July 30, 2018 DonCalvo_1976

I have slept very long today because was drop-dead tired and thank God I  have found a halfway decent hotel for 20$.

I  still run a bit late! I am now approaching the Russian border at Uralsk but the high temperatures of the last few days have taken their toll: I have a red, inflamed back from constant sweating, and I am also covered with mosquito bites and generally feel a bit down at the moment because I probably can not make up for the delay and I may lose Mongolia and then go directly to Siberia. The plan is 8500 km in the next 23 days to Vladivostok, where I should take a ferry to Don Hae. At breakfast, I finally decide to skip the route through Mongolia and move only through Russia because I’m afraid because of the lost days in Turkey to violate my visa and not get my ferry to South Korea. Also, I heard that during the spring many of the roads in Mongolia have become impassable because of flooding.

I met Silvio from Switzerland in the hotel and arranged to have lunch with him at 12. He was just on the way back from the Pamir Highway. We had a nice chat during lunch and he can not believe what I do on my “trashcan” there.

When leaving the city it was then already very very hot and after about 70 km there was suddenly a strange noise from the engine.

I immediately pull the clutch. It is immediately clear to me: Piston stick! From then on I was really wide awake. I let the engine cool down first and finally helped with the canister and octane booster. After about 25 minutes I start again, let the scooter run at idle speed, and hope it doesn’t jam completely. But after the fresh fuel and the additional octane (cools the combustion) ran my little Vespa again without problems. What a bit of luck. At all gas stations, you are asked where you are from and I have Google Translate already open to allow some small talk. Also, in every village and town, people look at me as if I’m riding into town on a pink unicorn. Vespas never existed in these regions and travelers from out of town only get through here with heavy and expensive touring enduros or off-road vehicles. I finally see the first trees after 1500 km and rode again until dark. The fat Kazakh in an old Audi 100 guides me to a hotel and suddenly something squeaks terribly and I get scared. Was that Rosinante? Luck had it were only the brakes of the Audi! Thought already I am that. The whole place is the purest dusty mogul track. The owner accepts no cards and sends me back to the town center because I have no more cash. Then I have a delicious dinner with soup and chai.

I end the day with Kazakh beer and chips before going to sleep.

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