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Russia- the Cold Motherland
Submitted by Tiffany on 19 August, 2009 - 04:42
We had heard some horror stories about the Kazakh/Russian border, mostly from Mongol Rally competitors, who were giving dark warnings about seven hours spent just waiting in line etc. But in the event our fears were groundless, there was no queue as we crossed over accompanied by a Mongol Rally team from Sweden, we had plenty of food and water with us, however it took just two hours and we were done, into Russia, land of plentiful, cheap fuel (38 pence a litre), good roads and not bad food (so far).
We met up with more Mongol Rallyists for our first night camping - the Yak Street Boys from Sheffield and their motorcycling companions, Gayle and Craig on Yamaha Diversions. We all commented on how cold it was as we got into our tents that night, in fact we had started to dig out our thermals and fleeces again.
It was 24 hours later before we discovered that we weren't just in Russia, we had entered Siberia- a land famous for its icy temperatures and unfeasibly long winters, still not sure how we had managed to sneak in without noticing - there was definitely no "Welcome to Siberia" sign that we could see, but maybe they just save that for the gulags.
In the morning we had a shock when we discovered Thelma's battery was completely flat - even after it had been disconnected for the night. Unfortunately we only found out after waving off the Yak Street Boys and so we had a long push getting Thelma back along the muddy track ourselves and out to the road where we flagged down a car for a hefty soviet push start. We were off in search of an electrics boffin.