Jeremiah Watt Cycling around God's Creation

long distance bicycle touring

Posts tagged ‘croatia’

Blog31-Yup, its a lovers coast

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No sooner was I talking about it being a lovers coast, than I should meet a beautiful women in Zadar. A women with long Blay hair and cowboy boots…….God does listen to Prayers folks……….I mean how or who else would know I am sucker for the color Blay and cowboy boots over stillettos……only God can know those sort of intimate details. So for those wondering just what is going on in this paragraph opener……my wife flew into Zadar to meet me and spend about 8 days with me here on the adriatic coast. We had a nice supper out in the old town center, with waves washing up against the “wave symphony”, an ingenoius musical harbor platform inwhich wave action drives musical notes from harbor horns mounted under the platform which sits out over the harbors edge. The night sky turned dark and crystal clear, with a crimson sky as our backdrop.

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We were actually up pretty early so we could hit the road in very typical Watt fashion………we have some sort of inner fasinaction with gas pedals and steering wheels. We left Zadar in a spray or small rocks and gravel, we are headed south hugging the pine tree lined coast and staring at the azure colored sea in awe and amazement. The coast line color and clarity are such that I am not even going to try and describe it because you will think that its false or maybe I have added a filter to the camera to hieghten or enhance what we seen. So, get out ol,Merriam’s and just look up BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE IT ABOUT COVERS IT.

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Pulled over and had our first 1/4 cup of coffee. If you haven’t been to European climes, then you may not realize that a cup of coffee here is about 2oz in volume. Somehow then mix 1.75 ounces of boiling water with 2.25 pounds of superfine Espresso grind coffee beans…….and like a Pen&Teller act, they pour that entire concoction into a cup with 2oz capacity. 3 cups of this stuff injested in succession could put and end to Califoria’s death row issues.

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On down the road we blazed, we hit village after village, some we stopped and walked around in, other villages, we simply pulled a few of the pedestrians who had gotten stuck in our grill out which convieniently leaves them close to home albeit with a limp……and blazed on still further. We took a hard left off the coast line and beat a path for Krka National Park and we are so pleased that we took this detour from our very beautiful coastal route.

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Krka Park, not a real common tourist stop in comparison to say Plitvice or several of the Adriatic cities that dot the coast. Krka,is even hard to put to words, but for you I will give it a try. Croatias largest export product should be ROCKS, they are literally covered in those rascals. Its so bad that folks have to stack rock walls of immense size and number……not because they want a fence but rather just so they can get to some dirt to begin growing something. Limestone is maybe the most abundant type of rock they have, and Krka is based at the fot of limestone cliffs. Water, and I mean water from every possible direction and orifice comes boiling out of the ground, over the ground and from the heavenly skies above. All waters gather and disgorge in a crystal clear fashion over the rough hewn limestone cliffs and crags that constitute what we see as Krka, an elaborate system of waterfalls and spill ways. The limestone in the region have been washed now for several thousand years, and there if very little dust and dirt washing downstream. The water works its magic by activating the calcium carbonate which forms a mild acid and now the limestone is eaten or etched into immense underground waterways as well as those we see above ground. The washing of the limestone formations is also slowly eroding the surface liemstone and depositing it onto the stream bed surface which does 2 things. It creates a crystalline structure which reflects light differently, but it also induces an algae formation, both these aspects now play a part in the coloration of the water we see spilling over the whitish limestone rock. Thats the scientific dope, or we could simly say OMG but it is so darned beautiful to see with the naked eye. Which is also wierd when ya’think about it, how many times do you head out to look at something closely when yer naked????

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Water spills over the ground in stunning volume and from every direction you can imagine. I really have come to love the way that the Europeans handle the whole park and nature scenario because you feel like you are right there in the wild natural habitate. It is indeed very different and some would\will be insulted and angry at my attempt to describe what and how it is made so. For one, they are logging all over within this NAtioanal Park, just like every other National Park I have gone thru over here. And you know what, thier forests look to be very healthy as compared to ours which are in total ruin especially in California. There are no warning signs, no protective baricades, no yellow tape, no nti slip matts, no wire mesh fence to catch you……..there are not even hand railks to hold. If your that damed dumb to fall in, jump in, or push your friend in…….then adios idiot, because you are no longer in the gene pool. The Park folks have over time, beggining from as far back as 1865, built walkway completely over the fast flowing rivers surface……..no, no, not some 100 feet over with a plexi glass side and flor and constant caution signs ttype thing…..no, no. This is a walkway that skims the very water surface so that you feel as though you are simply walking the surface. Twist after turn, sharp corners and around trees that are not only alive but the walkway is built fully around them, you make your way, no handrails, nothing to impede your sensation at being right within the waters flow. At times the boiling water sprays up over the boards abd pas angrily at walkway corners. Boards are wet and slippery, and those with a solidified brain stem understand one listep and you are ina current that no one will rscue you from. Amazing to see and witness the awesome strength of flowing water. If ever you go to Croatia, which I thnk is a must for folks who love to trvel and nature, then Krka is on the must do list.

