Day 54 - Tarnow to Wieliczka: Good thing the earth decided to be flat today - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 10, 2015

Day 54 - Tarnow to Wieliczka: Good thing the earth decided to be flat today

Yesterday, in a really nice bit of foreshadowing, I walked into a corner instead of a corridor while trying to find my hotel room.

Today consisted of repeatedly walking into that corner, but outside and on my bike. I'm amazed I reached my destination before dusk at all.

It started when I was biking through Tarnow and suddenly realized the sun was now shining on the exact opposite side of my face. I checked the map, backtracked, and corrected my course to another wrong direction. Then I came upon a closed road and took another wrong turn trying to detour around it.

Two hours and 15km from the hotel, I had finally made it the 10km across Tarnow.

The rest of the day proceeded in a similar fashion, with my stopping every few minutes to check the map and frequently having to backtrack to a missed turn. I decided to go with Google for my route today, since they have biking directions in Poland, and the cycling part turned out great (except the last 10km) even though my navigational issues slowed me down considerably.

There were some bumpy and slightly muddy sections through logging/forestry areas, but those roads were super quiet. I also took a lot of back roads that weren't even one lane wide, also quiet. I seemed to be following a succession of bike routes, if the occasional small bike icon on a sign was any indication. I say 'if' because I saw them at rare intervals along the roads, rather than in tandem with directional arrows at intersections. It's almost as if Poland is afraid its first steps at bike routes will be judged harshly and is therefore trying to make sure nobody knows these routes exist.

I'm not complaining. Great weather, peaceful riding after I finally escaped Tarnow. It was too good to last. I turned onto the 964 to take me into Wieliczka and found myself on--you guessed it--yet another narrow, busy road with many fast trucks. Walking ensued until a sidewalk started. This famous salt mine had better be worth it.

Seems like 90% of traffic in this country is trucks. They're absolutely everywhere. They're like taxi drivers in some other countries: there are far too many of them to meet demand, so mostly they just drive around constantly in a vain attempt to find cargo.

This is not the right road out of Tarnow. I took the photo because of the big 'Krakow' sign but a van/bus drove in front of it and I didn't notice, rendering the photo meaningless.
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Google knew I could take my bike across this shortcut. Seeing how embarrassingly crooked the horizon is, I will remind everyone that my phone is my camera and I can't see the screen in daylight because I have it set low to conserve battery life.
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Pleasant pedalling through the carefully managed woods
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Patches of tall trees among the saplings, like missed spots shaving
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I rode this lovely path instead of the paved part for the 1.5km it existed. It was great for keeping that sun out of my eyes.
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Keep going, this is indeed the right route, for perhaps the first time all day
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Today's ride: 90 km (56 miles)
Total: 2,455 km (1,525 miles)

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