Mon 7/6/2009 11:17 PM [Original Post by Elliot Mogerman]
Mike gets sun poisoning from being outside too long in the heat. He goes to bed early and drinks a lot of water. I also go to bed early as my stomach relapsed and continues to bother me. So in the morning and in Preparation for desert riding back to Russia and Mongolia we bought soups and ramin noodles and water. I am tying everything down to the back of my bike when; thwap!, one of the tie down straps break and a piece of the clamp flies off and cuts my cheeck open. Not bad, like the size of a fingernail cut, but barely missed my eye. We ride north ready for our 2-3 day return to Russia, or we think, and take the major highway which should be good road. Well good for who? After an hour we get into the same mess, this time it turns into 1 foot deep sand and off road hills, etc. So since I have learned to go slow in shit I am not familiar with, when I, yes, fall again it isn’t bad at all. Get right back on and we make it through. I’m a little nervous and sweat a ton, which I’m not really used to, but can now sympathize with Mike and his glandular leakage problem. Mike’s oil cap begins to start leaking noticeably on his pant leg. So he cleans the parts to slow the leak and off we go some more. We find a small hotel in a little town and they say they have internet. So we unpack, get a room and it turns out they only have dial up! Anwya, we go and Mike eats a three course meal of chicken and I have a small amount of really good chicken soup. Mike also gets really good garlic waffle fries.
We ride all day with several stops for me in between and make it to a larger town where we find an old Russian 70’s style hotel, called Paxam. I tried eating soup, and couldn’t make it past a few sips. The hotel lets us put our bikes in the maintenance shop for security. We stay in this hotel an extra day so I can get some rest and then depart for a town close to the border. On the way, in the middle of nowhere, we pass another BMW adventure rider, Olaf from Germany. We stop and talk a while and then go our separate ways. The roads suck and it takes us longer to get to our destination, so about 50km south of Kastanay, we find a hotel in another large city. Mike goes in to talk with the receptionist and when he comes out I have a crowd of around 30 people entertained. I have kids on my bike and parents taking pictures. We are kind of a different spectacle in smaller towns and they become very interested. There is a local biker club and they all come out to say hi. Two on mopeds, and one on an old cruiser and crotch rocket. One gentlemen speaks a little English and invites us out to dinner. He wants us to stay with him but we decline saying we already paid, but with my stomach there’s no way I could be comfortable at someone’s home.
We go to dinner at a disco/bar/restaurant and get a private room. The food I was told was good, I try a little but no bueno. As much as I wanted to dance, we went back to the hotel for little rest. We stay there one extra day, I slept, and then leave for Russia. The wind starts to pick up and since I haven’t eaten much I don’t have to run back and forth as often so we decide to leave. It drizzles on us a little and I fight the wind, drowsiness, and aching feeling. The fun thing I was trying to keep myself entertained so when I say fight the wind, I actually tried to fight the wind every time it hit me hard. I would blow back, didn’t work. I would bite at it like an angry retarded kid, didn’t work. I tried to head butt it, didn’t work. I would stick my hand out in a stop position, didn’t work. I tried to kick it, didn’t work. I asked it nicely, didn’t work. I will find a way yet on this trip to stop the darn wind.
The temp got down to 53 degrees but mostly in the 70’s. Did you know even cows and camels look both ways before crossing the street? Anyway, more fantastic Kazak roads, this time all of a sudden loose gravel started pelting me like a hundred rocks a second from the back of mike’s tire until I quickly move out of the way. Big hawks fly over head and my Kazak Dr recommends another series of different pills thinking my issues are something worse. So I go to a pharmacy and start taking them. Unfortunately, same effect and they don’t work after several days either.
As we are on the road to the border Mike’s oil cap cover breaks and he assumes someone must have messed with it overnight in the public parking area, but I mention it might be the last few days of it slowly getting worse on the great roads and he calms down and cleans it out so it works better. We say goodbye to the very friendly and nice Kazaks and get to the border to wait an hour because the borders were closed for lunch break. Finally after four hours we get through both. Actually pretty quick and efficient on the Russian side, we were impressed. They had machines like at the airport and moved people through very fast.
On the way to the city where I am seeking medical help and we will get our bikes fixed, a guy on a Goldwing bike passes us and invites us to his house for the night. It is getting late and we are a few hours away so we agree. On the way he shows us a monument a man who invented the Russian nuclear bomb. Then Mike gets hit by a car or he hits the car, no one will ever know, but it was very slow speed and hit his side case and their bumper. So we just rode off. He makes us dinner and invites some friends to hang out. I eat a little knowing I can’t keep it down, but eating food felt so awesome I will take a night of sleeplessness to chew up some grub. While eating we are watching tv track n field and thought it was all Russians. Well after 20 minutes and a few events there was a black athlete in one of the competitions and at the same time our host and we all say look, must not be Russian after all. HAHA His friends ask us about Obama and Bush which has become common questions during our travels. And we talk for a while until we all get tired and go to bed.
In the morning, he takes us to our bikes at his industrial plant he is director of, and we bid farewell. We get to the bmw dealership at lunchtime and happily give them the bikes. For example, I need a full 12k service, includes oil and fluid changes, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter changes, inspect everything etc. I also have a burnt out headlight/lamp, my flood lights aren’t working anymore, I lost one of the two locks for my windshield/wind visor, replace the sparkplug cover, etc. That’s just after half of our panned visit to Kazahkstan. We will try and make our tires last until the last city before Mongolia. Then we will replace with our off road tires. But we are here for three days minimum.
We get a taxi from BMW to a hotel with internet! Eat a little, and spend some time cleaning up and relaxing. I do some research on doctors and find two I can chose from to visit tomorrow morning. I stay here until I feel better. This city, Yekaterinburg, is pretty large, I think it’s the same size as Moscow