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We spent 4 hours up at the falls and arrived back in the little village with not enough light left to drive to Sibenik that night. So, we got a cute little room for 20 Euro which was just fine. Walked down into the tiny stone walled town center and dined with the locals on fresh fish and sea food. Fish 2 times a year for Jeremiah is some sort of milestone………..and my Pastor on the other hand has GILLS.

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Left that tiny village with empty bellies, and no coffee. To wind our way up and out of the Krka Park over some 10 miles of steep grades and switchbacks on barely 2 lane sized road. Pulled into a tiny village awash in Adriatic coastal spelndor by 8am and had a wonderful espresso and pastry from a local Pekarna along with some hand picked and unwashed locaal fruit from a rad side fruit seller. Imagine, we ate that fresh fruit and didn’t even wash it with our “organic sanitizer foam fruit and vegetable spray”………what the heck is the big deal about a little diarhea anyways.day seen us walking the cobbled streets of many small unknown and well known cities alike. Tried coffee in aqll, had pastry in each, plenty of fresh fruit and drove many miles doing it. Each turn, each steep grade and each tiny rustic village made the whole that much more enjoyable. This place is so subdued and quiet LOOKING as compared to almost anywhere in USA, it becomes a real noticeable visual treat after just a few days. The only NEON sign that we have seen is that of a Pharmacy which is a green cross, or a Hospital which is red.

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By the time that I am writing this, we have jumped out of Croatia and into Herzegovina, no, dont ask me too explain this tiny little piece of the world because I do not yet understand it myself. Different everything here including cultures and currency. Hardscrabble  rocky ground makes farming almost non existant….I said almost.There are fruit trees and olive trees which also are known to have once grown on the moon……so, no surprise seeing them here. Sheep and some mixed beed cows. On those slopes facing southwest……..there aint anything…….no, I said nothing. On the other side of those same slopes there will often be a small loggingindustry, more grass and more sheep just due to rainfall conditions. Stopped in Mostar to see that very famous bridge built in 1450 to appease a request by grand Sultan Suliman the Magnificent……….great name to have in WWF. It spans a rock sided gorge that is at the confluence of 2 rivers. Both flow fast and clean towards the southen seas. We got to the bridge by 6:30am and took walks and pictures till about 9am.

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Made our way out east to Blagaj, where we took in a 1225 Dervish House that has been built rught over a huge hole in the cliff face. Out of this gaping maw spills millions of gallons of fresh crystal blue water daily. The Dervish house is used by Muslims as a place of Prayer. On up over the rocky mountinside we go, always up it seems. Till we crest and then begin an ardous trek across the serpent like ridge on this mountain road. We stopped and ate under the roof edge of a Church built 1862, and at the very tiny tip top of a mountain peak with nothing but lush green valley surrounding it. Further down the road we would cross over into Bosnia for maybe 30 miles and then on into Montenegro. We took in a tiny Orthodox Monestary in Montenegro at Venovici. You would ner know it waas there but for an tiny plaque at rads edge. The 3km drive back in is just beautiful, thru spartan oaks, and red brambles, green grass and sheep. And the omnipresent rock walls which lay labor traces over the infertile soil as a slug lays traces over a tilled garden. Good night and God bless to all those who have Prayed for such. And blessings to those who have as of yet been afraid to Pray. 

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Blog30 -Dalmatian coast

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The Dalmatian coast is often referred to as the “romance coast”. Due in part to the quiet tranquil waters of the Adriatic, an equal measure of modest sincere surroundings, nothing pretentious or gawdy arrainged here to overwhelm the senses. Just the pure majesty of His heavenly handi-work, fringed by a crystalline blue sea. That is the Dalmation coast.

