An august day ride on Transfagarasan - Romania

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by KTManiac, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    Mostly, I've been a lurker here for years. I've dreamed while reading and looking at inmates' pictures all this time. Then I decided it was enough, and went for a ride. I chose one of the nicest "alpine" road close to where I live : the DN7C, aka Transfagarasan road. The road crosses the Fagaras mountains, linking the cities of Pitesti and Sibiu. The highest pass is at Balea Lac (Lake Balea) and stands at 2034 metres (6673 feet). On this day of august 10th, 2010, the weather forecast where I live in Bucharest is 36 degrees Celsius (97 F) and I am looking forward to reaching the peak at Balea with usual temperatures around 8 C (46 F) this time of year :clap

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    This what the area looks like.

    I am leaving early morning from Bucharest, heading towards Pitesti, then Curtea de Arges. A boring 150 km (95 miles) journey, nothing to show you there.

    The road is usually closed from fall until as late as june, but it can be closed at times during summer it it snows up there...

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    ...not today though :rofl ("Deschis" means "open", you guessed it).
    #1
  2. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    Shortly after the "deschis" sign (previous picture), I decide to check on a strange rattling sound that sometime occurs when I decelerate. It seems to be on the right side of the bike, somewhere between the gas tank and my foot...
    Should I specify that before leaving for this ride, I mounted the original 16 teeth counter-shaft sprocket ? And that I did not find it mandatory to fold the spring washer onto the bolt to avoid it from unscrewing ? Well I did that because I hadn't done it last time I changed the sprocket either and have had no problems for 2000 kms... Luckily, the cover is made in such a way that the bolt won't have space to come off even if it gets loose (thanks for that Mr KTM !)

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    This picture was taken after I re-screwed the bolt. By the way, the grinding sound was coming from the engine case protection bracket, that the chain was grinding due to the sprocket coming further away from the engine during deceleration :puke1

    Anyway, off we go. From here, the road starts to gently climb towards mountains, passing through villages for something like 30 km (20 miles). No pictures. Then you start climbing towards Vidraru dam.

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    On the way to the dam, through twisties and tunnels.

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    Then you get on top of the dam.

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    A view to the other side of the dam, with lake Vidraru on the background. And my ride on the foreground :oscar

    From here, we ride along the lakeshore, on some excellent twisties, towards the Fagaras mountains.

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    In the background, you can see the Cumpana cabin, one of the few places to stay overnight other than camping. It's on the other side of the lake.

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    Although the lake is mainly fed by the Arges river, there are lots of smaller rivers running into the lake.

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    A break on a bridge over the Arges river. We are now between the lake and the mountain. Yes the guy standing is me :1drink
    #2
  3. AngryScot

    AngryScot .

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    nice :thumb
    #3
  4. Silky

    Silky Awaiting Baby...

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    That;s the best thing about this website, if it can inspire just one person to get out and go for a ride and explore the world, then it's all worth it.
    #4
  5. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    Thanks guys. Yes indeed, this site is inspirational :norton

    Now I left the lake, and the road keeps on winding along the Arges river, surrounded by lots of pine trees.

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    Now we can start to see the mountain we're about to climb (and the clouds too :evil ). Sorry about the picture quality.

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    We've now reached an elevation of 1580 metres (5184 ft) and it got much cooler now. This sort of marks the limit between the pine trees surround and the "bald" part of the mountain. See that cloud sticking to the mountain top ?

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    Some signs for the hiking paths that go up the top. I won't use them, I'm riding up there :deal .

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    The last two pictures were taken down there, only a few minutes earlier :evil

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    It only gets better.

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    Only 4 km to the top.

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    Pleasant encounter.

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    Now I've only got to cross the tunnel to the other side and lake Balea. That's the entrance to the tunnel (partly...)

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    And on the other (north)side.... it's totally foggy (I am actually into the cloud, and can;t see any further than 3 metres (9 feet) :eek1

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    I am very disappointed because I should be seeing this. These pictures courtesy of my friend Lucian Baraitaru. Pictures taken a month earlier.

