With the light fading, I start looking for somewhere to camp.
Aside from the various kinds of shrines, I’ve seen very few bonafide parks in rural Russia. So, I’m surprised to suddenly find a large one, right next to the main road.
Perhaps it has something to do with the adjacent Oyok Airfield. Perhaps the ageing planes need somewhere to crash land, when miscalculating their take-offs and landings. And yet, it’s such a nice park.
Hoping to avoid any unwanted company, I ride all the way down to the far end of the park. Although the road is muddy, the grounds are fairly well groomed. But the place has an air of danger about it, as if the discrete rest areas are popular stops for hardened criminals. One could enjoy some very one-sided conversation here, before moving on to unsavoury beatings, torture, or worse. The engine noise of planes and helicopters would be ideal for smothering screams and vain cries for help.
My imagination running wild, I try my best to penetrate the bushy cover surrounding the park. But the dense shrubbery resists my paranoid attempts and I finally have to compromise on a semi hidden spot beneath a large tree.
But as soon as I am inside my tent I question my decision. Why exactly do I insist on camping under trees when it is raining?
Drip drip DRIP DRRRIP, drip.
Drip, drip, drip.