We continued our ride in a northish direction to the town of Pljevlja, where we had lunch and discussed our options. Either northwest to Bosnia and Herzegovina, or north to Serbia. We modified all our previous plans and got tricked into riding to the north by the routing engine.
So at 4pm we left Pljevlja and climbed out of the valley towards the Serbian border. To our surprise there were no road signs pointing at Serbia and traffic was very low. The Montenegrin check-point consisted only of a small hut manned by 2 or 3 border guards, who happily gave us our exit stamps, and a gate. To our confusion there was no Serbian check-point.
From the border the road went down-hill quite nicely, and we could see an impressive-looking canyon ahead. It became obvious that we would cycle through there. But it was quite late already and we pitched our tents above the entrance to the canyon, not far from the road at a quiet spot.
The road we’re on goes more or less straight from the Montenegrin border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The distance between the borders is just some 30km and there are no main roads (maybe there are some tracks) that connect this part of Serbia with the ‘mainland’. The area is beautiful and seriously invites for some hiking.
Today was one of the shortest days, in terms of cycled kilometers. But the landscape we cycled through was easily one of the most beautiful of the trip. We rode through the Tara Canyon, which is just grand. The water of the Tara river is crystal clear. At one point the road climbs quite high above the river and we had a great view at the blue-shining river.
In the evening it started to rain heavily but we reached an official camp site (the first one on this trip) and pitched our tents just in time.
Our next destination was the valley of the river Tara. We were quite lucky with winds and roads and reaching Mojkovac felt easy, even though we had some long climbs to do, too.
We finally found a nice spot for pitching our tents next to a couple of streams on the slopes of the Tara valley, a few kilometers from the town of Mojkovac.
As usual we got up late. And decided to stay another night.
In the afternoon we cycled a couple kilometers through the forest to the source of the river Ibar, which is quite a massive one (the source). András estimated the outflow to 5 cubic meter per second.
From the looks, the valleys here could also be located somewhere in the Alps, in Tirol or Bavaria. Just the odd mosque challenges that thought. :)
We also did some bike maintenance and I put the Chinese rubber tyre on the front wheel.
Today’s breakfast was included in the hotel’s fee. A coffee and a chocolate croissant.
We left Pejë to the north-east, heading to Montenegro. For the first 10km the road was almost flat. Then the climbing started, and 12km later we reached the Kosovar border check-point, then had to climb for another 10km to the pass at approx. 1796m (according to my GPS).
Soon after the check-point it started to rain (the first rain on the entire trip!) and at the pass it was freezing cold (well, around 8°C, but in a strong wind and in wet clothes that feels icy). We changed to dry and water-proof clothing inside an abandoned hut next to the road, and started rolling down on the northwestern side of the mountains – first to the Montenegrin border check-point (where the rain stopped while we had our passports stamped), and then 20km non-stop to the town of Rožaje.
Frankenwheel had lost air pressure again last night but was fairly stable over the day once pumped up. On the downhill section I tried not to exceed 40kph, though. With a proper tyre that ride would have been a hell of a lot of fun!
We were still freezing when we reached the town and decided to stay in a hotel for the night.