May 30, 2013
Distance: 30 miles Climbing: 1827.4 ft
The highway we have been traveling on is a cyclist’s dream. Smooth pavement, ample shoulder and courteous drivers. Construction areas are the best. The road is blocked for a kilometer before and after where the work is being done. That means we pretty much have the road to ourselves for stretches at a time.
We spent the morning cruising along at a good speed, talking about living in Turkey. There were a few really nice old houses and cottages for sale along the way set in picturesque cherry orchards overlooking the Marmara. We would have a place on the beach and spend our days swimming and eating olives, cheese and bread. It was a wonderful daydream.
Suddenly, we turned a corner and were up against a mighty headwind and our paced dropped by half. The wind was so strong, I could no longer feel the heat or notice the hills. We had to stop several times to rest or snack and curse. It’s hard going against the wind, which always makes us sing a certain song.
We still had 20 miles until Canakkale, but at our current speed it would take us another 4 hours. Chandler noticed a dirt path leading up into a wheat field and decided to check it out. He came back a few minutes later declaring he found us a spot. We waited until there was no traffic and then pushed our bikes up the path, which ended up being a service road for a cellphone tower. We rolled our bikes through the field and into a grove of trees. We were at the edge of a farm and cherry orchard with people working the land down at the bottom of the slope.
We set up the hammock and got out our stools for reading until it got dark when we could set up the tent. Chandler had no problems, but I got really paranoid of people finding us. There was no reason why anyone would see us, but I was nervous about making the farmers angry. Chandler tried to alleviate my anxiety by pointing out that we weren’t damaging anything and were just camping on grass and weeds, not crops, so even if they did find us, they probably would let us stay. We relaxed for a few hours, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were going to get into trouble.
As the sun was setting, I convinced Chandler to move our camp into the next field, where nobody was working. We were a little more exposed, but we were also surrounded by cherry trees! We had a glimpse of the sea through the straight rows of the trees. After our usual dinner of pasta, cheese and tomatoes we might have sampled a few cherries for dessert.