July 09, 2011 GMT
Saint Petersburg

Nordkapp, the northernmost road point in the Eastern Hemisphere, Check. Looking forward to getting out of the rain and cold, Check.
We headed south down thru northern Finland looking for warm. Didn’t take long to find it. We crossed the Arctic Circle again

(only going south this time) and it was already MUCH warmer. We were so happy about the nice warm weather that we let our speed control get out of hand. The long arm of the law reached out to us and explained the fact that just because we needed to go south where it was warm we couldn’t do it as fast as we wanted.

Ticket Time! Fortunately Shelly was leading at the time. Corey and I told the cops that we were a tour group and Shelly was the leader therefore he should get the ticket but not us. They accepted that and told us to move along.

It was not looking good for Shelly when we left! :=) We still don’t know what happened because Shelly won’t talk about it but apparently he DIDN’T get a ticket. Lesson learned. Still heading south but at a much reduced rate! :=) Finally made it to the Finland/Russian border

where the nightmare began. The Finnish guys were very friendly but said we couldn’t check out because we didn’t have the ORIGINAL registration for the rental motorcycles. Understandable (Although we had some very BAD thoughts for the company in Frankfurt). We begged, pleaded, cried like little girls but they said unless we could get the company to say that it was OK that we weren’t going in to Russia. We called the company in Germany (my phone bill will break me probably) and put the Finnish guys on line with them. That worked. They were happy and so were we

(the real bomb was still to come). We joyously headed into Russia only to meet the nastiest (while the best looking) border guard that we had ever seen. She said “NYET” and meant it. We weren’t entering without ORIGINAL motorcycle documents. “GO BACK” She said and just kept repeating it. Begged, pleaded, cried (again) all to NO avail. She was just plain nasty. Back to the Finnish guys who were VERY friendly and helpful. They produced a letter that stated that they had talked to the company and everything was OK. Signed and sealed by the head guy. Back to the nasty Russian border. Fortunately the good looking blond was replaced by another good looking blond who unfortunately had taken training from the first. She looked at the signed and sealed letter and actually laughed out loud. “GO BACK”. FOUR HOURS spent for nothing. Shelly of course was having NO trouble since it was his personal bike and HE HAD THE ORIGINAL REGISTRATION. Shelly waved goodbye as he headed for Saint Petersburg while Corey and I cried on the side of the road while looking at a map to plan a new route by ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia (since we couldn't go thru the Russia Roads). A main reason for crying was that we had $200 invested in Russian Visas and $1400 in paid for rooms in Saint Petersburg (Very mad at the rental guy for sending us out and assuring us that we had all we needed to get into Russia). The new route would take us by another Russian border about 35 miles south of the one that rejected us. We said “what the heck, the worst they can do is turn us back (Again). We pulled up to the Finnish border and they waved us thru as the first guy had called and told them to expect us. :=) LOVE those Finnish customs guys. Now for another try at the Russian border. Pulled up and the nice lady stamped our passports and said “go ahead”. We couldn’t believe it and sure enough it wasn’t true. As we tried to ride away they said “you have to process your bikes into Russia. CRAP!!!! Over to another office expecting the worst and another very pretty lady said “let me see your motorcycle papers”. This was it we were sure. But wait, she started typing and ask us to fill out two forms (in Russian so IT WAS NOT ALL THAT EASY but she actually helped us figure it out. She left with our papers and said “wait”. We were still sure that it was all going south any minute BUT SHE CAME BACK AND SAID “HAVE A GOOD VISIT TO RUSSIA”. Not one word about copies of our registrations vice originals that the first border said was a MUST. We didn’t know whether we were illegal aliens or not but we got away from the border as fast as we could (while observing the speed limits) :=)

Saint Petersburg here we come. Surprised Shelly as he pulled up at the hotel about the same time. Lots of pictures from our walking tour and the two boat tours we took (Peterhof on a Hydroplane and a canal tour on a very short boat.

The buildings and scenery are unbelievable.

Sunday we will see if we can get OUT of Russia. If you haven't heard from me in 3 or 4 weeks, we WERE illegal aliens and tell Julia to wait at least a month to have me declared legally dead! :=)

LOTS of pictures here starting on page 20 if you like.

Rick (maybe stuck in Russia)

Posted by rickmcd at July 09, 2011 03:08 PM GMT

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