31 May 2008

First Day in the Motherland

May 30—500 km--Finally, after all this time, the first real ride with no convoys and no borders. Took some pictures pulling out of Zabaikalsk--its a pretty dreary place:

The main street in Zabaikalsk:


Here is a shot of their rather desolate "Victory Park":

Here's a shot of all of us in the hotel parking lot:
Very flat and open terrain at first, but gradually became more forested. Here's a scene from the morning:
Roads were suprisingly good for the most part, only had one muddy constuction detour of maybe ten kilometers. Had beakfast at this Russian truck stop:
The view from the parking lot:After the hearty breakfast, we skipped lunch. We met these guys when we pulled over to fill up:
Here's a shot showing a bit of the road (good) and a typical Siberian village. We must have seen thousands of villages like this, although the ones in this neck of the woods were less prosperous-looking than later on:

Here's a nice shot of the terrain:
We pulled into Chita at around 18:00 after riding exactly 500 kilometers and stayed at the Panama City Hotel, a sort of replica of a US motel. The grounds also had a couple of restarants, a bowling alley, and a casino. The main group went out to some restaurant, but TJ, Stuart, Ed and I had dinner in the restaurant at the motel, where there was some kind of kindergarten graduation party going on. They dragged us out to dance, we all had fun. Later went to the bowling alley for a few beers with Sasha and Victor, the Russian guide and driver, respectively.

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