This is Highway 86 a few miles north of here

I'm sitting in the restaurant at my motel. That sounds so US, but of course it isn't. I'm in small town in southern Hungary. My room cost 15 Euros and is more comfortable than the room I paid 50 Euros (plus 12.5% tourist tax) for last night. I've ordered supper: the fanciest item on the menu cost about $5, and it should be pretty good. I stopped here because a storm front was coming from the north and I expected to be rained on shortly. I had been riding into a headwind, watching the rain in my rearview mirror. When the headwind became a side wind, I started looking for cover. When it became a tail wind, I knew that the rain was coming soon, so I stopped at the first available place.

And this was looking north from almost the same place

It started raining while I showered, but never rained hard - it rained very hard in Gyor under similar conditions yesterday - and the weather was fine again in half an hour. I know there was hard rain north of here because I could see the black sky and hear the thunder. Given 20-20 foresight, I should have kept riding. I could comfortably have covered another 20 miles today. Of course, I'm not sure there is a place to stay 20 miles down the road. In fact the closest place I'm sure of is 50 miles away. That was one of the factors in my decision not to try to outrun that storm front.

Another problem; my cycle-computer indicates I rode 90 miles today, but Autoroute thinks this place is only 80 miles from Gyor. Since I need to cover 250, Autoroute, miles by Sunday afternoon, I'm not happy when Autoroute under estimates distances. Ten miles is most of an hour riding and, when that is added onto the end of a long day, it can turn a good day into a hard day. Since my route today was quite straightforward, highway 1 to highway 85 to highway 86, and since I followed it, with no significant variation, and since my cycle computer should actually be reading low - I put on bigger tires without recalibrating it, measuring more than 110% of what Autoroute tells me is way out of line. I haven't been paying much attention to the mileage I read versus the mileage Autoroute says, but I will from now on.

Todays ride was not great. It started early because my hotel room was too hot and too noisy. I woke up at 5 AM, tried getting back to sleep till 5:30, then got up, cleaned up, finished packing, and had breakfast - which was good except for the single cup of old, warm, coffee - and was on the road by 7 AM. I follow my planned route out of Gyor, got on Highway 1 (which autoroute thinks is Highway 10) despite the no bicycles signs, and headed west. Highway 1 had a shoulder about 75% of the time. It also had very heavy traffic, much of it large trucks. Fortunately I only had to ride it for three miles, then I turned south-west on Highway 85. That was an improvement, but still pretty tense riding. The traffic was not as heavy, but it was highly bunched so that I would ride for several minutes in relative serenity and then have to deal with a group of a dozen cars and trucks passing me with oncoming traffic or passing each other while they passed me if the oncoming traffic wasn't too close. And too close was very close indeed! The Hungarian driving style, which is, as far as I can tell, identical to the Czech driving style, has very aggressive passing. I literally cringed when cars ahead of me would be passing into oncoming groups of cars that were, in turn passing into the group going in my direction. It is something like the flow of people and bicycles on Gyor's pedestrian areas. Everybody just sort of moves around everybody else, seemingly almost chaotically. I saw cars, going 50 mph or so, slipping by other cars, going similar speed in the other direction with, at most, a foot ot two to spare. Drivers tailgate wildly, then pass into oncoming traffic assuming the the vehicles coming the other way will slow down, move over onto the shoulder (dangerous for bicyclists), or whatever to get out of the way. And they do. God help the driver who isn't paying close attention to what is going on all around his car!

This is good riding on 86

Finally. when I got on Highway 86, Things calmed down and riding was almost civilized. I mounted my camera in Szil, the first town on 86. I had not felt comfortable with taking pictures before that. I need to keep my full attention on my riding environment!

An older lady bicyclist and, in the distance, a horse drawn wagon
about to be passed by a gray car
I had passed her, then I stopped to mount my camera and she passed me

While I was waiting for this train, the lady passed me again
note the rally car on a trailer beside me

There was still a good bit of traffic on 86, especially around Szombathley, and a lot of it was rally cars being towed to some kind of race/show in Szombathley. I rode into Szombathley to get some lunch - ignoring the no bicycling signs on 86 for several miles before town - and saw, and even more so heard, several of these racing cars being driven on the street. That wouldn't happen in the US! Those are neat cars with highly tuned engines and completely un-muffled exhausts. Nice, but very loud and, of course, with no emission controls.

I had planned to go to a restaurant for lunch, but saw a supermarket and decided to create my own lunch instead. I made the mistake of buying some orange drink which really screwed up my digestive system. Even after supper I still feel a bit sore in the tummy. Before the pain hit, I was eating my lunch sitting on a shaded wall near the store when three young teen aged boys stopped to admire my bike. We had a hard time communicating, but it was fun to try. Later, when I knew I needed to get to the bathroom ASAP, two of them came back and visited some more. I still managed to make it the bathroom in a service station a km or two back down the road, then rode on in some discomfort for the rest of the day.

The no bikes signs go up again
the smeary image is due to water spots on the camera holders filter

For some unfathomable reason, Highway 86 had no bicycling signs on a section that was rural, mostly had a rideable shoulder, was pretty flat - the Great Hungarian plain is getting to be rolling hills down here - and mostly straight. I really am annoyed by being forced to break the law in order to ride here, and it is even more annoying when I can't see any reason behind the law. I only saw two police cars today, one of them passed me while I was on a legal section of road and the other got in the road ahead of me in that illegal section of 86 after I stopped for a snack. I have no idea what would have happen if a police car had passed me in a no bicycles section. Probably nothing, but who knows.

A wheat farm in the rolling hills with real hills in the distance

Pretty prairie like country in southern Hungary

While the first part of this ride was through country that looks a lot like central Kansas, the later part is rolling hills with real hills in the distance. I am skirting Austria - I'm about five miles from the Austrian border tonight - and approaching Slovenia - that is about 20 miles southwest of me, both of which are mountainous. I'll be coming within a mile or two of Croatia tomorrow morning.

I can't say that I think the riding I've done in Hungary is as good as the riding I've done in the other countries on this trip, but it is next to a lot of interesting places < grin>. It is also an interesting place in its own right and a very friendly place to visit. The language is difficult, and English isn't much use outside the big cities, but a little survival German seems to go a long way. Maybe that is because I've been mostly in western Hungary which is next to Austria and gets a lot of German speaking TV/radio/tourists. Other than the driving - and, once again, the drivers here, from a bicyclist perspective, are much better than US drivers - and the stupid no bicycling signs, this a good place to tour. And Gyor, at least, is a good place to get your teeth crowned!

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