Rally Day 3: The Horrible Border

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
1
5
18
Trip End Aug 29, 2013


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Flag of Russia  , Rostov Oblast,
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lots of sitting today. We rolled out of our hotel at 7:30 this morning headed for the Russian border. We had some of the best roads so far with paved two lane highways most of the way. After arriving at the border we handed over our documents and waited. After a few minutes they told us that we had to pull over to the side and wait. We had a problem with our entry documents into the Ukraine and they told us to wait as they tried to figure out what to do with us. 4 hours later they told us we had to go back to the border we'd come in at and get a stamp. We were feeling pretty awful at this point because we'd just figured out while we were waiting that we wouldn't be able to finish the route we had planned because of the speeds we are averaging.

With both of those issues settling in we called the embassy in Kiev to see what we could do. Our new friend Bill said he'd figure it out for us and call us back in a half hour. After two more hours and a few more phone calls from the embassy our border guard came over to tell us that we wouldn't be needing that stamp and we were free to leave! 6 hours later and we moved on to the Russian border. We've been here now for three hours waiting on Russia to OK our car passport which is different from the standard type they usually see. Fingers crossed.

We're still deliberating on our route going forward but the option that's the most likely at this point is driving to Novosibirsk through Russia so we don't have to deal with more borders, fly to Samaria, Uzbekistan then Steve Wilcox will fly from there to Almaty to get his flight home to DC and the rest of us will fly back to the cars and continue to Mongolia. Our plan isn't certain yet but it seems like we have to do something different in order to make our deadlines in Almaty and Ulaanbaatar.

Borders are no fun with American cars.

Update: We made it across the border after a combined I0 hours or so and arrived at the town of Novoshakhtinsk. After another hour or so we found a hotel for the night after a few more failed attempts. It's a soviet style apartment building with some rooms set aside as hotel rooms. It has a zoo of sorts in the front yard with deer, foxes, raccoons and a bobcat in cages. Possibly more but we'll be able to tell in the morning when we have light. The hotel doesn't have running water right now but it does have a few nails popping out of the ground and things you'd expect to see in a Russian grandma's house or something. Immersion into Russian life on the first night! What more could you ask for?
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