It didn’t go smoothly. As starters, we didn’t meet up with the Beetle club yesterday, they canceled. The group-or at least some of them had gone out of town and because of the road, (it had rained very hard, flooding?) couldn’t get back. We’ll never know the whole story. We set this up to get a headlight and as you know from a previous blog, we had already accomplished that. So this didn’t cause a problem, just a disappointment. However, to compensate, Ed and I went to the ballet. Summer season, not the Bolshoi but a great performance of Don Quixote with a live orchestra. What could be better than ballet in Russia?
Stuck #1. We left the hotel at 8:00. 475 km to Velikie Luki, our last stop in Russia. Jerry (or he says Roy) lost their parking ticket which was needed to get out of the parking lot. So, they were stuck in the parking lot until Jerry with the help of Tatiana, went back to the front desk to get a new one. This delayed our start in the rush hour Moscow traffic.
Ed even asked Jack if he had gas in his spare tank, only to learn Jack was on empty too, and had not filled his spare tank. So, now we are stuck in traffic and without gas. You can guess we did make it to the gas station.
Stuck #3. The worst stuck of all. We started out on a good 4-lane divided highway and had high hopes this would continue. NOT! Before 40km we were at Russian road construction-definitely better than Chinese, but bad none the less. Our West bound lane was the shoulder which was mostly packed dirt and gravel from previous drivers. I say mostly, because Jack drove too far to the right and ended up in loose dirt that dropped down to into an 8 foot water filled ditch.
A very scary situation. Just ask Mary. No, don’t. I don’t think she wants to talk about it. We were well ahead of them, but having a tow-strap, when we got the word on the walkie-talkie, we turned around and headed back. By then a small panel truck had stopped to pull them out. Not free. I’m not asking Jack what it cost him.
Stuck #4. About this same time, we learned that Clay and Blake’s luggage was stuck back at the hotel in Moscow. Someone (could it be the 20-year-old grandson?) left the luggage in the lobby assuming it would be loaded by our driver. Nope, it stayed in the lobby until the hotel called our guide. It did get delivered to Velikie Luki by another van about 3:00 am.
Stuck #5. My personal one. Those who know me, know I am claustrophobic. So when we stopped for lunch-after Jack was unstuck, I went into the toilet and got stuck in the toilet. (No photos of this, sorry.) By this time, all of the days events just put me in a fit of laughter as I pounded and kicked the door to let someone know. Apparently this is not uncommon as the owner of the restaurant (make that truck stop) brought a big, sharp knife, slipped it in and jimmied the lock.
Now that should be enough adventure for one day, but it ended in a non-air-conditioned room, with no screen on the window and a computer message that read: “problem with this website. May indicate an attempt to intercept data you send. Recommend closing the website.” Hence, I did not send this yesterday.
Tomorrow, border crossing to Latvia. Cross your fingers this does not compete with the 20 hours it took to cross from China to Kazkhstan!