I was warned, my cycling friend from Belgrade warned me, that crossing Bosnia by “velocipede” is not for the faint of heart. And from what I witnessed all day today and most of yesterday, he is certainly correct in his assesment. “Oh, brutal Bosnia, lay thy hills flat and valleys wide for but a weaker soul may pass you by!”, from a poem by Sadar Vericioni. And the way my hips and knees feel, I am all in on the laying low the hills.
In most parts of the world, mountains seem to have a direction or rythm that makes geological sense. This feels like God accidentally dropped a handful of those “proverbial mountain seeds”. The mountain ranges here, run in every direction you can imagine. No matter which way you head there is a climb facing you, heck, I think even the water runs uphill!! Funny , as I sit here in my tent, in what feels like the middle of “NOWHERE”, I can here the call to prayer at a Mosque somewhere not far away, the loudspeaker sounds as if its right beside me. Bosnia it divided up into many regions, non of which make any sense to me, but they divide Muslim and Orthodox Christian as well as Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croates and I guess plain old vanilla wrapper Bosnians. So go figger cause I sure can’t.
Bosnia, as a piece of country goes, lands in what I would call the rugged column. Much more so than Mongolia which I would place in the vast column but not rugged. Something that I am becoming aware of when riding these back roads is that there is most often nothing to be bought in the whole place. So, I now carry not only water but also a full days food……dang it, now my bike is heavier again. I am currently SW of Tuzla on small roads, rode for 3 hours up hill the whole time and felt like I was back in Rauraului all over. The whole country has been having flooding and mudslides, of which I have seen and felt much of it. The back roads are severely washed out, rutted, and many places there huge sections of road missing……oh, and did I forget to mention bridges are gone as well. They sure are.
Oh brutal Bosnia, lets pray you are not my undoing. JW, IS OFFICIALLY SICK AND TIRED OF THE DANGED RAIN. Folks, it has rained hard everynight since I left Belgrade, and I am sick of it. If I wanted to grow gills and moss on my person then become a coffee snob…….I would have moved to Seattle. Sometime during the day, I have to pull things out of the panniers, hang gear along a fence and dry it. If I don’t, we will have to deal with smells and mold again. Generally, I just pick some random spot along the side of the road which has a fence or guardrail that I can borrow as a makeshift clothesline. Hang my gear and sit back letting Mr.Sunshine does his part. On this day I strung my gear out on a bridge railing, and right beside the road was a small store. It took about 3 minutes for a crowd to gather. Anthony, sort of the most curious and spokesman for the growing crowd, suggested he buy me a beer. Of course I declined the beer and took a juice instead, which the gathered men thought was quite funny. Questions were asked, and as best I could I answered. It wasn’t until the teenagers began to show up, that the event got lively. Most of the kids in school take iether English or German as a second language. They were able to ask and then interpret the reply back to the men who were sitting having a beer or six. I finally dug my tablet out to help explain what it is that I do for work. It has been so long, heck, even I found it interesting to see what I do. It was a great hour respite, drying gear. But it was also the 3rd rain stop of the day. Twice I holed up to avoid a deluge of rain that managed to cross paths with my own chosen route.
I have learned a new trick with my cell phone, showed to me by my Serbian cycling friend, Nenad. And it involves taking panorama images on the cell phone. Now that i know how to do it, youguys will most likely get sick of pan shots as a result. So, I will post a few, then we will see how they display on computers and the blog and pass judgement after that to see if we should post more or not. But, if thats to work then I will need enough of you to give feedback to make it worthwhile so that decisions can be made.
omg, its 7.30pm and I am stark raving mad and lonesome and even bored. Its pouring rain so I cant even sit outside and swat bugs. If I work on the tablet getting pictures edited to size etc, it eats the battery very quickly. I most often leave photo work to those times that I have a hotel. I no longer have my solar panel unit and it wouldn’t do much good here with so little sunshine anyways. Today, I pulled into 3 little roadside cafes in order to use WIFI, I keep getting the notice that due to poor signal I should try again. Yet when i search for the Cafe’s router it shows usually 4-5 arcs/bars of signal strength……QUESTION FOR SOME TECH-TYPE, is this because of a setting issue on my Samsung Galaxy 2 , 10.2 size tablet, or is there another way around the constant WIFI issues I am having. Second question, and it also feminds me to openly apologise to the WORDPRESS folks. I had been blaming them for some photo issues I am having, but, I have come to find out it is a tablet issue. Somehow internally, the tablet strips the usual photo-orientation information away when you try to send or share an image…….hence, everything gets displayed as horizontal….no matter what. To my young friend Steven Butler……yes you Steven, these questions are for a guy like you if you can help. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org……it would be appreciated much.
Pretty sure this is day 12 of rain, it is pouring rain right now and I am camped in a cemetary tonight………I hate chosing campsites late and without my glasses on. Dang near fell in an open hole, ya think God is trying to tell me something? Even though I got a good start this am, I did not burn up the back roads. Too many climbs, the ol knees, hips ade really sore tonight. But I was also taken aback by how sore the leg muscles were, I had no horsepower today, I felt like a pooped scooter all day. Apart from the road being a little tricky with the silt and mud that have washed across it, I pulled over to attempt uploading to the blog as well as found shelter from 4 very heavy downpours…….all great, but got nailed by the fifth. To say we are good and wet is an understatement. As I lay here in my drenched tent, rain got me during setup before I got the fly thrown over, I am all tucked in and have already eaten poorly yet again. Got a seriuos rash going on under my chin and just above my belly button…….I think its from the edges of my life jacket, but I will keep an eye on it.
Good night and may God bless you all, as he has myself. Thanyou to Ted and Tracy, withojt you this would never have happened. Thanks Mom, for doing all that you do, Thanks big Rob, for having me reading thru James……now, what comes next. Pastor Mike, thanks for having the Saints praying for me continually. Thanks Auntie Fawn and Pete, I know your palms are worn thin worrying and praying. And to the many of you who follow along silently, we are thankful to have you along for the journey……..and lastly, I want to thank the Coalinga Curling Club for thier support……sorry I mixsed that labor day weekend outdoor Bonspiel.