A Motel on E1 near Digacz to Ostroda, Poland

The Wisla, Polands most important river, near Digacz

Wheat fields, woods, and lake near Lazin

The view out my window at the Park Hotel in Ostroda

I had a much harder day today, but perhaps that was a good thing. I rode six hours and twenty minutes to cover 72 miles with 1400 feet of climbing. The big difference from yesterday was that I rode with strong sidewinds and sometimes headwinds, all day. I wasn't sure I was physically up to that kind of riding, but I gave it a try and my body did fine. I'm tired tonight, but feel better about the rest of this tour since I now have more confidence in my ability to ride under challenging conditions. Today wasn't as challenging as most of the days I rode in Portugal or northern Spain, but it was harder than anything I've ridden in the last few weeks.

As in Portugal and Spain, much of my riding today was on the drops, head down, grinding uphill - it almost always felt like uphill even if it wasn't - into the wind. That is not the greatest way to ride through pretty country, but, if I hadn't been able to do it today, I would have had to give up on riding through one of the nicest parts of Poland tomorrow. I hope I don't have to repeat the process tomorrow. I hope the wind dies down. My ride will be much more enjoyable if it does, but I can do it even if the bad wind conditions of the last few days stay around.

Another storks nest with mama and kids

Now mama has flown off to find more food for the kids

I crossed the Wisla river early today and rode through the city of Grudiadz on highway 16. I stayed on 16 all day until I left it to find a place to spend the night in Ostroda. I was pleased to see another storks nest, with chicks, and saddened to see a third nest that was not being used. There was some very bad weather last year on the Storks migratory route to Africa and many storks were lost. Perhaps the storks that have used that empty nest in the past were among those lost. At the occupied nest, I got to see mama fly off - and didn't get a picture! - she was very graceful even in the strong wind.

The decision point after Lasin

The church at Kisielice
Pretty church, not so pretty road to it....

My plan today was to ride to Lasin and decide if I could continue on 16 or would go east and south on 343. When I got there, the wind was strong, 16 had lousy pavement, and 16 headed off uphill into the wind. I stopped, snacked, rested and debated with myself before continuing on 16. The next 10 km or so, to Kisielice, were the hardest riding of the day. Then, as the road turned from north-east to east, I just had to deal with occasional headwinds, some lousy pavement, and lots of strong, gusty sidewinds. After I got to Kisielice, I knew I could handle the wind and I even debated trying to ride all the way to Olsztyn today, which would have been over 100 miles, but decided that would be foolish. As it turned out, I really needed to stop in Ostroda because of some bad food I ate at another fancy service station about 10 miles easy of there. I think I better stop eating at those fancy service stations!

Riding on 16, although it simplified my routing (!) was really like riding on many different roads. The pavement went from great to lousy and back again, many times. 16 even had real shoulders, for less than a kilometer! Mostly, 16 had very little traffic and no services. There were parts of 16 that looked like a nice, empty, expressway. Other parts looked like a small road through a forest, and, of course, had much more traffic ;-{. Too be fair, even though my butt hurts, it was mostly good riding which would have been very nice riding without the strong wind. I saw no evidence that the strong wind is normal - no flagged trees - and, when I mentioned it to a fellow at my hotel, he said it had only been windy for a few days.

Pavement changes at the 'county' border, just as in the US
but it may also change many times within a 'county'

You can really see effects of the strong north wind in this image
Look at how the foliage on that little tree ion the right edge has been blown to the south

Lovely, empty, road

Some of the many different 16s I rode today

I was hungry by the time I got to Kisielice, and there were two places to eat there. They were both closed, but, at least, I got a picture of the nice church. I rode on, hoping for some place to eat before Ilawa, but, finding none, I stopped in the forest to snack again on the last of my bread and cheese. the cheese is Polish variant of those little triangles of cheese that are packed in foil and, usually come in a round box with 6,8, or , two layers, 12 or 16 wedges. The folks 'from' Cheyenne that I met in Spain turned me on to those things. They are wonderful touring food. They last - my friends, who are long distance hiker and bike tourists, claimed they'ed used 'em after more than a year! - and, with some bread and water, make a good quick snack. The bread i have is sliced, then plastic wrapped, simple Polish bread, It has also lasted well. I thought about throwing the remaining bread away a few days ago. Today I was very happy to still have it. I bought some more cheese wedges today and , I'm planning to finish the bread tomorrow.

I saw too many 'big' cars today, including several US sedans and SUVs
This Mercedes SUV is one made, in the US, for the US market

A young man and a num walking on 16
There were lots of people walking on the road today
Traffic was light and they didn't need to get off the road when cars or trucks came along

I didn't see any places to eat till well after Ilawa - the biggest town before Ostroda, so I stopped at small supermarket and got yogurt and pastry for 'lunch' and cheese wedges for future snacks. That was OK, but I had also been running out of water, so I stopped at service station before Ilawa to get some fruit drink and to refill my water bottles. Roughly half way for Ilawa to Ostroda, I saw a fancy service station with a 'bar.' and stopped for some hot food. and cold beer. I had Zureck, a polish soup with a hard boiled egg in it and beer. It was good, and I rode on feeling that was a good things to have done, but my stomach started feeling strange a few km later and, as I rode into Ostroda, I knew I needed to get to a toilet ASAP.

I asked about hotels at a service station and they sent me to a nice three star place on the lake. I asked the woman there, do you have any rooms and she said they didn't , so I asked if they had a bathroom I could use. After taking care of that business, I went back and asked her if there was a hotel that had rooms. She called to check and then sent me to the Park Hotel which is located in a big park on the other side of the lake. It is very nice and my room, although small, has everything I need and a great view of the lake. 120 Z with breakfast. My nice supper was 25 Z. Divide them by 4 to get Euros.

The woman at the reception here couldn't deal with either English or German, so she got the fellow who works in the restaurant and speaks both languages. That worked out really well - I even got a discount for paying cash - and the same man helped me with supper and routing suggestions for the next few days. His suggestions include going northeast - into the wind ;-{ - from here to Dobre Miasto and riding from there to Ketrzyn before coming south again to Miragowo and then MikotajKi. The latter place is the most popular place for tourism in Poland, sort of like Bled in Slovenia. From there he suggests I should ride 16 to Agustow and then ride south through Bialystok. With the bad wind, I think it will take three days to get to Agustow. Of course, if the wind continues, it will make my riding south from Agustow easier ;-}.

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