27 May 2016
Mogocha – Chita 617 kms travelled = Total 3759 kms
Another long day.
The road is surprisingly good. Yes, they are some stretches with potholes or recently repaired humps, but slalom riding is the norm and taking off some speed, for me down to 80 kmh.
The other obstacles are waves or dips in the road. They come in a package, so at least half a dozen or more. In most cases there is a warning sign, so I can react by standing in the pegs to counter-act the bouncing bike. On a bike this is relatively easy, for a truck it is hard work. I can see them serving to minimise the bouncing impact on their trailer, sometimes even driving ride into the opposite lane. Cars, here in Russia, seem to fly-over them with high speed. Shock-absorbers must have a short life in Russia.
Today I am ‘toast’ – all is good.
I re-sign my memory repertoire of songs to keep me entertained.
The journey now leads through Tundra. The trees may be a tad taller and a little thicker, but otherwise small.
The elevation is between 500 and 1000 meters, this seems to be the ‘high-road’, a constant grey band snaking through the landscape.
Now we see, I presume, ‘typical Russian villages. All small wooden houses, darkened from the harsh environment. Most have a patch of field behind them, some people work it. I see some cattle, horses and goats. We pull off the road into one. I do indeed feel being transformed into a different century. All appears very basic, harsh done by the weather, ducking low into the ground. Roads are dirt and we look for a ‘gastinitza’ for some food. Naturally we stick out like dogs’ balls, people are curious. Finally we find a place, and it is close by the main-road, we had left only a couple of kms before. We get our usual for next to nix.
Riding along the landscape is now bar of any vegetation. All barren covered in grass. Some parts are fields freshly ploughed, rather large ones. I reckon Mongolia must look like this, I’d better start thinking more layers, as the wind rushes across without any barrier. How much top-soil must be blown away and where to? Travelling almost due west, to my right I can see a mountain range running parallel to the road, to my left the same but farther away. I estimate this valley to be about 50 kms wide. Later it turns out it has been almost 160 kms long. At the end of the valley we are back into the stunned forest of birch and pine.
At another spot right out of no-where a church with ist shiny golden onion-shape top gleams in the sun-light. To make it more dramatic, it is positioned on top of a mountain, close to a gap the road has cut through this mountain. Breath-taking but I am tired, like to arrive and take this picture with my minds camera.
Chita awaits and we search for a hotel. I am buggered and don’t feel like cruising the city, in rush-hour traffic, cold and tired. So I book the first Hotel available with safe parking space for the bikes. Meanwhile we get support from the local bikers, all three of them. They guide us to our Hotel and later we are invited to their bike room in a bar ‘Black Duck”.
A rest day tomorrow to catch up with stuff, relax before the last leg to Ulan Ude, another 600 plus