We rode what seemed like countless hours and hundreds of kilometers to Aktobe on pretty much perfect roads and hardly any traffic. I am sorry for not offering specific kilometer figures, but I somehow did not inherit this fetishism regarding the logging of the odometer from my Grandfather who I remember has recorded the number of kilometers his Lada has rolled between each refueling in a small notebook inside his glovebox. (By the way, his Lada, which in Hungary is already considered an oldtimer would still be seen as a totally mainstream vehicle in Kazakhstan, where most people drive similarly old or even older models on the pothole ridden roads alongside ancient Kamaz trucks.)
The weather was again beautiful and clear, though a bit colder than yesterday. On the final third of the trip, some trees appeared. I took a go pro movie in the morning, it is the fourth recording of an about 20 minute segment of road. I also have recordings of Mongolian and Russian highways. I will put these online when I am back home, they will need some video editing, otherwise they may be a bit … monotonous. We saw huge flocks of crows today, and a fox who caught a hapless crow. The highlight was a massive eagle that flew across the road just meters ahead of me. We also saw a group of three adventure bikers at the side of the road; I regret not stopping and meeting them, but I did not want to further annoy Jerome who never seems to want to stop. Probably 100% of our stops are requested by me. Still, our only significant stop was over lunch, where Jerome made some pasta with tuna and tomato sauce on my benzene burner for us.
We reached Aktobe in the evening traffic jam, where it was hard to concentrate on riding AND waving back to all the motorists who were waving to us and asking where we were from, or other for us incomprehensible questions.
We’re staying in hotel Aktobe, one of our random passers-by fans named George was friendly enough to organize us a car which we were asked to follow, and he took us to the hotel. This city seems even less touristy than Kostanay, and we were not able to find a restaurant in the new city’s center, so we had to make do with the food court in a shopping mall. There was a slight misunderstanding regarding our order, and we ended up receiving two enormous pizzas. We shared one, stuffed ourselves with half of the second, and then I gave away the still hot final half to a grateful hobo on the street.
We will try to visit the local Aleya museum before driving on toward Uralsk tomorrow.