1997. The 7-th of February, Friday, 14.00 Moscow time.
Just now we moved from Nikolina Gora (West outskirts of Moscow) in the
direction to the Far East. In the cargo compartment of our microbus there
is about of one ton of carbonized cargo. At the start the reading of the
speedometer was 10.529 km. We adjusted another kilometer counter on the
speedometer to the mark "0". The car has breakages. Yesterday the plug was
uprooted on the move in the center of Moscow, and at home we had glued the
plug with cold welding. In the heater there is a poor contact. When we made
a purchase of goods, the left back amortizator (shock absorber) was torn
off. We fastened it by the rope and started the run without delay, as planned
earlier. The mood is complicated, - more than 10.000 kilometers ahead. From
the Russian song: “...be damned, you, Colyma, that named as marvelous planet,
cars do not move there, deer are wandering there...”
The weather is sunny in Moscow; the temperature is about zero. The Enthusiasts Highway is over stuffed by traffic lights. Leave the Moscow at 16.45. We move to the Nizni Novgorod. It is 396 kms up to Nizni Novgorod.
At night from 7-th to 8-th of February we crossed Nizni Novgorod. That was at two o'clock. We slept from 5 till 7. From 9 to 10 there was repair. Fastenings of generator become weaker. It is -100 C outside, high wind with snow. The road is blizzarded by snowdrifts. Kazan city is ahead. The cars are delayed at the traffic control posts because of the very bad weather conditions. If we will not slip through further to the East, then we can be delayed here for a long time. 807 kilometers are passed now from the start point. The storm covers the road by thicker and thicker snowdrifts. In the daytime we are forced to move with headlight switched on.
Kazan was passed by detour road. Nabereznie Chelny (Quays Boats) is ahead. It is 210 km to N.Chelny. We are stopped for inspection at the traffic control post. Cops escorted Ivan to the post building. It seems something is wrong, or may be the cops want something. The weather is spoiling.
I had bothered to wait, and had gone behind him. The cops demand the license for the right of transportation of cargoes. They wanted to fine us largely, and have kept us for 50 minutes there. At last cops have released us without any penalty. The machine was switched off, and probably something has taken by a frost, - temperature sharply creeps upwards.
09.02. It is the end of the 2-nd day of our journey. In Quays Boats there is the paid bridge through the river Kama. We have paid 17 thousand rubles (in the old quotations). We wanted to move to Izhevsk but then we have found out that the road is seined already. So we had changed the direction to Ufa. On a traffic post in Elabuga we, as well as all others, were kept all the night because of the bad weather conditions. On the way further the system of cooling had catch the air, and the antifreeze begin "to jump out" periodically. Visibility is very bad. It is not clear where is the road, and where are the sides. At move from a road to the side for repair we were buried in deep snow. We have lost a cover from expandable vessel, and have closed the vessel by a polyethylene film. We have lost a bolt from a branch pipe of thermostat. When we opened a branch pipe, have seen, that thermostat is not present there. We hardly have found replacement to a bolt, and have adjusted system of ignition. The cracks have decreased on small revolutions, but detonation has slightly increased. We have changed a belt of the generator, and have tightened a belt of the water pump. The generator became to work more reliably. We have passed Tatarstan, and go through Bashkortostan now. Regional numbers on machines are 02. Yesterday the numbers were: 52, 16 etc. We come nearer to Ufa. All road indexes are in Tatar language or in Bashkir. On refueling station our car have got stuck in a snowbank. From Elabuga up to Ufa a road was rather good. After about a 10 kilometers from Ufa there was a large failure: a long truck is stretched out across roads; the beautiful huge tractor Volvo is broken; the driver was laid on the ground and was covered with a blanket. The rod is very slippery, and we make a decision to move more slowly, with speed 60-70 km/hour. The temperature after storm is about 00 C.
We pass Ural. In mountains there is a small town Sim. Lengthways many merchants are trading the weapon illegally, straight from their cars. Different guns, automatic devices with tapes for cartridges. It is 281 km to Chelyabinsk now.
We stopped for supper before Chelyabinsk. In a side the Zlatoust town has remained. On the border "Europe - Asia" there is a cafe. Now we shoot a film of a monument with inscription “Asia” on a videocamera.
10.02. We did not made any film of the monument. Because of customhouse in Kazakhstan we are forced to make a hook of extra 250-300 kms, - from Kurgan to Jalutorovsk. Now we go to Omsk city. We pass by town Ishim. The heater works very badly. On the move we cut the panel to reach up to the heater motor, and throw out the casing splinters in a window. It is covered 2500 kms in three days. It is now the fourth day. We have reached Omsk at 23 o’clock of Moscow time (or + 3 hours local time). The travel through Omsk city is paid. We had paid 74 thousand of old rubles. A traffic cop has told us, that ahead there are a lot of paid cities. 2876 kms are passed. Now we’ll sleep.
11.02. Three hours back the fourth day of a trip have expired. 3000 kms had covered. From Omsk up to Kuibyshev the way was bad, twisting, packed by dense snow. Populated localities are seldom. Before Omsk the refueling stations were frequently. After Omsk the area is deserted, transport is rare. There is now a possibility to study in driving of the automobile. Ira takes a steering wheel. And on 3210 kms of our way Ira has brought us in side ditch. The machine was laid on a side. The first lesson of a driver's science is received: "Go more silently - will be further".
12.02. We have driven in Novosibirsk at one o'clock. The road from Kuibyshevs up to Novosibirsk was exclusive. Travel through Novosibirsk is also paid. Five hours slept. Thaw: -30 C, weather spoils. The abundant snow began. Bad visibility. We hold a rate on Kemerovo.
13.02. Have passed Kemerovo, Mariinsk, Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk. The sixth day of our way has expired. Slept in Mariinsk for 4 hours. Ira’s studing of driving has terminated unsuccessfully. The fragile female hand has broken the lever of a gear-box. The cause is not in her strong hands, but in bad metal of our GAZel-car. We had repaired the fastening of the lever. Ivan has a problem with orientation in time. He has got confused in a quantity of spent days. He is sure, that on 13-th at 17 hours of Moscow time five days are spent, and 4626 kms are covered. I assert, that now 6 days has already passed. We are behind Krasnoyarsk in 150-200 kilometers. The switch of distant/near light has melted. Behind Krasnoyarsk the second shock absorber was torn off. We have come on service station. They have remade the fastenings of shock-absorbers, and have put the metal triangles on them. The sound signal does not work. Whole day we went fastened by safety belts. When has darkened, we dropped the belts. As ill luck would have it, - in some minutes, under street illumination one cop in one small village has seen us without belts and he naturally has fined us. Before, we were fined for antifog lantern two times, which was installed in the not fixed place. In Moscow Ivan has established this lantern in a direction on road marks and indexes, in order to be better guided in the night time in unfamiliar areas.
14.02. We spent the night in Kansk. The glass with a brake liquid for coupling clutch has bursted. In about a thirty kilometers after Kansk we have bought a brake liquid, have stuck a glass with an adhesive tape. Ivan had got his hands frost-bitten by daily repairs. We move in the Taishet city direction. In Kansk there were problems with transport militia because of absence of the license on transportation of a cargo. It is -150 C in the street; sunny.
Before Taishet we stumbled into a side ditch. KamAZ truck has pulled us out, torn all towropes. Now it is 14 o’clock. It is already 7 days exactly in a road, almost all the time inside in the cold machine. On a way we have got acquainted with many far strikers. One day they go ahead of us, another day we go ahead. From Taishet we wanted to go to Bratsk town, but then we have met the fellow travellers, which go to the Laptevih sea, and which have told us, that the straight road to Bratsk is very bad and it is necessary to go on Bratsk through Tulun town, and it means, that is necessary to cover another superfluous 200-250 kms on a very slippery rough road. The average speed of movement has fallen to 40 km/h. Near Nizneudinsk town there is a very good cafe. At last we have tasty and dense meal.
