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Ravna Gora – Karlovac
May 15, 2014
We washed all the clothes last night but everything is still really wet, that’s the excuse we use to justify our laziness, we must wait for them to dry.
Daniele tries to straighten the back wheel of the Président who looks a bit bent. After a few miles of ups and downs (temperature always about 10°C), finally, comes the true downhill. The mountains disappear and the hillside arrives. A soft up and down through the woods.
For thirty kilometers nothing but woods, occasionally a car. There are some groups of houses once in a while, but aside from the barking of dogs (all strictly chained), we don’t hear any noise, not a radio, a TV, the cry of a child.
We arrive along the Kupa river. Impressive. Especially because it seems on the verge of overflowing. Then Karlovac, across the city, which we liked (for those who like a little “decadence”). The city was heavily bombed during the Balkan’s war and the scars are evident.
It starts to rain and soon after the city we stop to sleep in the usual grove, but this time no good sprites around. It was a scary forest, tall trees with a very thin trunk. With a strong wind some branch broke and we could hear the noise, a bit disturbing. We cooked with the helmet on our heads!
11th stage: our beloved crazy dog
Karlovac – Sisak
May 16, 2014
We have seen the weather reports but we were hoping, as often happens, that they’ll be wrong. And instead this time they got it right.
We start at 10.00 am with 30 kilometers of real flat. We get back along the river Kupa. We stop to eat under a bus shelter.
The Président falls from its stand and roll! It almost ends up in the river! While we eat two dogs approach, one smaller and coward and the other a bit bigger, he looks like a big puppy. He brings us sticks to play with us. It has a collar so it is someone’s dog, maybe it escaped from the chain.
We leave and the dog follow us for a couple of kilometers. In the meanwhile it stops being “the dog”, we give him a name: Scoppio. We try to convince him to go back, but no way.
Scoppio is always here, he takes some naps then he gets up and licks us. We go, it keeps on raining, non-stop since this morning.
And Scoppio follows us, downhill he goes 35 km/h, we think that sooner or later he will get tired and come back. After 20 km we start to worry. It does not give the slightest hint of wanting to go back and doesn’t look tired at all.
We think that maybe we should find a room so that he could surrender. In the tent, there would be no hope. Eventually, Scoppio follows us for 60 kilometers, coming with us in the city of Sisak.
We’re very wet. We find an “apartmani”, we give him two sausages and greet him. We hope he will find someone who is good and who loves him. Or maybe it will be here waiting for us tomorrow morning. We really do not know what has prompted him to follow us for 60km under the rain. We haven’t even given him anything to eat. Maybe he just wanted to run. We are very worried but there’s not much we can do for Scoppio.
Although we’d like to take him with us for the whole trip!
12th stage: the big flood begins
Sisak – Novska
May 17, 2014
I am happy he didn’t wait for us but also sad because he’s not here.
For breakfast, we have 3/4 fried eggs with ham, juice, and coffee: the so-called breakfast of the champions. Restart: luckily flat. I always think about Scoppio. It seems to me to see or hear him every time I hear a dog barking. Fortunately, the place where we “left” him is a park along the river so we hope he could find someone who will adopt him.
Keeping on riding we see what the flood left behind. The woods are completely flooded, we only see the tops of the trees, it seems that crocodiles can suddenly appear. A true swamp.
We go in search of the alcohol for our stove but can’t find it. Finally, we understand how they call it in Croatian, and that is found only in hardware stores but it’s Saturday and everything is closed.
Bucolic road between sheep and singing chickens to Novska.
After cycling some beautiful country roads we start looking for a place to sleep but it’s not simple. It seems that this is the most densely populated area of Croatia. On the left, there is a small road that goes into the grove. We put the tent on a field after the cemetery just next to the road. It’s a quagmire, but we did not have many alternatives. Also, it’s quite cold, around 8°C and with a lot of humidity, we’ll have to sleep with the hood on our head.
Navigate the city of Karlovac with us
Novska – Oriovac
May 18, 2014
At 11:00 we leave. It rains at times but it is hotter than yesterday. Flat.After about twenty miles, just before Nova Gradiska, flat tire on the back wheel. I try to patch it but as soon as we put the bags back on, ready to go, on the ground again.
It seems to be all right but to remove the back wheel the shifter’s cable must be removed from the hub gear and registered again, and it’s a problem! I don’t think Shimano Nexus 8 is meant to be this way. It takes us more than one hour (also because the “help” of the old man slows us down quite a bit). We leave late.
The wife cooks in the restaurant. After dinner he treat us plum Rakija, made by himself! Very good, we drink three glasses and we go to sleep happy.
Tomorrow we’ll go to Bosnia! We hope to find alcohol for the stove, it seems that nobody knows what it is and we so we can’t cook.