|The only advantage to backtracking is we are able to use the same camping spots which makes life easier when you’re losing the light at night. Returning to Ulan Ude we head back to the hotel car park to use up our credit on the internet cards, as always this takes longer than expected and after stocking up again we don’t leave until 6.30pm, this gives us precious little time to get out of town far enough to camp and cook dinner. Just at the eleventh hour I spot a track in some undulating hills. Riding beyond the rubbish we end in what could be Mongolian landscape so set up camp. In the morning we hear the herdmans go by with his cows which we see silhoeted by the sun on the tent, unlike Mongolia he just passes close to view the ‘intruders’ but doesn’t stop or say anything.
Autumn is defiantely in the air it’s harder to get out of bed in the mornings and we need a sweatshirt to ride initally but the roads are lovely, twisty, forest lined and following a river so good views. We make a detour to the town of “bana” one which Vlad the russian in Astana highlighted on the map, turns out this is famous for it’s Mig factory and copper domed church. The army barracks have a real Mig on a spike which we get a crafty picture of but they won’t let us in, not suprising really as the army are still here.
Waking from our slumber next morning we have to don gloves to do anything outside, there is a frost on the ground and we have huffy breath. It’s not worth trying to get the tent dry so we pack it damp and set of for Chita and this time we have to turn the heated jackets on. By midday we’re shedding layers, it’s a great road we are on good asphalt but it is newly finished and bypasses all towns and villages so to get any supplies you have to detour off on the dirt to the nearest town.
We never really intended to go into Chita but have to e-mail a friend looking after stuff at home we find the centre by following the tram lines.