Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: Hillsburrito, OR
2008 ISDE, Serres, Greece - GO TEAM USA!
* August 31, 2008, morning, Serres, Greece: After getting back from my Anti-Canadian Tour on Tuesday, I had one day to relax and try to get all my stuff together for flying out at 6:30am on Thursday to Greece for the other leg of my sabbatical. I got a phone call out of the blue from a guy in SoCal named Andy Klein (an old desert head) that he was my roommate at the hotel, which would help defer my already exorbitant costs for this trip - cool. My bud, Dave Klug gratefully offered to take me to the airport, so things were set.
Thursday morning came early, and not so bright, since the sun wasn’t up yet. Dave-O brought over his backpack that he’d already used in Europe on previous trips, plus brought his electric plug converter for me to use. A fun trip to PDX with Dave giving me all his tips and I was on my way! The first flight was to JFK airport in New York, a brief layover, then I was on my way to Rome, Italy for another layover to Thessolaniki, Greece, but not before having to hassle with updating my boarding pass. This was where I quickly learned that people here will cut in front of you in line without a second thought. I finally got to Thessolaniki, [flying over the Alps was beautiful!] but still no sign of my roommate Andy, who was supposed to be on the same last leg. I picked up my Hertz rental car (a small Opel) and left him Andy a text message. He quickly responded saying that his flight was late in Rome and would not be in for another 10 hours. So I started to drive my way towards Serres (about an hour away), but had no idea what I was in for regarding the local driving challenges!
I pulled out of the airport and tried to follow the travel instructions from the AMA, but wasn’t doing well. I saw a billboard about the ISDE, so looped back around to get a picture. A mile later was a major accident, with a car rolled over - whoa! People drive crazy here! Forget about lines on the highway or stop signs - who needs them! Everyone rolls or blows right on through stop signs - hey, they’re just suggestions! And driving down a two-lane highway, hey, make it three lanes! I quickly learned that, if there is a car behind you, you better stay to the far right of the lane, so they can pass, or they will blow their horns at you! Yes, that’s right, they will pass you in the MIDDLE of the highway, with cars approaching!
* September 1, Day one of the Six Days!
All, I apologize for no updates, but we've been REALLY busy, as expected. Here are some highlights and observations, but it's short, since the team is about ready to go!
-- it's pretty warm, but today is overcast
-- yes, the damn container came late, but we got everyone impounded
-- granite and rocky, but at the top of the mountain it's like riding in Heppner
-- the women here are smokin' hot
-- driving is whacked here - 'nuff said!
-- the opening ceremonies had a concert by Elena Paparizou, which appears like the Greek equivalent of Britney Spears and I must admit, she's smoking hot and put on a good show. The whole audience knew the words to all her songs!
-- Gunny & Laura - you are sorely missed by everyone! Bruce, Jay and Chuck are doing a good job though.
Gotta go, more tonight. Click the link above to go through the pix. I am uploading them now, but it will take a few hours. They should be in order and will either explain how things are going or generate tons of questions!