The end of my lucky streak

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Flag of Slovakia  , Žilinský,
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 10, Sunday July 4

I have the room until 12 today, and I take full advantage of that as I’m still very tired from all the hiking in the mountains. I sleep a couple extra hours and then slowly eat the massive amount of muesli and yogurt I have left over as I pack.

Heading out of town, coasting down Zakopane’s steep main street , the rear tire blows. It has had a slow leak and I guess it didn’t take too kindly to being pumped up to full pressure minutes earlier. I have the wheel off and the tube out before I remember that I have no pump after my last one broke. I stash my bike under a tree and head off in search of a bicycle store or gas station.
The sports store downtown only has a ball pump, but the attendant directs me to a bicycle store that is surely closed until tomorrow morning, seeing as today is Sunday. On the way I stop at a scooter rental place to see if there’s a pump I can borrow. I could easily put my spare tube in myself, but the guy insists on doing it for me. When he’s finished it becomes apparent why as he asks for 5 zł. At least it’s a reasonable price.

Back on the road it’s a short trek back to Chochołów, and to the Slovakian border. I don’t want to change money to Euros for just one day so I stock up on enough food and water to hopefully last me until I get back into Poland near Żywiec.

The first turn I have to make in Slovakia is a small unnumbered road leaving town. There’s no indication of which road I have to take so I head to the north edge where it looks like there is a ridge to get a good view from. It is very difficult to pedal along even though it looks like the road is flat. This way only leads to the highway so I turn back to town. Heading back is downhill, which explains why it was so difficult going the other way. It seems it is difficult now to visually determine when I’m going uphill. I’m not sure if this is an effect of my new glasses, or if it is because I spent the last several days hiking very steep slopes, almost vertical at times, in the Tatry mountains.

I pass the giant Orava reservoir, several small towns, and one festival before stopping for the night. The towns are a continuous row of houses from one to the next so I’m almost at the border back to Poland before I find somewhere uninhabited to camp.

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