(Information from drivers about the route: Ust-Kut, Mirnyi, Jakutsk. Don’t move into Mirnyi town. Refuel in sovhoz Novyi. After Ust-Kut there will be checks, to refuel there "under cover" in a fuel tank and in all canisters.)
15.02. We spent the night in 50 kms from Tulun. The road from Tulun up to Bratsk is good. There are cafes, restaurants, refueling stations. We swayed up the liquid in the coupling clutch, and went to the North. The vegetation becomes poor, and the frost amplifies. 8 days have expired. We are approaching to Ust-Kut town. In the machine it is smells strongly of petrol. Probably on the top surface of a tank there is a crack. When a tank is completely full, all petrol steam go into a cabin. It is necessary to ride with opened window.
16.02. Yesterday we have passed Ust-Kut, and slept near the camping-site “Andreich”; it is a van. The meal is bad. Many trucks spent the night here with us. Everyone go on Yakutia. There are even regional numbers 70 on trucks. It is region of the Laptevih sea. We go by “zimnik” road, that is the season road, which works only in winter. In summer here is a bog. The road is covered by big hummocks. Drivers have told, that farther will be even worse. Yesterday at night on a long rise the plug, which Ivan have pasted in Moscow, was torn out. Ivan has fastened it "on a break" by a steel wire. It’s birch out from the plug now, but we go further. At 11.35 we have reached picket “Uzhmai”. Picket is not a usual refueling station but it is a huge tank with a fuel, hidden under the ground, one small house, one old man or woman, who can refuel your car if you ask him/her very carefully. Irina can do it, can speak with anybody. We have had a dinner there, and have refueled the car. Petrol here is 1,5 times more expensive. Again we have met with drivers who drive UAZ-cars in Jakutsk. But our route leads further... We still don’t known the final point of it…
17.02. We slept in the last settlement of Irkutsk area. Ahead is Saha Republic, Yakutia. Drivers said that before Mirnyi there is a customs house. We plan to turn on Vitim, not to pass the control once again. Began to move at five o’clock in the morning. The severe cold has broken our sleep. The road is covered by fresh white snow; it is absolutely not visible. The eyes get tired. We go at random, with a speed 20-25 km/h. Machines are large rarity. At 14 o'clock of Moscow time ten days of our travel have passed. We have reached the turn on Vitim. Turned. The road is non stamped dawn at all. That means that cars are extremely rare here. We have passed another 500 meters and have heard, as the belt on the engine has been torn. Horror, - there is no spare belts already. We come back on the road fork, and stayed with face directed on Mirnyi.
18.03. Yesterday we were forced to switch out the engine. Darkly. There are no trucks, neither counter, nor passing. To adapt another spare belt was not possible, - it is very short. A frost is very strong. May be -400 C, may be -600 C. The snow in a wood is very deep, till a belt. It is necessary to go into that snow, to grope for the logs by legs, and to pull the logs to the road in order to make a big fire. In a couple of hours the large fire warms the forward part of our car from three sides. If we would not make it, our plastic radiator would be torn in splinters in several hours. In the car we had a box of frozen cutlets, and tried to fry them on sticks. Alas, they thaw and fall in a fire. Ivan has got a big shovel from the car and has fried cutlets on a shovel. Ivan had drink vodka from a plastic glass and instantly has fallen asleep. On the road fork we stayed for a long time. Machines are rare, and chances that on those large trucks will be a belt, suitable for GAZel, is almost zero. But drivers here are very liable. All passing truck stops and drivers offer the help. At last we managed to pick up a belt. We have adjusted a belt and tried to move at once. Alas, the lock of ignition with antitheft device has been jammed. It was necessary to force down the antitheft device by a hammer. We throw out the core of the lock of ignition. Now it is necessary to put a finger in an aperture of the ignition lock, to turn it, and to start the engine. It is the end of the 11-th day of our way. 600 kms to the nearest telephone. We have passed by some road service, Chona. Ahead there is an abrupt descent and a large “naled”; it is the underground water, rising up to the surface, and forming the large pool with a longitude of about 30 meters with abrupt high banks. Despite of a strong frost, pool is not frozen. On the right and left sides of a pool there are yellowish stains. It is a teen crust of ice covered by sleet. There, under the crust of ice, can be deeply. The depth of the pool is unknown. If the road enters into the water, then all machines pass here. That means that we also shall go into uncertainty. We have passed it successfully. The depth of the “naled” was about of fifty centimeters. We were afraid, that the brakes would be taken by a frost, but in vain. In some hours we have felt the smell of petrol. A hose from the carburetor was broken. We could light up, since there was a fire birching from under the plug. The choking gases strived into our cabin. We have got tired. Our condition was sleepy. We have not noticed as have slipped first picket after Chona. Petrol in a fuel tank has finished. We refueled the tank from canisters. In a cargo compartment the plastic canister with antifreeze was rubbed through. The smell of antifreeze goes through cracks from a cargo compartment into cabin. Up to the next picket is about 100 kilometers. We have passed about 30 kilometers. On the road we went round dark blue light car. The light was burned in it. From an exhaust pipe there was a gray smoke. The driver slept on a lowered seat. Having passed hardly further Ivan has told: "It is strange, the road around the light car is rammed, as though the car stands there for two days". Though we have passed not so far, but we had no forces to come back. We have decided to stop to sleep. Have chosen a place, where the wind blows off gases from an exhaust pipe from under the machine outside. We left the light in cabin switched on.
19.02. It is not known what force has forced Ivan to wake up. He saw the dream, as he has said goodbye and has kissed his senior son Sasha. He did not see the second son, Yura. And from apart the daughter, Dasha, has cried: "Daddy, kiss me too..." Ivan has told: "Now". Hardly he has got over the boxes on a forward seat and for some reason got out in a passenger door, though he was closer to the drivers door, and the pass was not blocked up. He has fallen out in a snow, has inhaled a fresh air and has lost consciousness. When he has come to himself, he understood that fumes have poisoned us, and he began to call me. I came to myself of dream, have seen Ivan, his head without a cap, in snow. I hardly have got out to him and have lost consciousnesses too. Ivan shook me, forced to rise. The snow on his hands did not thaw. I have risen. He has fallen. Was unconscious. I shouted at him. All was as in dream. I got my hands frost bitten without mittens. The stomach was untied. Ivan now recollects, that when we were in "disconnection", laid in snow, he had a sensation that he departs into another world, and he resisted: “No, I don’t want, it is necessary to breathe, to move, to live, it is necessary to wake up Ira, it is necessary to survive, for the sake of children, for the sake of natives." We crept near the machine, serially losing consciousness. The machine continued to hum. I had the only idea to find the first-aid set. It does not want to be found. I somehow have managed to switch in a portable lamp. With it’s help I have found the first aid set. We took the activated coal, and then citramon. The consciousness began to clear up in a head but only on an instant. Relief had changed by new loss of consciousness again. We wallowed, crept near the machine. I asked the God for the help, to survive. For the sake of my son Antoha I found forces to move. We with Ivan were clinging friend to friend, gave consciousness from one body to another, as in relay race. We shouted something. When it became easier, the car’s engine had stopped. And it means that it is necessary to open a cargo compartment and to get therefrom a canister with petrol, to fill in a tank. Ivan hardly has opened a door in a cargo compartment. I held funnel. He was shaking, poured a part of petrol in the funnel, and a part – on my hands. Our hands are caught completely by a frost. There are no machines till now at this road. We started the engine and moved forward. Soon we have met a truck, which dived into a deep snow at the road turn. The drivers were digging a snow from under the wheels by shovels. We have told them, what have happened with us. They gave us tablets and boiled water. We drank a tea with condensed milk. It became much easier.
