As it happened the border guards were significantly less officious on exit. I was asked if I had any drugs (adrenaline does me fine thanks) or guns and pointed in the direction of the passport control office. Less than twenty minutes later I was on course for the Russian entry which was swift and courteous as the customs guy took a cursory glance at my pannier contents and after my passport was stamped I was allowed into the embrace of mother Russia.
A stop to purchase insurance for the month was completed with minimal fuss and minimal cash at 750 Rubles is less that £8 for the month - Bargain! And Russia has proper roads to boot! its like re-entering civilisation.
My first destination was Barnaul where I took a two night stop over to allow me to fettle the bike a little. A broken bracket on the exhaust had allowed a worrying tyre/exhaust interface to occur. Rough roads in Kazakhstan took their toll. . .A little less of a problem than a Belgian guy had with the drive shaft of his BMW. Niko,Steve and Koen had some sorting out to do to overcome that issue on one of their three trans Mongolian express beemers.
On Tuesday evening Stuart and Oli, I travelled with into Georgia and Ian, I met in Tbilisi arrived not only in the same town, but the same hotel as our paths crossed again.
Russia it seems is not some dark distant land with overpowering political rule. So far it is a modern relaxed civilised country with good shops, modern roads, plentiful goods on the shelves and 21st century gadgetry. So put away the ideas of cabbage soup and cross the border in your mind. "Velcome to WRussia my friends".
Planning ahead for my route will I hope bring me to Irkutsk by the weekend which will mean I am one third of the way along my mammoth Russian trek. Hopefully I can take a little break around lake Baikal before tackling the prodigious distance to Vladivostok.