Western Russia

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

  1. O Team

    O Team Adventurer

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    Very interesting. Thanks for the report
    #61
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    This is a very interesting report. So many war memorials! In the States I think we have a view of the war that is too one-sided. Yes, D-Day was a crucial turning point, at the cost of many American lives, but we should also recognize the battles on the Eastern Front and the countless sacrifices made there. I think the fighter plane on the plinth a few pages back is a LaGG-3, but I cannot be certain. The latest one I think might be a Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik ground attack aircraft. I'll be interested to see how you find the Karelian Peninsula, having read some reports on that area by Russian ADVers. Cheers!
    #62
  3. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Yes I agree that Americans point is very one sided. I have gotten into many arguments here and in the States about WWII who helped more and so on and so on.

    I have been to Karelia before but only to Petrozavodsk, then a boat to Khizhi, and Kivach Waterfall. I hope to explore it some more this time around. I don't plan on going ot far north we will see how it goes. its a beautiful area but I am a plains type of guy the forest can be a little claustrophobic for me at times anyways.
    #63
  4. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Started the day off headed for Peterhof. I was only about 30km away so I didn't expect it to take long to get there.

    Then I would find something interesting along the way and stop. This monument was pretty cool
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    Across the road was another cemetery. The one above was strange in the fact it is the only one I have seen so far that had people buried in it that died long after the war was over.
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    Closer to Peterhof I came across this. it was a memorial to the men who tried to hold the area. the wall in the background has been preserved to show the damage.
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    Inside the building at the memorial above
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    Just thought this was interesting for no real reason.
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    To the mariners
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    This is just across the street from Peterhof. Very rarely does a building memorize me like this one. I just couldn't stop looking at it. to think of the guys who designed it let alone built it!
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    Next up Peterhof
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    Normally these types of places aren't for me. I have been told for 4 years I have to see it so since I was close I went out of my way to check it out and give it a shot.
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    I got there 2 hours early to get tickets to go in the building. When I saw the line to get in the building was 5 wide and 100 yards long I decided to just stick with the gardens
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    Unfortunatly not all the fountains were on when I arrived. The one above and a different view below are the main fountain.
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    I walked around the gardens for 3 hours and was rather tired.
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    Finally the main fountain working! From what I understand this thing works by gravity:huh meaning no pumps it is fed from a basin somewhere higher and the pressure provided by gravity does this.... I am still not sure how they were able to do such a good job making the statue look as ravishing as me!
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    #64
  5. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    After Peterhof I grabbed some lunch and headed off. First up to get to Kronstadt. This place was made by Peter the Great to help guard the port of Petersburg. At one time this was the most fortified port in the world.
    Now its not so much and you can drive to the former island. There is some stuff there but nothing so interesting, at least that you can get to.
    I did get to see this sub leaving the port!
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    Next up was this Bunker. Formally part of the Northern section of the Stalin Line.
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    It was open so I got my little flashlight and went inside. I have to say even with a light it was dark as hell and scary to match.
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    most of the old portholes to shot out of had been bricked over. The bunker was cool though but so much trash around it.
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    After that I was trying to find a Finnish Bunker down the road about 80 KM. There were 2 parallel roads I was on one and need to get on the other so I took one of the small connecting roads.
    I turned off the main highway winding back through these small roads that aren't in the best of shape. Then is started to sprinkle..... As I am driving I keep seeing beside the road tracks from I assume logging trucks, since its woods everywhere and I have seen a ton of logging truck. Then I look at the more closely and saw man those look funny.
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    About the time I see this sign below it dawned on me. OHH BALLS those are tank tracks! I must be in the middle of some training grounds:eek1
    The sign behind the bike told me my suspensions were right...
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    Its hard to see in this picture but they had fake Helicopters set up for well I don't know what reason.
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    When I got to the other main road the first thing I saw was this....
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    I guess I came in the back way..... I thought oh well no harm no foul. Nobody yelled at me so I kept going looking for that Finnish Bunker.

    Next I ran across this memorial/cemetery for some of the Soviet Soldiers who died in the Winter War with Finland 1939/40




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    The GPS told me I was getting close and the Soviet Burial made sense. This is the first time I have seen a burial and knew ohh these guys died fighting against the bunker I am about to see!
    here is the road I need to go down. The rain has picked up I just want to find the bunker and then sleep. I am up the road about 20km from where the tank training was so I should be fine.


