Georgia to New Zealand - My Journey Home (page 5)

Photo 1 of Georgia to NZ - My Journey Home (page 5)

I crossed into Russia a couple days ago. The border was pretty straight forward this time and only took about 1 and a half hours. It was still a push when I got to Barnaul as I lost a hour in time difference. I stayed at the first hostel I found but changed the next day and found a cheap room.
The hostel was 450 ruble for a top bunk bed in a room full of 6 guys. Lots of snoring and one drunk guy who stunk. The next day my own clean room with my own bathroom was 1000. Around 15 US. I like to save money but I really don't like dealing with dorm rooms for the sake of 7 bucks. I would rather be in my own tent.

I found a tyre but the only one I could get is a Michelin cross AC10. It's going to be great in the dirt but it's not going to last long so I'm going to carry it to close to the Mongolian border which is about 800k away and put it on there.

Barnaul is a very nice city. Quite orderly compared to most I have been in of late and very clean. Not sure what's in the water but lots of hot ladies as well. I headed to the Altai's to meet up with my moto family of Holger, Janet and Ronnie and we spent a couple nights camping heading towards the Mongolian border.

You know who your mates are when after the Holger saw me struggling a little on the rough roads with my tyre and I had to stop to adjust it a few times he offered to put it on the back of his already very loaded up KTM 1090 as he has his partner Janet with him so carrying gear for two already. 
The route we took is a smaller southern route not normally taken to the border (we now know why).

We were heading to a town called Ust Koska which is apparently Putin's playground yet I never saw him shirtless on a horse anywhere. You are supposed to get a permit to enter the area. The road on Google maps showed it looped back to the main road but on Mapsme and Osmand it showed it ended and there was a short track that connected up to the otherside.

We took off from our campsite and went through Ust Koska then the road turned back to gravel and ended up in a tiny town. We found a local and asked him about the route. With broken English he pointed to my bike and gave the thumbs up then the other two not so positive. We continued on a 4x4 track mostly first and second gear stuff until that ended at a stream. There were a few guys there and they pretty much made out it was not possible for the big bikes. They had walked it and said it was 6k of tight track that had switch backs over the mountain with a big drop off the side.
This was all with sign language and a few odd words along with them drawing with a stick in the dirt.

Well, we thought we would try but we only got a hundred meters and encountered a tiny bridge then saw the track.
There was no way a bike with panniers was going to make it through. Ughhh! The frustrating part was they made out if you got through the 6 odd k of tight bad stuff then you connected with the road on the otherside and from there it was only 20k and you would be on the main road close to the Mongolian border. Instead we had to turn around and do a 400k detour back the way we came. With not much choice we headed back to Ust Koska and we were all tired and beat along with no showers for a couple days so we decided to get a room. Also there were dark clouds and rain was right around the corner with the wind picking up.

We then found out because we didn't have a permit for the area we weren't able to get a room as the cops came around and checked.
So we stopped at the market and got a couple of beers along with noodles and thought we would try and outrun the looming storm and find a place to camp.

After the first site we looked at that wasn't great I put it to the group that instead of spending the time to set up camp even though we were all tired and done with riding for the day we should just put our heads down and bust out 100k more to the next town and see if we could find a room.
That's what we did and Holger set a great pace so about 8pm we rolled into Ust Kan and found a cheap hotel.


Author of this article: Aaron_Steinmann