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Old 06-20-2013, 02:30 PM   #166
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"Whole canyon is only few hundred meters long. So, only logical thing to do is to turn around and ride it one more time."
(end quote)

Amen to that!

Thanks for update. Lovely as always.
Moriunt omnes pauci vivunt
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:47 PM   #167
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regarding that short canyon section, I'd probably realize only an hour later what I just experienced and then miss it forever after :) it takes skill to recognize a exceptional section when all sections are good and keep you concentrated the whole time
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Old 06-24-2013, 03:13 PM   #168
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Day four, continued

Once out of Dimitrovgrad I found myself on this great road, silk smooth tarmac, corner here and corner there, absolutely no traffic. I skipped one off-road section. It was getting kind of late and I wanted to find camping spot, prepare firewood and everything well before nightfall.

In Smilovci village I got off the main road. This next part of the route looked extremely suspicious during planning stages. Road to the ridge of the mountain was clearly visible but I could see no normal road going all the way down to the other side. Somehow I completely missed regular, paved road going around the mountain.

At first road is decent gravel. After monastery road gets narrower and surface deteriorates. Some way up the hill I come across a paved section. Just like that, pavement in the middle of nowhere. And only then it becomes clear just how minor and unused this road really is. Small rocks and gravel everywhere, beginnings of small landslides here and there, barely no traces of any traffic. Anyway, at this point I'm glad to see pavement as it allows for faster riding. That's why that paved section lasted only couple hundred meters before it was back to gravel. There were few more paved section and soon I was at the ridge. No nice views from this point. Actually, I'm not sure I even took a proper look. I just kept thinking about going down to the other side. At this point I was sure that there is another, regular, road which could take me there. I was just waiting for this road to become unpassable to turn around. And that's what I almost got as soon as road started climbing down.

This is pavement actually. You can see how deserted the road is.

As soon as the road started going down the other side of the mountain it looked like I entered another world. Dark forest, shade of the eastern slope...Fact that road is almost completely blocked by young bushes and trees doesn't help. Doesn't help at all... Basically just like riding trough a tunnel. Difference is that in regular tunnels you can see road surface and no branches are trying to pull you off the bike. Only reasonable thing to do is turn around. Few reasons I didn't do that; no room to turn around without manhandling the bike (something I really really hate to do with 200 kilos bike late in the afternoon) and I could actually see some freshly cut branches and vehicle tracks on the ground, like somebody cleared the path. I just had to go on as long as possible, to reach the other side or the point where I would HAVE to turn around.

Progress was sloooooooooooooooooooooooow. Only on two occasions I got to use second gear, briefly. It was impossible to ride sitting normally because in that way head was always in branches and I could see nothing but the bike itself. And you know how awkward it is to ride with head tucked behind windshield, helmet almost resting on the tank... Only positive thing was that actual road surface was in decent condition so I had no worries about hidden rocks, holes, ditches or other nasty surprises waiting beneath all the dead leaves. Fucking agony... That's how good it felt at the moment. The Fucking Agony lasted for some three and a half kilometers before I rejoined with some regular gravel road. And it felt so good!

As soon as I got to normal road all those uneasy feelings were gone. Now when I look back at it I can't figure why it felt so bad to be there. Probably just the simple uncertainty (as I already wrote, at that time I had no idea that there is normal, paved road, and I didn't have any alternative) mixed with lack of time and fatigue. It still remains worst riding experience of my short carrier. And, now when I know that road actually goes through I would ride it again without any problems.

In Bracevci village I reconnected with the main road. Here it's still gravel but at least it's nice, wide and fast. Some distance in front of me I see a pony standing on the road. It got scared from the engine noise so it slowly walked to some side road. And only after I got really close, when the pony was beside me, I could see that pony's head looks surprisingly like dog's head. And that it has thick, long hear, like Sarplaninac shepherd dog has. And his tail was moving from side to side, like happy dog would do It was the biggest dog I have ever seen. Beautiful animals, I'dd see plenty more of them in next day or two. These photos are not mine, but I just had to show you how big and beautiful they can grow.

Pavement starts in Slavinja village. This is my first contact with southern villages, everything, and I really mean everything is run down. There are no people around and it's just depressing.

