We had a great camp site last night and a good sleep. Probably 9 hours.
Another excellent performance from the All Blacks to win their second game 40 – 12 yesterday. The girls had a excellent win too, in their test against Australia.
On the road by 10am and made reasonable progress till a town called Sosnovo. It was a rather well kept town and you could see that the residents took pride in the appearance of their dwellings. Some of the towns look to be suffering from deleted populations with many houses empty and boarded up or taken over by goats…:)
However, the road east turned from a roughish sealed road to a much rougher dirt road. Logging trucks have turned many parts into a dusty, hole ridden torment.
The day has been fine and warm Fortunately, as if it was wet, god knows how many miles we would have done. As it is, we are still 30 miles short of Chita.
The terrain is tundra. Sodden with recent rains and no doubt mosquito ridden. There are big areas that have been cleared of trees and turned into hay growing pastures, though not many livestock to be seen.
By 5.30pm we found what looked to be a place to set up camp. That done and while we were enjoying a beer and cheese and crackers a Patriot 4X4 pulled up on the track in front of us and the driver got out. He was intrigued I think by the strange vehicle. I opened the zip door the Caranex and greeted him. His passenger said, “where are you from”, in near perfect English. They were father and son. Igor the dad and Dimitri, the son. After discussions about our journey and translation by Dimitri we got talking about where they were from. Dimitri lives on the other side of Russia in St Petersburg and is visiting his Dad, to go shooting.
I asked to have a look at their guns. Well from that they proceeded to put a target up on a tree about 50m away and told me to see if I could hit it. It was a 1952 rifle, not a Kalashnikov but of similar design. Very heavy and 7.62mm cal. Well, From a standing position, I nearly hit the target…:). The shot went low, through the trunk and nicked the one behind it. Virtually no kickback. A beautiful feeling weapon. Igor had hit the bullseye from 1000m!!!!!! I think he was telling me that he was ex SAS and this is the weapon they use?
Igor was not long after that, into the undergrowth to come back with an assortment of edible berries and some mushrooms for dinner. What a brilliant couple they are. After a photo op they were on their way. However, they returned again to tell us that we should not park for the night, where we were. Bandits!! It seems Igor is a Policeman and we were happy to heed his advise. They waited the ten minutes or so for us to pack up and took us a couple of kilometres down the road opposite a large saw mill. The new campsite had a better perspective too, so we settled in but with all doors locked, mindful of possibilities. Thank you Dimitri and Igor for introducing yourselves. It was a very special interaction and we will treasure the memory.