Four days from Khabarovsk to Chita

Where to start? Four days’ riding since Khabarovsk and one is slowly starting understand the immensity of Siberia and by extension Russia. We have ridden close to three thousand kilometres since our departure from Vladivostok and only seemed to have inched a small portion of the way back towards London. Our request for warmer weather has been answered with 35 degree Celsius days. Like all fickle voters we now want a littler cooler, but no such luck, we will have to live with this for the next couple of months.

You wouldn’t want to be a runaway truck needing this

Wavy road

Early morning mist out of Sbega

The trans Siberian highway, which is the term used for a number of roads linking St Petersburg and Vladivostok, is in surprisingly good condition considering some of what we have read and heard. We have seen little current major road construction so far, we are in Chita, but along the highway we pass many teams working on vegetation clearance, filling in potholes, rebuilding bridges and adding crash barriers. The summer is short and maintenance and upgrades have a small window in which to be completed. I have seen no evidence of the snow clearing machinery so common in North America, maybe it does not snow much, or the road does not get cleared. I will leave someone else to research this.

Just a few works in progress

Some stretches remind you how long this road is

Love those birch forests!

A significant amount of work has gone into the construction of the road we travelled on. Between some hills, very high embankments carry the road giving unsurpassed views over the treetops. In some areas the road has many undulations , I presume due to subsidence, possibly caused by the materials available as road base being sourced locally in the swampier areas. This has made progress easy for us, in addition traffic, is light. What we have noticed is that the tar finishes pretty abruptly off the main highway. Our one foray into a local town in search of fuel had us driving on gravel, dirt, through water in a tunnel, across a disused runway and through the local rubbish tip all on larger marked roads on the GPS and MapsMe. Many of the turnoffs just end in greenery and judging by the amount of water around in many places probably not too solid either.

Her petrol station does not work, she showed us the way to one that does

Will we drop our bikes as the non-petrol lady said?…

Is this the right way out of Magdagachi?

Lovely riding through a birch forest

Outside Magdagachi – the detour was worth it

Back from our tour of Magdachi after a 564km day – Anne is spent

The scenery has been surprising in vivid nature of the greens, and not unreasonably given our changing latitudes, quite varied. We started with silver birch forests, moved to more open, possibly cleared land then pine forrest. It does become dryer and farmland starts to predominate.

Typical village

Larger wildlife is almost in invisible, roadkills and signs of, so familiar in Australia and North America are almost nonexistent, my assumption is the lack of traffic gives quiet passages of time for wildlife to cross safely, unlike more congested roads that force the wildlife to take risks.

Smaller wildlife is much more obvious, early morning will see the polite small mosquitos that wait to be asked to feed off you and their larger more obnoxious cousins who just dive straight in. When they retire after a hearty breakfast they are replaced by the swarm of 50-100 horseflies that appear before engine off regardless of the location. Quick on and off the motorbike is practiced and I will be contacting one glove manufacturer about the pervious nature of their product. Luckily as we have progressed West the magnitude of this problem has diminished although the motorbikes bear the marks of all the unfortunate insects that have met their demise at the windshields of Streak and Storm.

Lovely to be out in the open again!

Sorry butterfly 😦

Fairly constant companions in this sparsely populated region have been the steel rails of the Trans Siberian Railway and the transmission towers bringing electricity to the towns en route and supplying the locomotives hauling the myriad of wagons and passenger trains. So many seem to haul what I assume to be empty looking open wagons in both directions, do they do this for fun? The railway runs alongside the road in some places, we cross from time to time and there are many intriguing but rusting sidings leading to long abandoned factories, likely from the Soviet era. We see dormant smokestacks, idle factories and abandoned apartment blocks poking out of the forrest, a testament to the changes that have occurred since centralised planning was abandoned following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Had to folow the tradition of this cafe!

Typical road side cafe with car and tyre repairs

Delicious Siberian dumplings

It would be wonderful to travel at a slower pace and take some of these side-roads and explore more, but we have to remember we only have a limited visa time in Russia, plus we set off to circumnavigate the globe in the Northern Summer of 2017. We will always miss opportunities, such as a motorcycle rally in Blagoveshchensk, but then that decision allowed us to meet the wonderful and generous Tanya at her Cafe. Tanya and Alexander and his family whom we met at lunch one day are the lasting memories we will carry on this trip, always back to the people. Life is choices, and we are happy with those we have made.

Alender, Tamara, Aliona and Dimitri

Tanya’s cafe, Krasnoyarovo

Lovely, generous Tanya in her cafe near Krasnoyarovo

Fuel, accommodation and toilets are day to day necessities and the location and quality of each varies. We have mostly be lucky at the end of each day in finding a reasonable place to stay and have included photos of couple of the more quirky fuel and accommodation stops. Internet modesty rules do not allow me to publish any photos of some toilets, that and the fear of dropping the iPhone.

We emptied the tank on the right, trying the next one now

You take can you can get! Semiozernyy

No power, no running water whatsoever but better then sleeping with Horse flies

Someone has a sense of humour in Siberia

– Anthony

10 comments on “Four days from Khabarovsk to Chita

  1. I notice in one of the pictures that Anne has something on her elbow, has she succumbed to getting a tattoo ?
    Russia and Siberia are still wild open spaces it would seem and there must be lots to discover and explore. Maybe next time you should apply for longer visa time.

    Keep safe and throttle on.


    • We are advertising ‘KT’ tape and how it used by people with photographers elbow, caused by taking too many photos for those on the couch to see. Russian tourist visas come with a 30 day non extendable timeframe. Will let you explore the wide open spaces, and horseflies while we sit on the couch next time.


  2. FAS..CI…NATING ! You sound as though you really ae out there on your own – except for hungry mozzies and those damn horse flies – ouch !Life there seems to have a pace of its own . You are really doing well with your tight time frame . Take care of your elbow Anne and one another. Lots of love xxxx


    • It did seem like it sometimes. Much less traffic than we expected. Horse flies have been left behind for now. A different pace as you say. Would love to have more time here but sadly we are just passing through.


  3. Oh my those flies had a field day! Is it because it’s mainly farm land?
    Hope the elbow heals up well Anne so you can fit in a spot of tennis in between riding! xx


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