I don’t believe it; we’re in Ukraine!!
Yeah, f@ck Kazakhstan, f@ck Russia, we’re on the doorstep of Europe and going strong. Well, sort of. Dorothy nearly died yesterday; lost all power, almost stopped, but she seems a little better today with us now only 300 kilometres west of Kiev.
But bugger me it’s been a hard ride getting here. The day after the last email I sent we crossed the Kazakhstan/Russia border. Christ me, those Kazakh border guards are real bastards. Coming up some rubbish about me not having the right paperwork they shut me in a rooom and demanded 200 Euros to let me out. Inside I laughed; I’ve come too far to let cocks like this get the better of me. So I said no.
He didn’t like that much so I said it again. I showed him my dirty hands and mismatched gloves and said ‘buddy, I don’t even have 200 Euros.’ Of course he didn’t understand, nor did he realise I had 600 dollars in my belt. So to the next office he sent me. They wanted $100. Again I said no. They said ‘problem’. And on it went for the next three hours, me being passed forwards and back between the two offices being asked for cash.
Long story short, they had no choice but to let me through. And after four hours intimidation all they got was a pen. Tossers.
I messed up though. I should have bought Russian bike insurance on the Kazak side so when I got to Russian customs they sent me back to get some. Darn.
Having only a five day visa for Russia I had to ride like the wind. That means I can’t remember much of it now, just the hedgebottoms were I slept and the incredibly friendly people I met at the petrol pumps. You see I have no maps, just a scribbled list of towns I needed to pass. So at every other petrol station I’d engage in the most incredible game of charades with the pump man until he understood where I wanted to go and h was able to point me in the general direction. I’m playing the same game in Ukraine.
So yeah, crossed the border yesterday after four hours of me and Dorothy being strip-searched by customs. It was Pakistan you see. To them anyone who goes there is a drug smuggler, so out came the sniffer dog and the strong arm of Ukraine intimation as I had everything out and everything off until they were completely satisfied the water purifying tablets I had from India were grade A infetamin, or something.
I’ll be honest though, I was real worried they were going to plant something. I don’t know why but I felt they had it in for me…. but never mind, we made it in the end.
Dot’s still not good though, with me real worried that this trip will be a real disaster if she doesn’t make it to the end. I have to finish on dorothy I said to myself as I lay in my tent last night worrying.
But then this morning a revelation. Dorothy isn’t a motorbike. She isn’t that red thing I’ve been riding from Sydney these last eight months. No, Dorothy is a spirit, a mantra, a way of live… one that we all have in our garages just waiting to ride. She’s the adventurer in us, the one that says ‘fuck it, I’m off.’ She’s that side of us that soars and roars and takes to the skies chasing dreams and whatever else it is that ignites us. It’s just sad that she doesn’t always get out much, that she spends so long locked away while we sit astride our sensible side saying ‘this should be the way.’ Sense and sensibility, it’s not the only way.
So I say dust off your Dorothy’s, fire her up and take her for a ride. You’ll be amazed just how far you get. We’ve racked up 32,000 kilometres so far and whether I arrive in Dover on a little red Honda or a Russian pushbike, I shall arrive proud astride my Dorothy.
For now the road west. I can hear it calling.
See ya in a few weeks.
Nathan and ‘Dorothy’