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November 20, 2004

Chernobyl - The Road Trip


Elena is a 20-something Russian woman with a big Kawasaki cycle who has chronicled her solitary road trips through the Chernobyl dead zone.

She notes in her unique, utterly fascinating journal that the 130 km (78 miles) trip north from Kiev to Chernobyl is her favorite ride of all because


"one can take long rides there on empty roads."

I'll bet.

She continues:

    The people there all left and nature is blooming. There are beautiful woods and lakes.

    In places where roads have not been traveled by trucks or army vehicles, they are in the same condition they were 20 years ago - except for an occasional blade of grass that discovered a crack to spring through.

    Time does not ruin roads, so they may stay this way until they can be opened to normal traffic again... a few centuries from now.

Elena has much to show and tell and teach us, about radiation - how she measures it with her radiation meter, and decides where she will and will not go as a result - and much else.

I find it hard to believe that no one's offered her a book contract yet, and even more difficult to understand why National Geographic or PBS or the New York Times hasn't given her a portable satellite TV broadcasting antenna and video camera to chronicle her travels for the greater world.

After this post, shouldn't be too long....


Addendum posted at 4:51 p.m. this same day: a joehead just emailed me to advise that Elena is "pseudofraudulent"; he states that she and her ex-husband did visit the places noted on her travelog, but with a touring company rather than her alone on her bike.

He further states that the biking shots were later interspersed with the tour pictures.

November 20, 2004 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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I almost fell into a trap that has snared quite a few before me. bookofjoe recently pointed to the story of Elena, a motorcycle riding woman who claimed to brave [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 21, 2004 10:13:24 PM


Who is to say that no one offered her a book contract and she decided not to take it. I have my self been to chernobyl and as long as you have the correct documentation from the local government and they know that you are not just going to destroy anything (educational purpose) they will let you go in on a 10 speed if you want. They will just advsd that you do not leave the road and they will give you a time frame that they will come looking for you if you do not show up by the time that is agreed. That is one thing that I hate about the people of the world just because you did not see it on t.v. or read it in a book that means that it is not true....and if you are one of those people than you are just as shallow and full of shit as the people you are talking with or about.

Posted by: Sherry | Sep 13, 2007 3:36:23 PM

here's the mefi discussion:


To point out all of the inaccuracies and untruths in her website would take up as much space as the website itself. The story of Chernobyl is a very important one and Elena is to be commended for reminding the world about it. It is unfortunate that she had to cloak the story in so much fiction.

You might really enjoy Ray's company:



May 30, 2004

A star called Mugwort 

An addendum to the May 24th 2004 entry. Elena, in chapter 2 of Ghost Town, repeats the story that "Chernobyl is the name of a grass, wormwood (absinth)", which has been widely noted because of the nice scary connection with a couple of verses in Revelations:

Posted by: Liz Ditz | Nov 21, 2004 12:01:11 AM

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