Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of Russia  , Far East Russia,
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Martin's maritime moment (or have I done that before?):

Well we made it! We thought today would be a smooth and cheerful run in to Vlad.For about 50km it turned out to be one of the worst bits of road we can remember - but then neither of us can remember much about anything.We then arrived in the city and like UB it consists of one main drag through the centre of town on to which traffic intersects from left and right.I reckon it took two hours to drive through the city.
Still we got here.
I read around the subject a lot as we prepared for the trip and I reckon we have just completed one of the longest unsupported drives by a pre-war car.Just under 11000 miles.And all in one pair of shoes.Remarkable.
It all seems a bit of an anti-climax nowa bit like getting through an exam.I think the reason is that abject dejection or bitter disappointment are stronger emotions than achievement.It doesn't even make sense as I write it but its the new black anyway.
Roger will no doubt explain the saga of the hotel rooms in his blow by blow account buts its the first time I've viewed 5 rooms and occupied 3 before choosing 1.
So tomorrow its off to sort out Stanley's next adventure and then get ourselves sorted for getting home.
Seems a bit mundane,writing postcards and sorting bags,but the enormity of the last 7 weeks probably hasn't sunk in yet.We must have been mad.
We think we'll run the blog up to the point of our departure from Vlad. and so these will not be our last entries.
I'm writing this looking out of a hotel bedroom on the open sea.There's a 3 tier diving board into the greyest,coldest water you could imagine.I guess some people do that - its amazing what people will do.I've jumped off a few diving boards in my time in the hope that there's sufficient water waiting for me.This has been one of the longest ways down and yes,the water was deep enough.
There has been an unsung hero on this trip (I'll do the Stanley bit maybe tomorrow).And that has been our Garmin SatNav.With Roger's great skill in locating and loading maps,we have negotiated deserts,cities and nightmare road systems.We have crossed is it one or two conntinents and more countries than I can remember.It must have saved us days,let alone our sanity.
I'm a bit deflated at the moment (like the schoolboy in the inflatable school with a pin-you've let yourself down,the school down etc..Couldn't resist it) but I guess I'll be pumped up again soon.


Well, we left the hotel early this morning as they only serve breakfast from 9.00 am. 9.00! The days almost over by then! But if it is a sanitorium, then amybe that explains it. Anyway, we were all intact in the morning, soo they werent doint transplants today, obviously.

Had a comparatively short drive today, and there isnt that much to report. By now the road has become a bit boring, afetr about 2500km what more can one say? Well, there was a lot more greenery alongside the road, obviously spring comes earlier here at lower altitudes, and further south than before. Lots of mistletoe growing in the trees, they could do a grand job of exporting it to the UK if they could get the timing right.

Got into the Vladivostok enviroinment and the road deteriorated badly. They are building a major highway into the city, so everything is detour and they dont look after the detours. Mud and potholes everywhere. no lane control. No idea why they are building a decent entry system, the traffic all goes down one road and therefoire bringing it in faster wont improve anything. We took about 2 hours just to get into the city.. Traffic police just stand and watch the traffic piling into an intesection without any hope of getting out again. Chaos!

Got to the hotel, went up to the room. Decided we'd try for a sea facing room, which Martin managed to organise without paying the extra. Got into it and dscovered that the door wouldnt open to let us out. Spent  about 20 minutres trying to convince reception that there was something wrong and that we did actually have a problem. Eventually they forced the door open. Gioven another room, which stank of cigarette smoke. They told us it was a non smoking room, sso I suggested that the previous resident didnt obey their rules, So they admitted that there are no non smoting rooms, and gave me 2 more keys for me to take my pick. Eventually got an acceptable room.

While Martin showered, I took a much needed walk (stride) into the town and back. It really is quite badly maintained - the sidewalks are all unedr water (it was raining) because there is a kerb between them and the road which prevents the water from draining off. All badly amintained so there are potholes in the sidewalks as well as the roads.

Looked for a hat  for Fiona, she'd requested one form mongolia which I never managed to sort. Best I could do is 8200 roubles - over 200. So sorry, Fiona, no go!

Got back, had dinner, which wa svery pleasant. NNice to know that its all over bar the sorting out the details for the return, ours and Stanleys. Thats tomorrows task, so after the photos are up, I'm off to sleep. Bye!

Mileage 340km
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Sara on

mmmmm- congratulations/ well done/ hooray all sound a bit too insignificant for an outstanding achievement. Good Ole Stanley (Dad's middle name by the way).
Imagine you'll be in need of a few good recognisable meals and your own beds. Hope the containerifying is simple and flights home easy to find.
We're now very much looking forward to having you home.

Mary R on

WOOHOOO!!!!! Very well done indeed. It's been a long time coming, but now it's here (sorry, Josh has given me the need to quote songs at every possible opportunity in life) HOORAY!!!!!! xxx

Jem on

Well done boys!! Knew the three of you could do it. Don't worry too much about the hat Rog, I bought her a very fetching one in Fes, purple and colourful so she can wear it for dancing; has done already. I'm now madly dashing about to bring the house/garden up to scratch before your arrival!! Enjoy Vlad for a while. Glad you managed to escape the room.

Sally on

Congratulations! Really impressed… and looking forward to hearing more.

Ralph and Carol on

We seem to have congratulated you a day early!!!!
You are not the only ones with memory lapses.

Lorraine and Roy on

Well done to the three of you!!! We enjoyed travelling with you all!! Good luck with getting Stanley on the high seas!!

Graham Goode on

Congratulations, brilliant effort. The Goodies are very proud of you. Can't wait to hear the details. I have enjoyed the blog. I suppose now all there is left is to do it against the wind. Well done both.

Pats Sampson on

WHOOP whoop!! Hope it feels better in the morning.... you probably just have to build up the adrenaline reserves!! :)

Phillipa on

Congratulations on reaching journey's end. Get lots of R&R and maybe start thinking about a new trip? Ill really miss the blog. Phillipa

Nigel and Pat on

Congratulations Martin and Roger. Your achievement is fantastic and far beyond most peoples dreams. Well done, and look forward to seeing you back in the UK safe and sound in the the coming days.

David on

Its a shame it has come to the end....I feel a bit deflated as well in a way. You boys were starting to add structure to my evenings. it was like the end of a good book when you are not sure you are going to find another like it. Well done and congratulations to you all. You should be very proud of yourselves. I reckon the adventure bug will have got you now and the next trip might not present the challenge level you have become accustomed to - roads in america are a doddle. So there's always australasia, africa or south america to think about. ;-) Look forward to seeying back at home. Well done again.

Audrey on

Congratulations, all that planning finally paid off. I have enjoyed follwing your progress through the entire journey. I knew you could do it. Pleased that you haven't lost your sense of humour, even though there were some very low moments. Have managed to stay out of trouble myself while you've been away! Will be good to see you safe back in England.

alison on

absolutely wonderful How about asking one of your Russian pals to take an official photo of you both with stanley before you box him up.Time for a bit of vodka swigging and Russian dancing I think.

Rob B. on

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Fantastic effort, almost miraculous that you kept the car (not to mention yourselves) going all that way. So don't be deflated - get some more beers in! Hope to see you safely back in the UK before long.

T Lady on

WELL DONE Stanley - a remarkable achievement and a HUGE credit to your final work force I think ! The boys did quite well too I quess !!

Barbara Goss on

I lost my bet with myself... you GOT THERE. Congratulations! Hope your family back home lets the media know about your incredible journey.....

lizandcharles on

We are delighted by your news. Well done you three! What a fantastic achievement! I am sure that you can hardly believe you are really there at last - keep pinching yourselves! Enjoy the best vodka you can find whilst you sort out Stanley's future travels and we will look forward to seeing you safely back.

Polly on

Brilliant! So proud of you both. Dsd I hope you are wearing your Russian hat. Look forward to seeing you soon

Tim on

WELL DONE to you both!!
Brillant achievement, and 11000 miles in a Morris with only a couple of hiccups. Fantastic!!
Look forward to seeing you on your return.

jonty road on

driving doesn't get tougher than this!

Fran Sharp on

Many, many congratulations to all 3 of you. I said you were crackers when you told us about the trip and I still think you are!
However, almost all of our friends are crackers, so what the hell!
It has been absolutely fascinating reading your "Blogs" - (funny word!).
There has to be a book in this when you get back. Will you be at the next 41 Club Meeting? I won't, but look forward to catching up with you soon.

Emily on

It certainly doesn't! Well done Dad and Roger, we had no doubt that you would do it. You have done fantastically well and we are so proud of you.
Mum's right, you should definitely get a photo of you both with Stanley before you send him off.
Glad this isn't the end of the blog entries, I think a lot of people will be hanging on til the bitter end!
Try not to feel deflated, this is only the beginning. You better start practicing your story telling!
Love emily

Graham M on

Congratulations boys, have been reading from the edge of my chair, wonderful acheivement by all 3 of you. Glad to see my Garmin sales pitch paid off so well, remember goodwood to pizza express in one easy lesson ? Well done again, safe journey home.

Eileen swaisland on

Well done, seems so insignificant on your fabulous achievement. I would like to be associated with all the previous comments have loved the blog and photos and you have done a fab sales pitch for the Gramin! Hope you enjoy your last few days as a family before you leave Stanley and Vlad behind. But what a welcome awaits you both. Congratulations x

Peter California on

AWESOME - as they would say in the old country you Rhodeys are the wuns

Shelagh and Karl. California on

Great news. Wow! Just back from visiting Cordee in St Paul MN, and flying back over the dry and dusty CA desert was thinking of you and of the 'dusty' post and pics of a week or so back! And you've had 1000 adventures since then! I don't know what your followers are going to do without having the blogs to look forward to. You must be exhausted and thrilled and so proud of yourselves, and Stanley! K and S

Colin & Mark on

We have been entertained every morning by the blog reading about the trials and tribulations of the adventure.We never doubted that the two of you would achieve your goal but not so sure about Stanley.A very warm congratulation to the both of you and look forward to seeing you both soon.Congrats once again.

Dave Palmer. on

I never doubted your ability to achieve your goal. as for Stanley, well,He's done very well indeed, suffering with only minor travel sickness, other than the wheel stud problems. Am I a happy man! Congratulations to you all.

Jemma on

Am writing this comment for the third time as it seems even in this civilised place of the Fosters drinker the internet fails us from time to time.
Was thinking maybe South America for your next trip, abit of interaction with the cartels. Or if you wanted sedate, the Rabbit proof fence!!!
Congratulations to you both, I think once the tiredness and need for a lovely carrot has bee fulfilled the elation will come.
I look forward to many an ancedote over a glass of red on my return in August.
Mum time to get the digestives in, and you can always request seconds of ice cream on the flight home.
Safe travels.

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