Monday, July 17, 2006

Krasnoiarsk - Irkutsk

The road from Krasnoiarks to Irkutsk goes from pretty good to.. no road at all basically. Some stretches it seems they just gave up on maintaining them, as there are huge holes that the trucks can barely cross. That’s just fine for our bikes, but you have to watch for those incoming trucks in front of you, because if there’s a hole in front of them when they cross you, they will move to the other side of the road and you better pull over or you’re just another casualty of the Siberian road!

Of course with this kind of roads the average speed is not very high, so we split these 1000 km in 3 days. The first day we stop in a little village and ask if there’s a place where we can pitch our tents. Nobody understands or knows, so we carry on. As we leave this little town I spot an abandoned house; we go have a look and as there’s a way to hide the bikes from the main road we settle down and sleep there. We’re also protected from the attack of the mosquitoes, something that Siberia is never short of.

The second night Anders insists on pitching the tent (I notice he’s very much into camping in the wild) and anyway we didn’t spot any hotel on our way, so he finds this lovely field for camping. He’s stops and turns to me, and by the time he’s finished saying “let’s stop here and pitch our tent”, he’s surrounded by so many mosquitoes that I can hardly see him.. so we decide to keep going until we leave that swamp. Finally we take a side track next to a cultivated field and end up in a nice place, where the mosquitoes are a little less present (but you still have a few hundreds around you at all time). The campfire doesn’t seem to bother them at all, and by sunset they launch a large-scale attack that see us retreating under the shelter of our tent.
Rain starts to fall during the night, which isn’t much of a problem by itself, but as we find out the next morning, the little dirt road that we took the day before had changed in a muddy, boggy mess that took us 1 hour to get through with our useless road tyres.

We had quite a long road to get to Irkutsk, and as we didn’t find any kind of hotel on our way we ended up at 2AM in Irkutsk, trying to find a hotel at a decent price. Of course when you’re tired you don’t search very long, so we ended up in a stupid tourist hotel, but it had a hot shower.. and was serving an excellent espresso!


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