Mototrip to Magadan: Welcome to Road of Bones!

od Jozef Heuger

21st July 2018, Saturday

Route: Skovorodino
Total km: 10 870

After waking up we all realize the duties we have today. We have to wash the motorbikes, change the tyres, clean and change air filters for foam ones, take out some cash, fill up the tank and get some rest.

We start the day without breakfast. We are limited with the time. At 12 PM we have to leave baggage we do not need at the transport office at the lady who was dealing with our tyres.

We decided to reduce the baggage to the minimum so we re-pack and reduce as much as we can. We do not need 6 t shirts. All of us wears only two. The same applies on socks and underwear. At the end we came to conclusion that we have a lot of useless things. We pack everything in the side bags, we can forget about the upper “roll” because it is difficult to manoeuvre the motorbike. The whole packing takes a lot of time so we cancel the lady at 11:30 and we talk about the baggage in hotel. The tension leaves.

We look for the car wash so that we can get rid of the dirt and dust from the motorbikes. It will be easier for the servicing. To leave them like this would mean to look like a pig. They have been through lot these last days so they deserve love. After that we change the tyres in the tyre serviceeehind the hotel. Guys do not mind to work on Saturday. The whole process takes at least 3 hours together with little technical repairs.

It seems it is going to rain at 4 PM when we finally decide to have some lunch. Miňonka orders beer and we talk about the motorbikes. It is different with every bike to get to the filter but KTM did not exactly thinks plug&play. Take off the bonnet, take off the tank… and here we can find filter. My foam filter is already on. I only have to wash it from the dust and grease it. The question is… where.

I am not proud of this but there was nowhere to pour the petrol through filter. I got an idea to hide in the bathroom and clean it in the shower. Well… It was not a great idea. The filter was clean but shower was temporarily out of order and I was drugged. Marty´s Solvina worked it all out so we can so it got all clean again. I left some tip there for cleaning lady so that she can finish it with woman´s hands.

At 4:30 PM we are starving and we finally sat down to get our first meal today. Solanka soup (soup made from “what we have at home”) must be enough. We will go later into the town to get a proper food. Guys finish their servicing after this brunch. Mine is done so I have one hour nap.

We have dinner at local Chinese restaurant. They serve us something completely different that we ordered but we do not mind. We eat everything.
Very tired but satisfied at the same time we immediately fell asleep. Marty cannot sleep as always…in his case it means that he lies down and fall asleep in that bloody second. He closes his eyes while being asleep.

22nd July 2018, Sunday

Route: Skovorodino – Tynda
Total km: 11 065

It has not started to rain yet but we can see it is raining in our direction. We put our space suits on and leave. I think it started to rain after we left the town. It rains progressively and we cannot see so we have to hide in the first rest area. One guys stops as well. We ask where is he going from and if it rains there. The answer is: I go 400 km from Yakutsko and it rains, is not that good for us but we decide to keep going. We have no other choice. We drive in downpour which intensity divers. Asphalt is changed for ground again. Fortunately it is hard enough and we can drive quite fast. We reach Tynda city after 200 km. We stop by the hotel, all soaked and cold. It is only 3 PM but we happily finish today´s drive. The closest city with hotel is 200 away and we do not have energy for that.

The lady at the reception is happy that we do not need registration and she recommends us not to go into the town so that we cannot be seen and she does not understand our trip. Still more and more often people ask us if we are scared of bears. It is quite suspicious.

Our wet clothes are hanged in owners´office because it is the warmest place. Marty get water our from his boots and we are enchanted by his blue feet. We would be quite ok in Smurfs village but even Gargamel would get sick.
Hot shower wakes us up again. Hot meal in the restaurant makes us to sleep. Well, at least Marty and me.

After two hour the rest of the group wakes us up. It is a very nice surprise by The Chief and Chaker. The bought everything from the local grocery shop. There is ice cream, dry fish of many types, mostly very salty. We drink it with Coca-Cola and very, but very bad white wine. Our wine from the box is in comparison the best Tokai.

We go down again to talk to that nice lady but she dissapeared. But there are three new girls. They run deadly cocktail of flavours, green tea and three Milka chocolates. Disgusting… With all of this in our bellies we sleep till morning.

23rd July 2018, Monday

Route: Tynda – Aldan
Total km: 11 569 

It is only 12 degrees in the morning so we put the waterproof clothes on immediately. The weather is not very nice but throughout the day we realize that 12 degrees was a luxury weather. We have 500 km to go from which 100 km is on the ground.

We can see hills, we go up to 1400 above sea level. It is only 3 degrees there. Our hands are hot but the cold gets under the skin anyway. There is nothing special about the day except the cold. Marty´s dashboard is fully non-functional from this day. This is the consequence of driving without ABS, without track control, tachometer and km counter that is very important for buying petrol.

You fill the tank in different way in Russia. You come to the stand and you put the tube in. The you go to the window that is closed and you talk to the service via little drawer. You say the number of stand, the type of petrol and the amount. We always fill the tank to the full so one has to guess the amount and pay for it. After that the lady gives you the keys and you can fill up the tank. It takes a moment while we can find the accommodation in Aldan. The first hotel makes us sick. But the accommodation in private house calms us down. We are sick and tired today.

Young couple takes care of us. The information that we are Slovaks satisfies them and we are suddenly the same as Slovenians. They are so nice to us. The offer us to give us a lift to to town and restaurant and then come and pick us up. We do not mind. We starve. On the way back we are shown the attractions of Aldan and he recommends us to start tomorrow´s day with visit of open-air- folk museum with typical Yakut homes.

