Day 78 - Radiator, bulls and bearings

No mechanic could be found and our plan was to plug the radiator with quick-fix metal putty after breakfast. After our usual eggs and sausage meal, we heard a big "crash-boom-sqeekh" sound and as we turned we saw a big truck sliding on it's side next to the road. Damn! We ran there to discover he had taken a 90 degree turn to fast, came off the road and tipped over. Broken glass and scattered trucker home supplies everywhere. Driver lying on it's back in the grass obviously being in pain. The second passenger seemed fine, expect for being shaken up and ripped sweat pants. 

A few people showed up, police and ambulance arrived. As the injured driver was taken care of we found that the trailer must be full with cows. We could hear them scream and hit each other inside, shit dripping out on the bottom. Probably being on top of each other in the tipped over trailer. 
After a while the trailer could finally be opened and we held the heavy pneumatic hatch open as about 20 scarred shit-covered bulls stumbled out and onto the surrounding grassland. Poor beasts! But it seems they escaped the slaughterhouse for maybe a little while at least. 

This all took quite some time and we still had to take care of our own problem - fixing that leaking radiator. Riding without coolant after being stuck in Uzbekistan because of an overheated engine was clearly out of the question. 
After a few tries of plugging with putty, testing and some more plugging a quick test ride showed no signs of leaking. Good to go!
Matthias and Kim were brought to see the local Buddhist temple by the motel owner. We heard of this minority Buddhist area when still in China, but without the repair hold up we probably would have gone through it without even noticing. 

Makhachkala was 380 km away, but even tho it was midday already we figured we could reach it by tonight. 

As we rode off we saw that truck and trailer had been put back to their feet again, the bulls still playing around in the fields. 

For 200 km we pushed on on some more perfect roads through some more boring flat empty lands without anything happening. 
Until there were some strange knocking sounds to hear from Matthias' bike in a town called Kizlar. We figured it must only be a lose chain and stopped, expecting to push on within a few minutes. But loosening the rear axle revealed the hard truth - destroyed bearing! 
Damn! Like this we're not going anywhere!

But lucky bastards that we are, in between the usual truckers, bystanders and gas station employees, there was an angel called Sergei! 
Now Sergei is not the angel as you'd imagine it with harp and wings, no. Sergei is a big machine of a Russian dude, driving his white Lada Niva and member of the Kizlar bike club. Hard on the outside with a warm heart!

As it got dark he took Matthias with his rear wheel around town to look for a mechanic. Kim and Chris waited with two and a half bikes by the side of that road. 

Sergei and Matthias came back two hours later with no new bearings but a broken and re-welded hub. The infamous "Russian Hammer" had taken it's toll. 

That night we stood with Sergeis family. His mom filled us with delicious food - homemade borsh, homemade jam, homemade bread, homemade cheese, homemade everything - and all crazy delicious. Nobody seamed even slightly bothered by our presence, instead they took us in as if we would have been part of the family. As Europeans this amazing hospitality is still surprising and unbelievable to us. 

The day ended with some Russians next superstar tv show before we crawled under our Leopard patterned blankets. It all works out in the end somehow. 

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