, also known as The day of dead-end roads and closed gates
Late morning start. I set the tent up in a place where the Sun didn't shine early on. No big deal, today's route is short and I should have plenty of time. Yeah, right... Like that can happen in real life
Another WWII memorial.
Local paved roads lead me out of Kragujevac, trough some villages to drinking water reservoir named Vodojaza
. That's where gravel starts. First corner on a good gravel road and it's obvious I'm not satisfied with new tires. For this trip I replaced old, pavement oriented, Shinko 705 tires with new Hidenau K60 Scouts (highly recommended by basically everybody). I expected more demanding terrains than on previous trip so better off-road tire seemed like good idea. Anyway, Scouts were disappointment from the start, front wheel skids everywhere, doesn't inspire confidence in corners at all (that's off-road, I actually like these tires on pavement)
After short gravel section it's time to head into the forest. Proper dirt roads ahead. And yes, tires are even worse than on gravel. It becomes bad to the point that I'm absolutely not enjoying the ride, and it just begun...
And yes, what happened next could easily expected: I go down. First real crash from the bike
I was riding on the right side of the road and wanted to climb onto the raised middle part. As soon as front wheel got onto the "sloped" part it just washed out. And no, it wasn't to steep as you can see from pictures. Bike slides to the stop with my leg underneath. I don't know how and why but leg stays intact. I have some chest pain but nothing serious (probably bruised, maybe cracked, rib. Every day it became more difficult to put the bike on center stand or make certain movements with my arm. It took more than a month for the pain to completely go away).
Cherry on top was when I saw damage to the bike. Crash bar rotated around it's mount, going straight trough plastics. To other body panels are "bruised" but nothing major. I was so pissed of at that point. I mean, trip didn't even start yet. If I fell like this on nice, easy road what can I expect when the going gets tougher, and I know it will...
Anyway, it's time to move on. Now I just want to get to pavement and probably skip next off-road section. Ride wasn't very enjoyable, even before the fall. Road goes trough overgrown shrubs and forest, nothing really pleasant to the eye.
Short pavement ride is all it takes to clear my mind just enough to stick back with original plan. Bailing out is not an option. Now it's time to justify day's title. Pavement ends in a village. From there it's bad dirt road, with plenty of deep holes made by tractors and whatever. Luckily for me at least it's dry. First intersection: road to the right appears to be one that I should take. It's steep, really steep. And it's covered with nice, deep layer of powdery dirt. Road to the left looks normal so that's where I'm going.
Soon enough there is a gate across the road. Shut off the engine, get off the bike, open the gate, push the bike to the other side, close the gate, ride on. 100 m later and there is another gate. By this point it's very obvious that this road is not being used regularly. Doesn't matter, being stubborn is such a cool and fun thing. So, it's same drill to get to other side. And just to make things more interesting there is another gate, again only couple hundred meters away. And yes, I keep on going.
This is gate No. 1, road still looks usable
After the third gate road is barely visible. No vehicle tracks of any kind. Doesn't matter... Now, "road" is narrow, steep and it's cut into the side of the hill. When the absurdity of pressing on became obvious enough for me to take notice I was in perfect situation. As I said, road is steep, narrow, banked (???) to one side and it's cut into the side of the hill. And yes, fallen leaves are everywhere. Nowhere near enough room to turn the bike around. To the left it's ravine, deep enough to forget about getting the bike out. Kill the engine but keep gearbox in first. Slowly work my way back downhill by slipping the clutch (front brake useless, right foot busy on the ground because left foot couldn't reach the ground...). It took some time before I got to wider spot in a road (used to be intersection once) and even then it was tricky to turn the bike around.
Dead end roads VS Gliga: 1:0
That's the place where I turned around. Usual disclaimer applies: It's steeper than it looks on photo :)
I'm back at the gates, this time owner of the property is there. He tells me that road I just tried is not passable (no kidding, I didn't notice that :P ) but gives me good directions. You know: "Go back to the village then turn left after you pass my car and follow the stream after that. Just stick to the stream, that's the best road. There are several other roads that all lead to the same spot but that one is best."
I pass second, third gate and get back to the village. Strangely enough there is intersection right after I pass the car. Road is decent and it actually follows the stream. There are even turnoffs to side roads, just like he said.
Off course this doesn't last very long. At one point stream becomes the road. Fortunately stream is almost dried out. After that it still looks like it's being used so I press on.
Minute later and I reach the point from where the forest is extracted. Further on and it's crystal clear that this part of the road wasn't used for some time. And just to make it more obvious there is a fallen tree across the road. It looks like I would be able to cross it close to the edge of the road, which is also the edge of another ravine (I can't think of any other/better word...). If I go down to that side it would be painful. If bike goes down tractors would be needed to get it out.
Before I attempt to cross the log I take notice of giant pile of leaves further on. I got closer and it doesn't look like pile of leaves anymore. Actually, it's huge left-over root from a fallen tree. At this point I was just couple hundred meters away from where I wanted to get. So close yet so far away...
Dead-end Roads VS Gliga: 2:0
Time to turn around. Back trough stream/road. I take the first side road ("They all lead to same hill top", words still echo in my head). Rutted, and not used. Sure enough it ends with another gate.Unlike previous gates which are there to keep the sheep inside this one is to keep the people/vehicles outside. No going trough this time. From here I can see the point where I'm trying to get.
Dead-end Roads VS Gliga: 3:0, and it's still first quarter of the day...
Time to turn back again. By now I'm seriously considering to stick back to tarmac and bypass this section. But, there is one more potential road and I decide to check it out. Off course, because it was my last choice it turns out that this road is in decent condition, it's being used on regular basis and going is easy. I come across a mountain hut, an older man confirms that this is proper road. Soon enough I rejoin my planned alternative route and decide to take shorter route to pavement. I had enough of this. It's obvious, this part of the route was planned only from low-res Google Earth photos without any info about actual situation.
I was getting tired by now so it's time for rest stop. Once on a normal road, and relaxed on a meadow I can actually enjoy the nature.
Dirt roads turns into gravel, by the side of the road there is a run-down fence. Somewhere in that fence there is high concrete pillar with several cameras. That makes no sense at all, I mean why would anybody monitor property in a place like this (it's really not a common sight here. Only people with such kind of security are criminals and politicians. Line between those two types of people is thin. Very, very thin). Few turns and few more pillars with cameras later road turns into new tarmac. Guards are everywhere. Words I heard little earlier, which made no sense back then, came back to my mind: "You'll see president's house..." Oh, now that would explain all the security and cameras... Little further down the road I stop to readjust rear-view mirrors (they are unsung heroes on this bike... Every time the bike falls down - and it happened once or twice
- it lands on a mirror. They constantly refuse to break. After every fall I remember to turn them out of the harms way...), I hear strangely familiar numbers from Motorola radio behind me. My licence plate number... Guard slowly gets out of his hut and I slowly put the bike into first gear and pull off. I have no intention to waste time explaining to the guards why I'm here, why I rode trough forest around president's (small first letter, that's how much respect politicians get here...) property.
Tarmac road is surprisingly perfect, nice and twisty. Actually, it's not surprising; new president=new road to his families , surprisingly new, old house :) I'm enjoying in relaxing ride. I'm passing trough corn fields and though carves into my mind: "Pick up few corns, I'll have fire tonight anyway and it will make great dinner." But, just like when I searched for perfect swimming spot on previous trip, I never actually stopped.
Enough for today. Plenty more to come. This is still less than half of the first day and it was clear to me that it is going to be an Adventure