The Tiksi Trip: day 2

A Road to Batagay through Topolinoye.

March 7, 2018


March 7 – a road to Batagay

I got up early in the morning and went ahead. I was glad I didn't decide to go at night, the road was tough, spiral roads and trucks flying towards me.

In the morning all trucks go that way too, so there's no problem. But in 2.5 weeks, when I was going back, it was really hard to share the road with the trucks going the opposite direction.
I got quickly to the Topolinoye. I encountered an Eighteen-wheeler that went off the road. Good thing there was a detour road.
Both drivers are drunk beyond consciousness. Almost all drivers here are drunk pretty much always. And during stops they get wasted.

Many people in Yakutia behave really badly when drunk. The locals say that there are a lot of domestic homicide cases. They shoot every which way and then can't remember anything in the morning.

Anyway, if you do come here, try to avoid drunk Yakutians. When sober they are really nice people though.
After Topolinoye, I reached the big river ice for the first time. I'm anxious to drive at first, since I don't know how deep the ice goes. But in Winter the ice is up to 2 meters thick, so it's safe to drive.

Soon I encounter the first ice built up. There's no one around and I have to keep going. Thin ice all around. Water's coming out from under the wheels, really scary stuff.

If there are several cars, you can be safe with a tow rope that can pull you out just in case. But when you're alone, there's pretty much nothing you can do.

After 30 minutes of circling, I was able to find a safe spot and get to the shore, although my wheels were wet a little. This was the only time I encountered ice built up so closely.
When the river began, an apocalypse came. The road was in no condition to drive. The speed is 5-10 km per hour. It's like you're in a mixer bowl, it's crazy. And it's like that for about 200 km.

There are almost no cars, maybe 10 through the entire day.

By the end of the day on the roadside, I come across a broken truck and a guy who picks on the wheels. I go out to help. I quickly understand that this driver is a newbie when it comes to changing the tires. He tries to take off the disc retainer ring through the reverse side, where it can not be technically taken off.

We fiddle with it for a while before I give up because he doesn't have the tools for that kind of job. Not to mention he doesn't have any spare tires. And the jack is too short.

I leave him be a move on. He called someone for help and they're on the way. He and his buddy are of course hammered.

I encounter several cars on the road and ask them to help the poor guy through the walkie-talkie. I get confirmation and go drive into the night.
For a long time it's just me, not one car, no one.

Then suddenly I come across a truck and a Yakutian asks me for a ride to Batagay.

I take him with me, since I'm bored anyway.

Indeed, during our ride I find out a lot about local customs and traditions.

Late at night I start to feel that I won't be able to make it to Batagay. I'm exhausted after a 20-hour drive without stops. And who knows how many I have ahead of me.

The navigator showed me a 12-hour ride, and I was naïve enough to believe it. This was the last time I was stupid enough to rely on it :)

Soon we make a stop and sleep in the car with my new friend Kesha.
P.S. Please share to find out what happens next :)

A thank you to my friends, subscribers and partners:
— oils and lubricants by ravenol.su
— winter tires by nokiantyres.ru
— compressors by berkut-compressor.ru
— car service and preparation by uazato.ru
— winter equipment by baskcompany.ru
— lights by armytek.ru
— satellite communication by mvstelecom.ru
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