In Karlovac: the Kupa River loop - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

September 8, 2020

In Karlovac: the Kupa River loop

For today’s ride we followed the Kupa River north in a long oval, riding up one side and back the other.  Mostly flat except for a hilly five miles in the middle, it was an easier ride than yesterday’s by design.  We’re resting up a bit for tomorrow’s ride south to Rastoke, which figures to be a challenge and has us just a bit anxious.  The only drama of the day was discovering that I’ve lost my lowest climbing gears, which is bad news in this rugged country.  Fortunately I was able to get the bike serviced when we got back to town, and everything is fine - just a normal case of cable stretch.

I think I won’t say more than this about our day though, because my heart just isn’t in it this morning.  I’ve just been reading the news of the horrible fires that have exploded  everywhere across Oregon almost overnight.  Towns and villages  we’re familiar with are burning, evacuating, or thick with smoke in one corner of our state after another.  On a personal note, our friends The Grumbys have evacuated from their new home in Silverton because of the exploding Santiam Canyon Fire, that thankfully for them still looks well to the east.  Be undaunted, friends, and good luck.   

Such a horrible time we seem to be living in.  Raging fires, the virus, riots, invasions of caravans of armed Trump supporters senselessly disturbing the peace: it all feels so biblical, even from our remote vantage point.  And, of course, it isn’t just Oregon.  Stay safe, everyone.

Leaving Karlovac, biking north along the Kupa River.
Heart 1 Comment 0
This is the source end of the Kupa Canal, which we saw at the other end 20 miles east of here two days ago. You can just see a bit of the river at the far end.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Some late bloomers. This is unusual. Nearly alll the sunflowers we’ve seen here are brown and dried out.
Heart 1 Comment 0
We really should learn to read the traffic control sings here. Is this prohibiting trucks, or cautioning to watch out for them?
Heart 0 Comment 6
Bill ShaneyfeltSlash means no.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltMy goodness, Bill. Flowers, reptiles, and now traffic signs! You’re a cornucopia of information.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonHa! Well, back in the mid 70s I was in Germany for 2 years. Part of getting a driver's license included understanding their signs, and missing even one on the test was a failure. I really studied the signs and passed first time.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Jacquie GaudetI think it means no trucks. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that just the red circle, without a slash, means something's forbidden.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Jacquie GaudetI stand corrected. I guess the slash is more specific for other prohibitions.

http://www.adcidl.com/pdf/Croatian-Road-Traffic-Signs.pdf
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Bill ShaneyfeltNow that's a useful link. I just need to get myself to Croatia someday!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Descending toward the Kupa River. You can’t see it from here or from much of the day’s ride, but it’s never far off.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Some geese. They look really sharp with their tan and white colorings.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I’ve been asked to show a few more of these old wooden houses, so here’s one. This one is interesting because it shows how they’re intermixed with more modern construction.
Heart 1 Comment 0
75% of today’s ride is very easy, consisting of flat, mostly smooth roads on either bank of the Kupa. The middle five miles though, which we’re just coming to here, are something different.
Heart 0 Comment 0
With a bit of pain you get the views though. Definitely the most interesting miles of the day.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I’ve been looking for an excuse to include a well stacked rack of firewood in the frame.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Giants of the earth.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another good use for old wooden houses: as a grape trellis.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The vast majority of Croatia’s wine grapes are white, but there are exceptions.
Heart 2 Comment 0
A typical highland scene with a southern exposure.
Heart 1 Comment 0
It was pleasant to come to this shady patch in the middle of a steep, warm climb. I’ve been struggling more than I should on some of these climbs, and was feeling badly about it. Somewhere along here though I realized I can’t engage my two largest climbing gears. A trip to Velo City is in order.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another fine piece of work. I really like these balconies that double as grape arbors.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Over the top, finally. It wasn’t that bad of a climb, really. I’d like to come back and climb it again with a full complement of gears to work with.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Comes the reward.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Our best view of the Kupa comes when we cross over it at the midpoint of the ride.
Heart 0 Comment 0
So is this some sort of dam?
Heart 0 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanI grew up on a lake that had one small stream as its only outlet. The stream had a small three foot dam on it just as it was exiting the lake. It helped maintain a certain level for the lake most of the year. Humans have to mess with nature as much as possible, you know. If the stream had been left alone to run naturally the lake would have been at least three feet lower by August every summer and I suppose more propellers would be ruined by hitting rocks in that case. I hope this helps explains things!
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Steeply dropping into Otalj.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking back at Ozalj Castle, one of the better known castles in Croatia. Its origins go back to at least 1244. We could have stopped in for a look, but then we’ve already seen two castles in the last two days.
Heart 0 Comment 0
It was lucky that we stumbled upon Velo City last night, so I knew just where to go today when my gears needed adjustment.
Heart 3 Comment 0
While waiting to hear the verdict on my bike I killed some time at the cafe across the street. I enjoyed this dark brew by Ožujsko, Croatia’s largest brewery. I lost some enthusiasm though when I learned that Ožujsko is owned by Coors Molson.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetHmmm. I dislike both Molson Canadian and Coors Light but maybe they are subsidizing some good beers?
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetIt could be. They just took over the company about eight years ago, so maybe they haven’t ruined it yet.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Always a good time to ride.
Heart 1 Comment 0
More riding, less carbo loading, perhaps.
Heart 5 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanYou guys are so fat.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Yup, these are the same fungi we saw two days back. We just thought they looked so pretty in the sunlight that we should show them again.
Heart 0 Comment 0
As promised, we made it back to the Korana River for a second look at its wooden bridge while the sun was still up. Also, here’s the pontoon bridge I think we omitted showing before.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Such a perfect reflection this evening!
Heart 3 Comment 0
I did some research on this bridge to see if I could learn more about it. I didn’t find much, but at least I discovered its name: Diveni Most. Translated into English, that’s Wooden Bridge.
Heart 3 Comment 0
The pontoon bridge across the Korana.
Heart 0 Comment 0
This man coaxed these swans from the other side of the river by shaking his bread bag at them. Obviously best friends.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Ride stats today: 41 miles, 1,900’; for the tour: 744 miles, 24,600’

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 744 miles (1,197 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 3
Kathleen JonesYes, it's feeling rather apocalyptic out here. As I write Medford and Salem areas in OR are being hit hard. You would not be riding much if you were still in the Pacific Northwest because of the smoke. I've hardly ridden the past 3+ weeks, just short jaunts. Exercise is usually a gentle walk when the air quality improves a little. Keeping our fingers crossed for the Grumbys.
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago
Susan CarpenterThe fires in the Oregon the entire west are horrific. I hope the Grumby's and your other friends/family in the area are safe and that their homes are spared.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Susan CarpenterIt’s stomach churning to watch, even from across the ocean. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be experiencing it directly. Even if you’re not threatened by the fires directly, the air quality sounds almost disabling.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago