A day of bliss and giddiness as we enter Kazakhstan??
|Miles Driven Today
|Total Trip Mileage
|Countries visited Today
|Countries visited on trip
|US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan
As you can see in today’s report from the road, the lunch stop was austere to say the least. After arriving, Karin ordered two bowls of soup, and then I waited for the owner to accept my order. It took a while, but I ordered soup, which may have been borschst, or not. It looked like Borscht, but I don’t really know. In any case, there were only a few more bowls of soup, which we purchased, and gave to whomever needed to warm up.
Reports from the road
This report covers the complexities and complications of crossing an international border. Yes, we had problems, which are discussed in today’s report.
Arriving at Russian Border
A bit of confusion, but we all passed customs and immigration. And so, it was up to us to ride through no-man’s land, which would total about 2 miles or so, and arrive at the border of Kazakhstan.
Arriving at Kazak border
Arriving at the Kazakhstan border, we can immediately see that the process is more efficient than a similar process in Russia. That doesn’t mean that everything will go smoothly, but it does mean that it took us about half the amount of time.
Border crossing problem
Feroz and Mina stopped and forced to turn around
Yep, you heard me right. Two of our team members were forced to turn around, reenter Russia, and figure out how to get to Kazakhstan by plane, not by land. I’m sure we’ll hear more about how this all works out, but in the meantime, we’re in the dark.
Finally made it to the insurance broker
After much delay, and bureaucracy, we finally made it out of the Customs and Immigration compound, and now need to buy insurance. There are about 4 different brokers that sell insurance, and I was able to purchase it for about 15$, for 15 days.
With insurance in hand
As we depart the parking lot of the insurance broker, we’re immediately confronted with a mud-pit, perhaps a couple inches deep of mud, but luckily, it’s a short obstacle, and we overcome it quickly. But, that would not be the end of the mud, over this relatively short, 40 mile trip.
In the report from the road, I offer a taste of the conditions. Once again, it’s tough to tell how bad the conditions really are, but suffice it to say that several of the riders called the conditions treacherous.
With about 14 miles to go before the hotel, the rain intensity increased a bit, and with 12 miles to go, the group made a decision to stop and put on rain gear. Personally, I felt that we should have continued without the rain gear. You see, we were in the twilight hour, and as it gets a little bit darker, the contrast of the view ahead of you is reduced, and with reduced contrast, comes reduced visibility, and with it, increased risk, and tougher riding conditions.
I had been in this situation many times in my life, and I know that you must move quickly, deal with the suffering, whatever it is, and get to your destination. If you are sure that you won’t make it without losing the light, then it is very prudent to make a change of clothing and keep yourself warm and dry, but otherwise, you man up, and keep moving. Loss of even 10 minutes cam make a big difference to your health and well-being.
In this case, we dodged a bullet, and we arrived with some daylight still available. We parked the bikes, entered the hotel, registered and discovered that there was no elevator, and I would now need to carry two heavy panniers, each weighing about 75 pounds, up to the 4th floor. But, so goes life, right?
What will tomorrow bring
Frankly, I’m too tired to even think about it. We’re 2 days from Almaty, the capital, so we’ve got one more night on the road before we get several rest days to service the bikes, and take a bit of a break.