Krasnoyarsk, Russia to Novosibirsk, Russia – Day 32




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.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!


Irkutsk, Russia to Krasnoyarsk, Russia – Day 31




Sunday, 27 August 2012 Irkutsk, Russia to Krasnoyarsk, Russia (708 miles) Total Trip Miles – 8103. 15 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 changing to cold rain & wind with temps in the 50’s approaching Krasnoyarsk

Wow…what a long and challenging day on this journey around the world…the day started off as usual with an alarm at 5 am allowing me time to prepare for the days ride – book a hotel in Krasnoyarsk, write my blog and prepare my gear for the day.  Most recently the days have been long and grueling with 4-5 hours sleep…arriving in each city late in the evening and up early to do it all over again in a city near you.

This day started out like all others and for the most of the day, the weather was sunny & warm – perfect riding conditions.  Around 6 pm as I was just outside of Kansk, I pulled over to tighten up my gear for the weather clouds I saw ahead in the northwestern skies – additionally, my brother Tye had updated the weather forecast on Facebook and I was prepared for a wet last few hours on the road.

The highways are oftern confusing and the M 53 through Kansk didn’t let me down – typically as this main road passes through a city, it winds right through the town seemingly on every little backstreet, back yards and you name it making very little sense given the volume of traffic including huge over-the-road trucks.  Today’s trip though Kansk weaved me along a 4.5 mile road of mud, pot holes & rocks that seemed like an eternity to navigate.  But I made it and continued towards Krasnoyarsk in a drving rain & wind for the next 5 hours with temps in the mid 50’s.

Folks, there is no such thing as weather-proof gear under these types of conditions and slowly rain begain to creep into every corner of my gear – first my sleeves, riding boots and eventually a bit of dampness in just about every spot.  As darkness fell, visibility became difficutl with the rain, fog and glare from oncoming traffic.  Found myself a rabbit, in this case a large dump truck, and just focused in on his talilights  I also was reminded by my clock I keep from my home time zone that during these final hours of my rided I reminded myself that most of my family and friends were having coffee & breakfast and starting their days…it can certainly be tuuuuuf out here in Siberia for this poor fella from North Carolina!

Anyhow, fortunately I have a GPS and I made my way through the streets of Krasnoyarsk eventually arriving at the hotel – I absolutely must have looked like one of those fishermen on the seas around Alaska after long day onboard ship working the crab boxes.   The Dom Hotel is extremely nice with secure parking in their courtyard and I had a 12:15 am dinner at their restaurant – meatballs, mash potatoes and a Coke – a perfect ending to my day!

Earlier in the day, I passed several, what I beleive to be, canola fields that expanded well off to the horizon and I snapped a picture for you of the typical bathroom accomodations at my gas stops.  That’s right, every fuel stop I’ve made comes complete with an outhouse that has a carefully constructed hole in the wooden floor with two blocks to postion you feet…ladies – welcome to Siberia!

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!