It was another chilly day, with on and off light rain and very little sun, not a bad day for riding. Unfortunately, I picked a bad cafe to have my late lunch at and, as a result, I was rendered unfit for riding about 30 km before I planned to stop for the day. The result was a 60 km day. I still hope to reach Chernivtsi tomorrow and Romania the next day. Riding today was easier than riding yesterday with better, on average, roads, fewer steep climbs and lighter traffic. Last night, I fell asleep about 10 after reading for half an hour or so. I'm reading Moby Dick on my Wikireader. Damn that is a good read! The noise of the trucks on the rough roads was enough to make me us earplugs when I wanted to sleep, but once I put in those plugs, I went right to sleep.
I woke up cold an hour or so later. I quickly pulled my sleeping bags head part up over my head and warmed up nicely. I woke again about 1 AM, needing to pee, and again about 5 AM - quite light here - and finally at 7 AM. At 7 AM, I realized that my fake Thermarest had lost most of its air. Because I use that short air mattress on top of a long ZRest pad and I was camped on leafy forest floor, I hadn't had any comfort or cold issues during the night. Hopefully the leak was just from the valve. I'll probably find out tomorrow night. Tonight I get to sleep in a bed, have a warm shower - this hotel has some issues - and have a place close by for breakfast. Other than missing the hot shower, I'd rather sleep in the woods.
I ate a quick breakfast, packed up and was headed out of the woods by 8 AM. I decided to walk my bike over to the small road and then walk out to the big road. That worked OK till the last mud puddle section on the small road. It was tricky getting through there and then a branch hidden under the muddy water caught in my rear wheel and the resulting quick stop left me with one foot in a puddle and the other in mud. I managed to dislodge the branch and pull the bike out onto dry ground, but some of the mud splashed on me and on the bike. I stopped a little way down N-10 to scrape most of it off my right shoe. My shoes are Keen Austins which I have further waterproofed and my socks are wool so there really wasn't a discomfort problem, just a muddy mess.
Speaking of breakfast, As I rode into Ivano-Frankivisk - better pavement than most of yesterday and only one more, marked at 10%, grade, 2 km climb - I came upon a fancy hotel. It looked like a castle, and it had a restaurant. I rode in to the complex and made a bee line for the restaurant, not noticing till I was on the third broad step, that I was riding down a stairway. Ukranian roads will do that to you!
A part of the banquet hall
I went in and found myself in a large medieval banquet hall with tables set with plates glasses - water, wine, and liqueur - for, at a guess, at least 100 people. I was the only customer, but there were three staff there. The waiter had a little English and, along with my coffee, he brought me a huge menu with English. After some discussion, I ordered some kind of eggs. What I got was beautifully presented, great tasting, three eggs with meat and veggies. I also got three fresh cut slices of the best bread I've had since I left Germany. That breakfast cost 65 UA or about $8. If you aren't reading this on the web page, you should be, just to see images of (part of) that hall and my breakfast!
The place I ate was half a dozen km from the center of Ivano-Frankivisk and I rode on in the see the city. It wasn't as hard as riding into L'viv, but it definitely was a big city in Ukraine. The streets were bumpy, but not cobblestone and the main streets were multi-lane with a good bit of traffic and, often, poorly defined lanes. Riding was OK, but it took a long time getting in from the west and out to the south. I'm glad I did it because the city was interesting.
Nice street in I-F
Traffic in I-F
I've seen half a dozen of these
Wonder who the guy is?
Once I got back on N-10, the pavement was usually pretty good and the hills were, usually, fairly gentle. The wind was from the south, and I was riding south for most of the day, but the wind wasn't strong enough to slow me down much. I suspect my two previous days of hard riding slowed me down more.
OK N-10 south of I-F
Stork feeding chicks
As I was riding south on an expressway like section of N-10, a rider coming north came over to visit. He said he was a Ukranian sportsman who did triathlon. I think he was saying he was a pro, or at least semi-pro, athlete. As we talked, he reach into one of his jersey pockets and pulled out a Ukrainian 'sports flag.' Those are the simplified national flags used by the football fans in Euro2012 (and other big football series like the World Cup). He gave it to me so I, for the first time, have a flag on my bike. I suspect it may be an interesting conversation starter in other countries ;-}.
N-10 shortly before I met the Triathlete
Bike with flag
Village, fields, and lake
Pretty country, not so pretty road surface
Not too long after I got my flag, I stopped for coffee at a fancy service station. Most service stations in Ukraine don't sell anything other than automotive stuff, but this was one like the one I had breakfast at after my night in the woods near the Polish border. Unfortunately, their pastries were sold out. Then I rode on and and stopped at a cafe, but it really wasn't functional, so I went next door to a store and got bread, bananas, and yogurt drink. I did my usual drink the yogurt drink and eat a banana outside that store. Then I adjusted my rear brake cable. Potholed downhills are really hard on brake pads! Finally I cranked on south under good riding conditions till I saw another cafe. This one is dramatically located at the end of a long straight just before N-10 turned east (and the pavement quality goes down a lot). You can see three, increasingly high, ranges of hills behind the cafe as you approach it.
Handmade brooms for sale
There were a half a dozen of these sites within a km
Stork flying down the road ahead of me
Lunch was simple: borscht, pierogi, and pivo (beer) with some bread served with the borscht, and coffee afterwards. It cost about $4 and I enjoyed it. As I left that cafe, it was starting to rain again and things were looking pretty wet to the south. The wind from the south had increased and I was wondering if I was going to get caught in hard rain. Because of that possibility, I decided to look for places to stay using my GPS. There were several of them about 10 km away and basically on my route, then nothing near my route for 30 km.
The cafe I shouldn't have eaten at
Strange building on the same square as my hotel
As I rode towards the small road I could use to get to those places, another problem developed. Something was not right with my digestive system and I needed to get to a place where I could, to put it crudely, take dump ASAP. I had just ridden past that small road when this new urgency occurred, so I turned back and headed down that dirt road. It was about four km, of mostly bad road which didn't help, to the places to stay, but I couldn't make that so I headed off on another, even smaller, road to find a place to dump in a field. That accomplished, I continued, in light rain, toward the places to stay. Then I started to worry that I would need to go again before I got to a place where I could use the bathroom. It was close, but I made it. After the second dump things seem to have settled down. Hopefully this issue won't bother me tomorrow.
Street scene near my hotel