Our Travels Expeditions

The second “far and away, absolutely roadless” expedition with the historians’ team or the ode to Patricia

August 1, 2017

July 21 was the day for us to join the Nakipelo-Expedition again. It was organized by our team, Anton Bondarev and “Nakipelo” media-project.
During the preparation process we chose the route that could be named “now, that really is the place with no roads whatsoever”))). The challenge was great but we accepted it with honor)
And now – let’s give more details on it.
I hadn’t known if my Hedgehog would be ready up until the last moment – and she still is in the “drive to a shop and back” mode, waiting for the new cardan. It did arrive on the day of our trip, so now she has to wait for me to have the time to install it)
My dear friend, GillmanR was nice to agree and to give us his precious Nissan Patrol Y61 with the 4.2 diesel engine. The fun started from the very beginning of the trip – there were two green Patrics, everyone kept getting confused, and the guy said that his car – was a girl. So that’s how it happened) We started calling it Patricia.
So here comes the ode:
I have heard lots of praise towards this engine, but it was the first time when I tried it out. My impression is difficult to express with words! To say that it rocks is to say nothing! Of course, the Hedgehog is the best car in the world, but I must give Patricia her credit, too.
Of course it doesn’t speed up in a sporty way (just as the Hedgehog doesn’t), but it looks so confident that one can’t avoid being amazed! At some point I realized that this engine also has the bottom-mounted camshaft and it is identical to the Hedgehog’s one. This means that pushing the pedal into the floor was an unwise choice, same as some other moments were. In fact, having caught myself at typical manipulations, I remembered some facts about its structure as well. As a result – going from 60 to 100 in “half the truck” time became a piece of cake! Something like “kick-downing” the automatic gear-box, and the car started flying) And boy, weren’t we some cool flyers! The car picked up a very prompt pace after 3000 revs, as if it wanted us leave her alone))). The controllability was at a good level. I was a bit worried about the tyres, – the old bald highway rubber, but, to my joy, those worries had been vain.
So, – it’s 6 in the morning, the cars are warmed up, everything’s packed, the coffee is finished, the matches are placed in our eyes to keep them open)))
We arrived to the meeting place, picked up the passengers and started off towards the big adventure. “To those who are brave may we sing a song!”

Google maps indicate 8.5 hours without taking the quality of the roads into the consideration!

I have to tell you that I was lucky with the passengers again (I can’t say the second team wasn’t, since I have no idea about it – I was simply very happy with my company).
The first spot we visited was Chervonoye – or, as it had been previously called, Staroye Selo (the Old Village). There is the Kondratyev’s XVIII century house, the Zboromyrskys’ manor nearby (second half of the XIX century). All I’ve mentioned above is located behind Bohodykhov, on the way from Akhtyrka to Sumy and, unfortunately, the roads did not magically appear overthere during the last month… The narrow road that used to be assphalted long time ago, half a lane each way. The wonderful Patricia has a nice suspension, so it’s hard to feel anything smaller or equal to the size of a wheel while driving about 80-90 km/h.
We arrived to the place, sniffed around, filmed everything, found the basement:

The pack leader))))

Filming with a quadcopter
The building that was formerly beautiful is now nothing but the remnants of the walls hidden in thickets…
Then we walked to the second spot, which was in a way better condition – there have recently been a school in it. While we were crawling around, some more people arrived – a family of three generations (a grandfather, a mother and a son) and the man walked around and told his stories – “that’s where I’d studied in the first grade, and here’d been the physics room”

The second object – Zboromyrsky manor
We had some lunch there and moved along. The road was still partially missing, and in some places it was literally hard to guess where it had been before((.
The next part of our route was Lifino.
It is an astonishing manor ensemble of the XIX century (the Khrushevs’ manor), which is in private property now. The forlorn beauty…
The paintings on the ceiling can still be found in some places – the green lions and a heron foregrounding the sun; some parts of wood carving are still present, too.

