Western Russia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by milkman67204, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
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    Location:
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I usually wake up early Sunday morning, when I go to Tver, and start to drive back to Moscow. Its between 100 and 150 miles depending on the route I take but leaving early usually lets me beat traffic trying to get back into Moscow. This day I went the long way over towards Volokolomnsk then down to Moscow.

    Here is a grave in the town of Lotoshino.
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    Next was a huge monument to 28 men who were able to take out 17 German tanks before meeting their demise. These statues are HUGE! I wish I could get a better idea of their size for you.
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    Acros the street from the statues is a part of an old trench that they are trying to preserve. Looks like it has been neglected for a while though.
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    #21
  2. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Victory Day!!!!!

    This is a day that intrests me greatly me. Mainly because it makes me realize how relevant events are to time. September 11th comes around and I see all this stuff on Facebook about how "we will never forget". May 9 roles around or December 7 a day that will live in infamy and I see virtually nothing. I guess in 60 years September 11 will be just another day for most people who weren't alive when it happened.

    Sorry for my rant now for a couple pictures. I spent the day in Tver a town of about 500,000. They had period machines out for kids to climb on then a memorial service. There were still a few WWII veterans around which was nice.
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    I ended the day with Okcana and her 85 year old neighbor, Babafaya retelling her time during the war. She was 11 or 12 when her village was captured and 15 when the war ended. Her memory of Victory day 1945 was "We were working in the field when a man on a horse road up acting a bit crazy and screaming VICTORY VICTORY!!!! We all stopped looked at him and said ohh go away your drunk we dont want to hear your crap. He said I'm not drunk I promise just smell me. THATS WHEN I KNEW THE WAS WAR OVER." That night there was a big dance with all the neighboring villages and everybody showed up in rags and sacks because thats all they had. My girlfriend has a picture of all of us from that evening I hope to get and will post when I do.
    #22
  3. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Decided to take a scenic ride back to Moscow today. Headed over to Staritsa and then south from there.

    I ran into this church on the way. It was falling down and in general disrepair. There really is no way to tell what happened to it. There was a huge part of the war here but who knows exactly. Churches like this arent rare to find but most that I have come across are locked up so you cant get inside.

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    The next church I came to was this one[​IMG]

    This was the one I was looking for. It was a building that was fought over in the war. On the back side is a river and steep embankment. You can see in the center of the picture some damage that was just patched enough to keep the elements from getting in.

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    Here is kind of an overview of the church. in the field I am standing in, for the photo, it appeared someone with a metal detector had been there recently. There were alot of likke holes all over the place and some random pieces of rusty metal around that was recently dug up
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    #23
  4. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Wonderful narrative and introduction to the place and its past, which we rarely get to hear or see. Thanks for sharing and I am tuned in :clap
    #24
  5. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    So I took off out of work on a Friday headed to Volgograd I was trying to get about 250 miles or so in before finding a place to camp for the night. About 100 miles into the ride I felt something hit my arm then 3 seconds later a horrible pain. Pulled over to see a bee stinger hanging out of my arm! ohhh buddy that hurt!
    So this is the first picture from my trip..... The aftermath of the bee sting
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    Anyways kept going after a short break until finally seeing a lake off in the distance turned off the road down a double track beside a field and ended up at a nice spot.
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    #25
  6. cvcaelen

    cvcaelen Guzzi-rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Merelbeke, Belgium
    nice,
    very nice :clap

    quick question: if, like me, you don't speak any Russian at all,
    can you express yourself in English (or German?)
    Or is it Russian only?
    #26
  7. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    We would have overlapped then. I was running around here at that time. I am sure we at least saw each other!

    Russian is deffinatly a plus but its not entirely necessary. In the cities you can find English speakers fairly easily. In general look for anyone about 25 or younger and many of them at least have a grasp of English. I think Russia is the land of misconceptions. I have never meet people that were so nice willing to help and giving anywhere before. When I first came people would want to talk but didnt do English, and i no Russian, they would call someone to come over or open a Goolge Translate or just hand signals.

    I dumped my motorcycle once about 3 years ago, in Latvia, seperated my shoulder. I was able to make it to the border driving mostly one handed get into Russia and called Okcana. She had some mutual friends, whom I had never meet, that drove 400km one way to come pick me up take me back to Tver and one of them rode my bike there for me. Hell they even brought a doctor along with them when they came to get me! Once in Tver they helped me with some maintenance and storage issues while I healed up.

    Ask most anyone who has ben here, particularly outside of Moscow or Petersburg, and I figure most will say it was one of the best trips of their life.
    #27
  8. cvcaelen

    cvcaelen Guzzi-rider

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    Thanks :)
    that's what I wanted to hear:
    The Russian border is 2000 something Km away from where I live,
    so it's a possible destination
    #28
  9. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Woke up about 6:30 Saturday and was on the road by 7:00. Had about 400 miles to go in a nice 95 degree heat.

