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Old 09-15-2010, 11:48 AM   #1
SpecialAgentNancy OP
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Bulgaria Southern mountains and my Nemesis

Last year I toured Eastern Europe with two other riders (9 countries to be precise)

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ghlight=serbia

and after a couple days in Istanbul decided to return and tour Turkey via Sofia Bulgaria where LukeKTM lives

Airlines charge for just about everything except toilet paper these days and sure enough, they whacked me with excess baggage fees. I decided to bring over my frame and city hard cases with me (later I was to find that was a stupid move, albeit one of the many....)


But I sure was happy to see everything arrive. I carried my helmet on the plane with me and figured if they made a stink about it that I would wear it.

Here is my second BMW F650 that Luke helped me buy and get ready for the trip. TKC and other things like new sprogs, chain, brakes, you know the important stuff.


She looks pretty clean hun? Didn't last long.

So we set off for a small village in the Southern Mountains of Bulgaria called Trigrad to stay at Mama Zarka's. A fabulous pension that everyone should see.

We took some windy roads out of Sofia and met up with two other BMW riders that Luke knows and stopped off near a gypsy settlement.




This is one of the homes they live in.


My nemesis is a 20KM dirt road that I crashed on last year.
When I toured last year I had no off road experience and was on a heavy bike unfamiliar to me (Honda Transalp), it was the perfect storm.

A year later and many many off road trips later I decided to go back and conquer that road. This is one of the lakes before the fun starts.



Now the funniest part of this is Luke was telling me that the area is now a reserve for animals, sort of a sanctuary...unless you pay a fee, then you can hunt them.

WTF?

The road also turned out to be much worse than the previous year, they stopped maintaining it so lots of deep ruts, big rocks and loose gravel. Fun stuff. Bounced good enough to fling the bags off so we engineered some zip ties (about as great an invention as the snap button) and kept going.



Now this time I didn't crash....but when I stopped the ground was so uneven that I dropped the bike, not to worry, it's all good, this year I have the proper off road gear too.



This is about the halfway point, after this the road climbs, pretty steep in some areas and some fun hairpin turns.



After a pretty difficult section, I stopped and said to Luke, "Wow, I can't believe I made it through that...I must have flung off a side case" So I looked on the left, OK, then the right...




So I enjoyed the scenery while Luke went to go find it. He got his off road quota that day since it flung off about where I started.



I was enjoying watching all the little critters when it occurred to me that there are bears in this "sanctuary" and grabbed my 1 million volt stun gun....thinking well I'll piss that bear off just enough with this thing that it won't play with its food and just end my life quickly.



When we got to the end we found out that the exit had changed so we tacked on another 10km of off road, good thing we started early this time.




This is the village where we rejoin civilization, I remember it vividly from the back of Luke's KTM the prior year.



Trigrad is at the end of the road, you can't pass through to it so it's a bit of a destination but having said that, it's in a natural canyon and the rock face and tunnels to get there are simply breathtaking.


Re-united with Mama Zarka! She was as happy to see me as I was her. The last time I arrived at her home it was with a dislocated shoulder and tears streaming down my face.

I'll warn you to not say "Nancy" at her place or she'll talk your ear off for an hour or so.




Next stop was to see her Grandfather who put my shoulder and tendons back into place the prior year so I could move my arm again. He's amazing. These kinds of village doctors are a dying breed, we have them in villages in Quebec still but no one from the younger generation is learning these skills.

I brought him a gift of a USA made buckman pocket knife that he loved.



Then we sat down for dinner #1. Young beans in broth with yogurt. Fabulous!


The next day we started towards the Greek border on our way to Turkey which is the bulk of this trip and I'll post another trip report on it.

Some beautiful traditional homes.



Goofing around for a little break on the side of the road with some cows.



It was 40 degrees and after many many hours of it (because the Greek's turned me back from the border crossing) I insisted we stop for some watermelon on the side of the road.



I was warned to not get near the donkey...



The prior year I saw these stork nests everywhere but never one sitting on it.



400KM to Istanbul where Volkan offered us his home to stay for the night and that my friends is one hell of an adventure so stay tuned...
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:58 AM   #2
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:01 PM   #3
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Yeah will on the trip it was shirt #1 and shirt #2 and I tried to keep shirt #3 looking clean and respectable enough to wear in public. (I failed)
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:48 PM   #4
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Awesome photos from Bulgaria!! Glad you are enjoying yourself there.

Luke did a fantastic job on picking out the bike--mind telling us a bit more about it?

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Old 10-04-2010, 05:52 AM   #5
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Love your photos and the report so far. I look forward to more

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Old 10-23-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
SpecialAgentNancy OP
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Luke expressed much concern over it....you never really know what you are getting, he might be better and telling you what he looked at.

She was 'coughing' a little at first but I think that was just bad fuel, once I burned through that first tank and used only high grade fuel it was much better
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:31 PM   #7
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You're back for more riding around the Balkans! Enjoyed your last report and this one's shaping up nicely, thanks for the report and pics
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:57 PM   #8
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And I'm going back one more time this July :) on my way back to Turkey
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpecialAgentNancy View Post
... we started towards the Greek border on our way to Turkey
... because the Greek's turned me back from the border crossing
I hope this is a teaser and you will write more details.

So, what happened?
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