Rally Day 8: Ufa - Kurgan

Trip Start Jul 09, 2013
Trip End Aug 29, 2013

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Flag of Russia  , Kurganskaya oblast,
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today's leg was from Ufa to Kurgan across more fields and the brief Ural Mountains. We've been very happy with the good road conditions lately and have been making great time toward our deadline in Novasabirsk for Steve Wilcox's flight in two days.
By this point in the trip there are a few jokes that have kept running long after they should have ended. There's either a real or imagined difference in opinion over where/when we should eat. The first few days usually consisted of about one meal and a lot of snack food for the rest of the day. As we've driven on we've compromised on about two meals a day and less snacking. There's also the discussion over where we should eat when we do get around to it. This morning we drove past a McDonalds on the way out of Omsk and the “old” car (Craig, Steve and today's guest oldie Matt) radioed to the other car that there was a McDonald's that we'd just passed. The “party” car didn't respond to the call and drove right on past the McDonalds with no hint of stopping. The old car decided to take good humored offense at this and at the next guest stop it was explained to party car driver, Kurt, that breakfast is the most important thing of the day to Steve the elder and that his skipping McDonald's had already ruined his day. Needless to say, later in the day when “there's a Subway” was radioed in by the old car, we ended up with sandwiches.

Around the middle of the day we climbed into the Ural hills which divide Europe and Asia. Luckily we happened to stop for gas at the station that marks the continental divide and a helpful Russian boy pointed it out to us. Photo shoot! Steve the younger was definitely the most triumphant looking at the divide as he stood atop the 80 series. The mountains were a lot like the Appalachian mountains in that they were really just hills. At least where we drove through them.

We've been getting more creative with our communication techniques recently and today was a mixture of pictionary, charades, pointing, a little Russian and finally showing pictures of things we wanted in google image searches. It's spiced things up a little and the Russians can't help but show a few teethe. The Russians we've met have been a little like onions/ogres in that they have layers. The first six or seven are usually pretty rough with people yelling at us and being very upset that we don't understand what they're saying (probably rightfully so). After our experiments with pictionary, charades, etc. those top layers fall off and the sweet inside is exposed. They start laughing and getting into the game of trying to communicate and by the end some of them are having a legitimately having a good time with us. They'll laugh and have fun with you, which, at the beginning of the conversation, you never thought would be possible. You have to dig but getting the top layers off is worth it.

On to Omsk tomorrow.
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