Stuck Times 5!

July 11: Today we left Moscow.

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.

Stuck #2. You need this background. We were running on empty and the plan was to get gas immediately on leaving Moscow. BUT, someone wanted a photo opt first.

We did get good photos as you can see, but this meant more time in Moscow traffic while we ran on empty adding to the anxiety.

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!


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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5 Responses to Stuck Times 5!

  1. The Russian ballet sounds wonderful. Getting stuck in a bathroom wouldn’t be my cup of tea either!
    Enjoy the drive today 🙂
    (Bill says hi)

  2. So glad to hear you are “unstuck” … I was worried about you guys when I did not receive a blog yesterday. We are with you in spirit!

    • ejhowle23 says:

      So far we are all OK. Clay Miller is having the most trouble with his car. Now he has a major leak in the water pump and had a hose come loose and lost most of his oil yesterday. We have a short day today and I think he will seek out a Ford dealer. At least we are now in countries that have Ford service stations. Thanks for keeping up.

  3. TBC says:

    Stuck, stuck, and stuck some more. The toilet story is just too funny. Glad you survived the claustrophobia. Laughing is a good antidote.

    We hope the next crossing goes well. Pretty soon, you’ll be enjoying real highways. Stewball will go into shock!


    TBC and Arnie

  4. Leslie says:

    Wow! I am left with a smile on my face as I am thankful that I can share your adventures through reading the blog and not physically experience them. It seems like everyone got a little bit of excitement. Best wishes for a smooth and eventless boarder crossing.

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