Rise Of The Broken Bone Brigade



We have discovered that Martin prefers the easy riding pace that  Larry & I enjoy. Since all three of us have broken bones on the trip (Martin-collar bone and ribs, Larry-leg, ankle and rib, Cathy-leg) and are still(or back) riding, we have dubbed ourselves “The Broken Bone Brigade.”


A World War II memorial was our first photo stop.  Stork nests started to be a frequent feature high above the villages and built on the power poles.  More than one lady came out to see what the three of us were up to when we were taking pictures of the posing birds.  Martin did his best to explain that we were doing.  A man towing a utility trailer seemed much less curious about our activities.


With varied trees and colorful wild flowers, several sections of today’s road reminded me of northern Minnesota.  Realizing how close we are to finishing our trip, I think I’m starting to “smell the barn.”


Large, elegant homes and chalets stood or were being built everywhere.  We started seeing billboards advertising skiing and snowmobiling and license plates from countries including Lithuania, Moldova, and Czech Republic.  We were in a major tourist destination!  Unlike in the USA where dormant ski slopes are unused with the runs lined with trees, this time of year these ski slopes were a patchwork of fertile farm fields.

Horses are beasts of burden in Ukraine.  This one had to work extra hard to pull this wagon with two low tires.




This could well be our last day of seeing the distinctive, onion domed churches.  We’ll soon be out of Orthodox country.  We’ve sure seen some beauties.

22 Jul   Kamianets Podilsky-Uzhgorod Ukraine   315 miles

We’re back, but busy

We made it back to Meiming, Austria as scheduled on July 25. After wonderful celebrations, we followed Kevin and Julia back to home base in Wales, stopping off to visit Gunter in the hospital. Belgium, London and Ace Cafe were our next stops. After a couple of days in Wales we ferried to Ireland more lovely riding. Then is was back to London to ship our bikes back.

I had surgery to repair the hernia that developed in China and Cathy had to have cataract surgery. This Thursday we fly to Savannah, GA to rescue our bikes. On October 3, I have my right knee replaced. It’s already had two surgeries over the years and this trip finished wearing it out.  Then Cathy has the shoulder damaged on Section Two repaired.

During our recoveries, we’ll finish the stories of our adventure. Please stay tuned.

A Castle With A View



Touring the Medieval castle at Kamianets Podilsky anchored our Ukraine rest day, the final rest day of our eight-month expedition.  Werner, Larry, Martin, Alfred, Peter H, Angelica, Terry & I listened intently while Anton, our guide in Russia and Ukraine, told the history of this well preserved castle. Our trip has been so much more than a ride around the world.  We have Discovered Our Earth.”


Large notches, carved in each step on alternating sides, allowed feet to function on steeper than normal stair cases.  An old motorcycle was suspended in motion, hung from the castle museum’s ceiling.



From the bridge to the castle, an ornate, blue domed church could be seen as were bountiful vegetable gardens below.  The bridge to the castle is, still today, a vital transit link to connect the city with the area outside the steep banked walls above the river.



Just after crossing the castle bridge, Larry & I heard peaceful, string music.  A young man was playing his instrument outside the restaurant that became our lunch destination.  Under a slanted roof, our open air eating area had a great view of both the castle and the valley below.


The food presentation was a work of art.  We did, however, pass on the “Exotic Dishes.”



Two BMW bikes from Poland, each fitted with adventure touring accessories, were parked on the bridge.  An old car was parked near the base of the steepled city hall.



A tradition in this area is for couples to engrave their names and wedding dates on padlocks, attach them to the fence on top of a bridge, then throw the key into the river below.  Many locks decorated the fences here.



The many old, well maintained, buildings provided a foreground worthy of the warm sunset we enjoyed this evening.


21 Jul   Kamianets Podilsky Ukraine  rest day

Medieval Roads Less Traveled


Today, instead of the usual 1, we had 2 pages of route notes.  We were going to have an adventure navigating through Medieval villages on tertiary roads long forgotten by progress.


I was ready.  My tank bag map pouch held our highlighted in fine detail map as well as the first portion of route notes.   The GPS was programmed with at least thirty turns as “Favorites.”  Larry & I hoped that we would have the fourth ingredient that Kevin preaches is needed for successful adventure travel – common sense.  We know that a few of you reading this believe that all shred of common sense was abandoned when we signed up for this expedition.


