Day 37 Ramnicu Valcea to Dragdona
I had read extensively the popular literature on Dragdona as this is the birthplace of the Romania Ridgeback. Unlike in Harry Potter books where they are simply hatched the Romania Ridgeback actually spends the first 2 years in the sulphurous water pools which are formed high in the limestone mountains surrounding the town. So the first thing I did is head into town to arrange a tour. There was one leaving almost right away but it was in Romainia so I didn't get all the details and you weren't allowed to take photos. So you will just have to take my word when I tell you that it was totally fascinating seeing the baby dragons swimming around in the hot sulphur pools. Some of them were quite large and were almost ready to leave. They live for a very long time and only return to the limestone pools to mate every few years.
However before I get too far into that story let me brief you on the days ride. If you recall we were camped next to a zoo. So in the morning we were greeted by the sounds of lions and elephants calling for their breakfast. To say that it was interesting is a total understatement. It was going to be a longer day and we were going to be on a busy road so breakfast at 6:30 and down the road by 7:00. However the early start didn't seem to make much difference as the road was already crowded by trucks. There was no shoulder to speak of so the only way down the road was to pick a line and go for it. There were two long hills of approximately 10 k each. they both had passing lanes so most of the traffic gave you lots of room. However to say that it wasn't nerve wracking would be a total lie. Most of the riders were totally cover come by the amount and proximity to the traffic. During the morning I was chased by dogs twice, fortunately it was on the flats and I quickly sped a way. About 3 k before lunch there was some construction on the road and traffic was stopped. All you could do was carefully pick your way down the long line of cars and trucks.
After lunch we headed into Petesi and the traffic continued on to the freeway. So we lost the traffic. However Petesti is a large industrial city and navigating though it was hair raising. At this one point I hit this hole in the pavement which was about 2 feet across. As my front wheel fell into the hole and I looked down I could see these fellows caring pitch forks and dancing around what looked like lava. Then just as my back wheel was about to enter the hole and the front wheel hit the other side. Jim who was in front yells "Hole"
On the other side of Petesti we fell into a long line of riders, which is too many. So Jos and I broke away and cruised a 30-40 kms/hour for about an 30 kms, before stopping for ice cream. knocking off a bunch of mileage put us close to camp and we bumped down this terrible road to Dragdona. The camp was in this beat up old hotel grounds sort of. There was room for about 9 tents, rooms for about 8 people and the rest floor flopped in this room off the lobby. Tomorrow we have to ride back down that same road to get back to the highway. So apart from the previously mentioned tour and I was the only one who took it what was the point of going up there? The road was noisy and camping terrible.
Before I sign off for the day I should mention that several of the riders have been taking advantage of the cheap booze and drinking quite a bit. Today's picture attests to this fact.
Not a bad day of 110 km.
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