The First Day in the Rain
Packed up and took off feeling very hungry, since leaving Vlad I had only eaten a bit of rice that I bought with me from Japan and some biscuits. I was getting hungry for something a bit more real, time to try out one of these roadside cafes. Spotted one shortly after leaving that looked quiet, a good sign of bad food, but I was in Far East Russia and how many people where really out here anyway? The traffic had died down a lot since Khaborovsk.
I wasn't sure of the next place I'd find to stop and being starving I pulled up next to the one small truck parked out the front. It was dead quiet when I killed the bikes' engine. I wasn't too sure how I was going to get anything to eat with my not knowing any Russian, this was hardly the sort of place that was owned by some welcoming English speaking world traveller. Although, you never know. Just walk in and see what happens I thought.
I walked through the door to see six tables, a TV and a counter at the opposite end, this looked more like a bar than a cafe, proberly was. There was one fella sitting there eating what looked like a decent meal. This should be easy. The lady that worked there or maybe owned the place looked at me like she didn't want me there as I walked up to the counter. "Er..Um....this!" I said as I half turned around and pointed at the fella behind me with the food. The lady rolled her eye's and the fella eating looked a bit shocked. She asked me a few questions that I guessed was along the lines of are you sure you want that? I answered yes to everything. Finally they both started to look amused. I paid, sat down and stared at the TV like my fellow diner was doing. Nothing like trying to fit in.
I had no idea what I was going to get to eat, but if it looked anything like my TV watching buddy's I'd be happy. I could see that he had a bowl of soup (I would later work out that this was 'borsh'), a plate of rice that had a bit of everything in it and a plastic cup of coffee. Five minutes later that was exactly what I had put in front of me, still one of the best tasting meals I've ever had.
All those chefs are wrong, quality of ingredients, the way its prepared and presented have nothing to do with how good a meal tastes, the only thing that matters is how hungry you are. I was proper hungry. The soup was hotter than lava, as was the coffee. How did they get it that hot? I would find out later that serving these two things at almost melting temperature would be normal, a cold motorbike riders dream come true.
I hit the road again feeling new, maybe eating on a regular basis was good idea. Just as well I had eaten, today was about to get tough. Road conditions were similer to yesterday, but an hour or so up the road I could see the rain clouds forming in the distance. I stopped and put the waterproof lining into my pants, I had finally learnt to put on waterproof's before it rains instead of while it is raining. A few minutes later large water drop's began to evaporate into the dust. It was a welcome site it a bizzare sort of way, I was over riding through dust.
It began to rain consistently which did stop the dust, but didn't make it any easier to see where I was going. The road firmed up a bit though so I able to go quicker than ever. Was this a good idea when I couldn't see where I was going? Yep.
I recalled driving through thick fog one Friday night with a couple of mates on our way too Adelaide. You could see all of one meter in front of the car. The trucks would pop out of the fog without warning and disappear behind us just as quick, a bit spooky. I turned to my mate who was driving and asked how fast we were going. He started to laugh his crazy laugh and said "one sixty.....if we're gunna hit something we might as well hit it hard!".
I stood up on the pegs to absorb the impact of a couple of bigger than normal pot holes and smiled to myself at the genius of hitting things as hard as possible. This was a similer situation. I was hardly going as quick, but I stuck to going as fast as I felt comfortable. This ment trying to stay above 80kph, I would get angry at myself every time my speed dropped below this with a voice in my head saying that I would never get to Moscow at such slow speeds.
Was I starting to go insane already? Nah, I felt the same as always, maybe I was already insane before I began this trip...