Shortly before Omsk, I search 30 kilometres for a campsite and finally turn off onto a small dirt road.
Next to a power pole I see a spot where there is very little grass, but I can hardly secure the tent in the deep mud.
Through the city of Omsk a lot of traffic and melting snow. The shoulder is hardly passable.
I take a side road, which is gravelled and surprises with deep mud. It is raining and the wind is blowing straight from the front.
The long Siberian Plain is incredibly boring to drive through. The landscape is absolutely flat and without any variety. The average gradient over 200 kilometres is 33 metres in altitude. Swampy steppe and birch forests as far as the eye can see. Camping is almost impossible. As soon as I take a step beside the road, everything is wet swamp. The wind is crucial for progress. The first 2 days I make an average of 30 kilometres per hour with a tailwind. On the 3 following days, with a headwind, I only make an average of 18 kilometres per hour. The monotony in combination with the headwind is gruelling. In addition, there is heavy lorry traffic that I can hardly avoid.
As far as I know, the traffic gets better from Novosibirsk, where a lot of traffic turns south towards Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
So I drive hour after hour on the hard shoulder, which is only 50 centimetres wide, through pure monotony and nothing else happens. Every 80 kilometres there is a petrol station and a small restaurant where I eat something and continue. Mentally, this stretch is almost more difficult than swimming. I ride for 8 hours a day and absolutely nothing happens. The weather is better now. At night I have minus 8-10 degrees, but during the day it is sunny and up to 10 degrees. The wind is finally coming from behind again and it’s still 160 kilometres to Novosibirsk, where I’ll be this afternoon. If I remember correctly, the forests start after that and I can hope for some change.