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Dalmatae: a tribe or people group associated with sheep raising culture, the origins for the final name given this eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Once a much larger body of land than what it comprises today, reaching further south than present day Albania, and on important region to Roman history. Milini, a tiny village located in todays southern end of Croatia, the birthplace of Constantin, the man credited with bringing Christianity to Rome and for Canonnizing the Holy Scriptures. Gently rolling and thouroughly rock strewn hills are carpeted in schlerophylis shrubs and plants. Few trees exceed 20 feet in hieght, and most are closer to 10 feet. It seems that every plant is designed to rent the flesh of passersby, by the thorny maw that festoons each limb. One brief walk into untamed while wearing cycle shorts will quickly hail a retreat…….only to get back to the roadside and then notice the “warning minefield” sign just 50 yards yonder.

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Attributting to the color and clarity of the eastern shores of the Adriatic are reasons several fold. For one, these shores lie very much protected from the ravenous actions of its Atlantic ocean mother-in-law. The softened and mellowed mediterranean climes produce less storm action than in other areas around the globe. The Adriatic’s far lying geographical position within the Mediteranean, ensures that it has a lower salt content, this fact combined with huge inflows of fresh water that have been percolated and purified thru limestone on its journey towards its final destination ensures its chrystaline clarity and rich blue coloration. Like no body of water I have ever witnessed before.

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The predominance of Croation soil is poor and mostly untillable, by some accounts as much as 70 percent falls into this catagory. What can be grown on this poorest of land seems to be olives and certain wine grape varietals. Though not in huge numbers, these crops are seen with regularity to be sure. Where rock strewn ground gives way to areable land, then all form of row crop and fruit tree are seen. The hardscrabble land, clotted with limestone rock, which  forces grasses to grow in clumps as and where it can find room to take root. The grass is rich, and produces richer flavor yet in the dairy product produced from its yield. One such product known world wide and much sought after, is “Pag Cheese or Paski Sir locally”, considered by many to be the supreme sheeps milk cheese in the world. Thats alot of territory to take in with one block of cheese……further proof that somhewhere along the line Croates are somehow related to Texans. Another of infamy would be “Prsut or sun cured hams and backstraps”, this rich flavor-filled regional delicacy is a part of every celebration in Croatia. Traditionally made in the fall of the year when dry cool coastal temperatures allow slow curing which draws out the flavors and richness. 

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Currently, I sit in Zadar. A city located north within the Ilurian region of Croatia. Life within Zadar can be traced back to the stone ages by way of tools, bones, fossils remains,  and some recently found concho die plates made from old washers. Gosh, and we thought we invented that stuff. Very few spurs worn here in Croatia thru days of old when horses in war ruled……no model T car axles to make spurs out’a. So, they rode into battle bare heeled, natural. The adriatic, the romance coast. Of that we shall soon findout, as my darling bride arrives tomorrow to join me for 8 days of travel and liesure, not even a fleeting thought about my trusty bike as I have found it safe harbor for it’s moorings while we take in Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and portions of Bosnia. So now you know why the wide smile, the light heartedness, the almost giddy demenour that have overtaken my rain soaked soul, the women I love and married thirty some years ago will join me on the Romance Coast.

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PS- a little heads up for those traveling abroad in Europe and close proximities. On most occasions when I need a room I simply search out a motel/hotel. In Belgrade I mentioned I found a cheap but very nice apartment right in the heart of old town and was really impressed with it. So, while in Zadar, I tried my luck again, and have to say, that for less than half the price you get a very nice homey feeling and equipped apartment. The apartment that I am in now as I sit and write this taradiddle, lays but 100 meters from the Zadar harbor foot bridge, the red tiled rooves of medievil buildings and Cathedral domes decorate the view of the sky from out my living room window. Hard to beat at $41.00 per night. So, keep that inmind should you ever be traveling over this way in the future. Good night and God Bless.

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Blog29- natural beauty

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Many people had told Pine and myself, that Bosnia of all places, was a land of diverse natural beauty. While it is a very challenging ride for me with many stiff climbs, a traveler is rewarded with seemingly endless beauty at every bend in the road. From high mountain peaks enveloped in cloud and fog, steep valleys, tree lined slopes, terraced orchards, swift running rivers and streams and exposed rock on the mountain sides for added interest. Bosnia, you are indeed a natural beauty.

