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Old 04-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #61
Rango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
Exactly! Thanks for chiming in. Why did you know, have you been there or is it the inquiring mind that already knew it?
Inquiring mind and a long standing lust for exploring the rugged side of the Balkan. After viewing the Top Gear show dove into Google Earth, the island of Korfoe in the distance was a dead give away.

So, I am thoroughly enjoying your report. Seems like I should get going before the last road is paved.

By the way, did you found that airfield with those MiGs? I love planes too.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:53 AM   #62
AlpineGuerrilla OP
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Originally Posted by Rango View Post
So, I am thoroughly enjoying your report. Seems like I should get going before the last road is paved.

By the way, did you found that airfield with those MiGs? I love planes too.
Now is the time to visit Albania. But it's not running away, apart from the coast it's still just slowly developing. Next time we want to include more from the mountainous regions, e.g. the Albanian Alps.

Unfortunately we didn't see that, neither did we find the secret sub harbor. But it is supposed to be secret after all.
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:47 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
Sounds good! Where exactly are you located in Tirol? And the same applies to you: just message me if you're somewhere in north-western Switzerland. We'll have no problems riding those V2-650s around the place.
I´m here: N 47° 21' E 11° 42.5'
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:25 AM   #64
Big Daddy D
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Hey AG, finish your report!

I'm loving it so far, so pleeeeeeeaaaasssseeee.....
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:53 AM   #65
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I think I might have eaten at the same stall? I never checked out the other side of it.



I recognize quite a lot of the places you've been at. Nice to see a different perspective on things :)
The ferry in Albania was no option for me so I had to go around, took me the better part of a day...

Quote:
we only pass two cars and in one spot we are 'ambushed' by three girls blocking the road. They're between 6-12 and try to sell us some berries they picked
I got ambushed too, probably the same road, maybe even the same kids (2 girls and a boy for me) They came running from miles away and wouldn't get out of my way. I didn't like how pushy they were being and I didn't want their berries but I had to fake run over the boy before he would get out of my way. At first he was pushing my headlight and as soon as I got past him he slapped my panniers... Probably hurt him.
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LethPhaos screwed with this post 12-18-2013 at 09:59 AM
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
Unfortunately we didn't see that, neither did we find the secret sub harbor. But it is supposed to be secret after all.
This one?


If you travel North on the coast road you will see it. If Your going the other way you most likly miss it.

I loved Your report. I hope to be back some day.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:23 AM   #67
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Great report and pictures.
Greetings from Paraguay
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:43 PM   #68
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Nice to see this thread pop up again. Also, that's a good reminder. I though I finished the report but the last bit is still missing. And it does change the story quite a bit. So here we go!


So we were riding along the albanian coast towards Durrës, where we had booked a ferry to Italy for the next day. But this little bump in the road thought nothing of our plans.



It's not unusual to not see my buddy Andi behind me for a moment, but when he disappeared this time, I knew something went wrong and I turned around. I came back to this view:



The road has been quite bumpy the last few weeks, but this particular bump was just too much for the delicate super sport bike. Suddenly, Andi was sitting 20cm lower with a blocked rear wheel.

The suspension link must have been broken by the constant stress from the road and the fully loaded bike.



Andi was already surrounded by people when I turned around and stopped, so after assessing the damage and cursing the gods we started asking around how and where to get some kind of transport. Since they didn't speak anything else than Albanian and our knowledge of it was limited to Top Gears suggestion not to speak of "cars", we had to fall back to hand gestures and the modern inventions of pen and paper.

Top row: Our artist's rendition of what we need (I won't tell who drew it to prevent ridicule, but it wasn't Andi)
Middle row: Drawing of where the albanian guy understood we needed to go. No, not Area 51 but the harbour!
Bottom row: Trying to tell people that we needed some kind of cart beneath the rear wheel to move the bike



So, a young and very open guy gestures to hop on the back of my bike. I unload it and he leads us to the next village where he meets a friend at one of the thousands of thousands of car wash thingies. I'm pretty sure washing your car and then leaving the car wash on a dirt road leads to expectional results. But there has to be a reason for a car wash every 25 meters.



We returned to Andi and after a while a guy turns up with this flatbed and we start to load the bike.





And for a while I had to follow the truck at a mind-numbing low speed of 50km/h. It was slow enough to take out the camera and take pictures, not good ones, but pictures.



Arriving at the gate of the harbour, we had to explain why we wanted to drive into it, since we didn't have any valid tickets for a ferry today (only tomorrow). We unloaded the bike and thanked the guys (though at 70 euros it was quite a price for roughly 20km - but we were in no place to argue).

But at least, finally I got a picture of me sitting on a coppers bike. I like how the name of the albanian police rings in the ear: Policia Rrugore!



Now, we loaded all the luggage on my bike and I rode to the campsite we wanted to go to. Once there, I unloaded everything and went to pick up Andi back at the harbour. All in darkness, with drizzling rain starting and on some pretty bad washed out roads and sometimes gravel. Fun times! We grabbed a beer at the campsite and we met a czech couple who were on a bike trip through Albania.