Another light car, jeep UAZ, had joined to us. The driver asked us for a cigarette. I have asked the driver, whether he met a dark blue car. He told us that he approached to that car. The man set in it quietly; probably fumes have poisoned him; probably he was dead. The engine does not worked. Ivan has warned the guys from the truck about the light dark blue car, and we moved further. Again it is necessary to refuel from the canister in a tank. Ivan’s fingers of hands do not obey. I got my fingers of legs frost-bitten. The temperature in our cabin is quite negative. The windscreen is covered with a thick layer of ice from the internal party of a cabin. The only thin strip of transparent glass has remained not frozen. The width of a strip is about 15-20 centimeters. This place is blown by ours heater. Up to picket are seven kilometers. There we shall refuel in a tank and canisters, and may be we shall be able to beg for some hot meal. It is now 12 days of a way. There are thousands of kilometers of zimnik ahead. The pole of a cold is ahead. A winter road Yakutia - Magadan. The absence of feeding and refueling stations.
20.02. We spent the night in the village New. We have passed one part of zimnik, and moved on a bulk road in the direction on Jakutsk. It is 6962 kms on the speedometer; the frost is -460 C outside. They speak –470 C was yesterday. The road is disgusting. The heater works very badly; its electromotor is braked by something from colds. If we strike its trunk it rotates faster. The repair is impossible. In order to remove it, it is necessary to stop the engine and to disassemble a lot of superfluous details. At such frost we would turn into icicles in a couple of hours. This night we slept in a boiler-house, heated by mazut (black oil). We slept for 2 hours. I had a shower. The state of health is disgusting. Large shortage of oxygen. The automobile version of expedition of a cargo has failed. Conditions are intolerable.
22.02. Two days ago, after a settlement New, we have passed a settlement Krestjah, and before Toibohoi, the air filter has burst into flames. Before that we heard the claps in the carburetor. We quickly managed to extinguish the flame with the help of a powder fire extinguisher. But all engine, wires, all details were soiled by a powder. We have thrown out the burned down filter. Have washed out the carburetor, but it was useless. We stayed on the road there for about five hours; burned a fire. We warmed up the engine from below by a blowtorch. The truck KamAZ pulled us to the settlement Toibohoi for 50 thousands of old rubles . Then we have seen the old fellow driver, who pulled us up to garage. Till 4 o’clock in the mornings we dug in the motor. All Yakuts, 5-6 men, helped us. We have decided to leave the repair till the morning. Our fellow traveler, his name is Vasja Sidorov, the Yakut, has taken away us to his home. We have had a sleep for 4 hours and again started for repair. Again washed out the carburetor; the engine did not want to work normally; and so we did 5 times. We gave vodka and hors d'oevres to each shift. Nevertheless, somebody has stolen our towropes. But in general, Yakuts are good people. They come to the machine, advise, twist, twirl. Though the unpleasant copies come across also. The next day of our stay in garage, the security guard Gena has taken up, has bothered us by asking for vodka.
In the evening Semen joined us in repairs. He has brought his own carburetor, but fastening was not suitable. The turner Vova has turned the cartridge on a plug. We have excluded from a circuit of the carburetor the system of a compulsory idling. Ivan has charged accumulators. Have pulled out the fuel filter of thin clearing, - if petrol with water, then the filter is blocked by ice. At the night the snow has dropped out, the temperature is about of 10 degrees of a frost, - it is a spring for the Yakuts. For repair we gave to Semen 200.000 rubles and products on 100.000 rubles.
Now it is 14 o’clock Moscow time. 7281 kms on the speedometer. We go again by zimnik road. It is very inconveniently to write. The carburetor again sneezes; the repeated adjustment of system of ignition and carburetor does not help. Petrol is bad here. A frost becomes more severe. It is few of counter transport. The full Moon shines. It is very terribly to move among a night wood, as on a cemetery. By the way, at the Yakut’s cemeteries there are no crosses, and instead on the tombs there are different tiny houses with streamers, flags, all in communist theme. We crossed the settlement Suntar. The military registration and enlistment office in this village is covered with the international slogans, about a service in Army, about valiant brave soldiers. Near a school there is a fresh poster of the schoolboys in pioneer ties.
20 o’clock Moscow time. Ivan shouted at me to go to sleep. He has told, that when he will sleep, I should be on duty and I must to look at the direction of a wind and on the reading of devices. I have told that, as soon as I will go to sleep, he will depart in a side ditch. He again has shouted. I crawled back on boxes. I closed my eyes, Ivan pressed the brakes before a big hummock, and we were brought into a deep snow of a side ditch. We dug out the snow of about 1.5 hours, have stamped a track of eight meters along the road, but we could not direct the car out of the side on the road. At last we have heard a sound of approaching KamAZ. The driver was young. He pulled our machine back so sharply, that Ivan nearly has not fallen out of the cabin. KamAZ has dragged our car of about fifteen meters on the boulders of a roadside, and then our car has jumped out on a road track. We have thanked him; have paid off. Ivan has started GAZel; something has grinded. He has taken a portable lamp and crawl under the machine. It seems a boulder or a log has torn the cover of a clutch. Ivan has taken off the cover, leveled it, and installed it back. We started engine and moved. But something began to throw us strongly from side to side. Ivan again has left the cabin to examine the machine and has seen that the forward wheels look in the different directions. It seems at the time of pulling out from a roadside we have bent a steering draft. It is impossible to level it here. We moved very slowly up to the nearest settlement. Steer by one wheel; the second wheel slides. If the machine begins to obey the second wheel, Ivan sharply begins to twist a rudder into another side. At last we have reached a settlement, have found garage. We have checked a direction of a wind; went to sleep, having blocked the entrance to garage; and the engine was switched on.
February 23. Somebody have knocked to us on the machine at 2.30 Moscow time. (8.30 – Jakutsk time) They have let us come in garage. We wanted to remove draft and to level it ourselves. A former local mechanic Nikolai has approached to us, and has offered to go to his home and to level the draft by a winch. We have leveled the draft quickly. At Nikolai’s home we have had a hot meal, have filled thermoses with boiled water, have treated him with our products, have paid him 100.000 rubles. He has given us fresh bread, sugar, skin of a deer to spread under the machine at repairs. 6.00 Moscow time. 7385 kms on speedometer. They say it is necessary one and a half day to move up to Jakutsk... Today is Zenja’s birthday (Ira’s grandson). Today he is one year old. Where is he, how grows? Probably goes already. How I want to see him!
February 26. I did not make any records for three days. All has bothered. There is the same picture before eyes since morning till night: a winter white road. The wood is replaced by a tundra and all again goes on a circle. There comes apathy. From February 23 till February 26 we have passed through settlements: Inahsit, Verhneveluisk, Veluisk, all settlements on the map. In Jakutsk we have another terrible trouble. In Jakutsk we have arriver at late night, we dreamed to find a hotel, but unsuccessfully. Streets were deserted. We have rode into a courtyard between 5-storey buildings; have decided to stay there for the night. We have left a window slightly opened. Checked that a smoke was blown aside...
And earlier on a road, day prior to Jakutsk, the smell of petrol again appeared in a cabin. Ivan has checked up the engine and tank. The door in a cargo compartment, where there were canisters with petrol, has been jammed and could not be opened. We have gone further. The smell became stronger. Ivan has told, that it is not the 76-th petrol, by which we refueled the tank on a road, but that is ethyl petrol in some of canister filled long ago, in Moscow. That means that it is necessary to break open a door of a cargo compartment. We have stopped. Ivan has taken a crowbar and with all force began to break out a back door. The door was broken and opened. The reason that the door could not been opened is a thick layer of ice, which frozen above a lock detainer from the interior part of a cargo compartment. Damned designers. What for it was necessary, that detainer, in a cargo compartment? The canister with petrol was really torn by constant rubbing. Petrol has left the canister, run under cardboard boxes, wetted the bottoms of boxes and probably has spoilt some goods in the boxes. We have thrown out the canister; unloaded the boxes out of the machine and again have loaded. Ivan have adhered the twisted door by a rope. We poured a snow under all other canisters and moved further. The smell of petrol in a cabin became less, but all the same we still breathed by this poisonous muck long after. Soon after a canister with antifreeze was torn. That was another poison. The muffler under the machine has burnt through in two places and the smoke rose upwards through cracks in a body and cabin. It was not possible to remove this trouble. The cold welding did not keep on the muffler. All poisonous steams and gases have mixed up and continued to poison us.