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Some of the most amazing and scenic panoramas begin as you drop off the steep mountain slopes, switchback after switchback, a constant downward decent into the long narrow valley that bosoms the city of Jajce ( pronounced ;yayyeetsee ). The city, once a fortified city, and now a Unesco site. Jajce, sits at the rocky confluence of two major rivers. They meet at the foot of a ragged and time torn limestone mountain spire. The Pliva river runs thru limestone country, so it brings with it that gorgeous clear aquamarine blue color. The Pliva, meets and folds quite unwillingly into the Grannice river, which is the faster and murkier river, together they swirl and eddie under the rock face of the mountain spire to become one fast moving waterway coursing towards the ocean much further south. Confidently perched at cliffs edge, high above the torrid waters that swirl at its feet, sits the huge rock walled edifice that was first Jajce.  Started by the Romans in approximately 1275, it has been in usurpers hands as often or more than it has been within Bosnian hands. The modern day city of Jajce, lay spread like a floral apron around the steep hillsides and rocky outcroppings that makeup this scenic region. Houses cling too stone hillsides like barnacles to a boat. Streets meander like worm trails up the mountainsides at pitches that would make most of us tremble. Locals pass over these roads on scooters, bikes, horse and wagon, not to mention roto-tillers. Passing each other on single lane roads with but inches to spare and hundreds of feet to fall, all with a smile and a non-chalant wave.

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Leaving Jajce, by way of a tiny backroad with good surface, we make our way towards Sipovo. We are traversing the valley floor and following the Pliva River, so the ride is a perfect basket, bottle of wine and your favorite sweetie with you type ride. The road seldom climbs, it undulates as if alive under your bike tires. Twists and turns that keep you awake are punctuated with brilliant blue water splashing over a rock strewn waterfall. The next bend in the river reveals a vibrant green hillside being reflected in a tranquil blue surface, no rush, no harried pace here for the moment. Justrelaxandtakein the beautythat only a “CREATOR” could have imagined as a place for us to enjoy and see his.great works firsthand. Wild flowers enjoy thier day in the sun, along side thier more pampered urbane brothers. Whitish limestone spires and crags festoon the steep mountain sides, when the sun shines, adding a dazzle of light to the uppermost peaks. This is the Pliva expierience, and worth any bucket list inclusion.

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Tiny back roads escort me both up and away from the tranquil and serene ride I have had for last day or so. Its time to cross the Cerenmica mountain range, so strap your climbing shoes on, cast off all extra wieght unrequired (like sin, we dont need to bring anything extra on an already difficult passage). We settle into a rocking swaying type motion, each leg, each muscle in its turn adding power to the stroke and transmitted thru that tiny metallic chain…..and up up we go. No dizzying hieghts, not leg breaking pitches. Just steady climbing, breathing measured as if by metronome……….these are the disciplined and autonomous responces of a well trained athl………what the heck, where did he come from!!!! Huge, whitish, fur covered….and more teeth than six citizens from Arkansas…….the road is looping back to my left, the cars are few, the dog likes human flesh……Hannibal Lecter without a collar. My feet are both atop my cross bar, Iam squirting water from my water bottle at him (secretly wishing it was gas and I had a match…..I will pray about those thoughts later, right now I am looking for a match). I barely have enough speed to stay upright and moving forward……its uphill. Feet are down and grab another few strokes as he rounds my bike to the other side. Dang he is big…….oh crap ( confession, I actually said worse), here comes his compatriate. The second dog, much older, but no wiser. Fortunatley for me, was to deaf and crippled to place much effort in his territorial defense……he laid down on the road and barked. It strikes me that the younger far more aggressive dog took notice realizing that I was niether tasty nor a mortal enemy and his own effort may well have been a little over the top……..decided to stop the chase and just bark and growl at me. Which is fine as I was busy praying…… first Mike……with just a few curse words slipping out incase they may be the only words he understood. Just around the next bend, which now places me directly above those dogs……I started throwing rocks down at them……lol, na, just kidding. What I found was thier summer job, about 6 sheep and 2 simmental looking milk cows.

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The Cerenmica’s, once topped, wander and meander for quite a few miles. Up here, bare rock escarpments give little ground to plants desiring to grow. Its a hard fought battle for what ground will sustain life is decidely occupied by tree or scrub brush, what grass does grow is in hummock form, and tall as if struggling to find room to do so. This peaceful meander comes to an abrubt end, as you near tbewesgern edge of therange, and here God has decided tojust throw you off theedge in near roller coaster fashion, pell mell we go with shirt tails flapping in the breeze as wecorkscrew our waydown into a surprise. Somewhat of a geographical annomoly in this Bosnia that I have come to know……..a huge valley vista waits me at the bottom. This is a valley of some actual size, very Montanaish in scope and perspective. Mostly farming, but in a very small scale fashion. No big tractors,nor combines rolling. Rather for the most part it is very small hands on, labour intensive farming. But its good to see non-the-less that Bosnia has valleys of this size and type. Sheep dot the lanscape, like puffy clouds that fell from a sky scene at a highschool play. Cattle, mostly a crossbreed milking variety, while not as abundant they are scattered across the rolling valley floor.

