Samara to 35 miles west of Ufa, Russia

Distance: 256 miles
Time on bikes: 6.5 hours

The day starts with breakfast in the hotel where we also try to get the wi-fi to work. The breakfast is good, but the computer says the network is unsecure and we don’t feel comfortable logging on as we want to check our bank accounts.

We head back to the room and the girl from reception that speaks quite good English comes up to try and give us a hand. She tries calling a friend but we don’t get any further forward so decide to head out to one of the cafes along the promenade to see if they have wi-fi.

After walking around and asking a few places we decide to get on our way. We’re about 10 days behind with the website and have nearly 200 photos to upload, but it’ll just have to wait until further down the road. We retrace our steps from the night before back to the hotel and quickly get packed and on the go. We leave the car park next to the hotel, where they were kind enough to let us park the bikes next to the security hut, and wheels are moving at 11.35 am.

We have to ride back through Samara to go north to where the main road heads east. To get back to the other end of the city is twenty miles and takes an hour before we’re on a new road going east.

The day passes quick and the roads are generally good, although there are some tortuous bits where the trucks have forged deep grooves in the road and forced up big lumps of tarmac which we need to be careful to avoid. We do a long distance of 280 miles on the tank of fuel as the first few petrol stations we stop at after the fuel lights come on are out of petrol or are having problems with the pumps. There is a slight concern from Bene, but we manage to find a station with a couple of litres to spare in the tanks.

We stop for a lovely lunch at a roadside cafe where we manage to order lunch without too much trouble. We now know the word for potato is Kartofa, so we just say this and the lady suggests a few dishes to go with them. When we hear the word goulash we both say yes.

When leaving the cafe Bene plugs the intercom into the bike to charge up. However shortly after setting off she realises it’s not working. We pull over and also notice that her trip computer has reset itself and the clock doesn’t work when the ignition is off and also resets itself. That’s a new one. The bike starts fine however, so we set off and see if we can stop further down the road to have a closer look.

We pull in at a petrol station forecourt and have a poke around the bike. This is when Bene notices her rear brake pedal is only just hanging on and we get the tools out to tighten it up. We’d been meaning to do a good overhaul of the bikes when we had the two night stopover on the Volga, but didn’t quite get around to it… We can’t figure out what’s wrong with the electrics, but as the bike starts fine the battery is probably ok. Maybe it’s a loose connection on the battery or a fuse. We need to unload the bike to take a few panels off to find out, so will do it when we stop tonight.

We continue riding and pass a few more Police checkpoints. Again, riding through without any papers or documents being checked. We start to see a few trucks from Kazakhstan and also the landscape starts to change for the better. There are rolling hills and forests surrounding the road and it starts to look like a very big place. Carl has a play with the GPS and we’re 2,200 miles from home in a straight line and 2,100 miles to Delhi in India.

As we’re not very confident of finding a hotel we decide at about 6.30 pm to look for a turning off the main road so we can look for a place to set camp. We take a gravel road which is signposted for a village five miles away and ride along looking for a little path leading into one of the forests. Although the gravel road is nice, there’s nowhere for us to hide ourselves. We ride through the village and get some inquisitive looks from the kids.

We’ve passed quite a few oil pumping stations on the road today and Carl is conscious of staying away of these sites as there may be concerns over security if we pitch anywhere near one. They range from being grouped in twenty or so nodding donkeys to just single sites in the middle of nowhere.

We keep riding and the track gets smaller and more akin to a farm track with little sign of traffic. We pass a few signs of industry, including a goose farm, but keep going until we feel we’re out of reach from local civilisation.

We enter an area of rolling hills where it looks like we can pitch the tent in the corner of a farmers field. We pull into one and think it looks good, however a car soon drives past us and we give a friendly wave, to which we get a friendly wave back. We’re a bit surprised as we thought we were in the middle of nothing. Two minutes later another car goes the other way and it appears we’ve picked a spot on the agricultural M25.

We still think it looks good however and pick a spot behind a small copse of trees further into the field. Carl pitches the tent while Bene strips her bike to see if the problem with the electrics is down to a loose battery connection or a blow fuse. It turns out to be the fuse and she’s a happy girl when it’s all working properly again.

There is a temporary suspension of activity when a car pulls up on the nearby track and two men get out. Bene is pensive over what they may be doing, but a few minutes later they pull away. As they do, the car backfires and it sounds like a gun shot. Carl nearly has to empty his trousers.

