Tuesday, July 3, Lindsay and Tom are off to pick up the bikes this morning. First stop, Customs, where they waited one hour to be called in and given stamped documents which MUST be presented when leaving Russia. Another hour wait at the Insurance office where our agent Yuri (Links,Ltd.com) has arranged third party coverage for the bikes. He told us getting this in Russia is now difficult as the European Green Card is no longer accepted here. Then time for lunch and one more hour wait at the port until the bikes were released. They were just as we left them in the hold of the ferry. It was great to have all the paperwork behind us. Yuri was indispensable, this process really would have been near impossible without him.
With the business of the day behind us it was time to have a look at Vladivostok. Our hotel is very central allowing us to walk to a vibrant promenade to take in some views and enjoy a delicious dinner of thick stews served with hot bread and herbed salted butter, accompanied with a little beer and great music.
Next stop, Khabavorosk, 750 km to ride.
The rain ushers us out!
But finally we find some sunhine and heat.
The Sopka hotel greets us.
Cities we spend our nights at on our way to Chita……and the scenery along the way. Siberia is vast and the scenery feels like we are riding in the Canadian North. It is rugged, empty and endless. In fact if Siberia were a country, it would be the largest in the world.
.Khabarouvsk to Birobidzhan (Sunshine, roads good with some potholes and dips)
Birobidzhan to Blagoveshchensk 200km (Sunshine)
Blagoveshchensk to Skovorodino 700km (Sunshine)
Skovorodino to Chita 920 km. ( started in sunshine…one hour…..then the deluge for the rest of the day. Road ok but with a short stretch of muddy construction)
Along the way:
Local farmers selling honey and produce. We were gifted a beautiful bottle of honey, which Tom is still carrying on the bike.
Good hotels and not so good hotels!
Great beds……and not so great beds.
A taste of dirt.
Along the way.
Wide open spaces with lots of water……and bugs.
The long wet ride into Chita, the wettest conditions we have ridden on this trip, and to add to our woes, it was a challenge to get high grade gas through the pass. Lindsay had gas packed, so that helped. But on our last part of the ride we were riding to conserve fuel, finding a station with 30km left in the tank! Then one hour from our hotel we ran into a heavily muddied construction zone to deal with when we were most exhausted.
We arrived at the hotel in Chita with outer gear dripping and mud spattered. The reception was still very hospitable. No photos of the last events as it was raining too hard and riding conditions were a bit iffy.
The odd automotive shop.
We were chasing down chain lube, the shop below did not have any, but the owner took us to two other shops where we finally found some.
Markets to investigate.
End of day.