The "Rossiya", the M10 from St.Petersburg the 450 miles to Moscow, is the flagship route of Russia. It took me 12 hours.
It ranges from billiard-table to dire. Having found it (by dint of guessing that if I turned south on to Nevsky Propekt that would probably be it) I was pleasantly surprised for the first 10km or so - dual carriageway, decent surface. Then at the Novgorod turning it went to the other end of the scale. Narrow single carriageway, appalling surface, frequent suspension service establishments. And it started raining.
There were occasional good bits, but speed couldn't pick up as these were still in roadworks. New bits had absolutely no road markings (but as everyone drives where they bloody well want to that wasn't too much of an issue). Slightly older bits had three lanes - remember the old Left Side, Right Side, Suicide?
The bits in between - well, they'd tried but it wasn't quite right. The intention was clearly to have a crawler lane on the uphill sections (hurrah, no longer flatter than Norfolk), but the line painters hadn't been told this so they simply alternated on the basis that each direction should have an overtaking opportunity from time to time. This resulted in more or less slipping the clutch on uphill bits behind belching Kamaz trucks, and trying to overtake as many as possible downhill. After about 30 miles they got it right and normal progress was possible for a while, until a new painting crew took over who didn't know the score.
Crossed the Volga for the first time at Tver.
Stopped by the DPS (traffic cops) again. This time it was one for their normal checkpoints (every 30-40km) where they pull randomly (but all decrepit Kamaz trucks). The nice young man waved his baton at the road and talked a lot. "Anglyiski" I said. "Ah". "Deutsch?" I enquired. He indicated 'small' with his fingers. So we looked at one another for a moment. Then he waved his baton at the road. "Do svedanya". "Spassiba. Do svedanya" I said and rode carefully away.
Russian isn't really all that difficult once you get the hang of transliteration, as a lot of the words are quite recognisable. For instance, PECTOPAH = RESTORAN, MAPKET = MARKET, MOCKBA = MOSKVA and so on.
Doing the sightseeing today a bit. Staying at the Rossiya 50m from Red Square (fairly cheap hotel although pretty decent - only 3000 rooms). Interesting to see the changes since I was here in 1979 and 1986. No red flags on the Kremlin, for a start. They still don't have the hang of soft loo paper in the hotels, though.
From tomorrow I have to ride pretty well every day, but luckily not as far as yesterday, and emails may become a little rarer.Posted by Cynthia Milton at September 13, 2004 04:04 PM GMT
Next HU Events
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- Greece: June 5-8
- Bulgaria Mini: June 13-14
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- Montenegro: June 26-29
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!
Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!