Despite the low distance, today was a surprisingly tough day including 24km of unpaved roads. Last night I had visitors. I had camped behind a tree barrier by the road so I might spot Mickey if she passed. However, I hadn’t realized that behind the barrier was also in good view of the road to the nearby village. Three young boys were sneaking up on the tent. Once I spotted them, they ran away and hid only to sneak up again. The second time, I walked a little closer to where they were hidden and waited. When they peeked out, I waived. Emboldened, they came over. In my minimal Russian, I could describe the trip and show a map. I also let them know I wanted to sleep. This quieted them for a little bit until they came back with friends and decided to sneak up again until their parents later called them in.
I was on the road early today even after setting my watch ahead an hour. As I came through Янгулово there was a traffic jam of sorts as I had to wait for the cattle to clear from the main street. This was still a good quality road, though it climbed up and over a few hills. At 23km was Малмыж where the local police stopped me to ask about the trip. There was also a hotel/café here and chance for breakfast. From here the road went up and over a few more hills to Гонба where a ferry crossed the Вятка. Four of those kilometers were unpaved.
I reached the ferry in time to see the incoming ferry. I found out that the ferry times were 7am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm and hence I would have almost three hours to wait. I walked through the town to find a small store and filled up on water. It was warm outside with many little flies so decided to change to long pants.
When I returned to the ferry dock, I checked my handle bar bag. My wallet was missing! Oh no! I hurried back to the store and fortunately found it in the grass. I waited some more and then was on the ferry. No signs of Mickey, so I’m not sure she is behind me but more likely ahead on the earlier ferry?
On the other side I had been warned about 16km of unpaved road. Worse, I found the road base was soft sand and hence there were few places to ride. I mostly walked with an occasional push of the bike. One car stopped to offer a lift but seemed a bit shady [they were extra eager to help and also wanted to exchange Rubles to German Marks]. Finally I made it to Константиновка but the promised asphalt didn’t appear. Two locals told me it was another 3km and Mr Shady drove by again to tell me it was 10km. I pushed my bike another 4km and finally was on pavement.
The weather had changed during the afternoon to a cold north wind and almost hints of rain. There were some hills to climb, but I was at least riding. I was tired but went a bit further before finding a place to camp. Still no signs of Mickey. Still not clear if she is behind or ahead though the ferry limits the possibilities and I didn’t see sand trails.
73 km today, 4370km across Eurasia. [Photo: 673, 678, 679, 681]