By: Elvis Glazier
Friday August 21, 2009 - Kiev, Ukraine
(read more at Elvis on the Move)
This morning I tried to get an early start out of Odessa but that didn't turn out to well for me. My bike had sat for a few days and I don't think it wanted to leave quite yet. I can sympathize. Odessa is such a wonderful city and I truly hope that I will be able to return. I tried and tried to start my bike. I push it up and down the street trying to bump start it, I bypassed the ignition relay to let the starter motor turn it over, and I tried yelling at it. None of these worked. Finally, a group of young Ukrainian men came over and they pushed me. Wonderbar! I'm started.
Why are they yelling at me?
My bike is on fire!
Do I turn it off? It took so long to get going.
I turn off my bike and lift up my seat. I had a towel draped over my shoulder to wipe away my sweat so I used it to smother the flames. It would seem that the AC power inverter that I wired has shorted out to the frame and is now a charred burnt mess. I took out my cutters and I culled the burnt wires out of the bike. I hope she starts. First push of the button and I have ignition. whew. I let it run for a bit and warm up. I noticed during the marathon push fest that I had absolutely no front brakes. Good thing I have brake fluid with me. A couple of squeezes on the brake lever and I know what has caused the problem. There is a loose fitting at the collector block in the front of my bike. It probably rattled loose during my journey. I tightened it up and hooked up my one man brake bleeding kit. I have practice with this procedure so I get it done quickly. I do a preflight check and start to pack up my luggage. I go to put on my gloves but there is one missing. Damn it! I guess I'm going to have to Michael Jackson it back to Germany.
I had originally planned to cut through Moldova on my way home, but I honestly don't want to chance the border crossings. Instead, I'm going to head north to Kiev and then cut west through Poland. I head out of town keeping the sun to my right and my nose pointed north. The highway is as straight as an arrow so I make great time. I'm there in under four hours.
There are some things in life that just have to be done. New Years in Time Square, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Brazil, etc. There are also some foods that have to be eaten in their hometown. Peking Duck, Buffalo wings, Champagne, and Chicken Kiev.
I stop at a restaurant and as I enter I wonder if they even know what Chicken Kiev is. I mean, maybe they just call it... chicken. I look through the menu and there it is! Chicken Kiev or actually Chicken Kyiv. I'm sure it's not a typo. They give me a bowl of red borscht with sour cream to start and I have to tell you that this has got to be the best soup I have ever eaten. I accompany it with a bottle of Czech Budweiser. Now this is the life.
I hadn't had a real breakfast so this really hit the spot. The ladies in the restaurant made me feel so welcome and the meal truly had that home cooked feel to it. Probably because the restaurant was a part of their home.
Completely sated and fully recharged I mounted up and headed out. The sun was overhead so I was left to my own wits to figure out which way was west. As the afternoon progressed I knew I was heading the right direction when the sun was in my eyes.
Why does the journey home seem so uphill?