Tuesday, 28 August 2012 Krasnoyarsk, Russia to Novosibirsk, Russia (525 miles) Total Trip Miles – 8626. 11 hours riding
Weather Temperature for the first part of day in the upper 40′s changing to mostly sunny in the upper 60′s later with several periods of light rain
Today was a welcomed surprise with a significant change in the road conditions – for the first time since leaving Vladivostok, there were no gravel, dirt or muddy roads – only roads that would rival any two-lane highways anywhere in the world…it made for quite an enjoyable day for riding and a needed rest from the grind of the last several days.
Finally was able to get my GPS dialed in to find the hotels that I book…the issue I had were the English translations from Russian; since sometimes that would vary between what the GPS would recognize. Anyhow, I have been able to locate the last two hotels, but did have some issues today with finding the Tikhaya Plosad Hotel – while the GPS got me to within a couple of blocks, the hotel was hidden behind the main building. As Brad, American cyclist on the streets of Novosibirsk, I was asking if anyone knew English and did find a guy who worked with me for about 30 minutes…his wife and young daughter even lent a hand. I called the hotel and passed the phone over to him and even then, he had difficulty trying to determine its location.
If a Russian to a Russian can’t figure it out, what do the think the odds of me remotely coming up with the spot. Finally, one of the girls from the hotel met us on the street – she still wasn’t quite sure how to get he bike over to the hotel – they did advertise free parking. In the end. I can only imagine what the hundreds of people walking down the streets of Novosibirsk this afternoon thought about this big guy wearing a helmet & filthy riding suit. A funny thing…a young couple did approach us thinking that the man trying to lend me some assistance was somehow up to something less than admirable intentions – she asked me if I needed any help and was I OK since she probably saw me flayling my arms and being a bit dramatic…you know what I mean!
The boutique hotel is very nice; however the surroundings send some red flags…graffiti, unkept streets, folks hanging out of windows from large apartment buildings…kind of a large city alley feel. I did remove all my gear, but all I could think was some green spray paint on my bike in the morning or even worse. Late tonight I did go outside to check my ending mileage and the manager in broken English kept saying something about my motorcycle and “the box”. I though he meant the side pannier boxes mounted on the bike should be brought in, but he grabbed a flash light and huge key and pointed for me to follow. We walked down the dark streets to huge entrance under the building that had this wide aisle of nothing but plated steel doors down both sides – probably a hundred about the size of a one-car garage door. I was sold on idea and moved the bike – thanks Alexander!
Regarding the images posted imagine the motorcycle with three older men riding, no helmets and horrible blue smoke streaming from the tailpipe – I have seen that same scenario countless times over the last several days. The second is typical of most city entrances and the last is to say TEXAS even exists in Siberia! What’s funny is that is actually spelled using the Russian alphabet…they use the letter “C” and their “S”. Oh…I did start to notice that the out houses are starting to look a bit more modern as I go farther west.
A note regarding fuel stops…now keep in mind this took some trial and error given the language barriers, but you pull up, insert the knozzle into the tank with your desired gas type, walk over to the small pay window that has a primitive slide tray that you give them the estimated dollar amount (they all have them and most times you can’t see the person behind the glass and if you can it’s throught the small window opening) and pump your gas. If you gave them 500 rubles and the total was 424 for example, you walk back over to the window and change is provided in the sliding tray…if you hit the 500 ruble mark the pump stops…your decision is to just go with that or give them more money. Culturally I find Russians expect payment in hand first, then the service – for the most part without exception.
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