24th July 2018, Tuesday

Route: Aldan – Yakutia
Total km: 12 099

Today is the 25. Day and we arrive to Yakutia Republic. The place where Kolyma, Kolyma Road or Road of Bones starts. The other great goal of our trip. This is why we came here. We al have respect for that and we are looking forward for it.
The morning is very difficult for me, I woke up tires, sleep-deprived nad exhausted. I take some vitamins, magnesium and I believe in better future.

We drive 110 m/h. We could still go faster but we want to save the tyres for the muddy parts of the road. At least there is more time to perceive the surrounding beauty.

We meet two Russian going in the opposite direction. We stop at the shoulders and we tell them about our plan to go with old road. These guys give us a lot of information about the locations of petrol stations and about the quality of the road. The do not understand why we want to go with the old road because it is impassable. One of them tells us a story about human recently eaten by bear and about biker that was found broken in hole next to the road. Hey! We do not need to be listening to this!

After a while we stop next to beautiful everglade to get some rest. I take the camera and go little deep in the forest next to its shore. I am looking for the best shots. The problem is that every meter offers other beauty to be caught. Suddenly I can see footprints in the sand. Well, for sure it is not from horse because a horse does not have claws. Footprints of small bear is not a good sign. If there are small footprints, there will be big ones as well. I finish taking pictures and go back to see the guys.

The next exit takes us to Buluus park with natural phenomenon. There is a river in the valley overlapped with big patch of snow. The surrounding scenery was beautiful. We are entering a very unique area. In Slovakia the ground is warm, only the upper layer gets frozen in winter. He it is vice versa. The ground is permanently frozen, only the upper layer melts in the summer. An area where the ground does not defrost up to two metres in two years is called Permafrost. In Yakutia Republic the ground is permanently frozen up to 300 metres, in northern areas up to 2000 metres.

During lunch we meet two Romanian guys who go to Magadan on Toyota Land Cruiser. we change few words, advices and contacts. Finally we met in hostel in Yakutia Republic. Common dinner inocal sushi bar brings new friendships.

The weather gets worse and brings lot of rain. Asphalt definitely ends here. Now we have to deal with ground. Surfaces where the passability depends on the weather. That evening we receive news and photos from the Russians who are one day ahead. The motorbikes in mud and tents near the road do not give a lot of hope to keep going tomorrow. We will decide tomorrow in the morning.

25th July 2018, Wednesday

Route: trip to Yakutia
Total km: 12 153

Although it does not rain we are still thinking what to do. We are influenced by several important factors. First of all, the mud. It was there yesterday and will be there today as well. The mud needs at least a day to dry properly. The second factor is the tiredness and exhaustion. Do you remember when I compared the whole trip to the climbing to the Everest? Well, before attacking the peak we need to be fresh and full of new strength. And the third factor is very easy. It would be unforgivable not to visit the Yakutsk. After long thinking we came to the conclusion to stay one more night and spend the day with exploring the city.

After breakfast the Romanian guys leave and we go to take the ferry. Yakutsk city is on the other side of Lena river. Its shores are 4 km away from each other. Something one simply cannot imagine! Lena river is one of the biggest rivers in the world.

Do not look for concrete piers in the ports. Old gravel is the port for old and rusty ferries that are attached to the shore with launched ramp. The lady on the board offers us coffee 3 in 1 and ice cream. Our day gets better with a woman on board. Young, charming, beautiful, good smelling, in leggings… ok I am calming down! Very well made up and nice Yakutia girl. Very simple and amazing is she. The next few days we think that she is an angel from the heaven. Or she has a cold or she came with the wind in her back. I cannot explain it in different way.
We get to the other side in one hour. Unfortunately.

It rains hard when we get out from the ferry and we wait in the bus station for half an hour. We do not wear waterproof clothes. It is still 10 km to get into the town. Before a dusty road changed into muddy rink. We push the breaks with our eyes not with the actual brakes. The city itself is not that much interesting. It seems dirty like no one takes care of it.

I was amazed by the way they construct the buildings. Permafrost influences it all. There are no bases to the ground or base boards. Every one of the constructions, if we talk about little house or about tall building, is based on wooden poles that one can see one meter from the ground. They only drill 12 m deep holes into the frozen ground, put concrete in, let the poles above the ground and that is it.

We have 3,5 hours left to take the ferry back. We went to Tsardom of eternal ice. It is old cave cut into rocky hill. Constant temperature of -6 degrees makes it a frozen kingdom where you can find ice statues and other artefacts from ice. Nice but very commercial.

We pass by Mammoth Museum like Japanese tourists with cameras around our heads. The local administrator is interested in our shabby clothes and while he explains the exposition to little group he stares at us. He leaves the little group, I think he is scared that we will make the exposition dirty and he comes to us and asks where are we from, where do we go and why. After a short talk we know the most important thing. The mammoth´s fur is made of 450 horse tails. We know everything, we can go. He ask as for 1000 roubles and we go to get something to eat.

We go to shopping centre to the top floor and enter Japanese restaurant. We were lucky enough to meet young lady at the stairs who gave us sample of perfume. Or was she standing there longer or she has just appeared there. I do not believe in coincidence but I think that it was more than necessary to change the perfume being between the people. We really must stink.

The time flies and we eat like there is no tomorrow. I haven’t even finished my soup and The Chief asks for bill. He is right. It is important to catch the ferry and we could see the deratization team to wait for us to leave:).

We catch the ferry in very good time. This time it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes because we sail against the flow. Guys drink beer later and I write. We enter to more difficult part of our awesome trip tomorrow.

Route that we’ve made during “this article”

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