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Old 08-24-2011, 06:06 AM   #1
tserts OP
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
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Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)

Well, a couple of days ago I safely reached my home after my first solo international ride... I learned a lot of new things about the world but also a lot about myself, the fact that I'm an idiot was unsurprisingly confirmed as well...

But enough about me (for now), in this thread during the next days you will see:

A not so great start


A blurry version of Bulgaria (I think I only talked to gas station and money exchange employees)


Romanian traffic


How road motels look from the inside


Transfagarasan


Transalpina


Balkan BBQ


The honey badger of rivers...


Why the Greek highway is an asshole... (from now on the word "asshole" will be replaced by "Greek Highway" for the duration of the RR)


The best part about this RR is that, since I was alone, you will see very little of me and plenty of Kleopatra (RD07 Africa Twin '00),

Now don't be a Greek Highway and subscribe!
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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:29 AM   #2
wildbilly
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Hallo there mate! Nice start! Go on! Also suscribe to mine...http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=719181:freaky
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:37 AM   #3
tserts OP
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Prologue

My personal situation has recently been explained here during my previous small outing so I will take it from there....

Having a 20 MO son means you can forget about taking the bike for a spin around the Balkans unless you get really lucky... My wife is from Serbia so this August she flew to her home town Novi Sad with the kid to see her parents. I stayed back to work but the week around the 15th of August noone and nothing works in Greece so I could close the shop for a few days and this meant a small window of opportunity arose for me to go visit them (with the bike, taking a "small" detour ).. It wasn't that easy though.

Firstly I had a lot of stuff to take care before I could leave and that meant very long days at work. Secondly my immediate family (mother, sister, aunts and wife) went ballistic whet I broke the news... "Where are you going to go? They will rob you and bury you alive, you are a father now act responsibly! What if you run out of gas?" You get the picture...

I tried to explain to them that Romania and Bulgaria are not exactly Sub-Saharan Africa but to them I was out of my mind and I was driving them crazy... In the end they saw that my mind had been made up so they settled for daily phone calls home to tell them I was OK after each riding day..

Next problem was when to leave, the shop had been pretty busy but in the morning on Wednesday 10th of August I said "fuck it, if I don't leave today I might as well stay here". I had nothing prepared, I just took the toolbox I had from the previous trip, some clothes, the gps (which had a faulty battery, the new one I had ordered hadn't arrived so I knew I would have trouble, but fuck it), 5 printed out pages from google maps with some rough waypoints for Romania, some money and away I rode! Honestly, I spend more time preparing and checking the bike for rides to my country house, I set off less prepared than any other time, I didn't even have a set route... As far as the bike is concerned I didn't even check oil levels even through I had done many hours on the highway at 160+ at the previous trip... I knew all that would come back and haunt me (and it did) but still it was the only way to go...

I dropped by the shop to get some last minute stuff I needed, went to a gas station to top up gas and check air pressure and left heading north at 13.20.. The heat was scorching I decided to leave with the meshed jacket and leave the multi-layered all weather jacket at home, I just took its internal breathable waterproof liner with me for when it rained... Big mistake.







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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:58 AM   #4
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:19 AM   #5
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Ωραια... νεο υλικο για διαβασμα το σαββατοκυριακο....


Don't forget to put lots of photos...
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:28 AM   #6
tserts OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbilly View Post
Hallo there mate! Nice start! Go on! Also suscribe to mine...http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=719181:freaky
Hi Bill! Welcome on board! I posted instructions on your thread.
__________________
BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:30 AM   #7
Wildman
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Ridden; GBR CYM DEU FRA ESP AND MCO ITA BEL SCT LUX CHE SMR LIE AUT NLD POL LTU LVA EST SWE FIN NOR DNK CZE SVK HUN ROU BGR GRC MKD SRB ALB MNE BIH HRV SVN MYS IRL BRA MAR PRT ARE USA ISL JPN MLT Planning; AUS TUR MDA UKR MEX BLR MNG RUS KAZ TJK KGZ SEN ZAF ZMB MWI NZL IND CPN
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Old 08-25-2011, 01:30 AM   #8
tserts OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incredulous View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GZPainter View Post
Ωραια... νεο υλικο για διαβασμα το σαββατοκυριακο....


Don't forget to put lots of photos...
Watch out for the crumbs with all that pop corn! Thanks for stepping by!
__________________
BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:52 AM   #9
tserts OP
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What is usually left unsaid about solo touring is how boring it is when covering 100s of kms to get to the good stuff... It is very boring when you have company (at least you can nag about is at stops), but when alone it gets worse... You just watch the odometer progressing and try to think of something to occupy your brain but a while later you're back to watching the odometer.. I tried to use that time to make some productive thinking (fat chance of that even when not riding) but I failed. I have riden the E75 so many times that it has become a chore, 600km of a patience game until the border is near...





On top of that, as soon as I was on the high way, I realized that it was very windy. So I had to remain very concentrated to survive the sudden blasts..





August and wind means forest fire in Greece, so around Tempi I got some of that too...





After almost running out of gas (I had to do 44km on reserve ) I was forced go under the road, turn south and top up on a gas station there, close call but at least I didn't end up pushing the bike... Soon I was back on the road heading north with a full tank...

A little further north it had become a bit chilly so I stopped to put on everything I had.



The weather kept getting worse and worse and I started to question my decision to only take my meshed jacket.. Past Thessaloniki towards the border there was a nice stretch with fast twists...





