It was a long - about 8 hours of actual pedalling and 90 miles - but fairly easy ride to Slobozia. I think this is the longest ride I've done on this tour, in miles, but not in hours on the road. The first 80 km, to the first town where I could get a meal today, was the hard part of the ride. It was hard because the riding was a mix of climbing long hills - at 6 to 7 mph - and then descending at 15 to 20 mph, over and over again. This isn't hard riding, but it is slow riding since, spending most of the time climbing at 7 mph, I was able to average only 10 mph. It took me five hour to ride that first 80 km.The last 60 km was in the Danube river valley and was mostly flat. I was able to average close to 13 mph on that part. It took less than three hours to ride the last 60 km.
I also had my neatest experience of the day about 20 km from Slobozia. I'd been cranking along at a good rate for the last 40 km and decided it was time to take my last food/rest break. I looked for a place where I could get off the road a bit so I could sit and eat in peace. There was a small lake where some folks were fishing, so I took a dirt road that led to the lake. It was rough and and a bit muddy, so I got off my bike and walked it toward a small building where the road turned toward the lake. as I got closer, I could see that there were two beds and a dresser in this. shack like , building. As I approached the building, a fellow came out and gestured that he wanted money. I realised that he wanted a fee for fishing at the lake. Another fellow came out and repeated the demand for money.
I explained, in English and gestures - these folks were not likely to know English - that I just wanted to sit, rest, and eat a bit. not to fish. The first fellow understood me and gestured that I was welcome. As I leaned my bike against the small building , he called off the very large dog that apparently lived with them in that small shack. I took some bread, cheese, and water from my bike and sat down on the ground to rest and eat.
The fellow went into the shack and came out with a nice tomato. He offered it to me and I thanked him. It went very well with my break and cheese. I sat there eating and watching two young men, who had been fishing, hooking two horses to their wagon. Then the fellow who had given me the tomato, asked if I liked it and I said very much. He went back in the building and came out with another tomato, water and a glass. I thanked him but refused those gifts and explained that I didn't need them, but that I really appreciated the offer. Then he went back in and came out with a large apple. That gift I gratefully accepted and thanked him again. He told me that all he was doing was showing 'Roman' hospitaliity. I think what he was showing was that he was a very good man who didn't have very much but was kind enough to share what he had with someone who needed it.
This is what the road looked like toward the end of the first 80 km
This is what it looked like for most of first half of the day
It is quite a bit bumpier - really wavier - than it looks
I left this morning about 8 AM. I 'discovered', when the sun came in my window at 5 AM, that I was in a new time zone. Actually, I'd been in this time zone for four days, but hadn't noticed...
Wheat is a major part of life in this part of Romania
This morning, I felt like I was riding across the US plains, albeit with more climbing, more trees, and less wind. After lunch, I felt like I was riding along the Danube, because I was. In between there was a hillier section with marked 7% grades and and 100 foot high hills. The most interesting part of that section was that I got 'pulled' by the local cops. Nothing came of it - it was just a jerk cop abusing his authority - but it gave me a 10 minute rest stop in the middle of the longest, and steepest, hill.
Road construction right after lunch
Right after lunch I ran into road construction which lasted, in one for or another, for about 10 miles. There was one really bad part - no pavement left, just very rough dirt and rocks - that I pressed hard though to keep ahead of the other traffic. That made my bad knee hurt a bit for the rest of the day. That section was followed by a toll booth before the bridge over the Danube. I was waved through.
The Danube, in an illegal image
It s very broad here - that is a 28 mm wide angle shot as I rode across the middle of the bridge
It was neat to cross the Danube again - 2nd time on this trip - an even neater that the road on the other side was flat and the pavement was good to very good for the rest of the day.
A big field of sunflowers, for Barbara
Great new pavement
A passenger train on track running parallel to the road
When I got to Slobozia, I rode a long way to get the center of town where my hotel is located. There are two hotels in this town that must have at least 100,000 residents. This one is bit over priced, at 50 E, but very nice, two star. Breakfast was excellent, a very good three stars. I am paying 2.5 times as much here as at the Hotel Paris, and, except for breakfast, getting less. Romania is more expensive to tour in than Bulgaria, but its still half the price of western Europe. Romania, like Bulgaria and unlike most of Europe, has lots of wide open spaces. It is nice to have those spaces, but it means my touring days must be longer in order to get to places to eat and to sleep.