Wednesday. I wake up to rain, and cold, grey skies. In theory I’m heading south for warmer weather, but as I ride it gets colder, wetter, and windier, until I’m struggling to keep the bike upright in 40mph side winds, the heated grips are being overwhelmed by the cold, and it’s snowing. Not really ideal conditions for riding a bike, and a real surprise after yesterday’s tee shirt weather. Just in time, a set of golden arches rises into view and I stop for lunch and to de-frost. Wherever you go in Albania you’re never more than a mile from a petrol station. In America you’re never more than the width of a burger away from fast food.
Once re-heated, I continue south and run into even wilder weather, with snow that gets heavier and heavier until, at just the right moment, in freezing snow, exposed on high open ground with no shelter, the bike decides it’s not going to play anymore. It coughs and sputters a few times, then dies altogether. Marvellous. Just then a car coming the other way stops and warns me that the snow is a blizzard further down the road. Wonderful. I can’t see anything obviously wrong and it’s too damn cold to start investigating, so I spray some wd40 around the electrics, cross fingers hoping it’s just water in the works, and hit the starter. It struggles, and though it doesn’t quite come back to life it is at least un-dead. I ride the zombie back to the last town, check into a motel and hope for better weather tomorrow.