08-18 Day 39 (St. Petersburg)

A fairly long day, but I’m in Mother Russia


Travel FromTallinn, Estonia
Intermediate LocationNarva (The border crossing)
Ending LocationSt. Petersburg, Russia
Starting Odometer29,041
Ending Odometer29,268
Miles Driven Today227 Miles
Total Trip Mileage4725 Miles
Countries visited TodayRussia
Countries visited on trip US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia

Today’s mileage was by no measure a long day, but measured by time, or complexity, it was a very long day. We logged less than 230 miles, but the thing is, we crossed the border from Estonia, into Russia.

Sitting here, in St. Petersburg, Russia, I realize that most of you reading this Blog, have no idea of what it means to make this crossing, and I’d bet that you can’t really imagine what this border crossing is like, so later on in this post, I’ll share some thoughts, ideas and observations. But, for now, it’s important to note that I’ve crossed into Russia, a crossing that very few Americans can or will ever do.

That said, it took a while, but it was not really stressful, or irritating. I’d say that a better description is to use words like “Contradictory”, “Confusing”, “Unclear” or “Simply, time consuming”. This is really how to think about the Russian border.

You can never have too much luck

We’re on a motorcycle trip, traveling as many as 12,000 miles, perhaps more. In addition, I rode 4500 miles across Europe prior to the start of the trip to Bangkok. So, I’m likely to ride 17,000 miles or so. When you ride a motorcycle, the assassins in the cars are always trying to kill you, so that they can score points. To avoid this, and ensure that they get zero points, you have to be on your toes, and fully aware.

We call this way of riding, to make your own luck. But, when you’re open to superstitions, sometimes you do crazy things for luck.

Leaving Tallinn

We left Tallinn on time, and en masse. We will travel about 130 miles to the Estonian/Russian border, cross the border, and then travel another 130 miles to our hotel.

A report from the road

I’ve decided that it might be fun to collect reports during the day, using the Guides, and others as a source of ideas and thoughts. And so, here is the first installment…

Images from the road

The bike is giving me problems

The bike started having some issues with the key about 3 days ago. It seems that the battery for the key will only last 24 hours before it is depleted. So, I’ve been inserting new keys like popping candy.

But, as we rode today, I discovered that one battery only lasted 3 hours, and so I suspect that the batteries were simply old or bad batteries, so Ralf offered me one of his, and I inserted that battery at 10AM, and it seems to have lasted until 8:39 PM, without a problem, but I’m still nervous about it.

In addition, it seems that my bike decided to shut down on me yesterday. It happened at least twice. The first time, we were in Russia, about to make a left on a main road, and I had turned the bike off, as we sat in traffic. I turned the switch back on, and nothing happened. Eventually, I could get the dash to light up, but the bike still wouldn’t start, with various fault indicators illuminating the dash.

This happened again in the hotel courtyard, as we waited to enter the elevator, and make our way into the secure basement of the hotel.

So, rather than sightseeing St. Petersburg, at 8:00 AM on Monday, Aug 19, I will travel 3 miles to the BMW dealer in St. Petersburg. The plan is to have them diagnost the problem, and perhaps repair it. If they cannot repair it due to not having parts, the 2nd plan is to have them order parts, and deliver them to the Moscow dealer, where we’ll spend 4 nights, and where we’ll be in a better position to have the work done.

We finally made it

After riding and waiting for a total of 13 hours today, we’ve finally arrived in St. Petersburg. The last mile to the hotel was absolute craziness, and I’m not used to riding in cities that have so much traffic. But, during dinner, I was talking with mike, and his words were accurate, but not meant to comfort me in any way.

“This is not the biggest city, nor does it have the worst traffic. Moscow is several times larger, and many cities in China are also very big, so you’ll need to get used to this type of traffic.”. So, over dinner, we enjoyed a few beers, and some pretty good food. These scenes are captured on the video below.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


    1. Hi Karen,
      Sometimes, these days throw one challenge after another at us, but it’s always best to try to roll with it, enjoy the day, and have some fun. That is if you can avoid getting killed by a Russian Truck driver.

  1. Cliff: So wish I could be riding with you! My wife and I have toured St. Petersburg and Moscow enjoying their museums, the Kremlin, etc. Hope your group has time to experience the interesting sites. Good luck on getting your bike repaired. Cheers – Jim & Bonnie Roberts

    1. Hi Jim,
      Yes, it would be nice to have you along or the ride. But, I have to say that for this trip, we’ve got a really group of riders, all skilled, and all working together. Pls say high to Bonnie for me.

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