The workmen who were staying in a cabin beside us tried on a couple of occasions to ask if they could go for a spin on one of the bikes. Geoff resisted this thinking he's come this far and didn't want someone else dropping and breaking his bike.
Now after leaving Barnaul we have suddenly come into beautiful Alpine scenery. The group agree that the run of some 200 miles is one of the best mountain views/roads that anyone can ever remember riding.
We stopped at the top of a pass and there were bushes covered in white and blue prayer offerings. There was also quite a few tourist stalls selling leather shoes and other craft items. We considered buying a Ghengis Khan style fur lined hat with a fur pony tail, but it was expensive £100 and would probably be illegal if brought back to the UK. (And of course nobody really wanted a genuine fur hat !!)
Later in the say we stopped to cook lunch at a beautiful camping spot next to a fast flowing river. Dave set off with good intentions of cooking corned beef stew with all the vegetables etc. but when push came to shove we just had savoury rice ( which was very good!!).
Geoff tried his hand at fly fishing but there was obviously no fish in that section of river because he presented the perfect fly !!!)
When we were about to leave this camp site a Canadian biker whose name we sadly cannot remember rolled in and told us he had been travelling on his BMW X-Challenge through Korea, the Stans and was now on his way to Mongolia. He had done 200k of the BAM road and had decided to pack in because of the weather and problems he was having with his bike.
We then rode on to the last town in Russia where our naps indicated there were two hotels. We arrived in town and could not distinguish an hotel from the rest of the ramshackle buildings. Eventually we got directed to a shed style building which had a small red sign saying Transit Hotel. This is definitely the worst place we have stayed in to sate. However the good news is that it only costs £6 per person.
That evening we walked about 3 miles all around the town trying to locate a phantom restaurant. In the end we bought provisions in a supermarket and went back to our luxury hotel and camped out in the lounge /kitchen area.
Geoff having big problems with his back after 20 says on the bike. Did think about stopping and resting at our luxury hotel, but decided that if we have to stop and rest then we will probably be more comfortable camping !!
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