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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