Today we reached the city of Khabarovsk, the endpoint of the 2165km “Amur Highway” from Chita. This is a big city of 600,000+ people and largest city since we left Irkutsk a month and a half ago. It took a bit, but we found a good hotel and expect to spend at least one rest day here. I still need to update the last few days of photos and text as well as locations (our method of sending updates via SMS messages suddenly stopped when we crossed the time zone boundary, not quite sure why).
A few days ago, we completed the last of the gravel roads. Having asphalt all day has been a welcome change. The past two and a half days were also nice and flat. However, we’ve been crossing swampy areas and hence are camping with mosquitoes again, though fortunately not as bad as in June or July. The days are becoming shorter and some of the nights have cool temperatures. Vladivostok is now south of us, and even slightly west. It is nice to be getting closer to all the way across Russia.
Also taking inventory of what has lasted so far and what has gotten worn out in the trip so far:
- Bicycle: replaced front and rear rims, replaced front hub, one flat tire, replaced one rear tire, four brake pads, two broken toe straps, front rack broke (twice), rear rack broke (once), handle-bar tape re-wrapped, new cassette/chain
- Camping gear: updated “hubba” to “hubba-hubba”, split one tent pole, alcohol stove didn’t work
- Other gear: shoes almost worn out, lost cycling mirror, lost “bite valve” on Camelback, stove valve snapped
Everything still needs to keep working until Vladivostok. There I expect to find a bike shop and see if I can get a service done on the bike to get everything in good order for the road ahead. In the mean time, we’ve taken two rest days here. There seems to be a persistent drizzle that we hope clears up on Monday (10 September) for the ride from here to Vladivostok.
40km today, 10968km across Eurasia [Photo: 258, 259, 266]