Day 37: Omsk to Ishim

Number of tie wraps: 23 (holding steady)

Countdown: 4668 miles down, 3917 to go

Quote of the Day: “Can I have your driver’s license, please?”

We arrived in Ishim about 4:30 this afternoon (after gaining another hour) to a surprise – WiFi!

Before we left Omsk, we took a short walking tour of the city center, where we saw the city’s Lenin Square and World War II Memorial with an eternal flame, along with the city’s oldest cathedral.


World War II Memorial in Omsk

World War II Memorial in Omsk (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Oldest cathedral in Omsk

Oldest cathedral in Omsk (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

We left the hotel about 11:15 to head to Ishim, but between a fuel stop and traffic, it took us quite a while to get out of the city. I saw the IKEA store below when we stopped for gas. I wanted to go shopping, but, alas, there was no time. Note the Cyrillic spelling of IKEA on the left had side of the photo.

IKEA in Omsk

IKEA in Omsk (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

As we left Omsk, the police waved Leo’s Envoy over at two checkpoints about five minutes apart. The Envoy attracts a lot of attention from the police over here because it has no front license plate (Leo is from Florida). However, in both cases, Ksenia handed over the necessary documents and we were on our way in just a few minutes. A few days ago, Ksenia translated all our driver’s licenses into Russian, and then “certified” the translations via an official-looking stamp from the Sport Hotel where we stayed in Tomsk.

The roads today weren’t as good as yesterday and construction delayed us in several places. But the springs on the Roadster are working great, and Luke reported that the Doctor Tire fix is holding steady at 120 pounds of air as well. Given that we went over some pretty rough roads today, it looks like the Roadster will now make it to Moscow with no further shock problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be other problems, so stay tuned!

I’ll leave you with this billboard I saw as we were waiting at a construction site this afternoon just outside the town of Tyukalisnk. The billboard is about preventing forest fires and it has a picture of a cute bear cub. I thought the cub might be similar to our Smokey Bear in the U.S., but Ksenia says it doesn’t have a name.


Forest fire prevention sign outside Tyukalisnk during the drive to Ishim

Forest fire prevention sign outside Tyukalisnk during the drive to Ishim (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Tomorrow we drive 307 km to Tyumen.

Day 36: Novosibirsk to Omsk, Halfway to Paris!

Number of tie wraps: 23 (7 added since last post)

Countdown: 4558 miles down, 4127 to go (more than half way to Paris)

Quote of the Day: Luke: “What can we do to keep the spring on?” John: “Tie wraps?”

During the 1908 race from New York to Paris, the Thomas Flyer and the American team finally overtook the German Protos just before arriving in Omsk, a feat requiring an all night run that began on June 29 and ended with the Flyer passing the Protos about 10 a.m. the following morning. At this point in the race, the Italian Zust was still in China, about 500 miles west of Harbin, trying valiantly to catch both the Americans and the Germans. Click here for the original New York Times article.

Here is what the terrain from Novosibirst to Omsk looks like — very flat and a mix of open fields, wetlands, and clusters of birch trees, perfect terrain for George Schuster and the Thomas Flyer to make good time for catching up to the Protos.

Terrain in Western Siberia

Terrain in Western Siberia (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Our drive to Omsk didn’t involve overtaking any other racers since there aren’t any other racers, but we made good time and, for once, the drive was uneventful, other than a bit of rain. The roads were good, and we had only a few minor delays for construction, so we arrived in Omsk only nine hours after departing Novosibirsk. Our hotel in Omsk is about 1/2 block from the Om River; here’s the view from my hotel room:


Omsk (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

However, as you probably guessed from the quote of the day, the Roadster still had some problems with the rear shocks. The Tire Doctor repair from yesterday worked great until we hit a bone-jarring jolt about two hours into the trip. I was riding in the Envoy and I thought, “If the Tire Doctor fix survived that, it should survive anything.” Unfortunately, the fix didn’t survive, and by the time we got to our next fuel stop around noon, all the air had once again departed the rear shocks. Since we only had about four more hours of driving, John and Luke elected to wait until we got to the hotel to install the springs purchased at the auto market yesterday.

Before installing the springs, John first used the Tire Doctor to push the shocks back up and Luke pumped some air into them. Then Luke installed the first spring over the right rear strut, which only took about five minutes. The left rear strut was a little trickier because of interference from a brake line, so it took both John and Luke to get the spring into place, accompanied by numerous references to the shock’s parentage on the part of Luke.

Installing the left spring

Installing the left spring (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

This should get the Roadster to Moscow!

Right strut with spring installed

Right strut with spring installed (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Left strut with spring installed

Left strut with spring installed (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

The clamps John bought yesterday wouldn’t fit, so he slid back under the car and added seven more tie wraps to secure the springs to the shocks.

Example of tie wraps used to secure the springs

Example of tie wraps used to secure the springs (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

Tomorrow after a short walking tour of Omsk, we head to Ishim, about a 300 mile drive. I’m not sure if we’ll have WiFi tomorrow evening, so I may not be able to post again until we arrive in Tyumen on Sunday or Ekaterinburg on Monday.