After a good night sleep in Transylvania with some well deserved air con we were on the road early as we wanted to make some miles to get into the Carpathian foothills. Our destination is Oravita only 110 km away, but of course we made a 360 loop out of it to get to and ride along the Danube.
We booked it south on the main road to get to Orsova. From here we looped west along the Great River Danube.
On the way there is a huge rock sculpture.
“The rock sculpture of Decebalus is a 42.9 m in height and 31.6 m in width carving in rock of the face of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, who fought against the Roman emperors Domitian and Trajan to preserve the independence of his country, which corresponded to modern Romania. The sculpture was made between 1994 and 2004, on a rocky outcrop on the river Danube, at the Iron Gates, which form the border between Romania and Serbia. It is located near the city of Orșova in Romania.”
We turned north again at Moldova Veche and here the road is a good windy mountain crossing in dense forest. This is the first country we have been in that the GPS routing is a real problem. Despite putting waypoints on your road of choice the Montanas just will not route. It is weird especially since the road signs clearly indicate that This way is the correct path to your destination. Because of this we were thankful for the paper map and road signs.
The “one horse” town or Oravita is old school Soviet era buildings.
The forecast has gone from nice all week to rain and thunder for the next 2 days. This will require some alteration to the plan as we do not want bad weather for the Transalpina and Transfagarisan roads.
Today it was almost a straight shot east from Oravita to Novaci at the base of the Transalpina road.
The first part is on a narrow windy mountain road. It was a bit drizzly and fairly foggy, but at least there was little traffic. This goes thru the Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National park.
You then hit the main road for 20 km and take the road to Targu Jiu. The GPS will not route this way for some reason. This is also a small windy road thru the Domogied-Volea National Park, which has a lot of thermal springs.The road then crosses more farm like lands and you get to the Carpathian foothills.
The Town of Novaci has little to offer besides a launching spot for the famous road.
We had originally planned to go up the Transalpina and back to Curtea de Arges to the start of the Tranfagarasan so we could go up and back there and then to Bucharest the next day. When we arrived to Novaci there were black storm cloud covering the mountains and it made no sense to attempt the mountain pass today. Plan B was to do two passes in two days, but decided if we awoke to a nice day we would try to do both in one day (340 km , but a 10 hour trip) since the forecast is not that good in the next few days.
The pension we stayed at also ran a bakery and they delivered fresh baked loves to us!
We got our wish and woke up to a very nice sunny day. Starting out north up the Transalpina there are wide sweeping switchbacks that get tighter as you go higher.
Above the tree line there are panoramic views.
When you get even higher you are in the clouds with limited visibility st the summit. There are the usual tourist stalls here, but very treacherous pull off spots and poor bike parking so we did not stop.
On the descent you come out of the clouds to more spectacular views. The road continues north winding thru the valleys. The road surface is intermittently smooth as silk, patchy, and pot holed where large patches have been removed for repairs. At Obarsia Lotrului there are a few stalls and we managed to find a sticker.
From here you continue to Sebes and then there is a 100 Km stretch on the highway to make some time and get east to the 7C/Transfagarisan highway.
You ride across the plain to see the Carpathians rising in front of you. Here we saw a steady stream of bikers, but not as many as we expected.
The ride starts again with some sweeping switchbacks, which tighten as you rise. There is some traffic including sheep jams.
The steepest assent is over a number of switchbacks to quickly rise up the hillside to the summit.
There are a few stalls here for your sticker acquisition. There is also paid parking lots!
Just after the summit is a 1 km long very narrow dark and wet tunnel to the southern summit view spots. From here is is a quick descent to the valley.
Most of the rest of the ride south is along the river valley and for a long way to circumnavigate half of the huge lake.
We arrived to the Camping Arges about 7 pm and set up camp. This is a nice little private camp spot with great facilities including a full kitchen, a washer and dryer! We camped under the fruit trees and awoke to another nice day.
We had a short 150 km to the capital of Bucharest. We planned to not do much here, but rest for 2 days and relax before the final few weeks this year. We have just over a month and 5 countries left to go.
Lots of waves from the locals!
To be honest its too hot, Bucharest is not that nice and we are exhausted. So we spent 2 days not doing much besides getting the clothes and suits to the laundry mat, sleeping, and catching up on season 6 of game of Thrones!!
Some 5 star luxury in Romania at a Canadian 2 star price!
It was also very hot so we did not feel the need to venture out until after 6 pm except to get our clothes and very stinky riding shuts to the laundromat. Romania is a bit rough around the edge and does not have a European feel about it. The drivers are impatient, aggressive, and pass in unbelievably dangerous locations especially for ultrapassing. Time to go north and east to get to Moldova!
From the capital we wanted to make some tracks back to the north, but did want to stop by to see Bran or Dracula’s castle. We took the “main road”, which is a dual lane road thru many small towns. There was an almost 10 km stretch of cars where the road goes to 1 lane where traffic is essentially stopped. Passing on the right of the right lane was hard as there was little room and a deep ditch as well. Finally we had to pass the left lane on the left in the oncoming lane and cut back in when we could this worked well for a while, but in the end we lost 2 hours to traffic today.
Driving thru Bran was also 1 lane and mobbed with Saturday tourists.
We did a drive by and then headed back on the secondary access, which is partly gravel.
From here we had less traffic, but had to wait 20 min at a train crossing as the gates were down long before the train crossed.
Daniel made another big milestone today as well.
Luckily we had the GPS coords of the campground at Sovata and we pulled in there about 630. We had a nice spot under a big apple tree. This spot has pretty good facilities. We were very hot and very thirsty. I saw another camper with beer bottles he was returning and asked if he spoke English. He did not, but when i asked where he got the beer he said he would get us some while he was there. Fantastic we had beer delivery for tent set up! We met Andy and Vanessa traveling in their Yellow WV van and they invited us over to share a bottle of real Champagne! We had a pretty good night with only a few apples dropping on the tent in the night!!