The campsite in the morning.



Well, in the next morning we had to pack everything on my bike - again! I felt like a BMW rider on a weekend trip. Andi could hitch a ride on the back of the bike of the czech guy.





Since the back of the bike was still sitting on top of the tyre, we had to lift it up somehow. We took a strap and wrapped it around the suspension link and the swingarm.





This was the damage on the underseat exhaust.



It was afternoon and we still had some time left until the ferry departed. So it was time to plan what to do once we arrived in Italy.

Now, our little albanian-italian adventure started. We piled all our luggague on an empty parking space, and my friend Andi guarded it while my quest for an internet connection began. There was supposed to be "WiFi", as indicated by a sign at the entrance of the waiting hall. But we couldn't find any signal so I asked around. Who do you usually ask? Someone who works there of course! I walked towards a security officer but he chased me off when I asked for internet and said there wasn't any (at least that's what I understood).

After more searching and asking I see the same guy back in a corner of the hall standing right next to a terminal with the letters "INTERNET" written on it. He's on Facebook. Haha, what a funny guy. Also, "WiFi" seems to be the general term for "maybe somewhere around here you can get on the Internet". I approach him again and say something like "cinque minuti" (five minutes) and Faleminderit (Thanks). That's how far my Albanian and Italian goes.

I seem to annoy him enough and he lets me use it after a few more minutes of letting me wait. I mean, those public terminals surely are for staff only! He's not supposed to do his job and guard the place or anything.

After looking up a few phone numbers of Triumph dealerships I go outside again and let Andi call the nearest dealership to the port. Of course they don't speak any english but at least have someone who speaks a bit of french. Somehow Andi can get his point across that his bike is broken but we're not sure if they'll be picking us up at the port or they just confirmed they had the spare part in question.

We decide to send them a picture of the damage to let them know we are immobile. I ride around the crazy midday traffic to look for real WiFi. There are only internet cafés without the possibility to go online with your own device. After about an hour of randomly riding about I see a bar with bikes parked outside. Aha! I'm sure I will find help here. There are a few bikers from Montenegro and the boss of the place. It was quite funny, I have to tell the story of our whole ride in full detail before they let me do anything. But they didn't let me do anything afterwards either. I get a free coke and have to sit down while "the boss" takes over and calls the dealer since he is fluent in italian. Like many Albanians are, as I learned. That is because Italy has had close ties to Albania and holds one of the bigger, if not the biggest population of Albanians outside of Albania and we saw PLENTY of italian number plates around the country.



Another Daytona parked outside.



Anyway, now that everything seems to be organized (we will be picked up at the harbour) I ride back to Andi and we decide to get something to eat. While I was away he befriended the girl at a snack store (we bought around 10 drinks in total), and we ask if we can drop our luggague behind their counter. Sure. Well, we go and eat something back at the biker bar, talk some more with the guys and finally go onto the ferry. Andi had to push his bike for about 500m and we loaded everything, including the bike gear onto my Suzuki. It's even bigger than before.

Let's just hope the Suzuki's suspension link will not break, too. As a point of reference: Andi, standing next my bike, is 193cm or 6'4 tall.





Spirits have been higher earlier in the trip.



The trip on the ferry was bad. The cheap bastards we are, we only booked the transit with no seats or beds. In the end, we have to sleep on the cold floor and the uncomfortable mini chairs with the ship shaking like a swing with jet engines on it.



We arrive in Italy with about three hours delay - the two great guys picking us up waited there patiently. We load both bikes into the trailer (heaven is pouring out what it can, the roads have deep puddles of water) and ride to their garage.





The staff from Triumph Jesi in Ancona welcomes us with a beer and we feel overwhelmed. The boss himself is half swiss (from the french speaking part) and we get quite a chuckle out of him because of our misfortune.



He organizes us a low prized B&B around the corner and tells us we can pick up the bike the following day. Cool!

Everywhere you look in Italy there is something to see and almost worthy of being painted. Our view from the B&B.



The next day, it's time for us to pick up the fixed bike.



They removed the needed part from another Street Triple they were exhibiting so we can get on our way. We were only charged for the material and nothing else! When we were standing in front of the broken bike back in Albania we would have never imagined riding back home on our own wheels merely 48h laters.

The garage's chief in command is the on with the awesome shirt.




That's about it - we pressed on through the Po Valley and through the Gotthard tunnel back home to Basel. Au rèvoir Balkania.

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Old 12-19-2013, 10:01 AM   #69
LethPhaos
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great way to end an adventure :)
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:51 PM   #70
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Outstanding i'm going to read it all again and take notes as i'm going that way in May/june

Cheers Phil
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:19 PM   #71
Rango
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Superb



"... almost felt like a bmw on a weekend trip."

Don't lose the drawings. Very expressive.
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Old 01-02-2014, 02:53 PM   #72
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Very good!

A lot of countries, real interest, drama and ....great time..... after all.
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