UPDATE…..Stuart has fixed my GPS! He’s brilliant!I’m now in Semey, Kazakhstan nearly 2700 k from Irkutsk. it’s been a long cold ride through Siberia.
I’m sorry but there aren’t many good pictures this post but I hope you find it interesting anyway!
My aim was to get to Novosibirsk in three days.
The first day was good…the weather was clear but very cold . I rugged up with SEVEN layers but I was still cold!~ (two thermals, a shirt, a jumper, my “puffer jacket”, my riding jacket and rain jacket)
I saw lots of lovely churches in what are otherwise very dingy, dirty and poor villages. Often there are whole lines of houses that are sinking…they don’t seem to be big on foundations here! Some of the houses are these sweet wooden houses often with blue window shutters
There are next to no towns or Hotels on route (that’s how i got stuck before and ended up camping in the car park) so it’s best to stop when you see somewhere. I did this. I found a Truckie Hotel….cheap but clean with the most unhelpful lady on reception. She got quite annoyed at me when I asked for a towel and where were the showers! How these people get employed beats me!
View from my window!
The next day was good also.
I reached KRASNOYARSK and got totally lost. It’s strange but there are simply no road signs telling you where the Centre is or directions to the next town. The signs simply stop and you’re expected to know the way to go!. My GPS was playing up and sent me in circles. (Stuart later pointed out that I had changed my route and didn’t have any GPS maps ….which explains it )
I saw a biker ahead of me and nabbed him! There is a camaraderie among bikers!!!!
He was terrific. He led me about 10 k out of town and saved me at least an hour of utter frustration! His name is Steban Lukin and I gave him a Koala for his girlfriend! He has put two posts on the blog..(look in the All Posts Page)
Again i found a Truckie stop….This time with a nice lady called Irene who spoke quite good English having studied in England
There was a noisy group celebrating something. I was sipping a quiet Vodka! Anyway, suddenly they started singing Russian Folk songs., They had beautiful voices so i just sat there listening.
The THIRD DAY was a nightmare. I still has 680 K to go. I left at 6.00 am and it POURED and SNOWED (sleet) ALL DAY! It was the worst riding day of my life! Awful;.
Anyway…I got to Novosibirsk which is a big and quite modern town. I became totally lost again but asked where there was a Hotel and was taken to a very nice place by yet another helpful person.
The next day was beautiful. Still very cold but a clear sky
I rode the 700 K to Semey in Kazakhstan and negotiated the Border OK. The Customs man was funny..At these borders they inspect every vehicle. It takes ages. They swarm over each car with dogs, mirrors and unpack everything!
They usually don’t bother too much with me and just stamp the card and let me go. This time though the Customs man made me open cases and he put the mirror under the bike etc. He then asked me my age. I said “Nearly 70” He stopped in his tracks, laughed and practically did an Irish Gig….and waved me on!
All was great….Then another breathtakingly stupid thing happened….I put my GPS maps (they are on a micro chip) back in the GPS, as I am now back on my intended route and I’ve downloaded maps for my journey. Unbelievable, the GPS simply swallowed the micro chip and it disappeared into the body of the GPS. Now this is almost impossible and I simply don’t know how it happened…The net result is that I now have NO GPS!
If you look at some of the banter on the comments you may notice discussion of my Guardian Angel. I’ve been saying she is paying naughty tricks on me and testing me….My Cousin Juliet said on the contrary, she is looking after me as I’ve had some remarkable “escapes” this trip. Well…. I was reading about the fairy tales of the natives of Lake Baikal…., Apparently, they believed there were MANY Guardian Angels, some good and some naughty!
Maybe they’re right and I have a naughty Guardian Angel playing all these tricks on me and my Good Angel looking after me!!!!!!
Anyway, as i write, my son Stuart is trying to download a new set of maps which somehow I’ve got to load onto my GPS… UGH!!!! HOW do I do that!!!! I’ll be having some Skype sessions with poor Stuart back home!
(For those interested, these GPS maps are free, amateur maps. It’s really quite amazing.. In many remote places of the world, there are no “official” GPS Maps” so amateur maps have been created and are freely available. They are quite good too. They are called “Open Street” maps)
I’ll tell you how we go!!!!!! Wish us luck!
My only photo of Semey….Maybe you know who it is???