On the road at 0915 and hoping to cover a good few miles today. This road must have cost billions of roubles to build and as many to maintain. Unfortunately the scenery is monotonous, to say the least. Fortunately it is hilly and the road winds about a bit. If it was straight, it would be extremely boring, to drive as well as being a passenger. It avoids any villages, so the view consists almost entirely of silver birch, and some pine, forests. Occasionally interspersed with areas of boggy grassland. Vast areas, many thousands of square miles, have been burned at some time. Difficult to tell how long ago, as there is regrowth, but the burned and blackened trunks and stumps remain.
Having programmed Maps.Me to what looked like a larger village, Skovorodino, we turned off the highway here. It looked promising at first with an immaculate new sealed road, but after a couple of ks reverted to the usual gravel track. Skovorodino turned out to be a mining village and a stop on the railway line, which is following a similar route to the road. Unbelievably scruffy. Maps.Me took us to the railway station, being the centre of the village. A big station for such a small place.
A Trans Siberian train was just pulling into the station as we pulled out. The only shop was next to the station and I went to see if it might offer a better selection than yesterday’s villages. Catering is becoming quite difficult. We were very well stocked up through the Stans, especially the Pamir Highway, where I expected it to be difficult to get provisions. However, previously in Russia we have been able to get pretty much everything. Not here though. It’s such a long distance from “civilisation”, deliveries of fresh food appear to be rare. I haven’t been able to find any fresh vegetables and only a few apples yesterday, no other fruit. Today’s shop was no different. No fruit or veg. at all But I did get a loaf a fresh bread. That is a rarity. Usually it is done up in cellophane and very stale. I don’t know how the population eat healthily from what is on sale in the village shop. I expect they must have gardens producing their own fruit and veg. As we left the town there were several fishermen fishing in the river, trying to supplement the food supply no doubt. Maybe the men hunt too.
Having a very quick lunch stop, just 30 minutes, we hit the road again. 365 miles by the end of the day. I think that is the most we have done in a day, certainly for a while anyway.
Dinner this evening was entertaining, if not filling. We had bought some packets of, what we thought were dried mash potatoes, in a village store yesterday. The packet showed pictures of potatoes and a white powder in a trowel. When we opened the packet it looked like icing sugar. We started to mix boiling water with it and it turned translucent and looked like jelly, or glue. I tasted it and it was disgusting. It stuck in one sticky lump, so glue looks the best bet! So dinner was rather meagre tonight. No doubt we will survive. Not much exercise, sitting in the Land Rover all day. So maybe it is better for the waist line.