Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Krasnoyarsk to Novokuznetsk

18 June Friday - Krasnoyarsk

Just down the road from our hotel is the Regional Museum, feeling like doing something different we go and check it out. After a couple of hours in a museum you start to want something with a bit more life. Dont get me wrong the artifacts and displays here are great, some even have english translation which makes for a better appreciation from me.
Heading for the centre part of town where there is a very live atmosphere and food we find a KFC. Their menu beats the NZone hands down, different cultures, different ideas on food I suppose.
Back at the hotel we take care of the mundane things, washing, airing of the camp stuff, this makes the room look like a chinese laundry and I dont think the hotel management would be to impressed if they looked out the front of their hotel and saw our washing hanging on the balcony.
As the evening rolls on we jump on the bikes and take a quick look around the city, only to find that Friday nights the streets become race tracks and the drivers are crazy. Deciding we are better off on foot we park the bikes up and head across the road to Yenisey River strip where the action is not so life threatening and we sit and enjoy a couple of cold ones.

19 June Saturday - Krasnoyask to Camp 8

It is almost to nice a day to put on a helmet and jacket. Our gruff and expensive security guard gave some pretty good instructions on how to get out of the city and thus we had no dramas. With no real goal in mind other than enjoy the sun and the sights we cruise along, watching people cool off at every place there is water.
Just out of Achinsk we spied another field with Antinovs' in it. Within a few minutes we had found the gate, another barking dog and his security master. Introducing ourselves we ask if we can look at the planes, Sasha, the security guard, radios up another man and within minutes we are bumping along in a Russian van towards the planes in the field. This place is a treasure trove of of planes and machinery, Antinovs, Yak  52, dozers, snow machines and assorted engineering lathes and milling machines. Our escort is happy to walk around with us and with a little bit of english in his vocabulary we pester him with all sorts of questions. Having got the photos we asked for we say goodbye to our friendly watchmen and head up the road - about 500 meters, lunch stop :))))
Making camp in one of the huge fields - they are about the size of the average NZ dairy farm - I decide to test a theory.... My theory is, there is more mosquitos in a stand of trees than out in the open. The field we are in has small stands of trees scattered around the edges, J'ean makes camp within the trees and me just out from them. Result... less mosquitos out in the open. There are more flies but you can put up with them they dont want your blood.

20 June Sunday - Camp 8 to Novokuznetsk
This morning is a true indication as to the shortness of night here. At midnight last night the sun had all but faded on the western horizon, at 4am this morning it is an ever increasing glow on the eastern one.
The camp is about 30km out of Marinsk and not completely sure of the distance to Novokuznetsk, where we are to meet a friend of mine, our plans are again open. If we get there, we get there, if we dont we dont. The day day is another scorcher and our jackets and pants have every vent open and liner removed. Even the air going through the oil cooler is hot the legs making it necessary to move it regularly out of the way.
The road....one word....Straight! Cant say boring as there is groups and individual motorcyclists heading in the opposite direction, riding a variety of machines, with a constant wave or toot of the horn. Talking to a few of them at the stops we make along the way they have been at a Motofestival just out of Novosibirsk. We even get an invite to the next one in August at Kemerovo, somehow I dont think our bodies could handle the punishment of Russian hospitality at an event like this (vodka). Lucky our Russian visas expire before then.
4pm, we are on the outskirts of Novokuznetsk, I contact Irina for directions. She has offered us a place to stay while we sort tyres and parts for the bikes. Our first sights of this large industrial city are of the huge smoke stacks billowing smoke into the air and creating a haze over the city. Novokuznetsk is one of Russias large steel producers and makes about 70% of the countries rail tracks. The scene at the local river is the same as at Krasnoyarsk, lined with people swimming and enjoying the summer day. This also makes for slow going on the road as the people are coming and going from the river. It's with relief we arrive at Irinas apartment block and get the helmets and jackets off - heat, traffic, dust - not particulary comfortable.
With the gear unloaded its a quick ride over to Irinas parents place where we are to store the bikes in Alexanders, her dads, shed....... to our surprise he has the banya all fired up and ready for us. The heat from the day and then the banya, well, it damn near wiped us out.
Side note:...since being on the road both J'ean and I have lost weight, those banyas are also a reliable way to shed another kilo or two whether you want to or not! Bring on the chocolate bars.....

21/22 June Monday/Tuesday - Novokuznetsk
Our host and her daughter Vita take us into town and show us some of the local sights and I was surprised to see that this sprawling city has some very nice places and something I am still finding hard to get my head around with some of these bigger cities, a relaxed atmosphere. Maybe I am to used to Auckland and Sydney and expect the worst. In the middle of one of the places is an amuzement park, even on a Monday the place is busy and with a nice breeze blowing it makes for a relaxing time.
Our main mission for this stop is to source tyres and oil for the bikes. Sounds easy...... Not!!!! In the back of our minds we knew it wouldn't be as everything we have read about others travels across this country indicated they had DHL courier in the required spares.
Motorcycle forums are huge source of information  and if you look long enough and use the right search terms you get what you want. Horizons Unlimited has thousands of posts from motorcyclists all over the world and it is here that we find the number of a guy to contact in Novosibirsk to get tyres. Irina managed to get us to the local bike shop to get oil but they didn't stock much of anything and tyres are a six month back order. We had her ring the number in Novosibirsk and within a couple of hours all was arranged. Happy campers we are.... :))))

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