Day 147 - Maslenica

7 May 2022

The ride today is short. Only 40 km. The cycle is mostly about getting some distance out of the way before we cross the mountains to Gračac tomorrow. Our biggest single climb, over 800m.

The forecast is for rain but it is dry when we wake up. We will be riding today. Have some breakfast, pack our gear and head out for coffee. Home, load the bikes and we are away.

We leave the coast today. I have enjoyed the Dalmatia coastline. It deserves its popularity. I am glad I saw it in Spring and early Summer before it is inundated with tourists.

“Lots of stupid fucking people with their stupid fucking children, all of them taking stupid fucking pictures of stupid fucking things, preferring to watch reality through the stupid fucking screens of their stupid fucking phones, instead of experiencing it with their goddamned eyes, the stupid motherfuckers!” ― Keijo Kangur

Inland on the EV8. The road is busy until we turn off to Krneza. After that, it is very quiet but hilly. It is a rural landscape. Not massive farms, but small holdings where each house has its own chickens, often goats or sheep, vegetables, orchards, and vineyards.

I have come to the realisation that the manicured lawn is a waste of space and serves no real purpose. The weekend ritual of mowing the lawn might bring occasional pleasure but is often done out of obligation. Add to this the time spent fertilizing, watering, weeding, poison if necessary. To what end? The satisfaction of a manicured lawn? Where is the purpose?

I like that there are no lawns here, or very few. Most spaces are given to vegetable gardens. There is a purpose to the space. It provides food. It allows for self sufficiency. It ultimately saves money on groceries and reduces pressure on mono-crop farming. It has its own pragmatic beauty. I would imagine there is more satisfaction from eating a vegetable grown in your own patch than there is in a well groomed lawn. I wonder just how much more work is required to maintain the vegetable garden compared to the lawn?

“The glory of gardening,

Hands in the dirt,

Head in the sun,

Heart in nature.” 

- Alfred Austin

Just before Maslenica, we cross the inlet to the Novigradsko more. A large saltwater lake. The Maslenica bridge crosses the more’s inlet. It is 55 m high and you can bungee off it. No thanks.

Down to the water for some lunch. Back up the hill for some supplies and to our place. Shower and relax for the afternoon. We have a kitchen, so I will cook this evening. 

No wine tonight, weather permitting we cross the mountains tomorrow. I want to be in the best form. The range has been looming for days. Today it got closer. I realise we are not traversing the range for the first time. We are not cutting a road through the wilderness. Yes, it is a tarmac road the entire way. But it is a big climb. 

Could there be bears? Likely. 

Deer? Certainly. 

Wild boar? Definitely. 

Dragons. Who knows.

“What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless.” ― Bill Bryson

Dinner. Read. Bed. Tomorrow, the mountain.

Today’s ride -


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