And still before Yakutsk between settlements Ilbenge and Begdigestjah we spent the night. Ivan has celebrated the old holiday of Soviet Army and we have had a sleep safely. But in the morning on a zimnik-road we rode into a large “naled” (water pool) and we stick in there; whole wheels were in ice water with large lumps of ice. The back wheels have got in pit; the machine has turned on a diagonal and don't moved neither there nor here. It is impossible to get out from the machine. A bit later to our happiness and surprise we were pulled on a tow by jeep UAZ. I have made so to tell a digression, since I have forgotten a sequence of events.
So, having caught poison a day before, and because of change of direction of the wind at night, we again have got poisoned by fumes. I have woken up, has pushed Ivan in a side, in order to check up devices. We so agreed, who wakes up first, that wakes up another, to check up devices. Ivan has risen. The head nothing thinks. He presses pedals, pulls levers. Any movements. It seems we heard the noise of the heater; engine already stopped. Ivan became to shake me. All has repeated as last time, with repeated loss of consciousness, and other troubles. We froze. I was in socks on; there were no forces to put on the felt boots. We have decided to throw the machine and to go in an entrance of a building. The entrance was warm, with radiators. In one of apartments the loud drunk conversation was heard. I knocked, have explained, what had happened to us, have asked tablets of activated charcoal. The door did not opened for a long time. We went there - here, swore among ourselves. I did not want this trip, Tonja and me dissuaded Ivan from this variant. He has insisted, has persuaded me, promised to go up only to Irkutsk, and further by train, and if it will turn out to move further, expected not more then 8-10 days. And today is 19-th day of a hell. We yet do not know the final point of automobile delivery of a cargo. The machine breaks in a day. I had sense of doom; that we already never can get out from this Yakutia. The door of an apartment has opened. There were two women. Musa Ivanovna, she remembered the dead husband, and Tanja. First of all we had a bath. Then we have fed; drink a tea. Tanja has brought tablets. We slept for about four hours. Went out on a street and have seen, that doors of the machine we have left opened. Our videocamera and all our money and documents in a handbag lay in a visible places in open car. To our happiness, all was safe. From Jakutsk we moved on Nizni Bestjah to ice ferry across Lena river. We consulted, where to go further. Our aim is Inja, small settlement between Magadan and Ochotsk. It is known that there is no any zimnik-road to Ochotsk now. I would like to go to Magadan, because there is our friend Grisha there. Military helicopters sometimes fly from Magadan to Inja. Our friend Kolja Archipov can help us at least by advice. Ivan offers to go to Jugorjonok, and if we will fail to order a plane AN-2 there, then to return on the Magadan road and move to Magadan. Jugorjonok is tree times closer, but it is a small settlement and we don’t know anybody there. So far we have decided to move in the direction on Jugorjonok. Somewhere halfway from Maja to Amga the brakes have given up. The copper pipe has broken from constant vibration, and all brake liquid was lost. We went about 100 kms without brakes at all. Neither foot, nor manual brake does work. Ivan brakes the car by engine. There were abrupt descents and rises all the way. Somewhere the 12 % descents are shown in the sideroad marks.
All the time is a twisting road, frequent turns. And what is characteristic, - after each descent there is necessarily abrupt turn. Somewhere we saw tombs and monuments of ruined drivers along the road. Somehow we have reached the Amga settlement, which is small regional center. Have refueled. We have brought up a cop, who has prompted us to move to a local power station, where we could have a rest and to repair the brakes. We have found the power station, but there were no keys from a garage. We were permitted to stay the machine in their territory, but we have not ventured to sleep in the machine. We asked to seat the night in a dashboard room. There on benches we have had a sleep. Ivan checked the machine at night. Again the cabin was full of fumes. Drivers came in the morning. We have roded into garage and stopped over observation hole. Have taken off a brake tube. Unfortunately, in the garage a suitable tube was not found. After unsuccessful attempts to adapt something, we have decided to close this tube. It means that one side of rear end will be without brakes. We have blown through the brakes and started further. For a long time after the brakes were bad. It was probably, that brake shoes were frozen by ice to a neutral position. At the road fork to Magadan road a brakes began to work better and the control bulb of lack of a brake liquid has lit up. Having added liquids, we have returned in the settlement. We went to the telephone station to find out about an opportunity of the order of the plane in Jugorjonok. Have phoned in transportations of the Ochotsk Airport. We have been told, that planes do fly neither on Jugorjonok, nor on Magadan. The custom-made flight costs 2.500.000 rubles per hour. We had no such money in rubles already, and who can change dollars in such small settlement as Jugorjonok. So we decided to move to big regional center Magadan. We make a decision to move from Amga to Churapcha. From Churapcha there is an exit on the Magadan road. Now we go by this main road. This site of a road is tolerant, and ahead there is a zimnik road. The road between Amga and Churapcha was extremely bad, desert intermediate area. A terrible wood. The track is bumpy and very narrow. It is not clear, how machines pass by there. We nearly did not dug into a deep snow. No one would help. There were no cars there. Casually having stopped in one place, Ivan could not decide to start for a long time. He went around the machine, aimed. There was a bottom locality. If we shall break a top crust of ice, we shall be buried into a deep snow. It will be impossible to dig out. And there are no machines: neither counter, nor passing. Probably it is a sledge road for deer relays. At last Ivan has make up his mind, and on small gas we had left the bottom section of the road. Few times for five hours of that road we have met deer relays with old Yakuts, which spoke in Russian very badly. It seems they have understood, that we seek the main road to Magadan; whether correctly we go? By places it is necessary to orient with the help of Sun, Moon, card. And at times we orient only intuitively. If a road doubles, we look which of them is more stamped, etc. We are upset that so far we have not met any machine of Magadan region, with number on car mark 49. Is there the road to Magadan this winter? Earlier somebody told us, that there is the one, and there is one more road, through a Valley of Death, but we were afraid to go there.
At last we have entered on more inhabited road. "On a tail" there are two machines. They do not catch up us; do not overtake. Here on roads anything can happen. It is necessary to be cautious.
February 27. We slept in Handiga settlement. Have gone away at 10 o’clock local times. 8831 kms on speedometer. We saw the mark: 1474 kms to Magadan. Ahead is extremely difficult section of the way, - among rocks and gorges.
February 28. It is the last day of winter. Today is birthday of Ivan’s mother. Tomorrow is spring. And here are frosts, snows, and white mountain tops. Yesterday we have reached Kubume settlement; have passed from Handiga 324 kms. The road is a perfect hell. For iron nerves. Descents, ascents, abrupt turns, continuous ice. It is necessary to go in immediate contact to rocks. There is no place to pass by. If far ahead you see or hear the counter machine, search for a pocket and wait in that pocket till a passer go by. Or you must yourself to overrode the counter car by the brink of a precipice. By places the width of a road from a rock up to precipice is only 2.7 meters. Somewhere the beginning of precipice is marked by sticks with pieces of red rags, which stuck in a snow. The snow can hang for a meter over a precipice. In one place we saw on a road a MAZ truck, with trailer hanging above a gorge. There was not a driver. The road around MAZ is perfectly stamped, as if the MAZ had stopped here several days ago. I could not record the most terrible places on video camera; lowered a head, closed my eyes, asked Ivan to go more slowly. Before the heaviest sites of a road no single road marks are established, but large stands on which ten marks at once are drawn: "a rough road", "abrupt turn", "a narrow road", "abrupt descent"... and in the bottom of a stand the length of the dangerous section of the road is written. How many souls were ruined here, in this severe desert region of impassable rocks, to cut down thousand kilometers of these roads? Some of them are neglected and already don’t used for a long time. The most terrible mark in the roads among rocks is: "a narrow road". My God don’t make us to repeat this way any more, but it is necessary to go back.
