It’s been storming on and off for weeks. Today was no different. Novosibirsk welcomed me with a flood. At least I got to relax at a cafe on the way in before getting drenched. First time in Russia I’ve had a cup of coffee not made with Nescafe. Plus Yandex Maps on my Android phone guided me in to the very nice River Park Hotel. In a downpour. My sleeping bag is drying. At least I don’t have to go to bed in it tonight, as I did leaving Kemerovo. It’s okay. Synthetic sleeping bags dry quickly and the nights aren’t too bad here.
What’s it like camping out in Russia? Quite nice. It seems to be pretty common. I even happened upon a family and shared their site while chatting over their campfire. In North America there’s all sorts of wildlife. I haven’t seen much of anything, although the birds I hear are various and new to my ears. One morning I was woken up by, I believe, a fox on the other side of the field. One other time another critter came to check out my bags. I think most of the big stuff stays away from people.
I was concerned about the ability of my Ortlieb Backroller panniers to keep out water. However, they’re working well. As long as I don’t drop my bicycle into a river, I guess they will be fine.
I’m going to stay a couple of days. I think this is the first major city in Russia. At least it’s the first one going west that’s displayed by Google Maps at the “200 mile” level. Its Wikipedia entry says it’s the third largest city in Russia. And this is the first time I haven’t been disappointed in Russia by the hotel. The WiFi even works.
I saw a sign on the way in for Chita, 2933km. It was almost 1200 miles (~2,000km) from Beijing to Manzhouli, and 488km from Manzhouli/Zabaikalsk to Chita. As displayed by the road signs. Or, about 5,400km. Which is pretty close to what my speedo from my bike is telling me after I fudge factor the approximate error I’ve measured. If my numbers are right, then Omsk is the halfway point. Supposedly somewhere around 600km to the west. And Moscow is supposedly about 3,000km. Minor pet peeve about Russia. I’ve been paying pretty close attention to the distance signs. Sometimes they can very by tens of miles even if they’re within stone throwing distance of each other. How far is it really from Irkutsk to Novosibirsk on M53? Apparently even the Russians aren’t too sure about that.
Yeah, I’m staying here a couple of days. Time to go walk around. I just learned there is a highly regarded zoo and I need to go to a SportMaster sporting goods store too. My Sunday is shot.