• 960 km


When leaving Kazan, it wasn't as cold as I suspected. So far so good. Nevertheless, I still had to cover 960 km to Chelyabinsk and cross the Ural mountains where there is only one lane and crowded with trucks. Until noon all went well, and I could drive through the white socks forest. For at least a 100 km , all trees are painted with white chalk at the bottom. It keeps the ants away they say.

I suppose it works. Why else would someone chalk 1000's of trees.

To me it was no more than a nice place to mark my presence in Russia.

In Башкортостан, Bashkortostan somewhere between Ufa and Cheljabinsk, things went bad. I got stopped by the local police, looking for money to maintain their family and other needs. Not a lot of talking went on.

I know the drill, and negotiations started at 5000 rubles. I got it down to 2000 rubles, which is the value of two times a full tank on my motorbike. Beh, things could be worse. After all in Italy I must pay about 100 euro motorway tax only to travel south.

Two more times I got busted afterwards. Loosing precious time, that is the worst... At least 20 minutes are lost every time they stop you.

Only when no negotiations are involved. Then times double. Before getting a fine I bribed them with a small Pinocchio doll. They where happy as ever before and considered me as a BFL in Italy. And showing off with the Pinocchios in the office. I have plenty more, so that is my plan for tomorrow when I arrive in Kazakhstan..... Bribing Kazakh cops.....

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