Today is the 21-st day of our trip. We spent the night in so-called hotel. It is the inhabited two-storied house, in which one apartment is allocated for passing drivers. The chief, Valentina Michailovha has let us to settle there. She has not taken money for a shelter, and we simply have treated her with products. We have stopped the engine for the first time in this extremely cold region, and in the next morning warmed it for about two hours till it has got started. It means that it is impossible to stop the engine; to sleep in a car is also is impossible, - and the muffler has burnt through even more.
Here there are two roads: one on Ust-Nera; it is a zimnik road on 350 kilometers longer. Another is on Kuidusun. But the last, behind the border between Jakutia and Magadan region, is strongly drifted by snow. We have met here a man. He drives from Susuman. His lorry is GAZ-53. He speaks, that he was digging out about 5 times; hardly he has passed the way. He advises to go on Ust-Nera. And coal-drivers, they go up to Oimjakon, advise us to go by the bottom, local road. The machine is nearly dead. How we shall move? There are no more forces. Now we already have refueled. The Moscow time is 6.45 (local: 13.45).
After rocks, where we went rock-closely, the road is relatively straight, good up to Kubume itself. The speed was about 70 km/h. Ivan stretches all nuts. Speaks we shall go through Ust-Nera in order to diminish risk. So, up to Magadan is ~ 1474 kms again.
Pole of a cold, it is Oimjakon, we shall bypass from North, and in one hour we shall be on one meridian with Ochotsk. But there is no road there and we are forced to go further on East, and then to return from Magadan to Inja and in Ochotsk by the plane or helicopter. The road is high poured bulk. By places the height of rock mound is 2-5 meters. My God, do not give us to drop aside of the road. Nobody will pull out us.
It is three and a half hours remained of a light day. It is terrible to go here at night. Another shelter, except for the car is not expected. A pine trees stand whole of by snow. Tops even bend down under the weight of snow, as in a fairy tale. On the 72-nd kilometer from Kubume there is a road fork, a road service. There are a pair of vans, bulldozers, road engineering. Here we had a tasty fed. We promised to treat the hosts with fish on a return way.
March 2. It is 10211 kms on the speedometer. 242 kms remain up to Magadan. We have passed through Ust-Nera. Zimnik road here is better comparatively to Yakut one. We have overcome three mountain passes. It was terribly, especially when brakes are not in the order. In last Yakut settlement, Artik, there is a post of transport militia, which now carries out the functions of customs house. They held Ivan for about 30 minutes. I sat in the machine. The customs officer rummaged in my personal things, in a bag from under a videocamera, asked if we carried vodka. He has copied all invoices, have seen the list of products, goods. Asked Ivan, where the products, where cigarettes? Why it is so much written, but is not enough actually? We have explained, that part of products we have eaten ourselves during 21 days of the way; another part have distributed for repairs, shelters, etc. Ivan has told, that we have six children on two, and that if we shall give out gifts on each post, then nothing will remain to our children. He become nervous and begin to beat out a melody by fingers of hands. The fingers were black not from dirt, but because of daily frizzing, because of frequent contact to metal on a severe frost. His fingers now were much thicker than earlier, and tips of fingers were as firm, as stones. The issued melody of "stones" about a wooden table of the customs officers has impressed them. They have given back him the documents and we started further.
Further, in the Magadan region cops are interested not in vodka, but in weapon. They say usually: "Show, where is your weapon?"
On a road fork near a gold-fields "Bolshevik" we have had a dinner in a restaurant, and men have told us, that further it is necessary to go by the top road, through Susuman settlement. This road too is longer than bottom. Earlier, in Ust-Nera settlement we have crossed the river Indigirka, and in Debin settlement – the last river of our way, Colyma river.
Ivan has fastened a casing under the engine by ropes, - bolt fasting of it were torn by constant vibration.
We have passed Orotukan. Something squeaks from the driver's side. Ivan several times put out a head in a window on the move, stopped, but the reason of squeaks has not been found out. We are approaching to the settlement Atka. The speed is 80 km/h. On a mountain rise we have overtaken big truck and in a several minutes the reason of squeaks has cleared up. The forward wheel from the driver's side has abruptly jammed. We have been thrown to the side of precipice, on a counter strip of a road. Fortunately, there were no oncoming cars, and it was ice on the road. Ivan has diminished the speed, but did not stop on the rise. He has decided to slide to reach a "pocket", which already was seen ahead on mountain pass. We were bypassed by truck, and the truck drivers have shown us on a sliding wheel. Ivan has nodded, that he knows. Having stopped we have examined breakage. The bearing has bursted and jammed. Ivan has started back a little. A wheel was released. It is the outcome of 23-th day. We moved very slowly, remembering that the wheel can be jammed again or fall out.
And at last Magadan is ahead. We recorded the view on Magadan and appearance of our new broken machine on video camera.
We went here 23 days, did not leave this cold machine almost all this time. No one rest-day. How many of changes of working hours is it?
We left the machine together with the cargo on a parking site. So as the cargo compartment was fastened on a rope, it was necessary to put the car closely to a fence, so the rear wheels were buried in a deep snowbank.
The next day we could not get out from a snowbank ourselves. From a snowbank we were pulled out by GAZ-53. The system of cooling become not hermetical, antifreeze "has jumped out", the wheel bearing was completely broken. We have lost a cover from the bearing on a wheel. The fog lamp has been stolen.
March 17. We are in Magadan city for half-month already. There is no any opportunity to order the AN-2 plane. The weather was not flying. On Saturday, the 15 of March, the plane stood in the plan. But today it is not in the plan. Today a man has come; his son flies on helicopter. He has left the telephone number. His son in Ochotsk now and will be here only by a weekend. Today we'll order a plane flight, and may be not. It is ridiculously. And all have bothered. All, all, all!!!
April 15. March 22 we had a flight from Magadan city to Inja village. The price of that custom-made flight was about 17.200.000 rubles (in money of inflation period). On Inja we were already waited by a tax inspection. They have ordered a squad of militia. Two days prior to our arrival they have checked the rests in our small shop. In the evening of that day, during the check there was turmoil and somebody had stolen a new teapot ordered by Kolja Archipov and Ivan's sable fur hat. On a plane platform Yura, Ivan's son, met us. He has remained with us till the morning. We did not slept till five in the morning, divided the goods for Inja and Ochotsk Airport, where we were going the coming days.
That night the plane has stayed on Inja. The next day, we have departed to Ochotsk by this plane. Yura has departed with us, - he has a school vacation now. We have stayed in Ochotsk for one week. The trade was good. All boots "Vigorous" have scattered, and people have given us an advance payment for 15 pairs of boots. We have passed a year report in tax inspection office. Ivan is a good lad, has exited with normal results, gone away from 20 millions of old rubles of tax for the last year.
On Inja a stock of potato, which we took on barter last autumn, has come into rot. Now it was necessary to take out that potato on forage to cattle. Eight tons! 24.000.000 of old rubles. Flown into a rubbish-heap. It was one more our large miss. Last week we traded in Inja. The prices were strongly diminished, sometimes to purchasing ones; and spoilage (Chinese costumes) - up to 50 % from purchasing prices. Almost nothing remained. We were lucky this time. We appeared here at the time of issue of salaries. Budget workers had received money for three last months. Indemnification on children and pension were given. We traded since morning till night. There is no time to remember about meal. There is no even thought about the preparation of food. We eat chocolate sticks and coffee. Who would know, how this meal makes us sick.
On Friday, the fourth of April, we made a break in trade. We run on half an hour to the village registry office, have registered marriage. And then we run home. In an entrance already there was a queue of the buyers. The next day we should depart to Magadan. The plane stood in the plan. We prepared all night for a start. Ivan dug out containers with caviar from a cellar, which we earlier took on barter, and dug deep in a cellar, as far as possible from eyes of local mafia fish inspectors and militia. Couple of years ago these "friends" handed over a caviar to us, in order we have sold it, but now the caviar trade is only their business. We had no time to prepare for a flight start. I asked the God to spoil the weather. And He has helped. In the morning a snow has tumbled down, clouds have tightened all sky. We have departed only on Tuesday, the 8-th of April. Have stayed in Magadan for one week. At first we waited for our machine GAZel from repair. We left it earlier to our friend Grisha.