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    I get going and the road is just mud and rocks and ruts. Horrible by far the most horrible thing I have been through on the bike EVER. The rear end is sliding around in the mud and the rain just picked up again. Whats that up ahead:huh why is there a road block.... 2 guys in Army fatigues well I don't see guns so screw it this road sucks I am going to talk to them.

    I explain what I want to see and one of them says leave the bike here and walk ill take you. As we walk I ask is it normal for the road to be closed. he said no. I said why is it then. I couldn't understand finally after trying 3 different explanations he just says "the army is playing"!

    We get to something and he says this is it..... Well its not what I wanted but I will settle. its a Finnish Cemetary
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    We walked back to the check point and I gave him some food I had. then we got this picture.
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    I wanted to camp but after talking to them it seemed like a bad idea. Nothing worse than being woke up at gun point your tent being mistaken for something in their training.
    #65
  6. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    Very nice report. Really interesting to see those memorials, and your perspective.

    Peterhof, after Versailles. All those elaborate french gardens in Europe were gravity fed. Labor was cheap. But I remember a story from Versailles that these fountains were only used on special occasions and servants ran up front to start the flow and closed it after the party had strolled by to save water. :rofl
    #66
  7. CPTBorg

    CPTBorg Adventurer

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    keep up the reports this is awsome. I love history and seeing it like this is great.
    #67
  8. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    I ended up in Vyborg for the night. The lady at the front desk was a little appalled at first with my appearance but she eventually was won over. She laugh so hard when I asked her if she had an old newpaper I could have.... Why your Russian is ok but your not reading a newpaper for sure. I just pointed to my boots that squished with each step she laughed and gave me plenty of paper.

    In the morning my stuff was MOSTLY dry. Boots and gloves weren't but such is life

    This guy was parked beside me
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    I drove around Vyborg a little stopped and got some money exchangd to Euro and bought some groceries. I wanted to walk around more but the whole place had a haze to it. it wasn't fog it was coal smoke. I don't know what the deal with that was but I didn't like it so I moved on.
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    I kept hearing a funny noise when ever I went over a bump but couldn't figure it out. Finally I found the issue while I was at a gas station.
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    The bolt holding one side of the fender on had vibrated out. I thought I had a spare on in my tool kit but didn't feel like digging it out to see, I wanted to get into Finland. So I got out my handy tool kit, zip ties tie wire and pliers and fixed it up for now.
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    Got across the border with little issues. They were giving me hell because I am going to a motorcycle rally. They asked how I knew about it when told them my friend is in Tampere waiting for me he organized it. Oh course they wanted his name I explained I only knew his first name and even if I knew his last I couldn't pronounce it anyways. I was informed he isn't a good friend and let threw.

    Made a stop at the museum for the salpa line. It was a line made after the Soviet Union and Finland came to a truce in their Winter War of 1939-40. After seeing this little museum, built on a part of the line, I decided the people who lived here and bult this must of been amazing. I know after seeing how much rock they moved and concrete poured I wouldn't want to get in a fight with these guys.

    This was a form to make small bunkers.
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    This is some trenches they dug. Remember all the ground here is full of huge boulders and rocks.
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    The top of a look out tower
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    This was a bunker for 20 guys they chipped out a hole in a huge rock face and built this bunker in it.
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    Central heat! They would get a fire going in the stove and then pump it through out the bunker
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    The dials and everything on the guns still worked. It was cool to sit on one of the guns and move it around and look through and move it around.
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    nobody ever thinks of the normal size people when building things. its all about the midgets 6 foot tall and shorter....
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    I guess the Soviets felt the same way as I did about the people who built this line. The Soviets attacked again in the Continuation War but stopped before reaching the Salpa Line so it has never been tested.
    #68
  9. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    I found a place to camp a little further down on the Salpa Line. They have a hiking trail that goes the length of the line. I stopped early and hiked around a little but mainly wanted to get my stuff dried out!
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    The little pond where I camped
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    These are the Tank barriers they set up for the line. Usually these are cement but they used rocks!
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    An Over grown anti tank ditch
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    A shovel that was left behind
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    #69
  10. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    How do you find these spots? Have you prepared an itinerary or going on the feel and the hints of the road?
    #70
  11. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Been here awhile

