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Week Eight Chapter: 27 Jun ~ 03 Jul 2006 - Ukraine, Poland

“I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home.” - William Hazlitt (British Writer, 1778-1830)

"The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know." - Loren Eiseley

"The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; that the purpose of this world is not "to have and to hold" but "to give and serve." There can be no other meaning." - Sir Wilfred T. Grenfell

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready." - Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Taken from a simulated altitude of 616 meters (2,021 feet), an aerial view of the Main Market Square in Krakow, Poland (which may also been seen from a ground-level view in the "banner image" at the top of this page). The World Tourers are spending three days in Krakow, their hotel just a few blocks off the Square.
(Image courtesy of Google Earth Plus - A 3D Interface to the Planet)

Starting location for this week: Odessa, Ukraine
Ending location for this week: Krakow, Poland
Planned mileage for this week: 1,475 kilometers (921 miles)

Pryvit ("hello" in Ukrainian)

Dobri den ("hello" in Ukrainian)

Zdorovenkni ("hello" in Ukrainian)

Vitayu ("hello" in Ukrainian)

Zdrastuy ("hello" in Ukrainian - informal)

Dzien dobry ("hello" in Polish)

Czesc ("hello" in Polish - familiar)

Czolem ("hello" in Polish)

Serwus ("hello" in Polish)

Today, America celebrates Independence Day. A good part of the world is glued to television sets as the World Cup enters its final frenzy. The half-mile wide asteroid 2004 XP14 makes a "close approach" to Earth. A crack in the foam insulation of the orbiter Discovery's external fuel tank may delay another Shuttle launch. The World Tour has once again entered the Free World. Here in Poland, we're only a week away from the end of our long ride.

The "sig" line I have adopted for many years is "The world is a book and those that do not travel, read only a page."  The quote is attributed to St. Augustine, himself a traveler, sent by Pope Gregory the Great to bring Christianity to England back in 596 AD. Truly, "those that do not travel" take much for granted. Folded in with the fond memories, the amazing sights, the smiling faces, the riders on this year's tour, like those before, will come home with a new-found appreciation of the freedoms they have, the choices that are before them, the material wealth and high standard of living they enjoy.

If the world is book, savor as many pages as you can, it's a story worth reading.


* * * * * * * * * *

Unless otherwise noted, all photographic images on this page were taken by Helge Pedersen.

The many forms of "Hello" in over 800 languages and other useful words and phrases are courtesy of Jennifer's Language Page.

To find out what time it is there (or anywhere!), visit The World Clock.

For more information about the countries in southern Africa that the riders will travel through, please visit the resources listed below:

- The World Factbook, maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States:

- The Consular Information Sheets, provided by the Department of State of the United States:

- The web-based, free-content encyclopedia entries at Wikipedia, maintained by "GlobeWriters" everywhere":

Day 52 - 29 Jun 2006 - Kiev, Ukraine
[Editor's Note: The following email is from Otto Heijnen, a friend of GlobeRider Wim Daalderop.  Otto, who works in Romania, had planned to ride down and meet us in Ukraine, hoping to spend some time with an old friend.  It was not to be....]

From: Otto Heijnen
Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 12:56 PM
To: World Tour 2006 Live!Journal
Cc: Wim Daalderop
Subject: No Visit Odessa

The plans were made. We were at the Ukraine border on 26-06-06 and there, our trip to bring a visit to you in Odessa stopped.

Long story told quickly - we were stopped at the border ( Moldova – Ukraine, close to Reni). The frame number of one of the bikes was not correct; the police in Bucharest made one type mistake in the papers, and this was not possible to resolve in 12 hours. Arrived at the border at 10:00, left the border at 22:30, without one of the bikes and a very empty stomach

The Yamaha TTR 600 E was confiscated by Customs. Yesterday I changed the papers and applied for new visa for Moldova, and we go again. Next week we have a trailer and we can pick up the bike (we hope).

We were not allowed to take pictures but a few I took, this is the one where the bike is parked in the office of the Customs and locked with 3 locks.

Drum bun (have a nice drive),


Day 53 - 30 Jun 2006 - Lviv (Lvov) Ukraine

Police and border hassles aside, the days in Ukraine have been easy-going and pleasant.  The quality of food service has most certainly been "kicked up a notch".

As you may know, Helge is a vegetarian, of sorts.  Actually, a "Norwegetarian". In addition to the green stuff, he savors nothing more than a main course of fish, seafood or shellfish (crab being at the top of the list, but that's another story for another day).

So, here's picture, crying for a good caption.  If you have a one, please send it, just click here!

Obviously, it was a slow news day. . . .


Day 55 - 02 Jul 2006 - Krakow, Poland

Greetings from Krakow, Poland:

We are now towards the end of our journey and entering a culture and environment similar to our own. We will miss all the lousy roads, harassment by the cops, corruption, diesel fumes from the trucks, alcoholism, and all the beautiful girls of Russia and Ukraine. We feel fortunate to be near completion of our second trip across China and Russia with GlobeRiders.

