Day 18 - Prilep to Bitola: Floods - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

February 2, 2015

Day 18 - Prilep to Bitola: Floods

Not wanting to get out of bed, I had a late start, but it was an easy day to Bitola. The rain even mostly held off. I took the old road out of Prilep, which was nice at first, but turned into very broken pavement, so I switched to the highway, which was fine.

But the flooding I saw was crazy. I rode a long stretch of road that had brand new lakes on both sides, the right side draining into the left. A woman at a gas station said it's been raining every couple of days since September and the water has nowhere to go. She also mentioned the ongoing economic difficulties; they seem to think it's important for me to know this. A man working at the gas station started speaking to me in Russian. I guess when you don't speak English and I don't speak Macedonian/Greek/etc, you default to any other language you know. The amazing thing is that--somehow--it works.

I had arranged to Couchsurf (no Warmshowers people in this area) with someone who couldn't host me but said he'd find a place for me. The place ended up being a spare bed in the boys' dorm at the university, complete with instructions not to open the door for anyone except the two guys who lived in that room. The student housing was very basic, old, institutional. There was only one electrical outlet in a room with three beds. There was a radiator but I don't know if it worked because the guys were running a space heater and the girls' bathrooms upstairs were freezing. And it was bring-your-own-toilet-paper.

My brakes are really worn already but I think they'll see me over the next two smallish mountain passes. I'll need to replace them by the time I reach Skopje, probably sooner if this weather continues. Despite much oiling, my chain has rust on it--not impressed. Sure, I'm riding a low end trekking-style bike, but the low end is still pricey enough to expect a decent chain. I've left cheap bikes--ie. the kind you don't bother to maintain--outside all winter and they didn't do that. Oh well, something else to keep an eye on. I'm starting to get a vague idea that this whole bike touring thing is a lot of work. Eminently unsuitable for a lazy person such as myself. But I'm too lazy to do it any other way.

This isn't a lake
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Today's ride: 42 km (26 miles)
Total: 978 km (607 miles)

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