They have replaced a disk of coupling clutch. Our carburetor and air filter were changed and adjusted by UAZ's ones. They have repaired the door lock on a luggage compartment, have leveled and recoloured a back door and back bumper. Have repaired the lever of a gearbox. Melted the muffler tube. All this work costs 1.800.000 of old rubles. We also paid Grisha 1.000.000 rubles for use of his office, telephone, residing, and transportation on Magadan etc.
We examined variants of way to Moscow. To ship the cargo in the car and to rode on it till Moscow, or to ship both cargo and car aboard the plane and to fly there. The car we have taken away from repair the 10-th of April. The results on sending the cargo by plane are not ready yet. On evenings Ivan teaches Yura and me to driving. Yura is eleven years. Ivan is not pleased with results yet. Alas, our hopes have failed on Monday, - cargo airflight have been postponed for one week more. Hardly there will be a place for us. Spring rushes rigorously. In the afternoons temperature sharply rises, all thaws, flows. Weather forecasters transfer, that in the middle Yakutia in the afternoon time the temperature rises up to + 150C, and in Siberia up to + 200C. Zimnik road is already have closed officially. Yesterday at last we have received the veterinary certificates on the fish production. It is the large nonsense, - the veterinary certificates are being prepared several days, and the fish is spoiled during the check in the intermediate town. On Friday we have handed over all caviar in Magadan. In the machine now there are only about one ton of a smoked fish and Ivan's physics and mathematics books, which he has decided to transport either to Nikopol, or to Moscow, there where we shall stop, to a new residence. The books weight is about 150-200 kg.
We wanted to go away at night from Monday on Tuesday, but near the houses our car fell down into a deep wet snow. Top crust of ice became weak and has failed under a cargo to half-wheels in friable snow under a crust.
We have gone away on April 15, on Tuesday, at 14.00 of Magadan time. In a return way Yura goes with us. He has decided to live with us, though his mum dissuaded him. It is necessary to hurry up, - he misses a school. There is a moped zimnik road ahead. The probability that we shall overcome this way is only 30 %. Old drivers speak, that we shall be stopped against a deep mud in two days, and in four days we shall return to Magadan.
But Ivan is desperate, tries to rush by. At night we have broken a shovel. In the beginning, immediately at once after departure from the city something has whistled in the motor. It was fastening of air filter. UAZ's fastening are not suitable for our GAZel, it musts be changed.
At departure there were 10749 kms on speedometer. Now we go back by the same road, up to Susuman.
(A piece of a diary is lost here)
... Completely impassable for our car. We hang above a track; the machine sits on axles. We failed to overcome the entrance on zimnik road independently. MAZ has dragged us on a cable. It also has only one driving axle, back. But drivers had twined the wheels by chains, which dig ruts more and more deeply, up to the firm frozen ground. We have given the drivers 1 liter of brandy. Now they sit behind, have dinner, probably drink. Promised to insure us, but their insurance is very strange. They drive off forward and look at us how we skid, how we tear the machine and go out from the mud independently. Now from the side of Uolba three KamAZ are approaching. The drivers have shown us crosses by their hands. That means we shall not pass. Now in one place we skid for about ten minutes. And now from the forward direction pushes a bus full of workers. I see the bus on zimnik for the first time. The bus has only one driving axle as well as our car has. We cannot bypass with a bus. Behind us a MAZ had appeared, those drivers, who drunk our brandy. At last we bypassed with the bus independently. The driver of the bus and all workers inside wave us that we must go back. We have the single hope, - a tow. But nobody is present. We are beating forward ourselves.
The way from Handiga up to Uolba is 137 kms long, and from Uolba up to Itik-Kuel is 33 kms long. But those 33 kms the road is comparatively solid, and how to pass these 137 kms of thawing marsh. On one place we have wound about 52 kms on wheels. But have passed no more than 18-20 kms. In low places the track enters into large pools of 100-200 meters length. How the ruts twist there it is not known. Ivan has wound all wires by an adhesive tape, not to wet the wires, and not to stop engine by water fountains in the pools. We fly into pulls with full tilt. It is not necessary to steer the car, the deep ruts do not let it go aside from the track. Sometimes we cling a ground by axles, the machine is quickly brake, but due to the large speed we have time to come off axles on wheels and again we try to increase the speed. The large pieces of mud fall on a roof of the machine.
We have got stuck. MAZ is going to take us on a tow. What will be in result? May be something good. I ask the God to not break. The return way is closed for us. MAZ drags us slowly. The long steel cable periodically is torn as cotton thread. We are forced to stop and to knot the ends together. How to pass these 137 kms?
22.30. Our MAZ has decided to throw us. Drivers have apologized, have told us that on tundra it is possible to drag, but up, on rise in rocks they will not pull us, they hurry up. They should have time to return in Deputatski settlement. All is clear; we are not offended. They drove forward. We lag behind. Frequently we hang on axles. They moved at ascent abruptly upwards and have passed of about 80 meters. Have not mastered and have slipped to us.
We together have made a shish kebab. Have decided to beat forward the next morning, when night frost will take the road by a crust of ice. Ivan dreams, if only MAZ has not gone earlier then we do and has not broken a road by its chains. We have agreed, who will wake up earlier that will wake up another. Alas, the drivers of MAZ have woken up earlier and have left. It is obvious they were afraid, that we can get stuck in mud and can block a road.
18.04. Magadan time is 12.00. We rode several kilometers off a place of parking. In one pool a log struck in a tank. The crack was formed, and petrol began to drip quickly. Now each fifteen - twenty minutes Ivan jumps out from cabin and rubs a crack by soap. In one place we were overtaken by jeep UAS. It has two driving axles, 4WD. The oncoming trucks are more frequent than ones, moving in the same direction as we. They stop in pockets and wait till we shall beat through. They speak, that from Uolba nobody are let out already. This is already the last column of machines, which have been let to zimnik from Uolba. Men speak, that ahead of us is impassable bog. At some machines bumpers are torn off. Drivers advise us to go back. But Ivan, aspires forward, even if all axles will be pull out. The brakes have already given up. Below in mud some wires hang. The machine is started badly. The engine compartment is full of mud, which quickly dries on the engine. It is impossible to scrub the dried dirt from the block of the engine. We have bought several canisters of petrol in oncoming drivers. Last machines from Uolba pass by us. Ivan still hopes, that there will be machines to Uolba, but in vain.
We stuck in the deep mud. The oncoming land-rover has pulled us out. Drivers have told us, that behind them there were only two three-axles Urals, fire-engines. Nobody will be from Uolba any more. Men advised us to return. Ivan has decided to wait till morning. By morning a road should be slightly frozen. And on frozen crust we shall try to slip forward. Ivan and Yura have got out through a mud in a wood. They have cooked a soup, made a tea. I could not pass there through a deep slush in my boots. Two deep ruts full of water are under us, and several ruts are on the right side, and several ruts at the left sides of the car. That is named a track.
Ivan speaks, if we shall not pass this place, then in summer our machine will be absorbed in a bog. I am in a hysterics. He speaks, that we shall throw the car and fish production and then we shall go to the nearest Yakut settlement. There we will order a plane or helicopter and leave this wild region. In the morning we could not pass far and stuck in mud till ears. Ivan was tearing the car, but in a result, we were turned with face directed on Magadan. He had stopped the engine. Dead silence was several hours. Then we have heard a sound of the truck, approaching from Uolba. Ivan has prepared a towrope. We were bypassed by three-axles land-rover Ural. He pulled us out of the mud trap. But what is it? From a trap he already has pulled out us, but does not stop. He drags us further and further, back in the Magadan direction. So he dragged us about five hundred meters. Ivan signals, brakes but the huge cross-country vehicle does not perceive our movements. At last he has stopped in a deep pit. Was buried in a mud itself. A body of truck has laid on a roadside mud. Ural stands in a deep pool having strongly bent. We did not stuck in, even tried to pull him back but in vain. We have unhooked a towrope, and moved back about 200 meters and then we turned in the Moscow direction. Meanwhile we saw two last Urals, fire-engines, approaching from the side of Uolba. They have moved down from a road and have bypassed us by a wood. One of them approached to our rescuer and began to pull him out. Alas, it was impossible. The second Ural has bypassed them and in pair they have pulled out got stuck Ural. So they moved further in bundle. We have remained.
