Archive for May 5th, 2007

The Great Outdoors of Ukraine

Blurry Trees This morning a wonderful thing happened: Sashko from L’viv Offroad messaged me and asked me if I wanted to go 4 wheeling. You bet I wanted to go. Ever since seeing their photo gallery I wanted to head out to the trails with them. The picture here was taken from the truck as we sped along one of the trails.

One of the reasons I made up to my boss for coming to Ukraine was that I could improve communication between Ukraine and San Bruno. Today I should have taken a taste of my own medicine but I goofed. Sashko speaks english. Perfectly adequate actually, but there’s always room for misunderstanding. He told me to be at the end of lychakivska street at 2:00. I looked at my map, found the end of the street, I was good to go. Around 1:00 he called me and said he was going to call me a half hour before our meeting time. This seemed odd to me but I thought nothing of it. At 2:40 I called him and asked him where he was. He said that the Polish people we were going to wheel with were out and about and wouldn’t be ready until closer to 5 or 6. After explaining to him I was already at the end of lychakivska street he said “ok, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Weird.

15 minutes later he called and asked “where are you?” “Umm, I’m at the end of lychakivska street, near the big wall, and they’re selling beer here and…” “Oh you’re at the -beginning- of lychakivska street.” D’oh! I love this place!

After finally meeting up with Sashko we hung out in his truck at the park I met him at for a bit and looked at pictures from his last wheeling trip. The club had spent 2 whole weeks cruising through the Carpathian mountains. The pictures were great and it was a trip I wish I could have attended. Halfway through the pictures a random guy walked up to the truck and started talking shop to Sashko. This is pretty similar to California: nerds at gas stations will come up to you and start pretending they know something about 4 wheeling. But this guy was persistent. After a few minutes he walked away. Not more than 3 minutes later he came back, with 3 ice cream bars in hand, one for himself, one for Sashko and one for me. At some point Sashko grew tired of this guy and basically just drove off, ice cream in hand. Random wannabe truck dudes never buy me ice cream back home.

Not as blurry trees Unfortunately most of the snow around here is long gone and we only had a few hours in the late afternoon to get any wheeling in. But it was worth it. It’s spring time in L’viv and that means that all of the formerly-leafless trees around here are completely green. The trees only seem to have leaves near the tops and so when you’re underneath them you get the feeling you’re under a roof of sorts. Compared to the rest of L’viv, the airports we’ve been at lately and the bustling city of Bangalore this was a sight I truly enjoyed

Dragging’ the diff The main difference between 4 wheeling in Ukraine and 4 wheeling in California is that in Ukraine you can truly go wherever you want. In California venturing off the trails will (rightfully) leave you with a fine at a minimum. Here it’s how you get from where you are to where you want to be. The other difference is that the rigs here are a little closer to mild compared to what, for example, NorCal TTORA is used to. But this seems to be related to the fact that the trails (and land in between trails) here are much different. There aren’t any boulders to climb over, just ruts to stay out of.

Random Car The trails we were running weren’t all that far from the beaten path. In the bay area you need to drive for around 90 minutes to get somewhere where you can drive off-road. Here in L’viv you need to drive about 5 minutes from the center and you’re in this completely different world. There are little, I guess they’re villages, out here and one of the houses had this car parked out front. It’s a pretty sweet ride.

Rock Climbing The last stop on our wheelin’ journey was a place to BBQ up some grub. We had grabbed some sausages from a local shop on the way in. It’s weird to buy meat that isn’t refrigerated. And milk that isn’t refrigerated. I stuck to the meat, the milk has messed with me before. So far so good on the meat front, and it was good. Quite good. Yummy sausages. Anyway. We stopped to eat in front of this really big rock. People slightly younger than me come up here to do rock climbing. There were some guys trying really challenging routes but there wasn’t a good photo op. This guy was trying a route not much more difficult than climbing a ladder but he yielded some neat pictures, this one being my favorite.

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