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Post 89: Amur Highway

The Amur Highway was opened by Mr Putin back in 2005, … and if I say so myself, .. a little prematurely. It’s a remarkable achievement to have any road running through this area of Russia, but to say that it will be ‘finished’ in 2008, … is a little optimistic. The Amur Highway clings to the border of northern China and is shadowed all of the way by the Trans Siberian Railway

The road surface for the first 200km out of Chita is perfectly fine, but then the situation changes dramatically. The tarmac vanishes and the road surface changes between sand, mud, and rock every few kilometres. Having said that, .. it’s ‘uncomfortable’ in that it isn’t smooth and some of the deeper sand and gravel surfaces take a great deal of concentration, ….. but so far it has all been 100% rideable.

This evening we stopped at a small Russian Orthodox Church on the road and brewed coffee before heading off to find a rough campsite. While I was scouting for suitable venues Alan went into the church for several minutes and emerged looking a great deal more cheerful than he had done for the past few weeks. It’s a difficult thing for me to explain, but after we left that place Alan took the lead and rode with a degree of confidence that he hasn’t shown since leaving Western Europe.

Some 10Km on, Alan takes the initiative and finds an ideal camp ground for the night and he prepares me my first meal and coffee of the trip so far. His mood has lifted and the dark cloud that has followed us from Austria has vanished since he entered that small church, …… he’s almost back to his old self and I hope that things can remain this way. Vladivostok is still some 2,500Km to the southeast and we still have at least a 1,750Km to ride on marginal roads, …… fingers crossed.

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