    Ran across this on the side of the road at some point.[​IMG]

    It was a long day.... The road went from ok to bad back to ok so my speed was always fluctuating. Not that I go to fast anyways for the most I keep my speed around 80 to 90 km occasionally 100kmh , 50 to 55 mph occasionally 60mph. In general I try to keep the speed low so I can see things whether its to react to something in the road or if I see something on the side of the road I want to stop and check out.

    Just outside of Volgograd I wanted to stop at a burial site.

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    This was first established by the Germans during the war. Around 1995 I think it was turned into a massive cemetary relocating graves scattered around to a more centralized location. On one side of the street was a German burial site on the other a Soviet.

    This was the soviet side. Very nicely done everything clean and well kept.
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    This was the German side. It was clean and well kept but not nearly as elaborate as the Soviet side. I dont know why this is, I assume this is what they were allowed to do by the Russians nothing to elaborate. There are currently about 48,000 German soldiers buried here.
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    After that I continued on into Volgograd. It was about 6:00pm and I wanted to find a hotel to wash and sleep. As soon as I stopped though I was swarmed by these damned little bugs!!!! I dont know what they were but there were everywhere and very very thick. If you werent moving they would land on you glasses in your hair ohh it was annoying.

    I couldnt find a place to stay in the center of town that was in my price range so I ended up about 15 km from the center in a little place. It wasnt to bad at least a bed and a shower anyhow.


    Volgograd!
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    #29
  10. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Very interesting report! Thanks for posting! Although we just had the D-Day commemoration, which seemed to get a lot of press, I think that because there were no WW2 battles in the continental US it makes the war seem distant. It all happened "in Europe" or "in the Pacific" -- far away from home. With the passage of years the war becomes distant in both space and time. Add to that many Americans' lack of knowledge about the history of their own country (let alone the world) as typified in those "Jay walking" pieces on the Tonight Show. And maybe American optimism for a "better tomorrow" contributes to the lack of interest in venerating the past. From Little Orphan Annie in the musical singing "the sun will come out tomorrow" to Scarlet O'Hara's closing line from "Gone With the Wind", "tomorrow is another day," American optimism seems linked to leaving the past behind. Of course, it is still true that those who do not learn from the past tend to repeat it's mistakes in the future!
    #30
  11. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    After walking around a bit in the evening by my hotel to see if anything was going on I finally threw in the towel and went to bed. Woke up fairly early Sunday morning jumped on the bike and headed towards the center.

    Found a place to park the bike that was fairly well centralized and started walking around.

    I went to the diorama museum first. They had this train outside the museum that was interesting.
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    On the front of the Museum facing the Volga they had tanks and artillery and a plane.
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    One of the most interesting pieces they had was this tank that had been blown up.
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    the jewel of the Museum this building. The ruins of Grudinin mill is in the centre of the complex. The mill was built in 1903. It is the only building left after bombing of Stalingrad. The ruins of the mill were left untouched as a monument to courage and heroism of the Soviet Union.
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    #31
  12. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    The museum wasnt open yet so I walked around. I thought I would beat the heat, which I did, but I damn sure didnt beat the bugs again!!! Ohh they were horrible I apologize if photos are blurry thats from me swatting at bugs while trying to take photos.

    A statue along the street dedicated to the Komsomol defenders of Stalingrad. Three young people (a girl and two boys) suffer the death of their friend. The main idea of symbol can be the words: “Even death can`t overcome them”.
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    The Central Embankment this was a major place of battles here. Where much of the supplies and any of the evacuations that happened for the Soviet Union took place here. The loss of this bank would have likely ment a loss of the city.

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    One of the most famous fountains in the world. I didnt know this but it was torn down after the war and only rebuilt recently.
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    After walking around for a couple of hours I went back to the Diorama Museum to go inside and check it out.
    #32
  13. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    A little info on the battle of Stalingrad.

    it was one of the bloodiest battles in history, with combined military and civilian casualties of nearly 2 million. The fighting went street to street and floor to floor of buildings. Most people argue that this was the turning point in the war. After this battle, for the most part, the Germans were in retreat towards Germany.
    Of the 110,000 Germans captured about 5,000 returned to Germany in 1955. Many of the Germans captured were made to help in the cleanup and rebuilding effort of Stalingrad.

    Finally the museum was opened and I went inside. There was some stuff in english whish was nice.
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    This was made to sit inside of the tank factory and electrical plant. They kept trying to produce tanks through out the battle. They made this steel container so during bombings the workers could hide inside
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    M72
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    BMW R35
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    Vasily Zaytsev's sniper rifle. He was made famous in the movie Enemy at the Gates.
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    #33
  14. MrGoodwreck

    MrGoodwreck Retarded Adventurer™

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    wonder if that ~really~ was his rifle...
    #34
  15. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Mamayev Kurgan
    Is a hill near the center of Volgograd. During the war this spot was fought over furiously. The Soviets had it well defended and The Germans wanted it as it provided a nice overlook of the city. After the war the hill had been scorched so badly from the fighting that grass would grow back until a year later. As clean up began it was figured every square meter of earth contained 1000 fragments of metal. The hill had been flattened some after the intense shelling that took place there. After the war they turned the hill into a monument.

