Friday, 17 September 2010
VERKHANEVILUISK TO SUNTAR - Russia
On yer bike… A good ol’ Australian saying comes to mind.
We got off the ferry and had some fairly nice roads. The one thing Walter brought up before we left is that today is the half bridge. It’s a bridge that crosses the water, but it just ends half way across and you go into the water to finish. How weird!!
He told me the trouble they had with it last year, however it was going the opposite direction.
They went into the water first, then had to travel up the steep metal slope onto the bridge. This is what I expected, knowing I would have to go down the steep metal slope in to the drink.
As we travelled along, Walter told me at a small stop that half bridge was coming up in about 20 k’s, and he said it without looking at me with quite a smirk on his face.. I didn’t buy into this time though. After going through the Sand Pit, I had a “bring it on” attitude. No way I was going to let that play with me, and I was ready to take it.
I’m cruisin’… Bring it on Buster Brown!!!
Walter always rides ahead of me, and again I must mention how lucky I am to get so many wonderful pictures of the trip. Also, since I am riding standing up, I don’t see my gps well, so I don’t look at it much.. I don’t have to, because there is only one road, not much for me to screw up.
I went over this bridge, but it didn’t seem like 20 km’s yet.
That was it!!?? I was imagining this kilometre wide river with a bridge half way across, and I was going to have to struggle getting off the ramp without falling over. I had packed my bags so tightly since I knew I was going to get so wet, had my seal skin socks, completely prepared.. And this was it??!!
We are just lucky this year the water levels are low. But I didn’t realize this was half bridge until I was well down the road, and knew I was well past 20 km. And then when I saw Walter again, he confirmed it.. Now seeing the photo, he was right, you can see the river edge and if it was a higher level, that bridge would end half way!
Lucky Lucky me… it just goes to show, if I had spent time worrying about it like crazy, and if I hadn’t put on my wet gear, I would have had to get wet. I love looking at this picture… that is the half bridge I had been hearing about for weeks! I worried plenty early on,
There’s still plenty of water around here though, even with low levels.. I’d hate to imagine what this stretch of road would be like when the levels are high!
We have 3 ferry crossings today.. First one early this morning, and here comes another..
And a handy warning.. however I’m not sure if it means I might fall off the road into the water, or don’t overshoot the ferry?
I’ll do my best not to overshoot, I am such a rocket on a bike don’t you know! ;-)
I remember not long ago at Khandyga, my first ferry, that there was no way I was going to get my bike down the dirt and onto a ferry ramp without falling over.
Now I don’t think about it much… I get my cue, and do my best not to look at the soft watery dirt, sticks and what-not, I just go down the hill carefully. Once I get close enough, don’t look down,.. give a fair bit of throttle and hope for the best. It’s worked so far! Walter! Momentum is my friend!!
Gee whiz there is a lot of water around here.. still crossing the Vilui River on ferries, but these little crossings pop up as well. Walter stops before crossing this one and said to remember what he taught me and he’ll see me on the other side. There is a fair little current here, but it didn’t look like a worry at all and I was like “Whatever, Dude…”
On to one last ferry for the day. I always enjoy the ferry rides… it’s so good to be able to meet and talk to the people that are travelling..
This smile didn’t last long! We are getting close to Suntar, our stopping point for the night; a big enough village to expect hotel accommodation and fuel.
I get off the ramp and up the hill of the embankment. We’ve been lucky all day, but it’s been raining a fair bit here in Suntar. I have travelled in my share of mud, but this mud is like no other. It’s gushy slimy slipper mud as if you are riding through big cow pile!
The bike was all over the place. It was a new mud experience for me and I was trying to work out how to handle it.. Standing up or sitting down, speed or not.. Usually throttle is the answer, but not this time! I fell over on a ROAD for the first time since I started my trip! (All my other fall overs were in water crossings)
It just spun around exactly 180 degrees into the oncoming lane. Luckily the van coming towards me had time to stop just in time beside me. I was hurt AT ALL, but I was very angry. To have my suit and bike covered with cow pile type mud at the end of the day, just before I am to go into a hotel.
The nice men in the van jumped out and helped me pick up the bike. I was fine.. bike was fine..
I went on to the fuel stop where Walter was, and he says, “Are you going to get fuel?’
I said “No, I just want off my bike.” (I can get fuel in the morning)
He goes to a Magazine, and asks about accommodation. He gets a tip to go down the road, and motions for me to stay put while he investigates. Then a van pulled up next to me and asks me questions in Russian.. I say “Ni Ponyo” I don’t understand, but I motion that my “drugo” (sp?) friend, is over there. She waits with me and when he comes back, she explains and has us follow her. Walter thinks she is showing us to a hotel, but she ends up taking us home!
Another hospitable surprise, but I was in a grumpy mood, and the road she lived on I just did NOT want to go down. It was worse than the one I just fell on. I have no choice, Walter is yelling at me from her driveway to the end of the road where I stopped and stared at it for a while.. I just yell back I will come but give me a moment, please!!!
I’m not standing up on my bike and taking this.. I walked and paddled my way to the house.. Pathetic I know, but I got there and didn’t fall over.
She has us park in the yard, and we are in!! Nice big new house! All the family starts arriving and they all get to work on making us a meal! Heck, we are S P O I L E D. I know this, but I am still grumpy can you believe. I have a beer… and then I come good.
That’s what it takes sometimes.. I have everything to be happy about, but sometimes you just need that little extra something to make sense of it all.
Here are some photos of this beautiful family and the feast the served us!!
The little girls stayed by me as I settled in.. They showed me where to wash my hands and how to use their sink, (I might need to add that they don't have internal plumbing and sinks with taps that flow out of the wall due to pipes freezing from extreme cold winters, so to show me the sink is how you use the water they have brought into the house for us to use) where the toilet is outside.. where I was going to sleep.. And then they showed me their big flat screen tv on the wall and search all the satellite for a show in English.. A childrens show.. but English nonetheless. I wasn’t much interested in tv, but the looked at me for approval of that show.. and I expressed it!
The large cabin next to the toilet is literally just the Russian Banya. I think it's cool that it's a special house with hot steam sauna and cold rain water to wash with.. lovely!
Next morning was pancakes, which we have come to love with their version of cream and homemade fresh from the forest berry jam!
And of coarse a wonderful Anastasia packed up a bunch and a bottle of jam for us to take on the road.
Good food, good friends.. like we had known them forever.
Love our Suntar Family!!
Time to get on the move. Walter has just received a text message from Ilya in Mirny that there is an Airshow and Motor-cross event happening the next day.
No more happy families… the man is on a mission! ;-)