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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Colebatch, Oct 18, 2012.
Never worked for me...but then nothing did..
Not much of the steppe seems to be grazing land - maybe cause the winters are so harsh for grazing animals to survive. It tends to be either farmed - mainly for grains - or is semi empty,
As for me, I have all sorts of crap in me ... but none of it Mongolian. (My interest there stems from an interest in history.) So ethnically I belong nowhere. But culturally very much European.
Looking down form the ridge, we saw the Sakmara River valley. We would now be crossing the river countless times for the rest of the day.
The track down didnt look it had a lot of use. It was washed out:
But still clearly recognisable:
And led to what appeared to be an abandoned village:
I remembered this village from 2010. One thing surprised me in 2010 .... out of a village of 20-30 houses, all seemed to be abandoned but one. The last house on the right. As we rode thru this abandoned town there it was. The last house on the right STILL had a neatly kept garden and trimmed lawn. The rest of the village was overgrown with weeds and grass.
After the last house, the Sakmara river appeared:
It was impossible to cross at this point in 2010 ... water too high, too fast and too murky. Now it was crystal clear, appeared not more than two feet deep along the fording path, and current was mild.
We decided to risk it ... just charge in without walking it:
Then it was Terry's turn:
It all went well. We felt comfortable with the Sakmara ... which as good since we would be criss crossing it all day.
My kind of RR this, thanks. Plenty of pictures and great writing.
We had a couple miles of forest trails to deal with on the western bank of the Sakmara
Before the land began to open up again
And we reached the river for a second time:
While Terry tended to play the test dummy for any muddy or boggy sections, for river crossings, I was the one who charged in "conkers deep" (balls first I believe is US equivalent) to be the test dummy, as I had more experience route picking across rivers.
Two crossings in a row ... no walking it first ... no drama .... I must be using up all my luck.
Then it was Terry's Turn: The best route is rarely straight across. The best line for crossing rivers is usually to go a yard or so on the calm side (upstream) of where smoother water is breaking and getting rougher ... which is exactly the route Terry is taking here. If you look back to the previous crossing, Terry was downstream of the break and caught deeper water than me and bigger rocks.
We continued on our merry way.
We pulled into our first populated village along the river. Nice tractor:
The text is cyrillic, but the language is not even vaguely related to Russian: We were in Bashkortostan now.
The colours of the Bashkirs are blue and green ... and almost all the houses and all the fences are painted wither blue or green. You could go broke selling red paint in Bashkortostan.
But we were soon on a gravel road out of the village:
Then turned off onto a track
And the track let to our next crossing of the Sakmara
Brimming with confidence after two breezy crossings I charged in.
I got about as far as the cows
Then hit a patch of moss covered slippery rocks and took a bath. Luckily Terry was on hand to capture the action:
Then it was Terry's turn:
The cows knew what was going to happen next ... Terry hit the same slippery patch and went down in sympathy
Now the days scorecard was getting more interesting....
Bikers 4 : Sakmara River 2
Bring on the next crossing .....
So, so fantastic.
Those cows look like they were laying bets. "Ok, $5 on this guy going down here."
Unbelievable journey and report, Walter. I kept waiting to say something witty, unique or fresher than the loads of other positive comments, but I'm at a loss.
I'll just sit back and continue to enjoy the show (and be terribly unproductive - thank god I'm self employed).
sorry guys but that was to funny especially with the cows looking and judging and looking.
Walter, as a Walter myself (named after my Dad's drinking buddy Colonel Walter Smudd ) I'm hugely enjoying yours and Terry's great adventure. The cows in the river pictures made me laugh to tears (OK, these Limey river-crosser wannabees are going to doink it ). Cows love to see humanoids get wet. Thanks for your journey reports, I've enjoyed the hell out of each one. I know you and Terry have left behind a grievious trail of broken hearts with the fair babes .
naw, they're wondering who those guys are wading around in their toilet!
And the Judges have given their scores.
Nice job guys. Thanks for all the hard work posting and answering all of our questions. Very classy!
Both you and Terry seems pretty cool, calm, and collected when it comes to riding different terrain..no substitute for lots of experience on rides like this...you guys seem like a perfect match....
thanks for the mad cow scorecard, nick,
Got to come back for more. OK, what's the stats on the bikes.
Here for you.
After another short link up track:
We were again at the river:
It seemed narrower and deeper and faster here ... same river ... go figure. Maybe after our falls, the cheeky confidence had been wiped off our smug faces, and it just looked harder ... The River was gaining the mental edge.
Then I hit slippery rocks again ... looking down at the back wheel, it was sure churning some water, but was barely moving the bike forward.
Then, the River struck ... 4-3 the score now as I went down again.
Before swallowing my pride and recovering the bike to the far bank.
Terry had been watching all of this ... and decided he wasnt going to play the game any more - He wasnt going to give the river the chance to even up the scores. He took the safe option, and walked the bike over.
Huh, quite intense....
Nobody wants to drown bike in the midle of nowhere.
Thanks Nickgindy, good score.. I,m sure the cows were very impressed.!
There would be a few other smaller crossings today, but there was only last crossing of the Sakmara. One more chance for the River to take the lead ... the fifth and final crossing of the Sakmara. The scores were at 4-3 ... no points awarded to Terry for his successful walking of the bike over the river on the previous crossing.
So we continued up the valley on the trail ..
Until we reached the river - line of trees in the distance always gave it away.
This time I learned from the last crossing ... I wasnt going to get out psyched by the river. So I grabbed my nuts and charged in without a moments hesitation. No guts no glory !
Only to get 2/3 of the way across ... and get stuck on slippery rocks. I could not move forward or back, but the bike was stable - I was not going to let the river take the bike. I called for Terry to help push the bike since I was getting no traction, and eventually made it to the far bank. With Terry's assistance, I cant be awarded a point. But just as importantly, the River never scored a point. The bike stayed upright. The score remained 4-3 in favour of the ADVriders, with just one last crossing for Terry (and the River) to play.
Unlike me, Terry spent 15 minutes walking up and down the river bank and wading through the river searching for the ideal spot to cross. In the end he decided against riding it ... he was going to walk his bike over. It was a defensive play. We could do no more than 4 successful mounted crossings ... but could the river even up the score? On the last play of the last crossing?
It was time to play ball and Terry nervously walked his bike into the crystal clear Sakmara:
While Terry did all his soul searching and path searching, some locals had come down to the river for a swim, and they were watching as closely as I was, somewhat bemused why foreigners would be here, in the middle of a remote river valley in the Ural Mountains, trying to push motorcycles across a river. They wanted to jump in and help, but I cautioned them that it wouldnt be fair to the River if they did. Terry was on his own.
With water up to his headlights, it would be a suitable finale ... but Terry hung tough, and in the end managed to get his bike to within 3 feet of the dry bank, before getting stuck on slippery rocks
The locals jumped in and pulled him the last few feet to dry land.
Our day with the Sakmara was over. We had won ... 4:3 to the ADV team
In all honesty, there was one further crossing of the Sakmara, a 6th, but it doesnt count. It was at a town, so was widely used, and was wide and shallow ...
Then we climbed up into the hills and left the valley behind:
To make our way into the Bashkir town of Zilair, where we stopped for late lunch and tried to dry out our socks.
The trails for the rest of the day ranged from wild and rough (real suspension shakers)
To slick and smooth
But in the afternoon we made it to our destination for the day, a small hotel / restaurant on the outskirts of the Bashkir town of Baymak.