alert. Even in Kabul 3 people were killed by bomb. I am sorry I have to put the bike on a truck and send it 650 miles by road as it sticks out like a sore thumb. And it is too risky for me to ride.
At least it wont be seen under canvas. I am still awaiting Parts. Mike the bomb man cannot help me. He has tried. It was him who gives me all the briefs he gets from the military.
He also warned me of a grenade attack not far from here.
But other than that everything is hunkey dorey
love Taz (the prisoner)
Just spoke to Taz and he is OK, just very p*ssed off about not being on the road to Bangladesh. He is going to get the bike transported to Kabul, possibly tomorrow, then he will fly there as the roads are too dangerous to travel on. Evidently there has been an election out there and the people that are not happy about the results are killing people! Lets hope he gets out there quick!
He said that when he gets to the Khyber Pass he would have to have an armed escort through, as it is even worse there.
We had to load the bike on top of a coach with a mobile crane. It is now sharing the roof of a Merc coach with a Toyota estate car and 500 cartons. In the process of lifting it we severed an electric wire 4 colours going to a metal cup. Similar to a cream carton for coffee in size that you get at cafes . Can anyone tell me if it will stop the bike from running?
Steven Edglar says it may be a sensor for the crankshaft, and sends pulses. If it is I will have to fit another one.
Here at War Zone
So many people up the club meeting tonight (Wednesday) are saying how riveted by the daily reports you are sending, so keep them coming, but most of all keep safe.
We now have over the £1000 so it will not be long before we get to 2 grand?
Peter Russell has forwarded to Honda UK your details and the out line of your trip. But no response yet
Keep your head down and no singing "Alice " out loud. OK!!
Yetti & Ginny
If I don't connect the electric wires at all will I be able to ride the bike? They have sheared right where the wire goes into the sensor, which is sealed. It cannot be opened and is slightly squashed.I fly Saturday morning to Kabul to meet Tango 1. Staying at Hotel Intercontinental Tel 0093202201321 hotel
No one died last night from the bomb blast. I am receiving Emails but AOL sometimes is slow.
Yetti Day 20
I spoke to Taz tonight and he said one of the people that work at the hotel asked if he would like to go and visit the local Mosque?
Taz agreed to go with him, when he arrived, he said giggling " It was like taking coals to Newcastle?" There was a funeral going on.
(Taz if you don't know is an undertaker!)
He flies to Kabul tomorrow at 11am his time, then he said " I have to find the coach and Tango 1, then find a crane to get it off, push it to the hotel to a place I can work on it. Find the place where the part for the bike is, fit it on and do the wiring and hopefully be on my way either Saturday afternoon or Sunday."
Well that makes my Saturday look very boring?
He sends his regards to all and said there have been no more bombs today.
Lets hope all goes well for him tomorrow and all goes to plan. Or as they say where Taz is going - "Inchala"
...continued next issue.