Riding to Moscow

M9 to Moscow - recently upgraded, with amazing turn offs leading to nowhere apparent

M9 to Moscow – recently upgraded, with amazing turn offs leading to nowhere apparent

Major M9 turnoff to somewhere?!

Major M9 turnoff to somewhere?!

Quick pit stop on our way to Moscow

Quick pit stop on our way to Moscow

Another nana nap before our last 3 hours' ride to Moscow

Another nana nap before our last 3 hours’ ride to Moscow

A flower?!

A flower?!

We are in Russia, the queues, the waiting, the paperwork is behind us, we have crossed the border! The M-9 road to Moscow awaits us. We had read horror stories about the state of the road but were told yesterday by Anton, a Russian we met in the border queue yesterday, that the road was in good condition. Russian third party insurance was straight-forward to get and we were away. We then drove past a five mile, eight kilometre, line of park trucks waiting to cross into Latvia. This must impact the cost of trade. The road ahead is patched and bumpy but otherwise ok, no potholes so far. The road changes to patched sections, then a completely recently resurfaced road, Kilometre after kilometre of beautiful road, with dozens of well constructed turn offs, that mostly go to dirt roads, grass tracks and fields signposted with European names.

We had both seen scary YouTube videos of Russia driving, which we probably should not have looked at, but most seem to occur in winter. Over the course of the day we saw a number of actions that one could describe as “interesting”, but only three in all, and most Russian drivers seem quite courteous to motorbikes. The first incident must have involved a Russian driver from Melbourne, pull over to the right to let you pass and then indicate left and pull across in front of you. Melbourne drivers do this as the tram track run down the middle of the road. The second I describe as “Three into Two does go”. In Lithuania we saw cars and trucks travelling in both directions move as far to the right to create a third lane down the middle for overtaking. You then have to work out who goes first. In Russia you get two trucks side by side coming towards you, you just move over and no problem!

As we rode further east, the country changed from swamp and forest to forest and finally cultivated fields and then the occasional town. WiFi signs exist on hotels and cafes, but in each case so far, for us, they do not work.

Traffic builds as we approach Moscow, only seen one Traffic Police car all day, probably because it is Saturday. As we have a visa deadline to leave Russia and we have been to Moscow before, we have booked the Hilton Garden Inn at New Riga for a couple of nights. Seems to be in the middle of nowhere. We wanted a nice hotel for a couple of nights and being a Hilton Diamond member we get extras at no cost. Hard to find, but in its own forest and since we arrived on bikes we created some interest among the guests and will be in some people’s photo album. Time for a shower and dinner.

Tomorrow will be filled with our usual domestic duties: bike checks, laundry, emails, banking, software updates. No more news from us until we get to Samara in 3 days time.

– Anthony

By 2slowspeeds Posted in General

8 comments on “Riding to Moscow

  1. So pleased you are doing so well!! Admire Anthony and his “cat naps” !! Anywhere will do . Lovely pic of you Anne.The journey is so interesting-hardly a soul in sight !.Have a good rest and safe ride tomorrow . Lots of love to you both xxxx

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  2. Good job you are used to roads out bush which, like their Russian cousins, end up going nowhere. But the highways look as well maintained, if not better, than down here. Now to look at the atlas to see where New Riga and Samara are. Glad your guardian angel is keeping watch over you, even on his anniversary. xxxx

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    • Yes, some parts are brand new, and it is easy to pull over and take the odd photo. But the bad patches, including every single bridge which is being rebuilt, are so bad you can’t stop. And the way some roads are being built, they are unlikely to last more than one winter. We are making the most of the good roads, knowing full well we will be dreaming of smooth roads in not too long!!!

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