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Russian Highway from Hell
http://ssqq.com/archive/vinlin27c.htm ^ | 2007 | Written by Rick Archer

Posted on 07/26/2010 4:02:30 PM PDT by Rebelbase

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

How would you like to be caught in a mess like that?

This is the story of Russia's Lena Highway, aka the Highway from Hell.

The Russian Federal Highway runs from Moscow city to the Siberian city of Yakutsk. The last 600 miles is called the “Lena Highway”. This bizarre road runs parallel to the Lena River on the final leg to Yakutsk.

As you can readily see for yourself from the picture, in the summertime, the Lena Highway turns completely to mud whenever it rains.

There are several Internet sites that consider the Lena Highway to be the worst road in the world.

Personally I would give this dubious honor to Bolivia's Road of Death (next story). After all, no one gets killed in the mud, just incredibly aggravated. People actually die on the Bolivian road all the time.

Yakutsk is the capital of the Yakutia Republic, part of the vast Russian region known as Siberia.

The old joke is ‘War is God's way of teaching us geography’. With that in mind, any kid who grew up playing the board game Risk remembers Yakutsk and neighboring Kamchatka as two territories with weird names located up at the top of Asia. As a kid, I had never heard of these places until I played Risk. Nor did it ever dawn on me that people actually live there (as if getting stuck in the mud is considered living... )

The road of mud isn't the only problem. It seems that people who live in Yakutsk were born to suffer. Yakutsk is considered the coldest city on earth, with January temperatures averaging -45 °F. The coldest temperatures ever recorded outside Antarctica occur in the basin of the Yana River just to the northeast of Yakutia. Yakutsk, the capital, is the world's biggest city built on top of continuous permafrost. Most houses are mounted on concrete piles to keep from sinking.

Surprisingly, for most of the year, the driving is excellent. The road to Yakutsk is so frozen that the road is frozen solid. It is only in the summer that the road periodically becomes impassable. In the autumn the road freezes back and becomes even better than most soil roads. In the dead of winter there is no problem as vehicles drive over the frozen Lena Highway. Cars are allowed to drive up to 70 kmh (45 mph). In fact, one report suggested some vehicles even drive over the Lena River as well in the winter! It becomes a solid block of ice.

But watch out for Summertime! Believe or not, Yakutsk is actually cut off from the world much of the time during the summer. In a story I read about a 2001 flood caused by the overflowing Lena River, it said Yakutsk does not even have railroad! This means that in the summer when it rains, Yakutsk is virtually inaccessible except by boat or plane.

And even the boats are not much help.... the Lena River is impassable for large stretches of the year when it is full of loose ice, or when the ice cover is not sufficiently thick to support traffic, or when the water level is high and the river turbulent with spring flooding.

Get this: July temperatures often exceed 90 °F! This makes the Yakutia region among the greatest in the world for seasonal temperature differentials. This helps explain the mud road fiasco which you are about to witness. When it rains in Yakutsk, it pours! And the rains turn the Road to Yakutsk into a quagmire.

Unfortunately, this major artery does not have an asphalt surface even though it is a vital Federal highway. Attempts have been made to put down a proper surface, but the road immediately turns to mush the moment it thaws making repairs impossible. Consequently, in the summer, every time it rains, hundreds of cars become stuck in the mud.

Yakutia is an area of permafrost. The Lena Highway melts down to 1 meter every summer for 2...3 months (usually July and August) - that makes it impossible to build usual roads (using asphalt or concrete) there. Such roads are called “zimnik” (”zima” means “winter” in Russian).

In the autumn the road freezes back and becomes even better than usual soil roads, but that is little consolation to those stuck in the summertime mud. The pictures you are about to see were made in August 2006 at the start of the problem. Ultimately 600 cars got stuck there. In other words, as bad as things are in the pictures you are about to view, they only hint at how impossible the conditions can really be.

A car can be trapped in the quagmire for days. According to witnesses, hunger and lack of the fuel are all part of these mud traps. One woman even gave birth to a child right in the public bus she was riding because no ambulance could possibly get to her.

Making things worse, people are afraid to come to the rescue. There is a report of construction teams that were afraid to appear on site when called. It turned out that during their previous visit they were beaten by people who had been stuck in the jam for a few days. So now the cars and trucks are left to fend for themselves. Only in Russia.

Lawlessness is common. People often break the locks on the trucks in a search of food and warm clothing. Fuel, food, firearms and steel tow-line cables are needed most during the rainy days on the Lena Highway.

Apparently Russia is infamous for its bad roads. For instance, the cynics insist Russia's bad roads had more to do with stopping the advance of the German army in World War II than anything the Red Army did.

I decided to ask my friend Olga about the Russian roads. Olga was raised in Russia, but now works here in Houston. This is what Olga had to say.

From: Olga B
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 12:23 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: the russian roads

Back when I was growing up my parents never could afford a car (well, they actually still don't have one).

Consequently, we did not have much to do with the roads problems all that much.

But it is common knowledge the roads are quite an issue in Russia. We even have a national song about how bad our roads are. And it has lots of verses. :)


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: obamanomics; roads; russia
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Old stuff but good example of a situation where centuries of lack of free enterprise has squashed people's ability to fix problems.

More pix at link.

1 posted on 07/26/2010 4:02:31 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: Rebelbase

LOL—She’s wearing heels!


2 posted on 07/26/2010 4:06:55 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Another marvel of socialist engineering.


3 posted on 07/26/2010 4:07:27 PM PDT by achilles2000 ("I'll agree to save the whales as long as we can deport the liberals")
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To: Rebelbase

Many don’t seem to realize that,in spite of all their oil,the USSR is a Third World country.Always has been and,if they continue their long history of psychopathic rulers,always will be.


4 posted on 07/26/2010 4:07:43 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (''I don't regret setting bombs,I feel we didn't do enough.'' ->Bill Ayers,Hussein's mentor,9/11/01)
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To: 1rudeboy

Those aren’t heels - those are studded shoes for traction! :-)

Probably would be more appropriate on ice...


5 posted on 07/26/2010 4:08:43 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Rebelbase
Old stuff but good example of a situation where centuries of lack of free enterprise has squashed people's ability to fix problems.

I'd cut the Russians a little slack on this one. I'm not sure the technology exists to solve this problem.

6 posted on 07/26/2010 4:09:28 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Rebelbase; All

Well, I see the platinum blond really knows how to dress for conditions ;-) How stupid can one get? I hope BP’s Mr. Haywood or Hayward? has fun in his new Siberian job.


7 posted on 07/26/2010 4:09:36 PM PDT by gleeaikin (question authority)
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To: Rebelbase
Old stuff but good example of a situation where centuries of lack of free enterprise has squashed people's ability to fix problems.

I think it's more appropriate to say that centuries of the lack of free enterprise has squashed people's desire to fix problems. After all, why go through the effort and take the risk if there is no reward.

The USSR is the perfect example of Atlas Shrugging, en masse.

8 posted on 07/26/2010 4:12:21 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Rebelbase

I bet if you dig deep enough into the sink hole you find some of Hitlers missing panzers.


9 posted on 07/26/2010 4:12:28 PM PDT by DariusBane (People are like sheep and have two speeds: grazing and stampede)
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To: 1rudeboy; All

Technology depends on ideas and money. My first thought went to pontoon bridges. Why not pontoon roads, semi floating on the mud. Of course the cost might be too great.


10 posted on 07/26/2010 4:13:25 PM PDT by gleeaikin (question authority)
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To: Rebelbase

Looks like Chicago this last weekend. The high heels were courtesy of Barry.


11 posted on 07/26/2010 4:14:02 PM PDT by hkp123
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To: Rebelbase

Ha,ha,ha! Those Ruskies are a laugh a minute.