We wondered there with great joy and for a lot of time, then we went off to the keepers and started the conversation about highly spiritual matters, historical values and other wise things which I happily meditated through with a blade of grass and in the shadow. I like listening to the stories about the places I go to. But the politics, the pathos, the memories about the grandness of the times long gone along with the dramatic sigh and other attributes of pitying over the past is not something I enjoy. And the nature was so beautiful, live and voiceful over there!
Later it got more interesting – the next place we went to was an ancient Shelekhov lake. It is literally ancient – going as far back as to the ice period according to some of the theories. They say, it is one of the top list positions in terms of beauty and archaicness… And I was really impressed with the gray heron family). Powerful, seemingly lazy – they took turns in circling around the lake to take a look at us.
The process of getting there was quite amusing as well. The grand fields as long as one could see were everywhere around. The beauty it was, indeed))). The road was almost straight, some minor sidelines were not worth being taken into a consideration. But the road coating…. In the beginning I was the first to drive, due to the gallantry of the second team. The feeling I experienced while flying over the fields with the speed of 90-100 km/h was non-expressable! But later the common sense did overcome the adventurousness and I switched places with the second car. The thing was that the second Patric’s air filter had been going through its last days anyways, and the road…. Well, it was all about the road. It was a very fine clay-sand dust which kept up in the air for more than 5 minutes after the car had gone by! That was why my love to driving with open windows had played a bad trick with me – everything was covered with a 1-2mm layer of the dust; everything including me, the car, the passengers… You might want to ask shy in the world did I not close the window? a) I got too excited; b) I just can’t drive with the windows closed – everyone makes fun of me and call me a lizard… but I really can’t do it without the sounds from the outside, I get lost in the space instead… Well, that’s the strange me )))
Some of the moments brought some special joy – so you drive in a thick and non-transparent cloud of dust, without touching anyone… and – here it comes, 3 meteres away from you! The pit of the same size as our space flyer appears! It is almost a meter deep and full of thick or watery (depending on the situation) mud! There is a nice 90-degree sideway, about 6 meters long. Naturally, my adventurous side decided to ignore the sideway; and of course, the dust layer was joined by the layer of mud, or, to be more particular – many layers originating from every similar surprise that had happened to be on our way. Something tells me that the interjections from the behind must have been rather joyful))) and I was not the only one who’d had a bunch of positive emotions!
And what about the tyres? So, what about ithem? The 4.2 does not even notice the mud with the speed of 80-90 km/h!
Some parts of the way consisted of fine pebbles. It was rather peculiar) The car keept stable and straight, rustled happily and so did I)

A little smoke break)
Then we drove into the forest. There were some hills with a noticable slope, some light clay and track lines from 10cm to the footstep height. I even doubted going down one of the slopes – it did look too steep. But it was not so scary after we’d checked it by foot, so we had no problems going down. Yes, it was the attentiveness and the carefulness, but nothing more.
Sometimes the slopes were covered with the same fine pebble. And – yet again – we went down easily and with no extra effort.
There was a wooden alcove near the lake, a wooden ledge, some birds, gadflies, hornets, flies, mites… the grand ferons! – and the flies, gadflies… all over again)))

We had a very nice time in the alcove and ate some snacks. And there came the sudden rain! And guess what we were worried for in the first place? The tyres! The second Patric would have had no problem up-sloping the back route due to his Goodreach, but our Patricia had all chances to get stuck. And we still had to finish our route and to come back… the same day, preferrably. Many thanks to all of the team members – the picnic was packed within mere minutes!
It was a miracle that we managed to outride the rain. And I was all into the experimenting! It apperared that the third gear enables the car to get up by itself)))) I only took care of the steering wheel and the car did all the rest)))) the clay, the pebbles…. Nope, haven’t noticed anything like that!
Mezhyrich was next. The Uspensky Sobor (the Assumption Cathedral) was founded in 1759. The cathedral and the mulberry tree of 300 years gave a great impression!

The Cathedral itself

The bell-tower

While everyone was listening, I took my time to lay down near the mulberry)

I was not able to take a full-size picture of it. The trunk width was bigger than the size of my wings spread)
There we were advised to take a shortcut to Mykhailivka. An yes – “the shortcut” it was)))
I wouldn’t tell ya how many times we have turned the wrong way… It was not a single dozen for sure. Interestingly, no navigator was able to detect our location. So the short way slowly turned into a long one, and we turned our thoughts to those who drew, managed the maps, gave us the advices, made the roads and to other optimistic things. But the salvatory sign about “some forestry” in the bushes was found at last and we did come back to the right way.
There the Count Kapnist’s manor was waiting for us. We looked around it at the sunset, took a walk to the monument dedicated to the executed Mazepa’s cossacs, listened to some stork songs (there were quite a lot of them there), ate the remaining provision and took the Lebedyn route back.

The Count’s dwelling in Mykhailovka

There’s no room left for food – so I’m taking some rest while everyone’s eating

Telling you that everyone was tired would not give you a slightest idea of just how tired we were. The back way was just the same – bumps and potholes were everywhere…
We stopped to have some coffee after making half of the way… it was midnight. And we stopped for a smoke every half an hour. The body was operating via some automatic reactions. I opened the windows which made it quite chilly, but it did help to stay awake. I think that the trip wouldn’t be so hard on the more experienced people… At the end of the trip we agreed to be more modest the next time))))
Then we drove everyone to their homes… It was after 2am when I parked near my house.
And the next day I got up at 8 despite all of my dreams and wishes, but then I took half of the day off to get some sleep and didn’t even go to pick up the cardan.
It was great and fun, but it was very difficult.
I am sorry for the quality of some of the pictures – I did not take my camera, and the phone does not allow to take all the pictures I would like to. The rest of the photos were made by Inna Romenskaya, Mikhail Viktorovych Nikipelov and Dmitryi Kryvulya with quadcopter

Olga Dzyuba
Kharkiv, UA

Hello! My name is Olga, nice to meet you! In this blog, I am talking about our travels to beautiful and unusual places in Ukraine and beyond. Well and the history of these places. I sincerely believe that it is possible to find something interesting anywhere - just look at the outside world from different angles)))