The going gets tough
We were woken once by a pack of dogs, sniffing around the tent and bikes, but they only needed to be yelled at once to disappear.
We were sleeping soundly in the early morning when footsteps on the gravel woke us. A box was put on the ground next to the bikes and a young guy started to graffiti the wall as if we weren't there. The next 15 minutes were strange, as we tried to tell him to go away, but he insisted in broken English that he had to do it "at this moment". He was close to the bikes, and spray paint began to inadvertently land on them and our gear. He apologised and tried to move Sam's heavy bike. Sam yelled at him to leave. He insisted he had to do it so the people on the train could see... back and forth it went. Realising we would get no more sleep we gave in and packed up.
It was another tough day - temperatures in the high 30s, more altitude gained, nowhere to buy food or water, headwinds... It was a day to make us wonder why we do this to ourselves. We found a restaurant in a small town where we were overcharged for a small bowl of pasta each, but we met a friendly Italian, Pablo, who chatted to us about his motorbike travels around Europe.
It was lucky we had the pasta though - in the afternoon we went up a hill of 850m altitude with gradient of up to 15%. It was too much and we had to push up a particularly steep section. In the hot sun the mountain was particularly tough, but the plateau on top was beautiful, and drinking the cold mountain water we found coming from a well at the top made it worth it! For the rest of the day the road would lose altitude, only to gain it again.
In the early evening we rode into the city of Potenza at 850m altitude. The plan was to buy food and get out of there before dark. But we spent an hour riding around trying to find the road for the next leg of our journey. And we couldn't find a supermarket. We were getting very frustrated and worried we would have to stay in a hotel. We ate some pre-packaged sandwiches and were able to think clearer... We picked a direction to head in, and rode down from the top of the city. We had no luck finding our road, but luckily Sam found another place to camp - our most bizzare yet. It was inside a bridge near the freeway. No one could see us, it was cool, and we were too tired to keep going. It was all we could do to find the energy to put up the tent and eat our cereal for dinner.
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Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia