Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Big Event

What could draw your worldly correspondents to not only the distant town of Madona, but the countryside near Madona, on a March Saturday? In short: Monster trucks.

A Latvian friend, who when he is in Riga you would perhaps not guess is a monster truck kind of guy, happens to participate in a series of off-road jeep orienteering competitions in the fields, swamps, and forests of Latvia. Due to needed repairs on the family "mud horse," he was not competing, so he took us along to go stand in the snow and watch souped-up land rovers run over saplings in a ten-hour test of whose was truly the most souped-up machine.

This involved a lot of tear-assing through fields:

But also forests. To get a closer look, we took our trusty guide's not-souped-up Land Rover onto a one-lane logging road with a foot of snow and no hope of turning around. We got stuck multiple times, and eventually just walked behind as another spectator towed the car along the road and out of the way. All so we could see the quasi-monster-ized jeeps bounce through some ditches and run over innocent saplings in their quest to reach the most checkpoints over the course of the day.

It was awesome. Someone asked if we have such events in America, and I can only guess that in the arroyos of Texas and the mountains of Wyoming and the forests of New Hampshire, there are indeed people doing jeep orienteering or whatever you might call it -- but I've never seen it.

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