Much worse than the pain of frozen fingers is the pain of frozen fingers thawing out. I am disappointed in how permeable to water my ‘waterproof’ neoprene cycling gloves are. Thus, besides plastic bags, which I am prepared to try next, I still have no way of keeping my hands dry and warm when faced with incessant rain in near-freezing temperatures. I might have looked like an idiot as I paced back and forth with my face contorted in agony and making slight whimpering noises as my fingers slowly warmed up. This happened in the border town of Novi Grad after a 40km ride from my camp spot. Did I have a good night’s sleep in the ruined building I chose as my home? Yes and no. Yes – because I got enough sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and able to deal with the reason for the no. Why no? Because the building turned out to be as waterproof as my gloves. I was first alerted to the fact by dripping on my tent. As the night wore on and the rain continued I became alerted to the fact by a squelching sound beneath me. Then as the water seeped through my tent, I began to get wet. A look outside revealed that my room was flooded and my tent was in shallow pool of water. Pressure from the my body and luggage had drawn the water through the tent floor. My sleeping mat was damp, my sleeping bag (down) was wet and the bottom of my bike bags were wet.
Despite this, I managed to keep up a positive attitude and simply got on with what needed doing. I packed up and squeezed my soaking tent into plastic bags. I opted for sandals instead of shoes, with three pairs of socks under the waterproof pair. My toes just managed to keep slightly cold without going numb and hurting. Once I got moving I worked hard to distract myself from the pain in my hands by immersing my mind in daydreams. As I approached Novi Grad I came up with a plan. I would check at the border to see whether they are open 24 hours a day, then find a café with WIFI where I could look up weather patterns and accommodation options and decide what to do next.
Having confirmed that the border is always open, I had the good fortune of choosing a café that had a wood-burning fire inside. I hung my gloves and socks in front of the fire and hooked up to the free internet being offered by a café across the road. As I ate cevapi I did my research. With limited suitable accommodation options over in Croatia, I decided I’d be camping again if I rode on. I would need to find somewhere completely dry relatively early to give my stuff a chance to dry before sleeping again. With the rain continuing outside, this seemed unlikely. My other option was to sleep in Novi Grad, clean and dry all my stuff and have enough time to do a proper shop and plan my route through Croatia. I would then be able to be completely ready to camp over the next two nights and hopefully reach Ljubljana on the third day. The second option won. I checked into a local motel.
I have just spent my last 7.50k on a pasta meal, which I am eating in the motel restaurant. I will collect my tent on the way back to my room – it’s hanging to dry in the motel’s undercover carpark. Next I’ll finish satisfying my hungry stomach with some of my own food. Then I will repack my things (all strewn across my room after I emptied all my panniers so they could dry). It will then be time to either go to sleep and get another good rest, or go to bed and stay up late watching a movie.
After tending to some of these things, I have just got back to my room and switched on the TV. What should come on immediately but an Aussie police drama, the Lisa McCune water police one.
|Distance ridden today||42.66km|
|Average cycling speed||16.8kph|
|Total distance ridden||28,292km|