It is all! There is no exit!
We have stayed there till evening and at last we have heard a sound of the machine, which was coming nearer and nearer from Magadan side. They have stopped beside us. It is a land-rover Ural with a trailer. In a cabin there were man with his wife, Sasha and Tanja. They harried home, in Jakutsk. They were in emotional mood: what if Lena river ahead would be opened from ice. Sasha swore on Yakuts, who have advised him to go by this way. He speaks, that just behind there is an exit on a parallel illegal winter road going on the river. We agreed on towage for 500.000 old rubles. So we were dragged back on a tow. From one o'clock till seven in the mornings we slept.
19.04. We went onto the river in bundle. From 7.30 till 11.00 we drived on the river up to settlement Itik-Kuel. The wheels of our machine frequently do not touch the bottoms of ruts. Axles of our car slide and grind about the ice. In Itik-Kuel we have said goodbye to Sasha and Tanja, have exchanged addresses. They have left. We have engaged in repair. Yura and me have washed the machine, and in a cabin. I have washed up our footwear and all dirty clothes. We have refueled GAZel. Have bought tasty warm bread directly in a village bakery and started further. Oops, forgot, - Sasha has refused from money; he has taken by a fish. We gave them a full box of fish and eight pieces more. At 20.00 we have covered 1900 kms from Magadan. After first two days there were 1680 kms. Today at 14.00 there was exactly four days of a way. And during these two last days we have passed only two hundred kilometers. Now we go on Churapcha, it is 80 kms from this place. A road is bulk, normal, but very dusty. Again the air filter has flied. Now bolts are turned off, now the carburetor shoots, now pump squeaks. We are so unhappy in this Jakutia. Here there are a lot of breakages.
20.04. It is 21.35 Magadan time. For the fifth day we have passed 450 kms. We are constantly broken. All the day we go with frequent stops. From vibration the air filter is constantly untwisted. It already has got Ivan. By evening Ivan has torn it out and has thrown if far in a forest. The oil began to drip. While there was a repair, Yura and me cooked a borshch in a wood. It was pleasantly to do. This night we did not rode, but slept. Already we can be calmed down. The heaviest impassable section of the road is passed. It is possible to relax, to have a calm sleep, and not to hurry up.
21.04. For the sixth day we have passed 461 kms. Before Jakutsk we shall not cross the Lena river, but go downwards through Nerungri, Skovorodino, Chernishevsk. The upper winter road, through Mirni is already ruined. On the bottom road there is a piece of a way, which it is necessary to go by rail. Today we go by a bad bumpy road. Continuous mound, large stones are everywhere. Again we have pierced a back wheel. Vulcanize station is necessary. It is already the second torn wheel. If we shall punch third, it will be necessary to make rearrangement of wheels, and crowbar was lost on zimnik. It has sunk in a mud. The shock absorber was torn off again. We have already fastened it by a cord.
It is 19.00 Magadan time. Again we stay, for two and a half hours, because of knocks in the engine. Ivan has opened a cover of valves and is engaged in an adjustment of backlashes.
22.04. Yesterday on long rise the engine was overheated. It knocks more loudly. It was necessary to reach of a settlement, where it will be possible to be engaged in repair, and to have a sleep. On ascends we rise very slowly, and then go down on inertia. And so far there is no any settlement. The next rise is ahead. "It is the last, engine will die soon", - has told Ivan. The knock sound has amplified considerably. At last we have climbed up the mountain. We have switched off the engine and rolled downwards on inertia. Fortunately, below behind the turn we saw a settlement. We rolled into a settlement, have turned on parking place and have stopped near the cafe. We have had a supper, consulted with drivers. One driver has offered to tow us forward to a Chulman settlement. Chulman is an Airport of Nerungri town. So we have done. Several hours moved on a tow. As far as our tow shackles were torn, we twined the forward axle by a towrope. The distance is small, - it is very dangerous. The electric motor of the stove does not work. We saved the energy of accumulators for emergency illumination. The windscreen is covered by vapor and froze. Ivan "has stuck" to windscreen and steers the car with the help of light spots of gabarit lights of the forward machine. I try to scratch the glass, but unsuccessfully. The driver in the forward machine does not even guess, that our visibility is almost zero, - he holds the speed about 70 km/h.
23.04. Yesterday night, having received the sanction of the chief, Yuri Ivanovich, we have driven on the territory of airport garage. Today we have washed the machine by hot water and have stood it in the box over an observation hole. Ivan has taken off a petrol tank, Yura and me have washed it by hot water, and after a filling of a tank by the exhaust fumes, the welder has repaired it. It was settled to vulcanize the inner tubes for two wheels. All the day Ivan took off all details from the machine. He upped the engine with the help of lifting jack, disconnected the bottom cover. The engine has been taken off by a crowd of men and been carried away to motorists. We slept the night at home of Volodja and Alla. We have a bath, and I washed clothes. Then we had a rest. To say the truth I slept inconveniently. A camp bed was strongly bent downwards and without a pillow. Yura is very jealous, and immediately has occupied a place on a sofa for two. Earlier, in the day of our marriage, he arranged a hysterics to Ivan and me. Speaks: "live so, without a marriage". Yura and me get on very bad now. I lost those good feelings to him, that were earlier. I hope, that all bad will pass and become better. Earlier he also forbade Olga, first Ivan's wife, to marriage with Turuchanov. Behaves egoistically. Searches for personal benefits. Ivan does not swear at him.
26.04. In Chulman we have made grandiose repair. We have stayed there for four day. Have removed the following breakages: in the engine have replaced crankshaft, all its bearings, one connecting rod, grinded the engine head, have replaced a complete set of linings, oil and petrol filters. All these things were bought in Nerungri. Volodja has adjusted inner tubes from UAZ car into our one. Their size is 15, and our wheels have the size 16. We have repaired fastenings of the shock absorbers. It was necessary to lift a car's body over a frame with the help of a lifting jack. We have remade the fastenings of a muffler tube in one place, and in the welder have repaired a shackle of its fastening in another place. We have washed through the radiator. Pull out a torn pin from the engine. Have cut a new groove of greater diameter, and have put a new pin there. Misha (Ivan's countryman from Nikopol) has carried somewhere the engine head and has established there a new piston under a plug. Welder have repaired and enlarged the broken tow shackles. Volodja have adjusted the air filter from a heavy motorcycle. We have charged batteries and have added the liquid there.
We moved further at 19.00 of Magadan time. Have arrived in Scovorodino at 5 in the morning. Somewhere on a road from Chulman to Skovorodino a branch pipe from a radiator has been pulled out. Fortunately we have noticed it quickly, and the engine had not time to overheat. We have added the water in the system of cooling, and the pump began to squeak.
From Skovorodino to Chernishevsk there is a railway ferry. Parallel zimnik road is already thawed. For railway ferry it is necessary to have the information from transport militia and from fire inspector. One paper costs 10.000 old rubles, another - 30.000. On parking, where railway platform are formed, it is necessary to find the partners on a platform. One platform costs 6.000.000 rubles. It rooms three small cars or one average lorry with one small car. If you want go yourself for 6.000.000 rubles, and want - seek for the partners. The first day wwe have not found the partners and have remained there till the next day. In evening many different machines have come. Drivers rode the Japanese cars from Khabarovsk and from Vladivostok on West of the country for sale. In evening we have agreed with whom to be loaded on the platforms, and in 8 o'clock in the morning we have already finished the loading.
