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Almaty or bust!

We are getting close now and are on the final leg to Almaty. 
But first it is time to say farewell to Pavlodar  as Diana has deemed  herself fit to travel albeit .....  Stop there, no further details offered! 
Pavlodar was a nice city.



When you are 5000 kmfrom the sea - you go to the beach 


The tomb of the unknown warrior 


War memorial park 




And we find ourselves in the morning on a nice dual carriageway.  Flat, straight and boring - just what we want right now quite frankly.
We see a sign to Sputnik.


Given that Kazakhstan was the centre of the Soviet space program then possibly Sputnik was launched from round here somewhere. 
That got me thinking. I remember in about 1956 as a young 10 year old going out into the paddock about 8 pm to watch the very first Sputnik  fly overhead. I think I saw it!  My father swore he did.  Of all of mankind’s greatest achievements then satellites into space must be truly one of the greatest. Imagine the world now without satellites and their power to receive from…
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“360”

It was a day of two lots of “ 360”.  The first one was one of 360 degrees. We leave Rubtsovsk  bright  eyed and bushy tailed with the idea of an early border crossing just 20 km down the road. Good idea!  But!  Firstly the GPS seemed to be playing up and giving false signals. Something to do with the proximity of the border I rationalise.  Secondly I had a mindset problem in that I thought we just carried on the same road as yesterday to the border.  Not so!  We went round and round the town in ever diminishing circles. Then I used Maps.me to find the “correct” way.  Maps.me is now in deep disgrace! 
We go for 70 km. “ No worry “ I said to myself, we are running parallel to the border. I still think we are near a crossing.  A sign says “ Border 20 km “. 40 km later we find out that means the  border is 20 km away- not the same thing apparently as a actual border crossing!  We stop at what I think now is a road to a border crossing for locals only. No go for us !  So we have to backtrac…

I survived Ghengis’s farewell present !

Let’s go back a bit for 6 days. To  the town of Ölgii in the furtherest  corner of Outer, Outer, Outer Mongolia. It is 6pm!  I have no idea what I am ordering for dinner. When it arrives I bite into a grey, boiled, lukewarm meat pattie of something or other !  Thus I believe it was there I received a farewell present from the great Ghengis  himself that surely more than rivalled anything that the great Montezuma could have given me as a farewell present or the city of Dehli could have given me. 
I have been a sick, sick puppy! Fortunately the worst hit just after we arrived in the city of Barnaul where very fortunately we had booked a roomy suite in a comfortable hotel
To make my misery  worse (on a lighter note - now!)  I remember that “cheerful” notice in the foyer of the hotel in the upper Altai warning of the bubonic plague in the area with horrible descriptions of the symptoms and an even worse prognosis for non revcovery ! Was that a marmot pattie I ate in Olgii ? 



Charlie and Jane…

To The Russian Altai

But first we leave Mongolia. Amongst the hard work of riding a motorbike in Mongolia there were some very amusing things. But first here is a plan of the empire of the great Mongolian empire at its zenith in Ghenghis’s own handwriting ! 


Close to the last town in Mongolia we were stopped by a policeman who wanted to see my passport. I handed it over to him. He went slowly through it examining it page by page which seemed to take an eternity. He looked puzzled which is usually not a good look with a passport. Then I saw his problem. I gently removed my passport from his hands and and turned it up the right way for him!  He flashed a big  smile of understanding and appreciation, handed it back and we were on our way. 
Then not too far away we were stopped again by a young and cheerful policeman “in charge” of a barrier arm. He did not have a word of English. No, he was not interested in our passports. It was money he wanted.  2,000 Mongolian Tughrik ( about $2NZ ) to get the barrier arm l…

Mongolia - you sure tested us (in the riding department!)

It is time to say adios to Mongolia. Tomorrow we cross the border back into Russia. We have had 11 days in Mongolia. The people have been warm and friendly, the  history is fascinating and some of the scenery has been amazingly beautiful. On the other hand crossing Mongolia by motorbike (or with any vehicle) is a serious challenge and not for the faint hearted. That I think will change quickly and in 10 to 15 years time modern roads will replace the wild roads and no roads situation that you have today. Like it is not I also think Mongolia will become a major tourist destination
But enough of soliloquys. What have we been doing in the last three days 
Well firstly it was a rest day in Altai after coming of the tough cross country “ road”. I got the Redhead cleaned - she was filthy I did a tho right check for “ loose bits” and checked the wheels carefully. They seem to be holding up well 
Then we set off for Khovd - a 430 km day. What a contrast The Road was smooth smooth tarmac - are we …