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J140 - Friday, March 5: Stefanovouno - Katerini

75.56km – 10H40’
Altitude : 44m
10,000 km in 13 days 22 hours and 48 minutes, Serge really perked up to pass this round number.
Mount Olympus brings us back to Greek mythology.  Zeus and all the other Greek gods (11 or 13 depending on which source you choose) spent their free time carousing and feasting on nectar and ambrosia (solid food for the gods) and contemplating the world.  On a day like today, they can carouse all they like because there is no risk of our seeing them.  Maybe they are watching us.
This mountain range we are skirting toward the west leads Serge over a pass at 1,027 m, in the rain, then the sky clears above the Pieria Plain and we reach Katerini, a small town near the sea, just under the impressive Mount Olympus.
Serge dreads these deserted mountain roads, because of, yes, dogs.  He found himself face to face with 6 excited mastiffs and frankly, we didn’t find a way to frighten them off.  Serge was screaming at the top of his voice.  Luckily, we were not far away and were on the alert but in spite of this we hadn’t seen all the dogs, which came down from the mountain.  Daniel and Bertrand rushed to Serge, who was uncomfortably surrounded by these nasty curs.  This evening it is a subject of conversation.  The worry is not to get rid of one dog (Serge’s ultrasound and tear gas can do that) but an entire pack.  If you have the solution we would be interested.  Up on his mountain, Zeus must be laughing about the problem!  It takes a lot of Serge’s energy, poor mortal that he is!
At Katerini, we had to have the front tires of the camper changed for the second time.  The tires of my “tank” will soon need to be changed more often the tires of my sweet runner.  They wear out incredibly fast and our wallet is not going to handle it if I have to change tires every 6 weeks.  We have analyzed the problem and hope to have found a way to prevent it.  It is worth mentioning that changing tires on the camper is easier here than in France.  At home you have to order them, whereas in Katerini, 15 minutes after our arrival in the garage the boss had gone to get the tires, which he didn’t have in his shop.  It’s a pleasure to be in a country where the word “stock” still exists.  At home it’s usually JIT (Just in Time distribution).
Many of you have mentioned the strikes in Greece but we have not seen any sign of them.  Indeed, the Greeks say that it is certainly not they who have to pay, or have to tighten their belts, because of the government’s poor management over the past years.  Seen from the road, there seems to be a great difference in standard of living here.  In any case, if automobiles are an exterior sign of wealth, then there is a lot of it.
This evening, after 3 days of camping, we hope to get a good night’s sleep without being awakened by intermittent dog barking.
A special thought goes this evening to the Jean Renoir School in Bourges.  It is organizing an evening to raise funds for a school trip for the 8th grade students who are going to meet us in Poland in April when we go through that country.
Good night to everybody.

Town : Katerini (Macédoine Centrale)

GPS : N 39.85325° E 022.17588°