"COLLECTION" POINTS ". 2 HOURS OF THE NIGHT, –21 ° С, USSURIISK
For the past hour we have been looping through this dark and confused city for no purpose. The red arrow on the laptop screen shows that the cherished goal is somewhere nearby, but the pickup wheels now and then run into the rails of the next railway line. It seems that this city is entangled in railways! And there’s nobody to ask! Suddenly we see - a man in a special coat of a traveling worker wanders towards.
- Good evening! - the navigator politely addresses him. “Can you tell me where you have the locomotive in which they burned Lazo?”
The railwayman carefully looks at Andrei, at our all-terrain vehicle, decorated with advertising stickers, then suddenly answers a question with a question:
- And where are you from?
- From Moscow!
- Ah, then it’s clear … - it sounds like a diagnosis. Indeed, who else would need to look for a monument to the heroes of the civil war in the middle of the night? - Go left, through the tunnel - and you will see for yourself.
- Thank! - and we break away.
There is another "point"! A short stop, we take pictures against the background of the black locomotive of the steam locomotive and drive on - a little less than 200 km, a little less than three hours and three more points of cultural navigation are left to the finish line …
The second “Expedition-Trophy” - a transcontinental race on off-road vehicles - started on February 23, 2006 from the Belokamenny lighthouse in Murmansk; 28 teams took part in it. In each - two men and one woman. The main prize is 10 kg of gold. Crews from Russia, Latvia, Great Britain and the USA fought for it. This year a new nomination appeared - “Cultural Navigation”. Participants had to not only go through each of the seven stages in a certain time (say, Perm - Novosibirsk or Khabarovsk - Vladivostok), but also find a certain number of points located near the route. For example, the beginning of the famous “Osudarevaya Road”, the unique Kungursky Cave in the Perm Territory, the grave of the legendary guide Dersu Uzala, or the same locomotive in Ussuriysk. In search of some of them, they had to deviate from the main federal highways to a distance of 400 km. But this turned out to be so fascinating that even the teams that dropped out of the "golden classification" did not leave the route and continued to search!
PEOPLE AND TIME. 6 AM, -17 ° C, CHITA
Today, all participants in the race have a rare opportunity to relax. Yesterday morning there was a difficult special stage on Lake Baikal: in two hours, it was necessary to find orange marks hidden in hummocks on the instruments. Then almost a hundred kilometers on the ice of the lake with a turtle speed in the column. It exhausts more than a regular road. As soon as we got ashore, some crews rushed off the bat … The result is deplorable: one all-terrain vehicle flew into a ditch, the other drove into a timber truck. Thank God everyone is safe and sound, but for their crews the race is over …
The rest waved to Chita at night (this is about 1000 km, if in a straight line, but you also need to collect "points"). By the set time, not everyone had time to the stadium: the leader of the race, the Night Wolves team, was 6 minutes late and was eliminated from the standings. Other participants had a rare opportunity to relax - they had three showers and thin mattresses on the floor of the gym. Honestly, we haven’t slept so sweetly and with pleasure for a long time! At the same time, a person snooped on a nearby lounger, about whom they knew for sure that he was a dollar millionaire.
Among the participants there are a variety of people, first of all, middle-class representatives who have made a career and themselves: businessmen, bankers, managers … There were two ways for them to get on an expedition. The first is to go through regional qualifying competitions, where the winners received the right to participate in the adventure and, in addition, the “official” Mitsubishi L200 all-terrain vehicle. The second way went corporate teams in their own machines - they paid an entrance fee (they say, very rather big). On the track, everyone was equal, but not everyone was ready for the tests. So, even in Perm, the British representatives of the Yorkshire Terriers combined crew got out of the fight, citing severe fatigue. The British were not prepared for harsh conditions, lack of sleep, road difficulties …
WE AND THE ADMIRAL. 4 HOURS MORNING, -38 ° C, SOMEWHERE IN THE SKOVORODINO STATION AREA
For more than ten hours we have been driving along the Chita-Khabarovsk highway under construction. At first, we were taken by a good road (in some places unpaved), along which our pickup literally flew at an average speed of 100 km / h, but the pleasure ended quite quickly. On the border of the Chita and Amur regions - a grandiose construction, work does not stop even at night almost in a 40-degree frost! It’s very beautiful from the outside - in the light of searchlights fantastic huge road cars work, scrappers, graders, giant dump trucks scurry back and forth … In life, several sections of a route (or rather, what will once be a highway) with a total length of about 200 km are huge work and stress, even for a trained crew on a real off-road vehicle. We have to maneuver between construction machines, overcoming blockages and slopes, to travel around the most impassable sections on such roads that many experienced rally drivers have not dreamed of.
The “Apotheosis” was a steep, almost two-kilometer icy climb to the pass with a height of more than 1000 m, where two cars could not go by definition. You could take it only on the move: on the left there was a steep cliff, on the right there was a steep rock, and God forbid, someone would suddenly go towards … Then either jump into the abyss or climb the wall. At the same time, the expedition members move alone, and on a deserted night road, where there is no connection, everyone is responsible for himself.
The stove half-refused continuous shaking and frost on our pickup between Chita and Blagoveshchensk - apparently, one of the dampers “hung”. And if warm air blew at the driver’s feet, the navigator got a stream of ice. When -38 ° С overboard, this is not too pleasing … However, we survived it, and during the day it was possible to eliminate the malfunction. There were no other serious problems with the Chinese “Admiral” pickup truck, where the “Driving” team drove from Moscow to Vladivostok (we participated without credit and did not claim gold). A detailed story about technology is in the next issue. The “Chinese” held on with dignity, although the competition was serious. The basis of the "park" of the expedition was Japanese "Mitsubishi-L200"; there were several more Mitsubishi Pajero Sport / SUVs> Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Land Cruiser. Not all reached the finish line.