Tour05 Day 40

The end of the day in a back yard in Gostynin

Another long day. This one wasn't as good in that there were two bad sections of road where I had to ride with no shoulder and heavy truck traffic. Fortunately these sections were short - the longest was five miles - but they were NOT fun. It was also the first day that I needed my tent. When, at about 7:30, I discovered there was nowhere to stay in Gostynin and it was 25 km to the nearest hotel, I asked if I could camp. It is 6 AM and I'm sitting in my Tarptent in the backyard of a place that has rooms - all full - as I write this. It was a good night, except for the neighborhood dogs who barked a lot! I hope somebody gets up before too long and I can find a place for breakfast, but I used a yogurt drink bottle to pee in and I had some bread and a little coke left over from yesterday, so my basic needs are met for now ;-).

My Hotel in Warka

I left Warka about 9:30 this morning, after a great breakfast. Breakfast was at 8 - for me - and the man that served it spoke English. I ate, sitting on the terrace, surrounded by flowers with the sun warming the lower part of my body. I had a pot of coffee and so much good food that I couldn't eat it all!

I also had a good conversation with my breakfast preparer and met his beautiful young - perhaps 8 - daughter. I asked why he had learned such good English and he said he had been a good student at school and had studied it at university as well because he enjoyed it.

This very personable, very well spoken, and very nice man about 30 was educated to be an engineer, but works in a restaurant in Warka because he needs to support his wife and child. They live in Warsaw some 50 km away. A lot of people in Poland are underemployed, or not employed at all.

This Polish tourists passed my just outside of Warka
We visited a bit, but had no common language
Of coure we wouldn't have riddem together for long
Since he was riding at about 17 mph!

The ride to Grojec was 25 km of back roads followed by half a dozen km of 'Oh, oh, this is the main road from Krakow to Warsaw!' Actually, highway 7 wasn't bad - it had good shoulders - it was just very busy.

7, the main road from Krakow to Warsaw

50, a better road for bicycling

Things were better when I turned on 50. I spent half of my day riding on 50. Mostly, except for a pretty constant headwind, it was OK riding. The other, more serious exception was when 50 'lost' its shoulders. The first time was coming into Mszczonow, no, I can't pronounce it! A few miles south of town, the paved shoulder was replaced by a semi-rideable gravel shoulder. After stopping to curse and assess the situation, I rode on, bailing out onto the shoulder when big trucks - there were a lot of them! - were coming from both directions. It wasn't fun, but I could keep the bike upright and going on that shoulder.

Not good, 50 with gravel shoulder

Good, 50 after Mszczonow

Oh shit! 50 before 577

The second time was north of Sochaczew after the bad section where 2 has joined 50 for a few miles, the shoulder goes away. The replacement shoulder is soft sand. When I went off into that, it was struggle just to keep from crashing before I stopped.

It is five miles from where the shoulder goes away to where 577 starts and you can get off 50 for good. Most of that distance has a rideable small road or bike path paralleling 50, but there is a mile or two that does not. That was scary riding! I only bailed out three times, but each time I had to fight the bike as big truck roared by two feet away. I was very happy to get off 50!

The start of 577

577 was nice riding. There were occasional big trucks but they were well behaved. It felt like they were on my territory unlike 50 where I was on theirs.

573 near Gostynin

577, after 35 km, leads to 574 which, after 7 km, leads to 573 which, 16 km later, gets to Gostynin, the big town in these parts. I'd ridden 25 km on 730, maybe half a dozen on 77, and 75 km on 50, for a total of over 140 km, most of it with a headwind. I'd been on the road for 10 hours, with one meal break and several snack breaks, and I was tired. I am very greatful to my hosts from last night. I really couldn't have ridden on to the next possible place to stay - I would have ended up wild camping in a field somewhere close to Gostynin - and, when I said I could camp, they were most helpful and kind. I got treated very well and felt very welcome in their home. The son and I had good conversations on a wide range of subjects connected with Poland, and the father and I, although we had serious language problems, developed a warm friendship. This is what touring is all about.

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