An early start was called for and delivered via my alarm. We packed up in front of the railway station building and prepared to leave when I was approached by a curious guy asking where we were going. We got asked this 100 times a day so I didnt pay too much attention to it. We had planned to get to Fevralsk today and he apparently lived in a town about half way there, called Etyrken.
We went back to the cafe from last evening, where the food had been very good, but it didnt open until 11am. It was 9:15 now. We asked around and the only place we could get any prepared food was the hospital store, which sold the likes of piroshki and tea (Russian fast food). So we went there, for a disappointing breakfast, but we needed something solid in the stomachs to power us thru what would probably be a tough day. It had rained last night for the first time since we had been on the road and the weather was not looking much better this morning. It was heavily overcast.
There were quite a few Polish GPS notes for this section (implying a problem area) and it seemed the weather too was not going to be as kind to us as it had been in recent days.
By 9:40 we were on the road. The first 50 km was a breeze. Graded gravel road. We passed the village of Alonka by 10:30 and I set my sights on Etyrken for lunch. It was another 90km down the road. But as soon as we passed Alonka the road deteriorated again. Unlike earlier stretches, this section had very recently had rain - the last few hours. This road was water hole city! We were carving s-shaped tracks in 1st and 2nd gear to try and get around the puddles.
The puddles became deeper and larger and more frequent - every 5-10 metres. Streams ran down the middle of the track. In many places, the road bed of logs was visible. There were holes in the road where streams ran below the road - when I say holes I mean holes a foot or two across in the middle of the road that went thru the roadbed to a stream a couple of metres below.
It was challenging riding and required full concentration. The first river crossing came up soon after we had passed the first vehicle of the day, a large 4WD GAZ truck. 10 minutes later, we arrived at the river crossing, pondering our options, and then the truck caught us up. We asked for and received a lift over the river. Always with these truck rides, the main issue is to find some sort of loading site, a ramp high enough to push the bikes onto the back of the truck. First I went over, then the other two bikes. It was the only other vehicle we had seen all day and the only one we would see for many more hours ... and it had come along just after we arrived at a river crossing. It was very lucky timing. We offered the guys payment for the lift, but they just laughed and waved it away.
Here our man tells us how high the river will be after a couple of hours ... as rain was on the way!
Then the rains came and the already wet track became much wetter. Visibility fell. The BAM Road was tough enough when it was dry. Today we had been introduced to awkward wet roads, and now the heavens were opening above us.
This BAM Road was now getting tough.