Day17: Near L'viv to near Dobromyl, Ukraine: Riding in the rain

After the worst breakfast of the tour, and it was a 3 E breakfast ;-}, I replaced the, now modified, left front rack on my bike, loaded the bags and headed into L'viv. It wasn't a fun ride because the traffic was heavy, the day was dismal, and the air was smoggy. As I cranked along, I tried, with little success, to guess what the cyrillic signs meant. I rode quite a ways into town, but when, with about 3 km to go, the road paving became really bad (big rounded stones) cobblestone, I explored my options, and decided I didn't want to see L'viv enough to ride that road in heavy traffic with my broken rack. The highlight of that part of my day was a smile. The smiler was cleaning the shoulder of the road I was on and, as I rode up and smiled at him, responded with an absolutely great smile under his huge mustache.

my 'repaired' front rack

I headed back out of town to the road I had seen coming in that went to Sambir. I wanted to go to Dobromyl and it is 35 km NE of Sambir. As I start down the road to Sambir, it started to rain and thunder. I had just passed a hotel with signs for free WiFi and a free breakfast (I'm guessing on that one). I hustled back there and went inside to ask about a room. I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to get a room. Three ladies wre involved in the process. None spoke English but one claimed to speak German. She didn't know even he most basic travel German words. They were friendly and I came close to staying there even though none of them knew about breakfast or wifi, but, for the first time ever in a European hotel, they wouldn't let me see the room before I paid for it. I bet room was OK, but it is against my most basic priciples to pay for something without knowing what I'm getting. Beside, I hadn't even gotten to trying to get them to deal with my bicycle! I went back out and put on my rain gear and got on down the road in pouring rain and gusty wind. Now, sitting in my tent on a beautiful ridge listening to bird song, I'm glad I'm not stuck in that room in L'viv.

My riding in the heavy rain was made even more interesting by the extremely bad road surface on H13, the road to Sambir. Potholes with patches with potholes in the patches, patches that stick up several inches above the road, totally crumbled outer road edges, pavement sunk in by truck traffic that is too heavy and pushed up at the side, and cracks that go on forever make Ukrainian roads challenging to ride in good weather. In heavy rain with heavy traffic, it is hell. Fortunately, both the heavy rain and the heavy traffic on lasted for a few km. Then I had mostly bad road surface with light traffic in light rian for the next several hours. Then the rain quit for a few hours and, finally the light rain came back fot the last 25 km of my ride. The pavement varied from not good to almost unrideable and back many times. Sometimes there was a nominal paved shoulder which was rideable. Sometimes I rode on the dirt alongside the road because that was much smoother than the road. Sometimes I was forced by traffic to ride on pavement so bad that I feared loss of control. Mostly it was tolerable and typical poor country riding. My bike, and my repaired rack, did well.

The road I'll take to get to Dobromyl

Traffic and smog going into L'viv

Bad cobblestone, I couldn't ride it

Not so good road in the rain Rating: (0) Figure Nice Orthodox church in a small town Rating: (0) Figure More, better, road in light rain Rating: (0) Figure Beautiful Orthdox church in a small village Rating: (0) Figure Mega Orthodox church very near to where I ate lunch

Nice Orthodox church in a small town

More, better, road in light rain

Orthdox church in a small village

Mega Orthodox church very near to where I ate lunch

The other issue I had today, was availablity of services. There were long stretches where service was a service station that only sold fuel every 20 km or so. I was wise enough to stop for supplies before I left L'viv and lucky enough to pick a tiny store that sold me half a dozen small good breads with onion filling, a yorgurt drink, and a banana. About 1:30 PM I finally saw a place to eat. It wasn't a restaurant. I didn't actually find a restaurant till after Sambir. It was a small food store that had outside seating. I got another yogurt drink, three bananas, and an apple bread there. That was lunch. My food break before that was taking shelter from the rain at a gas station and stuffing down an onion bread while checking my GPS before they kicked me out. My lunch stop was quite pleasant since I was helped by a woman who had some English and was impressed by my tour. It also offered some good people watching while I ate.

My second break was at a fancy drinks place in Sambir which had tarts and such. I had espresso and a good tart. That was about 3:30 in the biggest town on my route today. As far as I could tell, Sambir, which is a big city, had no restaurants or hotels. It was only about 33 km, according to my GPS, from Dobromyl, so I let the GPS route me. I should have realised that minor roads in Ukraine aren't paved! Facing 33 km of wet, potholed, and rough dirt roads, I decided to route through another town so I could stay on, poorly, paved roads.

Decent road, drying out

Back in the rain, entering Sambir 'county'

Riding on the dirt after Sambir
Notice there are mountains ahead

Panorama showing road quality and mountains all along the horizon

Telephoto showing road and mountains

In the other town I found a restaurant. It was neat in that they had an English menu with food organised by first dish, second dish, supplemental dishes, and deserts. I had a large beer, borscht, and meat dumplings in butter. That was a delicious light meal and it cost me about $3. Then I went to the 'motel' I had seen on the way though town and tried to get a room. I think it was open, but I couldn't even find anyone to talk to. I also discovered that the motel part was up stairs and only accessible by stairs that would have been very difficult to get the bike up. Despite the light rain, I decided that stealth camping was, by far, my easiest option. I headed for Dobromyl which was about 20 very hilly km away. I left the road at the top of the first steep hill and made my, somewhat muddy, way, up onto this beautiful ridge with a wonderful long view out over a valley to the north east.

Being passed into, not uncommon today

And this guy was in the outside 'lane' next to those two cars

Waiting for my borsht and dumplings

Good part of road to Dobromyl

Another gorgeous Orthodox church in a small village

I'm now on the edge of the mountain range that stretches along the Romanian/Ukranian border of several hundred km before going south in central Romania. Tomorrow I'll ride into Dobromyl and take some pictures for a fellow whose family came from there. Then I'll ride east the way I first came into Dobromyl and then try to find some paved roads that will let me ride along the mountains till I reach a Romanian border crossing just before Moldova.

The view out the front of my tent

Views from the tent site

My camp