Daily Archives: July 25, 2012

Day 17: Seirijai to Augustów – 88k

1,454km down: 4,771km to go.

Another beautiful day, and yes the 5k downhill yesterday was 5k uphill this morning. I was riding with John again, lots of rolling hills to the Polish border. Once again there was no real border, this time we could see where the border was but no one looking out on it and there was not even a sign.

We noticed a new thing once we crossed the border – not only was there signs to the next hotel etc but there was also signs to the next WC (toliet), weird we thought. We stopped for a coffee about 5k past the border and I needed to go to the toilet so I went through the door and in the corner was a woman collecting 2 polish dollars. She was sitting in a dark small space outside the toilet, imagine that as job.

Bathroom attendant in Poland

Due to the time change going back an hour we were at lunch 10:30am. Today was mostly rolling hills and some gradual climbs. We came across a sign “beware of bob cats”. Brian – one of the riders – had a great time telling me that for some reason they attack women on bikes ha ha. Anyway turns out they only weigh about 20 pounds, so I thought ok not so scary then. But then I thought about our cat Boss who is 2.5 kilos soaking wet (about 5 pounds) and she can certainly do some really serious damage!

Warning! Bobcat!

On the way into town we saw people taking a boat up a lock with a lock keeper. I have heard about locks but had not seen one before.

Lock in Poland

When we got into town our instructions said at the intersection turn right so we did. We went 3k out of town and then found a flag so headed up a dirt road. Oh my god before it there was a constant stream of trucks, crossing the road was a major hazard. Anyway we get 3k up the dirt track and we had just realized we were in the wrong place and a truck pulls up and Chrtisiano leans out and says sorry guys the right should have been a left. The reason for the flag was they had considered the site we had gone to but decided against it but had not removed the flag. So back on the bike and back into town – zillions of trucks again. What is with the trucks, are they only allowed through town on a Tuesday?

Anyway got to camp and set up the tent. Totally different atmosphere across the border, houses are better maintained with better material. And when we got to the campsite it was full!! Although they have cabins they were all full (Walli wanted me to book her one) – it’s the way July should be with families on holiday! I am sitting here hearing the sounds of families on holiday. I had a swim and unlike last night when it was just me there were about 30 people, mostly children, in the water! So I am in a tent again tonight, and with the tent last night that makes it 4 nights in total. Tomorrow we are in a hostel, and the next night we are again at a campsite with no accommodation so tent total will be 5. Tomorrow is going to be a long day – hilly 135 kilometres but at least I won’t have to put up a tent.

When I got here today and was putting up tent, I was getting eaten alive by bugs – through my clothes even! We thought there was no Wifi but then found out there, was hence the update. I am now sitting here having a cold beer. I heard one of the riders Daryna has had an accident; she came off her bike and is in town, she has been stitched up – unfortunately just by her eye. Hopefully will not leave a scar.

Walli, Daphne, John and Shirley, having a beer while I update my blog

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Day 16: Vilnius to Seirijai – 132k

1,366km down: 4,859km to go.

We set off from the hotel in a convoy for 11.5k to get out of town. We got about 5k and Dan got a flat, we were then held up by road works, then Rodney got a flat. All in all the 11.5 k took about 2 hours!

I rode by myself for about 5k then caught up with John. It was a beautiful day, the sort of day I had imagined when thinking about this trip.  When I caught up with John he said that his eye was sore but I didn’t have any drops and he declined Saline. After 15k he could hardly see so we pulled over. Daphne and Shirley came past and Shirley had drops (crikey the stuff she has in her bag – I expect to see the kitchen sink), unfortunately it did not help. We rang the truck and they said pick up would be an hour so John decided to keep riding slowly, although we tried to talk him out of it. I rode off with him but luckily the others had rung the lunch truck, which was only 20 k away. That arrived and picked him up just a kilometre after we had left, so luckily the other riders rang the lunch stop and insisted.

Later I missed a really well flagged turn and added 8k to my ride but luckily I figured it out and did not go any further.  After lunch I rode by myself for about 20k then rode with Dan, Michele and Brian. We stopped for a drink stop at 105k and Jules caught up. We rode off in a convoy, and at 110k Jules and I missed the lights so we rode the rest of the way together.

From lunch onwards it was pretty much uphill for the rest of the day, mostly not too steep but certainly I was very happy to get to camp, even though I suspected the only downhill of the day – the 5 k into camp – would have to be ridden as uphill in the morning when we left.

Other than two others, we were the only campers at the campsite. It had a great lake, I went for a swim, most of the other campers did not, they said it was too cold. It was warmer than any New Zealand lake! I was toes up in bed by 8:30 pm.

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