We had an early start and headed down the gravel road to Cerna Sat – a small community deep at the head of the limestone valley. A good road takes you up to a viewpoint and a dam. Steve and I managed to lose each other somehow while taking photos – I thought he had headed off along the long road that follows the side of the lake but I just couldn’t catch him. I thought he was on a mission today! I realised something was wrong when he wasn’t waiting for me at the next junction – which was very unusual. Following our rules, I headed back down the road to the last point that we had seen each other – which was the viewpoint. Steve had been taking more photos and lost me and had waited at the viewpoint for ages so decided to see if he could find me further along the route but not before leaving me a message on the road! Fortunately we met each other on the road – with me backtracking towards him – a good strategy that works!
The dirt road goes for miles and miles along the lake and then into the head of the valley and goes all the way to Pestosani. We followed the TET route all the way on this winding road through the forest until it started to head down back towards civilisation. There are a few farms and logging sites along the way but much else. We disturbed a couple of buzzards that literally took off just in front of us today – a beautiful sight.
On the descent, we found a much needed water source as we were both getting low on water. They are sometimes marked on the GPS route but normally you just have to keep an eye out. Another great thing the Romanians do well – a plentiful basic water source from the mountains for you to use just when you need it.
As we finished the descent it was back along a sealed road. I stopped to take some photos of the locals making hay – and the guy came over to speak to me – basically to ask if we were okay and if we needed anything – I found the Romanians to be lovely helpful people. They all seem to love dirt bikes and give you a wave as you ride past. The farming fascinates me – especially in the villages which appears to be done on a small scale where you farm just enough for yourself and your sheep, cows or goats. Everyone seems to farm their small patch of land for just enough that they need in the rural areas. It is a refreshing change from farming on a commercial scale.
We headed down to another dam and followed a sealed road to Cloasani where we had a coffee and topped up our bread supplies from a lovely local shop owner.
Here we left the TET route to complete our loop for the day. We turned off onto what we thought would be a dirt road that would take us back over the tops into the valley of Cerna Sat. It was a beautiful sealed road and Steve looked vey disappointed but I thought it was lovely as the scenery was stunning.
About halfway back along our route we saw a dirt road that looked to be heading in the right direction so we decided to explore. At first it seemed to be heading in the right direction and was a good dirt road – happy days! After about 5km the GPS told us we were heading further away from Cerna Sat than we would have preferred but we kept going. However, the road eventually ran out and came to an end so we turned around and headed up a logging track that we had seen. The loggers are just as friendly as the farmers and always wave and happy to have a conversation about directions that neither of us understands! The logging tracks are steep and this one eventually turned into a rocky ascent – Steve went to investigate but eventually returned to say there were some rock steps and it was quite technical and knew that I would prefer to return to the sealed road- and so we did.
Back on the sealed road I counted down the posh road markers until about 7km to go before Cerna Sat but then suddenly the road turned to dirt and the markers were no more. Steve was happy as we made our way back to the main dirt road to Cerna Sat. What was interesting when we reached the junction the sign said we still had 6km to go to Cerna Sat and we had just done about 4km! In Romania take the road signs and maps with a pinch of salt and trust your GPS. It was back to the van for an afternoon of relaxing and washing bikes, laundry and bodies in the river, followed by beer and dinner.