Day19: Dobromyl to near the Polish border on E40 then into Przemsyl, PL
A successful quest for a replacement rack

I had an excellent breakfast. The lady running the motel knew that a bicyclist need a big breakfast and delivered accordingly. I was hoping for a good enough breakfast to last me to lunch, but it turned out that I rode till 4 PM before having another meal. I had a couple of small snacks along the way, and I was definitely hungry at 4, but lack of food did not affect my riding today. Interestingly, today at breakfast, that nice lady pulled together enough German to as me how old I was. That was the same question that the very nice lady where I stopped for lunch the day before yesterday asked me in English. A bit of a cultural difference there since it is not a question I would expect to be asked in the US. On the other hand, "What do you do?" is a question often asked in the US, but I've never heard it asked in Europe.

I packed my stuff, using two short bungy cords to hold one front pannier on top of my rear rack/panniers. That is sort of a German way of packing, but I've never seen any one tour with only one front pannier. I split the font pannier load so the one still on the front was a little lighter than the one I put on top on the rear. The result was a bike that rode pretty well, but was a pain to handle when not riding and difficult to carry because of the load imbalance front to rear and side to side. I did notice some handling issues, but they didn't cause me great problems. If I have to, I could continue with this odd setup.

I left Dobromyl heading for Novo Miesto, the small town where folks told me there was a place to stay in Dobromyl on my first tour in Ukraine. I figured out yesterday how I got to Novo Miesto on that tour. I had a very poor map and I saw that I should turn after the railroad crosses the road goming south from Mostyski. What my that map didn't show was that there are two place the railroad crosses and I should have turned at the second one.

My bike, ready to go

The Orthodox church where I stopped to listen

Looking back towards Dobromyl

Dobromyl train station

The road was absolutely awful in Dobromyl, but got better after it left town. On the way out of town, I passed one of its Orthdox churches. It was having an early - I left about 8:30 - service, The chanting was lovely. I stopped to listen for a while. The spoken part of the service was also beautiful. I passed several other places near Dobromyl where people were listening to services on the radio and, at noon, I passed anther church just after it let out. The people coming out were beautifully dressed and I bet that service was beautiful as well. The Russian Orthodox Church, which I think Ukrainan Orthodox is close to, has the concept that the church itself contains an experience of heaven brought down to earth. For poor people living under harsh conditions, the church offers a chance to experience heavenly beauty. You can see even in the outside of the church building. I find them much more beautiful and much less pretentious that Roman Catholic churches. This area has both kinds of Catholic churches, but Ukranian Orthodox dominates.

Decision time at Novo Miesto

Heading north east for Mostyski

Looking back at Novo Miesto

Haying. The wagon in the distance is used to collect the hay
A hay 'bale' is created each time the wagon is full and the wagon moves on

A telephoto close up of the wagon and workers creating a bale
Note the raked up hay ahead of the wagon
Everything is done by hand

When I got to Novo Miesto, the road was signed for Mostyski and Sambir. The way I had come before was the Sambir way, so I decided to give the Mostyski way a try, It was a good road leaving Novo Miesto, heading in roughly the right, north-east, direction. As I rode it, I used my GPS to explore routes I might take. Surprisingly, one route seemed to lead fairly directly to E40 quite near the Polish border. I decided to try that route and, if it didn't work out, ride over to Mostyski. I never saw another sign for Mostyski, so I did ride what appeared to be the road than was signed for Mostyski almost all of the morning. Riding was mostly OK to good with less than 10% of the pavement being potholed, etc. The scenery was nice and I really enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately, although I came with sight of the border, the last few km of the route as shown on my GPS simply didn't exist. I was reminded of the first time I used a GPS when riding across the States. In Arkansas, following the GPS routing, I ended up in the middle of a corn field, with no way to proceed. I wasted 20 miles that hot day. Today I rode more than that extra, but none of it was a waste. It was frustrating to get that close and then run out of road, but the riding was quite nice. I've gotten much mellower about dealing with Ukrainian roads. The only real downside is that it is hard on your butt and on the bikes brakes. I needed to stop and readjust my rear brake cable today.

Good Ukrainian road for bicycling

Good road going bad

Panorama of pretty country

More pretty country

When I'd explored all the possible roads - all dirt and small - at the end of town where my Garmin gps showed the road to E40. I headed back through town to where I had an option. That option was marked for Sambir, but would bring me out on the north-south road some 17 km south of Mostyski, [Later, I discovered that OSM shows the road I was looking for starting from the opposite end of town!] When I got to Novo Miesto this morning, I was 10 km closer to Mostyski than I was three hours later. At that intersection, I stopped for a snack at a small store. I got a pastry that was being thrown away because it was too old to eat and a small cup of ice cream for about $.75. Then I headed for Sambir. That road was worse than the roads I had ridden earlier, but still enjoyable riding for maybe 20 km. Then I turned east on a really lousy road - less than 10% of it was good pavement for several km - and eventually got back to OK, but still not fun riding.

