Editor’s note: Read Part 1 of John’s epic ride from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to his home in California, USA here. Part 2 can be read here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.

Drove the shores of Lake Baikal today. Towering snow covered mountains left, deep blue lake on the right. I wore every piece of warm gear I had today. Damn cold mountain passes – even right next to the lake. Damp cold.

Lake Baikal

The “Steel Mule” KLR650 rolled like champ. It ate up the deep gravel construction parts easily and gave me a reason to stand out of the saddle giving my sorry backside a change of pressure!

I rented a little place by the lake and made a mess of spaghetti with fried sausage, pistachios, pesto and fresh green onions from the hosts garden.

Baikal Dinner

Baikal – Fresh Green Onions From Hosts Garden

Baikal Hosts Fresh Green Onions

Baikal Host Provided Fresh Preserves

Baikal Host Kitchen – Basics are all you need to eat well

Ok, I’ve gorged, and yes I had a cigarette.  I quit drinking years ago but every once and a while , after a big meal, there’s nothing like a good smoke.  So now I’d like to tell you about the spiritual side of today’s ride.  I’ve complained about physical cold but that’s not the intangible side.

Baikal Lake Route

Today, I rolled next to the deepest freshwater lake in the world  and it just happens to be located in Southern Siberia.  This is a “pinch me is it real” moment that lasted for hours.  Not for the technical challenge, sure, there are tougher roads in California and lord knows the Steel Mule “aint no Hayabusa”.  No, today was about my tiny place in the universe and how higher powers gifted me with pure contentment today.  There was big sky, big water, big snow and big mountains.  My heart swelled much like the grinch on Christmas in that old Dr. Seuss childhood story.  This day was very good for the soul.

Baikal Water

Sorry for the melodrama but this ride hit me hard in the best possible way.  Thanks for staying with me.

Baikal Mountains South

Big mileage day planned tomorrow before weather turns vile.  One last luxury here next to Baikal, this little homestay has a sauna.  The Russians do love their Banya.

Baikal Banya

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