Black smoke loomed over the tree tops. We hoped that we were not coming upon a fatal, fiery, wreck like we had encountered in China. It appeared that a trailer had caught fire and the driver had been able to disconnect, saving his truck. This Russian fire truck looked as though it had seen many years of service. Unlike China, where fire fighters dealing with a blaze involving fuel were dressed in office clothes, the Russians had coats, boots, gloves, and fire hats similar to what is used in the USA.
The foothills at the southern end of the Ural mountain range were visible in the distance. Trees usually lined the road making the mountain views marginal. A small, wooden, Russian Orthodox Church was nestled in the woods.
Once we got west of the Urals, large hay bales dotted the fields. So did lovely homes.
Russian Highway Patrol cars are everywhere. Their favorite spots to lurk are in road construction zones, on the edges of towns, and at the top of long climbs that have no-passing zone stripes going up hill. Although Larry & I are not poster children for total traffic law abidance, we are very careful. We want our fine by the Kazakh police to be the only beer money we lose to law enforcement.
After a very long section of no-passing zone, we saw Frajo off his bike, having a conversation with one of Russia’s finest. We found out later that the officer first angrily chewed out Frajo regarding his infraction. When the officer looked at Frajo’s Passport and noticed the German’s age, he did not believe it and called another squad car for reinforcement. The three officers ordered Frajo to remove his helmet. His face matched the picture. They were amazed, dismissed the prospect of a ticket and just asked questions about his bike and trip. I think that the three other riders we saw pulled over wished that they too were 75 years young. At least they would have preferred Frajo’s outcome with the law.
Looking around Ufa, we found that Jolly Green Giant products can be found in this part of the world. The Green Giant company was founded in LeSueur, Minnesota, only about fifteen miles from where I was born. When my parents were dating in the late forties, they both worked there. To this day, my mother will not eat “Mexicorn.” At dinner we ate stroganoff. I guess we do know how to ask for two Russian dishes. Unbeknownst to us, in Russia, noodles are not served unless requested separately. We decided to have Czech “Budvar” beer as the grain component of our dinner.
12 Jul Chelyabinsk to Ufa Russia 260 miles
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