Into the great unknown

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Daurio Hotel

Flag of Russia  , Zabaïkalski,
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We were collected as promised by our friendly policeman and driven back to where Stanley had spent the night safely. The police gathered round, but not obtrusively like when they do it on the road. Set off driving on our way without breaakfast as that  wasnt on offer at our (un)hospitable hotel. Their cafe doesnt open until 8 and we were gone by then.

Stopped on our way at a roadside cafe, there are quiite a few of them along the way. Ordered eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms (Nyet) and tea. All came together. Fried eggs (good) a slab of some sort of polony (ok) the tomatoes were chopped and mixed with grated cheese and a load of garlic! The tea was fine.

Back on the road, and later it was time for lunch, so we stopped off at a village (its the only word I can think of, but its not right!) to buy soomething at the magasin (shop). The first shop was closed and bolted. The second shop had a very limited range of stuff, so I bought a loaf of bread and a bottle of water. Off we went and eventually stopped for bread and jam, water and Penguin biscuits (thanks Jem!)

Really unexciting driving today, except for the exhaust which came apart again, so I fixed that, while Martin fixed the bracket at the back, shows were are truly versatile!

Got to Chita, tried a place marked on the Garmin as being "Unnamed Other" because we didnt wnat to be too close to the centre of town, and it turned out to be a campground! Headed  into town and booked into the Daurio. It has protected parking, which is important, but no wifi. What a pain, we'd hoped to update ypou before we go into the wilds of the Amur Highway.

As we were booking in the receptionist asked for our registration slips from last night. Of course I couldnt find them, so we said we havdnt been given any. Seemed satisfied. Apparently as well as logging you into and out of the country 14 times, they also track your every movement as well. Weell, they could if they bothered, but as its all handwritten, I cant believe that anyone would manage to do so. Where would they start looking for us next? Who cares!!!

Had dinner in the hotel's Chinese restaurant. Ordered chicken, vegetables and rice witth 2 beers. The beer tastes as if it hasnt finished fermenting, Martin says we;ll wake tomorrow with terrible hangovers. The beer advertised on the table is 14% - thats massive for beer! The rice and a plate of food arrived,  which we ate, thinking that the chicken was notable by its absence. We finished it and ordered another plate of rice to fill us up. Just then the plate of chicken arrived! They dont deliver things together. Oh well!

Mileage 491km max speed 88kph max altitude 3705 total ascent 12180ft

Martin's morning moment:
I thought last night but my feelings were reinforced this morning that this is effectively a siege town - metal reinforced doors and even the police telling you that your property is not safe.Grey crumbling,dusty and smog covered .A bleak mad-Max of an environment.Coal burning central power stations lay a smog across a jangle of decaying metal and masonry.What hope is there for anyone here or am I just equating it with my own life?
Spent a fairly restless and cold night.Worried about everything - so near and yet..So we emerged blinking into the daylight.If I've got my clock changes right we are now 8 hours in front of UK and we effectively started our day at 7 a.m.Even got a police escort out of town from a different crew as we had lost our way.Today may well be pattern for next week - I think we have a little under 3000 kms to go and about 400-450 is our max if we have a half decent road.We've done more but I suspect we'll need to pace ourselves for the next bit.It is literally uncharted.We have no paper map but the trusty Garmin (satnav) will no doubt see us through. As I said yesterday my information is that road from here (Chita) to Chabarovsk which is 2000K was newly paved last year so we are ever hopeful.
Bought some oil today - a lighter grade but should be OK if we use equal quantities of the 20-50.We are still losing but I think at a consistent rate.
So gently does it.

I know - how about a burst of:

"So take a last last upon sunshine and brook
Send your regrets to the Czar"

Gripping stuff eh?

We fall again into a classier hotel than is strictly necessary but the car is safe,we are clean for 12 hours and we are out of the saddle.We're tired,a bit grumpy with each other at the end of the day and suffering from a mixture of apprehension and that wall of fatigue that you fight off until you have nowhere to go.We have a week of quiet determination ahead and during it and a few days afterwards need to tidy up some significant ends.But that will wait.Right now its time hopefully for the first decent meal in 72 hours.Still cannot tell you about Chabarovsk road - we live in trepidation.See you tomorrow.

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Polly on

Bank holiday Monday tomorrow for us. I think we could all get used to these 4 day weekends

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