Posts for July, 2014


City tour in the rain (Vilnius, Lithuania)

Journal entry for Tuesday 1st Jul, 2014 (day 351, miles 1,273)

Today was about visiting the old city of Vilnius in the rain. What can I say, not a good day for tourist businesses. Very few people were out braving the weather. Much of Vilnius's old city is also reconstucted and the fort on the hill is a complete reconstruction. This time the culprits were the Russians not the Germans.

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First Christmas Tree (Riga, Latvia)

Journal entry for Wednesday 2nd Jul, 2014 (day 352, miles 1,459)

Today we got to Riga, the capital of Latvia, and after parking at the campground we walked into the old city for a look around. While it was another of those old cities decked out with wall to wall bars and restaurants for tourists it was still interesting and impressive. More churches was the order of the day.

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Little Cabins in the woods (Pärnu, Estonia)

Journal entry for Thursday 3rd Jul, 2014 (day 353, miles 1,584)

Leaving Riga this morning we managed to take ourselves (or should I say our SatNav took us) through the very center of the city, followed a cobbled street and tramline for 12km or more before finally getting onto a more regular highway. Now just so you understand the Yellow Mog does not particularly like cobblestones as they tend to be a bit like those 1950s weight reducing vibration machines. It certainly dislikes tram lines as steering becomes somewhat optional once the tires find the groove. But the big bug are the tram wires. When erected during the soviet era the tram wires were often lower than the 4m height of our truck, as we discovered in Central Asia. Fortunately Vilnius seems to have upgraded their tram wires to European standards but it was quite a few kilometers before we were completely convinced.

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Shopping spree and then a ferry (Helsinki, Finland)

Journal entry for Friday 4th Jul, 2014 (day 354, miles 1,693)

On our way out of Pärnu we had a real shopping spree as we found a huge supermarket (actually a couple of them but we only needed one) and stocked up for our pending journey into the remoteem> Scandinavian North. Now it is not that we have not seen supermarkets anywhere else on this journey. But finding one with a very large selection and with a car park that allowed us easy access has been quite rare. So we reveled in the opportunity.

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A visit to downtown Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland)

Journal entry for Saturday 5th Jul, 2014 (day 355, miles 1,693)

We decided to stay another day at Rastila. We spent the morning doing some chores around the truck - really boring. But in the afternoon we caught the Metro into the city for a bit of a tour.

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Which way Russia (Lappeenranta, Finland)

Journal entry for Sunday 6th Jul, 2014 (day 356, miles 1,835)

A curious episode on our departure from Helsinki. As we approached the entry ramp to the E13 (the main road to the North East) we pulled up beside a large white truck pulling a large white enclosed trailer. The driver signaled me to wind down our window and promptly asked (in a language I did not recognize) something about St Petersburg. I pointed right onto the E13 and tried to also signal that we should stop together and look at our map. That seemed to work a few miles down the motorway we both pulled into a rest area. The truck was a mobile television production facility and the two guys in it were taking it to Moscow via St Petersburg. After some discussion over our iPad map they seemed satisfied and got underway. At this point in our journey St Petersburg is about 400 km east.

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Medieval Castle (Lappeenranta, Finland)

Journal entry for Monday 7th Jul, 2014 (day 357, miles 1,930)

Well Russia got a lot closer today. At our mid morning rest stop near the town of Simpele we were within 600 yards/meters of the Russian border. Not surprisingly we had noted during the mornings drive that more signs where in Russian.

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A hill (Koli, Finland)

Journal entry for Tuesday 8th Jul, 2014 (day 358, miles 2,077)

So we continued north today, more good highway and of course more trees. But the weather is good and life seems stress free - except for the water leak. I spent a little time trying to diagnose that issue during the drive but got no where. I really need to be able to pull the entire fresh water system apart but don't have the facilities, tools or parts to do that. The good news on the water front is that the isolation valves that were installed by GXV while we were back in the US have proven very useful. I have been able to isolate the hot water tank from the coolant system. That means I don't have to deal with hot components while I examine the area of the leak.

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A lazy day (The road, Finland)

Journal entry for Wednesday 9th Jul, 2014 (day 359, miles 2,225)

Today was a bit of a lazy day, we traveled just under 150 miles. Considering that we are now far enough north that it does not get dark that represents a very lazy day. In addition to driving we had another shopping opportunity. In the town of Kajaani we found a number of large well stocked supermarkets.

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