Driving in Russia


Here is the deal with Russia, especially making any effort to cross it – it is a crazy, dangerous, beautiful, adventurous place!  It is also entirely worth risking life and limb to visit.  Where else in the world can you travel where everything in a James Bond film might actually happen to you or around you?  This is a reality our team from Expeditions 7 is all too familiar with, having crossed Russia from the border of Estonia (where we were robbed), all the way to Magadan (where needed to execute all manner of bribes, delays and escalation for the team to leave the runway in a hastily arranged jet). Russia is insane to drive in, and our team had no shortage of Baja Score participants, Rally Champions and professional drivers, yet we still had countless ‘close calls’- probably hundreds.

This video will help you prepare. Yes, at 1:42 he is really shooting the driver. Even as I type this, months later, I am shocked we made it 12,000 kms across Russia without a single accident.  The driving conditions and traffic was so bad at one point that we took a fellow adventurer’s advice and crossed the Ural mountains at 2:00 in the morning, abandoning all sage advice of not driving at night.

Despite all this, you really need to go to Russia, and you need to drive there. True adventure and danger is so difficult to find in the world anymore, and Russia has it in SPADES!

Fact: Russians are awesome.

Greg, threading the needle somewhere in Siberia. I was lucky to travel with such great drivers.  Kurt, Clay and Kyle all earned their stripes. 

The main highway in the far east of Russia

The trucks made it all the way to the Far East of Russia, Magadan, having crossed 12,000 kilometers, including long segments of the Road of Bones.  I would say they were no worse for wear, but they had taken some serious abuse.  Although in typical Land Cruiser fashion, they never stopped running. . . 


Warning – Everything!

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Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar travels include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. He lives in Prescott, Arizona