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Old 08-15-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
randel OP
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Oddometer: 314
Day 15

We woke up quite late, but had big plans for today - left Georgia and drive as much as possible.
We choose eastern route for our return home, through Astrakhan, Volgograd and Moscow to Estonia. A little bit longer then our route to Georgia, but why ride same route twice?
But at the moment we were still in Georgia and while weather was perfect, we had great views from Great Military Road.



Gudauri Sky Resort, what was this architect thinking?



Red mountains



Kazbegi, 5033m high



But then we arrived border crossing Verkhni Lars. Georgian side went without any problems, but on the Russian side we encountered long queue of cars. We had to wait again few hours before all bureaucracy was done and we could enter Russia. And while we had to wait few hours both times, we saw only very friendly staff, no problems whatsoever on Verkhni Lars border crossing.
After Vladikavkaz we turned east direction Groznyy and Chechnya. Already before leaving Vladikavakaz we were stopped at some military checkpoint. We decided with Raul that we will not understand any russian and speak only english. Unfortunately it didn't help at all and officer at checkpoint asked for any kind of documents he could imagine. He even suspects that our bikes registration plates were wrong - how can it be that there's only two numbers and two letters while in Russia they have number plates same size as small doors. But for our luck he couldn't find any problems with us and let us go.
But we couldn't drive much, maybe 15km when we arrived next checkpoint, now supported with military armored vehicle and soldiers walking around with Kalashnikov's AK-47. Same scenario, show every document, answer any possible question they could ask (not much because poor english though...) and play stupid tourist who can not understand anything. After next half hour at checkpoint we were again free to go butthat was enough for us. Speaking only english didn't help us at all!
Next CP was not far away, maybe next 15km and we were stopped again! But for our surprise, speaking russian language made a miracle and after first question "Otkuda võ?" or "where are you from?" we had to answer already regular question about bikes price, horsepower and topspeed And few minutes later we were free to go! Amazing!
Some words about traffic too. While in Georgia traffic was already quite aggressive, it was just mad between Vladikavkaz and Groznyy. In normal two-lane road cars were passing passing simultaneously from both direction, some cars passing cars already passing other cars and so on. For our surprise we didn't saw any accident but feel very unsafe on bikes. We were just invisible!
So after more checkpoints we finally entered Groznyy, infamous city from past. It was September 1st, the day when all kids go to school in Russia and we expected a lot of people. But for our surprise all city was totally empty, nobody, I mean nobody walking around, all shops closed and only few cars driving around. It looked like sci-fy movie after some catastrophe. All buildings brand new and nobody around. We didn't know what else to do than drive on.

Groznyy football stadium, ready for 2018 football World Cup.



Lost in Groznyy



Small shop selling some warm lavash.



In one small village we stopped to buy some food and suddenly were in the middle of crowd of people, everybody smiling and some with more courage taking pictures with us.



Our camp tonight was in bush, maybe 100 meters from road. It was very hot and humid.





Thanks to border crossing and numerous checkpoint we managed to drive only 397km today. We planned to cover at least 200 more.

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