Beautiful dusty roads and wonderful clean sheets

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Lithuania  , Kauno Apskritis,
Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last night I didn’t sleep very restfully but it was still such a nice night to sleep out under the stars, just laying on the ground, without a sleeping bag to tangle in. It was so nice to wake up and look up at the stars and all night it was so warm. As soon as the sun was up it became unbearably hot in the sunshine so we moved into the shade of Nina and had some breakfast. As the sun got higher Nina’s shadow got smaller and smaller so we made a shade sail from my little blanket in the sidecar so we had somewhere to keep a little bit cooler - well it was sort of impossible to keep cool in such heat but at least we were not frying.

 After eating we fell asleep again until waking up a while later feeling completely pickled in our sweat and with our heads spinning from being so hot. So we went straight into the river for a swim. And it was so good, someone had made a path of stepping stones over the muddy bank so by the time we were in the water we were walking over clean stone in crystal clear water. Standing knee deep on a stone, hundreds of fish came and swam around out legs, a few small ones even daring to nibble my toes. We then waded through an avenue of tall reeds out into the faster flowing water where we could brace our feet on a rock and leaning into the current, relax and let the water flow around us, so wonderful and cooling.

 Until late in the afternoon we were at the river eating, drying things out, reorganising,  packing up slowly and going for many long swims. All up and down the river many other people came swimming all day. At about three in the afternoon we were ready to get moving, it was still so hot and humid, with not even the tiniest breath of wind. In our leathers it felt like we would melt, only moving was there a little relief from the wind. 

 We have found in this area of the world there are a few main roads that run from city to city which are dead straight, totally flat and very busy. Here and their you can find a few other roads that are a little more interesting and even more beautiful but mostly if you want to go off the main road a little you are really heading out into the backroads.   Mostly they are unpaved, at this time of year totally dusty and so bumpy it feels you are being rattled apart. But never mind all that we decided to try and find a alternative to the main road and headed off down a road that was supposedly going to take us all the way into Lithuania

 So we rattled and bumped down the road through the beautiful countryside, through one-house towns, more amazing vegetable gardens and huge golden wheat fields. As we approached the border up ahead we noticed the road wasn’t looking quite right. On arriving we found right along the the border a deep ditch had been dug, and their was no bridge to carry us over the big gouge. In Lithuania the road continued - for some reason the authorities had decided to make this road a place were you couldn’t cross the border.

 And while at the border we found another surprise. In our beer crate we keep some of our food, mostly jars that fit nicely into the partitions for each beer bottle so that space is not wasted when we put bigger things in the crate that don’t fit down into the sections. As we rattled and rattled going over such bumpy roads the lid of our tomato based pasta sauce and butter jar (the butter was totally liquid in the heat) had rattled itself off and butter and tomato sauce was splattered all over everything in the box and the inside of Felix’s jacket which had been hanging over the crate and dripped down all over the pack-rack, mudguard and numberplate. So anyway not such an important or significant event (I had it all cleaned up in a few minutes), but I can’t believe the lid of sealed, unopened jar was rattled off.

 Next we tried another dirt road, which navi assured us would take us across the border, but when we got there again the deep ditch had continued all the way to here too. And again we had to turn around and head back, it was about twenty kilometres back to the main road now but we didn’t mind at all that we hadn’t managed to go the way we wanted, we still had a really nice little explore through the countryside away from the main road.

 After a few hours of riding, even at the most efficient speed for keeping the engine cool, with the sun beating down from above and the heat of the road cooking us from below, Nina was still getting too hot so we stopped to let her cool, down a little path in the forest where even in the shade it didn’t seem the slightest bit cooler and the mosquitos swarmed us. All we wanted to do was sit in the shade and try to cool off a little but they were so hungry and unrelenting that we paced around swatting and cursing. Then a scene occurred, which had anyone witnessed we would have surely been assumed totally insane. We discovered we could fan each other with the blanket by holding an end each and lifting it up and down gently, which used little energy, created a little, cooling breeze and mostly kept the mosquitos away. So there we were standing in the forest in our underwear, gently flapping a blanket between us.

 Finally when the sun was almost below the horizon we headed off again, hoping it would be cooler for us all. Now across the border and well into Lithuania, we didn’t need to worry about roads with ditches dug across them so we ventured down some smaller roads again. And again it was so bumpy and dusty, we got stuck behind a few cars and a tractor so when we finally got back onto paved road we had a nice coating of dust. 

 It was now dark and feeling like we had been rattled enough for one day, we went back onto the main road and rode for a few more hours before looking for a place to sleep. This was turning out to be harder then we though it would be. Each time we stopped to try and set up, it seemed like it was in the middle of now-where, but after a few moments a dog would start barking and some lights would come on very close to where we were. People here don’t keep their lights on for long after dark, judging from the rundown state of many houses and the incredibly low cost of food and petrol, I guess a lot of people are very poor at the moment.

 So after an hour of so of looking and looking and finding nowhere to sleep, we were both getting very snappy and grumpy, my headset wasn’t working so we couldn’t talk, Nina was also getting really hot from so much slow riding down muddy forest tracks and manoeuvring through ditches and over banks. Felix and I were also feeling very hot, sweaty and very dirty after all the dust we had ridden through. We filled up with fuel and the man at the cash register told us there was a truck stop five kilometres down the road where there was also a motel and twenty four hour restaurant. He also said we could sleep in the grass behind the petrol station but I wasn’t so sold at that idea after watching a crazy looking man come out of the bushes and several young guys using the area as a toilet.

 Again I was going through the same feelings I had in Cremona, way back in Italy when we slept under a tree in a suburban street. I desperately wanted the comfort of a safe, clean, comfortable place to sleep, a shower and a good meal, but I also wanted to save money and be tough, I wanted to be proud to say I had just slept in the grass behind a petrol station, I didn’t want to be the one to chicken out and go running to a nice comfortable motel. After a while deliberating and a few little tears, Felix handed the decision over to me and the lure of a shower to wash away the coating of sweat and dust was too strong so we went to the motel. At thirty five euros for both of us it seemed like a pretty good deal.

 And so now we have had a very delicious dinner and a wonderful shower, we are charging the camera, the laptop, checking emails and catching up on blogging. We don’t have to check out until midday tomorrow so I’m really looking forward to another shower and good sleep-in  in these lovely white clean sheets. Goodnight! 
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