Tour05 Day 23

Riding down the Drava about 25 km from Maribor

Today was an 'easy 100 km day' that turned out to be a pretty long 100 mile day. As when following the Croation coast, distances are deceptive when following river valleys. I'm sure Maribor is less than 100 km from Solcava, if you are a crow. If you are a bicyclist following river valleys, you reach Dravograd after about 93 km and you still have 61 km to go to reach Maribor! That sounds like 100 miles to me...

I didn't actually reach Maribor today. After deciding I really didn't need to be in town tonight, I stopped for supper at a fancy Gostilina on the river about 10 km from Maribor. Supper was good and I decided to spend the night here, where it is peaceful rather than in Maribor. The cost is about the same - almost three times what I paid last night! - and this place is very comfortable. I think tomorrow I will ride to Maribor, use an internet cafe, and then ride on to Hungary. That will give me more time at lake Balaton before I ride to Gyor on Sunday.

Today's ride was the opposite of yesterday's ride, although both were fairly hard days. Yesterday, we rode 90 km in six hours and climbed about 2000 m. Today I rode 140+ km in about seven hours and climbed perhaps 500 m.

Now that is a river gorge ;-)

The Savinja 15 km later
5 km later, it was broad and gentle

The ride from Solcava went down the Savinja for about 30 km, then it went up the Paka for 10 km to Velenje - where I stopped for lunch - and on - and pretty up - to Mislinja, a long 12 km later. Then things got fast again as I went, mostly downhill, 40 km down the Mislinja to Dravograd. Finally it went down the Drava to Maribor. Lots of river and most of the riding was down river, but that still required some climbing as the road often climbs well above the river. The climb to Mislinja had an 8% grade for less than a km just before the town, but mostly was only a few percent.

Coming into Velenje

My camera mount was damaged yesterday - and probably it was already weaken by the bumps on the many bad roads I have ridden on this tour - when we rode rapidly down the Logarska valley as the rain was starting. The later part of that road is pretty rough and I just 'let it rip' as we bounced our way down it at 30 mph. I noticed my camera had come partially out of its mount- something it hasn't done before - when I removed it because of the rain. This morning, when I went to remount it, I discovered that the mount was damaged. I figured I'd repair it tonight.

My bike by the Drava, where I stoped to check my camera and repair the mount

Today, although most of the roads were good, some were quite rough. I kept an eye on the camera and the mount seemed to be doing OK, but after a fast ride in heavy traffic on rough roads through Dravogad, I looked down to take a picture of the Drava and my camera mount was empty! My camera was hanging, by its wrist strap which I use as a safety strap, from my bell. I don't know how long it had been hanging there, banging against the stem, but, when I stopped to check it out, it appeared undamaged. I stopped a little later for a break and to do some repair work on the mount, and check the camera's functionality. No problems. Of course I did loose the - specially fabricated from duct tape, an aspirin box, and and a Mac connector cover - piece that locks the camera in the mount. I hope to fabricate a replacement in the morning.

In a gorge, with traffic, north of Velenje

All in all, it was a very nice ride today through very pretty country. Other than the camera problem, the only problem I had was too much traffic, especially on the road from Velenje to Mislinja. That road was narrow, had no shoulders and part of it was in the river gorge where there was no way to get off the road. It had lots of traffic, including large trucks and buses, and those vehicles could not safely pass me when there was on coming traffic. Of course, this being Slovenia instead of the US :-/, it wasn't dangerous for me to ride. I did get off the road several times today to let buses and large trucks by. They usually had a long line of cars behind them, and it was easy for me to get out of the way and stop holding up all those people, so I did. They weren't threatening me, they were just patiently waiting for safe place to pass.

Heading down to Dravograd

In many parts of the US, I would have been forced off the road by an impatient driver if I tried to ride in similar conditions. In all of the US I would have been worried that someone would do something stupid and put me at risk. In the US, I would have been very frightened if I had to ride under the conditions I experienced for perhaps an hour of my riding today. Here it was just annoying that there was so much traffic, and so little lane width, that I couldn't ride in peace.

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