Before packing up this morning I headed out to a nearby supermarket for supplies. As I packed, I realized I felt great. I’ve felt a down the past few days. I don’t know if it was the good night’s sleep, the long talk with Bastian, being fully supplied with groceries, knowing I’m well ahead of schedule, that I’m through the mountains, or having eaten far more last night to get my energy levels up. Likely the combination of the above. But I had energy and enthusiasm for the first time in a while.
That held even after cycling 14 km to get back where I started, and begin my journey further east. The tailwind didn’t hurt.
10 km out of Patra, my toe clip disconnected. That happens on occasion. They’re just plastic, and they get twisted. I sometimes lose a screw when that happens, but I carry a spare. As I pulled over, I realized the problem wasn’t the toe clip, but the pedal itself. The pedal is held together with screws, and one of them has unscrewed, leaving the pedal bent. Fortunately the plastic from those darned toe clips had held the pedal screw in place, so I still had it. I managed to reassemble everything. Double-checking , two more of the screws had also come loose. But in short order everything was put right again.
I passed by two fully-loaded cyclists going the other way, but they were headed downhill to my up, and didn’t stop. I’ve talked to a number of folks along the way, and one of the questions I keep getting asked is, “Is this your first time in Europe?” They’re always surprised when my answer is no.
Passing through Diakopto a sign directed me to a scenic railway. Remembering the name from some earlier recommendation, I stopped to have a look. The train runs 22 km up a gorge, as an “engineering marvel”, one of the steepest rail lines in the world. Given my earlier experience with the Hutaka cycle path in New Zealand (from another of the steepest rail lines), I decided to take the ride. The day was still early, and I didn’t have that far to go. Fantastic views as the train crawled up the gorge. Three hours later I was back on the road again.
While I’d had the campground I headed to recommended, there’s always a sense of relief when I see the sign for a campground, pull in, and they welcome me. While setting up camp I saw other cyclists camped. I met up with them at the campground restaurant. A Canadian and Brit cycling together headed towards Athens, and two women from the Netherlands headed from Athens towards Geneva, following my path in reverse through Greece, then Albania and up that side of the Adriatic. We spent the evening talking before we all broke for bed.