I would usually deem riding on a perfect road with only minor turns like this as boring. But it isn't, it's pure happiness. No village or city for miles.
A short detour to the town's beach in Petrozavodsk. I'm not really interested in cities, but since I read the cities name a lot when preparing, I thought I should at least ride through town while I'm here. Plus Petrozavodsk is a fun name to say. Petrozavodsk. I like it.
Heading to Kivach waterfall. Only a few kilometers off the main road. A twisty and bumpy ride, crazy to ride at higher speeds. After paying 60 RUB entry fee, I park next to a fully loaded Harley. I'm amazed when I see that his license plate says Kansas.
Well, let's go for a short stroll to see what this is all about. Scenic waterfall in the middle of the forest with a few rocks to climb on. Nice spot for a break.
Coming back to my bike, I meet Monty. He's working for the US embassy in Moscow for a few years and figured out it would be cheaper (and surely a lot less bureaucratic) to just import his bike from the States. He's doing a trip from Moscow to Petrozavodsk and back. It's fun to meet him here where I absolutely didn't expect it.
His russian companion gives me a few russian phrases, like "I don't understand" - a very important one.
We talk about bikes and he sees my ADV sticker. Of course he's an inmate himself: milkman67204
Riding on. Perfect weather since the trip started and a lot of sunlight.
Through endless landscapes full of trees and water.
I get invited to Samowar and selfmade cookies. Delicious. I would have loved to talk with him, I feel a little bad for not speaking russian at all.
He gives me some nice candy on the way, they taste like a mix of caramel and rainbows.
Well, what did you expect? Karelia is full of trees and water. It's mesmerizing to ride on these long, almost endless roads, traversing water in all forms and dimensions.
Karelia, beautiful as it is, has seen a lot of struggle during it's history. It has been under rule by swedish, finnish and russian empires in medieval times. Contemporary fights culminating during WW2 with the Winter War
, which left 400'000 people dead. To this day, there is friction between Finland and Russia about parts of Karelia on both sides.
Many war memorials and other displays of military power are spread in the region.
Having heard about Gazprom before, it was a weird feeling seing one of their factories in real. One minute later, a car with mean looking security guys drives to the plant - better hide my camera.
I had to turn around and talk with this guy on the bicycle pulling a trailer. I'm sure he's coming a long way and has some interesting stories to tell.
His name is David (Da-vid, not the english pronounciation Day-vid, as he clarifies), a french guy from Chamonix. Finally I could set my french to a good use (don't tell my french teachers, I always said I would NEVER have a use for french).
He started in France three months ago, riding to the Nordkapp. Asking about where he's riding to, he tells me he's not entirely sure yet, maybe Africa or Asia. Looking up his website, he is currently riding around China. I have the utmost respect for guys like him, godspeed!
David's blog in french: http://71degresnord.canalblog.com/
After a long stretch of 220 km with absolutely nothing I reach human settlements again. While parking my bike at the pump, someone yells at me and points to a sign over the 95 pump. I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but I should probably get away. There is only a 92 pump, ok then.
Again, it is time to look for a camping spot. There are some things you should be aware of when picking a camping spot. Bear in mind, that many russian people, especially in rural regions, are very poor. And it *could* happen, that you are being robbed by bad people. Everyone hears about these stories, and everyone wants to warn you about camping in Russia. So I stopped telling people I would camp in the wild.
Anyway, I still take certain precautions when picking a spot. For a good night of sleep, it is important that nobody sees you taking a track into the woods. And nobody should be able to see you from the road, even if you light your stove. I use the same principles when stealth camping in Switzerland.
A useful hint I learned: if there is any trash nearby, people come here regularly. I woke up to some guys picknicking at sunrise near my tent because I didn't follow that rule some other day.
It should have been a sign that the food looks terrible even on the packaging. No taste at all - and only a single piece of meat in it!
I didn't finish up and was still hungry, but at least my desire for food was gone.