Getting to Urals had been on our minds before even leaving to this trip. In the back of our minds it was a must thing at least get over them. Even though in these rocky mountains the amount of breakdown and milk acid were unspeakable we made it to flatland. Lets go back to time when we knew nothing about uphills.
We left Ufa shower fresh, which actually was quite weird feeling after many stinky tent nights. I even visited barbershop to fix my hair after Anttis special cut which was made by his knife. We knew that it would be fifty kilometers to the start of Ural mountains and we were starting already to get excited about seeing high peaks. Before this, we ate local soups which cost is about one euro and they filled our stomachs just right. These cafes are made mostly to truck drivers and it seems to be a good business. At evening we got our first impressions about Urals when we fought against millions of mosquitoes. That’s that about shower freshness.
When sun came up we noticed that mosquitoes had decided to stay and hang around our tents hoping for good breakfast. We surprised them with smoky bonfire and at the same we got typical smoky smell to us… First peaks rose in front of us which was quite a nice chance after pedaling lot in flatlands. Watching the landscapes was not the only thing we had to do because of the busy M5 road. We had to be extremely careful with the trucks because the road was not wide and some drivers weren’t so kind to us. Great relief was offered by two ”Wondering nomads”, Paula and Guido, who offered us coffee in their camper van. After chatting they gave us two most important things we could have. Mosquito repellent for endless fights at nights and safety vest for the days. You can follow their great adventures from here. In the end of the day we found amazing camping place where we were amazed by some weird weather phenomenon in the sky and the night sky in general was quite impressing with Ural mountains.
We had recycled Anttis old sleeping bag and made Finnish flags out of it to our bicycles. We tried to wave these flags to Finnish motorcycle riders who seemed to be too busy to stop and our legs weren’t fast enough to catch them. Cycling uphills are of course very hard job and makes us hungry often. It’s really not a problem because we find shops that are called ”magasins” or ”products” here. I don’t really know whats the difference between them. We are running out of imagination though because theres always the same thing on sale. Some bread, not so pleasant can meat and maybe, just maybe some fresh bananas. If theres bananas we usually take them all. This time when we visited shop the owner came and started asking questions about our trip. We told the stories, he was really impressed and invited us to have a shower in his place. We gladly took the offer because of the long sweaty hills we had had and started cycling behind his car. We drove past many houses and started thinking that his home might be quite far away. Well they said it will be about eight kilometers away and also offered us that they take our luggage, so its easier for us to cycle. We were happy to jam them in their trunk,, but when they closed we weren’t quite sure if it was THE BEST idea to put ALL of our valuables in there. But they didn’t disappear and after quite a lot of cycling we arrived to their place. The whole family came to see us and started asking questions. We had the shower there and they also gave us lots of pizzas and pies to go, which we enjoyed at the bonfire.
During next days eleven kilometer uphill and seven kilometer downhill we really knew we weren’t in the flatland anymore. We also decided to torture ourselves when we climbed up to this sightseeing point where we realized that we couldn’t see anything because of the trees. It was quite winner feeling when only thing we got from maybe an hour work was many many mosquito bites. Decending from the mountain was brilliant even though my front pannier broke and almost caused accident when one string went to my spokes when I was riding at the speed of 50km per hour. I also wanted to tighten my spokes a little bit because we had ridden quite much. Again we found brilliant camping place with the help of local guy Vitaly. He also helped us to find spoke tool which was great! He also told us about that there is a crystal lake on our way to Chelyabinsk. Next morning we ate from a little dirty tortilla kiosk and we were hoping to get to this Turgoyak lake. When we arrived to little path that would take us to this this lake we chose to follow it. From this lonely road first we met millions of mosquitoes. Next came couple of water obstacles and then little frustration, because there was no way back. With mud everywhere we arrived to lake which wasn’t so impressive for us, because lakes are quite same in Finland. There was some Russians spending summer day and we asked how the road will continue from here. They said ”Normal!”, great. So we continued this ”Normal”, road which in fact was absolutely horrible. Mountain cyclists came and were surprised how we could manage in that terrain.Even they had broken bicycles. We also helped one quad bike up from deep mud. Our Pelago bicycles eventually took us out from that hellish place and it was time to sleep.
Next days we took a little bit easier. We were heading towards Chelyabinsk where we had friend. Mountains started left behind and there was nothing more than field in front of us. From Chelyabinsk we found our smiling friend Vladimir who gave us a place to sleep for four nights. During that time Vladimir and his friend Jevgenij took us to see one of the most polluted towns in the world, to barbecue parties and showed us their hometown. Vladimir was also electrician and he fixed our Brunton solar panel, which has been very important for us. We are very surprised about the hospitality we get, its amazing. Especially after tough Ural mountains.
Dear friends! Have a nice way! I will miss you, I hope we’ll see!
We will miss you guys as well! Thanks again for fixing our solar charger. It has saved us many times! :)
Still following and enjoying your journal.
Alan & Wendy.
Great to hear! We will enter kazakstan in couple of days. Will we meet there? ;)