Here's Terry checking out an old rotting bridge on a particularly overgrown part of the BAM route ... many of the bridges needed us to stop and plot a safe path over them: Terry was leading and took what I suspected was a wrong turn onto a disused forestry trail. I hoped he would notice but after a few kilometres he hadnt. I sped up to try to overtake Tony and Terry and turn the team around, but the road didnt like my idea and I caught the steep edge of a stream in the middle of the track and went down. Nowhere near the speed of the fall the other day. This time just at 35-40 km/h. But I looked up and saw Tony and Terry riding away over the crest of a hill. It had been an exhausting day and I didnt have the energy to pick the bike up. The rain was still falling and without wet weather gear on, I was cold and soaked to the bone. I went to the stream and cleaned myself up a bit and waited for the boys to return. I only had to wait about 10 minutes as Terry did realise we might be on a wrong trail and turned round to ask my opinion, only to see I wasn't there. The boys helped me pick up the bike and we went back to the turnoff under the rail bridge that Terry hadn't seen and continued on. This was obviously the right track now, it (a) followed the rail line and (b) had the old roadbed of rotting logs. After just 3km, the heavens gave a full strength tropical downpour. We sheltered under a railway bridge to wait out the rain and ponder how we would make the river crossing beside us. We were now only 20 km from Etyrken village, which by now had become the target for the day. If the rain didnt let up, we would need to make a run for it sooner or later anyway, but after half an hour of sheltering under the BAM the downpour reverted to mere rain, and we decided that was good enough for us. The river crossing we decided to go for was basically an old log bridge that had collapsed and was now a floating log raft full of holes, jammed in between the banks. The only way across was to walk the bikes over the slippery wet logs. My bike went across OK, but Tony's got caught and slipped in between two logs. A lot of pushing, lifting, shoving and groaning followed but the bike eventually made it across to the shallows on the other side, from where it splashed down and could be ridden out. Terry's bike made it across without too much drama and we resumed our drive. A passing railway maintenance train saw us and watched us struggle through a couple of bogs, tooting wildly with excitement. There was one more set of Polish notes on my GPS ... and it was something to do with a river crossing. We arrived there, now just 14 km form Etyrken and pondered the crossing. I thought we might ask the railway maintenance train (which had a crane) to lift us up and ferry us across on the train bridge, but as we discussed options, yelling was heard coming from the opposite bank. 2 guys were waving their arms and telling us to wait. They got into a big Ural truck and drove across the river. This was an incredible stroke of luck to have a truck arrive just as we needed it. They directed us to a makeshift ramp and loaded all three bikes on board the big Ural for the bumpy rocky river crossing. Once on the other side of the river, all unloaded, we offered the guys cash but they refused. Then I suddenly realised they were waiting for us. It was something to do with they guy we met at the Railway Station this morning as we departed Novy Urgal. The guy who lived halfway to Fevralsk, the guy that I didnt pay much attention to. I had told him we were going thru Etyrken to Fevralsk and he had scoffed, saying we would not get that far in one day. He was from Etyrken and must have called people there saying watch out for 3 stupid english motorcyclists. The two guys in the Ural were Nikolai and his son Nikolai. They told us to stop in Etyrken and we would be housed, fed and sauna'd. It was an offer too good for three soaking wet, exhausted riders to pass up. As we are a fair bit faster than the truck, I told them we would wait at the edge of Etyrken for them and we sped off. Five km from Etyrken (population 350) and we saw the buildings of the town for the first time. After a full day in the cold and rain, it was like seeing an oasis as you walk through the desert. Sweet, sweet civilisation. We stopped on the edge of town to wait for the two Nicks and a blue 4WD zoomed up to greet us. The guy introduced himself as Nikolai's brother. 10 minutes later and the big Ural arrives in town and leads us to the town fire station. Each town in these parts has a fire brigade tasked with monitoring a huge area of forest for forest fires. We parked up the bikes in the fire station and were led upstairs to a little guest apartment there, complete with kitchen and bathroom. It was now just after 5pm, and the two Nicks said they would be back at 8pm to take us to their banya (sauna). By now I realised the older Nikolai was the guy who had spoken to me in Novy Urgal. I had paid so little attention to him back there that I had barely actually seen his face. He had been just a guy pointing at my maps and telling me we would not make it to Fevralsk today. After meeting us, he had taken a train back to Etyrken and then drove out to meet us in the truck. He had been waiting only about 5 minutes when he heard our engines pull up at the river crossing. It was all very lucky, and great timing. Nikolai, his son Nikolai, and his brother the fireman: If anyone I had ever met qualified as "real men" it was these guys. Tough as nails, nothing is ever a problem, and yet helpful as an old friend. In the banya, we spoke about other foreigners he had met in town. Only motorcyclists and a cyclist it seems. It was the same story that we had heard in Gerbi a few days back. He spoke of an Australian cyclist in recent years - he hadn't met him but had heard about him. And then there was the Polish motorcyclists, (Richard and Richard). They was here for 3 days last year (we were told - though Richard has now corrected that version to just one day) , and consumed a lot of vodka it seems !!! They too stayed in the same guest apartment above the fire station that we were now in, according to the locals.