Moscow, Russia to Kaunas, Lithuania – Day 39

image

image

image

Tuesday, 4 September, 2012  Moscow, Russia to Kaunas, Lithuania (752 miles) Total Trip Miles – 11,762. 15 hrs hours riding

Weather Temperature mostly cloudy in the mid 60’s with a mix of sun & clouds with some brief rain showers especially early.

Well the big day had arrived!…on this day I was going to be riding towards the Latvian border and after a couple of long, tough weeks in Russia finally closing this chapter of the ride.  Quite honestly, the Siberian leg had always been the keystone of the entire trip – to me, the success or failure hinged on this 7000 mile ride across some of the most inhospital terrain and land on the planet…this was going to be a big day for me.

The first 4 hours of the ride was hampered by moderate rainfall making the roads a bit treacherous in spots, so I was forced to keep my speeds down.  As time approached late morning, I could see small breaks in the clouds finally ending up with mostly sunny skies as I approached the border.  As I rounded a corner, I could first see nothing but huge trucks, probably 150 or more stopped and lined up with many of the drivers standing outside…I thought to myself this just can’t be good.  As I worked my way to the front of the line, the line of cars was only about a dozen deep and I actually got to the Russian customs side in less than 30 minutes.  My excitment was quickly dashed when I was asked to move to another line and an older, more distinquished agent – he reminded me of George C. Scott, the actor that played Patton took over the process.

There appeared to be quite the confusion with my documents and I ended up with him for over an hour.  I finally got my stamp, stamp and stamp on some paperwork and was motioned to move to the Latvian side.  The experience was very similar with me being motioned to see this person and that – one said my International Driver’s License was invalid and that my Tennesse license did not allow for me to ride a motorcycle in Lativa – anyhow, I felt they were only hassling me a bit and decided to just go along with them – thought it was quite humorous frankly.  I truly believe they finally just got tired of me and finally after some more stamps, stamps and stamps I was on my way into Latvia.

Immediately I noticed a change in the landscape and road conditions…enough that it quickly became very apparent – the roads were much better maintained and the lushness of the farms was stark.  For the first time in several weeks I began to feel a calmness in the air that helped me to relax as I rolled through the countryside.

Earlier in the day I had been in contact with Piotr Mlodecki, business development with HTL-Strefa, and one of NDC’s vendors out of Poland…I had actually met Piotr in Nashville at a brief meeting and we discussed the possibility of riding together during my trip.  That moment had arrived and just having the opportunty for the first time in 40 days to ride with someone I knew was exciting.  Piotr made reservations at a hotel in city center of Kaunas and we planned to meet around 10 pm for drinks and dinner.  As luck would have it, Piotr met and guy on a bike looking for a place to stay for the night and he ended up joining us for dinner – his name is Martin from Germany and we had great converation about riding experiences and all the spots to see in the region…a very nice closure to an already wonderful day!  I was truly able to finally put a check in the box…Siberian Leg – 7000 miles!!

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

Advertisements

Skovorodino, Russia to Chita, Russia – Day 29

image

image

image

Saturday, 25 August 2012 Skovorodino, Russia to Chita, Russia (744 miles) Total Trip Miles – 6624. 13 hours riding

Weather Temperature in the first half of day in the mid 50’s with rain, clouds & fog. Mostly sunny skies in the afternoon with temps in the upper 60’s

Started stirring about 4:30 am and decided to rest a bit longer since it was raining…wanted to get back on the road at sunrise, which I did. The first half of the day was tough given cool temps, rain & fog, but the weather did break to make a great riding day.

Dealt with quite a few bumps in the road and areas under repair…I just wanted to make Chita before nightfall. Mistakenly, tried to pass a 1000 won Korean bill for 1000 rubles to pay for gas…needless to say the attendant just wasn’t very happy with me.

Take a look at the road signs in Russian…they show both Chita & Skovorodino – kind of cool.

Today marked my longest distance in one day for this trip and it allowed me to squeeze another day out of the schedule.

Terrain went from mountainous to huge open plains with cattle and farms….many small towns could be seen in the distance with most very simple of wood and metal roofs. It is obvious they were poor; however they were some of the nicest folks – I felt very comfortable in this rural region which seemed much like mid – America.

Rolled into Chita at 7 pm looking for the hotel booked with everyone I talked with sending me in a different direction. Finally talked with a man who spoke good English and he recommended a different spot and said the hotel I had planned to stay in was a bit rough. You can’t make this one up…It’s called the Panama City Hotel and at least it’s gated offering more security for the bike.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

Anchorage, AK – Day 12

image

image

image

Wednesday, 8 August 2012 Anchorage, AK (0 miles) Total Trip Miles – 4723.  0 hour riding time

Weather – Warm temperatures in the mid 60’s with mostly cloudy skies

Today I put the final touches on crating the bike for shipment and had several discussions with Rindy Veatch at DHL to finalize the pick up time for the bike and air bill paperwork.  Rindy has been in contact with Wendy Choi in Korea, who will be handling my customs paperwork, and I hope to have all that completed prior to the bike shipment on Saturday.  Wendy Choi may be reached at AERO INTERNATIONAL, LTD at +82(0) 17-213-3961 or wendychoi2@gmail.com

During my stay here in Anchorage, Del Salyer at Alaska Scientific was gracious enough to allow me to stay these few days in his “bachelor’s pad” on the mezzanine level of his warehouse – quite a comfortable spot overlooking the many medical products he keeps in stock for the remote villages and towns across the entire state of Alaska.  The area is well-furnished with all the ammenities including a very comfortable recliner as a sitting & work area.

