Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Road? What road? We don’t need no stinking road.

This morning there was a sun hiding up in the haze that failed to make it warm. Thank god for the three mile climb that allowed my body to warm up before the sun broke through. Had that going for me to start the day. This morning I needed to find a store, a bakery and some sun screen. Bakery was easy, chocolate croissants still warm from the oven, a smiling baker wrapping a large loaf of fresh bread wishing me good cheer to start my day. A little cheese from the store, a banana and then the sunscreen.
Sunscreen choice was a total of one bottle of SPF 20. My sunburn factor so far SPF 2000. Cost was $20.US, need factor out weighted cost factor so I was more than happy to find it. In reality was actually surprised to find some in this small village. I normally tour with a small bottle of sun block that I have emptied and refilled for years. I know when I get home I will find it waiting for me as it sits out on the counter wondering why I left it behind.
Today should take me to a hot spring area that was one of the major reasons that I chose this island as a place to tour. I drank my juice and devoured the croissants before pushing off following a winding stream up the valley. A major hurdle was accomplished this morning as I had finally adjusted to the weight of the bike and here I was using most of my gear range. Stone bridges, hillsides ablaze with red poppies, low traffic, this is why I tour.

Found the first hot spring, closed up but with signs saying it was open. The guard dog became friendly as I shared my bread with him. People drove in, shook the door, and peered inside at the empty office then left.
Hidden from the main buildings was a local using the hot water to clean a few birds. I wandered around taking photographs before leaving. Not sure of the age of these buildings but from my understanding there has been some type of a hot spring bath house here for roughly two thousand years.
On the map it showed that the next town also had a hot spring so I pushed off not knowing if this was going to be an still closed or not. The Greek equivalent of a lawn and garden center had an enormous amount of clay pots along with all kinds of statues. There is one photo in this set that tells it all. No it’s not the “K’’ factor photo where a stone cold beauty fails to talk to me. It is one of the others.
When looking at Google earth of this Island there was what looked like a long landing strip just outside of this village though it had no building or if it was a military strip, no bunkers for planes. A road crossed it and I guessed an air strip when looking at it using Google earth but still wasn’t sure. Today I crossed it and it was an air strip with posted military signs warning that I was not supposed to take photos. I will just have to continue to look at it using Google earth..
You know sometimes there are parts of a ride that just piss you off. I climbed a good sized hill under a blazing sun to the next town and knew something was off when I finally came to the turnoff and it was a downhill coast. Not a bad downhill coast but I was rapidly losing the entire climb and actually back tracking towards the town I had just left. Following the hot spring signs I coasted lower and lower still wondering was I coming back to the other village. Popping around a bend the off in the distant was the other village actually closer then the village I had to pass thought to get here. I could have come from the first village to here without a climb. Not fair.. Okay So I will just have to soak in the hot spring baths as a reward with a cold beer. Maybe two. The folks who ran this place were really nice said to choose either the old or new bath house and have a soak. The old bath house needed some renovation so I choose the new it being only 400 years old, the other bath house was around 800 years old.
Leaving here was a gravel road that skirted the coast I was told that it did continue to the next town but they had never used it as it was gravel. This was not for the weak of heart as gravel gave way to sand and then the sand gave way to a track by the water. For several miles that seemed like hours I pushed on following the shore not knowing if this path was just going to give up on me or ? I saw a house way off in the distant that I knew must either have a path or a road leading to it. I was at the point that if this road did not reappear by the time I came to this house that I would have to back track and find another route. Luck was smiling as the house had a road in front of it. The roads still not more than gravel was better than the path. Happy I stopped and took pictures of the road.

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