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That Damned Squeak

by Tyler

I love waking up to the sound of the ocean. Even more than that, I love waking up to sunny weather. This morning, I got both. When things go well out here, it really is almost more fun than I can bear! When we're in the middle of Siberia covered in bird-sized mosquitoes, I will do my best to remember that we had days like this.

Oceanside Free Camp

Tara spent her morning photographing daisies:

Tiny Daisies

I spent mine skipping stones:

Tyler Skipping Stones Tyler Skipping Stones Tyler Skipping Stones Tyler Skipping Stones

Our intended destination for today was a secluded hot springs featured in our guidebook. Just twenty five kilometers away, it was going to be a very short day. Though there are others nearby, we read if you really want a good hot springs experience you simply must go to this free one. Only the locals know about it!

So, looking forward to a hot soak, we followed the instructions, feeling a bit like we were following a treasure map. At a fork in the road, we took the left branch the guide indicated. Then we continued 750 meters until we came to an unmarked, unpaved road on the left. At the end of the path leading into nowhere our book said we would find the hot springs.

We successfully arrived at our intended location and looked around expectantly for the magnificent place. When we finally realized that it was the scummy, sulfury, barely tepid pond right in front of us, just off the interstate, under some high-voltage power lines, we were a little deflated.

Tara Testing the Water

Even though we somehow made it look inviting, it was not!

Scummy "Hot" Spring Scummy "Hot" Spring

We decided not to camp; instead we ate our lunch and planned our next move. Just as we were finishing up, a semi driver backed his giant rig off the road and came strolling up for a dip. We waved goodbye as he slipped into the slimy water and headed onwards to the town of Lamia.

Tara Leaping

It never fails to amaze me: I swear we see something cool every day. This afternoon, it was these absolutely massive construction vehicles. They instantly made me think of, and feel like, my little brother Isaac.


It is funny the different things we notice. Tara regularly spies stuff like colorful beehives on the far side of mountain valleys that I completely miss. Today, when I yelled for her to stop so we could ogle the massive machines directly in front of us, she remarked that she hadn't even noticed them!

Tyler on Gigantic Dump Truck

I had been gaping at this thing from a full kilometer away in anticipation! THIS is why we have a wide angle lens!

Tyler in GIGANTIC Front-End Loader

The rest of the ride passed uneventfully, full of typical Greek country beauty. The hillsides were lush and gorgeous:

Beautiful Greek Countryside

The air was filled with the sounds of chirping birds:

Beautiful Greek Countryside

…and the obnoxious high-pitch chirping on Tara's bike that I've been trying to locate for the last week. She thinks it is really funny because every time I hear it (which is often) I say "I gotta find that damned squeak" and she says I sound exactly like her grandfather. I think she likes the squeak.

Well today, I found that damned squeak and obliterated it! It was the upper jockey wheel on her derailleur. I've lubricated it (and everything else) before, but I guess not thoroughly enough. I was mightily pleased when we were able to ride through this beautiful scenery in sweet, sweet silence. It was driving me crazy!!!

Tyler on the Road Greek Countryside

Just as the golden hour was ending, I snapped this photo of a road marker. I really loved the grain of the rock!


Heading into a city at twilight, Tara prompted us to make the sensible decision: to get a hotel. Rather than continuing on in search of a free-camp in the face of potential disaster, we easily found a nice, cheap place to stay. Then we spent some time petting the hotel owner's cat, Athena, and settled in to a real bed for the night. Tomorrow we cross what shouldn't be too difficult of a mountain pass and then it will be all downhill into the FLAT region of Thessaly.

Tara's Note: Tyler forgot the most exciting event of the day! I was riding and all of the sudden a bee smacked into my neck, tumbled down the collar of my shirt, and got stuck in my cleavage. Meanwhile, I flailed and came to a screeching halt and tried to let the bee escape before getting stung. I failed. Tyler squeezed out the stinger and we continued on. Ow!

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Isn't it funny how apparent it becomes that you notice completely different things to your partner? As Mike writes a lot more about our travels than I do I often notice this - the things he mentions and those he doesn't. Also when one of us has the camera and we ask the other to take a photo of something only to discover later that something that we thought would have been obvious to include in the frame wasn't. Kinda fascinating really.
Posted by Katherine Herriman on April 11th, 2010 at 2:23 PM
Hey you two.

I have been reading your blog for the last couple of days and you have truly inspired me. It takes so much guts in today’s world where the expectation from peers and family is growing perpetually higher to conform to what we Europeans call the "A4" life. Since you both spent a while in Europe, you might know this, but in case you don't, I will explain.

A4 = the standard "Letter" paper size in Europe. So in basic terms, "A4" means "normal", or "everyone else does".

I have lived a significant part of my early life in Italy as an expat (dad was working), and it was a time of my life I look back on with the fondest of memories of adventure and doing something that was outside the norm. I long for that feeling of adventure once again.

I currently live in Norway (I am from here), and yes, this is a beautiful country that is waiting to be explored. I will do a similar trip in my own country someday, and your inspiration has helped so much. Thanks!
Posted by Andreas Kristiansen on June 26th, 2014 at 1:25 PM