All the people from the hostel gathered about to wave us goodbye, taking photos and videos of our departure.
It was then straight to a petrol station to fill up tanks and jerry cans before starting the BAM. The petrol pumps here have catches that click in automatically and keep the nozzle open. Dave had a spraying petrol moment when his tank was full, not only dousing his hot bike with petrol, but also spraying it all ver Frank who was standing next to him.
We then set off along the BAM and soon came to the next town along the coast from Severobaikalsk. Here we stopped to look at a WW2 fighter plane and a memorial to fallen soldiers. There were an awful lot of names on the memorial wall.
The first 70 miles was tarmac but then the BAM gradually deteriorated into gravel tracks, and then further on into sand covered tracks where the sand in places was up to six inches deep and required a careful eye on the track to avoid fishtailing in the deeper sand.
After only about 10 miles of riding on tracks Dave's Russian repaired shock absorber failed again. So whatever had caused it to fail the first time was still causing problems. We stopped at the side of the road and removed the old shock absorber and then made spacer pieces from an old PTFE spacer that Paul had used when making his improvised side panels on his bike. So two 3mm spacers were cut with a hacksaw blade, filed into final shape and fitted either side of the top mount of the shock absorber. The whole exercise only took about 30 mins. (Dave now has his shiny red shock absorber, and we suspect he nay secretly be happy that the other one failed again!!
We went through a section where mountains were on our left and the views were truly magnificent.
The road now progressively got harder to ride with pot holes full of water, and boulders that had to be avoided. Geoff went through a long puddle and it seemed just like someone was pouring water into his boots. The water is forced up the inside of the waterproof trousers and then over the tops of the boots.
We turned a corner and there was our first narrow bridge with little or no sides. Nobody even stopped to consider how we should manage this we all just rode straight across. Geoff however got his entry wrong onto the bridge and had a big wobble trying to correct the bikes trajectory. Still even he managed to get across without falling off.
At the next bridge crossing we decided to camp just off from the road.
We have installed the bear fence, but for reasons nobody really knows we decided we would cook a stew close to the campsite. I think tiredness and hunger were key in the decision process.
Edward is with us but unfortunately he put his tiny little tent in a place where the electric fence wouldn't reach. We offered for him to move it inside the "zone" but he has declined.
He was however a little sceptical about out bear fence and decided to test it. I don't think he will bother testing it again!!
Paul and Dave gave bear bells and are wearing them. It makes the campsite sound like an alpine meadow.
There is a railway bridge very close to us and trains seem to pass about every 40 mins.
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