Start: Hlukhiv, Ukraine
End: Zheleznogorsk, Russia
Elevation Gain: 2546ft
Elevation Loss: 2254ft
Reading Material:None, too tired
Audio Material: Diane Rehm Friday News Roundups; On The Media; Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me; WTF podcast (Iggy Pop interview); PRI’s World in Words
Oh man, so tired. A long day and a long distance covered.
Started the day 30km from the Russian border. Hearty homemade three egg fried egg breakfast to get me on my way. A good 2km line of trucks at the border but private cars (and bicycles) could weave the line and approach the border directly. Mostly confusion with little in the way of formal lines. At one point I tried to traverse the fenced-in pedestrian lane but was directed back to the regular car lanes. No questions, no inspection and I was across the border and in Russia.
About 2km later, the road surface degraded drastically from smooth pavement to slab concrete which stayed constant for the next 100km. Also, the flies in Russia are way more intense than Ukraine and Europe. At points, I felt like Pig-Pen with a full swarm for flies hovering around my moving bubble. At around 20km/hr the flies are unable to keep up but on bad pavement you need a really nice downhill to gather that kind of speed.
Went for nearly 60km without any road services. Drank nearly 2L of liquid (grapefruit juice, water) and was running on empty for a while before reaching the outskirts of Zheleznogorsk. Rode through what I only imagine was a large high school graduation before finding a hotel in central Zheleznogorsk, a town formed in 1957 to support a burgeoning iron mining industry in the region. Benefit of staying at the hotel is getting official registration for my Russian visa (or at least I hope that’s why they kept my passport at the front desk).
During dinner offered a glass of white wine by a slightly sloshed party nearby. It seems one of the members is originally from Israel. Participated in one round of vodka toasts but begged off to fall asleep. Evidently, I must have lost an hour when crossing the border and it’s still light out at 11pm.