With not so much interesting wildlife to keep me awake I had a great nights sleep. Despite the landscape that suggested wonderful creatures of of all shapes and sizes. I wake at 7:00am to rain. City living altered my bodyclock - I no longer rise and fall with sun, and thus decide to sleep a while longer. I expect by now I don't need to tell you, but just for the record, when I finally did wake - breakfast was bread and jam. By 10.30 I make it to the road and climb out of the valley I dropped into last night.
I observe that the road surface vastly effects my speed and energy levels. This road, although I'm sure great for cars, is hard work without an engine. Thanks to the recent resurface there is still lots of loose stones. And, as I'm doing my best not to get flattened by the trucks, I spend most of my time tucked up to the gravelicious verge. More of a headwind today makes the going a little tougher. On several occasions the road points straight into the wind. At such times I'm forced to duck my head down, grit my teeth and grind away (and I'm not referring to the manner in which one might dance to “Apple Bottom Jeans” etc. in an R'n'B Club). I resort to my podcasts to stimulate my mind – it usually does the trick, either lifting my mood or atleast make me think about something else. I've found a mental “dip” always appears after a break from cycling. The main reason for this being the notable drop in fitness.
I stop in Lapseki for lunch. As with Istanbul, vendors sell bread goods from small carts – and so I give 2TL for some quick carbs. I sit on a small wall by the entrance to the port. A group of school children on their way to afternoon lessons stop to bombard me with questions. “Hello what is you name?” “Hello what is your name?” “Do you like Turkey?” “Hello what is you age?”. It's quite good fun, but soon enough they shuffle on back to school. I jump on the bike and cut an arc through the carpark to the exit. Over looking the scene an old man finds my rolling contraption hilarious and proceeds to laugh so hard he falls off his stool. I suspect his hysteria may have been chemically fuelled – if you dig...
Later on I'm forced to pull into a garage in Canakkale. The bolt holding my left crank secure decided to drop out at some stage over the last few kilometers. I bash it back on with a rock and then tighten up the retaining bolts. It's not a big drama, but could become one if it happened in a remote location, and so I prime my wallet to fork-out once back in Istanbul. A man approaches to ask if everything is okay. A cyclist from Turkey (So he's the one!) recommends a nice route for me to take avoiding the main roads. Mere meters down the road my trailer tyre finally lets go once and for all. I'm Very glad I got tyres in Istanbul. With the bike back in one piece I take his suggested route – which turns out to be a gem! There's still a few trucks, but I'm winding through some very pleasant tiny little villages. Evidentially tourism doesn't get to such places and it's very refreshing. Old men in woolly jumpers sit in chy shops chatting and playing billiards. As I pass, many of them stop what their doing to turn, smile and wave. Other groups gather in workshops around beat up vehiles with open bonnets - more chatting than working, but perhaps thats the way it should be. The areas between these villages are loaded with agriculture. Many fields of Olive tress, corn, pepper and tomato plants. It's the end of the working day and people crowd into the back of pickup trucks for the jouney home. Sacks of harvested goods are then hoofed into the press of bodies.
Such areas provide plenty of camping opportunities, but knowing that I will be on someone's land I have to wait for dark. I'd hoped to be on the coast today, but no such luck. In the very last scraps of light I trudge down tractor tracks to the middle of an olive tree orchard. I'm not entirely confidant that I cant be seen from the road, but in a matter of minutes I'll be cloaked in inky black, and so take my chances.