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    Great pics and narration. I had no idea of the incredible sacrifices made by the Russian people in WWII until I took a course on Russian history in college (and that was during the cold war). The stories of the Russian female snipers were phenomenal too. I'm glad Russia remembers the heroes that repulsed the nazis with all those memorials,
    My son is in the currently in the US Navy studying the Russian language at the defense language institute. He speaks many languages but Russian appeals to him the most.
    #71
  12. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    my goal today was to get close to Tampere. Tampere was the whole reason for this trip. from 4-6 July a few fellow Warrior owners will be there.

    I was able to get my tent up and inside just in time!!! About 3 minutes later thunder lightening rain and the hail!

    After it was over I went outside to check the damage. nothing torn up on the tent or motorcycle. So I relaxed the rest of the evening knowing I only had about 60km to go until Tampere.

    I got to Tampere early wanting to get some shopping done. My buddy told me a few places to possibly pick up some new WATERPROOF gloves. I got to the place at 10:30 but it wasn't open the garage and mechanics were working so I asked how do I get in. They told me it doesn't open until 10. I looked at them pulled my phone out said umm its 10:30. They stared at me like I was an idiot and said no its 9:30. DOH I must of passed over a time zone somewhere and lost an hour.....

    Anyways I eventually got a new pair of gloves!
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    I got some lunch then had time to kill since I just gained that hour lol. Found a place to un roll my tent and let it dry out
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    I had been having issues with, what I hoped was, my starter switch. Sometimes I would press the start button but nothing happened. So still killing time I decided to take it apart in the parking lot.
    This was the inside of the switch housing. I don't know how a bee got in there but I hope he is related to that SOB that stung me on my way to Volgograd a while back.
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    The switch before and after
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    Put it back together with a dab of electrical grease and looked like everything worked. About this time everyone started showing up! the main reason for the trip was this meeting of a few fellow Warrior owners!
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    It was time to go out to eat so we all moved our bikes to the garage. When I started mine the tachometer was dead..... No light on it nothing. Well Ill look into that tomorrow. Started it up parked it and off into the night we all went
    #72
  13. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    I have about 3 websites I use to find most of them. I don't know if you have heard of Wikimapia but its a very informative website but can be hard to sift through with all its information. One website is Russian and the other is tracesofwar.com.

    I would say about 30% of what I have shown you all I have just stumbled upon while driving around.
    #73
  14. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    Ya I had no idea until I came here the sacrifices made on this side of the war. I only vaguely knew there was a Eastern Front in the European Theater.

    Studying Russian I guess he is a gluten for punishment lol. Its a difficult language but the few Navy personal I have met that studied it in the Navy spoke it well so he is getting top notch lessons.
    #74
  15. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    My only requirement for the meeting was on the 4th of July I wanted a Hamburger and beer to celebrate. Well Zalama did not disappoint.

    We ended up at this 50's style American diner and the waitress even had an American accent.
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    After that we went to a little bar. They had some Viking Mead! So we all had a good time .Sweden and Finland represented

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    America, Finland and Sweden
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    I am begening to think Finland is a long lost state of America. I have seen more old Muscle Cars here than I would see in the states. Just random old American cars.

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    The Sun almost wanted to set this was a bit after midnight, I think
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    We finally made it home and passed out.
    #75
  16. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Enjoyed your historical travelogue. My grandfather was Romanian and fought in World War II. He showed us his scar from being shot but never talked about the war. Later on I learned that he was part of Operation Barbarossa. In June 1941 Germany attacked the Soviet Union and Romania joined in the offensive. Romanian units fought side by side with the Germans forward to Odessa, Sevastopol and Stalingrad. Your pictures are a good reminder of what General Sherman once said, "There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell".
    Thanks for posting :thumb
    #76
  17. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    One of the guys that came in from Sweden was having issues with his bike. It still ran but not at full power, not a Warrior. After talking with him he finally convinced us to go ahead with out him. So first everyone get the bikes out of the garage and into some kind of order.
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    To start the ride out there were only 6 of us but the weather was PERFECT! Not to hot not to cold.

