As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

On the side of the road to Kiev... or the road is bad in the springtime in Ukraine

On Tuesday Garry had a salesman (from Kiev) selling vaccines come to the village, the students had found him at the Farm Show in Kiev and he did a little lesson at the farm for them. Since we were going to pick up Garry's father, brother, and our son Micah and his wife Crystal at the airport in Borispol (the main international airport in 25 km from Kiev) Garry asked him how the roads were to Kiev and he replied not good.

That was true, well an understatement, really. Normally there is about 50 or 100 kilometers of bad road with potholes that can damage your tires. This trip there was 300 of bad, and maybe 150 of occasional hole to swerve around. Since the first flight was supposed to land at 1:20, we planned to leave around 6 am, however, we got up at six, Garry started a pot of coffee and got a shower. He went to pour it in his thermos and travel cup, and discovered he had forgotten to add the water. Good thing we kept the fast drip coffee maker when we gave one away for Thursday Bible study group in Zap! A few minutes later we were off, with coffee, in the Mercedes van.

That's right, the old Mercedes van Max Rudei has been driving until the guy who "bought it" can pay for it... about year ago now, he comes to the village every couple of months and says soon, so far it hasn't happened. Max paid for it, then we paid Max, who had borrowed the money from a relative of his wife, when it was more than a couple months, and she needed the money back. We try to keep it running, but not spend too much on it, since we aren't supposed to be keeping it. It didn't run most of the winter while we paid more than a thousand dollars to put a new engine in when it blew. It has six seats, but they have driven 17 people to the Bible study the group home parents and students go to in Zap on Wednesday evenings.They stick some wooden benches in, for seating, They got stopped at the check point because of a missing headlight once, but the police were unconcerned with the people inside, after all only front seat passengers have to wear seatbelts in Ukraine! .it is ever decided we are keeping it, we could make it more like a mini bus with a couple of real bench seats, but for now, its still in limbo.

we think they were waiting for the one broke down we passed earlier
Garry had decided it would be a more comfortable ride with more leg room, and since there are six seats, I could go too! We left Maria to teach and off we went. Good thing I came because I had to be the cup holder when Garry needed one, there aren't any in that van. We drove our normal route to Dneprzejisk, where Garry has one of his English groups. We saw an army convoy stopped along the "good road" they built four years ago.

After we left there, we thought we'd have decent roads for a while, but not really. At one point, we saw a hubcap just rolling down a little hill after going past a car going the other direction, and we both laughed.
 However, we made it safely to Kremachuk and Mc Donalds around 9 :30 as planned, before 10 am when they change from breakfast to lunch menu. We figured we were in great shape to get to the airport on time. Twenty minutes later, we hit the big hole. Literally, as we drove through a small town on the outskirts of Kremachuk. We were following a line of cars, the one in front of us went right at the hole, Garry reacted and went left and bang! front driver side tire deflated. He pulled over and tried pumping it up with the little plug in the cigarette lighter pump we carry. No dice, so we got out the spare and put it on. He had to use the hammer to loosen the bolts, apparently it had been put on mechanically. We noticed a little corn on the side of the road, must have fallen out of a truck that ht the same hole. He decided we'd have to get a new tire put on the rim at the next sheno-montage, which we found just up the road, since we might need a spare tire again,.

Unfortunately, the guy was busy fixing tires, and we had to wait. When he was done, then we had to wait for the guys selling tires to come. Finally we were back on our way after about an hour and a half. We realized that there was corn spilled along the road in lots of places where there were holes, sometimes even in the holes.
The roads did not improve until we were about 150 km from the airport and even then, Garry had to keep an eye out for holes and other road hazards, like the occasional brick on edge of the road, which probably fell off this truck I took a picture of...or the second truck of bricks we passed that looked like it was a couple bricks shy of a load.

So as we drove, it became apparent we would not be waiting when they got off the plane. We were an hour late. I told Garry not to worry, because they knew the second plane we were meeting was landing at 2:30. It took forever to drive through the small city of Borispol, Every light turned red as we got to it. We finally arrived at the airport at 2:30,  parked in the closest lot, and hurried inside, when his dad and brother weren't standing outside.

We checked the board and noticed the flight from Paris was slightly delayed, and wouldn't land for twenty minutes, but where were Tom and Dad? I noticed the flight from Frankfurt had been delayed and was still in the air... which flight were they on? I couldn't remember, but it was a code share with Air Canada. Garry went upstairs to connect to the wi-fi and find the email, and it looked like it was the right flight. They landed at 2:50, the Paris plane at 2:53. Guess we weren't going to be heading home at 3 pm, as I'd hoped.

Garry's brother and father came out, no problem. I saw Micah through the doors that open and close when people come out. He was over by the baggage belts. Finally Crystal came out, when most of the crowd was gone. Their checked bags, both of them, had not arrived, and they had followed eight people to the lost baggage area, but needed some info for the people there. we texted it back to Micah. There will be unhappy milking system installer guys, as the parts are in the bags. Hopefully they find their way to Dnepro so we can pick them up, they have Garry's number.

Around 4:30 we went through Mc Donalds drive thru in Borispol and were on our way, with two hours of daylight, slowed by hole dodging in the dark. Which did not go so well, when the Madza 5 ahead of us that we'd followed for miles went right and we went left at the hole as we left a little village ... wait you have read that story before..except it was daylight... anyway they pumped it up. Garry drove 100 feet. Stopped and changed the tire.

Which took a while, as the jack was sinking in the dirt, the car was... it took a while, they used Micah and crystals cell phones for light. Now spareless, we kept driving. Carefully, but it is hard to miss all the holes. Looking for an open sheno-montage, of course. Not finding one, saw the one we had been to earlier, but it was after 8 pm. Closed.

Stopped at Mc Donalds in Kremachuk (just in case we got stuck along the road with a flat tire, so we wouldn't starve Garry told his dad) Everyone had something. Garry's dad had a muffin and a coffee, since Garry had tried and failed to order him a hamburger with no ketchup on at the earlier Mc Donalds, we checked, every Royal cheeseburger. All six had ketchup on.

 Then, with one more coffee to go for Garry, we were off again, praying not to have another flat. I found a tire shop open as were were driving out of the city, so we thought we were in luck; but after a consult, the used rim they had would not fit the van, and it would take him at least and hour and a half to fix the broken one. It was going on eleven pm as we continued toward Dneprezajink, still hitting the occasional bad piece of road that would make us all wince, and hope and pray to make it to our village in one piece.

 Micah had become coffee holder for the return trip, I was sitting in the back with Crystal and dad, trying to hang on when Garry slammed on the brakes to ease through a big hole, we no seatbelts and nothing except luggage in front of us. Tom was in the sideways captains chair behind Garry, so they were able to converse while we tried not to fall out of the seats, or hit our heads, Crystal is the tallest and she was leaning forward all the way, otherwise her head touched the ceiling since the back is a little lower than the rest of the van. I was in the center, right under the rear brake light box(remember. it's an old Mercedes ). Eventually we got to Dneprezajisk, and familiar holes in the highway, and that lovely stretch of new highway, arriving home at 12:30 am.

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