Now really, who would even try this with anything less than a 4x4 hemi monster truck with 60 inch tires?

No wonder why they lost the cold war.


12 posted on 07/26/2010 4:16:22 PM PDT by Frenchtown Dan
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To: Rebelbase

I THINK I’d be willing to give her a hand.

How can they call this a highway? How long would it take to go 600 miles on this thing.


13 posted on 07/26/2010 4:18:03 PM PDT by Terry Mross
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To: Rebelbase

The original Alaska Highway was built over similar terrain during WWII. Some of the building techniques were definitely “low tech” as in “corduroy roads” using trees laid side-by-side perpendicular to the direction of the road over the worst of the sinkholes.

You can build roads in this kind of muck - if you WANT to.


14 posted on 07/26/2010 4:20:53 PM PDT by 43north (BHO: 50% white, 50% black, 100% red)
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To: Rebelbase

That’s not a road. It’s a mud hole. Typical lazy socialist non-construction.


15 posted on 07/26/2010 4:20:56 PM PDT by StormEye
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To: Rebelbase
Louis L'Amour’s “Last of the Breed” mentions the Lena River.
16 posted on 07/26/2010 4:21:04 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunham?) Change America Will Die From.)
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To: gleeaikin

My guess is that the pontoons would simply disintegrate in the cold, but I’m not an engineer.


17 posted on 07/26/2010 4:21:10 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Frenchtown Dan
A Mog might be fun.


18 posted on 07/26/2010 4:21:46 PM PDT by Rebelbase (Political correctness in America today is a Rip Van Winkle acid trip.)
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To: Rebelbase

Well built and maintained roads are symbol of a civilization that is functioning and thriving.


19 posted on 07/26/2010 4:23:30 PM PDT by StormEye
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To: Rebelbase

LMAO !

Add Jungle an ya have the Darian Gap road....

My vote for worst road versus risk of life like Bolivians death drive ....


20 posted on 07/26/2010 4:23:43 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: achilles2000

Yep, you’ve got to visit the communist to realize what it is, construction looks more like destruction. Welcome to your future kids, if Democrats maintain control...


21 posted on 07/26/2010 4:25:10 PM PDT by Son House (No Scammers or Spammers CASH ONLY SALE! No coupons, IOU's, Foodstamps, Checks, etc THIS IS CASH ONLY)
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To: Rebelbase
A Mog might be fun.


"I'm my own best friend"

22 posted on 07/26/2010 4:26:09 PM PDT by JRios1968 (The real first rule of Fight Club: don't invite Chuck Norris...EVER)
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To: Rebelbase

Consider for a moment the fate of the inhabitants
of the Gulag, dropped off a train after traveling in
open cars, into the frozen tundra and being told
“This is where you will build your camp.”

The banks of some rivers are lined with bones.

The people who live in these conditions aren’t sissies.


23 posted on 07/26/2010 4:29:37 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Rebelbase

Looks like the Obama Memorial Highway not too long after the economic collapse.


24 posted on 07/26/2010 4:29:49 PM PDT by WKUHilltopper (Fix bayonets!)
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To: Gay State Conservative

Sadly, if a majority of our dumbed down electorate continues to elect rulers from the Washington aristocracy, that will be our fate, too, only without the oil (because we won’t be allowed to drill it).


25 posted on 07/26/2010 4:37:29 PM PDT by piytar (Journomarxists didnt go away. They just moved to a more secure venue...)
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To: Rebelbase

It sounds like this road was intended to be used in the winter when the river was frozen. The road surface would also be frozen, and trucks could travel over it. During the summer goods could travel by river. The road wasn’t intended for private cars or summer travelers.


26 posted on 07/26/2010 4:37:50 PM PDT by x
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To: 1rudeboy; All

They could be stored away for the winter. Again, the question is cost.


