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 and Part 5 here.
A good ride today from Lake Baikal to Tulun.
Thank goodness for google translate making food and gas purchases possible. It seems in this part of Russia people over 30 that speak any English are virtually nonexistent. High school and University aged people do and see me struggling and help translate but older folks – it’s all hand waving and eye rolling – fun-times.
The weather is very good for riding. Road conditions a bit less so. Speaking of “The Road” I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here. Son Andrew was at the house in Livermore a year or so ago and Vicki and I were searching for a movie to watch. Andrew, with one foot out the door heading to his home says, “Oh, I know a good movie, it’s called, “The Road”. So Vicki and I are game, we start using the primitive search tools on streaming TV. As an aside on an aside, I truly believe that if Steve Jobs had 1 more decade on earth then humanity would have an intuitive TV search engine rather than the Luddite tools that we’re stuck with today – using an alphabet matrix to create search words – honestly. Back to “The Road”, as Andrew is about to close the door his last words are, “oh yeah the movie is a bit dark”.
Well this movie is a conglomeration of: Night of the Living Dead, The Walking Dead, The Day After, and every other hopeless post-apocalyptic disaster flick out there. So, if someone you know and trust tells you to, “Just watch this movie – The Road”, question them deeply.
Right, back to today’s road. The stunning vistas of Lake Baikal with its cold deep blue waters and snowcapped mountains gave way to big parries rolling on mile after mile.. Very relaxing actually until of course you suddenly come upon a road crew in the middle of the highway doing god knows what (on a Sunday – I don’t think Sunday holds any significance here) – and CalTrans these guys are not. One shocker was a guy with a 3-4m tall surveyor rule was alone in the middle of the road with his partner and the site transit level away in a ditch. Giant transport trucks flanked him on one side and yours truly on the other – all hurting along at 70+ MPH. Incredible. Kind of like William Tell with human apple.
Now finally some housekeeping. First, if you’ve read this far – seek professional help. Second, there are only two pictures today and they are of stairs and a hallway. Yes stairs, why, well because stairs in Asia are pretty much a compromise, meaning the top and bottom stairs are used to ‘average’ so some are a little shallow and others are real doozies.
Honestly, hundreds of miles on Russian highways doesn’t leave much time to search out good photo ops! Oh and the hallway? Well it’s at the top of the two flights of uneven stairs. When the desk clerk handed me my key I couldn’t believe my luck – I really did get the the room at the very end of that giant hallway! So I got to hump my 100+ pounds of junk up the two flights of uneven stairs and then the real treat – worlds longest hallway. Back in the USSR — boy! …
Finally, if you’ve seen a few on my more obscure reply posts you have heard me give myself 60-70% chance of success. I’m trying to increase those odds by banking good distances while the weather is good! So photo ops take second seat. Later