Mayan Prophecy Countdown
After brekky I headed off west, my goal today was to enter Macedonia and find a couple of roads and hopefully a cache, at least one. I had read the descriptions for most of them, they require 4wd and much hiking, not interested in them at all! Anyway, we shall see what happens, it was a late start to the day, around 10am, but I only had 300km to ride and most of that was on the other side of the border, plenty of time. It was a tad cool though, it had been raining all night and was still overcast now so I rugged up and headed off.
I soon arrived in a small town called Velingrad where I hit a bloody cat!!! I was on cobblestone road, so at low speed with knobby tyres, my avoidance therapy goes like this, if it is below the height of the front axle, run over it, if it is bigger, avoid it. I am pretty certain I saw him bolt off maybe with some bruising though! He must have been blind, stupid animal.
I then just had a few more villages to get through prior to finding a place up in the mountains with a number of small canteen shops. I had some lunch, not really inspired by it but it was food and I was hungry. Remember I mentioned yesterday about the water from the mountain, well that could be the reason for the late start this morning, staying near the toot, well the grease in this food got me going again and I certainly did not want to hit an international border with my guts boiling. Lucky there were mountains around with plenty of bushes ;)
I could be doing the water a disservice, it may have been all the potholes shaking the guts up, lol :D Check these little beauties out:
Still plenty of them around and some actual road works as well. Check this out, traffic control Bulgarian style. The two chaps near me are the two controllers, they are chatting, meanwhile at the other end of the work site, a backhoe is working on the road and as it moves back over towards the bank, a car comes around the corner and nearly barrels him! When he went past the controller, who is now going back to position, I could see him giving a gobful! And the controller at my end had no idea which colour to use, the red or the green, very small bats they have over this way, very hard to see.
Not too long after this I enter Macedonia(FYROM)as they call it, which means Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. First impressions are bad, they want 50Euro for a 15 day green card, which is the 3rd party insurance. Well, not a lot of choice as it would have cost me more to go around this country, so I bit the bullet and paid up front. Lucky I had Euros with me, they don’t take plastic. This is the first border where people wanted to look in my bags, and it was just a glance inside the top box, waste of time really. Anyway, I am now in a new country and heading west towards some lakes, still with a few hundred km to go, but the time is only 2.30pm, heaps of time. I am still in the mountains, but soon get down onto the plains where it starts to heat up and I still have thermals on!!!
I rode for a while, fueled up once again(I was only down half tank, but learning and it had a WC which I needed real bad) and it is now very hot and around 4pm. I still have about 150km to go but have been thinking. No tourists(due to the rip off at the border) probably means no real nice places to stay, maybe a bit unsafe for the bike, not sure, but I started to look for hotels, just keeping my options open. Around 5pm I get into a town called Veles and it looked big enough for a hotel or two, but while looking I found a better place, called a bike shop :)
Here I met Tose, the owner and his wife. I actually needed a new set of gloves, the fingers were worn off the old ones, and they had some that fit, great :) Tose also advised of a hotel a few kms away called the Montenegro Hotel, so I thought I would go and check that out. They mentioned that tomorrow(Saturday) there was going to be a bike meet up near the lake, about 5km away, with many bike events and around 6pm about 1000 bikes would ride through town, he invited me along. It bears thinking about anyway :) I found the hotel, It was here I found out I crossed a timezone, and it is now only 4pm again, it was not too bad on price, but the room was pokey and I gotta say, I had the worst food of my life(from memory). It was supposed to be a pork chop with mixed vegetables. Well, I needed a chainsaw for the meat and the vegies were either from a can or the frozen type, not what I was expecting. I ate the lot because I was starving, but will think twice about eating here tomorrow if I stay another night.
Oh well, another day another night with a different beer again :) I may decide to stay anyway, my bike is due for an oil change and they looked like they had a good workshop at the bike place, I will check them out in the morning :)
Cheers from Macedonia