Written in 2000 in Moscow, Russia.
On the third of October as it was getting dark my motorcycle was packed, I double checked I had everything, got on the bike, and I was off. The adventure had begun. I rode out of Rotterdam and got on a highway that would first take me north and then east on to the E30. Surprisingly I would only need to stay on this E30 to reach Moscow. It was a collection of national highways designated with the universal name E30. It was almost a straight line there. But as soon as I was on the highway I started getting cold and sleepy. I had had a busy day and it was hitting me already. I was surprised I was already cold, the temperature was around 10 degrees Celsius. I could only imagine what Russia would be like. I didn't have winter equipment or a warm jacket. That night I was riding only with a t-shirt under my leather jacket. When it would get colder I would put a fleece under the jacket and a lightweight second jacket on top. I expected I would be warm enough. And knew the temperature ahead would get colder. But I'm Canadian and like the cold, so it will be ok. I tried to stay awake but it got to be dangerous so I stopped at a gas station and took a break. I had only traveled a short distance from Rotterdam and was already drinking coke and eating to wake up. I also put my fleece on. Feeling better I got back on the road and kept going, this time I was ok. Since it was already late and I was tired I couldn't go too far but at the same time I wanted to cover the longest distance possible. So I set my marks on crossing the German border and get a motel then. The ride went well, there wasn't much scenery since it was pitch black and the highway was mostly next to forests. I'll remember this one time I stopped to fuel up and when I went inside to pay , the staff saw that I was cold and they paid me a coffee. It was a friendly gesture and a good example of the Dutch people. Back on the road it would take me less than two hours to reach the border. But then I decided to keep going and go further picking an overnight stop about an hour ahead. Everything went fine, and when I got there it must have been a little past midnight, I went around town looking for a cheap hotel where I could safely park the bike. I got a place and had a good night's sleep.
I had learned a little German on my own, and I still want to learn it, so now I had a chance to practice it. I didn't say much but it was a start. They had a good breakfast set up, I stuffed up, and I was ready to roll again. Since I would be riding during the day now I could see the scenery from one side of the country to the other. The west side of the country was mostly foresty areas with occasional villages and cities. The middle was mountainous and more scenic, when I got near Berlin it became flatter again but the trees had changed. Stretching next to the highway were these type of trees I hadn't seen before. Tall with branches only at the top. You can see these on the picture below.
It was also interesting to see s noticeable difference between west and east Germany. At least on that highway it looked like that. The towns looked different, I saw numerous abandoned warehouses, factories, and gas stations in the est, unlike the west. I remember seeing the graffiti painted on an abandoned gas station in the east. It was interesting to see those differences, and it's hard to explain in words. Past Berlin I neared the Polish border, went over a big bridge, and Poland was right on the other side. It was a country I couldn't wait to see. I knew it had a lot of everything, scenery, culture, a long history. You have to respect the poles and their difficult past. Unlike us in the west this country was destroyed and its people abused time and time again. The Russians and the Germans killing six million of its people in world war II alone.
So I got behind this huge line, it must haven taken three hours to get through. When I did it was already dark. It's too bad because I think that part of the country I didn't see much of was pretty. The roads were in top shape, the villages looked nice, I was impressed. And just like I had read while researching in Holland, and to my surprise, there was one gas station and a hotel every few kilometers. More than anywhere I've seen, and everything was cheaper now which was good. The bad news was from now until Russia it would mostly be small to medium size roads, often going through towns and populated areas requiring turtle speed mode. Not to mention the traffic at times. I never expected this and my trip now got considerably longer. On one side it was ok since I would see more than being on the highway, but then that meant I would have to ride longer days to stay on schedule, not to arrive late. Later that night I found a hotel, parked the motorcycle in front of the front desk, studied up on my English at the bar, and went to bed. Next