Short detour to Rosomac village. Road leading there is the worst pavement I have ever seen. It is a dead end road, village is just a couple kilometers away from Bulgarian border. Just from looking at the road you should know what to expect when you get to the village. Well, for some reason I made no such connection. I actually expected some picture perfect village with flowers an every window (probably some photo I saw during planning stages which, for some reason, got mentally connected with this location). Pavement ends at the entrance to the village, it's replaced with potholed dirt road dotted with large rocks. I had planned climb to the summit Tupanac, just down this road. Idea got aborted immediately when I saw how the road looks at the start. There's no way it would get better further away in the forest.

This is pavement...

All these photos were shot in the main street. I could see ONE newer house. At least this village was still alive, there were some old people around.

Back to the main road, Visocka Razana and Vrelo villages. Road is following a winding river and it all looks great. There are several nice summer houses along the road or at the opposite side of the river.

Next up are Brlog and Dojkinci villages. Living here is harsh, nothing comes easy to this people. Every bit of ground at the both sides of the road is being cultivated. Brlog is very small village, I'm trough almost before I entered. In Dojkinci I'm shocked once again. By this point I'm somewhat used to all the run down houses but run down, lifeless people are something else... I'm riding very slowly, plenty of time to look around. First thing to notice is complete lack of young people, there are no children. Everybody is looking at me like I have fallen from the Mars or something. Old people are sitting in front of their houses or moving around, looking like zombies to me. Youngest people I saw were probably in their forties, sitting and drinking in front of the local store. They had that unmistakable look of experienced, long time drinkers/alcoholics. People that look like they lost any hope of better tomorrow very long time ago. And, just to contrast all that, at the exit from the village I caught up with some new luxury car just as it parked by the road. Two young, well dressed guys got out. They looked so out of place here...

Pavement stops at the edge of the village. Road turns into gravel/rock combination and it goes trough the valley, now in the dark shadows. Plan is to go to the end of this road (it used to be a circular road but flash floods swept several bridges few years back and reconstruction is of low priority. This gravel road is used only by loggers (usually illegal) and off-road going tourists) and check several places for camping. There are some houses here and there but most of them look to be abandoned at this time. Idea of camping in the middle of nowhere becomes less and less appealing as night gets closer. Somewhere down the road I come across large meadow. And what made it even better there was a hut there with car parked in front. Cool, now I have plan B (it was plan A at that point, let's be honest ) if I don't find some other perfect camping spot.

And off course any other potential spot fails short: this one is to dark, this one is to small, that one is bad because I already made my mind, I'm camping close to people tonight :) Moment of weakness.

As expected road ends at the collapsed bridge which is currently being reconstructed. It would be possible to cross it but that is pointless with a large bike as road further on is almost non existent. Short break for refreshment in cold cold stream, few photos and it's time to turn around. On the way back I made few more stops.

I've been drooling over this place for at least ten years, long before I thought about riding a bike. I remember reading some ride reports written by mountain bikers, then later some from 4x4 guys, looking at all the Panoramio photos, looking for possible routes and camping spots, and the idea of visiting just never let go. This and, especially, next day are a dream come true. Stara Planina guys, Stara Planina.

Once back at the hut:
-"Can I pitch my tent somewhere around here?"
-"Where ever you want. Over there is a nice meadow but grass is tall, over here there is... Do you want something to drink?"
-"I'll be here as soon as I get unpacked"

Next five minutes I'm riding around, looking for a good place. As promised, grass is tall everywhere so no place looks to appealing. In the end I settled close to the road on somewhat flat ground. There is a water spring nearby which is always a good thing.

Tent is up, things are unpacked. It's time to go for a shot or two. My hostess was at first amazed that I was actually riding a bike here. Then she was amazed that somebody from other part of the country would come here just to enjoy the nature.
-" I've been living in Pirot (nearest town, some 40-50-60 kilometers away) and coming here my whole life because I had to. I never even walked to the nearest waterfall (two minutes off the gravel road, they pass it every time they come here).

