Day 44: Racu to Reghin, Romania

The morning clouds starting breaking up as I climbed this hill

The river Mures, which I followed for the last 45 miles of my ride

Well, my helpful restaurant lady wanted to charge me 610,000 Lei for the room that I paid 300,000 for. I left another 100,000 as a tip, so I told her I paid 400,000 and would pay her the 210,000 difference. She accepted, and my total cost for a lunch (soup, bread and beer), a big supper, a room, and a great breakfast was about 900,000 Lei or a bit less than 30 dollars. Not bad.

Leaving Racu, heading for Gheorgheni, the clouds were low and heavy and the road was lousy. The lousy road improved before the clouds cleared up, then returned again, much worse, after Gheorgheni. The road was so bad that not only could I not take pictures with my camera, I could even keep the camera in its mount or in my handlebar bag. I removed it and put it into a pannier till the road improved. The road stayed really bad for 20 miserable miles, then, when I changed from 12 to 15 at Toplita, the road was much better, still bumpy but no longer horribly bumpy.

It started raining shortly after Toplita and I rode in the rain for the next ten miles, so my camera remained in the pannier. The road had bumps and potholes, and I was worried that I the rain would get heavy enough to fill the potholes so I could tell them from the bumps. They almost did, but I got out of the rain before the dangerous potholes filled fully.

This is the part of the bad road with Gheorgheni in the background

This is a small town on a good section of the road before Gheorgheni

I had a hard time finding anything other than fast food to eat, so, in Toplita, I stopped a a grocery store and bought a banana, four apples, and a couple of scoops - the had 'em in an open bin - of stale pretzels. Even stale, pretzels and apples go together to make a nice snack, and that, and a storm front wind, got me to Reghin.

The rain after Toplita developed into thunderstorms behind me and, since I was riding down the Mures river valley, I simply out ran the storms. I stopped some 40 km from Reghin - Reghin is 70 km from Toplita - to snack and to take pictures of the river and the river gorge and to mount my camera. I stopped again, some 16 km form Reghin to snack again. When I rode on, I had a strong tail wind and was able to cruise at 20 mph most of the way to Reghin.

This is a kilometer marker where I stopped
All of the highways have them - very nice
I sat on the base of this one, facing the river, as I snacked

Looking down he Mures river gorge

Looking up Mures river gorge with my bike in the lower right corner

In Reghin I had a hard time finding a place to stay and ended up at the Central Hotel, which appears to be the only functioning hotel in town. I saw two other hotels but they were closed. This one is OK, and perhaps more than OK in that the people working here are very nice, with a good bed, broken blinds, and a shower that sort of works. Last night I had a good supper here after the fellow who runs the kitchen reluctantly agreed to fix it for me. I was the only customer and, after being persuaded, he was very gracious. I had walked to another restaurant - the only restaurant I saw as I rode back and forth through town searching for a place to stay, but it, like the other things that were open, was only serving drinks and fast food.

The blinds didn't matter much. I was so tired and beat up that I went to bed at 9 PM and sleep till 6 AM. This morning my body feels feverish because of the beating it took yesterday. I have a short day planned today - because of the few places with services - and I hope I don't have to deal with long stretches of really bad road again. There were two kinds of bad road yesterday: asphalt roads so potholes and patched that there is little original surface left and. worse, a concrete road where the quality of the concrete was so poor the surface had etched away and, sometimes, many mini potholes had formed. Typical roads in cities are of the patches on patched asphalt which had softened in the the heat and formed all kinds of dips and ridges. Some of those are almost unrideable. The road before Gheorgheni was asphalt and variable in quality. The road between Gheorgheni and Toplita was the concrete horror. The road after Toplita was asphalt, sometimes with big potholes and always with bumps and dips, but much more rideable than the other the concrete road.

Looking back at the hills and the storms after leaving the gorge
The road is quite good here, as it was through most of the gorge

Entering Reghin
Note the storm cloud overhead and the tilt. The road was so bad I had to almost stop
to take this image and my bike was titled

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