After the final travails exiting Mongolia we arrived back in Russia. Despite essentially being a necessary addition to the route to get us into Kazakhstan, this region of Russia proved to be a highlight.
After passing through the flats of Kosh-Agash we entered a valley and followed the Chuya River for the remainder of the day. It was a motorcycle rider’s heaven with winding roads, a beautiful river and snow-capped mountains all around.
There were many Russians on the roads making long-weekend holidays in the area – obviously a favoured spot for camping. We decided to do-as-in-Rome and camp as well. After some hiccups with Alex’s tyre going flat, we found a perfect camp spot on a quiet little tributary to the Chuya.
While Alex did some maintenance on his bike Zane and Todd befriended some young Russian couples who were out drinking. As well as feeding them some campfire food, cold beer (from the creek fridge) and vodka flowed.
The next day Alex, who hadn’t been plied with as many vodka shots as the other two, was up at 5.30 AM to make tea and coffee. We packed up camp and left for Barnaul before the Russians had woken.
Breakfast was taken on the road. Alex, fearing losing his physique after eating less than usual in Mongolia, put down six eggs in addition to bread, salad and a couple of coffees.
We made it to Barnaul - a fairly typical Russian city - around 7PM, had dinner and went to sleep for the last time in Russia.