Szczecinek to Bytow, Poland

Storks, with chicks - Polands special bird

The valley where I had lunch
It was about a 300 foot climb to get out of after lunch
the blob in the sky is something in/on the lens that shows up only on telephoto shots ;-{

Today didn't work out very well for bicycling. I rode about 58 miles in five hours and quit because I found a neat town and I was very tired. I'd planned to ride another 20 miles or so, but, due to hills - 1500 feet of climbing - and bad road conditions and the still lingering effects of my illness, I choose to stop early. It was a good choice. I just came back from supper at Restaurancia Kazsazblanka (not quite the right spelling) where I had the first meal that I have really enjoyed this week. It was too hot in the restaurant, but I waited, sweating a bit, patiently and my wait was rewarded with an excellent fish - local river fish - dinner. It was as good as the last fancy fish dinner I had in France, but cost about $6, with .5 liters of good beer, which is what the beer would have cost in the French restaurant ;-}.

Leaving Szczecinek on highway 20

Last night, I decided to try riding 20, which is a major road on my map and goes to Gdansk. If it was bad, there was small road I could bail out on in 10 km. If it wasn't bad, it was a better route than I could come up with using the little roads. Since Gdansk was 176 km - 110 miles - away on 20, I didn't plan to ride there today, but instead I was riding to Koscierzyna, a town about 80 miles away. That would give me the option of riding to Gdansk tomorrow or continuing east from Koscierzyna on little roads. Bytow is the 'big' town before Koscierzyna, and I still have those options.

Easy, but boring, riding on highway 20

20 turned out to be much more like the little roads I had been riding than 6 or 3. Its pavement was in just as bad or worse shape than the little roads and, usually, it didn't have much more traffic than they did. The section between Bialy Bor and Miastko had too many big trucks on it - I had to bail out once - but traffic on the rest of the road wasn't bad. The road surface was often patched all the way across my lane, so, even riding in the middle of the lane was bumpy. When I had to ride on the edge, I usually stood up on my pedals to avoid the beating. There was also a lot of oil and loose gravel pattching in the middle section which stuck lots of gravel to my front wheel. Not fun. The last ten miles or so before Bitow was much better and I hope it will stay that way tomorrow. In Poland, you can never be sure what the next stretch of pavement will be like!

Todays most special moment was seeing a storks nest, with two adults and two chicks, not far from Szczecinek. those were the first storkes I've seen on this visit and it really made me feel like I was in Poland. I didn't see any other nests today, so that nest may be near the northern and western boundaries of their nesting area. Other than the storks, riding north from Szczecinek was boring. The land was flat and not very pretty. That had changed by the time I made my first rest/snack stop at Bialy Bor. and the riding stayed nice - if hilly - and the views were very nice the rest of the way to Bytow.

Truck traffic between Bialy Bor and Miastko
These are just little trucks - With the big trucks, I was too busy staying out of the way to take pictures!

A pretty home, with island, after the climb out form Miastko

My physical condition today wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. I still had little appetite and, when I started riding this morning, I felt that I was funtioning at 50% of normal. That improved, over a few hours, to maybe 80%, but hills that I would hardly have noticed two weeks ago, were hard work today. Some of that is the result of staying off my bike for eight days, the rest is the after effect of being sick and getting severely dehydrated on Monday. Today, my legs were worn out after a mere 1500 feet of climbing in 50 miles. Now, since Ive been riding in flat land for weeks, that could be more climbing than I've done in 50 miles since I left France. It could also be a cumulative effect from the last two days were I had to push my body hard while it was sick. Hopefully it will work better tomorrow...

The typical rough surface on 20 today

After the worst section, but now the ridges sometimes go all the way across my lane

Smoother pavement near Bytow

One of the nicest features of the hilly land this side of Miastko was the small lakes that dotted the countryside. Lots of them had public beaches where people were swimming and picnicing today. One, in a very small town, had nice shelters, a store and a cafe and even a basic hotel near the lake. I was tempted to stop!

The lake with services

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