27 posted on 07/26/2010 4:40:11 PM PDT by gleeaikin (question authority)
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To: meyer
"After all, why go through the effort and take the risk if there is no reward."

I think there was an old russian communist expression that went something like "they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work," or words to that effect.

28 posted on 07/26/2010 4:42:14 PM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: achilles2000

Not really. Its just near-impossible to build roads on tundra.

If it were, there’d be highways all over the Canadian far north as well.

The Haul Road in Alaska only exists because of massive infusions of maintainence and efforts to keep it going and its only 450mi long.

Most folks here have zero concept of how big Rusiia is and how expensive it is to move a lot of stuff over those kinds of distances (and build on permafrost).


29 posted on 07/26/2010 4:43:18 PM PDT by rahbert (Our enemy has yet to reveal himself...)
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To: Rebelbase

I read once that there are more miles of paved road in Ohio than in Russia, and Ohio doesn’t cover eight time zones.

Obama’s economy will even thing out.


30 posted on 07/26/2010 4:44:23 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: CedarDave; CougarGA7

Edgewood after the snowmelt.


31 posted on 07/26/2010 4:45:41 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Live jubtabulously!)
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To: Rebelbase

Is that a Mercedes Unimog?


32 posted on 07/26/2010 4:47:58 PM PDT by Frenchtown Dan
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To: rahbert

We all needed the education. Thanks.


33 posted on 07/26/2010 4:48:02 PM PDT by verity (Obama, the BS and rhetoric President)
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To: 1rudeboy
I'd cut the Russians a little slack on this one. I'm not sure the technology exists to solve this problem.

It might not be cheap, and I've only given it 30 seconds of thought, but some kind of rectangular frame (cross-section in the direction of travel) that could rest on the permanent permafrost below and provide a base for a roadway topside might be the answer. Metal might be too thermally conductive, and concrete isn't cheap... well, never mind.

Ultra-corduroy roads?

34 posted on 07/26/2010 4:57:20 PM PDT by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5:SONY|TV--it's NOT news you can trust)
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To: Rebelbase
It looks like they'll be getting a railroad soon. From Wikipedia:

The city has a population of 210,642 (2002 Census)

Yakutsk is a destination of the Lena Highway. The city's connection to the highway is only accessible by ferry in the summer, or in the dead of winter, directly over the frozen Lena River, as Yakutsk lies entirely on its western bank, and there is no bridge anywhere in the Sakha Republic that crosses the Lena. The river is impassable for long periods of the year when it is full of loose ice, or when the ice cover is not sufficiently thick to support traffic, or when the water level is high and the river turbulent with spring flooding. The highway ends on the eastern bank of Lena in Nizhny Bestyakh (Нижний Бестях), an urban-type settlement of some four thousand people. Yakutsk is connected with Magadan in by the Kolyma Highway.

A dual-use railroad and roadway bridge over the Lena is scheduled to be built by 2013, when the Amur Yakutsk Mainline, the North-South railroad being extended from the South, will finally connect the city with the East-West Baikal Amur Mainline (the railway has reached a point some 260 km south of Yakutsk).

The bridge will be over 3 kilometers long and constructed 40 km upriver at Tabaga, where the river narrows and does not create a wide flooded area in spring. In the dead of winter, the frozen Lena makes for a passable highway for ice truckers using its channel to deliver provisions to far-flung outposts. Yakutsk is also connected to other parts of Russia by the Yakutsk Airport.


35 posted on 07/26/2010 5:01:07 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
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To: 1rudeboy
I agree a paved road wouldn't hold up over that permafrost. OTOH, Alaska maintains the Dalton Highway up to Prudhoe as an all weather gravel road. Of course, it's in Alaska's interest to maintain the road as the supplies to the oil fields run on it. But wouldn't a similar incentive exist for the Russians to maintain an al-weather road to support their exploitation of Siberia's mineral wealth?
36 posted on 07/26/2010 5:06:50 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Flag_This
I think there was an old russian communist expression that went something like "they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work," or words to that effect.