My host, Jorgovan (actually meaning lilac which will be funny when you read end of the sentence) is a logger, he has several workers. They came here a day before. His workers are just getting back from the woods, they are transferring logs from small truck onto the larger one. Darkness is falling and it's getting colder. Good thing is that there is a nice fire going inside the cabin. Beans are being cooked on wood burning stove,something smelling gorgeously is being roasted in the oven. It's time for a shot of rakija. Completely unknown taste to me, Jorgovan says:
-"I can bet that you have never tasted rakija like this before. It's made of wild pears." I tastes perfect, it's smooth, it's strong as hell. By the end of first half of a shot glass it's clear that I should enjoy it very very slowly, especially with an empty belly :)

Dinner time, beans, still steaming home made bread... Oh man... Even though I know there is also a next meal on it's way I just can't stop eating. By the end of the second plate I'm already full. Bear, wine? Hell yes! Ice cold one, worst beer I have ever tasted :) Another shot of rakija, "just be careful with this one" is all I can think of. I couldn't resist taking some more food once it got out of oven. Lamb roasted with potatoes, it tastes so good that it's practically melting in your mouth... I'm bursting at the seams, I've eaten more food tonight than in last three days

Jorgovan and his truck driver, big, tough guys. Sort of a guy you wouldn't want to meet in dark alley. Few shots of rakija, then liter of vine each. After the vine was gone they moved onto beers. They had so many amazing life stories to tell. Funny thing is that truck driver wanted to go back home but everybody was trying to make him spend the night there and go in the morning. They almost persuaded him but by beer No. six or seven he was determined to go. He was so proud of his truck. It's an old military off-road cargo truck which he tuned with most powerful engine he could fit under the bonnet.

When they talk to each other they use some local dialect of Serbian language. After some time I'm able to understand almost everything, that certainly didn't hurt the conversations or the experience.

It's way to late when i decide to retreat to the tent. It's well after 10 PM Funny how organism quickly gets used to idea of waking up just after sunrise and then going to sleep shortly after night falls. Belly full of food promises though night ahead. No way to sleep well...

There are no words I could use to tell you how grateful I am to Jorgovan and his wife (name slipped my mind). Once again I'm totally amazed by the hospitality of total strangers. They took me in like we were closest friends for ages. Nothing but a huge THANK YOU...

Funny thing is that people from this area are considered as extremely stingy, there are countless jokes on that account... So, sometimes during the night:
-"When you get back home and you start telling people how you were hosted by Pirocanci (people living in Pirot town) in the middle of Stara Planina nobody would believe you..."
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:36 AM   #169
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thanks Gliga excellent read, great pictures.. very much enjoying this RR. I will come visit your area in sept, don't be alarmed when you see another biker on your trails
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:43 PM   #170
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Today is supposed to be a highlight of this tour. Many, many hours over several years were spent drooling over other's ride reports and images, carefully planning this route.

After unpleasant night morning came to early. For breakfast I'm having honey&bread with some fresh fruits from nearby tree. Nothing wrong with healthy food when tasty barbecue is not available Mandatory morning pic from the tent is missing today, simply because view wasn't good. I took refreshing bath in nearby stream, ice cold water.

Morning routine is well practiced by now and soon I'm ready to start riding. Only few minutes after starting it's time for first attraction, Tupavica waterfall. This is height of the dry season so waterfall is almost completely dry but it's easy to imagine how good it looks at full flow.

Can you imagine this small stream destroying concrete bridges??? Flash floods...

Next up it's time to climb to Klisura ridge and then to Ponor (sinking creek, I don't know and can't find proper word for that geological formation, you'll see photos later). Road is not maintained but it's easy riding. Every few turns views of the valley and the ridge at the opposite side open up. I can't help but smile, that ridge is where I'll ride later on.

Once up at the ridge I decide to make a detour to nearby Kopren peak, it would be a shame to miss it when I'm this close. From that point road turns into double track, grass, shrubs and hidden rocks. Soon I find myself on one section I really don't like. Uphill, large rocks, often "arranged" like steps. "It's time to turn around. No reason to push things. I'll turn around as soon as I climb this hill in front, there's no room for maneuvering here anyway."