Looking at Poland from Ukraine

Goose gang
Ukranian geese aren't aggressive

The most promising road

Folks leaving church after services

Telephoto of Border station I couldn't get to

Very popular blue in Ukraine

Another goose gang, this time on main road to Mostyski

Houses and field along the main road

Pretty country east of main road

The highlight of my ride back to Mostyski was that, in Mostyski, I finally saw a stork in a nest. I've seen at least a dozen storks in fields in Ukraine and one that actually flew over me, but no storks in nests. Storks in nests are really special and it was great to see the stork and, I think, hear the baby storks.

The stork nest with stork and chick

Shortly after the storks nest, I could see the church that is on the road to L'viv, so I knew I'd soon get to eat. I reached that road, E40, turned towards L'viv, and almost coasted to the pizza place where I ordered a large veggie pizza and a large beer. While I was waiting, I checked for wireless and found that the pizza place had it. I got the password and used the web for the next two hours getting three days worth of ride reports uploaded to crazyguy. I also got a second large beer, so I needed the second hour of working, to sober up before riding.

About six PM, I headed west on E40 towards the border, stopping to buy some, rather stale, bread. I rode most of the 20 km to the border, then went off into the woods to camp. I wasn't nearly as nice as my camp near Dobromyl, but I got a good nights sleep there.

This morning, after cleaning up a bit, eating a little bread with Nutella and peanut butter, and packing up, I rode less than a km to a fancy gas station I had stopped at when I first entered Ukraine. I got coffee and two pastries there and then rode to the border.

Heading east on E40 in the morning

I had some 'bad' luck at the border as a bus full of Ukranians got in the pedestrian path just before me. That added at least half an hour to my border transit time, but also provided me with some great people watching. Ukranians are very friendly and polite people and waiting near the end of that queue gave me a very good chance to observe their interactions. I was impressed.

After I got through the last border station the last passport checker, a German soldier, there on EU duty, came out to talk with me about my tour. Another EU fellow joined him. I have no idea if there was any official motivation on his part, but we had a nice discussion about my tour and about eastern European countries.

I rode on into Przemsyl and, with only a little difficulty caused by traffic congestion, to the small bike store I'd visted before going to Ukraine. The woman who owns it was, once again, very nice, and, in the end, closed her shop in order to walk with me to two other shops. No luck there, but she took me to another street and told me where to look on it for two bigger shops before heading back to her shop. At the first of these shops, they had a front rack and were very helpful, without being at all annoying ;-}, while I fitted it. For 50 PL, about 12 E or $16, I got a new rack which looks to be quite sturdy. Yes, I'd rather have a Tubus, even for roughly 8 times as much money, but this rack looks good and I was able to mount it and mount my panniers very solidly on it without modifying it or even adjusting the Ortlieb hooks!

My new front racks in use

Riding away from that shop, with a very big smile on my face, my bike felt like it was pulling to right side. I quickly realized that that was my body which had adjusted to steering away from the pull to the left side for two days ;-}! The pulling quickly went away as I readjusted to a balanced bike.

I stopped at a Donner place and had a small lunch before heading back to the first shop for coffee and visiting. As I did, I realised why it was so tricky to navigate this part of Przemsyl. Most of the streets are one way and none of them goes in a straight line for any distance. When my helpful shop owner told me go straight down a street she didn't mean that the street was straight or that it was even obvious when the street forked, which fork I should take. It was a bit tricky for me to find my way back to her shop without going back down to river, but I managed. It was raining lightly and I was mostly riding on crowded sidewalks because Poles, unlike Germans, don't allow riding the wrong way on one way streets.

At the shop, she fixed me some good coffee and we visited about Poland, Ukraine, Germany and life in general. When I was about to leave, I thought about my gloves - both pairs - which were beginning to come apart, and bought a new pair of gloves from her. They are nice gloves but, even in large, they are a bit hard to get off my small hands. What size gloves do people with big hands wear? The glove buying deal proved auspicious since her friend who owns the restaurant - his parents own the hostel next door - showed up. When he left, I rode down looking for it and, although the restaurant was closed, the friend was waiting for me at the hostel. He called his mother and she rented me a room for a very good price so, in part becasue the weather is lousy, I'm staying here today.

Tomorrow, I'll go back across the border and continue the Ukranian part of tour12.