    First stop was atop this hill that had a car museum.
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    I have been mystified as to how all these American classic cars have wound up here. I don't mean just in the museum either they are driving around everywhere.
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    Bikes also there at the museum.
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    It was really a great museum and out back they had a little tower you could climb to see out over the trees.

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    Our first attempt at a group shot in the tower.
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    The leader says ohh see those smoke stacks over yonder there that's where we are heading next.
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    We made another pit stop down the road we had one more guy going to meet us there so we waited a bit.
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    Here is our group shot! This took a couple trys to get right but in the end it was worth it.
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    I don't remember if lunch was before or after the group shot but at some point we had lunch.
    More photos from our ride
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    Not all Warriors but all were great people so it didn't matter much. One of the guys did a burn out and we were off again!
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    This was the last stop of the day. I think the ride out was something about 250 km. Beautiful scenery great people all in all it was a good day!
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    That night we ended up going out for dinner again. I didn't bring my camera but I think some of the guys have some photos on their phones. I don't think things got tooooooo out of hand

    Our Swedish friend never did get his bike sorted. Finally figuring a faulty fuel pump. He could drive but after about 80kmh he lost power we think dut to not enough fuel being delivered. He took off in the evening to catch a ferry to get him most of the way back to his house
    #77
  18. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    I start back to Russia today so hopefully we will be getting back to our normally scheduled program of military stuff and bad roads!
    #78
  19. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    So I woke up Sunday morning ate breakfast and headed back towards Russia! I wanted to get back in a hurry, one for cheap gas and two just to have more days incase I needed them to see things.

    I got across the border and turned east at Vyborg. I ran into this monument with 4000 Soviets buried here.
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    A little bit later I caught this out of the corner of my eye turned around to check it out. It was an old church, I assume Finnish. Only the foundation is left but it was interesting.
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    There was an old graveyard also. I don't know that the names are Finnish or not though.
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    Then came the first hint at what was to come!!!!
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    After about 20 miles of dirt road like above I made it to this city. This building was the post office......
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    A memorial to the Finns that died here from 1918 and the winter war
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    This monument to the Soviet dead was in the same town Melnikovo I believe it was.
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    My goal was Priorzersk I made it there just missing this mid evil festival...
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    This is whats left of the fortress the had there. The Swedes built it originally and then it was added to by the Finns until Russia took it and expanded its empire then I wasn't needed as it wasn't on the frontier anymore.
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    Monument to the war in Priorzersk
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    This is their fire house and fire truck! How you like that
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    Now I wanted to find a place to camp on Lake Ladoga. As soon as I left Priozersk the road went to hell again... I tried many trails off the road but all dead ended not anywhere good to sleep then I found this place!
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    Now it wasn't east to get to. The last 100 yards were hell. Go through a sandpit, around some stumps, avoid the 6ft square hole, then narrowly miss the torn up tree roots. I guess they are preparing to build something there.....
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    #79
  20. milkman67204

    milkman67204 Been here awhile

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    the next morning just down the road it became paved! This is pretty typical as soon as one district ends and another begins there can be a huge difference in road surfaces
    Welcome to Karelia
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    The pavement lasted all of 10 miles then this dirt road monstrosity. The sign says something like WARNING DANGEROUS ROAD.
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    You want to see Russian Life not Moscow this is it!
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    This is the first time I have sen something like this. 3 monuments all together in one square. This one Soviet for the war
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    This one Finnish from 1918
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    This one Finnish from WWII
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    Behind them were some old ruins from another Finn Church
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    Some drunks wouldn't leave me alone so finally they took my picture for me and I paid them like the equilivent of a quarter.
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    The road changed back to dirt and I found this little old church thing on the side of the road
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    It had another old graveyard behind it
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    The road and the bridge wasn't it to bad of shape
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    The north end of Ladoga! Pavement started back up again!
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    Monument to the Russian fleet that served in Ladoga during the war
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    Then I stumbled across this plesent town Sortavala. if you ever in the area its a nice quiet town with some interesting buldings
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    My favorite
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    #80