I remember that saying. It'll be popular around here soon, if the 'rats get their way.

37 posted on 07/26/2010 5:08:33 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Pan_Yan
Yakutsk is a remote city in Eastern Siberia (population 200,000) famous for two things: appearing in the classic board game Risk, and the fact that it can, convincingly, claim to be the coldest city on earth. Source


38 posted on 07/26/2010 5:08:55 PM PDT by x
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I read once that there are more miles of paved road in Ohio than in Russia, and Ohio doesn’t cover eight time zones.

Obama’s economy will even thing out.

*****************

Kremlin policies, Kremlin results.


39 posted on 07/26/2010 5:10:52 PM PDT by Psalm 144 (The bureaucrat is the natural enemy of liberty.)
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To: rahbert
If it were, there’d be highways all over the Canadian far north as well.

I think that a lack of demand for such roads is a contributing factor.

40 posted on 07/26/2010 5:10:55 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
I read once that there are more miles of paved road in Ohio than in Russia,...

I think this is highly dependent on your definition of "paved". There are some real axle-busters in the Cleveland area these days. Probably would be better off if they just spread gravel.

41 posted on 07/26/2010 5:12:53 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Rebelbase
This is NOT a highway in Russia. It is instead the result of a time traveler visiting I80 in the Sierra Nevadas. It is at some point in the future; after many years of Obamanomics.
42 posted on 07/26/2010 5:13:00 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (I aspire to a large carbon footprint; just like Al Gore's)
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To: Pan_Yan

So isolated that they have to pipe in sunshine, that is if the pipeline is up and running. This time of year they could possibly get 16 hours of sunlight a day. December should be good for four hours.

43 posted on 07/26/2010 5:13:40 PM PDT by oyez (The difference in genius and stupidity is that genius has it limits.)
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To: meyer

After the winter there is more pot holes than pavement.


44 posted on 07/26/2010 5:16:07 PM PDT by oyez (The difference in genius and stupidity is that genius has it limits.)
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To: oyez
After the winter there is more pot holes than pavement.

I remember when the potholes on Brookpark road would display the brick pavement and streetcar tracks beneath the asphalt covering. I don't know if they ever rebuilt that road or not, or if maybe they just added a few more inches of asphalt above the brick road base. I've lived in Tennessee for the last 8 or 9 years.

45 posted on 07/26/2010 5:20:23 PM PDT by meyer (Big government is the enemy of freedom.)
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To: Rebelbase
The Kolyma Highway, from Yakutsk to Magadan was known as the Road of Bones for all the deaths of the slave laborers who built the road.

Stalin established many labor camps in the region to support the gold and other mines.

46 posted on 07/26/2010 5:25:42 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: 1rudeboy
I'm not sure the technology exists to solve this problem.

It exists. It's just enormously expensive.

The freeze/thaw cycle and the torrential rains make a surface road impractical. But, an elevated road would work fine, as long as the footings are dug or driven down to below the frost line.

47 posted on 07/26/2010 5:27:23 PM PDT by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good WOMAN (Sgt. Kimberly Munley) with a gun)
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To: rahbert

I live at the end of the Taylor highway in Eagle, Alaska; highway has been washed out including bridges for 3 weeks; maybe single lane nx weekend. Dang Feds won’t let state have permits to fix it right, so they keep putting up single lane sections and road keeps giving way off the cliff.

That didn’t look so bad in Russia


48 posted on 07/26/2010 5:38:42 PM PDT by Eska
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To: Rebelbase
Future of our American road system when we are weaned off all petroleum products, including asphalt!


49 posted on 07/26/2010 5:46:19 PM PDT by Cobra64
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To: Rebelbase

I don’t know ... I’ve driven in downtown Minneapolis ...


50 posted on 07/26/2010 5:53:19 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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