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    That's what I can see of the above lake :huh

    To be continued...
    #5
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Looks like you have some great riding and awesome scenery over there. Looking forward to the rest of your report.
    #6
  7. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    Thanks Klaviator. Yes we do. All you need is to know where to go/look. Something I'm not very good at :cry

    I might come up with other ride reports from Romania in the near future :nod
    #7
  8. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

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    KTManiac , nice pictures and great roads ! That is one thing about mountains , you may or may not get to see anything at high elevations . That just means you will have to keep riding up there until its clear ! The KTM looks like it is in its natural element . Nice work
    #8
  9. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    After a while, trying not to fall into the invisible lake, I take the direction of the way down towards north and the city of Sibiu. I ride for a few meters behind a pick-up truck that has all lights on, including the hazard lights. I still can't see further than 9 feet and am not feeling comfortable at all. You can hardly see the edge of the cliff, and there are lots of tights curves.

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    I am at the top of that road, although I can't see any of it (This picture also belong to my friend Lucian).

    So I decide it's too dangerous / boring to descent this way, and make a u-turn to get back from where I came.

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    At the other side of the tunnel, I can at last see where I'm going again. The road sign says "Extremely dangerous curves. Reduce your speed". It reminds me I probably took the right decision :huh

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    A few last shots at the top of the mountain.

    Then I take my way back towards Vidraru lake, and I'm getting hungry, so I decide to go around the lake by the opposite bank (the west bank) that Cumpana cabin sits on. That side, although it has the cabin and some camping places, has no asphalt road, just a bumpy track. It is used by trucks hauling logs, and by the occasional tourist.

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    The track on the west bank of the lake. It is raining quite often around here and it is full of potholes, water and mud :D

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    I finally stop at Cumpana cabin for lunch.

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    View from the terrace. It's so quiet around here, I could sit and enjoy for hours.

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    But hey, time for a beer and...

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    ... food.

    After I'm done with this, back on the track until the dam... and asphalt. Between the cabin and the dam, there is still quite a long way, and the surface gets worse and worse, due to some damage during heavy rains lately.

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    Only a few km to go and I'll be on paved road again. It's getting late (5PM) and I still have along way to get home. And I hate to ride by night.

    I am back home at around 8 PM, with beautiful scenery in memory and... a sore a_s. Damn KTM seat :strum
    Total trip length : 450 km (280 miles).
    #9
  10. Drowsy Dave

    Drowsy Dave Square Peg, No Hole

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    Wow...stunning scenery. You're a very lucky man.

    Thank you for taking the time to post.
    #10
  11. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Once again my romantic notions of Romania are confirmed. Some of those pictures get me a little choked up...

    Say "Hey!" to Vlad if you see him. :wave
    #11
  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    ??????Something you're not very good at???? I can't wait to see the pics you take when you figure out where to go/look!!

    Awesome pics and scenery. Thanks for letting me see a part of the world I will probably never get to see for myself.
    #12
  13. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

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    :clap
    #13
  14. dammitdave

    dammitdave Long timer

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    +1! My limited knowledge of Romainia is now expanded. I had no idea there were such beautiful mountains in Romainia. Keep on with these ride reports and the Transfagarasan will be the "New Alps". Dave
    #14
  15. GreeKKTiNoS

    GreeKKTiNoS Been here awhile

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    :jump
    <o:p></o:p>
    #15
  16. gati

    gati Adventurer

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    Thanks for sharing your journey with us; it's a shame you couldn't keep riding north in order to complete the Transfagarasan route and that you didn't get to see Balea well, but that's just extra reasons to go back!
    BTW, fantastic pictures. Especially your pleasant encounter with the horses. :clap
    #16
  17. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Fantastic pictures of a beautiful place. Thanks for all the work of sharing your ride with us that will never see it any other way. :clap :clap :clap
    #17
  18. KTManiac

    KTManiac Adventurer

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    What I meant was that this time, I went for the obvious, the place everyone in Romania knows about, the place everyone goes to. I know there are lots of other amazing places, that fewer people know about, that are most probably hiding at the end of unpaved, less used roads. I'm not too good at finding those places, but all the kind comments I received for this ride report made me start thinking about exploring more... :clap

    Right, I'll definitely be back there! As for the horse, although it's a bike forum, I'll share a couple extra pics with you guys :

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    I saw the horses the first time while climbing. They were by the side of the road.

    When I came back, I was planning to stop closer to them and make better pictures. But I found they had change location :

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    I wonder what the guys in the caravan were thinking then...
    #18
  19. Truck115

    Truck115 Adventurer

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    I really enjoyed your ride report, those were some awesome pictures. Don't think I have ever seen pictures of Romania. That road up the mountain looks like way too much fun. Keep up the good work, hopefully you get out again soon.
    #19
  20. TallRob

    TallRob Long timer

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    man, that road, first time I saw it was on an episode of Top Gear.....Hilarious BTW! gotta see it if you can!
    #20