Friday 13.7.2018 290km Total:290km
I'm finally on my way!
I'm really not in any great hurry to leave as the ferry doesn't sail until 4.45PM but since I'm shockingly enough already done packing there isn't much of a reason sticking around at home so I head of at around 10AM.
The stops are more frequent than usual as the temperature is relentless even though I'm riding at highway speed with all ventilations open on both the gear and the helmet.
I contemplate stopping and completely removing the visor but I settle for riding with it half open.
This trip has forced me to do a lot more preparation than usual because it's the first time I'm travelling overland to a country that needs a Visa, so I've had to book all hotels in advance for Russia and Belarus as the accommodations (route) needed to be specified in the Visa application.
Since it seemed exceedingly difficult to get a visa for Belarus I've used a visa-agent.
I'd most likely managed the Russian visa on my own but as he already had the passport I had the agent do that one as well.
I really don't know for sure if it's true but the agent said my medical insurance policy would have been declined because the Belarusian authorities demands that the amount of €10 000 be specified in numbers.
I'm no rocket scientist myself but it really doesn't take a degree in maths to know that unlimited is a lot more than 10 000 but he was sure the application would be declined if I didn't get another one, it also needed to be stamped and signed by the insurance company agent.
I thus had to "falsify" the policy document my insurance company sent and then send it back to them to get it stamped and signed.
I'm actually pretty impressed by the company (Motormännen insurance brokers) that didn't think this strange at all and I got it back within a few days.
The bike handled good as usual despite the recent change of panniers (to Touratech Zega Pro) and front tire (to Michelin Anakee Wild).
I'm very happy with the change of panniers as it allowed me to mount all the fluids needed for the bike on the outside of the panniers and the tools I hereto had to store inside with all the rest of the gear are now distributed between two bags (actually IKEAS "Förfina" toilet bag) and attached to the inside of the pannier lids with luggage straps.
The tire tools I previously had in rather ugly home made tool tube are also in the bags apart from the bead breakers which I've cut out space for in a foam matt in the bottom of the largest pannier so now all the tools are out of the way and stored permanently on the bike separate from the rest of the gear.
It's going the make loading and unloading a lot easier at the hotels.
For the third trip in a row I'm also hauling a ridiculous amount of Readymeals (soft cans), it's so unbelievably practical being able to stop anywhere along the way and eat that it's worth the extra weight.
As I've opted for fairly long daily mileage on some stints on the trip and instead opted to stay several nights before moving on I have no doubt I'll be grateful for not having to look for lunch restaurant and hassle with the menu in Cyrillic.
Epically as I'm by now pretty much allergic to anything except air and water¹.
The ride to Stockholm is as trouble free as it is boring.
I strap down the bike as best I can on the ferry which wasn't easy as there really was only one fastening point but considering that the Finnish bikers beside me just left their bikes on the side stand without strapping them at all I guess I'll be fine.
Interactive map of the route in the Furkot planning tool.
Click here to open it in a new window/tile.