Day 29, Baia Mare, RO to Kocsord, HU

Once I got out of the Baia Mare traffic area, this is what the road to Satu Mare looked like

Since I had decided to do a short day to Satu Mare, I didn't get on the road to nearly 9:30 and I stopped at the internet cafe from 9:30 to 10:30. The pension I stayed at, which is the first one you see coming into the center of Baia Mare from the east, was very nice, and the total cost - supper- air conditioned room - breakfast was 33 Euro. That was a Euro more than it should have been, but I considered that a tip since they had been so helpful.

The ride to Satu Mare was OK, with some sections of decent pavement, some OK and only a little really bad pavement. The route was flat most of the way, although there was a decent climb coming out of town and a few smaller climbs later. Satu Mare is on the great Hungarian Plain and Baia Mare is at the base of that big ridge I rode over yesterday. The land between goes from flat surrounded by hills to just plain flat. I averaged almost 12 mph and that included a lot of slower riding getting out of Baia Mare and through Satu Mare.

Half way to Satu Mare, where the Satu Mare Judetul begins, the land is flat and open

As I was taking food / rest break at the Judetul border, this fellow walked past me with his cow

I got to Satu Mare in about three hours of riding, and after riding into the center where I stayed the last time I was there, decided I'd ride on into Hungary. I've become city adverse. I get into one and I just want to get out. Baia Mare wasn't big enough to trigger that, but Satu Mare was. I stopped to stock up on snack food on my way out of town and rode on knowing that it would be a long way - at least 50 km or so - till I'd find a place to stop for the night. In fact, since I had ridden this route before, I knew it might be even longer - 90 km - till I was in a place with hotels. I hope that I didn't have to do a long day today, but I was prepared to do one if I had too.

The border crossing went smoothly. The border control agent was very impressed by all the places I'd been on my bicycle and said I must have 'iron legs.' The roads in this part of Hungary, as I remembered, feel as smooth as glass compared to Romainian roads, and, except in villages, have good shoulders. In villages there are sidewalk / bike paths but I didn't use them. That got me in trouble late in the day. There are only a few small villages in the first 30 km or so after the border, so most of the riding was fast - 13 to 15 mph - and easy. Wind was more of a problem in Romainia because the land there is more open. In Hungary, trees usually block the wind.

I gradually caught up with and passed this fellow in Hungary
Notice it looks a little dark ahead of us. It got a lot darker

The farther I got into Hungary, the more threatening sky the ahead looked. There was a lot of rain ahead and I was hoping I'd make it to a place to stay before I reached the rain. I almost made it, but some 5 km before the small town I'm staying in, I saw lightning ahead and then the storm front winds hit me. I'd been thinking about where I could take shelter, so, when the wind really picked up, I stopped in a bus shelter. By the time I had my rear rain covers on, the storm had reached the shelter. I stayed there for about 45 minutes, waiting for the rain to stop. I often had company in the shelter, so my bike ended up sticking out into the rain so the bus passengers and I could be sheltered from it.

After 45 minutes it was still raining, but not as hard, and the wind was gone, so I put on my rain gear and pressed on. I really didn't have a problem with the rain, but there was a lot of traffic including many big trucks and, in the villages that created a problem for me. I try to get out of trucks way as much as possible, but some times they surprise me. Today, in the rain, a trucker driving a large semi decided to pass me into a blind corner in a village. I didn't anticipate this - dangerous - move. I should have bailed out immediately, but instead, when another large semi came around the corner going in the other direction, the truck passing me forced me off of the road. Given the circumstances, he really didn't have any other choice.

I went off onto rough dirt and almost crashed - it would not have been serious if I had - and I think the trucker thought he had hit me. He slowed down ahead until I waved him on and I stayed off the the road as several other semis passed me. In Romania, trucks let you know, by tooting, not blaring, their horns, when you need to get out of their way. That sounds rude, but it really works pretty well. Since I was focused on the rain and the road surface ahead of me, I didn't know this truck was there until he started his pass. Still, given the circumstances, I should have bailed as soon as I heard him start to come around me.

A few km after that incident, I saw a restaurant and stopped for supper. That turned out to be a really good move. I had a good supper and found out that I had passed - about the time the truck ran me off the road - an inexpensive and good place to stay. It is a bar / motel and my room cost me 12 E for the night. breakfast will be 1.3 E. I was hoping to stay at a hotel in the next city - the first hotel on this route - but this room is fine and much less expensive. Tomorrow, I'm considering going into Ukraine for the night and then into Slovakia the next day.

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