The Windy Croation Coast
It was hard to take this image because the wind was so strong
In the background you can see the profile of the coast between Zadar and Senj
My ride today wasn't as hard as yesterday's ride, even though it started with an hour of climbing just to get back to the road up the Croatian coast ;-). there is nothing like an hour of climbing to get the blood flow going in those tired legs!
My night on the coast was a good one. The bed was good, and the ice cream, at the local ice cream bar, was fantastic! Germans really care about ice cream and they had the good stuff. I, with the help of an Aleve, slept well despite the body abuse I committed yesterday. This morning, I spent about 10 Euro on 'breakfast.' That was because the store did not have cheese in small quantity. I bought a small - 5 Euro or so - chunk of cheese, some yogurt, and some fresh bread for breakfast and breaks during the day. I already had about 1.5 liters of Pepsi and some strawberry cakes that I bought at the service station last night. That all served me well today.
Once I made it back to the coastal road, riding was a lot easier, but it still wasn't easy because of the strong winds! I still often had to fight just to keep my bike on the road when the side wind was strong, and to work hard just to keep going against the headwind.
At one point, I had an empty pepsi bottle - I had transfered about 1.25 liter to a 1.5 liter waer bottle - strapped under the bungees that hold my Thermarest on my rear rack. It blew off on a particularly windy curved viaduct, and, when I left my bike at the end and walked back to get the bottle, I found it was very hard to walk in that wind!
When, after two hours of riding, the road came down to near sea level, the wind problem was reduced. The sea had whitecaps on it all day, but, when the road was up several hundred meter above the sea, it was the wind coming down from the mountain that was the problem.
When I reached Sinj, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant, then rode on, and up again, toward Rejika. The general pattern was to climb a 100 or more meters, level out for a while - sometimes a very short while - and then descend rapidly to the next town. Towns, not surprisingly, were located where valleys met the sea. I was very pleased that Crikvenica - the biggest city on todays ride - had a .5 km long viaduct over it, saving me some hundred feet or more of climbing ;-). I:m sure its residents were happy not to have all the coastal traffic coming through their town!
The coast, the fiber route (?), and the road
The road climbs, sometimes steeply and there was construction that reduxed the road to one lane
It looked like they were putting a huge optical fiber pipe under that section of the road
As I got nearer Rijeka, traffic increased and, unfortunately, the road got narrower. That made part of the last 20 km a bit more exciting. Most of traffic was coming out of Rijeka, so I still had fairly long periods without passing cars, but some of the larger vehicles, particularly buses, passed very close.
The road, E-8, came down into the first part of Rijeka, a port, after climbing up form the harbor of the next city south of Riding around Rakor's harbor was the most congested part of the trip, except for riding in the center of Rijeka ;-), The descent after that penultimate climb - the ultimate climb was from the first Rijeka port up into the city itself - reminded me how much safer it is to ride into European cities as compared to US cities. Iwas doing 30mph down that long hill, in moderate traffic and only worried about stuff that might develop in front of me, not about the traffic that was around me.
Drivers here are trained - Auto Shola - to deal with bicycles and other, non auto, vehicles. That means that, even in heavy traffic, I feel much more secure than I do riding in traffic in the US.
Having said that, it got a bit overwhelming in the center of Rijeka and I bailed as soon as I saw a likely hotel. That hotel, because it is under renovation, ended up sending me to a less expensive - and less nice - hotel a few blocks away. I wasn't too impressed, but they do have a good restaurant - I just had a nice supper - and a free wireless hotspot. Well, free as in I bought a .5 liter beer so I could use it ;-). Then I had wine with supper. I'm still sitting at the restaurant, typing this, but I think I'm sober eough to make it back to my room now...