And yes, I never made it to top of the hill. I rode way to slow and indecisively for road conditions. At one point I lost momentum and, as usual, bike tips over. Wheels are above the center of gravity, it's steep and slippery. Simply said: I'm fucked! In moment of clarity I remembered to unload the bike. Great idea, bike gets 20 kilos lighter and I have more places to grab it. First attempt at picking it up fails miserably. There's just no way I could pick it up from this position. Same thing happens several times: I almost get it upright, and then when I have to make that last step backward to pick it up completely one of two things happen. Either my feet slide under me or bike's wheels slide. Anyway, it ends with bike back on the ground and be cursing and swearing. Oh yeah, the fuel was leaking from tank and from carburetors, just to make things more interesting

Only way to pick the bike up is to turn it around, into some better position, on the ground. Some more cursing&swearing followed that action but finally bike was up. Now I had to turn around and ride downhill to reach flatter ground where I could park. I'm exhausted, breathless, whole body is shivering from adrenaline and unplanned exercise. Then I had to climb up and down that hill two times in order to get all my stuff. Off course, one of the bungee cords was missing so I had to walk up and down few more times searching for it. In the end i found it in the bush where the bike fell, and it's not like i haven't look there firstly :) Mission Kopren ABORTED!

Road toward Ponor is again grass covered double track. There are no hidden rocks so riding is enjoyable. Another short walk is needed to reach the hole itself. It's strange enough to see a stream appearing and flowing this high, almost at the ridge. But what completely blows you away is seeing that same stream disappearing into giant (relatively speaking) hole/cave. There are actually two caves there, separated by rock formation. There is another spring in one of the caves which drains directly into the depths. Even thou temperature was above 30 degrees Celsius outside down at the entrance to the caves I was actually cold. I would really like to see this place during rainy season. I resisted temptation to climb down into the darkness, one small victory for common sense.

Photos aren't doing this place any justice.

Last night at dinner loggers confirmed that there is a road which would take me from Ponor back down into the valley. "Lada Niva can pass there..." That's all the info I need to give it a shot. Other option would be to backtrack some 10-15 kilometers which is almost never fun. At first road is still a good double track, no surprises there.

At one point I get off the road and this massive natural amphitheater appears in front of me. I'm mesmerized and I don't want to move. Just sitting there on a bike, engine turned off.

Road, well actually it's a track by now, gets progressively worse as it starts going downhill. I can see a village way down below, that's my target. Surface is made of loose rocks, there are many long branches laying at the ground. One of those branches managed to get tangled between chain and the wheel, it would take some serious thinking if I wanted to put it there myself...

I see something resembling motorcycle tracks and that makes me confident. Bike starts to stall at steeper section. Luckily, everything is steep so it stalls all the time It took some time before I figured out the solution; due to the long and steep downhill fuel was getting lower than fuel line even thou there was plenty of fuel in the tank. Simple turn of petcock to the reserve position solved the issue. Relief!

After that steep rocky section there was a short opportunity for a relaxing ride. Track goes trough young pine forest, it's not steep and surface is decent.

And then things got ugly! Track turned straight down the slope, it got extremely wide with plenty of routes to choose from. This is used to drag logs down the slope so you can imagine how good it is for riding. Ditches and ruts from all the rains, pebble like surface, hole or rock here and there... I followed some tractor tracks on what looked like "main" track. Slowly, very slowly I got to the bottom of that part. At that point it was officially declared that there is no way I could climb back up, it's just to steep and there is no traction.

Now I'm already close to the village, it's just a stone trow away. Last section of the track is no longer steep. Instead it's completely fucked up, like it was carved from the stone. Step after step after step, like a long stairway. My bike has (or at least back then had) low ground clearance so I kept expecting hits at every step. Again, slowly I got trough that...

Now I'm practically in the village. I'm down on valley floor on some meadow. And then a shock! There is a deep ditch, dug around whole meadow. Wide and deep enough to not inspire crossing.

That wide strip in the middle of the picture, that's the "road" I took. This was shot from the hill at the opposite side of valley.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:52 PM   #171
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Thanks for the compliments and comments guys.

All your interest in this RR made me go pro on Photobucket, it took only a week to use all the free bandwidth. It will take some time for the upgrade to become "valid" so please check back later if you can't see the photos. I wanted to avoid that but it just became pointless to wait two or three weeks for new updates. Now I can finish this thread in reasonable time
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:41 PM   #172
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Superb reading, pictures are bonus. Good bonus too.