Accommodations include a fully-stocked kitchen area complete with refrigerator, microwave and everything you might find in your own home.  The bathroom is spacious and includes a sink, toilet and a unique bathing & showering system developed exclusively by Del; comes complete with 2 different size bowl depending on the amount of rinsing water required along with a spacious plastic tub to collect the water.  Friends now call me…Sponge Brad, Square Pants!

Honestly, the area is very quiet and comfortable providing me with some much needed rest and relaxation before I begin the next marathon leg of Rally Around the World across Korea, Russian and eastern & western Europe.

Anchorage offers excellent dining and lunch was no exception at Southside Restaurant with Del & Sharlane – I had the pasta in chipolte with andouille sausage & sundried peppers…pretty tasty. We continued our discussions on the state of healthcare reform and the possible impact on the Alaskan market along with new lab, products NDC has in the pipeline.

For dinner, Del & Kim invited me over to their home for grilled salmon, shrimp and vegetables along with black & brown rice and salmon sushi caught fresh in the Russian River by Kim’s cousin – believe I could have that sushi for breakfast!  Kim, Del’s wife, is a very petite, amazing and exciting woman to talk with and has had so many adventures including a bear scare while fishing for salmon in the area, crashing a Piper Cub airplane (says that one cost her quite a bit of money) and owning a Harley Davidson Dyna Glide that she bought new and has only ridden 9 miles after driving off the showroom floor – the bike is in pristine condition in one of her out buildings not being touched for 8 – 10 years….just terrific stories and a joy to be around.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

Kansas City, MO to Sioux Falls, SD – Day 3

Brian Sullivan & Patrick Madden

Kansas City, MO to Sioux Falls, SD (405 miles) Total Trip Miles – 1144

Weather – hot & humid with highs in the upper 90’s and no rain

Joined Brian “Sully” Sullivan and Patrick Madden this morning for their Monday morning ESPN Talk Radio Program on 1510AM in Kansas City…finally got the opportunity to truly see firsthand just how wacky & unbriddled Brian can be – are you kididng me?!  He was the same ol’ Brian we all have known for years – this visit only confirmed for me his unique talent of harnessing his audience. Thank you Brian & Patrick for allowing me to pitch Rally and the tremendous work these folks do.

As you might expect, the highlight of my day was visiting the kids and meeting Ema and her Mom was no exception.  Ema is a young woman diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma on her 16th birithday and as she put it sarcastically, “that was my 16th birthday present.”  I enjoyed hearing from Ema’s Mom on all  the challenges families face when a child is diagnosed with cancer.

I was also fortunate to chat briefly with a young man named Dustin who was having his first round of chemo after completing radiation therapy. It was in Dustin’s room I couldn’t help but notice that with each child I had visited these last fews days, there was one common element – a parent was always in the room and in most cases living alongside their child daily…suitcases, clothes and mostly the hopes & fears so visible in their eyes.  A special thanks to each of the families allowing me to briefly peek into their lives…these are the kinds of things that make a difference to me and only help to solidfy my resolve to expand awareness for these kids.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

Rally Around the World First Leg Ride – Saturday, July 28

Rally Around the World Kick-off Event launches on Saturday, July 28 with a first-leg charity ride from Nashville to Clarksville, TN honoring Rally Kids Isabel & Adrianna – childhood cancer fighters.  The ride will conclude with an event hosted by Mid-South Motoplex ihn Clarksville, featuring music, raffle, food and drinks.

Registration begins at Cool Springs Powersports in Franklin TN at 9am – 10:30am…$20 donation for Single Rider & $25 for Double.  Ride departs from Cool Springs Powersports at 10:30am arriving at Mid-South Motoplex around noon.

Cool Springs Powersports is located at 1096-1124 West McEwen Drive, Franklin, TN  37067 and Mid-South Motoplex is at 730 Economy Drive, Clarksville TN  37043.

The event will mark the first-leg of Rally Around the World – an around-the-world motorcycle ride to benefit Rally Foundation.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

A Great Day for Rally at Arrington Vineyards

About 50 family, friends & co-workers joined us at Arrington Vineyards on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to celebrate Rally Around the World with a red, white & blue-themed fundraiser for Rally Foundation.

Shannon did an awesome job arranging all the details including balloons, table cloths with flowered center-pieces, Arrington wines, appetizers, drinks for the kids, hula hoops, bubbles, and a silent auction – the attention to detail was incredible!  The kids played, while their folks enjoyed wine tasting, food, drink and just a nice relaxing afternoon.

Silent auction items included a Kix Brooks autographed bottle of Arrington Vineyard wine, a gift card from Textured Salon, a humidor & cigars from Cigar Station, earrings by Fabrik and Mad Mac’s coffee gift packages.

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!

Join Us at Arrington Vineyards Saturday, June 16th

Please join Shanon & Brad as they celebrate Brad’s 20th anniversary of being cancer-free and he prepares for an around-the-world motorcycle ride supporting Rally Foundation & Childhood Cancer Research at Arrington Vineyards on Saturday, June 16th from 12 – 3pm.

The struggles these children endure reach far beyond the personal challenges Brad will face on his 14,000 mile ride…we can all help in this fight to cure childhood cancer.

Be a part of making a difference in the lives of kids…bring your entire family & friends and join us for some wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, face painting, hula hoops and some fun.  Don’t forget your chairs and blankets as we enjoy some beautiful Tennessee countryside.  Your donations are welcomed…help us win the fight against childhood cancer!

If you would like to make a donation to give all kids diagnosed with cancer a better chance at living the full life they deserve, please visit Rally Foundation & Rally Around the World or Text “RALLY” to 85944 to give $10 to WIN the fight against childhood cancer. Send this message to 10 of your friends…Be a RALLY 10 to WIN!