What a day it has been!

July 8: I think this was the best day so far. At least since Beijing. We started out today for Nizhny Novgorod with a stop at an antique car and motorcycle restoration shop. Our hope was to get a new headlight for Stewball. They were ready for us and in 20 minutes had a new headlight install for which they would take no pay. Now, our headlights are halogens and Ed planned to replace their installation with a halogen once we were home. But this will NEVER happen. This is a souvenir from Russia. We have no idea what vehicle this was intended for, but it is a perfect fit and along the bottom says: MADE IN THE USSR! How can we ever give that up. Who cares if the two don’t match. We will proudly run with this one remembering our good friends in Russia.

Then we had a tour of their shop.What an interesting place. I wish I could post all the photos. They even had this funny little car, equipped with hand controls.

Ed’s favorite was a Willis Jeep of the 1940s era. It looked exactly like the one General Eisenhower drove, complete with US Army insignia. he said it was identical to the ones that were used when he was in Germany in the army in the late 1950s. He was really ready to trade Stewball for this jeep and finish the trip in it. I was not as certain of the comfort of the seats and without side-curtains…well, lets just say I’m glad it wasn’t for sale.

Now to end our time there, we were served tea made in a wood-burning samovar. 

Now if that wasn’t  enough to make our day. Tatiana had a surprise in store for our lunch stop. An antique car club from a local town came out to meet us with their cars and then led us in a parade through town and an additional 10 miles or so.

These were Russian cars from the 40s and 50s, so I don’t have a clue what they were, but I can tell you this, car guys don’t need a common language. Just open the hood and pointingand back-slapping works. I don’t know who was more excited, them seeing our cars, or us seeing theirs. I can tell you that everyone from our group that I talked to said the beat any tour we’d been on. This is what we came for to exchange with other antique car buffs. We were given banners from their town as souvenirs which will be part of our collection to be sure.

Now there is one last story for this day. We arrived in Nizhny Novgorod at a Russian hotel that was hosting a wedding party. For us that meant no rooms with double beds, so Ed put the two mattresses on the floor in our “honeymoon” suite. Some of our group did attend the wedding party and lets just say that one of our “J”guys did remember dancing and shots of vodka, but wasn’t sure if he got married again last night. He did awake alone in bed this morning with his wallet intact. He added that he had enough vodka in his system to prevent him from driving the next three days and doesn’t plan to attend another Russian wedding anytime soon! He slept through our morning with Roy driving.

All in all, a day none of us will forget.

Tomorrow, Moscow, a landmark achievement.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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3 Responses to What a day it has been!

  1. TBC says:

    What a wonderful day for you and Stewball. And those things are called samovars. They are quite fancy and an integral part of Russian life.

    And what funny stories about the wedding and casualties therefrom!

    You’ll love Moskva. If you can, go on the river taxi/ferry and tour the city. It’s a great way to see so much and is relaxing, too. Besides, you’ll meet so many helpful Russians on the boat ride.

    St. Basil’s, Red Square, so many fond memories. I can’t wait for you!


    TBC and Arnie

  2. Ronald Sieber says:

    Cool car stuff! Way to go, fellow car guys! That is so true that our passion is a language unto itself. And the headlight is – priceless!

    Hey – I’ve heard tell that there is a really beautiful cathedral in Moscow called St. Mark’s or something like that. If you go to it (whatever is the right name), would you mind posting a shot?

    All the best!
    Ronald Sieber

    • ejhowle23 says:

      Ronn, I’m afraid there are a LOT of churches in Moscow. St. Basil in Red Square is the most famous, many within the Kremlin walls. Russia’s largest Orthodox church is in Moscow. We have now visited more churches than I think I have attended in my entire life. Today, I sat outside. I don’t need more icons!!!! NO MORE CHURCHES PLEASE! Tonight is on our own and Ed and I have elected to see Russian ballet-Don Quixote. Won’t be the Bolshoy, not their season. I’m afraid none of our other car guys will be doing this. Sone have elected to take a river/dinner cruise on the Moskva River. We’ve done this in too many cities-including Paris and the food is never good!

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