Out of Krasnoyarsk we passed this old relic. A reminder of long gone and sometimes tense days.
We were now cruising towards Irkutsk on the M53. The stretch between Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk is pretty boring. It is a straight transport stretch. You cross the Trans Siberian Railway lots of times. Spending time waiting at the rail road gates.
You also notice that you are entering areas where in the wintertime it gets pretty cold. The stock of firewood were steadily increasing outside the houses.
The road is pretty good all the way. There is only a short stretch of about 50 k's where there is gravel road. The problem here is all the heavy traffic and the dust. When you overtake one of these trucks you don't see diddley squat until you have passed them. There are a few seconds of pure terror when you open up the throttle, go IMC and commit
Just before Kansk we stopped for gas. As we pulled to a stop we saw another bike there. It was a BMW R1150 GS with funny plates. We got our helmets of and said hello. Then we met Jacob.
Jacob was on his way to Vladivostok and then USA. He came from Israel and had just retired from what used to be called Mossad. He was a man of many words and now on his way around the world. We asked if he would ride with us to Irkutsk. That he would. The Trans Sibir eXpedition 2012 now counted four bikes for a short time.
On hard sunny days like this, when the riding gets tough
we try to interact with the locals. Spread the word of peace
Steve is stepping up to do the deeds here...
What I love being on the road is the different and untraditional people you meet. You learn about the local people and their traditions. You meet fellow travelers, like Jacob, going on their "once in a lifetime trip", and you meet your occasional Swede. This dude was on his way from Stockholm to Tokyo
We pressed on. Driving like this is solitude. Even if you ride with a group you are riding in solitude. You get a lot of time to think. I was thinking about BAM and not going there. It pissed me off
When the dusk started to set in we got close to our hotel of choice. Right before Alzamay, it was on the right hand side of the road. Just like our friend in Krasnoyarsk told us. We headed of the M53 and parked outside. Steve went in to get rooms, but came out with the look of a teenager ditched by his girlfriend on prom night
No rooms available. No worries. We saw another hotel on the other side of the road. We saddled up and crossed the road.
As we reached the parking lot we noticed a KTM parked there. It had english plates on. Cool
Someone to talk to and maybe get some info from. By the look of the bike this guy had been out a cold winter night before. We kicked the dog and went inside
The hotel was full. ***FH***
We had to rough it tonight. We looked around to see if we could see something that resembled and english guy. No joy.
The restaurant was full, but we decided to get some food anyway. We ordered in our near fluent russian. "Shashlik". "Njet". "Ohhh", switched to english. "Food, hungry" pointing at stomach. Got a menu with pictures. Low on blood sugar we were now saved. Getting a table would not be hard. I would just stand beside one and stare
Us vikings do have a reputation also...
As we looked for a table we heard a voice in a lower than normal tone
. "Hey guys. Over here" .We had found our englishman
We got introduced and Rod bid us to sit down. We exchanged stories and Rod told us that he had just come out of Mongolia. Coming from Kazakhstan. A bell started ringing in my head.
"You rode with Walter and Terry?" I asked. The answer was yes.
"Where are they now?" I continued.
"Well, Walter is in Moscow getting shagged and Terry is in Irkutsk. I think Walter is coming to Irkutsk tomorrow night".
"They still doing BAM?" I continued.
"Affirmative" Rod said.
What are the odds? We had traveled 10.000 k's. The hotel we were supposed to stay in was full. We crossed the street and there was Rod smiling
I now saw a way of getting the Trans Sibir eXpedition 2012 back on its tracks
I texted Walter on FB. This is the transcript:
Hola. Can you do me a favour and ask Terry to reserve four beds at Ninas tonight? We'll be there around 1800. So we will meet in Irkutsk after all
Walter J Colebatch
Walter J Colebatch
I will be there about 1 am
That was it. I asked Erik and Steve if they were still keen on doing BAM and going to Magadan. They were. Then I told them I would ask Walter tomorrow if we could tag along. Here we had two legends who had done BAM before. Now they are doing it again at the same time as us.
Note to self: Remember to by ticket for the EuroMillions lottery.
Now my only hopes were that they would agree to ride with three complete strangers they knew nothing about. I crossed my fingers.
We finished our meal with Rod, wished each other good luck, bid our farewells and stepped onto our iron horses again. At around midnight we were all snug in our sleeping bags inside our tents by a lake outside Alzamay.
My last thought before I fell asleep was: "I am going to Magadan".