    The Motherland Calls Statue

    The figure is 52 meters (170 feet), and the sword 33 meters (108 feet) and weighs 7900 tons. 200 steps, symbolizing the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, led from the bottom of the hill to the monument.

    This was leading up to the monument a set of stairs flanked on each side by these sculpted walls
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    The Eternal Flame dedicated to the soldiers who died. Also located just below the statue.
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    They had the changing of the guards while I was there. That was cool the flame is at the bottom of the building with a ramp encircling the building leading to an exit at the top. I was able to stand on the ramp and the soldiers marched right by me. Once they were done there was an extra soldier that went to each of the guards that were marching took their caps off and wiped the sweat off of the soldiers head it was kinda sweet of him.[​IMG]
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    This sculpture was at the base of the stairs going to the statue
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    Finally the statue
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    Me at the top of the hill
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    Looking down the walkway leading up to the hill
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    While there I met a couple guys, Lyndon and Lukas I think were their names, they were on KTM's headed to Magadan. They were nice guys in a hurry to make up for some lost time in from earlier in their trip. Of course I didnt get a picture of them though.
    #35
  16. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    After The Motherland Calls statue I decided to head about 10 miles outside of town and check out another monument.

    While I was heading there I kept hearing a funny noise from the bike. only when I got up to about 3,000 rpm there was a jingling sound like a loose bolt or something.

    Anyways got to the monument checked it out.
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    Then started checking out the bike. Couldnt figure out for the life of me what was making that noise. Then by accident while I wa slooking around I bumped into the exhaust and it moved..... Got to looking more and the 2 bolts that support the back end of the exhaust and bolt it to the frame had vibrated out! So now the exhaust was just being held on by th flanges at the jugs!
    I didnt have my full tool kit but had a few basic things in my emergency kit. Got out some tie wire and wired the exhaust up so it didnt move so much and started back to the hotel.

    Come across this church on the way back. It was used as a German field hospitol in the war.
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    Got to the hotel and couldnt find any part stores open at 7:30pm on a Sunday. So decided to move the 2 bolts from the back of the exhaust, that hold the end of the exhaust together to keep them from moving, to the front to bolt it to the frame. Then I found one bolt and nut that would work on the back bracket and used wire in place of the other bolt

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    I was comfortable with that at least the exhaust was supported and not wrenching on the jugs every time I went over a bump.
    #36
  17. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Woke up early and headed out. First stop the south end of Volgograd and the entrance to the Volga-Don canal.

    On the one side is the tallest statue of Lenin in the world.
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    Across the river from it is the platform where the statue of Stalin used to sit before being taken down during de-Stalinifacation.
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    After that I headed west on M-21
    Near Kalach Na Donu I stopped to take a photo of the horizon, reminded me a bit of Kansas only more hills..........
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    I came across this little monument not much further on top of a hill
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    At each marker there was a helmet for each person buried there.
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    Then this random satue further down the road.
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    This memorial is dedicated to the 24th Tank Corps, which liberated the Tatsinskiy region in December 1942. An important Luftwaffe airfield was captured during the raid.
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    A little later I turned north on M4. M21 was way nicer than I expected it to be so I made decent time. M4 was even nicer but the sky started to turn black and rain. SO I pulled off looking for a place to sleep. Found some woods adn headed about a mile or so back into them down an old fire road.
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    #37
  18. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

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    Great ride report!

    Mike
    #38
  19. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

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    Grover Beach, Ca
    This is very enjoyable, keep going please! To think of the stories those woods and plains could tell of the war.
    #39
  20. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    The next day I woke up and started out. I had about 50km to do on M4 before turning off and heading towards Rossosh. The destination for the day was Belgorod.

    I was expecting some of these roads to be not so pretty. They were represented as little local roads on my map which usually means paved once 50 years ago and nothing since then so Volkswagon size potholes.

    I was pleasently suprised!
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    I couldnt believe the landscape. I read about the war and the Germans marching across the steppe with ease. There were still some pretty big rivers to cross most of them down in deep ravines. I couldnt imagine getting an army of tanks across it, at least with any speed.

    This monument was in a little village.
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    A monument in Rossosh.
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    Another one in Rzhevets just outside of Belgorod. When I pulled over to see this one two guys about 16 or so came up and were talking to me. I couldnt believe they reconized my bike correctly. I talked to them a little bit tried to get some info on what to do around here then headed off.
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    #40