6:30am - it's still dark. At 8:00am I remove myself from my pit to another grey day. I utilise my now functioning stove to make coffee and porridge. Somehow several hours pass and I'm still faffing around my camp. Dry out the mattress, wash up my pots, air the sleeping bag etc. At 10:00 I finally make it to the road.
Along the way I see some familiar sights. These bring some comfort - knowing that my course is correct. The usual friendly faces, toots and waves accompany my ride. I get to the town of Ezine. The faces aren't all so friendly. Nothing excessively unfriendly, but the blank stares make me feel very much the outsider - looking through my ever moving window at a tough, old fashioned, industrious town.
From Ezine I pick up the main road. It feels good to know I'm heading straight for Çanakkale - my intended stop for the night. The few big hills that I encounter are mellow enough. Up a particularly long climb it begins to rain. For no apparent reason my face cracks into a smile. I'm still very curious to find out what it is that I enjoy about this particular situation. I wonder what people think as they see my grinning mug pedalling up the hill in the downpour. “What could he possibly have to smile about!?”...And I sort of see their point – hence my curiosity...
I opt for no soundtrack today. There being two main reasons for this: the first - I'm hoping to wean myself off music a little, or at least not lean so heavily on it for purposes of motivation. And the second - its nice to get as much warning as possible from the angry dogs that are abundant in this area. Every meter proving vital in my sprint for survival. Okay - perhaps that's a little dramatic, but boy do those dogs look angry!
Twenty kilometers from Çhanakkale mother nature cranks up the anti and the rain really starts to come down. I take temporary refuge under the canopy of a disused fuel station. I remember passing it in the other direction thinking "that would make a cool place to sleep". I explore further and find the automatic doors can easily be pried open be hand. I wait for a gap in the traffic so no-one will see me enter and then roll my bike inside. I take a look around. In the cupboards and the desk drawers to see if I can find anything of use. Feeling a bit like a character in "The Road" or "Twenty-eight Days Later". I unroll my camping mat and tuck into my book. As I sit and read, my eyes constantly flick to the door with a porthole window leading to storage rooms at the back – fully expecting one of “The Infected” to slam against the glass before coming to eat me. This place is hardly the Marie Celeste but there's something eerie places once occupied by human life – with evidence they exited with little care for what was left behind. On the counter is the remnants of someone’s lunch, along with a news paper. I turn up various other artefacts when I have a poke around. I couldn't help but satisfy my childish curiosity and go “exploring”.
I feels nice not to be concerning myself with big distances per day. In the last of the light I cook some spaghetti and get an early night. Noting that the nights are definitely drawing in.
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