We woke up, late as usual, and joined our hosts for a nice breakfast, we would need all the energy we could get for this day. Without any haste at all, we started loading the bike once again. I was already 13.40h by the time we were ready to leave. Sasa suggested we took a detour to avoid heavy traffic, which I put on my gps, and a little later we were saying goodbye and farewell to Ruza and Sasa. I always hate to leave Beograd, and this time was no exception but we had to move on.
We followed the gps’ directions and soon we were stuck in traffic on a gravel road with the sun burning us above… We eventually got to the highway and started to pick up the pace, it was already 14.30 when we stopped for our first refueling, somewhere south of Beograd.
We got on the road again fresh and eager to put the capos to the test. We paid the toll, I don’t remember how much, I have the ticket, I will post it later, but I remember that it was the same for cars and bikes alike, which I find unfair but that’s how it is.
We rode pretty fast, about 180km/h, and the bikes seemed to enjoy it just as much as ourselves. 200km down the road, we had to refuel again, consumption was a bit high at these speeds.
Last time I had ridden that road it was August, about 45 degrees Celsius, and with heavy traffic, and with another transalp 650 (I was with the capo again), it had been torturous. This time around, however, it was a pleasant 16 degrees, much less traffic, and both bikes were 1000cc. It was much better. We soon reached the part with a single lane per direction, past Lescovac, and we could still ride pretty fast, aided by the light traffic and our bikes’ torque.
We stopped right before the border to refuel once again (to avoid having to stop in FYROM), had a quick coffee and called our friend, Alex, to give him an update on our status. We passed border control and rode fast through FYROM, as it was 19.00 already.
The road had improved dramatically since the last time I had last ridden it, especially in the south where they were re-paving some bridges, we reached the Greek border at 21.00. We were happy to be home once again, even if it signaled the end of our trip. We joked with the employees a bit, and continued rapidly towards Chalkidiki.
We rode fast as it started to get dark, and made a last stop for gas just outside Thessaloniki.
We reached Agios Pavlos, our destination, at 22.30. Alex and Apostolos had set the table already…
We stayed up until very late, telling our friends about our adventure and watching photos and videos. We finally went to bed at about 4.00, after all, tomorrow we only had to ride 570km!!
Next episode, the inevitable epilogue!