Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5


Frosty canvas era

This story began long, long ago… back in 1857, the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, wrote an official Memorandum which raised the question about the urgent need to build a highway that would have passed through the whole of Siberia and would join the Central and Eastern parts of the Empire. But the Imperial millstone of public administration worked slowly, very slowly. For immediate consideration of the issue began only in the 80-ies, and in 1887 began the work of the first geodesic expedition. But then things moved quickly: in 1891, the project was ready, and may 31 (may 19, old style), 1891 the heir to then throne, Tsarevich Nicholas, who was destined to become Emperor Nicholas II, hammered into the railroad tracks in Vladivostok the first symbolic crutch. The construction went on simultaneously in many places, with fantastic pace of 700 miles a year! For comparison, the construction of the main road BAM, the figure was 200 kilometers per year. But in the disposal of the builders of the nineteenth century was not powerful bulldozers, or excavators, or dump trucks, no helicopters transporting crews to remote areas…

However, already in 1895, it became clear that with the major problems at the construction site will encounter on Krugobaikalka area. Very much proved complicated geological conditions… In General, there was a situation where the entire route will be almost ready, but its Eastern and Western areas will split Baikal. And then, in 1895, it was decided to organize through the lake ferry railway crossing-type that operated in the United States, in the Col between lakes Michigan and Huron. In the same 1895, at the British shipyard Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was commissioned unique icebreaking ferry capable of taking aboard a full-fledged part of the time — 27 two-axle wagons and the locomotive.

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5On June 28 early morning we left Cape, which, alas, we were destined to be back again!… The road was beneath criticism, or rather, was not exactly a road. The car is like a racehorse, jumping over ruts, rocks and piled trees. Often we had to slide the edge of a sandy cliff, a sheer wall which went right into the water of lake Baikal. Almost every few hundred meters we were forced to pave their way with axes and shovels. The bridges were in very bad condition: no handrail, built of round logs half rotten, they gave the impression of random piles…

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5The battle with the mud element was so fierce that at times the car the day progressed on 1-2 kilometers. However, on 19 June, the German command on the Protos car got to the station Mysovaya, only to discover that the ferry “Baikal” for five years as sent from Tangoe!

And drive to the pier on their own there is no way — the road is crossed by several rivers, which cross only for railway bridges, which, of course, never allowed. Three days were spent on arranging transportation of the vehicle on the platform, and 4 minutes before the train departure at the station drove the second coming Americans on the Thomas Flyer. In the end, their gap fell by only half a day. Still, the Germans were in Paris first, but… they have imposed a 15-day penalty for being still on the American stage after the failure of the Protos were delivered to Seattle by rail. In the end was declared the winner George Schuster in the Thomas Flyer. The third and final crew, the Italians Antonio Scarpaci and Emilio Sartori car in Zeust, reached Paris only a month and a half… the events of this race was the basis for the plot of the Comedy “the Great race” with the participation of Tony Curtis, Natalie wood, Peter Falk and Jack Lemmon. The film is a success on Soviet screens, but what is interesting: the entire stage of a trip around from the Soviet rolling version was completely cut for censorship reasons. Now a complete version of the film is in the network, and I urge you to see it. It’s very funny!

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5



Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5For a start, the racers almost got stuck in Verkhneudinsk (then known as Ulan-Ude) without fuel, because the gasoline they found in the city, sold at the pharmacy, packaged in small vials for use as a stain remover.

Then there was full of adventure ferry across the Selenga river, when not adapted for the carriage of cars, the ferry was nearly overturned. Again remembering the notes of a journalist Barzini the almost total absence of suitable roads, are not surprised, then, that the head of his partner, Prince Borghese, had the idea to move directly on the canvas of the TRANS-Siberian. But the trains were forced to leave the mound in a horse-drawn road (Prince picked up a special Board). And in one of those old rotten bridge fell under the wheels, and the car crashed into the river. The only victim was the unfortunate journalist Barzini, who was doused with hot oil from the engine. Car “Hey, uhnem” and singing “Dubinushka” pulled in the hands of the peasants from nearby villages, and all subsequent bridges Borghese tried to slip the course.

Mazda on the ice

The Prince of silence: test drive the new Mazda CX-5

For some reason, many believe that the text of this landmark for the group “Nautilus Pompilius” a song he composed himself Butusov, although in reality these poems were written by Hungarian poet Endre ady, and translated journalist Leonid Martynov. Song —…

This pattern was to develop and us, after becoming acquainted with the attractions of the Museum Tahoe, we turned around and drove 40 kilometers back to the village Klyuevka. The fact that this winter on lake Baikal was very snowy, and the organizers simply could not find in Tahoe where crossovers could move out on the ice of Baikal, which has increased the distance we had to go up to 62 miles. In Klyuevka we were waiting for the staff of the local emergency triple axis Trekol, which was to act as a icebreaker leading a caravan of ships in the Arctic ice, and a snowmobile, which was to play the role of a helicopter ice reconnaissance. The output of the ice was preceded by intensive training. On the one hand, serious men from the emergencies Ministry assured that the ice is solid, its thickness in some places exceeds a meter, so that the crossing even tanks will hold. On the other hand, ice is the element of cunning, so that the distance of 25 meters between cars you need to follow strictly. And here is the start of… Immediately noticed that the trajectory was very different from a straight line connecting Klyuevka with Listvyanka. The convoy moved a sort of “anti-submarine zigzag”, avoiding trouble spots, especially the area of hummocks and zastruga.

