To Jeruzalem - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

July 29, 2022

To Jeruzalem

 Despite the continuing heat wave, today should have been pretty easy – a short 23 miles that was mostly flat until the final climb up to Jeruzalem. So I decided there was plenty of time to walk up to Ptuj Castle and have a look about before starting out on today’s ride. The views from the castle were outstanding, panoramas over red-tiled rooftops and across the Drava River basin to the hills from whence I’d come. I did not explore the castle – there was an entrance fee, temperatures were rising, and time was limited. I made my way back down the hill and after an very brief walkabout I returned to Musikafe to ready my departure. Regrettably, I did not give Ptuj it’s due – perhaps another time.

View on the way up to the castle - I believe those are the Pohorje Mountains in the distance
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Overlooking the Ptuj and the Town Tower, with Lake Ptuj in the distance
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Another look - the distant hills are known as the Halzore Hills, and include some of the area I rode through yesterday on my way to Ptuj
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Town Tower and Steeple
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Dominican Monastery in Ptuj
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in ptuj
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Back at Muzikafe - a little quirky but a very nice place to stay
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Despite dedicated bike lanes, numerous directional signs, and a pre-loaded RWGPS route map, there was a bit of confusion in finding my way out of Ptuj. But I soon had it sorted out and was on the correct cycle path running alongside, but not atop, the Lake Ptuj levee. The fifteen miles to Ormož closely followed the canal that runs between two reservoirs formed by damming the Drava River – Lake Ptuj and Lake Ormož. After five miles, the cycle path ended and I followed local roads for another five miles through a series of small towns and farmsteads that populated the basin between the small canal and the Drava River. Near Formin, I crossed to the north side of the canal and turned onto a gravel road, following closely along the Solvenian-Croatian border. The gravel was fairly well-packed and the only things slowing me down were brief forays onto canal bridges for a closer look at Croatia.

From right to left - the cycle path, the canal, the levee and Lake Ptuj. The correct route is along the cycle path, not atop the levee.
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A look across Lake Ptuj
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Passing through towns along the Drava River basin
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Some pretty bold color choices - a lemon-lime sorbet
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On gravel, along the border
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Vivien Geoge threatens to leave me for Croatia
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The red roofs and black steeples of Mihovci pri Vel. Nedelji
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I had read good things about Ormož and planned to stop for lunch at a charming outdoor café on the town plaza. The only problem was that I could not find a town plaza, nor any type of location with a cluster of charming cafés. I circled around a bit, growing increasingly frustrated until finally seeking help at tourist information center, which was tucked away on the grounds of the Ormož Castle. They directed me to the park, the Ormož Castle Park to be exact, located just adjacent to the castle. Based on rather sketchy directions, I followed a series of footpaths until I spotted some umbrellas. It wasn’t exactly the café scene I was looking for, but I did find a seat in the shade for a burger, fries, and lots of liquids.  

My frustration with Ormož continued after lunch. I had mapped my route from Ormož to Jeruzalem to include a little-used road that avoided a long stretch of Hwy 230 north of Ormož.  But I couldn’t get to my road, at least not using the route I'd mapped on RWGPS, which directed me to an overgrown path in the woods. My re-route led me to the intersection of Hwys 2 and 230, through an urban sprawl of large supermarkets and service centers that one commonly finds on the edge of larger towns and cities. Not only was this not where I wanted to be, I still couldn’t find my route. I regrouped with a cold milk purchased at one of the mega-stores and after a few minutes looking around, I noticed a few trucks turning into a road just past a large construction project. It was in the general direction of "my route", so I headed that way and found myself on a very wide red dirt road that seemed to be a truck route. The red dirt combined with the constant jackhammers from construction noise and the roar of the passing trucks to give me a Thelma and Louise moment. Amazingly, however, RWGPS indicated that this was indeed my planned route. And so I continued on – until the road appeared headed for a gravel pit. I conceded defeat – finding my way back to Hwy 230, where there was a nice cycle path that separated me from the traffic. When I later tried to figure out what went wrong I discovered it was user error – I won’t go into details, but it does let RWGPS off the hook, in this case at least.

Indulgence
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The road was fine, it was just the large trucks zooming past at high speed that gave me pause
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Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all
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Rachael AndersonThat doesn’t look fun!
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1 month ago

Once clear of Ormož, traffic on Hwy 230 eased and it was a pleasant ride into the wine region of northeastern Slovenia. I turned off the highway just past Mihalovci, following the Sibon wine route on small roads up through the vineyards and past Svetinje to the Taverna Kupljen Guesthouse, where I’ll be staying the next three nights. I arrived hot, sweaty and in great need of a rest day. The wonderful Roj fixed me a lemonade and arranged for laundry service. Dinner was served on a terrace the overlooking miles of vines, and I sat marveling at the fortune and fortitude that had brought me to this wondrous place. I am really looking forward to the next couple of days.

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Heading up through wine country toward Svetinje and Jeruzalem -
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The wonderful Roj
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Now this is a relaxing place to enjoy dinner with a view
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The sun begins to set on another good day with promises of more to come
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Today's ride: 29 miles (47 km)
Total: 1,667 miles (2,683 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 5
Scott AndersonA Thelma and Louise moment! You and Rachael should talk, but please no road trips together.
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Scott AndersonNow I'm curious - guess I'll have to give Rachael a call.
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1 month ago
Rachael AndersonTo Susan CarpenterHere’s a link to that day. But you’ve experienced much worse.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/kona2018/la-salle-loop-road/
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1 month ago
Rachael AndersonSorry you ended up on such a bad road but glad to here you ended at such a great place to stay. Take it easy and enjoy a well earned rest!
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1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Rachael AndersonThanks for the link, Louise :)
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1 month ago