Into the great unknown Amur Highway

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

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Where I stayed
Roadway camp site.

Flag of Russia  , Zabaïkalski,
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Woke up feeling rough as anything. Was it a dodgy Chinese or the unfermented beer?/ No idea.

Breakfast this morning was the pits. Remember, this hotel is coosting us about the same as the one in UB. The breakfast was unrecognisable, except for fried eggs and bread, so we had those. 2 eggs, already served onto cold plates. You can imagine what they were like. The juice was indescribable and unidentifiable. We went to the car and did the usual  checks, including gearbox and axle. Which entails removing everything from the back of the car and then the board in front of the petrol tanks, so it was quite a task. Got it all back together, washed up in oredr to go to the bank to draw some money. The staff at the hotel wanted the keys, so we told them no, not yet.
Went into town, walked around where we had been told to go, couldnt find a bavnk anywhere. Asked people, they couldfnt help. Can you imagine a major town where no one knows where the bank is? Eventually discovered that the building we were outside had an ATM inside! Had to go throuhj security to get into the lobby, just to use the ATM!

Went back to the hotel, packed everything up and proceeded to leave. Stopped at the babushka's floor (2nd) and told to wait while they check the room. % minutes later I marched back to the room to find the 2 girls giggling in the room, so I turned round and told Martin we were going. Got our registration certificats from reception and left. You need a record of where you stay in this vountry!

Set off on the road north, the Amur Highway. This is the one that wasnt finished when it wa sopened, and we have sketchy details about itand no decent map at all. So when we hit a detour, all dust and dirt, I was very apprehensice - if thois is another Mongolia, I cant take it. Nor can the car. However, after about a km it came back as tar. The rtoad was mixed quality for a while, but then it improved quite nicely - moist of the way 2 good lanes, spreading out to 3 whenever there is a main hill.

Made good time, and we did about 500km, which wioth the late start is great. However, the petrool is not frequent so we top up about every 200-300 km. And there is no sign of any hotels, sso we are camping. Using the tents at last! Cooked the food on the petroil cooker, and now we are ready foer bed. The site we chose is actually a forest road, but it looks as if they have dug up just a bit further on, so we should be OK..

Map shows a town, but we are nowhere civilised

Martin's moment:
So the answer is ...its a magnificent road.After a bad start it has become (so far) the best road we have used in Russia.Lets hope it continues for the next four days to Chabarovsk.Biggest issue is that we have no way of knowing when next petrol station is - we went for 200K without seeing one this afternoon.I need to stop writing this now -its getting dark and feeling a bit cold.Finished this tonight (next night -Thursday).It was the coldest night I can remember spending in a tent.I could do nothing to stay warm and had little sleep.Still-we've done the camping bit now. 

Mileage 511km, mAX SPEED 90KM TOTAL CLIMB 17185FT

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Lorraine on

Pleased that the camping gear wasn't wasted!! Lovely to hear form you Roger. When Jam was with us we kept checking to see if you had managed to get somewhere that had coms!!

daniel on

camping in the cold is standard, goodwood last year? exmoor trial,-6 and that was in the back of the van, good job you've got all that expensive arctic spec gear!

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