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A military base sits right in the center of the valley floor, right along side thestraitestflattest widest piece of paved road I have seen in Bosnia to date……looks alot like a runway to me folks…….just sayin is all. I pass fenced in dense stands of thick pine trees, cement poles, razor wire……these as are unruly trees I can tell. There are about 3 of theses huge fenced tree compounds, stillnot sure of thier purpose. Downthevalley I go, nice and flat, bike is wbizzing along and its late afternoon, about time I buy some grub for the evening. A con ersation enzues as I exit the little grocer, just a curious passerby asking or gesturing questions mydirection. I tell him my direction, show him my paper map……..he smiles and makes the sign of a bomb going off. Whiskeytangofoxtrot I thought. Down the road I go, and stop in the next small village to talk to some folks digging the potatoes that will sustain them thru the co ing winter. In not so many words, these folks, 3 of them. Tell me much thesame thing…….be ware of bombs. On we go, its getting late afternoon already. Rode the next 10miles looking strait up……I ain’t the village idiot……I know which direction bombs come from. We are climbing, a little stiffer climb this time around, and as these Bosinian mountain roads are inclined to do, we are meanandering all over and still climbing……..dang mother nature calls and as only God can do it…..all Igotta do is take a leak. TMI here- there I stand with my water spigot out and staring strait ahead………and it dawns on me all at once…….I am staring right at a red sign tnat says DANGER MINE FIELD and a skull and cross bones acompanies the warning. Duh,now I get it!

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What I find myself in the middle of, is the largest active field left in Bosnia. Not the only one, as I will find out as well. Roughly 40 miles long and 20 miles wide. It takes up quite a swath of ground, which is now rendered useless for anything. And, that is also why I have been seeing so many abandoned houses and farmesteads. It all makes sense now why the folks in the last few villages were concerned for me…….they were worried that I would dig up thier potatoes early by stepping on a mine. The meandering mountaintop road finally draws to its conclusion, we put closed behind us the largest mine field,  we begin our descent in earnest. Its late enough to be well into dusk, I  am dogged it has been a long day. Spotting a tiny side road the meanders off behind a hand stacked rock wall, I take refuge in amongst some struggling fruit trees to settle in for the night. I cook with one tent flap open as the rain arrived almost the same time that I did.

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What happens over the next 3 days convincesmethere isa hell, and if we are pahing attention, we get to catch glimpses of it here on earth as a warning. This is nought for the faint of heart or weak kneed. So, if you fall into one of those 6 cattlegories then you should head for the kitchen and make quiche or something. Just warning you, have tissue at hand if you stay with me on this…….I went thru plenty of it.

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I awoke to brilliant light piercing my tent, the sound of birds thrilled to have clear skies thru which to fly, the noise of sheep eating, a dog walking thru tall grass, and a shepard lighting a cigarette. This was one of the brightest sunny mornings I had seen in quite sometime. Ate my breakfast, packed my camp and was early to the blacktop. Sunshine, its makes somany things look so very different from cloud covered skies. What a treat to see the vibrant colors, unmasked, unchecked. Stopped in Livno, just todouble checkNd buy. Few supplies I was very low on. Doulble checked on borders, and where to cross. All good. Arrive zt base of the Graninca climb about 11am. Long, steady, switchback infested climb of about 7 miles at posted 8 percent. When you top the climb you pass thru Bosnian customes…..he passes me thru after looking at my passport. We wind around for. Few miles then plunge off the Croatian side for almost 10 miles at 9 percent. What a glorious ride down, cant quite see the Adriatic from here. The Croatian fellow checks my passport, tnen says no…..you cannot cross here……this is for Bosnian and or Croates only. YOU HAD BETTER BE JOKING. No, no joke. You must go back up you cannot stay here. I am ticked…..I would have fought the ear biting boxer I was so mad. Back up I go, thinking the worst possible things a grown man can think. This side is a longbrute of a climb on a loaded tourer. I was dangerously low on water…..like about 4 sips was it. As I pass the Bosnian border shack, he simply smiles and waves……..oh, dont you know how many ways I wanted to torture his cat……..as I rode by smiling……..thanking Jesus for a civil tongue and humility at this moment. Down we go, 56.7 miles per hour……I totally thru caution to the wind.