We have enjoyed this trip so much more than we did in the year 2000, in part because we have developed good travel skills and have well customized our motorcycle and equipment. We owe a lot to major motorcycle touring companies and to fellow riders who have helped us out along the way. Also to give credit to the governments of China and Russia, the roads and road signs have improved dramatically.

As we transition from developing countries to Poland, the following pictures show a few of the things we saw as we approach Europe:

The sign posted at the entrance to the freeway and the donkey cart are indicators that we are now approaching a more modern world.

This is probably the last of the donkey carts we will see.

Storks are such big birds and a rare sight. It is a real challenge to catch them in their nests. We have also seen them in South America and Africa.

Traditionally there are monuments at the entrance of the cities and towns. This one consists of men on horses wielding swords and bugles and was on a remote stretch of road outside L’Viv. It is most unusual as it comes straight off the top of a hill, it must be quite an engineering feat to keep it from falling to the ground. We thought is made a nice background for a bike and rider picture.

The number of beggars has increased as we have moved west. It seems that they migrate to the larger cities. Our guide in L’Viv said they are trucked in on weekends to pick pockets and beg from the increased number of people in the city.

In closing, as we near completion of this trip we want to thank all those who have shared with us their knowledge and experiences which has made this such an enjoyable trip. From these mentors and fellow riders we have learned how to travel with so little and enjoy the world so much.

Jeff and Ann Roberg

Day 55 - 02 Jul 2006 - Krakow, Poland

Howdy from L’viv, Ukraine----

Well, I hadn’t planned on another report until after we enter the semi-free EU, ----but----Mike seems to have become a criminal in Ukraine and I feel it is my duty to report it as I saw it.

As you already know my opinion of the authority figures encountered on the trip thus far…here follows what happened yesterday.

It started out as a large group of us leaving out together from Kiev, the city that glows in the dark without power needed [Editor’s Note: … due to its proximity to Chernobyl]. Late in the morning just Mike and I were together and so far had not been harassed by any Deputy Dawgs all day. As I rode behind Mike and his concealed illegal radar detector, flashing oncoming headlights with glowing brake lights ahead indicated a speed trap ahead, and we slowed way down. Mike later said the detector beeped also. We were going under the 80K limit and as were passing the blue uniforms, one of them stepped out and waved his black and white baton at Mike.

Well, bless his heart, Mike just did not see him (heh-heh). As I passed the little dude, he was blowing on his whistle so hard he was spinning around in a circle. I didn’t see him either. . . .

We rode on and as soon as we were out of sight we nailed it for a few miles and then slowed back down to normal speed. Then guess what? We were chased down by a Lada with flashing red and blue lights and the passenger cop hanging out the window waving his baton again. Well, they passed me and got beside Mike and waved and waved the baton and when it almost hit his helmet, Mike pulled over.

I stopped 100 meters back as an observer. The two cops were really just young guys in their late 20s, early 30s and were smiling and laughing the entire time. One of them proceeded to lecture Mike on the prudence of observing traffic laws while the other one waved me up to them and wanted to know where we were going. When I told them where we started and where we were going, he just looked surprised and said “Why?” I started laughing and then he starting laughing. He then asked me if I had heard his whistle. I said “Eh?” and showed him my ear plugs.

Well all’s well that ends well. We all shook hands and Mike put his receipt for exceeding the “posted” speed limit by 4 KPH (that would be 2.5 MPH) into his now empty wallet and we left smiling on the outside and knowing that we had been busted legitimately for not stopping.

Why isn’t there a Waffle House around here? Yo quiero Taco Bell!!

Curtis—your crime reporter on the scene

Day 56 - 03 Jul 2006 - Krakow, Poland


Sixteen years ago, we sailed the North Atlantic circuit. Because of weather and wind conditions, passages needed to be made within a relative narrow time window. Consequently, it seemed likely that you would encounter familiar boaters in subsequent harbors. We often speculated which boating families we would most probably happen upon. A very exciting prospect.

I have found a similar feeling on the road. Although we might ride solo or in small groups, each time we see another member of our riding family, a feeling of excitement and joy ensues. A feeling of : yes, we are on the right track – yes, all is well and yes, we should all be safely at our destination once again.

Now that we are in the latter part of the journey, we are less dependant on each other, yet we remain part of this “global riders” family. I admire all of us – it takes determination and fortitude to commence and bring this to a successful conclusion. Maybe a dash of madness as well, which is precisely what makes this so special.

How have we managed to mesh and tolerate each other for the better part of 2½ months, and have done so remarkably well? The main ingredients have indeed been tolerance and teamwork. We have learned to accept shared accommodations and personality peculiarities. Among us we have the extroverts (“Hello Texas”), we have the go-getters who scout out the terrain before us, the hard riders who may, at times, wish they had been a little less exuberant, the free spenders, those with patience and those with a short fuse, the outspoken and the timid, the tactful and the less so.

Of course, group dynamic dictates compromise and we have done so remarkably well.

