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Old 04-15-2010, 03:26 PM   #31
rider1150gsadv
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Yet another round of epic riding!!
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:11 PM   #32
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Fantastic and love the eye candy. Bring it on.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:35 PM   #33
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Finally, after chilling for 4 days in Irkutsk, we decided to make a move.

The first stop was Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal - the worlds largest freshwater lake. The lake is 700 km long, about 50 km wide, and a mile deep. It is is said that Baikal holds 20% of the entire planets fresh water. If every single river in the world was diverted to flow into an empty Baikal, it would still take over a year to fill it.

Impressive as the stats are, we just wanted to see it because its beautiful, and almost totally surrounded by mountains.





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Old 04-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #34
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A small pass

The local people of the Baikal area are the Buryats ... a Mongolic people, whose language, food and religion (buddhist) are very similar to the nearby Mongols.

As seems to be the way with buddhists, milestones like mountain passes are always surrounded by offerings to heaven. Often strips of cloth (predominantly blue) are tied around something nearby.

Tony is here at a small pass on Olkhon, and there is a large amount of coinage around, full bottles of vodka, full packets of cigarettes. (I am not sure the Buddha was a vodka and fags man - and not sure he needs cash either. The statues I have seen of him suggest he is more of a Big Mac, supersize fries and jumbo chocolate shake kinda guy)

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Old 04-16-2010, 01:41 PM   #35
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Khuzhir

The only town on the island, Khuzhir ... was more of a fishing town in Soviet times ... now its more of a tourist base. The old fishing ships no longer needed.



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Old 04-16-2010, 01:47 PM   #36
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Shaman Rock

But the thing I wanted to see was the sacred site known as Shaman Rock.



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Old 04-16-2010, 01:48 PM   #37
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:48 PM   #38
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keep up the great work Colebatch!

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Old 04-17-2010, 01:21 AM   #39
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Buryat Region

We left Olkhon Island:


but not before Tony picked up what would be first of 17 flat tyres between Irkutsk and Magadan!

And passed through some Buryat villages on our way North though Kachug.
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:26 AM   #40
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The Lena River

It was here, near Kachug, that we first caught sight of the Mighty Lena River. This is one of the largest rivers in the world at 4400 km in length, and has a peak volume of flow at its mouth of around 10 times that of the Mississippi.

Here however, we were near the origins of the river, and it was just a baby.

The Lenin featured in the Sibirsky Extreme logo got his "stage name", by changing the original "Ulyanov" to "Lenin" in honour of the River.



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Old 04-17-2010, 02:12 AM   #41
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Towns of Exile

There are a number of towns along the banks of the Lena that have been used as towns for political exile not only in the Soviet Period, but going further back into the Tsarist period.

The Lena valley villages were well known to the Soviet Heirarchy, many of whom were exiled here by the Tsars for political agitation.

The villages were made up centuries old wooden houses that once housed the llikes of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the dreaded Polish founder of the Soviet Secret Police, and Valerian Kuibyshev, one of the primary revolutionaries, when they were exiled under the Tsars.

For the few hundred metres the roads ran through the villages, there was asphalt - which abruptly ended as soon as you reached the village limits.







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Old 04-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #42
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The Road continued on in good shape to Zhigalovo



Where we found some good lodgings and corner shop that sold the all important beer.

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Old 04-17-2010, 11:36 PM   #43
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Zhigalovo Road

After Zhigalovo, we were following a new road through the forest. It was not yet marked on any of the 3-4 maps we carried, but Artyom, the robocop biker we had met in Irkutsk a couple of days earlier had assured us the road was OK ... and in fact several times on the road, in the muddier sections, we would see the unmistakeable tracks of an Africa Twin - as Artyom had ridden the road a couple of days earlier.



Tony took an unscheduled pitstop when his clutch cable broke - however iin this instance, Tony's preparation was excellent ... he had a spare clutch cable taped to the first one. All he had to do was plug in the spare. 3 minutes later and we were back underway.

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Old 04-18-2010, 12:02 AM   #44
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We reached the BAM Road... we would do 250 km on it today, and come back to do the whole lot in 6 weeks time.



It was muddy in patches:

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Old 04-18-2010, 12:25 AM   #45
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