We are in hotel Yuzhiniy in Volgograd. We’d like to stay here for two nights, unfortunately the hotel only had a room for one. We’ll see if someone cancels tomorrow morning.
The way here was pure torture. First of all, the tooth pain got much worse, I took a total of 600 mg of Nurofen (and more recently, a liter of beer) today to make it somewhat tolerable. I can hardly eat, even chewing on the opposite side hurts a lot. Second, it was raining all day. The road from Saratov to Volgograd was mostly OK, but there were some sections “under construction” where one had to drive in sand, which has turned to slippery mud. It is quite exciting to drive on a really unstable surface at 80 km/h with a big rigs coming just behind us. Fear of death came up as a conversation topic today. The weather was actually downright evil. We had a lunch break at a gas station when the rain stopped and the sun started shining. I took off my rain overall and rain gloves at that point because they were unwieldly, lose fitting, and the high winds (did I mention there were crazy strong cross winds the whole day?) were always trying to grab me by the flapping overall and toss me into the oncoming traffic. An hour later of course it was pouring again, and without the rain garb I was soaked to the underpants within minutes. And that’s how I drove another two hours or so to the hotel. During such a day I contemplated haunting questions such as “have I really run out of better things to do with my time” or “at 35 years old, have I already exhausted all forms of pleasure available, such that I voluntarily chose to suffer such punishment”, etc…
We stopped to take pictures of the Volga at an opportune spot anyway.
The last hour was as usual spent in bumper to bumper city traffic on horrible flooded city streets, which often have even more dangerous situations arising due to impatient, speeding locals than the hours of highway riding. I was so tired getting off the bike at the hotel that I fell over.
We did find a nice restaurant where I had a steak, and Jerome shared his supply of Algifor Forte with me, so in the end I am happy — we accomplished our goal for today, so it was a good day.