I could have stayed on the barge for more than 4 days.. the time went by so quickly for me. I had an opportunity to catch up on my blogs, sort through photos.. I was working full time..
There was only an opportunity for short little breaks and some quick photos on board, but then I was back to work. I knew it best to take advantage of this time, because once off the boat it’s going to be busy again.. Imagine 4 days worth of work and I still didn’t get caught up..
After Ust Kut
, we had quite a ride to get to Zhingalovo where Walter had planned to meet up with some guys he had been talking to on the internet. The road was ridiculously rocky – big large pointy boulders. I bet we passed 10 cars on this track with fresh broken wheels and axles. And I think when I pass them it’s amazing my bike isn’t breaking because it is taking such a beating.. and then I think my body is actually taking on a lot of this, no wonder everything hurts. My hands especially, they still loose blood with the jarring of the grips into my palms, it is sheer pain – ALL DAY LONG.. this must be my day to whinge. Sorry, that’ll happen from time to time!
Even Walter is riding slow, I am riding right behind him most of the day and that never happens!
We eventually make it to Zhingavolo where his friends are holed up doing bike repairs on guess what – their sub frames! Not the same bolt problem I have though, different models. Barton from Montana riding a KTM 640 Adventure, and brothers Paul and Dean from ADELAIDE!! Who ride KTM 950’s Limited Edition… Big bikes! They are like a Sherri Jo combo in human form – American/Australian! With much more talent and experience… maybe someday for me..
These boys still need to make it to Magadan
where we were 4 weeks ago.. and it’s getting cold already, so no time to spare.. We all leave the next morning bright and early. But it was great fun to meet them and hear of their experiences so far.
You never know what a day brings, but this is a beautiful scenic ride! The road is much better and for once I actually sat for quite a while riding slowly so I can take it in.
Walter had told me that today would be easy.. Yesterday, as rocky and horrible as those roads were turned out to be my last full day of dirt road riding since Russia
began over 4000 km ago!
Bittersweet… I am so ready to get off these difficult roads, however I know if I hadn’t travelled them I would not have been able to experience Magadan region
region at all.. these are places very few foreigners go, and that is hard to find in this day and age. I know it will most likely be the highlight of my world tour.. but I, nor my body, will miss those bad roads much.. 😉
So today I took it easy, enjoyed the view, didn’t worry about keeping up with Walter so much as I knew up ahead would be pavement.
And we did it! I see Walter stopped up ahead, he pulls me over.. and announces I have completed my dirt road adventures.. We can now enjoy 210 km on bitumen! And enjoy it I did!! For a long time, but can you believe my butt started to hurt after sitting on the seat so long! Can I complain – no way! (well technically I just did..)
Our next destination is a special place, Lake Baikal
. I have to go back on dirt roads again here, but he says for only 40 km.. (turned out to be more, and they were evil slippery gravel and rocky roads that banged the heck out of my still very sore palms)
But once I got here, I can see what the fuss is about..
We are on an island in this massive ancient deep lake. So large it holds 20% of the worlds fresh water. Also, 80% !! of the species here are found nowhere else in the world. A very special place.
It is a favorite travel desination for Russia and there are many visitors here. We find our accommodation and I am very happy to settle in and explore.
Another surprise of the new region I am in, is a new people with a different culture. We are close to Mongolia
, so they are either of Mongolian decent or a mix thereof.
On the island, they practice a more shamanic belief system.. The colored ribbons are everywhere. I love it!
14 degrees C out there which is winter for Adelaide, but warm for Lake Baikal! These Russians are certainly enjoying their holiday!
Back at the homestead, we both dig into some bike repairs as a result of the rotten roads.. I fixed my mirrors, but my gps is buggered.. and I really need that working shortly to find my way across Russia and Mongolia on my own!
Seems to be a short somewhere, nothing we can do about it at the moment. I decide to have a walk around town, and Walter decides to take the small tracks around the island.
Gorgeous place to live and certainly a lot of new construction – this place is booming!
Quiet town, I could certainly hear a certain bike I know coming…!
I was thinking I could go for one of these Russian bikes with a side car for the remainder of my trip..
Later on, Walter comes back from hooning around the island as he puts it, we have dinner and take advantage of a sunset photo opportunity.
These 2 girls walk past curious about the “Motorciccle”
Well that’s your little tour around the famous Lake Baikal.
Special thanks to Walter for all the amazing fantastic photos he took today and every day we were traveling.. It is a real privilege to not only ride and learn from him, but also to have so many photos that I would never have gotten on my own. He is a superhuman on a motorcycle and a great photographer. Thank you my friend – enjoy Mongolia and the freedom to ride as fast and far as you want!
From Lake Baikal turn off, only 120 km in to Irkutsk, where we officially finish Sibirsky Extreme, and I head out on my own again.