Wednesday May 7, 2014, 100 miles (161 km) – Total so far: 2,539 miles (4,086 km)
May 6, 2014 40 miles It was a great day to ride as it was the first time in over 3 weeks that it has been bright and sunny. We stopped in the border town of Rozaje to convert our leftover Marks (Bosnia) and Kunas (Croatia) to Euros and buy some fruit. We then climbed out of Montenegro and into our 10th country, Serbia. It was quite apparent that we were more than welcome from all the friendly honks and waves. The riding was easy and the countryside beautiful as we followed a swiftly flowing river down in a deep gorge. At the first town I walked into a restaurant and asked if they took Euros as we had not found an ATM or bank to exchange our Euros. They did take Euros and we had a delicious lunch and our first Serbian beer.
After lunch we had a long climb over a mountain to drop into a huge beautiful valley and our first major town of Novi Pazar. During this climb I had another rear tire puncture but could not find the source. So we installed a new tube and arrived in town to search for a few more spare tubes and currency exchange. We did stop at two bike shops but they didn’t have the 26 inch tubes. Fortunately Jocelyn spotted a 3rd shop that looked fully equipped so I purchased two spares. This was an excellent stop as once again we witnessed as how this journey is about the people you meet. The shop’s owner, Sead didn’t speak much English but his daughter, Seida spoke excellent and they were immediately interested in our ride. I brought them outside to meet Jocelyn. We were then invited into their home, next door to the shop, for Turkish coffee and sweets. We had a great time visiting with them and learning about their life and them ours. Sead gave us a gift of spare brake pads. His wife, Fetija bought us sweets for the road. Seida then took us to a currency exchange. All of a sudden I had over 30,000…dinars burning a hole in my pocket (about $360)!The entire family including their son, Eldih works at this bike shop and at a few other shops they own on this corner of town. They then recommended a nearby hotel and Seida showed us the way and talked to the hotel staff about our need to lock up the bikes in a storage area. We then saw them on the street while we strolled through town and were invited to breakfast tomorrow morning. What a great family and new friends.
May 7, 2014 60 miles At 4 am I was awoke from all the Mosques’ loudspeakers calling for morning prayers. We haven’t heard this since Morocco. But this time it was joined by all the local dogs howling out of tune. It was hilarious! This morning I repaired the punctures tube and was alarmed to find three slits. We then walked the block to Sead’s home for a delicious Turkish breakfast. We were also joined by Eldih’s wife and one year old daughter. I discussed the three punctures with them and Sead removed the rear wheel to inspect and try to find the puncture source. As a precaution he installed tape around the rim and reassembled everything. He also noticed that the left brake bracket was bent so that it would not align properly. Maybe this was the cause of the rim failure. It might have been bent during the flight from Florida. We said our goodbyes to this wonderful family and were loaded down with fresh bread, apples, and other goodies that Fetija and Seida gave us. Seida and her sister-in-law also gave Jocelyn a beautiful embroidered bag. Sead gave us spare brake cable and two sets of brake pads. We left Novi Pazar around noon and started weaving our way through the high mountains and valleys along a very swollen rushing river. The rain of the last three weeks was very apparent. This ride continued hour after hour and turned out to be one of the best rides of our trip as the riding was fun and the scenery stunning. At sunset we arrived in the town of Zica and immediately found another “mom and pop” motel. We really enjoy these establishments as some of them are just rented rooms in a house. as we are so welcomed and cared for. Most of the time we are the only customers.They immediately locked our bikes in an office then cooked us a delicious meal. After 60 miles sleep came very easy.
During the last two days we have received more good honks, waves, and thumbs up from the Serbian people than we have the rest of the trip. They are also very courteous on the road. When we first thought of riding Serbia we didn’t know what to expect. The people and beautiful country have really surprised us. Once again we have taken the road less traveled and have been rewarded.