Moscow, Russia to Kaunas, Lithuania – Day 39

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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!

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HTL-Strefa Supports Rally Around the World in So Many Ways

HTL-Strefa made a generous donation to Rally Foundation…so grateful for the support!  Additionally, Jarek Moleda, president & CEO, has helped me in so many ways to include assistance in obtaining my Russian VISA, providing contacts in Russia, Poland and other parts of the world to help me with assistance if needed as I make this trek around the world – invalueable to have while traveling solo around-the-world.

To take it even further, HTL-Strefa’s business development director, Piotr Mlodecki, plans to meet me at the Russian/Latvian border and ride on to Lithuania, Poland (his home) and to Berlin, Germany…I am so looking forward to having Piotr ride with me for a few days.

HTL-Strefa is the world’s leading manufacturer of safety and personal lancets, as well as pen needles. Their products are sold to the biggest medical companies that are provided with their high quality goods. They care about the security of medical personnel and patients all over the world.

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

VISA Update – Russia & Belarus

Update – Since there were some issues obtaining a VISA via Poland & HTL-Strefa, Jarek Moleda recommended I use Cinderella Travel Corporation out of New York.  The contact there is Marina at 718-275-8434 or visa@cinderellatravel.com and she is quite helpful…I can apply for my Russian VISA 90-days prior to entry and should receive within 2-weeks after completing the application, supplying passport photos and my passport. 

Also, after discussing in more detail with Jarek and Piotr Mlodecki – HTL’s director of business development, I have decided to skip Belarus and run northwest out of Moscow and meet Piotr at the Russian/Latvia border crossing – he plans to ride with me to Berlin…gonna be great having a “local” along for this leg!!  Jarek and Piotr have been terrific with their assistance to include providing me with road contacts in that part of the world.

VISA’s for Russia & Belarus…Avoid the Eternal Delay

Of all the countries I’ll be traveling through this fall, only 2 will require a VISA. After some research, I had planned to apply at both the Russian and Belarusian embassies in Washington…have to believe that would have taken weeks if not months. However, Jarek Moleda with HTL-Strefa – a Polish global manufacturer of lancets and a vendor partner of NDC – offered his assistance since they have distributors in both Belarus and Russia requiring travel to both. HTL uses an agency to complete the application process and I’m only required to complete the application forms and provide passport photos. Jarek has also been quite helpful with providing me with contacts in Russia, Belarus and Poland – will be much appreciated if I should encounter any issues in those countries.

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.