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Ekaterinburg to Perm - 362kms

And THE CRASH

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Today was not supposed to go as it did.

When we left Ekaterinburg at 0745 in the morning the plan was to travel 657km to Izveshk, the home of Kalashnikov (eat your heart out Taxinda!).

After an uneventful ride we were about a third of our way into the journey when, at the aptly named 'village' of Waxapobo brother David decided NOT to go around a corner at 122km/hr. I was probably less than 20m behind him and in horror I watched the whole thing unfold as he started to lean into the corner before realising he was going way to fast, straightening, spearing straight across the road to narrowly avoid a sign and disappearing down a steep gradient.

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I stopped as quickly as I could and definitely expected to find my brother dead or at least seriously injured when I went down the bank to him. The loud cussing coming from the area of his crash soon dispelled thoughts of serious injury.

Fortunately (for the rest of us, not David) John and I caught the whole thing on our GoPros. For the definitive tutorial video on HOW NOT TO TAKE A CORNER ON A MOTORCYCLE click on the link here. We don't recommend you try this at home. We are pleased to advise that no INTELLIGENT life forms were hurt or killed in the making of this video.

David on the other hand injured his shoulder and knee; neither seriously but enough the be painful reminders of what not to do for the rest of the trip.

David's excuse for this monumental blunder was that he was looking for beavers in the lakes to the side of the road and misjudged the distance to the corner (or simply didn't see it). Hmmmmm, we will believe you bro...

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As well as being unbelievably lucky that 1) there was no opposing traffic when he decided to occupy their space at 122km/hr, 2) he managed to swerve to avoid the somewhat unforgiving sign-post 3) that there were not ditches, fences or other unseen obstacles in the area he decided to investigate at speed and 4) he escaped with very little damage to his person except his pride, David also lucked out in that the damage to his bike was relatively minor. This consisted of 1) bent handlebars on the RHS, damaged right fairing (already cracked), bent foot brake, cracked handlebar mount and broken right pannier lock.

We were able to effect 'Kiwi repairs' roadside and, after determining that David had at least the same limited faculties he had before the crash, we decided that David and I would ride into the nearest major town, Perm, and that John would continue with the original schedule and go on to Izveshk.

David's bike after we its roadside repairs:
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The ride to Perm was uneventful, David led and I followed in case any bits fell off him or the bike.

Posted by stevecrownz 05:02 Archived in Russia Tagged crow crash versys as_the_crow_flies Comments (0)

Ekaterinburg

On the doorstep of Europe

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This beautiful city is one of our favourites so far.

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Ekaterinburg is known for the golden-domed Church on the Blood, built in the early 21st century on the site of the 1918 Romanov executions, Ipatiev House.

The Russian Imperial Romanov family (Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei) and all those who chose to accompany them into imprisonment—notably Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp and Ivan Kharitonov, were shot and bayoneted to death in Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg) on the night of 16–17 July 1918.

The epoch of the monarchic Russia ended and the epoch of the Soviet Russia began.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Execution_of_the_Romanov_family for more information.

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This red room is situated where the basement of Ipatiev House was previously located. It was in this basement that the murders of the Romanov family took place.
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After the murders, their bodies were then taken to the Koptyaki forest where they were stripped and mutilated. In 1979 and 2007, the remains of the bodies were found in two unmarked graves in a field called Porosenkov Log.

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Ganina Yama was a 9 ft. deep pit in the Four Brothers mine near the village of Koptyaki, 15 km north from Yekaterinburg. In the pre-dawn hours of 17 July 1918, after the execution of the Romanov family, the bodies of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (who had been murdered at the Ipatiev House) were secretly transported to Ganina Yama and thrown into the pit.

A week later, the White Army drove the Bolsheviks from the area and launched an investigation into the fate of the royal family. An extensive report concluded that the royal family's remains had been cremated at the mine, since evidence of fire was found and charred bones, but no bodies. But the Bolsheviks, realizing that the burial site was no longer a secret, had returned to the site the night after the first burial to relocate the bodies to another area. The secret Bolshevik report on the execution and burial did not give the location of the second burial site, but the description provided clues.

