23rd July 2016 (2)

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So, our survey of Russian motorway service stations continues. We are a few hundred miles east of Moscow. Heading east to another place with a Russian sounding name that I have never heard of before. I think this is going to be the theme a lot over the next few days. Apparently, this one though is Nizhny Novgorod.

We are on the M7 for the next two thousand miles so hopefully there should be a couple of nice service stations along the way to look forward to. Unfortunately, to date the Russian ones have been rather disappointing, compared to their elegant and luxurious Eastern European neighbours.

We had a quick stop at a Nissan dealership to try and find some springs for the Silver Micra, presumably the seats weren’t very comfortable. Normally not an appealing prospect for me if I am honest, wandering around looking at cars and talking about car things. However the surprise and delight of Wi-Fi, a sofa where I could stretch my legs out and a coffee made me feel in Nirvana. Would have happily spent the day there. Strange, what you miss when you spend 12 hours a day in a car.

The four of us in the blue Micra could easily be mistaken for a middle aged version of the In-Betweeners. Whilst Ashley Scott who pilots the lead silver car is more like Robomicra Man. His car more pimped out and more advanced than KITT. This is why we really wanted to drive his car back from Mongolia. It’s like an engineering piece of art. It’s even got a double bed in it for when he wild camps to protect him and Jennifer Chow Scottr from the bears.

He has at least 4 separate screens, gives us three different ETA’s from each of his different navigation systems. Finds hotels for us, mechanics, campsites, has Russian speaking friends he calls for translations. He has well earned the nickname ‘Dear Leader’ we just do whatever Ash tells us to do.

Whilst he was after his springs this morning, he had the idea that the blue Micra should carry on driving as it was the slowest car and he would catch us up. And, after all, it’s the same road now for a while so we couldn’t get lost, could we….we decided we best stay with him though, just in case.