On the road again – 2009 World Tour Progress Report

[Original post by Elliot Mogerman – Transferred from yahoogroups.com]

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By the time we left Ekaterinsburg it was around noon and 75 degrees.. It took around 2 hours at the BMW dealer to get our bikes, load them up and be on our way. And then we ran a few errands, like going to DHL so I could ship a package. We hit the road with some sporadic rain throughout the day. The scenery was nice with lots of large trees and lots of green prairies. Around 7pm we began looking for a camp sight and after 45 minutes found one off the side of the road with a smelly lake. We set up camp far enough away we couldn’t smell anything, ate some pasta using the camp stove for the first time this trip, and went to bed after watching UFC 100 on the laptop. The huge mosquitoes here suck ass by the way. I told Mike if I had to go to the bathroom I would have to put repellent on my ass so it wouldn’t get bit.

So in the morning we woke up early, temp around 61 degrees and rainy, I ate some bread and off we are for a long day in the saddle. In one hour we took a wrong turn and ended up at the Kazak border. I told Mike we should turn around and go to the last round about and head north until we find another freeway to take us east to Novasibirsk. He takes us to a small dirt road not far away and it curves right back to the border. Then he said we should go to the last round about and head north until we find a freeway. I laugh because when he gets frustrated or busy he doesn’t hear very well and we confirm on the map, I tell him it’s a good idea, and head off again.

After close to 12 hours we began looking for a place to camp and found a secluded spot not far off the highway behind some trees. The ground was wet from all the rain and it took me a long time to find a spot where I could put my bike on the center stand without it falling over. So Mike grabbed a few branches for stability and we put those under my side stand at it seemed to be sufficient for the bike to rest all night. There were mice at the camp sight patrolling at night like Russian police officers looking for bribes. Besides the sound of some rustling around our tents they were harmless. I did not have any issues with my stomach today or yesterday so it’s a good sign I’m on the right track and keeping to the diet. Because all I have been eating was bread and plain pasta on the road since we left Ekaterinsburg it is hard for me to tell how my stomach is, but I know it isn’t upset because nothing has happened if you know what I mean. It rained most of the night but it wasn’t any problem riding out of the wet muddy camp sight.

We then have a short 6 hour ride to Novasibirsk, it is dark due to rain and I spot a hotel on a river. Of course not the cheapest in the world, but it will do with a warm shower and bed until we hit Mongolia and have to camp for two weeks plus. The mosquitoes here are smaller but still are so high in numbers and I guess we are not the local smell and they love us. Packs of wild dogs bark all night and force us to close the windows which make the room warm due to lack of air conditioning here. Also, a building is being demolished right outside our window and it is fun to watch their version of a rectangular concrete wrecking ball smash the hell out of the place.

We went shopping to prepare for Mongolia. We have a few extra containers of gas about 5 liters worth and Mike has been analyzing the map. There is a long stretch at one part and he is concerned about having enough reserve. As a result, we went looking for another container to hold gas in and ended up walking around striking out until we found a helpful Russian named Constatine. He took us for a walk and after a dozen different places and finally found a 10 liter container we can use for extra gas at the last place we were going to give up at. When we finished we went to the grocery store to stock up on food that will last for a few weeks as we are not sure what will be available and especially with my concerns about these stomach issues. Which right now are not bothering me and I am following a very strict diet until I return to Russia after Mongolia.

We stock up on dried cereal, breads, raman, and other small snacks. I still have a bag and a half of pasta and some crackers also. I thought trying to bring some canned tuna would be a good idea but after 15 minutes of looking and trying to get help no one in the store could tell us which cans were tuna, so for the best figured it isn’t worth it. I worked out today and we are organizing all of our gear in preparation for tomorrow’s ride to the border.