Route to Russia


We have fairly good roads and make good progress stopping at some lakes each day for a quick dip as it has gone hot again. The landscape has gone back to steppe and it is hard to find a camp, spying one we pull off into a lovely little valley hardly used and make camp. It has been a long day so we retire early also the midges have big teeth here, we are just in bed when we hear a tractor and the lights pull up right infront of the tent. There is nothing for it but to don some clothes and go outside. Here we meet a young lad with a fair grasp of english he invites us back to his “city” we manage to put it off till tomorrow but foolishly agree to 5am as his brother says something about needing to get the herd out. 5am comes and 5am goes, 6am and we are sort of awake it starts to rain and we see the family herding out the cows. We slowly pack up discussing whether to see if anyone is left at the city when the young lad shows up again and lends a hand packing up also finding he can use the bike roof as an umbrella from the rain. We find his city a beautiful farm with their own well and the farm house his dad built, here we are invited to lunch. His brother cooks on the outside clay oven whilst we climb the hill and survey their land. Lunch/breakfast turns out to be cow intestine and some kind of offal it proves hard work to chew and swallow but I think we managed enough to be polite, luckily it was served with maccaroni so I could sneek mouthfulls of that, we were offered the bone but it was a struggle to know what to with something where there was no meat left at all. Our hosts were lovely and got their old school english text book out which had words in the back so we exchanged a few phases, it was such a good experience (apart from the meal) that we didn’t get on the road till 1pm.
Our next target is Cemey an old Russian town where a lot of nuclear testing went on we have been warned not to camp within 100km as the ground is still contaminated so armed with this info we stop well outside. We have had a massive thunderstorm  and the last 100km or so is bad road so it seemed a good time to stop. Kev is unusally tired and says his jaw aches not a good place to get ill. We tackle the bad road to Cemey and arrive midday but Kev is aboslutely shot so I leave him on a bench and go to the market for supplies. Seeing how knackered he is it’s foolish to push for the border so we book a hotel as he is still complaining his jaw aches I look in his mouth and discover he has an infection in his tooth which is quite advanced. We took precauctions for this and have a course of antibiotics so I administer them. It explains why he’s been wiped out recently. That evening turns into a good social as a group of bikers headed for Almaty turns up.
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