Day 40-42, “Baikal” & “BAM”. 516, 249 & 11 km.
We left Olkhon early in the morning and at the junction to the route north we met Kai. He was luckily able to fix the electrical issue with his bike. The route to Zigalovo went partly along the river Lena – still small in this area – and became really bumpy in the mountains. We were quite tired and camped near the road in the mountains. No signs of bears except on the beer…👍😎
The next day we reached the BAM road and did our first 150 km to Severobaikalsk on it. The Baikal–Amur Mainline (Baikalo-Amurskaya magistral’, BAM) is a railway line in Russia. It traverses Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East, the 4,324 km long BAM runs about 610 to 770 km north of and parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway. The BAM was built as a strategic alternative route to the Trans-Siberian Railway, especially along the vulnerable sections close to the border with China. The BAM’s costs were estimated at $14 billion, and it was built with special, durable tracks since much of it was built over permafrost. Due to the severe terrain, weather, length and cost Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev described BAM as “the construction project of the century.” Running approximately alongside the railway track is the BAM road, a railway service track. It is partly in a very poor state, with collapsed bridges, difficult river crossings, severe potholes and “unrelenting energy-sapping bogs”. The road is in many parts passable only by off-road vehicles (source Wikipedia – modified).
The first part to Severobaikalsk was easy. We decided to service and prepare our bikes a little and stayed one day (including Spa for Vader…).