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Showing posts from June 26, 2017

A Delightfully Odd Guy from Alabama Flying to Serbia

On the plane from Paris to Belgrade, I sat next to an American couple from Alabama. Glenn Snyder introduced himself when he heard me speak English to the Flight Attendant.  Glenn is three years older than I am. He and his wife were on the way to visit friends from home who had been living in Belgrade for almost two years.  They went just to see the country and decided to stay. Glenn had never been to Europe and decided to visit his old friend.

A guy from Alabama with friends outside the country or who even travels outside the country is unusual. Alabama is third lowest in the nation of citizens with passports--just 22% of Alabamans have a passport.  Only Mississippi and West Virginia are lower.  Also, Glenn never served in the military. He said he had a high draft number and just never wanted to be in the military. Most of his family and the majority of the boys he grew up with served in the military.  He knew many people who had been to Viet Nam, Thailand, West Germany, or South Ko…

Wild Dogs and Angry Truckers, My Options in Macedonia

Now that I am done riding in Eastern Europe, I can say the scariest ride so far this trip was on a state highway that had no parallel superhighway. It was a twisty twelve-mile climb from Skopje, Macedonia, to the pass that marks the border with Kosovo. On the way up the mountain, two Semis got so close I was off the road and onto the foot-wide sand strip that constitutes a shoulder in Europe.  The second time the air from the truck pushed me far enough off the road that I had to stop.  I got right back on the road. Adrenaline. I really wanted to get to Kosovo.

When I got within sight of the border, I looked across the road and saw warning signs that drivers should watch for bicycles on the roadway on the way down. There were no signs on the way up. Maybe the truckers thought it meant open season on the climb.

The border was jammed with cars and trucks which could mean the bike/pedestrian crossing would be jammed also. Usually the bike crossing was better, but in Ukraine it was worse.…