The Long and Winding Roads

Wild Camping near Vama Veche, Romania

It’s been a couple of days of hard and long riding for sure.

Leaving Paul and his family after a lovely few days, I resumed my eastward push. Near Sebes, I thought I’d try the Transalpina road. Blimey, what an experience. In Romania, road signs are sometimes present, sometimes even accurate, but often absent. I don’t remember taking a wrong turn, or any turn at all actually, but I ended up on a series of mountainside lanes and tracks that just went on and on. Starting with interlinked potholes the conditions deteriorated until I had to conquer a thirty-plus degree hill climb in deep mud. The new rear tyre lapped it up and after 60 miles of mud track chaos (yes, 60 miles) I didn’t drop the bike once. I swore a lot, but all was good. I must do more offroading when I get back to the UK!

That was Thursday.

Friday was about laying down serious miles. I tried to cross the mountains via Transfăgărășan but was forced to turn around part-way up by the chap who was ploughing the snow out of the way. No arguing there. The pass was spectacular but the road surface… They could learn something from the Swiss/Austrians/italians about building beautiful mountain roads that don’t just fall apart.

Double-back then push on hard.

Fagaras > Brasov > Intorsura Buzaului > Buzau > Costesi > Slobozia > Constanta > (just north of) Mangalia

I needed to force a change in my camping/ccooking routine and I figured that by riding east into the night I’d simply have to sleep in an improvised spot, and that worked. I awoke on an unused bit of headland with the sun rising over the Black Sea. No tent either – just the groundsheet strapped to the bike to provide shelter.

I am now seriously considering posting the following items back to the UK:

  • Tent
  • Cooking stove
  • All other cooking gear

If the groundsheet shelter works well over the next few days then I’ll consider it a done deal. This will reduce the amount of stuff that I’m lugging around the world and also simplify my routines. Cheap hot food and coffee and are everywhere and most of my eating involves bread, cheese, apples and fruit juice anyway. Watch this space.

I’m well ahead of schedule in terms of distance traveled, having completed over 10% of the total budgeted miles, so I think the thing to do is scrape the Transalpina mud off the bike, relax in Vama Veche for the day, pootle through Bulgaria and then force myself to take a three week holiday in Turkey.

If that last bit sounds like I’m showing off, it’s because I am 🙂

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