Alexander BUDKIN,


- No, I absolutely do not want to sit all the holidays at home. Go!

- Where?

- To the rally! Along the Oka!

Two editorial oki, participants in a long test, went on a trip. With you - tents, sleeping bags, skewers and a pair of notebooks. So, just in case.

The encyclopedia has told that the source of the Oka River should be sought in the central part of the Central Russian Upland. The atlas of roads helped to find the shortest path - some 80 km south of Orel.

We are on target. The source of the river should be nearby, in a lowland, half a kilometer from the highway. We turn left and slowly, but surely move away from civilization. The “narrow gauge” trodden around the field leads us aside. Along the edge of the inferior road - a slope, this will be the first serious test. Slowly steer the car down at an angle of about 30 degrees. It is impossible to overcome the obstacle frontally - in the place of a sharp bend we risk to sit down with a belly. And if you increase the "angle of attack" - you won’t turn over on a slope for an hour.

Slalom between the trees, cars liked more. Demonstrating bike cycling to each other and occasionally swaying on soft forest bumps, cars made their way closer to their cherished goal.

- Yes, you can ride on it for mushrooms.

- It is possible if the forest is dry.

- And how many mushrooms will go into the trunk …

On foot reconnaissance helped determine exactly where we needed to - a small, barely noticeable trickle gathers in a small pond. Here we will take a photo as a keepsake.

It’s getting party. Behind nearly five hundred road kilometers and about thirty off-road. The first settlement on the river, the first bridge, the first off-road tests of city cars. However, why urban? In the forest that we traveled today, and the Niva will not pass everywhere. If only because it's too big. “Zhiguli” and “Samaras” with their angles of entry and exit there is nothing to do there. But the Oka is just right, there are almost no overhangs, the length is like a bicycle, the width is a little more than a person with two baskets. It’s a pity that it travels badly in the mud - it quickly gets stuck.

- Today, the plan is “bad roads”.

- And what, are there any good ones in Russia?

- Throw your jokes, if today the pendants from the cars do not fall out, we will consider the Oka a tank.

Of the 580 km traveled by cars on the second day, normal roads accounted for 100 km in the morning and 70 in the evening. The remaining 410 km took more than 12 hours. Although they tried to drive fast, the average speed was a little more than 30 km / h.

The country roads, once strewn with rubble, now seemed manna from heaven. Pebbles, of course, drum on the bottom, but you go tolerably. The dried-up track of village tractors is worse, and the asphalt, broken even under socialism, resembling either a washboard or a field near Prokhorovka, is a terrible test for 12-inch wheels. And what a check for the suspension elements! Hundreds (!) Kilometers of continuously alternating pits, potholes and ravines of all shapes and sizes, as if by the artist’s hand, are inscribed in the space between the curbs.

- Why me? - the car grunted after another hit in the hole more.

“Sorry, dear, trials.”

But something happened to his partner - he fell sharply behind and blinks distant. Yeah, they punctured the wheel - with whom it does not happen. But the trouble is the rear wheel on the front-wheel drive car, but on a country road, and after 7 hours of shaking on broken lanes … Even an experienced driver did not immediately notice that something had happened to the car. In general, not only the camera, but also the bus went for cancellation.

Frankly, they reacted to the puncture more than calmly. We have two spare wheels. In extreme cases, rearranging the wheels from one machine to another, we always get to the nearest tire fitting.

A little later, having driven one, and then another and the third tire fitting, we realized: our calm was largely based on ignorance - it was difficult to buy "Okovsky" tires in the Russian outback, and it was almost impossible to get a camera. Conclusion: one spare camera should be carried in the trunk. Especially when you are going on a long journey.

The cars passed the test with bad and very bad roads with honor - only one rumpled disk (straightened out on the spot), but the two riders who worked at the wheel unchanged shook healthy for 14 hours. Quite stiff suspension “Oka” and high noise and vibration loading did their job. In general, they slept like dead at night.

Day three - test for "lulling". From morning to evening - only good roads, high speeds and a monotonous screech of a two-cylinder engine. On the left - oncoming flicker, on the right - passing along.

On overtaking, the car does not particularly shine, but copes with slow-moving vehicles. Oka’s favorite technique in these cases is intensive acceleration in third gear from 60 to 90 km / h. In extreme cases, it is possible to 100, but the motor is already a pity. Overtaking in 4th gear involves a rather long acceleration in its lane into the overtaking tail or performing a maneuver “on the move”.

Two "oks" with Moscow numbers unexpectedly often aroused the interest of the traffic police. In their native lands, these cars do not seem to notice. Once we were checked for theft … and we found out that the KAMAZ car had the wrong engine! In our documents, VAZ 1111 3 is listed, in the police computer - VAZ 2111.

“A mistake, ” the inspector realized, and let go, wishing him a happy journey.

In the afternoon, the roads became more winding, and the speed was slightly reduced. The first signs of motion sickness appeared. The reasons are the same: the noise and vibrations in the Oka are higher than in other domestic cars, therefore the lower comfort speed is within “a hundred” (traffic police forgive us).

- The last spurt remained - less than 400 km, and we are in Nizhny.

- Well, yes, and then the last one - to Moscow.

“That doesn't count.”

In general, right. The main tests behind and the extra 800 km of normal roads will not “change” the long-distance idea of ​​the Oka. Of course, our babies will lose to the “nine” or “ten”. But we will compete with the “Lada”. In favor of the “classic” a faster engine, a smoother ride and less vibration will go. How will the Oka respond? Firstly, a better fit. Legs in the chest, like in the Lada, do not rest, and leaving the car, there is no desire to stretch your knees. More? Front-wheel drive "Oka" in combination with a steering rack do not force you every second Finally, let’s recall the fuel consumption. Kids are two to three liters more economical, and with a smaller tank, they leave at a gas station 50-100 km further than the Zhiguli.

We did not say anything about capacity? This is for dessert. We have the courage to say that the Oka with two passengers will take on board a slightly smaller load than the Zhiguli with three crew members. With the rear seats folded down, its luggage compartment will be noticeably larger than the “classic” trunk. The baby will only lose in capacity only when the “Zhigulist”, in addition to the trunk, fills its rear seats to the top and takes on the ballast of the roof. However, the latter is also possible on the Oka.

Nizhny Novgorod welcomed us warmly - with hot weather and chilled drinks. Where to stay - the question was not, obviously, at the Oka Hotel. The cars, feeling the imminent separation from their beloved river, became a little sad. We drove to the place of farewell leisurely and a little thoughtfully, it seemed, they were about to let a tear go.

Here, at the walls of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, our expedition ended. Two "stools" passed the first serious exam. And how much remains to be …

This place of the car was recognized as the source of the Oka.

Hundreds of kilometers through pits, potholes and ravines of all shapes and sizes.

Fishlessness and cancer are fish. But this ferry in Murom, made of a bulldozer, puzzled even the locals - they said they saw it for the first time. The uncontrollable miracle of technology did not swim for long and before our eyes ran aground off the coast.