A little bit further north we ride on the Kerkini lake vicinity, a beautiful wildlife reserve that I didn't visit..



I am about 20km from the border but it's about 8pm, I planned on crossing the border but then it might be dark and I hate looking for a place to sleep at night, I try to push on but the weather makes it easy for me to decide..



It starts to rain heavily before I get a chance to put on my waterproof pants..



I am completely wet in seconds 13km from the border so I make a right where a sign mentions a hotel. It is a nice hotel. I don't want nice, I want cheap...

I am too wet and tired to do anything so I stay there for 40 euros from 50, I obviously looked too pathetic because I didn't even try to lower the price..

I go to the room, have a shower, put on dry clothes and then out to the restaurant to grab a bite. It is not very clear but that is a very big plate, I almost didn't finish eating all that. Saturated I head off and go to sleep at about 12..

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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:21 AM   #10
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1st day's route * Athens - Sidirokasrto * 620km * August 10 2011.


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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:02 AM   #11
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2nd day's route * Sidirokastro (GR) - Targoviste (ROM) * 730km * August 11 2011.


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__________________
BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:56 AM   #12
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Wicked Interesting...

...but no romance yet...
so far your previus RR was more verbally impresive!
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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I wake up early as I'm slowly getting into "road trip" mood, breakfast serving starts at 8 so I have a couple of minutes to appreciate the nice hotel...





My Kevlar jeans are not completely dry from last night so I let them dry a bit in the sun. Yes it is sunny! There are clouds around but for now where I am it is really nice.

Breakfast was good enough and I stuffed enough food to keep me going for many hours, when riding long distances a good, rich breakfast can make a huge difference...

I leave for the border and I'm there really quickly.



Queues are already forming but I just ride to the front and ask permission from the next in line to allow me to cross first, they always let me with a smile and this time was no exception... I then pass the Bulgarian side of the border, all employees are dealing with some suspicious cars, I'm not even stopped, in fact no one payed any attention to me. Further down the Bulgarian Vignette is required but not for the bikes, another queue avoided! I exchange some leva (100 euro) and I'm ready to see Bulgaria! (my original plan was to spend one night in Bulgaria but I changed my mind on the way)











The weather is nice, the bike handles great, the road is fairly decent, and everyone drives above the posted speed limit. I start going a bit quicker...



Sofia is about 180 clicks from the border, I am there very quickly and I take the ring road north to exit towards the east. I stop for gas a few km past the capital and have a coffee at the gas station. I take out the gps and set it up, I know it won't work for many hours so I only use it when necessary. My initial plan was to stay at inmate's rtwdoug moto camp and see Veliko Tarnovo and the area around. As I approach Idilevo (where the camp is) I notice that I'm making great time and I can press on as I feel very good with plenty of stamina. Bulgaria I close to me anyway, with an early start I can reach Idilevo in one day, my family (who I'm starting to miss) is waiting for me in Serbia so I just press on.









Veliko Tarnovo is a much bigger settlement than I thought (the "veliko" part should have warned me). I don't feel like dealing with so many people right now so I decide to go eat at Ruse (about an hour away) instead of there.





I already have a money problem since I have only toped up once with about 1,3 euros/liter and I still have 80 euros worth of leva, an hour before the border. I fill up once more in Ruse and look for a bank to get rid of the money. Luckily in Bulgaria and Romania banks stay open until late so I manage to get 55 euros back... Apart from gas, I only spent about 1 euro in Bulgaria for that coffee at the first gas station...

I head for the border as if someone is chasing me, the new plan is to go as far north as I can to get to be closer to next day's target, Transfagarasan...











I'm in Romania and it's "only" 5.37pm! I've been riding 8 hours almost non stop and I want more!!



The weather was awful and I was cold most of the day, I got some rain but luckily nothing dramatic... I was cursing my idiocy for leaving the jacket back... If it's like this here, how bad is it going to be at the summits of the south Carpathians?
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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu

tserts screwed with this post 08-25-2011 at 11:03 AM
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:18 AM   #14
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From the information I had gathered I was expecting the roads to be much worst in Bulgaria, granted, I didn't venture deep onto the b-roads, but my impression for the country's road conditions is "fairly good". People were friendly and open to me (the few times I interacted with them), it is a country I want to explore more and it will happen sometime in the future.

Bucharest is some 80 clicks from the border, I still had some juice on the gps and I verified that it wasn't sending me through the city so I was following its instructions. Somewhere around the west side of the ring road we hit some of the worst traffic I have seen, and it seems that this is the norm at that stretch. Almost 4km of stop and go traffic in order to cross an intersection. The road had been melted in deep ruts where the wheels of heavy trucks stayed for minutes at a time. I rode on the opposite lane carefully and was past that bottleneck in 15 mins, I guess most cagers would need more than hour to pass that point...



Then I got to another fast part of highway, where I had the sun right into my eyes for half an hour.



I turned north towards Targoviste and got into the smaller roads. Here I had to face cows, cars, bikes, motorbikes and horse carriages on the same part of the road simultaneously..



A bit after that I was finally into a less populated area for some km...

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BMW F 800 GS 2010 - My Brunhilde
New toys to brake!
Road Rush (Romania, Serbia)
Peloponnese Peninsula on two Africa Twins
9 countries in 15 days - Tserts.eu
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #15
zadok
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What an interesting journey. I must say, the Africa Twin looks great in the traditional Honda colours.
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