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Old 09-27-2011, 12:53 PM   #7
randel OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Mattighofen
Oddometer: 317
Next day we woke up 6AM, because we booked our border crossing to 9AM. It's a new system they started to use, hoping it will make border crossing faster. Before that it was long queues for everybody, and over 90% of cars were locals who import fuel from Russia and driving many times a day across border only to fuel station and back. Most popular car is old Volkswagen Passat with diesel engine, because it has really big fuel tank. And to maximize fuel tank capacity, they even lift rear wheel with jack during refueling. Can you believe that!
But there we were, it was around 8AM and we were waiting for border control. I used this time to repair my Autocom's phone mp3 wire, which I burned with hot exhaust and one channel was not working. Time was well spent and before they opened gates, I had full stereo again!

This was actually a poor replacement for my Zumo, which stopped working just 2 weeks before trip and Garmin couldn't send a replacement unit on time We had to rely on Jänx gps. Luckily he got Russian and Georgian maps before trip, and they were really useful!

Anyway, we were allowed to border station and it's always a little bit thrilling moment. Estonian side went without problems as expected, but last year experience made us cautious about Russian side. Green light approved us to border control and already usual routine started. Filling immigration papers for ourselves and then temporary import of our bikes too, we were uncertain should we mention our destination Georgia or not? As you know, they are not the best neighbors and don't have even embassies in each country, every visa request has to be made through Swiss Embassy. Finally we decided to put Ukraine as our destination to avoid unnecessary questions.
But was it our last year experience, improvement of Russian border control or anything else, it was barely 10AM and we were clear to enter Russia!

First thing was to fill up our fuel tanks with cheap petrol. While in Estonia we must pay 1.30 Euro per liter, in Russia they asked 27-30 rubles for same amount. Which means around 0.70 Eur per liter. It explains also the amount of fuel tourists coming here!

Tanks were full, sun was shining and we had finally a feeling that our adventure has begun now!
We put Vladikavkaz as our destination. Despite going directly to Moscow our gps choose smaller roads to southeast along Belarus border and we decided it's as good a direction as any other route and followed gps directions.

Roads were quite empty and flat, no signs about mad traffic and non-existent road quality we were warned about!

Only 200km further my KTM needed refuelling. I really need additional tanks for my bike! And my mileage was actually pretty good for KTM - around 6l/100km (39mpg for those who are not familiar with normal units) That bloody economical BMW needed only 4.5l/100km (52mpg)

In every village we could see people selling different fruits, mostly apples. I requested that we must buy also some! It wasn't easy to choose which one to pick

Of course we discovered also mandatory monuments along the road:

Only bikes we saw on the road were old Ural's and Dnepr's

While passing Smolensk we saw a sign. Did you know that world first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was born there? Well, we know now.

Soon after that we decided that it's enough for today, sun was disappearing and we had covered around 650km today.

It was time to find a campsite. We didn't want to waste too much time and picked first empty meadow near river. My KTM was so tired it immediately took a nap

There were a billion mosquitos, so we were forced to hide to our tent right after quick supper. Just some beers and we fall asleep.

Beyond clouds 2011
Beyond arctic circle 2010
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