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July 20, 2012 | A rainy day, well used

This morning, we wake up to a constant drizzle of rain on our tent. Since we are both still very tired from the lack of sleep over the past couple of nights, we decide to make the best of the weather and to continue sleeping for a while. When the rain stops, we are much better rested than we’ve been for days, but it’s already half past ten.

We discuss how to proceed and, after a good look at the sky, suspect a thunderstorm is coming up. Since there are a huge number of things still to do after yesterday’s first day, we leave the tent up to be prepared and start working. One of the ebikes has no red LED strip on the back of its solar panel yet, the USB connection for one of our mobile phones is not done yet, and we’d like to have a quick way to check the energy coming in directly. In addition, the straps holding the panel are in good position, but not ideally placed for quick adjustments, and the screws of the ebikes need fastening after the first day of driving on Russian roads. Finally, we packed lots of things where we were not sure whether we would need them, and some of those are unnecessary. Generally, our stuff needs much better organisation to speed up our morning and evening times.

After two hours of working, the thunderstorm starts – its only a mild one and nothing to worry about, but we are glad the tent is still up. We eat something and start sorting out our stuff. When the lightning stops, it’s half past two, and we figure we might as well spend the rest of the day working here – no point in putting our half-sorted things into the trailers and doing the same exercise again the next day. Yesterday, it took us two hours to pack our stuff – this has to get down to two minutes or so.

Doing this takes all afternoon. When we are done, we’ve separated about 5 kg of trash, and about 15 kg of stuff that can be sent back to Germany – we plan on doing that from a company we’ll visit in Novosibirsk. We’ve organized our belongings so that we need just one sea-sack for the night, and one for all things to do with food – this promises very fast get up / settle down times.

All the electrical problems are dealt with as well, and we spent some time setting up our bluetooth headsets and getting them working. From tomorrow, we’ll be able to use them, in connection with our mobile phones, as walkie-talkies: One phone opens a WLAN hotspot, the other connects to that, and both phones are connected via bluetooth to their respective headsets. Should make for much easier in-driving communication than yesterday!

Finally, we fasten the screws on the bikes, and attach the LED strip to the panel. This sounds small, but it alone takes about two hours: Holes have to be drilled, cables attached, connectors made, and everything has to be fixed securely in place. Together with a back light, we are now well placed for any ride even well into dawn, should the need arise – and with even small things always taking lots of time, this may on occassion happen.

By now, the weather has cleared: we are treated to a beautiful late afternoon sky. We conclude the day by answering work-related emails, by writing this blog post, and by preparing everything to get the live location tracker installed onto our own page hopefully tomorrow. And we are now very well placed, with full batteries and super-organized setup, to get up and running early tomorrow morning!