Saturday, 30 August 2014

Day 58 Monday August 25th. Chinin

Up and away and straight into three railway bridge crossings, the last of which was much easier than the normal ones because we could ride on a gravel apron adjacent to the rails.

Two dilapidated bridge crossings, numerous river crossings, and a section of gravel and boulders alongside the railway made for a hard time. Frank came off in the gravel/boulder section and fell heavily onto the boulders. Fortunately he was just bruised, but it could have been much worse.

We became very conscious of our low levels of petrol and had set our hopes on reaching a village called Chichen where the hubb reported that petrol was available. As we got closer to Chichen we passed railway workers and we asked them if there was petrol available in Chichen. Usually the answer was no and that petrol was not available until Tynda still nearly 300 km away.
One railway worker gave us the name of a person in Chichen who may be able to supply petrol.
Gradually the bikes started to run out of petrol and we eked out what we had left in our jerry cans.
Eventually we arrived at the conclusion that we didn't have enough petrol to get all four of us to Chichen and so the remaining petrol was shared between Geoff and Frank who then went ahead to search out any petrol in Chichen.
On arrival at Chichen Geoff stopped a person in a car and showed them the name the railway person had written down, and asked if they knew where this person lived. He indicated a block of flats, and seeing that Geoff had no idea where this was got out of his car and took Geoff into the flats up to the second floor and pointed at a door. When Geoff knocked a person came to the door and Geoff gave them the piece of paper with the name on. The person was gob slapped that his name was on a piece of paper held by a foreigner and couldn't understand how It had happened.
When asked about petrol he indicated that he had none, then asked how much we needed. Geoff did a quick calculation of how much petrol to get four bikes the 230 km to Tynda which would be about 60 litres, and asked for 70 litres. His eyes shot up to his eyebrows and he indicated he only could let us have 20 litres. Reluctantly Geoff agreed hoping that when we eventually got him to the place where the petrol was stored we could persuade him to give us more.
The mans name was Uri and we followed him in his Lada 4 x 4 to his lock up garage. Inside there was a 50 gallon oil drum in the corner, and he proceeded to syphon out petrol into our 5 litre jerry cans. As he filled them Frank and Geoff took them and quickly emptied them into their bike tanks and returned with the empty can. When we got to 25 litres Geoff put his hands together in a prayer gesture and pleaded with him to give us more. He smiled shook his head and indicated ok we could have some more. By the time we had taken 60 litres we had both bikes tanks full to the gunnels, and 30 litres in six jerry cans. To get all this petrol out of the 50 gallon drum we had had to tilt it on its side and pour the contents into an open bucket. At one point Geoff was holding the bucket and spilled quite a bit of petrol onto the wooden floor of his wooden garage. Uri was annoyed and quickly got some sand and absorbed as much petrol as possible but he was not a happy man that his garage was now a highly flammable construction!
When it came to time to pay him for the 60 litres we only had a 5000 ruble note and he had no change available. There still seemed to be about 10-20 litres of petrol left in the drum so Geoff asked if when we collected our two colleagues who had run out of petrol could we come back for the last of his petrol. He smiled again in a way that seemed to indicate "you cheeky bugger" but said ok.
Frank and Geoff returned to give petrol to Paul and Dave and we all returned quickly to Uri's garage and took another 40 litres from the drum before it was completely empty. Now happy we had enough to get to Tynda we set off in search of a campsite, but it started to rain and we ended up putting the tents up in the rain alongside the river. We built a fire in a metal brazier that had been left by previous campers.

Geoff checked his panniers again and came to the conclusion that the pannier racks were so badly broken that he couldn't keep them all on the bike. In the morning he would have to rationalise his belongings and throw out everything he could then fit the remaining into the bag he bought in Severobaikalsk.

Dave cooked a superb meal of fish pasta. We think it was just a coincidence that he threw what he had left into one pot and it all seemed to taste ok!!

More later

Next to river
Geoff's panniers totally buggered
Frank off not hurt

Fish pasta
Big camp fire

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