01 June 2008

What's this white stuff?

May 31—680 km--A good long ride today, about 680 kilometers. It was cold (mid forties) and raining when we set out, but it stopped raining after an hour or so and gradually warmed up as the day went on, until it reached the mid-sixties in Ulan Ude, our destination.

At first the ride was very flat, but during the course of the day we rode though a couple sets of low mountains, maybe 900 meters high. There was quite a bit of snow in one of the passes, even on the last day of May:

Right where I took this shot, the shoulder was sloping, loose dirt. TJ also stopped to take a picture and was fiddling to get this camera out of his bag when he lost his balance and the bike toppled over down the hill, and he rolled down into the field. To make it worse, this happened just as I was pulling out to leave, and I didn't see him and just rode off and left him. When TJ didn't appear after a while, I pulled over and waited, and eventually, after he'd wrestled his heavily-loaded bike upright, he pulled up. He wasn't too happy that I left him; I had actually looked at his bike when I pulled out and saw his headlight, so assumed all was in order, but maybe I didn't notice that the headlight was on the ground. Never heard the end of that one...

Here's a picture of Terry's bike near the same spot; it would not be running too much longer, so no more shots of this bike:

The last part of the road near Ulan Ude was fairly curvy, including a beautiful stretch near the Selenga River as we approached town. This shot doesn't really do it justice--couldn't find a spot to pull over in the really pretty spots:

Roads were again much better than I expected; fairly bumpy and a fair number of potholes, but overall not bad at all.

We ate lunch at a Russian truck stop with a funny sign on the wall:

“Attention: Due to continual conflicts with locals in a drunken condition, we no longer serve local residents. This establishent serves only long distance transit drivers.” I bet there's a story there...

No comments: