Last day away

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

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Flag of Russia  , Far East Russia,
Friday, May 6, 2011

Well, today is the last day of the trip. Spent it kicking our heels around Vladivostok. After all this time away, it is quite unsettling to be killing time. We worked out that we had spent more than one night in only three places during the whole trip, the rest of the time it was arrive, sleep and depart. The three were Baku/Caspian Sea (which was about 10 days), Ulaanbaatar (2 nights) and Vladivostok. Must admit that Vlad isnt my favourite place - what with the quality of the roads/pavements etc, and the bitter temperatures made worst by the wind I shall put Vlad on the list of places to avoid unless its mid summer!

Spent the day roaming round town. Went and paid the insurance on the car for the voyage. Then wennt into town to buy some stamps for the postcards. Major exercise. Its amazing how inefficient a state run service becomes, theres no incentive to make it run smoothly. We then went to see the submarine that they have on the sea front. uite impressive, but I wouldnt like to be cooped up inside one for too long! The gardeners were planting a range of flowers in the beds around the sub - the first flowers we have seen. I hope they survive the spring weather. Wandered around, looked at the bridge they are building across the bay. No idea why, theres so much traffic in the city already, if they make it quicker to get in there'll still be traffic problems. Perhaps they will encourage the traffic to take the new bridge straight over the city and out to sea?

had lunch in a cappuccino bar, spent an age watching a lady who came in, ordered for 2, and spent the next hour waiting for her companion to arrive. She picked at her salad, left the tea in the pot getting cold. I wanted to stay until either she gave up, or he/she arrived late and got chewed out, but we gave up first. She might still be there for all we know!
Came back to the hotel to put the stamps on the postcards. You can tell we had a pressure day, cant you!

Skyped family, packed up and kileld time until dinner. Its hard to waste time when you want to get going. But now its the last night. In the morning we take a 2 hour taxi drive to the airport, a 14 hour flight to London via Moscow and then hopefuilly we'll be met by Alison to take us home. The end of a long journey.

Martin made some very kind comments yesterday (in comparison to the rude things he says to my face) but the truth is that we both needed eachother. This sort of thing has to be done as a team, or else it falls apart, and he has certainly done most of the work. So thanks to Martin for everything.

Mileage since Garim reset 6884km

Martin's moving on moment:
So -its done.This will be my last entry to the blog,at least for this leg. What are the main things that stand out from the journey? That I have almost no feeling of achievement from having done it,perhaps not an unusual reaction.
I was surprised that during the event i was more fearful than I had imagined I would be and despite setting out with the thought that if all went wrong with the car I would walk away from it I knew that I couldn't.I actually joked with somebody when we were crossing over to France that it was like dragging two tons of scrap metal around half the world.Stanley became our refuge but also a huge responsibility.Without the car we could fly somewhere,re-arrange visas and be quite flexible.We had arranged things such that we were always unable to go back the way we came.In my darkest moments on the Caspian Sea there was actually no way to turn around to get home.We could never work out an alternative to what if?
The isolation and uniqueness of our presence was also a surprise.
Imagine two Mongolians arriving in Bedford market square on a camel and asking for a hotel.Stanley is at least 40 years older than any vehicle a great number of the people we met had seen. 
As you get older you also feel a lot more vulnerable and certainly physically things are a lot tougher.Just dealing with driving a heavy old car and trhen sorting out staying alive knocks you up a bit.
The achievement will mean a lot to a few and nothing to many.For me its hard to take in at the moment.There's no book in it but one day when someone is complaining about getting stuck in a traffic jam or that they found a flat tyre when they came out of the office,I'll think - but hopefully won't say.......

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Jesmary on

Well done Martin and Roger, see you soon. I'm sure there is another day to add to this blog, after all you have the flight to negotiate. I bet there is a story in that, it can't all be plain sailing, sorry flying, especially in Russia. Look forward to it

Janet Parsons on

Finding myself quite moved at this moment. I still can't understand why you have done it but you have and that is amazing in its own right. I am thinking that you won't see this until you get home - so I very much hope that your journey has been smooth and uneventful. Dave and I look forward to hearing all about it in person on June 16th, Roger. Guess coming to see us will be most mundane (not too many photos!!!).

Janet and Gordon, Winnipeg on

Well done completing the European/Asian portion. Gordon will miss the daily excitement following the blog! I hope it was worth all the hassle - your patience with bureaucracy is amazing!

Lew &Management(Jilly) on

A stunning achievement and an inspiration to so many of us. Here's wishing you a safe journey home and all good fortune for the next trip.

Lew and Jilly

Brian and T lady on

What an achievement for the three of you. Look forward to actually hearing some of your tales. Safe and swift return then.

Lizzy (Fiona's Friend) on

Congratulations on making it to Vlad!!

Are you sure you don't fancy a swim before you go? That diving board looking so appealing and all...

Hope you have a good flight back.

Fiona on

Glad youre thinking of me Dad, I'm thinking of you! Have you been getting my txts? Cos I've sent them, but you don't sound like youve got them :( Very much looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, xxx

Tim on

What do you mean the end of the still have to get through Heathrow!.....Well Done, all the loose ends are tied, and you can return to your family and friends hero's... (for a while anyway). Your trials car needs some work now....the Alta....the Jag..... See you soon...

Sarah (Prebend Day Centre) on

хорошо сделано (horosho sdelano)
......Well done!! Again! What a superb achievement. Welcome back. The thunder's rolling into Bedfordshire to mark your homecoming! Sarah T

David Mitchell on

Hi Guys

Well done to all of you - you've made it and on time and basically in one piece! Except for a few 'wobbley' moments you kept to time very well and had lots of different experiences. I really enjoyed your daily narrative, musings and pictures. How will I get my daily fix now? I'm sure you will have a new appreciation of Bedfordshire's roads!

So, bring on the USA - one country, one visa, one currancy, one language{?}, any ferries? - Kid's Stuff!!

Thanks for the entertainment and once again well done - will see you soon.

Best wishes, David

David on

Most people like the idea of doing such things........and then some people get on and just do them. Well done to you. Great effort. See you soon.

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