Jour 87 – Mercredi 14 Juillet 2010

De Samara a 55km a l’ouest d’Ufa, Russie

Distance: 410 km – Tempsa moto: 6.5 heures

La journee commence avec le petit dejeuner de l’hotel ou nous essayons d’utiliser la connection internet. Le petit dejeuner est bon mais la connectuin internet n’est pas securisee, nous ne voulons dons pas l’utiliser pour verifier nos comptes en banque. Une des jeunes receptionists qui parle bien Anglais essaye de nous aider, mais il n’y a pas de connection securisee. Nous decidons donc d’aller faire un tour a pieds dans l’espoir de trouver un cafe internet.

Nous sommes déjà 10 jours en retard pour le journal et avons pres de 200 photos a metre, mais il nous faudra attendre plus longtemps avant de metre le site a jour. Nlous decidons donc de ne pas chercher plus loin et nous reprenons la route. Ca nous prends une heure pour sortir de la ville avant de rejoinder une route principale toute neuve en direction de l’Est.

La route est longue mais la journee passe vite, la route est plutot bonne, mais il faut faire attention aux endroits ou la route a etee deformee par les camions et qui forme de gros amats de macadam qui font des bosses. Nous faisons 450km sur un plein, ce qui est un record pour nous, que d’economies! Mais je suis bien contente de trouver la station d’essence, il y a en eu regulierement sur la route, mais je n;etais pas sure que cela serai le cas ce coups-ci. Il s’avere qu’il nous restait encore pres de 2 litres, c’est encore assez pour continuer 60 km, sur cette distance il y avait plusieurs stations, ca n;aurai pas ete un problem du tout.

Nous nous arretons pour manger un morceau dans un petit caffe sympa ou nous commandons un goulash avec de la puree, quell Bonheur de reussir a commander quelque chose. Apres manger, je mets mon intercom en charge, mais après quelques kilometres je me rends compte qu’il ne marche pas et que mon orloge  est dereglee., nous nous arretons et remarquons que quand je retire la clef du contact, la montre ne marche pas. Le chargeur ne semble pas marcher non plus. Nous continuons un peu et faisons une pause un peu plus tard pour voit si il y a quelque chose que nous pouvons faire, de nouveau quand j’enleve la clef de contact, l’orloge se remet a zero, mais la moto demarre bien…nous avions l’intention de verifier l’etat des connections electriques mais ne l’avons pas encore fait…il va falloir le faire au plus tot. Nous ne sommes pas surs quell est le problem, mais comme la moto demarre sans problem, nous decidons de continuer et de resoudre ce problem plus tard.

Lors d’une des pauses pour essayer de voir quel est le problem je Remarque que le boulon qui tiens la pedale de frein arriere est deserree, pas trop, mais je suis contente de l’avoir Remarque avant que nous perdoins le boulon. Nus pensons que le problem de chargeur est un problem de connection ou de fusible.

Comme les routes sont peu interessantes, Carl joue avec son GPS et remarque que nous sommes a 3500 km dde Royston, et a 3360km de Dehli en Inde.

Comme nous ne sommes pas surs de trouver un hotel a partir de 6h30 nous commencons a chercher un coin pour camper comme nous ne pensons pas trouver d’hotel. Nous prenons une petite route qui indique un village dans 7km, c’est un joli petit sentier de terre et gravier qui passé dans une tres joli village, il n’y a pas vraiment d’endroit ideal pour nous arreter, nous passons donc le village et quleques station de pompage d’huile. Carl pense qu’il risque d’y avoir quelqu’un qui surveille les pompes, nous continuons donc plus loin.

La route devein de plus en plus petite, nous passon une ferme enorme ou il y a plein d’oies, puisla route semble etre plus comme un sentier fermier qu’une route. Nous somme dans un coin qui est bien isole et pensons que personne ne passera par la le soir. Le sentier passé des petites colines le long de petites forets avec des champs de foin coupe, noussortons du sentier et decidons de nous arreter la et a peine arêtes une voiture pass. Le chauffeur nous fait un sourer amical et continue sa route, peut etre que ca n’est pas si isole que ca. Nous allons un peu plus loin dans le champ pour nous cacher un peu et une autre voiture passé, nous sommes bien surprise vu la taille de la route.

Carl plante la tente pendant que j’enleve les affaires de ma moto pour accede sous le siege et voir quell est le problem electric. Je suis bien contente de trouver que ca n’est qu’un fusible qui a sauté, et nous en avons en reserve. Je le change donc et remets tout en place, contente que ca ne soit pas un problem plus complique.

Je suis un peu inquiete quand une autre voiture passe mais elle s’arrete et deux personnes en sortent. Heureusement ils passent quelques minutes sur le sentier et s’en vont.