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Somewhere along in here, I am stopped trying to figure out how to take a picture of myself planking on a tank……when a truck with  Mason driving, pulls over. Observant you are thinking, that I spotted that tattoo of the eye inside a triangle/pyramid on his left shoulder…….but not the case. I. knew by instinct and training that he was a Mason, because the back of his truck was full of bricks. He offered to take the pictures for me. Then a conversation began about my direction of travel, very dangerous, and he made that internationally recognized sign language symbol for BOMB. You know, make the noise, throw both hands high over your head…..that symbol. Yes,another mine field lay in my path. He was so concerened for me that he called his daughter of about 15, so she could explain to me what lay ahead. Small new gravel road, do not step off the road it is not safe. Maybe 15 miles and you will be thru the mine field. By the ten mile mark, I was done and camped in a tiny hay field that had been freshly raked. Slept like a baby.

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Got up the next day to verydense fog, unbelievable. I stuck my left hand out and it was immediatly gone…..I feared forever. I sat and thought awhile about what I should do next. Throwing caution, and my right hand to the winds of chance, I sent the right in search of the left. For but a moment I thought I may have acted a little to quickly. Finally they met up, you should have seen that left hand. Talk about happy to be found, he couldn’t stop wringing the right out of pure gratitude. From that point on, we done everything in teams and pairs. Both hands, both arms, then both legs etc…..the last outwas my butt, he usually works alone. Down the road we go, fog lifts slowly like a bad act in Vegas, taking to long to let us see whzt is taking place. Mountain tops poke thier heads out thru cloud and fog for but brief moments. Trees whiz past, actually I whiz past trees, and they attempt to show thier true colors. POOF, like thatand I am flat.the sidewall ripped right out on my beautiful Schwalbe rear tire. Bad news gets real bad, the mistakes of confidence can be fatal. There was nomorespare hanging on my back rack, gone home with Pine. My spare tub, went the same place. Foolish as it sounds, I made those choices myself.

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Two options lay infront of me. I could head back to Livno and look for tire and tube. Having already been thru the place I didn’t like that too much. Or, I could start walking and hitch a ride to the next town Grihovo some 15 miles ahead. Started walking, pushing the bike, big rolling country not too bad really. No one would stop. Made it to Grihovo and asked around about a back tire and tube, even offered twice to buy a well used one…..no go. Had a coffee, asked who was headed to Strmice…….no one. Would anyone like to hire out and drive me to the top……no one. Ta heck with it, I will just start walking, and its up,up, up we go. Its marked at 9 percent, and rolls on for about 11 miles to the crest. It was indeed a majestic piece of mountain range with an awesome view, but my knees and hips wefe on fire……..still no one offered a ride, not one. The rain began just after the crest and stayed with me till well after bedtime. Its almost 12 miles down off the Adriatic side, and steeper than the initial side. Hsnds were more tired than the legs, from squeezing the brakes on the way down. Crossed the CroatianBorder, rain dripping off every place on my body. Begzn mywalk down into the valley below. Carried on, walking alo gside a clear blue stream…..and boy howdy did I stink. So, I stripped off right there and bailed into that stream. Colder than blazes, buck naked with nobody around to witness it. I didnt want a bath as bad as I wanted to be picked up for indescent exposure……and a free ride to Knin. It was not to be, God was at work on me. We walked about 10miles and had to call it quits. Too pooped, too wet, too frustrated…..and not yet thankful enough…..I realize now.

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Bad meal of what little I had…..after all, I was easily going to be in Croatia by now, at least in my mind. Got a pot of river watdr boiled for tea, made some coucous with lemon and raisins and called it quits for tne day. Up early the next day, packed in more heavy pouring rain. Everything I own is totally soaked now and we only have 10-12 miles toget to Knin Croatia. Walked every step of it, no one would stop no matter what I did. Stopped infront of a local vulcanizer, he sent his son downthe street for a new tire and tube for me. I, in the meantime went nextdoor in a cafe and exchanged what money I had from Bosnia, then came back out to find he had both tire and tube………and the price matched exactley that which I had just exchanged. He literraly handed me the tire and tube, loaded his son and a freind in an old car, after locking all his doors…..he turns to me and says “the rest is yours, fix it yourself”. And so I did. While sitting there wondering what it was that I should learn from all this…….for me, I realize its humility. I could probably use that lesson doubled. Knin, we had spit roasted pig, and a motel room where we began drying things out again. It has raied hard most of the time I have been here.

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