Left home on Friday afternoon, the 18th of August. Here in tropical Russia the air t was +33C and we took the road Moscow-Riga M9. 500 km later were caught by rain and the temperature dropped to +18C. Slept in Pskov, 740 km from Moscow, in the same hotel as past year. Had nice Czech beer and good meal. The road was slightly repaired this year but still my heart was bleeding about suspension. Then I saw a Maserati car on the hotel's parking lot
The next afternoon we left Pskov and rode to St.Petersburg but did not enter the city. Avoided the traffic jams and took M8 "Kola" to Murmansk along the south coast of Ladoga lake. Crossed several rivers - really powerful. The nature was different to the one we were used in the central part of the country - more vivid and alive but calm and powerful. The scenery was outstanding! Several pieces of road works hampered us a bit. Then we entered Karelia, one of the Russian regions. And were amazed by the new road - see the attached pic. About 100 km of nice flat twisty and EMPTY road. My Nav registered 207 - I was cautious because of riding two-up with all the cases and tankbag on an unknown road
Air t =+20C, dry and sunny. We arrived to Petrozavodsk, the local main city founded by Peter The Great in 1703 on the coast of Onega lake, and found hotel "Karelia" 4star with safe parking lot and price of USD 150,- per double room BB.
The next morning took a trip to Kizhi island - a famous place, old Russian churches made of wood without nails and now protected by UNESCO, 1 hour by speedboat. The scenery was stunning. We were lucky to have nice weather - sunny and same +20+22C and enjoyed the relaxing athmosphere there. There was a Russian Orthodox Church holiday that day and we heard the bells due to the special occasion.
Next morning checked out and headed north to Kivach waterfall. Initially we were going to make a loop around Onega lake but were told by the locals that the road on the eastern side of the lake was bad. So decided to visit the town of Sortavala - it belonged to Finland before the WW-II and "Winter War" of 1939-40. Rode along the eastern coast of Ladoga lake and were astonished by the scenery! But the quality of the surface was back proportional to the panorama - spent 4 hours to cover 200 km( 130 miles)! The town itself was a disaster to me. I expected something neat and tiny and saw something dusty and shabby. Shame!
Next morning took another road same awful and reached the newly repaired one to exit Karelia. Still were full of nice impressions about the nature. Turned east to Vologda, the road sucked, the air t was +32C and after 900 km that day I was returned to life only by good Czech beer in the hotel's restaurant. The next day had +35C near Moscow - WTF! We are in the central Russia not in Utah!
The bike was flawless all the way- different types of roads from nice highways to bumpy and gravel road works sites. 3500 km. But entering the city it had a HI isue in a jam. It's almost impossible to filter in Moscow now because the cages are so clever seeing the bikers filter between the lanes - they do the same. So we have four rows in three lanes and no space for filtering.
Z-Technic windscreen and Motolights were great! Can not imagine long hauls two-up without an intercom! And God bless Sargent saddle, please!