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Old 01-12-2010, 01:40 PM   #811
jnx55
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Great RR, Thank you all for such a wonderfull read.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:51 PM   #812
quicktoys2
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Tony .. thanks for telling your ride and end of the BAM ...... Are you always going to wonder if just over the next valley the road got better and you could of continued? Or are you more than satisfied with your decision (sorry ... just wondering)

I have emailed Colebatch to add my name to the notify list for the DVD .... can't wait for that, but in the meantime am patiently waiting for the Colebatch's continuation

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #813
Katkatit
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Can't believe it's over!
Well, at least we still have two weeks of Colebatch's journey left

Great going guys, I'm speechless
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:08 PM   #814
themobb
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Thanks, again Guys

If this isn't a book, I don't know what is...


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Old 01-12-2010, 02:12 PM   #815
Baja Bob
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Thumb Good Stuff

Cheers to you guys for taking such a challange.
Cheers again for taking the time to share it with the rest of us.
Baja Bob (first time posting)
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:30 PM   #816
DingWeed
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Fantastick Ride+RR!!!!!!! Thanks for the ridealong!!
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:34 PM   #817
Colebatch OP
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About 10am, after 3.5 days on the river, the boat docked in Lensk and I unloaded my bags onto the gravelly riverbank, and then then walked the bike down the gangplank at the front of the boat. I had a big day ahead of me. I was going to try and get to Udachny, 770km away, all on dirt roads, by the end of the day. If I made it, it would be the biggest day of the trip in terms of mileage. I had wasted enough time on the boat and had itchy feet. Too much time sitting and thinking, without any doing.

I found a fuel station and hit the road. It was 10:20 when I left Lensk. I'd had plenty to eat on the boat over the last few days so breakfast was not required. I would go straight through to Mirny 240 km away.

The road from Lensk to Mirny was in truly excellent condition. Its one of the finest dirt roads I have ever ridden. I sat on 110 km/h the whole way, but if I didnt have increasingly spongy mousse in my front tyre and gearing for low speed via my front sprocket, I would have done most of the road at 130+.

I stopped only once for photographs. The seasons were changing up here already and the trees were bursting with colour. I wondered where Terry and Tony were and what they were seeing on their road.



I fuelled up again on the southern edge of Mirny. I didnt need to - I would fuel up at Chernyshevsky 100 km further up the road too, but there the price would be a lot higher and the quality less reliable. Better to get as much as possible while in Mirny. I sped on to Andrei's workshop, our trusty mechanic from 2 months ago, arriving at 12:45. I had texted him I was on my way as I left Lensk, but it was a quiet day in the workshop and he was away. I stripped the bags off the bike and just took a couple of much lightened bags - leaving two bags at Andrei's workshop to collect on my return.

I stopped at the Mirny market place to pick up some Samsa's for the trip North. Andrei had shown me this little shop, a personal favorite, 2 months ago, and remembered the samsa's were the best I had eaten in Russia. I took the liberty with time of eating one. I pulled out of Mirny just before 2pm. It would be a 6-7 hour ride to Udachny, 530 km away, assuming I stopped only for fuel along the way.

The road from Mirny to Chernyshevsky is not as good as the Lensk - Mirny section of the Anabar Road, and party out of respect for the road and partly because I wanted to get accustomed to riding at 90 km/h for the section North of Chernyshevsky to conserve fuel, I slowed to 90 km/h for the 105km to Chernyshevsky. I topped up with 5 litres of fuel there. Now I was maxxed out on fuel. Both tanks dripping fuel onto the pavement. 22 litres ready to burn.

Last time we went up from Chernyshevsky, both Tony and I had both burned more fuel than expected ... we had a strong headwind the whole way and rode at 110 km/h ... which probably explains it. But I ran out before Aikhal, which is still 65 km short of Udachny, and relied on Tony going ahead to get me 5 litres. This time I wanted to go straight thru to Udachny. There wasnt too much wind about and I was going to try and stick to the more economical speed of 90 km/h by the GPS ... which is about 96 km/h on my speedo.

The usual collection of 'Jacksons' (terminology courtesy of the brothers Vince) stopped me to ask the usual question in Chernyshevsky when I refuelled and then stopped at the shop for a litre of liquid refreshment, but I brushed them aside. I was on a mission. I had now done about 350 km and had 420 still to go. I didnt know when it got dark this far North at this time of year, but I was only 3 weeks from the equinox ... I guessed it would be about 8pm. I had no time to spare if I wanted to not risk riding in the dark.
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:57 PM   #818
T
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You gave us something that most will never experience, thanks.
(I bet Charlie and Ewan are even saying; "Holy sh*t, did you see that!" )
Thanks again.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:51 PM   #819
KL__07
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move! please.....

Incredible journey.

please go on, Walter you, Tony and Terry are amazing!



