Logbook Jan 6-7 Tallinn-Luxembourg
January 09, 2007
Drove my car all the way in a single sitting. Just wanted to see how it goes. And here I was, 2300 kilometers, 5 tanks of fuel and 30 hours later :) here are the stages. See also an earlier logbook.
I must say I don’t really endorse or recommend this style of continuous driving as it’s quite stressful and can also be dangerous if you’re not sure of yourself. About 1000 km per day is what you can do reasonably safely.
Jan 6, Tallinn, 6:56, 0 km
Started off early morning to get as much daytime driving as possible. The Estonian part was pretty uneventful.
Estonia-Latvia border, 8:50-8:55, 179 km
There were big road construction projects in Latvia last summer, causing delays and diversions. These have now been completed and the road is generally in good condition. Lots and lots of traffic, though, and bad raining.
Latvia-Lithuania border, 11:14, 377 km
LV and LT were good because I could do them mostly in daylight.
Lunch and refueling near Kaunas, 13:00-13:22, 546 km
Lithuania-Poland border, 14:28-14:31 (13:31), 642 km
It got a bit tight in Poland because there’s lot of traffic (both passenger cars and trucks), the roads are in OK condition but very curved, and it started getting dark. So quite some adrenaline driving there.
Road signage in countryside is good, but I got lost in Warszawa again. I entered the “ring road” from the north side, hoping to get westwards. There weren’t really too many signs. The next thing I know, signs are pointing me towards Lublin and Terespol???!?! (these are in east towards Belarus, the exact opposite to the direction where I needed to go). So I diverted myself onto some other ring road and was somewhat on the right way now. Warszawa people, can you PLEASE fix your road signs for important transit roads. Divert people around if you have to. But have good signs for at least a few important cities in both directions. I have got lost absolutely every time I’ve had to go through Warszawa.
And as soon as I saw a sign towards Sochaczew, which I knew is on the westbound road 2/E30 en route to Poznan, I took the road.
Bad move. It was some secondary or tertiary village-type of road in not-so-good condition and lots of traffic again. To make things worse, a bad fog settled and so I really needed to slow down.
In Sochaczew, finally rejoined 2/E30, although it wasn’t in such a good condition either, continuing the curved style and going through lots of villages.
Snack and refueling near Kutno, 19:40-20:10, 1072 km
Then a strange thing happened. The 2/E30 signs pointed towards Poznan in two directions: straight ahead there was the sign for a regular road with green background, while to the left there was a sign to Poznan with the blue background, indicating a motorway/speedway/highway/freeway/whatever you want to call it :) so I decided, I’ve had enough of these village roads, if there’s any chance of this taking me to a proper highway, then let’s do it. And I took the turn left.
After this, there was no indication of a highway for a long time and I got a bit nervous. Then a few signs came and finally the speedway itself. Turns out on the map I actually drove back a bit, all the way to Lodz. So the new A2 speedway connects Lodz and Poznan. And mental note for next times, when going from Warszawa to Germany or the other way, it makes sense to use this speedway and near Warszawa come through Lodz instead of 2/E30, meaning that the direction out of Warszawa is actually southwest using 8/E67.
So anyway. The highway from Lodz to Poznan and beyond was actually very ace, built like a proper 2+2 highway but better than some German autobahns because it’s brand spanking new. (My 2006/2007 atlas shows this road as “under construction”, but it’s actually done.) The only tricky thing there was that after a while, it started saying “Platny”, meaning a toll road. I wondered how do I pay the fee but didn’t have to wait for long, as a toll booth came shortly. The fee was 11 zloty at each booth and there were 3 toll points in total. The payment security (or lack of it) seemed strange to me.
It was a truly good road and you could go at a high speed, and there was of course quite little traffic at that hour (it was already night time), so I made good progress. I already started hoping that this would continue all the way to Swiecko, the German border crossing, but this of course wasn’t the case. The last 100 km were village road again and really full of traffic. And I had been driving more than 16 hours by that time so it became quite difficult. Dear Polish people, can you please make sure that the 33 zloty that I gave you goes directly to fund the construction of A2 between Poznan and Swiecko. That would be great, thanks.
Germany border crossing, Jan 7 0:04-0:14, 1463 km
German autobahns were of course significantly better to drive than the narrow twisted Polish roads. On the other hand, I was becoming quite messed up by that time and already started seeing cars flying high in the sky :) and constantly changing rain didn’t help either.
Was so messed up by that time that missed writing the kilometers…
Break, 1:12-2:14, 1539 km
My original plan had been to get to Germany and try finding a hotel. In Poland, there are “motels” all over the place. I had for some reason imagined that there would be enough roadside hotels in Germany too. Which wasn’t the case. Sure, the road took me soon past Berlin and would have definitely found something there, but I didn’t really want to get off the road. A roadside motel would have been good, but there aren’t as many of those as I imagined. And while I often drove past what looked like a motel, there were no signs from the road towards it.
Since I was really tired and at the point where it becomes dangerous, I figured my second best option is just to take a nap in the car. Which worked quite fine, I slept for almost an hour on the back seat. And saved the hassle and money of a hotel :P
Then I woke up, ran a few times around the car to restore circulation :) and kept on. Amazingly, the roads were never completely empty. Who are those nutcases driving Saturday night/Sunday morning at this hour? (apart from me)
Break, 4:08-5:31, 1736 km
Fuel and break, 7:03-8:00, 1886 km
What made the whole thing difficult, apart from just general fatigue due to long driving, was the darkness and constantly changing rain situation. At least the road gods were good to me in the sense that there was no snow or anything else more adverse, but the rain got to me too.
I thought it would already be daylight after 7, but since it was still mighty pitch dark, I used the opportunity to take another nap and when I woke up, was great to see daylight again. It really made a difference.
Crossing to Luxembourg, 11:07, 2250 km
Arrived, 11:29, 2282 km.
Total average fuel use: 8 litres/100 km. It was less than that before Germany (7.4), but the Autobahns at higher speeds also take more fuel.
After I made it home, I of course crashed and slept for a fine three hours. And had a proper sleep the next night too and am now fine.
The body part affected worst by this was surprisingly the palms and hands. Especially the palm and finger muscles are still quite worn out from the wheel, and the “artificial” airconditioned air is not so good to my hands and face skin. But it will be fine in a few days. Plus of course not eating properly (I just had a bunch of sandwiches and things taken along, no proper “big” food to save time) and not sleeping gets to your digestive system but it will also fix itself :)
All in all, a pretty extreme experience that I wouldn’t really recommend, but I’ve at least done it now and again learned a few new things about the roads so I can base future driving planning/estimation on this. The important news is also that my “safety first” style won, I didn’t really do any serious mistakes and properly recognized the times to take a break so I wouldn’t say it was more dangerous than my average driving.