Of all the participants I especially have a great deal of admiration for our two couples. At times, this journey has been very demanding for a single rider. Having to deal with the physical and emotional needs of a second person takes spunk. We have a very experienced couple who are perfectly synchronized and have honed their skills on and off the road. It is the second couple that would receive my grand award. Although they might have had some rough patches, they bounced back and gelled admirably. Well done!

Another award needs to be directed to our earthly master whose equanimity, problem solving skills and charisma has kept us all in line and on the road, without feeling part of a herd.

Congratulations to all!!


Day 56 - 03 Jul 2006 - Krakow, Poland

Howdy from Poland

Well, we made it to the EU even though we thought we could now use Euros from here on. Poland still has their own money, the goober or something. But, no problem - since we don’t have to pay any more bribes, we can carry less cash and use the ATM’s more often.

What a change!!! Just a few miles into Poland from the border and the scenery changed big time. Smoother roads, visible stripes, more road signs, clean gas stations with convenience stores and real toilets. Yeeehaa! The first gas station we used had a pump jockey and he motioned us to go on inside and pay AFTER we had him fill us up, WOW WEE! Civilization at last! The countryside is so green and the people wave back now. What a pleasant ride it was.

A couple of observations. Even though we changed countries, there are 2 things these guys still don’t seem to have here. No lawn mowers, they just tie up ‘ol Bossy in the yard instead of mowing the grass. The other thing is - no hay balers - they can cut and windrow the grasses really well, but they still use their backs and pitchforks to build haystacks in the fields (ouch!). John Deere are you listening?

AND, the prices also changed. No bargains around here. Mike and Joe and I went to dinner the first night here in Krakow looking for regular-type food. We each found what we were looking for, and at the same outside table overlooking the town square, they got sushi and I got FAJITAS. Or I should say—real close to fajitas. Heck, close enough.

This town is full of American tourists with lots of tour buses coming and going to this hotel. This hotel, let me tell you, is really nice. It made me think of leaving my riding suit in the garage with the bike and walking in barefoot. But I didn’t do it. I’m sure we are paying well to stay here.

Tomorrow we head to the Czech Republic and may swing down to Slovakia on the way. Then on to Germany and meet Precious Darling for the rest of the trip. I hope she still can recognize me --- I’ll be the big smelly guy in the dirty riding suit on the dirty bike with the big smile on his face.

What a trip!!

Curtis---fresh from Siberia

Day 58 - 05 Jul 2006 - Brno, Czech Republic

The World Tour is not the most arduous undertaking in the history of humankind, or in the annuals of adventure touring. But, any 65-plus day tour on motorbike is an achievement anyone can be proud. Include China, Inner Mongolia, boiled mutton chunks for lunch, Siberia, insane traffic, suicidal drivers, a million pot-holes, bad roads, foreign languages, corrupt cops and border officials, AND the daily routine of packing and moving on, and well, you get the idea. Every participant on the World Tour has done something special, and can rightly claim his or her place in the ranks of “extreme adventurers”.

On the 2002 World Tour, Pawel, Dennis and I were riding along somewhere in Siberia, I forget exactly where. As we headed West, we passed a group of three people, jogging along the road. There was a big guy in a jogging outfit, another equally large man in a tank top and shorts, and a tiny person in some sort of weird gossamer-looking outfit.

We somehow all managed to converge at a gas station a few minutes later. The “gossamer-looking outfit” turned out to be a mesh bug/mosquito suit, worn by a diminutive fifty-two year-old Japanese woman, who just happened to be jogging AROUND THE WORLD! After I got home, I remember surfing the net, and later found that she had completed her remarkable journey. Amazing!

Yesterday, we saw another traveler who really put it all in perspective. . . .

I was riding with Curtis. We had just crossed the border from Slovakia into the Czech Republic. Coming at us was a police car, making way for a lone person in an electric wheelchair, followed by a van covered with stickers and newspaper clippings.

I pulled a U-turn, and rode alongside for a while. What I saw was a true testament to the human spirit. In the wheelchair was a severely disabled traveler. His legs were strapped to his chair, he didn’t have a left hand, and his deformed arm was strapped to his side. He was controlling his wheelchair with a “sip and puff” tube, using his lips and breath to speed up, slow down, and turn left and right. His chair proudly flew a banner and the Korean flag.

We were on the main highway leading the border post. I didn’t try and stop this amazing procession, I wish I had. I shouted a greeting in my limited Korean, and was rewarded with a smile, and using his head, a wave. I was able to snap a few badly-framed pictures. From a sticker on the side of the van, I was able to read and remember the following two lines:

"The World Longest 16,000 km Europe Continent Challenge"


"For the United Korean Peninsula"

Thus, as we sat there on our state-of-the-art BMW motorcycles, feeling all good and proud of our 16,000 kilometer ride, this incredible human was making a 16,000 kilometer journey of his own, in the opposite direction, in a wheelchair, for a cause that he deeply believed in, one far greater than himself.

Brave traveler, I don’t know your name, but I am humbled by your courage, and am awed by your undertaking.


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