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Old 01-12-2010, 06:21 PM   #820
hanksmybuddy
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Great report

Enjoyed the read and pics!
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:56 PM   #821
mrbreeze
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OK, so did the chase van go north with Colebatch or west with Tony and Terry?
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:30 PM   #822
viola-tor
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Okay, I'm caught up. This is INCREDIBLE! The Vitim bridge... Holy SHEEEEEIIIT!!!!

You guys rock.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:51 AM   #823
Matthendurocat
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Right on

Good show!
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:34 AM   #824
miggins11
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Thanks for the report - something I'll never do but great to read about it all the same.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:11 AM   #825
Colebatch OP
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Headphones were blaring as I left Chernyshevsky and crossed the bridge over the Vilyui river, just 100 metres downstream from the huge dam there that supplied electricity to the diamond mining industry all the way up to Udachny.

I just concentrated on the surface of the road ahead. There had clearly been rain around and some patches of the road were moist, tho so far no rain had touched me today. The first point of interest would be the village of Morkoka.

It's the only inhabited place between Aikhal and Chernyshevsky. It has about half a dozen buildings, a fuel station that seems to only sell diesel (though I would try again to buy petrol when I got there) and I have been told a cafe with rooms.

When I got there, I asked a stopped truck driver where the cafe was. It seems a silly question for someone in the west, but in the more remote parts of Russia, every building and every door looks the same. None offer a hint of what is behind each one. Places like Morkoka dont even bother with signs. There are no visitors here - Just the regular truck drivers who know where everything is. I marked the location of the cafe on my GPS and moved on to the fuel station.

I long ago decided to compile a list of waypoints of all the cafes, fuel stations, hotels, water hazards etc I have used, crossed or even seen in off the beaten track Siberia. I think that would be useful. I will include the complete garmin files of my GPS tracks and waypoints for the whole 7 month project on the DVD.

As I suspected, the fuel station refused to sell me fuel - mentioned something about needing paperwork, coupons or something like that to buy here. I looked inside my tanks to guess how much fuel I had left. My economy looked good. I estimated at current consumption I would get to Udachny with 2-3 litres to spare.

It was always a risk, now that I was travelling alone. When I was with Tony we could take these risks. If one person ran out of fuel, the other could go ahead with the fuel canister. Tony had been Tsar of the spare fuel canister ... mainly from necessity. Terry and I both had 22 litres of capacity, due to modifications, but Tony had just the stock 17 litre tank. This was however, compensated with a old 5 litre oil container found by the side of the road, at a cost of zero rubles / dollars / euro / sterling. By strapping that old grey plastic oil container to his bike, he too had 22 litres.

I would risk the ride to Udachny. The signs were positive. I even stopped to eat another Samsa. I had done 300 km since Mirny, in 3.5 hours, including a fuel stop and Samsa break - pretty much 90 km/h on the road. It was 17:30 and I was peckish. 230km to go to Udachny ... I should get there soon after 8pm.

I didnt take any photos on this leg ... I didnt want to stop. I will borrow a foto from 2 months earlier when I rode up here with Tony ... back then it was Summer ... and it was green:



It was tougher going after Morkoka. I felt tired at several points. The recent rain over the road had been very recent - last couple of hours I reckoned.

Several places I had to be a little careful due to slippery surfaces. If the increasing cold had brought Autumn colour to the trees between Lensk and Mirny further south, up here there was only one colour - gold. All the trees were close to losing their remaining gold leaves. The temperature was about 5 degrees. I had plugged in my Exo heated jacket in Morkoka. It was the first time I had needed it in almost 2 months. I was glad I still had it. The forecast for later in the week is for serious cold.

At about 7:30pm I made it to the turnoff to Aikhal. I thought briefly about a 12km run into town to get fuel, but I was pretty confident my visual inspection in Morkoka was accurate and I would get to Udachny. I pressed on over the stretch of road that had given Tony 5 flat tyres in one night. Without Tony's flat tyres, the road was a hell of a lot quicker I thought to myself. Flat tyres didnt seem to be a problem for me, but rain might be.

Since passing the Aikhal turnoff, evil looking clouds were building. At one point drops of rain were hitting me from the edge of a storm cell, but I was riding through the very edge of the cell, and I was through it in less than a minute. I passed several points where Tony had had flats and it brought back memories of being stuck in the rain fixing endless flats. Miserable memories.

I put them aside and soon found myself in sight of Udachny. My fuel warning light was not yet on, I had made it in one day. By the time I pulled up in front of the hotel, I had racked up 765 km ... apart from 5km thru Mirny, it was all dirt. It was about 8:20pm. (8:50pm by the time I did all the time consuming Russian Hotel paperwork and got into my room).

I was cold. I hadnt plugged in my heated gloves, and my toes felt like ice. It was half an hour in a hot shower for me before I was suitably thawed. I popped outside to grab a cold beer from a kiosk and sunk back in my hotel armchair to enjoy it. Tomorrow I sniff around the Arctic Circle again.
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