Sunday, February 17, 2013

To Nyagen, and Beyond!

Revelries over, morning had broken with air so cold and dry it made you cough as soon as you stood outside and inhaled. Kickstarting Eva proved a good way to clear my addled head, only she wouldn’t start. Eventually we tied her to Björn’s bike and pulled to her life. As we were futzing about, my mittens had sneakily dropped off the sidecar and I threw a full-on hissy fit searching for them. Luckily Zaya saw them lying in the middle of the road before I burst a blood vessel. We finally got underway. For the first couple of hours things went steadily, then Eva started acting up and finally died on a hill 15 kilometers outside the city. It was Sunday. 

“You just missed your friends.”, said the tall, square jawed policeman who had pulled us over almost as soon as we entered Nyagan. His confirmation that we were dead last didn’t help our mood. Still, we did as we were told and followed him to the main police station to register our visas. 

Finished with our visa paperwork we were shown the way to a clutch of repair shops and several hours passed as we watched a team of technicians, led by Vitaly, wire up a new headlamp switch and battery for Eva’s failing electrics. The charge? Nothing, it's from the heart! Thank you! спасибо! Then, just as we were finishing, we noticed the rear tail light wasn't working. Having bypassed the lamp's standard wiring in Uray it took another 15 minutes to hook it up to the new circuit. Tiring of the delays, Björn and Rico took off and agreed we'd see them in the next town. Another officer, off-duty this time, escorted us out of Nyagen and told us that the police in Priobe would find us and show us the way to a hotel. Driving at night wasn’t our first choice, but we had time to make up. This was the last stop and for all we knew the last outpost of civilization before the zimniks, the ice roads that would lead us another 600 kilometers to the Arctic Circle and the finish line. In Priobe we met the others in our hotel’s cafe for a bite and a beer. We felt good that we’d made it as far as we had in two long days, then wondered how far ahead the others were. 

Dedicated to her documentary, Zaya stayed up all night downloading data and charging batteries. I don’t know how she does it. Fading into bed I felt like I needed a week’s sleep just to catch up.

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