The full length (!) of the Lena Highway from Yakutsk to Never – done.
In the village of Never we take a right turn westward – and start out along the Amur Highway…
Goodbye Lena! ->
Here’s the signpost that used to be here, but it’s disappeared. Why – or where – I do not know:
Khabarovsk – 1174 Yakutsk – 1056 Magadan – 3177
First impressions of the Amur – very good: smooth, solid, modern, in good condition…:
After around 150km we saw a sign for a turning to a village two kilometers from the highway named Yerofey Pavlovich, named after Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov, the 17th century Russian explorer. Somewhat tickled by this utterly unpretentious approach to the naming of a village (not Yerofeygrad, not Khabarovsk (there’s already a Khabarovsk), not Yerofeysk, but simply Yerofey Pavlovich!), we unanimously decided we simply had to make a pitstop there! ->
And it turned out that main reason for the village’s existence is to serve the Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs through the middle of it. Naturally, then, we headed to its station. And a very nice station it is too ->
Inside there’s a bit less grandiosely stark glamor:
Analog Paper train timetable!
Of course, I just had to… touch the Trans-Siberian Railway!
The Trans-Siberian Railway – another masterful feat of civil engineering in a harsh environment.
You know me – I Iike sharp contrasts; accordingly – here’s how the village built to serve the Trans-Siberian looks! ->
The Amur Highway is another good quality road: asphalted, well-signposted and marked. Two lanes – one in each direction – sometimes with an extra lane for overtaking, not that there’s hardly ever any traffic.
Not far away – the Trans-Siberian, which, unlike this highway, has heavy train traffic going both ways carrying a few zillion tons of whatever every month:
As we drive we notice how there are absolutely no signs of human life: no villages, no farms, not even the odd barn. Zilch.
Here’s something we did hardly at all – pass a slow truck:
On and on we drive, sometimes in a blizzard, other times in the shining sun:
The only unpleasantnesses: the ‘Amur waves’ in the asphalt, formed by the permafrost. Kind of ripples. And they can get quite high, so you have to slow down to ~50km/h so as not to be jolted around:
We leave the Amurskaya Oblast and enter Zabaykalsky Krai, heading for Chita…
We notice a change in the surroundings: up till now there were no pine forests at all; now… ->
All the way – beautiful panoramas:
Other vehicles start appearing ~300km from Chita, as do villages ->
After around 900 kilometers we arrive in Chita – at night. And we left early the next morning, so I’ve only a few nighttime pics:
The main street – of course, Lenin Street! – full of life and Siberian winter-wonders! ->
On the whole – a charming town (besides the smell of coal in the air (the local power plant is coal-fired:)).
And that was that. Chita – done, at least nighttime Chita. The day after we were heading to Ulan-Ude…
And here’s this day’s dash-cam:
And here are the highlights:
1:20:00 – The left turn to Yerofey Pavlovich.
1:42:25 – Back onto the highway.
1:54:20 – Amur waves, lite version.
1:55:00 – On and on and on, and no one anywhere!
2:00:00 – Amur waves, mid-level.
2:29:30 – A rare overtaking.
3:15:00 – Super smooth road: meditative; & café for truckers.
4:14:30 – Amur waves, tsunami level.
5:30:00 – Populated surroundings begin.
8:18:30 – Chita!
The rest of the photos are here.