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Ride Report: Moldova

The following morning was very warm. Way up in the 20’s already before breakfast.

Bars 103

One of the sights to see for the day was the Troposcatter radio station, the BARS 103. Well, it isn’t there anymore, it is just the ruins and concrete foundation. It was built as a part of a Warsaw Pact defence system and is based on (today) old technology where radio waves are bounced against the troposphere to have a longer reach. If you want to know more about it, I wrote a post some time ago. Check it out.

The road up there was first bad asphalt, then decent gravel and then concrete blocks. It was a fairly easy ride, not too technical on the GS.

It was a fun ride, and at the top, we met a group of Polish four-by-fours out having a good time. In addition to the polish guys who we only said hi to, we were met by a gazillion flies that actually bit us. They made sure we didn’t stay for longer than necessary. It was a great view at the top.

At the top of the mountain where the BARS 103 Tropscatter radio station used to be.

It was back same way as we came up. Once down the mountain it was extremely hot. We rode backroads, and in the Ukrainian Carpathians that means extremely rough roads. Huge potholes, some of them rim breaking deep, so the average speed was about 30 km/h.

Compared to cars and trucks, we only had one line of wheels to consider when navigating the potholes. That made us a lot faster than other vehicles, which must have had an average speed of no more than 15-20 km/h.

I don’t mind the potholes. I knew they were there, and we got to practice contra steering. The agility of the GS really came in handy.

The scenery of the Ukrainian Carpathian is awesome. The villages, and the countryside is in many way a lot different from the part of Europe I usually tour. You will see horse carriages, ploughs pulled by cattle, people scything crops. You actually see that in Romania as well, but we hadn’t gotten to that part yet.

It really is a nice ride. Unless it rains. Then it sucks. Roads filled with water makes it very difficult to see the potholes, even more difficult to see how deep they are.

The destination for the day was the same place as I had stayed 3 or 4 times before, in Rakhiv. It’s a private bed without breakfast, but used to be a very lovely home-run place. Vova was a little disappointed this time as he felt that the owner had neglected maintenance. The rooms were still clean, so we didn’t really mind.

But before arriving at Rakhiv, we had to stop at what is allegedly the geographical centre of the European Continent.

There are a number of places that claim to be the geographical centre of Europe, and this is one of them. Whether or not it is correct, I don’t know. But looking at Google Earth, at can’t be that much off.

Michael and Vova getting a refreshment in the garden.

We had a good night sleep. The place didn’t serve breakfast, so had light snack, saddled up, and got on the move. Before we got out of the town Thonny bumped in to me from behind. I was riding behind a car, who suddenly stopped in front of me to give way for pedestrians. At the same time, Thonny was looking to the right to find out what a car coming from his right side was about to do, so didn’t have enough time and distance to stop.

My right pannier came off, and the locking mechanism broke. Using some straps, a decent amount of cable ties, we manage to get the pannier secured on the rack.

Thonny bike had suffered as well, as the front fender broke into two pieces and ended up as scrap plastic. It wasn’t such a huge deal whenever it didn’t rain, but not having it, you realise how much water it prevents from getting you your lights, windscreen, and head. We didn’t really get any rain before the last week when riding in Italy.

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