Zhigalovo to Irkutsk

After a good nights sleep and a stock up of water, chocolate and crisps from the shop we lined the bikes up for the obligatory photo of Lenin!

Zhigalovo Lenin

Zhigalovo Lenin

What a different day today from yesterday, the road started off rough but the growth at the sides started to disappear and views over the Lena river started to open up which revealed stunning scenery. After the first 150km the mountains started to shrink and massive plains opened up before us, the sheer scale here is amazing when you think the western part of the BAM road is 1500km which is like riding a green lane from Lands End to John O’Groats.

Lena river ride from Zhigalovo.

Lena river ride from Zhigalovo.

Lena river ride from Zhigalovo.

Lena river ride from Zhigalovo.

Just before entering the outskirts of Irkutsk trucking along at about 70mph on nice tarmac my chain decided to call it a day and one of the links snapped in the middle. Just as well I had bought along a spare new one, so an hour later we were back on the road into Irkutsk. First real issue with my bike for the trip so far, apart from both wing mirrors vibrating themselves to death by shaking off at the stems.

Mark's broken chain.

Mark’s broken chain.

Kev's 3rd pair of sunglasses!

Kev’s 3rd pair of sunglasses!

First stop we thought was to find the Irkutsk bike club HQ with the waypoints we had, then to get some information on where to stay and what to do whilst waiting for the Mongolian visa’s. Only problem was the club isn’t there anymore but a young lad pulled up in a car and wanted to help us, after speaking to seems like 10 of the lads friends on the phone and 2 hours had past we were still no closer to finding a bed for the night. Everyone we have met here (with the exception of the physco hunter that had previously shot at us) has been great and gone to great lengths to help us but as nice as it is sometimes it’s a bit of a hindrance. By this time it was getting late around 8pm and we had nowhere to stay, we were covered in dust and our bike kit at this stage stinks to high heaven so every hotel we tried told they we fully booked! Finally we got a room in the Marriott where the young girl on reception asked us why we were wearing funny cloths 🙂 ,  This was the first western style hotel we had staying in during our trip and it was heaven 🙂 !

Outside the old Irkutsk biker HQ.

Outside the old Irkutsk biker HQ.

Arrived in Irkutsk.

Arrived in Irkutsk.

 

Distance travelled 414kms Max Altitude 740mtrs
Total Distance travelled 5272kms

Severobaikalsk to Zhigalovo

After a good nights sleep and hearty breakfast we set off with Zhigalovo our next planned stopover. It’s about half way between Severobailkask and Irkutsk on the west side of lake Baikal. Tough going today road was the usual bumpy gravel potholed dusty track we have become accustomed to. 8 hours of bone shaking teeth rattling endurance riding later we arrived at the destination and found a B&B marked on Walter Colebatch’s way points.

Zhigalovo B&B.

Zhigalovo B&B.

Bit of a dull day today Kev didn’t even take many pic’s as we were inland from the lake following the Lena river on a road not shown on our map and lined with trees so no view. Tomorrow we have another  400km spin to Irkutsk where we will have a few days off to chill out and sort the Mongolian visa’s out, we’re getting a bit tied now so need a rest! I think now that we have done out main objectives we have crashed a bit on the energy front so R&R is needed.

Distance travelled 435kms Max Altitude 1210mtrs
Total Distance travelled 4858kms