Another week on the road and we’ve made it Ulan Ude! The temperature has soared to around -15°C rather than the -25°C/-30°C we were up against last week. The difference is phenomenal. You still get cold but you can take your gloves off without your hands feeling like they’re getting ripped off – so relatively speaking it’s toasty!!
We’ve been presented with a few new challenges though. The first of which was the wind. Seemingly out of nowhere the wind speed increased ten fold and we found ourselves battling the gusts to try and keep the sidecar on the road. We decided to take an extra day off as a result and hung out in the Chita bike post (pictured above). The bike posts are just places all across Russia where any biker is welcome to pull up and crash for the night! We met a good bunch of guys and drank too much alcohol! Luckily, the wind (and our hangovers) eased off just in time for our next problem: fuel consumption.
For some reason we were getting about 25 miles to the gallon. Around half of what we usually get. We thought it must be something to do with the head winds and the cold weather. And then we saw a massive puddle under our scooter. The tank was leaking from the pump again, just as it had in Peru.
Thankfully we found Andre who helped us fix it up and we were back on the road in no time. But not before having a nice gulp of 95 Octane – we’d had a good few months off drinking fuel so it was nice to be back on it..
It was a good job Matt emptied the tank too as the Russian guys weren’t at all worried about fixing a fuel leak with a cigarette in their mouths!
When we arrived in to Ulan Ude, we had a decision to make. Which way to go tomorrow – do we turn south and head for Mongolia or do we continue west and stick to the trans Siberian highway all the way to Moscow? Well, for once we’re going to play it safe and continue for Moscow. We would absolutely love to go to Mongolia but just not under these conditions. Outside of Ulaanbataar, there is pretty much nothing in Mongolia apart from mountains and tough roads.
The temperature would be similar to here. There would be snow, high winds and it would be at altitude. To be honest, we just don’t think we need to put us or the sidecar through the challenge. The three of us have genuinely been pushed to our absolute limits over the last few weeks and the only thing that’s saved us are the abundance of nice people and roadside cafes. Without them we’d have been in a spot of bother and so we will continue heading home through Russia. It’s a real shame but honestly you don’t enjoy the views at -25°C anyway!
Here’s the rough route:
That route should get us in to Ace Cafe for the second or third week of January so keep the dates free if you fancy coming along to our ride in and for a celebratory drink!