Day20: Przemsyl, PL to Stryi, UA: This was my only 100 mile day on this trip

It used to be I'd do 100 mile days fairly regularly, but as I get older, they get harder. Today was wind assisted but also was about 1/3 bad roads where the pothole slalom - I think that should be a sport in Ukraine! - really slows riding down. I had planned a 130 km day, but rode that extra distance, on an expressway, to find a hotel. I got a nice one, except the wifi is too weak to be usable in my room. Oh well. hopefully I'll be upload this tomorrow morning at breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, it is not included here in room prices. That is unusual for Europe. As a result, I'd say real prices here for hotel rooms are on par with prices for similar rooms in Poland. Food prices are cheaper here.

New rack

I really didn't want to leave Przemsyl this morning. I met such neat people yesterday, I wanted to stay around and get to know them better. However, I needed to get this tour back on the road and today was, because of strong wind from the northwest, a good day to make distance. The weather was not great. The wind was cold and rain was threatening, but tail/side winds and flatish land make for good riding speed, so I hustled to the UA border. This was my easiest time through. I guess having just going through in both directions makes the checking easier.

In Poland

Wind at my first stop in Ukraine

Near where I camped

on E40

I got to Mostyski, which is about 40 km from Przemsyl, at 11 AM and stopped for pizza at the pizza place. I stop there because it is a nice place, but also because it is so damn hard to find places to eat in Ukraine. Today, it was my only opportunity to eat a meal till I got Stryi about 120 km later. It started raining as I was finishing my meal, but I, stubbornly, headed out anyway. It is a long climb out of Mostyski, and I was getting pretty wet by the time I got to the top of it, so I stopped to put on my rain gear. Of course the rain stopped immediately ;-}, but I still wore my rain gear for a few km to help me get warmed up. Later in the day, there were a few sprinkles and I saw serious rain in the distance, but mostly it was cloudy, cold, and wind with occasional sun breaks.

I rode following my GPS which was programmed for a city over 200 km away. It told me to leave E40 after only about 50 km, but that turned out just to be a more direct, but slower route though a town that E40 bypassed. The road was not good, but it was nice to get away from the expressway for a while and to see the town. In the middle of town I saw a pretty shrine that I wanted to photograph from the street. The road was too bumpy to get a good shot while riding, so, after checking for traffic behind me, I pulled over nearer the curb and set up the shot. As I was taking it, a big delivery van pulled around me, blocking the shot, and parked. I moved over a little bit and successfully took the shot.

The shrine

As I pulled around the van to continue, the van driver spoke to me. I stopped and we determine that we had no common language. Then the van driver gently tried another kind of language. He shot me a, very restrained, bird ;-}. Finally I figured out that he, quite justifiably was pissed about me blocking the street to take that shot. I nodded that I understood and rode on thinking about the interaction and about this, polite and friendly, culture. These are the people that a Romanian living near Ukraine told me about, saying "Ukraine is not Europe! Those people are dangerous. Don't go there. They'll kill you!"

Check out the storks' one legged stand in a strong wind

The service station that kicked me out a few days ago

About 80 km after I left Przemsyl, I turned south off E40 and then took smaller roads for 45 km to a town 35 km north of Stryi. Those roads were often in very bad shape. We're talking potholes that could kill you if you hit them at speed on a bike. Of course, on a bike going slowly it is easier to avoid potholes than when you are in a 4 wheeled vehicle, Some of the roads today had sections so bad that I caught up with slow four wheeled vehicles that had passed me easily when the road surface was OK. Riding under those conditions is challenging, but driving is even harder.

Good part of the smaller road

Wide open country

Stork chicks

It was getting late

When I got to the end of the 45 mile section, I was on the expressway that runs north to south through L'viv, Smooth pavement with a decent shoulder was are really nice change from what I had been riding, and my average speed probably doubled. I rode about 35 km on that section but, long before I reached my destination, I was bored. I was also quite hungry, so I stopped at the first 'cafe' I found. It was in a 'truckers heaven' and packed with trucks and truck drivers. I had a simple, cafeteria style meal which was cheap, fast, and good. While I ate it, I watched a bunch of truck drivers playing cards.

after eating, I headed into town, I checked in at the first hotel I saw. It was the first hotel I'd seen all day! It was after 8 PM when I checked in. I'd been on the road for over 11 hours.