Kargat to Chelyabinsk and Taganay NP, Russia Week 23 23rd - 25th September 2011
To cover the distance we wanted to we got up before dawn, having started the heater even earlier.

Had some breakfast.

Scraped the ice off the windscreen.

It was quite pleasant driving.

There are small lakes and wetlands as well as extensive marshes.
We've seen the haystacks. This is the first sign of livestock.

Mixed cattle and sheep.

Most of the haystacks are either those roly poly ones or just piles.
I forgot to mention bus stops. Very well signed. Well built. Most with rubbish bins. Most very tidy.

These people were selling bags of potatoes.

We also noticed large trucks picking up produce from small trucks, presumably taking it to a market somewhere.

The patterns in the landscape fascinated us.
The Trans-Siberian rail line carries other things as well as passengers.

This is a coal train.

This rail yard is on the western outskirts of Omsk.

We'd successfully avoided driving through the middle - our gps had its act together today.

Melons, potatoes, and some unidentified things.
Its not the same camp as the previous night. It just looks like it.

Same approach though - know how to get back to the road.

At lunch we stopped in a "rest area". Gravel where we actually had lunch but a bit of  mud between us and the road. Nothing deep, just a very slight uphill was enough to send us sliding.

4wd has its uses.

Not sure what was going to happen to these piles of hay.

We've seen the occasional truck and trailer with it piled on board but that still leaves an awful lot of hay.

There must be a lot of animals somewhere.

Around Gorno-Altaisk we'd seen fields of sunflower gone to seed and presumably ready for harvesting.

These were not as far on.

We've also noticed that the trees haven't developed their autumn colours to the same extent.

We could understand if we were further south, but that's not the case. Simply further west.


The road had dropped down into the Ishim River valley. The valley was wide like the Ob but the river had much less water.

The road across the valley was horrible. Potholed and broken. A long crawl in a long line of trucks.

We took a detour through Abatskiy. To the bank.

This is what a bank with a Bankomat (ATM) looks like.

The contraption above the dashboard is the cardboard hood for the gps - so it can be seen in the sun.

The edges to the road looked diabolical after the rain.

Beyond the police car, in the ditch, is a semi rolled over on its side.


Lined up near the trees is our first glimpse of several harvesters.

We knew there must be some somewhere.

Presumably having a day off in the rain.

Eery in the mist.

The traffic flow is quite interesting. We happen to travel well at the same speed as the semis. All within a couple of km/hr of 80.

Occasionally we catch a truck, it can take 20 minutes from when we first realise we are catching one. A quick overtake. Then back to the same even speed.

Occasionally one catches us. 

But just when we thought the road was getting better it got worse again.

The trucks sort of zig zagged a bit, always managing to be on the right side of the road when passing oncoming. Like a very majestic slow motion dance involving very heavy semis.

The changing colours fascinated us.

The lake's edge provided an opportunity for something different to grow.

We stopped for the night about 30km east of Kurgan.

A drier day, and looking drier underfoot.

We hid in the birch forest. Within sound of the road.

And onward the next day.

Consistent with the trees that haven't adopted their autumn colours, and sunflower that wasn't ready, the wheat on the left still has to be harvested.

A different sort of bus stop.

The main road by-passes the villages and towns. There seems to be a bus stop on the road for every village.

The outskirts of Chelyabinsk.

Steeper roofs we think.

But still some fields.

Not sure what this crop is.

Chelyabinsk has both trams and trolleybuses.

Heavy trucks were all diverted around the city. Our gps led us through the middle.

This isn't as bad as it looks.

Lane discipline was strangely good. Despite no lane markings on the road. There were arrows attached to the trolleybus wires above lanes just before all the traffic lights

The gps was saying "follow that road and turn left in 168 km". We weren't at all sure but we followed and it turned out to be correct.

The pantograph on this trolleybus had left the wires. It was stuck across the road as we approached.

No hassle. Driver adjusted the pantograph, climbed back in and drove off. Everyone else waited.

Just after that we were pulled over at a police check.

It became obvious to me that the policeman didn't understand the documents and looked like he was just trying to do his job so I gave him lots to keep him occupied while doing my best to act "innocent and all legal".

After a couple of minutes he handed them back and waved us on our way.


This is not the main Trans-Siberian railway.

The odd looking carriages are not for people.

They are carrying new cars. A double decker arrangement. 

We stopped at another truck stop.

The fridge is in stark contrast to the fridge displays of restaurants in China. In this one is just meat. Thick slices of meat. Not a vegetable in sight!

And the bar is just as big a contrast.

We drank tea. Made with a tea bag! Sugar, but no milk.

Our lunch consisted of four pieces of very lean pork, some onion, bread, and a nice sauce.
The meat was barbecued outside.
At last some hills.

About 80 km west of Chelyabinsk we reach the foothills of the Urals.

So we find our way to the small town of Zlatoust then to Taganay National Park.

Had to ask directions. Everyone super helpful. 

After deliberately traveling a bit slow in the Altai Mountains in the last 5 days we've driven 2300 km on a mixture of good, bad, and horrible roads. Further in fewer days than any other part of our Asian odyssey. We are appropriately cranky and scratchy, with all sorts of aches and pains, but we are here. And so is Tardis. To date in Russia we've driven about 3,000 km in 11 days, leaving around 1900 km to get to Ukraine in 19 days.

We've think we've earned, and can afford, a rest from driving to enjoy the National Park.

We are camped in the woods. Had some chocolate to celebrate. We'll do some hiking tomorrow so that we can have completely different aches and pains.

Taganay and Zyuratkul National Parks, Urals, Russia Week 24 26th - 28th September 2011

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