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Update: Sun 11:00

Saturday, 10 September

A late start after the early morning update saw me take the minor roads South West past the lakes. Well, there might have been lakes, there wasn't much of them to be seen from the road.

I would classify the road I was on as being a decent British A-road as have most of the roads I've been on in Russia. For most of the time you can switch on the auto-pilot and let the world wash by (ideal holiday mode for me).

Unfortunately, the nice weather left with A and today started by looking unpromising and then committing itself to the cause. For the most part there was light rain or drizzle which is hugely annoying on a bike. There's not enough substance to the blurry haze on your visor to be blown off by the air flow and yet there's enough of it about, compounded by lorries generating huge amounts, that there's no respite. I didn't really see a great deal of anything. Especially difficult when trying to overtake said lorries.

My route planning has consisted of looking at the map and seeing a suitable big town every 3-400km and heading for that, so today was Izhevsk. About two hours out from Izhevsk it started to rain and so I arrived "a bit wet." Everything you touch then becomes soaked including any little slips of paper you're signing at reception of which I had to do a lot as we somehow managed to confuse one night's stay with two. That seems to happen quite a lot although usually it's corrected before the payslip arrives. I'm not sure how as I only ever wave one finger about: one person, one room, one night. Too many ones.

Luckily, the "Reader's Pub" next door had an English menu and I was able to feed myself.

The Delightful A cannot be faulted and having discovered I'm in Izhevsk questioned whether I was going to the Kalashnikov museum. It turns out to be the other side of the park from here so I shall toddle over after this.

I'm rather surprised I've not had to report this before but after 30,000km someone has finally nicked a jerry can of fuel off the bike. There's no secure parking here so the bike is just out on the street but it's been in this position any number of times. With the advent of civilisation comes the need to secure your belongings! A reminder of why I bought hard (lockable) panniers in the first place, not for travel in the far reaches of the world where people seem to have some respect for your belongings but rather for travel here in the near world (particularly in Europe) where I had no expectation that anything, including the bike, might stay in my possession.

Do I really care about a cheap plastic jerry can with 5ltr ($3) of fuel? Of course not. Except that it was the jerry can that I picked up in Yazd, Iran when I met the funny guy who went out of his way for two hours to help me ("All Iranians are terrorists"). Some sentimental value. It also has some practical value as I've actually had to use it twice in the last few weeks as some stretches of road are rather devoid of fuel stops.

Tiresome! And I'm now left with a problem of what to do with my stuff as the Kalshnikov museum will overlap with when I'm supposed to check out of here.

Currently at lat/long: n56 51.228 e53 12.635

Central'naya Gostinitsa, Izhevsk

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