What may be my last day in CZ on this tour was also my first good weather riding day in CZ. It was a simply beautiful day and much of the riding was great. My riding day didn't start out too well. My plan was to ride 16 about 10 km and then get off on smaller roads, so, after stopping for supplies, and eating a container of yogurt to supplement my breakfast, I headed for 16.
On the way to 16, I exchanged hellos with what looked like a US touring couple. Their bikes and equipment were similar to mine and quite different from what most European tourists use. We were on opposite sides of a busy road, so I didn't get to visit with them. They were the only tourists I saw today.
When I got to the roundabout that took me to 16, I discovered that 16 was now autorouted. Hmm, that made it tough since there was no other direct route to that next town. I rode back about a km to get to a small road which my GPS, using some very small roads - it is set to bicycle mode - got me where I wanted to be.
There were some issue with its route, such as the fact that a small part of the route was dirt and a longer part was extremely bumpy old concrete slabs, but it got me to the bigger road I had planned to use after 16. That road was not autorouted, but it had almost as much heavy truck traffic as 16. I rode it for two km before going off it onto a little road recomended by my GPS. The little roads used by my GPS were mostly traffic free and fun to ride, while the big road I had planned to use was very noisy and not fun, I decided to keep following the GPS routing although it was slower, and definitely harder on my butt.
The problem with using the GPS route was that it could lead me to unrideable roads - and some sections of my ride today were on very rough roads - and that I would have to do a lot more climbing. Both problems were realized, but they were outweighed by the pleasure of riding on the small roads.
Although I could sometimes see the high traffic roads, my riding was on quiet roads through farms and small towns. I would turn the GPS on ever few km to get an idea of how far it was till the next turn - usually a few km, but sometimes as much as 10 km - and then turn it off and just keep an eye on my compass to be sure I kept going in roughly the right direction. I usually left the GPS on in cities
After a few hours of this, I came to a beautiful big town where I stopped at a peaceful park bench and had my first snack. It was lunch time and I had about 50km left to ride when I stopped. I wasn't really hungry enough for lunch then and, when I did get that hungry in mid afternoon, the restaurants were no longer open. The water I carried and the supplies I bought this morning, supplemented by a mid afternoon stop for a small coffee and a Snickers bar at a service station, were enough food to get me to my destination at about 4:30PM. After I found a place to stay, I had a donner for supper.
I did have a couple of 'close calls' on the road today. The first was while I was going down a long, fast, and curvy hill at about 50 kph. I was going fast enough that the curves were interesting on my loaded bike and the views were great, so I was riding in the center of my lane and I wasn't paying attention to what was going on behind me. Suddenly I heard the squealing of tires behind me and a car swerved around me, coming within inches of colliding with another car coming up the hill. I didn't have time to be react to what was a potentially very dangerous situation. My guess was that the driver was speeding, came around a curve and saw me too late to slow down and let me know he was there. The other close call was in a town on a very poorly paved road with no other traffic, A small car came by so close to me that I could have reached out and touched its roof. CZ drivers, with those two exceptions, have always passed me carefully and given me plenty of room.
The first sign of being close to my destination was a sign for Nachod Okres - a political unit like a county- on road number 307, a beautiful small road that I rode for 10 km. That was the nicest riding of the day, and some of the hilliest. My service station stop was before that part of the route, so I was feeling good from caffiene and sugar ;], and 307 had been on my orginal routing. When 307 ended, so did my small road riding for the day.
The remainder of my route was about 20 km on expressway 67/33. First it took me through the biggest city of the day and then it went down hill past a big lake between that city and Nachod.The longest climb of the day was over a ridge east of that lake. It was several km of lowest granny gear climbing, some of it on a narrow shoulder through construction, all of it in the sun with no shade and a gentle tailwind. If the traffic had been lighter, I would have taken my gloves and helmet off to keep cooler. There was one place where the road was shaded, where the railroad passed over the road, and I stopped there to cool down and to take an image of the lake and one of the many big trucks grinding up that hill behind me.
The castle in Nahod from my window at the pension
There was a similar, but shorter, downhill in the other side of the ridge which led into Nachod. The road was pretty smooth so I was able to keep up with the traffic on that section. When I got into town, I started hunting for a pension. It took me four tries, using my GPS, to find one, On my first try I headed away from the center of town and found no pension, but a road labeled as 16% grade. My next two tries led me into a neat area below the castle - this city was founded in 1232 and the castle is quite impressive! - no luck on either of those, but nearby I found a fourth pension and got a room. I really like the place, but, on Friday night, it might have been better to find a pension that didn't have a bar downstairs. It is really active down there and it will be active up here when some of my fellow residents stager home late at night. I'm hoping my ear plugs, which I haven't needed since I started this tour, will get me through the night.
Tomorrow, I'm headed into the mountains in the CZ-Poland border. That should be a challenging, and very pretty, ride.