Day 33: Kobarid to Skofja Loka, Slovenia
The sign that told me I had taken the right roads
I rode only about 50 miles today, but it was one the harder days of this tour, both physically and mentally. I rode from Kobarid, using the small roads through the towns on the valley wall, to Tolmin. I had ridden down the main highway, 10-10, last year, so this year I chose the more interesting, and hillier route. It was fun and there were lots of bicyclists using those small roads.
To get to the little roads, I crossed the Soca river south of Kobarid
The small roads in Slovenia make great bike paths
And they are used by many families
The road climbs from the bridge to well above the river
When I got to Tolmin, it was about 11 AM, so I explored the town a bit - I spent a night there last year - and then, getting bored, decided to head for Skofja Loka. That was a decision to ride unmarked, tiny, roads over big ridges, guided by my memory of the map on my computer and my compass. It was a bit of an adventure since choosing the wrong road could mean hundreds of meters of wasted climbing. I wouldn't really know if I was on the right road until I had climbed over several ridges and could see the railroad tracks below.
Poljubinj was the first of the small towns on my route
Climbing out of it meant climbing over a low spot in the eastern valley wall.
This view of the next valley was my reward for that climb
Some of these towns are too small to be on mapping software
Here is the great view, down a creek, from Kenza, a slightly bigger town on my route
Although I was a little worried about getting lost, the great scenery I was riding through soon took over from that fear. It was simple awesome in those hills and, even if I did get lost, it was worth it for the privilege of seeing that beauty.
When I got to Kenza, I found a store - I had no food and I needed some - that was closed but the owner was still around and did tell me that I was on the road to Skofja Loka. Just climb that next hill and keep going! I did. That road was bigger - two lanes instead of one - and, after a good climb, came down to Grahovo, where I could see the railroad in the valley below. The railroad, which appears to be next to the road on the map, is actually 100 M or so below it at Grahovo. Grahovo had an cafe, it was open, and it served excellent pizza quite inexpensively. I had a great lunch, visited with the owner and a motorcyclist who arrived after I finished eating, and watched a thunderstorm dump lots of rain on the road I was on, after it had descended to run along the railroad tracks.
The road running well above the tracks
Several sections of the road were wet, some with large puddles
A bit later, running along the tracks
And along the creek in Podbrdo, town at the bottom a big climb
It was a hard climb with steady 10% grade for over 3 km
A bike path crossed the road at the top of the climb and three kids came down off of it in front of me
it was starting to drip a bit and they were in a hurry to get to a house near the top
It was long downhill from the top of that climb down to Bohinjska Cesnjica and then a gentle downhill most of the way to Skofja Loka. I stopped for a break in Selca, and then rode on towards Skofja Loka. I was just beginning to worry if I could find Primoz's house again when Primoz showed up on his bike to lead me the remaining distance to his home.
I rode through several towns
Before Primoz showed up to lead me to his house
It was great to be back with Primoz and his family, and I spent the next day with them, doing normal tourist things, then, the following day, Primoz rode with me to my next stop, Novo Mesto, a town in southeastern Slovenia.