Monday, 1 September 2014

Day 64 Sunday August 31st Vladovostok

After breakfast which was pancakes with cream and coffee/tea we loaded the bikes and set off. The hotel caretaker had kindly covered the bikes with a blue tarpaulin to keep them dry, but it only just covered the handlebars.

We set off and the weather was misty and very foggy for about 10 miles but after that it cleared up into another hot day.

We stopped at the first petrol station to fill up and for the first time throughout the trip we seemed to have trouble communicating with the person controlling the pumps. She kept asking Geoff questions and when he said "ya ne many paiyu" (I don't understand) she opted for the method of saying it slowly and loudly. In the end she switched on the pump and we filled up as normal filling all four bikes in the one transaction. Then when Geoff came to get the change from the money you have to supply before you can start to take fuel she started again asking questions. In the end she came out onto the courtyard and asked all four of us the same question that nobody could understand. In the end another customer said something to her and she went away happy but we were still none the wiser. We think she may have been wanting each bike to have a separate transaction but we don't know !!

This run into Vladivostok seems to have brought out all the bad drivers in Russia. The roads are single carriageway mostly and these big 4 x 4 vehicles zoom up behind you and get very close when they pass you. Geoff had one incident with a car where we were all indicating to overtake a slow van and the driver behind Geoff just decided he would overtake before Geoff and pulled out at the same time as Geoff and there was nearly a collision as he then overtook both the van and Geoff at the same time.

Later the road turned into a two lane motorway and the traffic speeded up again. Roadworks on this motorway directed us into a contra-flow section where traffic was again going in both directions. There were no cones separating the lanes, and the drivers were overtaking and travelling at pretty fast speeds. Next we came to a section of single carriageway but with two marked lanes in each direction. This seemed to invite the speeding drivers to go even faster, and we who were travelling mostly in the slower inside lane had to take extreme caution when overtaking as the fast vehicles zoom right up very close to your back wheel. At one point I looked in my mirror and was sure I could read the part number of the radiator of the vehicle behind!

At last we saw the Pacific Ocean and we had arrived at Vladivostok!

We stopped at the first hotel we saw on the outskirts just glad I think to get off the road.

The hotel is clean and modern, but there are no shops or restaurants within walking distance and so we eat and drank in the hotel cafe. Good food but expensive, and we quickly exhausted the supply of beer and then moved on to vodka. The end result is by now predictable. We ended up pretty drunk in Paul's room early in the morning!

The hotel has wifi which we can get onto but the wifi does not connect to the internet. Nobody seems to be able to fix this problem!

We have now completed the outward bound part of our journey and we are some 9200 miles from home.

We agreed to get in touch with the friend Vladimir from Severobaikalsk when we eventually reached Vladivostok but his contact details were in Geoff's phone and this has stopped working after it got water in on one of his offs into water on the BAM road. So if you are reading this Vladimir please post a comment with your contact details and we will get back in touch.

More later

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  1. At least no panniers were lost in this incident Geoff - or is that because you've got none left? I think there's one lurking amongst the cobwebs in the attic that I can bring out? Glad you are all safe.

  2. The above comment is not from Geoff to himself, it's from Savitri his wife!

  3. Well done Dad. Excited to hear you are across the BAM road safe. Xx