In General, Baikal ice produces absolutely unforgettable experience. In some places it is a perfectly smooth surface on which to walk hard: the legs and strive to send the body in uncontrolled flight, so getting out of the car, you have to firmly grab the door frame to keep his balance. It looks absolutely fantastic, like a black mirror that is frozen silvery cobweb similar to gauze tape cracks. But the attacker in the winter snow is not going away, and in some places continuously blowing wind collect it in seines. Here they have to storm the course: after all, the CX-5 SUV, and the most that neither is a crossover. But to iterate over speed is also dangerous: in the depth of the Seine net may be hiding a small ice Toros, who became in his time the “center of crystallization” that is flat, elongated, like a white snake, snowdrift. To fly this ice tooth at full speed means getting a serious shock with unpredictable consequences, from broken bumper to severed arms. But in advance of to see, is under a blanket of snow an ice tooth, or it is not there, absolutely unreal. So every crew, feeling that snow ice has a solid obstacle, to include “emergency gang”, preventing overtaking. Alas, it did not all the participants, and not always… fortunately, our crew reached the finish line without damage, and in General there were no serious breakdowns, but a couple of iron things called “lower protection of the engine and transmission” Baikal took as a victim.

Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5Give me a lift across lake Baikal: 60 kilometers on the ice of the Mazda CX-5OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baikal algorithm

Gradually I have developed an algorithm to overcome the snow ambushes. First of all, you need to disable the ESP system to, God forbid, not “strangled” the engine at the most inopportune moment. Move better in sport mode of the transmission. If we overcome a small area of snow, and the snow is not too deep, the box can be left in Drive mode: sport mode will not toggle up when the wheel falls into a slip and the sensor determines that the speed is increasing. But if you see that going ahead of the machine had some difficulties, and the wheels began billowing snow fountains — is to switch to manual mode and stay in second gear. Gaining speed, I fly in a snow rut and… “so you enjoy the game!”. Because the car starts to “shake” and you have to give it a go with the trajectory, to get out of the rut and dig in the snow. Dug, lost the call on the radio help, catch the tow rope, and then stand and wait, when the TREKOL. Without false modesty I will say — our crew help is never needed, although several times he felt were “on the verge”, at the very limit of patency of the CX-5. But in General, waiting until someone of the participants will be released from the trap and the convoy can continue movement, added to the time of crossing at least a couple of hours. But in any case, we must not forget the selector lever back to Drive, not to overheat the viscous coupling.

Through the cracks

Well, the most serious obstacles were the two framed by ridges of the cracks. As told by the emergency situations Ministry, they stretch along the whole of lake Baikal, from the northernmost to its southernmost point. Their origin they are obliged to prevailing winds, facing the ice fields and turns them into hard ridges, like the teeth obstacles. Here the organizers took crowbars, chainsaws and stuck a wooden footbridge. Incidentally, these cracks become the most serious problem in the winter of 1904, when everything hung in the balance, and supply the fighting in Manchuria,n troops depended on the ability to move railcars across Baikal laid on the ice temporary rails. The width of the cracks under the rail reached five feet, and the strength of the ice movement was so great that the rails were broke, and the bolts and fastenings flew to the side.

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8.9 / 9.7 5.9 / 6.1 7 / 7.4

It seemed that to carry out the crossing of cars across the lake impossible in any case, it is hinted cartoons in Japanese Newspapers. However, the ingenuity and perseverance of the engineers and railway workers turned out to be stronger than the elements: it was decided to cover the places where the cracks occurred the most frequently, long, held together by boards, laid crosswise. On top of this grid put the ties and rails so that when the pack ice movement, the sheathing beams were compressed or expanded, preventing the rail from damage. It was about this heroic page of history, “TRANS” reminiscent memorial, Tahoe. So far it consists of two supply trucks, semaphore and almost invisible due to drifts, old, abandoned piers, but Museum staff promise that will work soon and a separate exhibition devoted to the Baikal ferry.

But back of 1904 in 2018. As a result, the transitions and through the first and through the second crack (which was the most dangerous, because it was water) was successfully constructed, and the convoy continued to move in normal mode, from the Seine to the Seine. But the attempt to saw through the lane and entertain the participants of the purest Baikal water is completely and unequivocally failed: 70 cm length of blade chainsaw is not enough in order to penetrate the ice shell through. Never drunk water from the lane, we continued our path in the normal mode, at the sunset exit to the covered with overgrown taiga hills West Bank and see how rocky promontory shows the structure of the shore, gradually turning into a typical resort town with two lines of hotels stretching along the waterfront shops and restaurants.


Little journey ended. Had to wait until cleansed from the blood of excess adrenaline, and before the mind’s eye will no longer occur then flying under the wheels of a black mirror of the Baikal ice, white snow snake track. Still, these forty miles will remain forever in the memory. We will take enchanting beauty of Baikal shores, a stunning contrast from the icy wind from Hamar-Daban, burning one cheek while the other caresses became really the spring sun, and the awareness of the fact that from the nearest land you are some kilometers, but the direction of this land — straight down. Remember the sharp feeling of merging with the automobile, which is not available for all brands and which Mazda calls the ancient Japanese term Jinbo ITunes. Well, take a memory of the vortex of history that swept over the most unique lake in the world and the people who lived, worked, fought and won in spite of these vortices.

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