Day 107 - Klaipeda to Plokstine: Strangewind or: How I Learned to Stop Pedalling and Love the Bomb Museum - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2015

Day 107 - Klaipeda to Plokstine: Strangewind or: How I Learned to Stop Pedalling and Love the Bomb Museum

My host in Klaipeda, who had a neverending supply of stories all starting with "In Soviet times", gave me a good route to take to the Cold War Museum at Plokstine. I ignored his advice and took my own equally good route because I wanted to stop in Plateliai, at the west end of Zemaitija National Park.

I had a tailwind until 15 km before Plateliai, when I suddenly found myself dealing with a crosswind, just as the land became a series of short but brutally steep climbs. Usually I coast on descents, but this time I was trying to go as fast as possible in the 5 seconds available to me before the next climb started and instantly forced me into my granny gear. Shift shift shift shift up, shift shift shift shift down, nonstop.

The visitor centre in Plateliai had a nice display about wildlife in the park, including the sounds of nocturnal creatures, which represent the unfortunately unsilent majority. The woman working there gave me very specific directions to the museum, down to the 1/10 of a kilometre, and mentioned that the campsites near Plokstine were free until June 1. "But there is no shower, there is nothing there, only the lake."

I recalled that the wildlife display mentioned nothing about wild boars and decided that was a perfect place to spend the night. Before I left, she insisted on getting a photo of me, with my bike, for their reports. I can just imagine the optimistic tone of the next one: We got one foreign bicycle tourist this season, up from zero last season, an incalculable increase!

It was pouring rain by the time I left the visitor centre, and the road there was made of coarse, deep sand for the last 5 or 6 km. I didn't mind, I even thought it was funny. Only the road was sand; the bike path was paved!

The museum itself was even better, being located in a genuine Soviet missile base. How awesome is that? The exhibits were well-done, with recreations of rooms, displays of weapons, and even access to a missile silo. The lower half of the walls were painted in that distinctive shade of Soviet green. My only complaint was the ridiculous guided tour format that had the effect of presenting the rooms rather than their contents. It moved too fast for me to listen to the entire audioguide (necessary because the tour was in Lithuanian). So I left without getting all the details that were theoretically available to me, and I really wanted those details. Still, what a fascinating place.

After the missile base, I found a campsite, where I was alone, and reasoned that I'd be okay there because the wind and rain should keep the parties away. I pitched my tent near the lake, finally getting that lakeside campsite I wanted, and crawled inside, stubbornly waiting for the rain and the wind to subside. It didn't.

This poor fellow is trying to escape its captivity. I should move it to the side of the road before it gets run over.
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Inside the missile silo
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Outside the missile silo
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Today's ride: 84 km (52 miles)
Total: 5,583 km (3,467 miles)

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