Friday, January 19, 2018
Today I ignored the boat and focused on riding the bike. 140km, done, during one of the coldest days so far. Over the last few days, a number of boat items have progressed and my stress level has dropped.
To begin, the refrigerator is still a problem, but I have some clarity on the resolution and it won’t be for 10 days or so. So much for leaving Athens next week! Over the past few weeks, my hunch was that the unit was working too hard and whether or not that was the cause, the compressor has died. A new compressor, €600! There are two, luckily I need just one. But knowing that I don’t need to sit around waiting for the refrigerator repair man day after day is a huge relief.
Meanwhile I have installed that bilge pump (mostly, cleanup pending) and this morning I woke up to the sound of the bilge being pumped out automatically. Ahhhh, the sweet sounds of success.
Again, throughout this process the built in computer has been upgraded and reinstalled. There is more to do, but everything works, and I got a bag of lemons from Ioannis and Elena’s garden. They are the proprietors of the shop I used for the parts (and earlier, the router). I will try to make some lemonade tomorrow.
I have not yet attacked the oil change. I will have lots of time next week because I am not going anywhere.
Going south next week was part of my thinking for a while now, but I don’t have the weather window I was hoping for, I don’t have the fridge fixed and the electronic bits I ordered are not in. Athens is looking pretty good! 😏. I will revisit everything early next week.
I am single handing the boat now of course, and it’s substantially larger than the sailboat (30% by length), dramatically heavier (4x) and has more restricted manoeuvrability. So the weather plays an important role. Not while underway, the boat is a dream on the water in heavy weather, but when docking, particularly if I have to med moor. In that case, it will require unusual talent to do so in good weather and magical abilities in heavy winds. I don’t yet believe in magic, so I await a good weather window for the other side of the journey, wherever I go.
So today, I decided to ride to Sounio, the location of the Temple Of Poseidon. If you have been reading for a while, you remember the pictures of the temple from the water on the way to Kea. I hoped to get better pictures today, alas, I just have one bad one, shown as the featured image.
I had calculated that the temple was about 65 km from the boat and assumed that I would travel at about 25 km/h, so just over 5 hours with an hour or so to see the sights. Best laid plans. I left about 40 minutes later than I hoped, realized it was closer to 70 km away and then, decided to take Google’s advice on one of the segments. Have I ever mentioned that there are hills here. I may have brought it up somewhere! In any case that little ‘short cut’ which probably saved 1 km was straight up a hill with a 7-8% grade. It was slow, slow climbing. I travel at about 28-30 km/h while pedaling on flat roads, and much faster down hills, but climbing up a 7-8% grade, late into a ride, my average speed drops to 12, maybe 15 km/h. It takes a lot of minutes for any significant hill, and you don’t make up the difference on the way down, because of simple math. Say 3 times longer to climb (sorry for the math, but 1 km at 12 kph, is 5 minutes up) and 2 times faster on the descent (1 km at 50 kph is just over 1 minute down) . . . you’re out a bunch of minutes (comparatively, about 4 minutes for the same 2 km on a flat road @ 30 kph is 4 minutes). That math means that if your schedule is important and you have a choice between a flat road and a hill, always, always take the flat road. Unless of course you love to climb hills, need the exercise and realize that the views are frequently way better on those hills.
As time wore on and I got closer to the site, I did the mental math (always slower on the way back due to fatigue and hunger, need a food stop, sunset at 5:45, wind against me part way) and decided that I would not be going into the site. So I rode to the entrance and turned back.
I rode hard to get back just as the sun set and all was good. Over the next week or two I will be trying to spend more time on the bike and, even if I don’t get warmer temperatures for a while, days will be getting longer. So I will go back another day to work on my photography skills and provide better pictures.
As I type this I am enjoying a nice meal on the town (Barbadimos) but my legs are telling me that I won’t be walking the streets to enjoy the sights tonight!