A day of mixed weather
|Miles Driven Today
|Total Trip Mileage
|Countries visited Today
|Countries visited on trip
|US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia
We left the hotel at about 8:40, perhaps 10 minutes later than scheduled. As we departed, the temperature was quite cold, perhaps 50 degrees F. Once again, we mixed up the order of the riders, and today, I’d be riding 3rd from the rear, with Charles in front, and Martin and Feroz/Mina at the tail end. The weather as we departed was cold but it looked to be a beautiful day.
Using a GPS to navigate in Russia
Let me start by saying that it would be just about impossible to navigate my way around Russia, if I did not have a GPS with a map, and a cell phone, which includes a translation app. That said, even if you do have these two things, things can be confusing and overwhelming.
I’ve captured three photos of different points in the navigation to one of our destinations. Notice how complex the names of the roads are, and try to imagine my GPS telling me this information, as I’m driving along. The conclusion that I’ve come to is that telling me the names of the roads is of no help at all, but having the map laid out before me, priceless. You be the judge…
Scheduled to be about 240 miles, The ride to Kungur was going to be through some beautiful countryside, with plenty of twistie roads, and likely, good pavement. As it turned out, the ride was beautiful, until about noon when the sun-filled sky turned to clouds, which turned to rain. And so, we rode for several hours in the rain.
Riding in the rain is a bit of a chore, but it’s management if you’re comfortable on the bike. The problem is that, if the humidity is also very high, then our visors tend to fog up, and that creates a whole ‘nother issue. And so it was, with fog-filled visors, and rain all around us, we pressed on towards our destination, a hotel in Kungur.
The incident with the visor
While riding along, and with only 40 miles to go before we arrive at the hotel, we left our final rest stop, and headed toward our final resting place. As it turned out, it had started to rain again, and so I cleaned my visor, and was ready for the rain. But, there was a problem.
Immediately after leaving the coffee stop, I noticed that the rain was beading p nicely on the outside of the visor, but inside the visor, there was a smudge in my field of view. The smudge seemed to get bigger and bigger over the next few minutes, and it was squarely in front of my nose; Large enough to block clear visibility to the road. I tried to deal with it by rotating my head right-to-left, and tilting my head up-and-down, looking around the spot. This worked for a little while, let’s say 10 miles, but with 30 miles to go, we hit some rough pavement, which had holes, and ruts appearing randomly, and it’s critical to avoid these little devils.
It became impossible to look around the smudge, while also avoiding the ruts, and since I don’t have a death wish, I pulled off to the side of the road to address the problem. I tried cleaning the smudge, but had no luck. So, I just happen to carry a spare visor in my tank bag, so it took another 2 minutes to swap the visor, and get back on the bike, headed for home.
The next 30 miles were challenging. Visibility was poor, traction was poor, and since the first 9 riders of the group had continued on, I knew that they could be stopped anywhere along the highway, within the next 25 miles. So, I played it cautiously, and kept passing to the bare minimum. This slowed us down a little bit, to be frank, even if I rode with reckless abandon, and passed everyone in sight, we would have saved no more than 5 minutes. My approach guaranteed that we’d arrive alive. So, good plan, right?
Report from the road
We arrived at the hotel at about 5:45 or so, and after putting our bags into the rooms, I made my way back to the bike, and met Ralf at his bike. Ralf volunteered to do a report for me, and you’ll see how it turned out. Ralf did a great job, but some things happened during the interview…
Edelweiss is really trying to give is an amazing experience on this tour. That means that we spend some days in amazing hotels, but it also means that we sometimes spend the night at a hotel that has “local color”. And so, on this night, we were scheduled for some local color.
To be clear, in this particular case, local color is synonymous with 1960 Era Soviet CCCP hotel. This place was incredible, and really hard to believe. Although we might think of it as a bit of an amusement, and I captured a video of the hotel, just so that all of you can see it, that’s not how it looks to Russians. To Russians, I suspect that this hotel is simply a hotel, which may be a bit less expensive.
And so, with no further ado, here’s my report on the hotel.
What will tomorrow bring
We have no idea about the weather tomorrow. It might be nice, or it might be another rain-filled day. In either case, we have to ride, and we have to arrive in Yekaterinburg.
We’re scheduled to visit the Kungur Ice Caves in the morning. The schedule says that we’ll leave the hotel at 8:30, walk to the Ice Cave and get tickets, selecting a guide who will give us the tour. We’ll then tour from 9:00 – 10:00 AM, return to the hotel, and leave the hotel at 11:00.
Along the way to Yekaterinburg, we’re scheduled to cross from Europe, into Asia. Another interesting day, filled with fascinating things to do and see. More on this tomorrow…