Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 65: Rostov to Volgograd (Almost)

We’d calculated that Volgograd was almost 600km from Rostov and given the progress of yesterday, it would take us another four days to reach the historic city. We grabbed the complimentary breakfast and then borrowed an hour of Internet time from the hotel’s ‘Business Centre’ before checking out along with every free sample that we could muster.

Outside in the car park stood a pair of familiar looking scooters, .. Norik and his friends had come down to the hotel to guide us onto the correct road for Satchy and onwards to Volgograd. We followed them to the airport and then waved them farewell as we rode out onto the M4 heading north. Without the help of these great young guys we’d have been lost in a huge city, a few thousand roubles out of pocket and no doubt still winging about Russian authority. To Norik, John, Shasha and Timo, … many thanks guys.

It’s hot and dry, the roads are dusty and uneven and the air is filled with small black flies that sting like nettles on contact with the skin. We’ve each had several fly into our tee shirts while riding, … not overly pleasant. We’re both suffering from exhaustion and every mile on these dull and congested roads hurts like hell, …but still we made good progress. We passed several roadblocks today and have remained unmolested with our wallets and sanity still in tact. By close of business on Saturday 7th June, we’re within 50km of Volgograd and only one day behind schedule.

Tomorrow we’ll head into Volgograd and hopefully find some local bikers who can point us in the direction of new tyres. We’re both down to the last microns of rubber and our front tyres are about to start showing their canvas knickers to any interested parties, …. which sadly might include the next policeman, .. so they’ve got to be changed.

In Sochi our new friend, the main Honda Agent for the area, had informed us that no tyres existed anywhere in Russia that would fit the Tigers. CitySprint in London are trying to fly two full sets out to us in Volgograd but are encountering difficulties with ‘Customs Procedures’. If what the Honda Agent has told us is true, then this new challenge has basically thrown a rather large and oily spanner into the works of Poor Circulation. Apparently the only way to get tyres to us is to ship them to a named individual (Russian Citizen), who will then have to travel in person to Moscow, pay the import duty and collect the tyres, … not ideal.

We need two sets of tyres sized:110/80/19 and 150/70/17. If anybody reading this has any contacts within Michelin, Metzeler, or even Russia etc., …. then any help would be greatly appreciated. We’re happy to throw any brand of rubber onto the bikes so long as it will get us through to Vladivostok in the East. If we can’t get tyres inside Russia, then because of our visa’s and the physical size of the country we’re pretty much finished. However,.. ‘Plan B’ is to ride as far east as the tyres will allow and then to throw the bikes onto the Trans Siberian Railway and onto Vladivostok. ‘Plan C’ is to run the tyres to canvas and then buy a van, throw the bikes in the back, drive to Vladivostok where we’ll sell the van and get out to Japan or Alaska.

Today has kind of renewed our faith in the Russian establishment and we’ve decided to put our previous ‘Police Interfaces’ down to bad luck and hope that for the next 12,000 miles, … we’ll remain happy and intimidation free. To a certain extent the lightening of our wallets has been aided simply by our naivety and the fact that from glancing at our passports it’s clear for all to see that we are but virgins in Russia and yet to learn the ways of this world. We’ll get over it, find a solution and come what may, …. we’re determined to make this trip across Russia into a memorable experience for all of the right reasons.

1 comment:

The Roadhoover said...

Good read blue! gonna place your blog in my blog directory, more people need to read this sort of stuff, very energizing.