Tuesday, 3 July 2012

On the road again - at last!

Iain happy to see the 'you're leaving Zlatoust' sign
Hurrah!! We’ve left Zlatoust at last. The last day there had its moments – Iain was away fixing the bike and I was dossing around in the room when I heard a siren. It was in the distance so I didn’t take much notice and then suddenly one went off very close to the hotel. It was an air raid siren!!  My initial thoughts, as I jumped up out the chair, were ‘bloody hell – what do I do? I’m not going to see Iain or my family and friends again!’ Then I thought ‘hold on, there’s no reason for an air raid siren to be sounding’. I looked out the window and folks were just going about their everyday business. The siren stopped so that was ok. Then it started again. This time I got Google Translate out and went down to reception to ask what the siren was for and she just waved her hand in front of her face as if to say ‘it’s nothing, don’t worry about it’. So I didn’t, but it gave me a fright – daft or what? I guess that particular siren is not associated with air raids in Russia.  On our last night there, Denis and Nadia came round and it was sad saying goodbye to them as they are a lovely couple and gave us help when needed.
 The next morning was exciting because we were off again into the unknown. The early morning was very hot but that was not to be the case for the remainder of the day. Gradually we put more clothes on to keep warm and then the waterproofs. The temperature was down to about 13C which coming from the UK is not that cold but when you’ve been used to high 20’s and low 30’s, it was cold. By the time we arrived at that nights stop, the rain had stopped but my teeth were chattering!
The next morning the rain was on us again. Darren had given us the heads us about our overnight stop and had said that the next bit of road was bad – and he wasn’t wrong! With the rain falling, it was like riding through a mud bath. At one point Iain rode through a puddle and the mud come flying up from the wheel and covered me – I was glad that my visor was only slightly open! We stopped to try and get some of the mud off the bike and Iain took a mozzie off my eyebrow and squashed it – death is too good for these little blighters

 The next morning, I awoke to find my right eye swollen – this is the result of the previous days mozzie bite.       It was an early start as our overnight stop had allowed us to pay for only 12 hours in the room (you could also rent the rooms by the hour.........). As we departed the bike started to shake uncontrollably, the steering dampener had snapped again! Instead of heading out onto the open road it was head into the city and find a welder! Typically, as we were having an early morning – nothing was open so we hung around until a motorist discount shop opened and he showed Iain a garage that could possible sort it but it didn’t open until 9am. We went round to the garage but no luck, although they suggested another place which turned out to be unable to do it either. Luckily though, the owner of this garage was there and he took Iain away in his car to a local Lada dealership, who welded it up for free. He then took Iain to his home, to show him all his motorbike pictures.    

We had been in contact with Craig and Sharon from Australia through Horizons Unlimited and had arranged to meet them in Barnaul. They are heading to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia as well so we would travel with them for a bit. On the way back from having tea, we met a couple of lads, Kanat and Jacob, who had heard us speak English and stopped for a chat. Kanat is from Kazakhstan and Jacob from Barnaul and they are both 4 years into a 6 year course, studying to become doctors. The next day Iain met Andre and Alex, a German couple travelling on motorbikes. They have been on the road for over 2 years and it was great to listen to their stories. We arranged to meet them in the local ‘bikers bar’. What a place! It’s great. Everything is made out of bits of bikes and bike related stuff. We all enjoyed a great evening and Iain and Andre ended up drinking vodka and playing pool with some locals. Barnaul is a lovely city and the locals we have met have all been very friendly and although initially most of them tell you they can’t speak any English, some of them can. Once they hear us making a fool of ourselves trying to speak Russian, they are more at ease and more willing to try their English out.
Our visa for Mongolia requires us to enter before 12 July and with a couple of days riding to get there we’ll be on the road again soon! 


  1. Good to hear you're back on the road again. We'll miss you at Ripley this weekend.

  2. Hope the eye soon clears up! And that road looks a bit "gloopy" - ugh!!
    Keep up the fun and games!

  3. Good to hear you're back on the road,
    Enjoying reading your adventures.
    Hope the eye is soon sorted.


  4. Keep posting notes on ur trip. All the best. Hope to join you one day somewhere in the world.

    1. Thanks Len - we hope you continue to read the blog and yes, we hope to see you on the road one day too

  5. Greetings!

    Were pleased to meet you yesterday in Vladivostok and ride to the "Shamora". Have a nice trip to Korea!

    Dima and Yulia

    1. Hi Dima and Yulia - thanks for the lovely ride to Shamora. Hopefully, we'll see you again in Russia one day!