Cape to Cape Expedition
Cherskiy - Russia - (Черский)
3rd March 2008
16th March 2008
We drove from Lel' to Cherskiy then south to Anyuysk - where the road forks for Bilibino. We have had two nights and one day without the support truck and resorted to waiting on the main road for vehicles to come by so that we could ask them if they had seen the Kamas. I drew some pictures of our truck to help explain what we were looking for! As we are only 11km from Cherskiy food and fuel isn't a problem.
Eventually a land cruiser pulled up and told us that the Polish man in the laplander truck (Great Race 2008 - see below) was in Cherskiy. We drove up and went to see him. He explained that he had broken down before Anyuysk and the Kamas truck had come along. It had stayed the night with him and Sergei had helped him repair his truck. When they both got to Anyuysk the Kamas had gone along the road to Bilibino.
So we filled up with fuel in Cherskiy and the garage owner offered to phone his friend in Bilibino and have him look for the truck. Luckily his friend also speaks english and so we could explain the situation to him. Dmitry rang us to say they had rung him and said they were waiting in Bilibino.
So now we are on our way back to Anyuysk then we have 270km to Bilibino so we hope to be there tonight. The road is quite poor and with no shock absorbers we can only do about 45kpm (35mph) so its very slow going.
15th March 2008
Well the truck didn't appear so at lunch time we set off north then east and arrived at Lel where we met some very nice locals who explained that the road to Bilibino actually starts 10km south of Cherskiy. So we've rung Dmitry and hopefully so has the truck and arranged that we will go back to Cherskiy tomorrow and hopefully meet the truck.
Last night we saw the Northern Lights which were very good. We are living on the Expedition Food (and have a lot left) but also the shops are actually quite well stocked and have bread, fish, cheese and vodka so we also have that - although vodka we only have when we've stopped !!
14th March 2008
We have made good progress today and covered about 350km so far. Its 500km to Cherskiy in the Chersky Range of Mountains where we will stop tonight.
I have spoken to Dan Evans of Protection & Performance this morning about possible ways to dampen the bounce of the Land Rover as we have broken all the shockers we have and so are just running on the springs. Simon says he feels like Churchill's Nodding Dog when being passenger - at least when driving you have the steering wheel to hang onto to!
Last night we had our first problem with diesel. It was very very cold -36°C and we were running low so I tipped 100ltrs into the tank. Well the condensation in the tank must have frozen while the filler cap was off and from then on we could only go at 2kph until we reached Srednekolysmsk. This morning I changed the diesel filter and it was ok again.
We also met a very interesting group of Polish in a huge truck - they are taking part in the Great Race 2008 - English or Great Race 2008- German/Polish/Russian and we travelling south to Magadan where they were going to ship the truck to the U.S and then drive to New York.
Pictures of their Truck and the Kolyma River: