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Old 02-14-2012, 01:55 PM   #33
AlpineGuerrilla OP
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Oddometer: 399
Arriving at some sort of momument on the roadside - the arctic circle. I wasn't aware, that I'm already this far north. But there has to be some victory posing photo.

Camera on auto-timer and lets go.

There is a tradition to hang a piece of your scarf on the tree when you cross the Arctic circle.

And for this couple from Moscow it is also very important to bring back 50 pictures in different poses. They were already taking pictures when I arrived and still are when I ride on.

Traffic gets less and less - I am already on this road for 1000 Kilometers! Riding my bike, getting gas, eating, pitching the tent and starting all over again in the morning gets me in a flow. Nothing can disturb my mood and I start to lose grip on time. I cover the onboard clock on the bike and just ride as I please. I can only imagine how it would feel like to ride across Siberia, when hours not only become days but weeks and months.

Russians tend to drive fast on these straight roads, but extremely slow when there is one turn. And they like to overtake you. With only inches inbetween. You have to be focused on what's coming from behind all the time. If there's a pot hole, better dodge it to the right than to the left!

A lot of turnouts are the only variety.

There's always a ramp to fix your car - and most of the time there really is somebody up there.

Unfortunately, it seems most of them do the maintenance on their cars and trucks at these very places - and just dump the oil and tyres in the surroundings.

Crossing into Murmansk Oblast. Most town signs were bigger than that.

I decide to take one of these sandy side roads as I'm making too much progress today. After about half an hour I see a lake glistening through the woods. A small track brings me there.

Being such a wonderful day (and without a shower for a few days), I take a swim in the cold water. No human soul anywhere in sight.

This road is fun to ride on, a bit of gas and I'm wiggling the tail. Leveling them with a bulldozer seems to be the only maintenance they get (and probably need).

Seeing the cops reminds me that there ought to be a lot of police checkpoints, but I haven't seen in any. There were only fix checkpoints after both Oblast borders (Karelia and Murmansk). I hope my luck lasts a bit more.

Some more trash. At least it's not scattered around too much...

The first sign in latin characters since St. Petersburg. Not only in latin but also in english language!

Doesn't seem to be the biggest skiing region, but at least it gets some snow in winter compared to 2014 winter olympics host Sochi at the black sea.

Finally, some mountains again. These are the Khibiny mountains, where the highest elevation of the Kola peninsula lies.

At the turnoff to Apatity I meet Dmity and Svetlana, my Couchsurfing hosts from Murmansk. They want to take me on a three day long hike through Khibiny mountains.

We start our hike at 10 PM. No infrastructure, no cell phone service, no nothing. Only bears and wolves. Cool!

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