Tag Archives: hospitality


Day 59: Okulovka, Russia to Viny, Russia

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Start: Okulovka, Russia
End: Viny, Russia
Distance: 84.2km
Elevation Gain: 1440ft
Elevation Loss: 1882ft
Time: 5h12m
Reading Material:A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II – Gerhard L. Weinberg
Audio Material: Marketplace; Stuff You Should Know (autobahn eps); 99% Invisible; Bullseye (someone has a crush on Fran Lebowitz, who was born in Morristown, NJ before fleeing to NYC)

Super Surprise: An unexpected resupply party waiting for me on the side of the road!

Two days back while passing through Pestovo, I met a friendly couple who provided some directions during the town fair. They passed along our meeting to some friends (perhaps their parents, I believe) and today while climbing a short hill I was waved over by a couple in front of an SUV.

Alexander and Elena were waiting for me with hot tea, vegetables and fruit. They even left me with a care package of meat patties and more veggies! I’m not sure if they were laying in-wait or simply spied me as they drove past, and I hope I didn’t end up with their lunch. Alexander and Elena also live in Pestovo, have traveled around the US (NYC, San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Luxor hotel) and have a son who lives in Rochester, NY. I got a picture before we both had to continue on our ways.

Some nice rolling hills for the first part of today before meeting up with the M10 motorway which I follow into Novgorod (and continues all the way to Saint Petersburg, though I’ll find a less busy way for myself into the big city). M10 has some big trucks but a nice shoulder and is mostly downhill. While I probably could have made it all the way to Novgorod in one (long) push, decided to rest for the night and tackle the final ~60km to Kievian Rus’ Second City tomorrow.


Day 57: Shchukina Gora, Russia to Borovichi, Russia

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Start: Shchukina Gora, Russia
End: Borovichi, Russia
Distance: 98.1km
Elevation Gain: 1266ft
Elevation Loss: 1459ft
Time: 7h01m
Reading Material:A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II – Gerhard L. Weinberg
Audio Material: WBUR’s Only a Game; EconTalk; Nerdist podcast; Low Times (The Most 90s song of the 90s — too bad these guys don’t have NPR affiliation, they can talk about music but can’t legally play any)

If we’re being honest, today was kinda boring biking. It was nice being on a low traffic road but scenery was consistent forest and nearly no habitation I could see for 80km. Skies were cloudy all night but no rain until a slight mist while packing up camp.

Passed a big garbage dump ~20km from Borovichi (roadside garbage has been pretty common but this was the first landfill I found). While taking some pics, was waved over by the proprietor. Some hand signal communication and he ushered me into the trailer “office” where he hung out with a woman (Leana?) and a younger man. I don’t think they were family but not sure. Super friendly, I was plied with coffee, soup, a sausage sandwich and a Kit Kat! The office featured some excellent Mad Max style-furnishings: couches, a cock-pit area with laptop, phone holster, two video screens (one playing violent Russian movies) and several jerry-rigged rear-view mirrors which allowed one to survey the entire landfill from the couch. I was offered a ride into town and a place to stay for the night (I think, we had very minimal language overlap) but I declined. Felt sorry but I already had a place lined up tonight in Borovichi and could use some rest after a few long days. Said goodbye and biked off into the Russian landscape.