Seven chapels were later constructed at the site, one for each member of the royal family. Each chapel is dedicated to a particular saint or relic; all members of the Romanov family that was murdered were subsequently canonized to sainthood.

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Posted by stevecrownz 13:23 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia customs vladivostok versys carr as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa Comments (3)

TRIP HAZARD #3: The Short Drop


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In New Zealand, and probably many, many other places around the world, in areas where there are no public sanitation systems toilets often comprise some some for 'seating / supporting arrangement' mounted over a deep hole dug into the ground to collect the aghhh, ummmmm, well you get the picture.

At home this is fondly called a 'Long Drop' for obvious reasons.

Now, Long Drops are rarely pleasant things to use but unless you opt to grab a torch or miner's helmet and peer down into the gloom the chances of being confronted by something left behind by a previous 'tenant, apart from a foul odour, is low.

In Russia, and in particular Siberia and the Eastern areas, they have brutalised the Long Drop and developed a particularly odious contraption, the Short Drop.

In its purest form, the Short Drop is simply a mounted platform raised 300 to 500mm off the ground with a hole cut in it for bodily wastes to pass through onto the nearly ground.

I have had the misfortune of needing to use (for number ones only thank god) short drops on a number of occasions and suffice it to say some were so absolutely rank and foul that I simply could not stay long enough to take any photographs. Oh, and forget European type thrones, we are talking squatters here folks.

Here is a BETTER one.

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These are typical of most road-houses / truck stops in Eastern Siberia.

Posted by stevecrownz 06:42 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia customs vladivostok versys carr as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa Comments (0)

Chita to Ulan Ude

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Situated some 650km west of Chita is Ulan Ude, the Buryat capital is one of Eastern Siberia’s most likeable cities.

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Buryatia as the region encompassing Lake Baikal is known, is the homeland of the Buryats, a Mongolic people, numbering approximately 500,000, who are the largest indigenous group in Siberia.

I liked Ulan Ude; there is something about the place that seems to radiate friendliness. With its smiley Asian features, cosy city centre and fascinating Mongol-Buddhist culture, the Buryat capital is one of Eastern Siberia’s most likable cities. Quietly busy, welcoming and, after Siberia’s Russian cities, refreshingly exotic.

The ride from Chita was relatively 'easy' - long stretches of steppes interspersed with forested areas.

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As we have found with all the time estimates on Google Maps for the trip, add about 10%. It is impossible to maintain an average speed much in excess of 80kmh, often much less. Endless road works, slow traffic in built-up areas effectively kill the benefits of high-speed running on the good bits of road.

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At one of our stops along the way David took the opportunity to break out his DJI Mavic Air drone to catch a few shots, including John and I riding past.

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Roadside "cafe" with John and I gearing up to get on the road.

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Steve and John

Some shots from along today's ride.
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We elected to have a rest day in Ulan Ude so John booked a Buryat tour guide, a lovely lady called Anna

Posted by stevecrownz 06:37 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia ulan_ude versys carr buryat as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa chita Comments (0)

Khabarovsk-Blagoveshensk

The crew heads west towards Siberia

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Day two of riding saw us leave our hotel in Khabarovsk about 0830 and ride 695km to Blagoveshensk, the administrative capital of the Amur Oblast of Russia. Blagoveshensk is on the border with China with only the Amur River separating the city from its southern neighbour.

Again, to plagiarise Lonely Planet

"Blagoveshchensk is where modern China comes grinding up against provincial Russia, facing as it does the Chinese city of Heihe across the massive Amur River. The cultural weight of its giant neighbour can be felt throughout this modest, clean and tidy place – Chinese restaurants, street signs, tourists and business people are ubiquitous and it's fair to say that the city looks far more to the south than it does towards Moscow."

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We did not schedule a lay-over/sightseeing day for Blagoveshensk although we had planned to walk over the bridge to China but....alas..... our information was not correct and the bridge we planned to walk across is still under construction!

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John

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David

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Steve

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Unusual decor in our hotel in Blagoveshensk

Posted by stevecrownz 09:12 Archived in Russia Tagged bridges buildings bmw versys carr khabarovsk as_the_crow_flies blagoveshensk Comments (0)

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