From Omsk to Barnaul

From Omsk to Barnaul… Krai of Altai… The bike is sick
Finally it was Alexis who invited me to the restaurant. Impossible for me to pay the bill…
I hanged around Omsk, changed my roadbook but could not upload Mapsource on to the hotel computer as everything was in Russian (all Windows, software etc…) Step by step I managed to connect my SD card and operate it.
Before I set off, I left my spare tires, some clothes and a few other things at the Omsk hotel. I am planning to fetch them on my way back.
Once again, getting out the city with my GPS was epic. I realized that some road maps had been left out altogether. It made me take detours and detours and at some stage, a complete turn on the set itinerary.
On my way to Novosibirsk I met Sacha with his Yamaha Tenere. He had stopped on the side of the road and seemed to be in trouble with a small oil leak… After a few words (his English level being close to zero), I went off. We bumped into each other at the gas station later and decided to ride together. From what I had gathered he is a Technician for Gazprom  and now going towards Mongolia, Kaz and some neighbouring countries then back home. Great experience.

During the refuelling, we met a couple of young Russians with 2 Africa twins back from Turkey and on their way to Vladivostok. They spoke a little English although the girl was a bit aggressive and asocial. As we were speaking about Russian bikers’ clubs, she replied “we are free riders, we don’t like clubs, we don’t want to be in clubs etc etc “. The road was in good condition with just a few works in some parts and we were doing an average of 120 /130 km/h.

They left us before Novosibirsk  as they should meet some group of friends in Novosibirsk  .


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Sacha ( left ) with the courier
The courier bike

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Sacha and I rode until Novosibirsk where we checked in a motel. For just 750 roubles each (15 euros) we shared a room with private shower. You can also chose without shower or toilets.

Once in the room I could notice the entire place that was taking all my stuff and Sacha stuff.. he left some equipment in his bike but I realize that I have too many bags .

At the hotel we also met a courier … the guy was already for hours and kilometres and he showed me his phone GPS….still have almost 4000 Km to do .The guy had no money for paying a room, no spare clothes and riding a 200 cm3 bike …. not even a decent jacket for being protected from the rain and a crappy helmet …Sacha and I gave him some money so he could pay a room a,d have dinner .

At the dinner, we went to a restaurant next to the hotel and Sacha helped me to choose from the menu. A good laugh! We did all we could to communicate and had great fun when understanding each other. He shared some photos of his former trips, some of them being in places I had planned to go in Kaz… I was gutted…
In the morning, I had to stop at the KTM store and Sacha went his way to sort out his papers to Mongolia.
Finding the shop was a bit tricky but a stop at a garage helped a lot. Internet search with the garage mechanic and he offered to drive me there. Really nice!
I was surprised by the size of the shop and the wide range of choice. KTM, quad, camping equipment, all sorts of items and even guns… They accepted that I took photos and offered me a coffee. I heard that the Jussy and his friend met in Omsk had also stopped at the shop.
I was told the KTM business was not so good. No surprise, here a 690 enduro R is sold 12 000 euros .

On the French KTM shop, it is 8980 euros…Aouchhh.


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Departure for Barnaul… It was pissing rain and took ages to get out of the city. In addition, I had to deal with particularly dangerous drivers. Some guys cut me up and as I was protesting they came very very close to me…scary
I got drenched all along the way, the rain accumulated on the cracks of the road splashed on me like big waves by the passing cars. An old man in a gas station where I stopped for refuelling ,  gave me a bucket of water to wash off the mud and black stains on my face (I am not always riding visor down) . He also kept an eye on my equipment while I was taking a break to eat at an adjacent lunch.The restaurant was a typical truck driver restaurant.You can find plenty of them all along the road. I love eating in this kind of restaurants ( кафе …which is cafe ..also the french name for bar) .Often run by women, the atmosphere is simple but friendly and the food is cheap. I took a soup (bortsch) and she proposed some bread that you can buy by the slice here. She tried to teach me how to pronounce the name of the dish. I also took a Samsa, which is a sort of Samoussa or fritter filled with meat and washed that down with a good coffee. All of this for less than 500 Rb ‘ less than 8 euros) .
On the road I notice something strange on the bike. In the morning I adjusted my chain at the hotel as it had been making a strange noise… On the road though I realized the noise was still there. Something was off, I suspected.
Arriving at Barnaul, it was really worrying so I headed to the nearest KTM dealer. On the GPS I had already pinpointed all the dealers of the region. Barnaul is a big city. Le traffic and the roads are terrible. The KTM shop was devoid of choice, nothing compared to the one in Novosibirsk…Selling Bike; snow bike , a little bit of equipment, all type of second hand motorbike .

A young mechanic guy took the bike . Output gearbox pinion was broken. The teeth were badly damaged. Slewing ring was not so good. I had got that on my last 28 000 Km… It could have been a bad greasing or poor adjustment from the scoit. They called KTM in Novosibirsk. They had a 17 pinion, which I bought despite of the fact that mine was 16. The slewing ring was harder to find. In Moscow maybe? The mechanic asked around for more information. It could take from 2 to 5 days to repair and 10 000 roubles (212 euros) I thought it was a fair price and didn’t have the choice anyway. The manager offered to find a hotel for me and asked for my criteria. 2 to 5 days… I said Internet, washing machine, central location.

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I left 80% of my equipment in the garage and we set off on a gleaming BMW X5. As I was completely dirty I first refused, saying I would take a taxi but he insisted. It had leather-upholstered seats, I felt bad. We tried to communicate on the way. This guy was the shop owner and I had been received by his brother. “Family business” he would say although “business is not good”. Of course… BMW X5 , all leather seats , full options, … Yeahhh life is hard.
He dropped me at the Barnaul Hotel, which seems to be the biggest hotel of the city. I could not really be picky and ask for another one. I checked in for 3 nights at 7200 roubles (about 150 euros)…not very cheap but ….

I settled in, took a shower and met a German family at reception (parents and 11 year old son) . They were coming from China via Mongolia with a Chinese side car… the famous Chang Jiang CJ 750, customized to their needs. They had no trouble with it, except for the spokes that had got a bit damaged. I liaised them with my garage. They could not do anything for them but the reception was going to help.

In the evening I went downtown for dinner then at 11pm sleep and a good night until 9am. Got up, met the Germans again and updated the blog. However, I could not connect my SD card. I would deal with the photos with my tablet later in my room.
I am now waiting for news from the garage.  I don’t want to hang around here for too long. I am interested in going to the Altai Mountains, which I hope will be as soon as possible. My next destination should be Biysk, then Gorno Altaisk and further down…
My Inreach tag works well for tracking. Dave wrote and sent photos. He is in Almaty continuing his trip.

Hotel in Barnaul.. Very old fashion restaurant …not everything is working properly.. funny technical system for having the water at the shower….very old radio and very simple fashion room… Will see how long I will stay here

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