With nearly 400 miles of two-lane, rough, back roads to cover, little time would be left for photo stops.  I must have deleted at least twenty pictures today that showed sky, my leg, the pavement, or other blurred, extraneous or indiscernible scenes. Any shot taken while riding risked a bone jarring bounce during exposure.  At least one brick building was captured successfully.



Today’s hazards varied.  Straw piled high on the pavement was our first obstacle.  Later, the road surface itself deteriorated and sand covered the pavement and/or cobblestones making for slippery, scary segments.  Branches and vines narrowed parts of the road to 1+ lanes.  Cows and horse carts acted as though they belonged there.


The scenery made the challenges all worthwhile:  a graceful blue church in a village, a domed church stopped in time along a lake.



At our final gas stop, we met four riders from Czecka Budejovice, the one couple was riding a 1,000cc V-Strom. In southern Czech Republic, this town is near and dear to my heart as my mother’s ancestors are from this area.  When Larry & I honeymooned and visited C.B., there were many pages of Novotny, my mother’s birth name, in the phone book.


Again we appreciated a large suite as our room.  After seeing the huge bath tub, we did not have visions of luxurious baths.  We knew we had the perfect place to give our riding suits one final washing during our two-night stay in Kamianets Podilsky, Ukraine.


20 Jul   Nikolaev-Kamianets Podilsky Ukraine     385 miles

Bubby’s Noodles


At 7:15 am sharp, several members of the Black Corsairs Mariupol motorcycle club rolled up.  Our bikes had enjoyed a lovely park setting for last night’s rest.  Not a speck of dust could be found on a beautiful, perfect, black, cruiser.  What a contrast to our scratched, beat up, filthy adventure touring bikes. Had the black cruiser’s rider not been smiling, he would have looked like a very tough dude.  The club members could not have been nicer. They were very knowledgeable about blocking traffic at intersections. Our exit of this major port city on the Black Sea went smoothly.



Seas of sunflowers in full bloom were an absolute delight again today.  They helped us endure the long waits at train crossings.  Ukraine train crossings have people to run the signals.  The signals and barricades seem to go down way too early for the speed of approach.  Graphic pictures show what  has happened when barricades were evaded.  We had to wait at  least seven minutes for a slow moving commuter train which stopped to let out passengers right at the crossing.


After days and hundreds of miles of farm fields, we saw our first stands of evergreen trees. The triple digit heat returned for yet another day.  I found relief in a lawn sprinkler at a gas stop.  Stands of beautiful watermelons and other fruits and veggies filled the road’s shoulder.  Yet another long wait for a slow moving train tested our patience under the blazing sun.



At last night’s meeting, Kevin said that there was a great, authentic, Ukrainian restaurant, walking distance from tonight’s hotel in Nikolaev.  Elvis could have decorated the “Hotel Ukraine.”  I kept looking for the shag carpets but none were to be found.  We had arrived early enough to walk the town and enjoy a feast at Kevin’s pick – “Restaurant Bapehhkh.”

I knew we would have an interesting time deciding what to eat when the first page offered “Kind of a young pig.”  We both chose from the Ukrainian dishes.  My “golugusti” had a meat based filling wrapped up in a cabbage leaf, then roasted – yum!  Ice cold beer washed down everything readily.



On the menu were homemade noodles.  We are in that eastern European region that includes the Czech Republic, where my mother’s ancestors come from.  My mother has often spoken of the tasty noodles that her grandma, “Bubby,” would make from scratch.  My mama, Dody Davies, is a composer of music.  She has even written a song titled, “Bubby’s Noodles,” telling of how the dough was rolled so thinly and sliced with a razor sharp knife, and that they were delicious.  The noodles at this restaurant were so good that I think they got the recipe from a short, Czech lady who once lived in Minnesota.


Walking off our meal, we found a store that sold pig’s ears.  I’m sure that to some, the “I’m Lovin’ It” message across the street at McDonald’s would have applied to the pig’s ears as well.  After a stop at a  neighborhood church, we called it a night.


19 Jul Mariupol-Melitopol-Cherson-Nikolaev Ukraine     310 miles



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