We enjoyed a delicious and leisurely breakfast knowing such luxury would not happen again for a long time, before loading up the bikes again and making our way to Samara as our next long stop.
It’s great how we can easily go from a local motel, with basic facilities, dubious decor and even more dubious bed covers to the luxury of a Hilton hotel (we may as well make the most of Anthony’s status with that chain) and then back again to cheap and cheerful. So long as I have my pillow, sleeping bag and sleeping bag liner, I can sleep anywhere.
First stop today, was a restaurant somewhere off one of Moscow’s ring roads and meet Max, a guy we have connected with via the Horizons Unlimited group to travel through Myanmar. Max is our Myanmar trip coordinator and lives in Moscow so we all thought it would be good to meet up before we all get together in India in October.
Finding the location of the restaurant was a little challenging with the ring road under construction, and several on and off ramps closed or moved. Anyway, we turned off at a new junction and travelled in the direction of the suburb we needed. Eventually, we thought we should stop and give Max a call as we were now doubting we were on the right road. Right across from where we had pulled over, I spotted a guy waiving at us. It happens a bit to us, so I waved back. We were outside what looked like an old army place, so after he waived again, I wondered whether we were not meant to stop there. And then I thought, Max?? Yes it was him! We had stopped literally across the road from where he was waiting for us to guide us into the ‘army’ place!! Synchronicity or guardian angels once again…
The place was in fact Moscow’s Vadim Zadorozhny Technical museum! A fantastic place, full of all sorts of old military equipment in the open air, and vintage cars.
It was great to meet Max – we are so lucky he has the time and energy to coordinate the Myanmar trip for us and speaks fantastic English. Meeting Max and then making the most of this museum was so worthwhile, too bad for our ‘schedule’ today. We would have to ride later than expected. We eventually set off at 1pm.
The only way I can describe today is: it was horrid riding but a hilarious day!!
The traffic jams all around Moscow were absolutely horrendous – really tested our clutch hand and slow riding to the limit. The traffic jams are due to the fact that every single bridge, including all the ones over small creeks, are being rebuilt, so lanes go from 3 or 6 in places, down to one or two. Then the main turn offs into the city centre do the same and cause massive traffic jams kilometres before the turn off. A number of bikes went by us in the fast lane along the central median strip, a couple even waved at us to do the same. But we had seen a number of police bikes pulling various bikes, we didn’t want to risk it. But after 2.5 hours and only 25kms, a police car with its sirene and flashing lights came though that ‘lane’ and we immediately took the opportunity to follow it. It was brilliant!! The police car got every car to make way for it and we followed. Too easy and thank goodness we did!! Our own police escort we thought!! So we eventually made another 25kms in 30′!!
After the ring road, we needed the M5 heading to Samara. Silly us thinking the road would be sign posted!! Lucky I can read the road signs. But when a big intersection came up with other town names we hadn’t seen before and no Samara, a police bike which we had just let through and thanked us for moving over for him, suddenly waved at us, pointing forward, guessing where we were headed for. So we followed him. A shortwhile later, at a traffic light Anthony stopped beside him to acknowledge his help. As the lights turned to green, he made a sign that we should follow him. So we did. This time, it was a true police escort!!! We followed him for about 30′, past more traffic jams, and through villages, at 75 miles/ hr!! It was hilarious!!
The mileage we did today is pitiful, a mere 260kms, but thank goodness for both those policemen or we would still be in Moscow now. While the odd photo of roads posted here so far show beautiful roads, they are not all like that but only on those can we safely pull over and stop with very fast traffic going by.
We are now in Ryazan, at a road side motel. My Russian is so scratchy it is frustrating, but we are managing. Everyone here is extremely friendly and helpful. Although it is a very basic motel, it has working wi-fi!!
Time for bed as we have a long journey ahead.