Day13: Glogowek to at a hotel near Mikolow, PL on 44/E75: A good day of riding

A good day of riding. I even enjoyed 30+ km of riding on a road with fair to lousy pavement, no shoulders, narrow lanes, and a lot of heavy truck traffic. Somehow, I was just having a good day riding in Poland. I even enjoyed most of the end of the day riding I did on 44/E75. The traffic was heavy but, as long as I had a good shoulder riding was OK. Unfortunately they seem to be in the process of messing up the good shoulders they built for that road and that was part of the reason I quit when I did today.

Starting with my last night in CZ and continuing tonight, but so far not as bad as it has been, I've been having frequent loss of connection, either to the router or from the router to the net. The result, when working with crazyguy which does most of its work off line, i.e. on my computer, has been repeated loss of work and, when uploading images, screwed up work. The only reliable connections I've had have been at the two McDs I've stopped at in Poland. Thier coffee is good and the hot apple and cherry pies are better than those in the States, but working conditions there are about the same as in the US. It is more comfortable to work my tent or hotel/hostel/pension room. I've modified my web page/ride report creation process to work around the unreliable connections, but lost connections are still time consuming and annoying and result in partially done pages that take more time to fix.

Enough bitching. My room in Glogowek had some problems other than wifi connections. The only signifcant one was lousy beds. As a result of that and the fact that it keeps getting hotter here - it was in 30s today (around 90 F) - my sleep was less than great. Still, I was in bed for my usual 10 hours, so I didn't feel sleep deprived. Breakfast, except for the Nescafe, was good. It was served by one of the owners daughters. She had good English and was delightful to interact with. I'd guess she was high school age. I ate in the restaurant. On the wall were some nice pencil drawing. The biggest and most prominently mounted one was a portrait of a Jewish man. I liked it very much, and I would love to know what it was doing in a non Jewish establishment in Poland. Unfortunately, the owner and I don't have enough common language to talk about things like that.

40 this morning

The first part of my ride, on 40 again. It was clear - no clouds - but hazy today and that part of 40 had no shoulders but wide enough lanes so that that was not a problem. Traffic was light. The most interesting thing about that section was than most of the towns have both a Polish and a German name. I also noticed that the welcome to the new county signs welcomed in German and that I saw one German flag on a build and another German soccer flag on a car. Many cars have Polish soccer flags on them. I saw one fallen off by the side of the road and was tempted to tape it to my monopod which now sticks up like a flag pole at the back of my bike. I decided that Polish drivers were friendly enough already that they didn't need that extra incentive not to hit me ;-}

Polish and German names for this town

Lots of roads here have trees on either side. It makes for more pleasant
summer riding.In some other countries, trees along the road side make
for bumpy road edges. Here there is always a ditch between the trees and
the road which prevents the roots messing up the road


Resting in the woods along 408

Near Kedzierzyn-Kosle, I turned on small road, 408, to ride to Gliwice, a bigger city. The main route between these cities is an autoroute. Perhaps because trucks are charged for using the autoroute, a whole LOT of BIG trucks use that smaller road. The road wasn't designed for that kind of use and the pavement has suffered as a result. It is challenging riding when the pavement is in bad shape and there are lots of trucks, who take up a entire lane, travelling on it in both directions. The number of truck is such that traffic is really bursty - cars and other trucks get hung up behind the slower trucks - so much of the time, the traffic isn't bad. I had periods of five to ten minutes with almost no traffic. When a slow truck does come up behind me, it can usually pass easily. I have no problem other than being forced to ride near the edge of the road rather than being able to dodge most of the patches and potholes. However, when bursts of traffic need to pass me in both directions at the same time, I just get off the road at the next opportunity and let them pass. This is a minor pain, but not dangerous unless I do something stupid. The truck drivers were always patient and cooperative. Admittedly, I enjoyed that part of the ride, but I did stop for two breaks to get away from the traffic.

I got off the pavement to take this image

408 goes through a large National Forest so there were plenty of opportunities to get away from the road into the woods. It would be a good place to stealth camp. I just stopped to take a break by pulling 10 m off the road an finding a nice place to sit and eat. That was my second break of the day. The first was for coffee, a pie, and some spicky chicken 'fingers' at McDs. That stop added at least 5 km to my day, but most of that was due to my routing errors. It also gave me a chance to buy some replacement brake pads which I needed for my front brakes.

I really didn't need another stop then, but, only a few km after my woods stop, I saw a restaurant named the Zlaty Bazant. As I was riding, I had been thinking about my favorite Slovakian beer which has the same name. I couldn't resist the coincidence, so I stopped. I had beer - Tyskie, a good Polish beer - and Zureck, a traditional Polish soup, with some bread. It made a great second 'half-lunch' and I really enjoyed the stop. Then I rode on into Gliwice.

My GPS routed me right though the middle of that large city and put me on 44/E75 before it went through Gliwice's equivalent of Atlanta's spagetti junction. That was some interesting and challenging riding, and it was totally unnecessary. Google maps, set on walking, provides a much easier, and safer, route which avoids both of those problems. Oh well, as with the 'truck route', I mostly enjoyed the 'big city route.' Its most annoying issue was the number of stop lights I had to wait at.

Riding through the big city

After getting 10 km or so out of the city, I started looking for places to stay. It was hot and the head/side wind which I had had all day was made worse, and less effective, by the fact that I was riding on the shoulder on the wrong side of the road. The wind was coming across the hot road before it reached me and the air dragged along by the big trucks was blasting me as they passed. I was over there because there wasn't a rideable shoulder on thw others side and there was heavy traffic, including a lot of trucks, in both directions. The shoulder on the right side had been replaced by a fancy, but bumpy, sidewalk or cut in half by a guard rail. It looked like they were getting ready to put a similar guard rail down the other shoulder. Maybe they are planning to autoroute that section of road.

On 44

At the top of a long hill, I saw a sign for hotel on the other side of the road. Traffic was heavy enough that it took me a few minutes to get across the road. Then it was short ride to this hotel. It is a little upscale for me at 100 PL - 25 E - with breakfast and the room is the Polish version on Microtel, but the bed is comfortable and except for the wifi every thing works well. I, loving fresh air, made the mistake of opening a window wide so it got a bit warm in here, but it will cool down soon as the sun is setting now.

Tomorrow I will ride to Oswiecim - German name Aushwitz - and perhaps spend the night there if I visit the camps again. Then it is an easy ride to Krakow which would be another good place to visit again. It would also be the best place on my route to get a train to near Ukraine. I'm still undecided about doing that.