Day 02, Tour08, Kesckemet, HU to Subotica, SRB

I ended my day in a back yard in Subotica

I made it to Serbia today, still dealing with headwinds and rough roads. It took me 6 hours of riding to cover abut 100 km. When I got to Subotica, I rode thorough town checking it out and looking for a place to stay. When I decided on a place, it rejected my bicycle ;-{. Shades of Durres, Albania, the only other place my bicycle has been rejected by a hotel. As in Durres, where I ended up at an absolutely wonderful B+B, in Subotica I ended up at an absolutely wonderful place which, unfortunately had no rooms left. I really wanted to stay here, so I suggested camping in their back yard. Now I've decided to stay here two nights. I even get a room tomorrow ;-}.

I got a pretty good night's sleep in Kesckemet and an early morning start because my rooms only window faced east. It was getting pretty hot in there by 7 AM and I was on the road by 7:30. I had an excellent German breakfast at a restaurant about six miles from Kesckemet at about 8:30. Nothing was open in Kesckemet, although I could have ridden to the Centrum and had a McDs breakfast ;-}.

HU-54 starts as one the routes to the autoroute which bypasses Kesckemet
Traffic was heavy with a lot of big trucks heading for the autoroute
Then it becomes a normal highway with no shoulder

Riding on HU-54, although legal, was much more challenging than riding on HU-5. The traffic was just as heavy as on 5 but there was no shoulder and, for much of the first 20 km, the outer edge of the road was so messed up as to be almost unrideable. The asphalt had been pushed up and out by the heavy trucks and then cut down to leave a rough and bumpy surface outside the ridge. The ridge was so high that my right pedal hit it several times. Things got better - traffic got less and the road edge wasn't always messed up - later, but it wasn't fun riding and it was very hard on my body.

A vineyard on HU-54

This is a very productive agricultural region. There were many vineyards along HU-54 and I saw a few young olive groves as well as other crops. Later, when I got farther south, the dominant crop was wheat.

Heading for Tompa, the last Hungarian town before Serbia

Things got better, and worse, when I turned south on HU-53. They were better because the road was a bit smoother and worse because I was headed directly into the wind. HU-54 heads south-west to Soltvadkert. HU-53 head straight south to Tompa. My speed, which was already slowed by the wind, dropped another 1.5 mph when I started riding on HU-53. As I got farther south, the land become more open and the wind became stronger. I was having a hard time maintaining 10 mph near Tompa.

After getting wiped out fighting winds yesterday, I had enough sense today to not push as hard. I find it hard not to push when I'm riding in traffic, but I did do better today, especially after the first 20 km of riding.

A special place today: coming back to a place I had been before
I rode HU-55 across southern Hungary on my way to Romania in 2004

Entering Serbia was no big deal, other than a long grind into the wind to get to the border. I picked this crossing because I had ridden near it in 2004 and I knew it would not be busy. I met my first fellow bicycle tourist of this tour as I rode near Tompa. We exchanged waves. He had a big grin on his face so I figured the border wouldn't be bad. Of course he could have been grinning because he was happy to get out of Serbia...

When I got into Serbia, I was pleased to find the roads were much smoother than in Hungary and there was a lot less traffic. Lots of people were riding bikes as transportation, which was good, but they were riding, slowly on crude bike paths and the road had a no bicycling sign, which was bad. In keeping with my Hungarian policy, I decided to ignore the no bicycles signs and rode on, about ten km, to the center of Subotica. I saw a sign for a motel about 3 km away, but in the direction I wanted to go tomorrow, so I rode on, 'checking out' Serbia.

When I got near that 'Motel' I decide to ride on to the end of town and see what the old road to Novi Sad looked like. It looked good, so I rode back and over to the motel. When I tried to roll my bike into the reception area, I was rejected. My bike would have to stay outside in the, unprotected, garden. I said no way and the mangers said, in Serbian, too bad., Email: kraljica-sobe@eunet.yu
Address: Srbija, 2400 Subotica, Beogradski put 156, Tel:024/566-795, Mob: 065/8 429 490

I had seen a place with a Sobe - Zimmer-Rooms sign just before the turn for the motel, so I rode back there and rang the bell. The woman who came to the gate was very nice, but apologetic that they were full for the night. We talked - in English - and discussed where I could find a room - back 4 km in the centrum. I could see, behind her, a huge back yard that looked perfect for camping, so I asked if I could camp there tonight.

My hosts

I not only found a great place to camp, I also found great people to visit with and learn from about Serbia. When I took a shower - in a room that was between tenants - I found that the rough roads in Hungary had caused some damage to my crotch. I asked if I could stay here, in a room ;-}!, tomorrow night to give that damage chance to heal.

After setting up my camp, cleaning up, and visiting for several hours, I walked to the motel for supper - good, and inexpensive - and came back to work on this web page and check my email. Now I'm off to bed...

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