Day 36, Siemiatycze to near Augustow, PL

A stork on a rooftop

It was a good day for seeing storks - nesting, in fields, and on a rooftop. It was also a good day for doing a long ride - 110 miles in nine and a half hours of actual riding - although I planned to do a short ride. It was also a day to get caught in yet another rain storm and to stop at a place, the first place I found - that has the lowest room price - 40 zloty - and have the most expensive meal - 35 zloty - of the trip.

My rest day was good and, although it rained a lot last night, the sun was shining this morning. The roads were still wet and I had internet access, so I took it easy after breakfast. I was planning to ride to Bialystok, only 95 km away, so I didn't need to hurry. I left about 9:30.

Riding was pretty good, the wind from the west was still blowing, but my route was mostly north and northeast and it only slowed me down when the road headed west. Unfortunately, the shoulder went away and I spent most of the day riding on roads that had narrow lanes and no shoulder. Gregory the Polish tourist had recommended an alternate route, but it went more west and had no services. 19 was OK, with relatively light traffic and few services.

It was pretty, open, country on the way to Bielsk Podlaski

Leaving Bielsk Podlaski
That shoulder went away when I got out of town

I planned to eat in Bielsk Podlaski and I was well supplied with two bananas, bread sticks, one double sized energy bar, and three liters of water, so I didn't need services. Gregory had said there would be too much traffic on this section of 19, and there was several times as much as south of Siemiatycze, but I would ride for five or ten minutes between bursts, so it wasn't a problem.

I snacked on the way to Bielsk Podlaski and, when I got to my planned lunch stop, I wasn't hungry. I rode on through town and perhaps five km later I stopped at at service station restaurant for lunch. It was good that I stopped there since I don't recall any other restaurants on the way to Bialystok.

This is a typical road section before Bialystok

An Orthodox church in an Orthodox town south of Bialystok
This is unusual in very Catholic Poland

As I got nearer to Bialystok, the weather deteriorated and there were several periods of very light rain. In Bialystok, the roads were very wet with large puddles, but that rain storm had passed. Riding was a bit messy with heavy traffic, road spray from big trucks and puddles that might cover potholes.

Leaving Bialystok, the shoulder went away immediately and the pavement was bad for 20 km

I decided, despite the weather, that I wanted to ride another 20 or 30 km north from Bialystok. My average riding day in eastern Poland has been about 80 miles or 130 km and, since I was well rested, 100 km just didn't feel like enough. However, I was concerned about a lack of places to stay between Bialystok and Augustow,which was almost 90 km away, so I stopped at a service station on the north side of Bialystok and asked. They said there was a place to stay 35 km away in Korycin.

A good section of road on the way to Korycin

Riding was very bad just north of Bialystok with heavy big truck traffic and a very beat up road. It stayed that way for 20 km, then the road improved but there was still no shoulder. The heaviest traffic was coming south toward me. because of the difficulty in passing, there were long 'trains' of big trucks - a many as two dozen of them with a few cars and buses thrown in - heading south. The wind from them was so bad that I usually just got off the road and waited for them to pass. That was safer too since cars would pass into me from the middle of those trains. The groups of trucks passing me were smaller. I don't remember any that had more than half a dozen big trucks in them.

I did get forced off the road once by a truck passing too close, and, bailed out another time. That time I almost crashed - my rear wheel slid out when I tried to get back on the road - in front of a bunch of vehicles trying to pass me. They were moving slowly and I don't think they would have run over me if I had gone down, but I managed to get my outside foot down and stop the slide.

This is just the tail end of a truck train
It passed where I could get over, get my camera out, and take a picture

When I got to Korcyin, it was closed. The whole town consisted of three building and one of them was hotel like place. It looked good, but it was closed. Now I had 55 km to go to get to Augustow and it was about 6:30 PM. I wasn't worried about running out of light, and I had a banana and some bread sticks left for another break, so I headed on down the road. It was good road now, although there was no shoulder for another 20 miles, and riding was pretty good except for those truck trains.

Nice pavement and wider lanes meant easier riding

When I was still 20 miles from Bialystok, I saw storms developing to the east. That was OK since the wind was from the west. When I was still 20 miles from Augustow, I saw storms developing to the west. That was not good! I stopped, at 100 miles, for my final food break and put the rain cover on my Townie pannier. A few miles later, I stopped, as the rain came and put on my rain gear. It was heavy rain , but with little wind, for a while, and then it was light rain, with a north wind for the next eight miles.

About five miles from Augustow, I found a place to stop. It isn't fancy, but it worked out very well. They let me take my wet bike up to my room - and gave me the first room on the first floor so I only had to carry it up one flight of stairs. I got my stuff in the room and headed back down to eat. Supper was also good, if a bit over priced. Than I came back up here, cleaned up in the bathroom at the other end of the hall, started this web page, and, after give super a chance to start digesting, got a good nights sleep. Now I'm ready to pack up and head out to Augustow for breakfast. This place doesn't serve food till 10 AM.

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