Yesterday, 27.04, there was Easter. All the day we have stood on a platform. Ivan tighten the fastenings of the muffler, generator etc. A belt of the pump is already thin, plugs is constantly covered by snuff. The engine works with faults on small rotating velocity. It is desirable to change water on antifreeze, plugs, high-voltage wires, cover of the allocator, belt of 875 mm, 2 safety fuses, and bulbs. To find a cover on the bearing of a wheel, forward right hub of а wheel.
There is no snow here already. In the afternoon the sun warms, and at night it is cool yet. The fellow travelers have divided by companies and celebrate the Easter. Today, 28.04 we have left Skovorodino.
28.04. From Skovorodino we have passed about three hundred kilometers. We stay at station Mogocha for a long time. Whether we let a passenger train pass, whether they will sort out our platforms. Now up to Moscow is 6876 kms by railway, and by a highway it will be a little larger.
30.04. It is 15236 kms on speedometer. (From Magadan we "winded on wheels" 4487 kms.)
Yesterday we have passed from Chernishevsk to Ulan-Ude and covered 1055 kms. Ivan in passion arranges races with other drivers. Huge dust clouds are behind us. The average speed was 80 km/h. But today probably we shall not pass so much. The posts are more frequent here. A lot of time is lost on checks and consequently average speed of movement strongly falls.
02.05.1997. It is 17207 kms on speedometer. For two last days we have passed 2 thousand kms. The starter has left out of operation completely. Ivan disassembled it. It is necessary to change its bendex. We were started engine rolling from hills or with "a push". Have bought bendex. From Ulan-Ude we moved to Morshansk. Passed the cities: Irkutsk, Tulun, Taishet, and Kansk.
The record below is made in July 2000г.
Further diary was not written. The roads became better, petrol and oil -- better, repairs less often. More frequent penalties from cops. The whole road from Magadan to Moscow has also occupied 23 days. From Moscow we have moved on Ukraine, in Nikopol, Ivan's relatives home. In some days we moved in Crimea, in Feodosiya, Irina's relatives home. Further "far striking" noncommercial trips we made only between Moscow and Ukraine, which occupies only one day on a good road. The main unpleasant nonsense on this site is customs house. This "Berlin Wall" makes Russia and Ukraine more and more destitute. The numerous crossing of this "wall" has proved, that the income of customs house goes not in treasury of the states, but as bribe in pockets of the customs officers. Fifty millions of Ukrainians on Ukraine and ten millions of Ukrainians outside Ukraine become further and further from each other. The people are afraid to go through customs house. The people do not want to be plundered by customs officers.
In 1999 we had such circumstances, that the declaration on the machine has become delayed. And the machines with the delayed declaration are subjected to confiscation at customs house. The law is those. The machine is registered in Moscow, and stuck in Nikopol. But to pull out it from there is more difficult, than from Magadan. A thank to you, sirs nationalists, separatists, and other bitches for "the Berlin Wall" inside of my uniform country. USA recognized our new independent countries. I did not recognize them. The border between Ukraine and Russia divides my heart.
I can not move on my motherland roads on my car. It is necessary to sell the car.
Advertisement: "The automobile GAZel, all-metal, seven-local, on the move is sold. Technical state is good. The customs declaration is delayed. The machine is suitable for moving on zimniks, bogs, and tundra. The machine is not adapted to moving on bureaucratic bogs. I shall sell it cheaply, $1000, or change on a video camera. If I shall grow rich, I shall redeem the machine. Telephone number: :"
The record is below was made in September 2000.
It was impossible to sell the car in Ukraine, because of bureaucratic delays. Even for $1000. Persons wishing to buy was much, but alas, all stopped because of documents. I am registered in the Far East, Russia. The machine is registered in Moscow, Russia. I operate the machine under the general power of attorney. The declaration is delayed. The checkup is delayed. That means that it is necessary to risk and rode the car to Moscow.
In July the repair of the car was carried out. I have changed rings, pistons, some bearings, ets.
The 8-th of August we with the daughter have started from Nikopol in a direction on Donbass. Have gone away in the late evening in order "to hide" the Russian numbers, blinding Ukrainian cops. Alas, the focus has managed only partially. First penalty, or to be exact, a bribe, we have given in Zaporozhye city, -- 40 grivnjas. But it is better, than penalty-site, where daily parking is $ 5. If you will not solve all bureaucratic questions in different cities of these two independent funny countries, the sum will grow. So the penalty-site is a coffin for such machine, as mine. Other 500 kms of the way to Donbass was covered quite successfully and without stops at night on Ukrainian village roads.
Before border Ukraine - Russia we have had a rest at our relatives. I has left daughter Dasha there, and has taken the son Yura. In the morning August 10 we moved in a direction on customs house...
Have passed of about kilometers 40 and before 10 kilometers to a customs house, we, fortunately, were stopped by cops. First of all, they have decided to fine us for the absence of the coupon of technical checkup. But while we haggled over the price, whether forty, whether fifty grivnjas, they found out, that the declaration on entrance in Ukraine is already delayed.
-Ooo... Your car will be taken away at customs house.
-And what if I give all my grivnjas to you, and you will lead me around of customs house?
-Hmm: And how many grivnjas have you?
- Four hundred. (It is hardly less than one hundred dollars).
- It is necessary to think.
Three "friends" have sat in the machine with cop's lights. They have thought a couple of minutes and...
-OK. Let we at first completely examine your GAZel for the weapon, drugs etc.
In a couple of minutes we in a cop's escort were moving on soil roads lengthways woodland belts, lengthways coil mines to the border. In one place we were stopped by Ukrainian frontier-guards. They were hidden in a high grass near a road, in a car. Cops have discussed with them. It seems frontier-guards also like bribes. We have passed some more kilometers. Have stopped.
- Ahead is already Russian village.
- Thanks. Hold.
- How many here?
- Four hundred.
He has put the money in a pocket, not considering.
- And what is the name of this place.
- It is not important. Go faster.
In a half an hour we went on the road Rostov - Moscow. Hurrah!!!! In one an hour we were stopped on a post, and have been fined because of Yura did not fasten the safety belt. 20 new rubles. It is approximately 4 Ukrainian grivnjas. Further up to Moscow, all 1000 kms we rode without penalties.
Pulling out of the machine from Ukraine to Russia has turned to be 444 grivnjas: 40 - penalty in Zaporozhye, 400 - support around the customs house, 4 - seat belts on a road Rostov - Moscow.
Our car has risen in price! In the market in Moscow such car costs $2500-3000. I do not want to move to Ukraine on a car, once more. It would be better if I shall go there, to my Motherland, by a train. But here one must also be attentive and ready for any surprises from the mafia customs officers. For example, You carry with yourselves US $3000. (Foreigner, don't be astonished. Ukraine and Russia are countries of clownery, mafia and American spies. Our currency is not stabile and we support American economy using your currency.) So, You carry with yourselves US $3000. You fill in the declaration and in order not to attract to yourself the attention of bandits, of the customs officers and neighbors, you wrote 300 instead of 3000. Besides, whence can you know how many you can take with you in Ukraine? Who are you, citizen, resident, non resident. Different peoples can have different sum of money. Surpluses must be given in bank, that is, in hands of mafia customs officer. That is why you must write three hundred. Then you asked to undersign the declaration. You undersign.
- And now show!
Upss, and you have forgotten to break these 3000 on smaller bundles:
Such occurrence has taken place at the Airport of Moscow, several years ago, when Ira and me hurried urgently for Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Alas, because of that damned customs house, our air tickets were gone. And we have gone to Ukraine next day by train...
Our GAZel now is in Moscow. As earlier I rode without technical checkup. To pass checkup, it is necessary to pass medical commission. To pass medical commission one must be registered in Moscow. But I live in Moscow illegaly in my friend's flat. I am registered in the Far East and it's quite expensive for me to flight there now.
What can I do with that GAZel?
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