Transfagarasan

September 1st, 2019

Whaddya know, just as I'd been sitting down to write a recap of the multi-month journey to the East, a whirlwind of cash, paperwork, and the machinations of our favorite adventurer produced a midnight blue Mercedes and galloping orders towards Transylvania. "But can we go via that super awesome twisty famous mountain crazy road?" "Obviously." The larger recap's still coming, but what can I do; life is sometimes super awesome and twisty, shit gets out of order.

First, we went to Sibiu. Like most towns in and among the mountains, it's the historic center that's of interest, but staying there may mean huffing thirty kilo suitcases up fifteen percent setted1 grades. And the hotel said it had no gym. Meanwhile, admire below the establishment's creative bathroom placement:

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On the advice of a local psychiatrist (our date, not our doc), we went to a place called Oldies, an odd mix of wannabe biker dudes in studded leather and flip-flops and Zara-bedecked after-work sangria drinkers. It was a poem to things that don't go together, including AC/DC and The BeeGees, cheap whiskey and amaretto, and the poster collection lining the walls.

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Here's one for Mom. Hi Mom. Do you think we should ring for a pallet?

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As the owl demands, so we acquiesce. It helps that he controls the flow of coffee.

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Back in Florimund2, the route takes a fortuitous turn off the beaten path to Brasov. Pokey3 is nervous but a little excited....

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The Transfagarasan (DN7C) was opened in the mid-seventies and was one of the major accomplishments of the communist regime, at least if you'd asked them. It connects Transylvania with Wallachia and winds through some very pretty places indeed, with only the occasional kilometer of pavement in need of a little work. In general it was remarkably smooth.

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I've always wanted to drive it, particularly for the past few years in which the back seat's been occupied by a calm, steady voice unfazed by high speeds. When I drove in the US I got a lot of grief for going over 80mph4; since I started driving again in Central America I've happily found it's generally accepted as the minimum. As it turns out, I didn't manage to go anywhere near that fast on this particular road between the hairpins and the tourists in '95 Dacias, but it was still a thrill.

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"You need a break already?"
"Whoa! That was dizzying. I almost lost my oat milkshake!"
"Don't be such a wet noodle, we have a long way to go yet."
"I'm noodly by nature!"

Off again, through the trees. The summer heat in Romania has been insufferable, but up here it's a cool 23, crisp and sublime.

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Sheer drops and shitty drivers abound. As much as the Transfagarasan would be spectacular for motorcycle riders, lemme tell you 75% of the cars I got stuck behind were way, WAY over the median on every single blind curve --do it at 5am or forget it, I think.

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It's a nice view if you can get it.

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"Hey, I think the famous hairpin spot is up ahead."
"Yippie! Look, no horseshoes!"

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Thar she blows, obscured but present. The shining rocks throughout aren't wet, but rather feldspar- and quartz-bearing schists. It's El Dorado, just about.

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Heading on up, into the schists and the mists.

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The view from up top.

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The money shot.

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Pleased as punch.

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"Are you napping?! We've still got a ways to go!"
"I'm just resting my eyes...."
"Hop to, Pokey!"

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"Okay!"
(Yes, the road, at the top of all that business, warns about...curves ahead.)

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We were lucky enough to spot no less than three curious bears on this excursion. This guy was the clear winner for showmanship, what with his snaggletongue and attempts at dancing for snacks.

We stopped for some snacks of our own, and decided to turn around rather than insist on gunning for Curtea de Arges --maybe another time. For now, a fond farewell.

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  1. Setts are cut into shape; cobbles are unworked rocks or pebbles. Until being corrected a few weeks ago I'd been calling setts cobbles every damn time. It's not as fun of a word to say, I guess, but it's got the whole double t thing going, so I'd say it's not a total loss. []
  2. Florimund the Mercy, that is. []
  3. Pokey the Horse, geez, try to keep up! []
  4. I'm sure the Honda Civic and Nissan Frontier didn't help --especially the kayak mounted upside-down atop the latter. []

4 Responses to “Transfagarasan”

  1. The Adventures of Pokey; much appreciated and approved. Ain't nobody got time for dat big green guy anyway. And au contraire mon ami, put me on a Ducati and I would own that asphalt...a Legend would be born.
    I hope you have a truck horn on that Benz to wakey the bad drivers in their little tin can cars.
    Hooray for Pokey! May the adventures never end.

  2. hanbot says:

    Come ride it! :D
    Horn fully field-tested; works. Pokey doesn't work quite yet but training's in progress to get 'im to tune the radio....

  3. lobbes says:

    Yup, I'd say that the Transfagarasan through 'Wild Transylvania' beats the I-77 through 'Wild West Virginia' any day in terms of scenic drives (not that there was any competition to begin with). Amazing.

    Btw was that owl shitting out a pure cone of light? If so, that is good marketing.

  4. hanbot says:

    Didn't even notice the cone --I wonder what other subliminal messages mochages that owl's been pulling?!

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