TLRJ – Day 10 – highway feeling
When I was writing the last post yesterday, I sat close to the reception for best internet coverage. I got to chat with the receptionist and told her a bit about the trip. Apparently, the hotel is frequented by Russian celebrities and rock stars. Unfortunately, none of them was known to me. I learned some new words in Russian and my plans for the next days were received with a certain smirky disbelief. It was a nice conversation but I had to hit the sack. In the morning I had breakfast at seven and got a cooked one: a massive omelette and some pancakes. Everything delicious, so I didn’t want to leave any. This took a while, so I left only at 8 a.m. Not without thanking the nice and friendly people from the Hotel Kupecheskij, their friendliness is outstanding.
The sky was blue but the huge flooding in Krasnoyarsk indicated that there must have been massive rainfall during the night. Luckily it was Saturday morning, so the traffic was bearable. Nevertheless it took quite some time before I hit the Transsib highway again. It was a lovely morning and with a bit of luck, I would finally escape the rain today (spoiler alert: I didn’t see a single drop today). The road was good and the views were relaxing. Nothing to report until I hit Kansk. The sat nav and the road signs were diverging again and this time I followed the GPS. Supposedly the shorter route, but I hadn’t counted on the road in the city. Very bumpy. And flooding. And a bit of mud as well. But at least the sun was shining. After 220 km, I had my first petrol stop. The distances between them gets shorter as there are less and less of stations.
Two hours later I noticed that my speedometer wasn’t working anymore. I stopped at a petrol station and investigated the problem. Yes, the cable was broken. Of course I carried a spare one. Fixed after 10 min. I decided to fill up already. A friendly old man tried to talk with me – from where, where to….petrol talk. I managed quite well the get the message across.
The highway was excellent now. Mostly in perfect condition. The bike was running fine at 110 – 120 km/h. Of course I was still passed by many cars. The bike seemed to like the new spark plug.
Trains were one reason to lose time; they are enormous! Road works are another. More and more stops were
necessary; every thing you lose about 5 min. I am riding a tight schedule, I knew I would do the 800 km in 11 hours and so it was. Clock went one hour forward again; this also costs one hour per day. I filled up in Nishneudinsk and had a „Danish“ hot dog. Not too bad actually.
Although the bike rides fine and the views are realaxing, there is a certain tension building up. I’m getting closer to the tricky part – the road between Ulan-Ude and Chita and the five days between Chita and Vladivostok where accommodation is very rare. If I’d have a technical problem there, I’d be in trouble. But let’s enjoy the nice ride now! In Tulun I changed the batteries of my spot, but as I found out later, I had pressed the wrong button the whole time, instead switching on the tracking, I sent OK messages all the time. Hmmm, is my attention going down? I don’t think so, but I have been riding 7700 km so far in ten days without a break, a certain tiredness wouldn’t be strange.
Another 140 km to go….the leaking carb was mostly under control, the (mostly) good roads avoided my back aching, but in the last two hours, my right hand and lower arm started to ache. The carb has a strong spring and you need quite some force to open the throttle. Do this 10000? 20000? 30000? times in ten days….
The road work got annoying. I was tired and had to stop many times. Once the guy was missing so I entered the passing and found some oncoming trucks who weren’t very happy about me.
Finally I took the turn to Sayansk and hopped a bumpy road for 10 km. I filled up at a dodgy station and arrived at a quarter to eight. The personnel at the Hotel Ermak is in sharp contrast to the previous night – they have a quite „robust“ attitude when it comes to pleasing the customer. Actually I felt more like an intruder spoiling their evening. I turned out that I had canceled not John’s, but my room which caused a bit of confusion, especially as there was no English spoken.
There was a big party in a hall, the people were not the greatest singers, but compensated this with devotion and volume. When I passed by the room, I was exposed to a toxic atmosphere of ethanol. But that kind of ethanol that had already passed the body once and was exhaled again. Impressive!
I had a quick shower and presented myself in the restaurant 20:20 as it was announced that it would close at nine. My request was received with some annoyance and the proposal „fish?“ was readily accepted by me. No beer though! Water then. A carrot salad as entrée, salmon with mashed potato and a pastry. For the tenth of the money like yesterday. But apparently not every hotel can be like Kupecheskij’s, eh?
Later I changed the setting of the throttle cable on the carb, hoping this will give less pain in the hand. Normally, without the delay at the Russian border, I had planned a short ride to the Baikal from here, with a relaxing afternoon for John and me as a reward for the last days. Also the next day would have been short. Now I will do the trip to Ulan-Ude in one go tomorrow, without stopping at the Baikal. A pity, but it means I will be finally back on track of the PLAN!
I will be another 800 km tomorrow, without a time zone change, but I don’t know how many road works await me. I better leave early. 7700 km done so far. 4100 km still to go.
You know what? This country is big…..really big. I mean BIG!