Day 152 to 156 - Camping
12 - 16 May 2022
I apologise to my three readers. I was offline for a few days.
“I'm sorry if this all seems a little rushed and desperate. It is.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
12 May 2022
We spend an extra day in Ogulin. Sat in the park and read our books. An extra day of recovery. We drink coffee. No wine.
There is a campsite on the way to Karlovac. We have time up our sleeve. A few days of camping will be good for the budget and a chance to start planning Zagreb and our departure to Cambodia.
13 May 2022
We are up early and on the road. Clear skies with late thunderstorms are forecast for the next few nights. Perfect for camping. It is a quick 38 km ride to Belavići and camp Slapić. 400 m of elevation. Tough, but not impossible.
The elevation turns out to be a series of short, steep hills. One after the other. Up and down. Repeat. The scenery is beautiful, but these little hills are not much fun. The planned easy ride is hard going.
“Work hard, keep your nose clean, and just stick around.” ― Clint Eastwood
We push on and arrive at the campsite. This is not rough camping. It is set up for caravans and campervans. The sites are powered. We can pitch our tent anywhere. We find a private, shady spot right on the river.
The river is stunning. Crystal clear. Deep and fast flowing but you can still see the bottom. It is full of fish, from tiny fish smaller than your finger to trout longer than your forearm and everything in between.
“I was born upon thy bank, river, My blood flows in thy stream, And thou meanderest forever At the bottom of my dream.” ― Henry David Thoreau
The ecology of the river makes me think of our friend Joe Bidwell. For a few years, he was head of Environmental Science at Newcastle University. He specialised in freshwater ecology. Joe would like this river.
Freshwater is different from saltwater. The ocean meets the land. There are beaches, sandy or rocky, or cliff faces. Saltwater is not the friend of land it meets. Palm trees and the occasional grasses. Freshwater, trees to the shore. Insects and biodiversity between the and the river.
“I paused. "...I'm not dreaming." "True." "Then I'm going insane." "Do you want an honest answer?" "Yes." He shrugged. "I'd only query the tense. But I'm not a professional, so, you know, seek out a second opinion.” ― Alex Garland
The water is cold. The day is hot. I jump in for a swim, but not for long. There are showers and a restaurant that opens in the afternoon. It serves great food and inexpensive wine.
A thunderstorm hits in the evening. We go to sleep with rain falling on the tent. The nights are still cool. The days are 30˚C, and the evenings get down to 10˚C. Perfect for camping.
Today’s ride -
14 & 15 May 2022
The following two days are spent dozing in the sun and reading. We talk and make plans, change plans, and make new ones. We reminisce about the trip. What would we change? What did we love?
It was a few days where nothing happened and that was perfect. Shell jumped in the river. She hates being cold. It was brave, the water was freezing cold. We swim together in the strong currents.
“But, there is still every reason for healthy people to take cold showers, or swim outside in cold water. It gives you the feeling that you are alive.” ― Wim Hof
The park fills up. Campers and caravans pour in. We move our camp further out of the grounds. It continues to fill and we soon have neighbours. Nevermind. They are retired couples. Friendly and quiet. We will leave tomorrow for Karlovac.
16 May 2022
We only have 14 km to Karlovac. It is really just a ride to take the distance off our final stop in Zagreb. There is no rush. It takes a few hours for the tent to dry.
Have a coffee and the day heats up. Packing the tent is a little sentimental. We won't use it in the foreseeable future. Camping in Cambodia is not a thing. Always over 30˚C and 100% humidity. Horrible.
“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” ― Roman Payne
Packed and we head off. A nice easy ride to Karlovac. After 5 km the tar disappears and we are on gravel. Soon the gravel disappears and we are on dirt. The dirt disappears and we are in a paddock.
We get there in the end. Our plan is to stay in Karlovac for a few days. I am desperate to get back into the gym. A huge part of my self esteem rests on the way I look. I have thought about this a lot. It is what it is.
We decide to head to Zagreb tomorrow. Get the riding done and settle into Zagreb for a few weeks before we depart.
Read. One last bottle of red before the training starts.
Today’s ride -