This is the first descent of Europe’s longest river by kayak from the source in the Valdai Hills northwest of Moscow to the river’s delta at the Caspian Sea. The Volga traverses 2300 miles (3700 km) through western Russia’s most beautiful countryside with some of the richest history known to man.
TOTAL MILES TO DATE: 2130.09
TOTAL DAYS: 59
MILES COUNTDOWN: 0.00
May 26, 2014
So, last night (morning in Russia) I was watching the Spot Tracker. They boys left their hostel at around 5:00 a.m. As expected, they were going to go down river, about 5 miles, to resupply at a store (water and such). Stanislav had sent me a location of the store and the map and a picture of it. Once under way, West called to find out the plan and get directions. It's amazing how we are able to communicate and I can give reasonably accurate directions from thousands of miles away using a spot tracker. (amazing) Anyway, that being said, they missed their mark. Ugh! They passed it by about a mile or so. Did any of you hear me screaming at the computer screen to "go back, go back"? So, I (and several others) watched the pings on the spot tracker go back and forth and all around. We were trying to figure out what was going on. It was very early in the morning and I thought they are killing time because the stores aren't open yet. Finally, after about an hour and a half, I went to sleep.
Well, every morning, the very first thing I do is check the spot tracker. Which I did. The boys were under way...whew. Then, I check email. This morning I had an email from a man named "Roger". Roger is from Massachusetts and was just married three days ago. As Roger and his bride were out taking their dog for a walk, they heard about someone that had tied off two boats and spoke English down by the river. The Volga River. You see, Roger from Massachusetts happened to be on the promenade in Saratov!! He had to see what this was all about. When he and his bride approached, West was talking to Mikhail (who spoke English). Roger enjoyed hearing about the expedition and he solved our mystery of what the boys were doing. Apparently, there is a group of people that, everyday, they exercise, swim, walk and meet on the promenade in Saratov and had done this for years. There is a 12-foot wall along the promenade and the only place for West and Jeff to pull over was at these steps leading to the water (which is why they missed my mark). West and Jeff had breakfast with this group and really had a hard time leaving because they were such great people.
Despite their prolonged stay in Saratov, they paddled 40.3 miles. They should reach Volgagrad and their last dam, in about 4 days...maybe 3. Oh yeah...I forgot...Roger had emailed me this morning and that's how I learned about the meeting on the promenade. Thanks Roger! Come visit Austin when you're back in the States.