Branches getting stuck in between bike parts: don't get me started
leprechauns, gremlins, you name it.

Moriunt omnes pauci vivunt
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:28 AM   #173
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"Everybody is looking at me like I have fallen from the Mars or something. Old people are sitting in front of their houses or moving around, looking like zombies to me. Youngest people I saw were probably in their forties, sitting and drinking in front of the local store. They had that unmistakable look of experienced, long time drinkers/alcoholics. People that look like they lost any hope of better tomorrow very long time ago."

In 1984-85 situation was similar, but people were more "optimistic" , when you entered "kafana" (pub) people were drinking, smiling, talking (and just have fun). In 2009 I didn't dare to stop in front of kafana, there was a bunch of middle aged drunks in front of it in their underwear (top) with "empty eyes" and they looked (stared) at me like (yes) I'm from the Mars (I'm a foreigner now and you never known when they are too drunk) . I stoped at the monastery (few kilometers down the road) and had a nice chat with the monks, so yes, people are generally very friendly, but some are better to be avoided.
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:00 PM   #174
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Few minutes of looking around and we have a score, there is one narrow part which haven't been dug out yet. Then, just 50 or so meters away there is a construction site, they are building a new bridge across the river. The bridge is there but it would be difficult to get on or off as there are no approaches. River crossing looks easy, I'll just have to wait for the digger and dump truck to finish with their job. Time for a brake anyway...

Some pavement backtracking to reach Brlog village. Last night loggers told me that there should be a road which would take me up to the next ridge. Some locals provided detailed turn by turn instructions. Obviously, all I can remember is first two directions; after that I don't even try. And, just to make it interesting, I even managed to screw that up. I was unable do find trail start... Just outside of the village there is a group of road workers. They sort of confirmed that road exists but from the way they said that it was clear they have absolutely no idea what I even asked. Back to the village, ready to give up, that's when I saw first "landmark". Now I have a road to follow.

As promised, first part of the road is good gravel. That lasts until first switchback when surface changes into dirt. There is even a sign making it clear that I'm on the right track. Few minutes later and I'm at the dead-end in the forest. There is a shepherd's house and luckily for me it's occupied. Shepherd tells me it would be best if I backtrack a little bit and then take regular, marked road. There should be no problems with riding, few weeks back there were some 4x4s going trough. Nowhere to get lost as this is the only way.

After some slow progress trough the forest road climbs above tree line. It turns into excellent double track with hard packed surface, enjoyment to ride. It takes some time before I realize that tracks are much further apart and much wider than on regular double track, this one wasn't made by cars...

Back during planning stages I have imagined this would be one giant plateau, with nice and easy track going over it. Well, I was wrong... Road quickly turned into a narrow double track, with both tracks being cut into the surface. Everything is covered with grass and that's only thing that I got right. It all made for some slow and not very fun progress.

As I approach first turn off toward civilization I decide to take it. Food, fuel and time to meet a friend from local biking forum. Plan is to get back to this ridge/plateau later on, using different route.

Road becomes decent gravel again, I'm enjoying the views. I'm riding in the middle of the road which is slightly raised. In one lefthand turn rear wheel hops over a rock and gets thrown sideways. Before I was able to realize something was going on I was already on the ground, sliding with leg caught beneath the bike. Somehow there is just enough room for the leg not to be crushed or hurt in any way. Similar thing happened several times already, every time I was lucky enough to escape any injury. And there is only limited number of times when you can count on luck to protect you. It will be painful experience once the luck runs out :) This time bike stood up easily. Again, there was a puddle of fuel under the bike. That was strange because fuel tank was completely dry and there were no traces of leaking anywhere on the bike. And it looked to dark for fuel. Actually, it looked just like engine oil. Fuck!!!! Alternator cover is cracked!

At first I was completely pissed off, all I could think was how difficult ($$$$$$) it would be to transport bike back home. Then some common sense kicked in. Things like this are regularly and easily fixable with some epoxy. Off-course, I have none but I already feel much better. All I have to do now is get to Pirot, nearest town, and find some mechanic there. I didn't want to start the bike until it was necessary. Never imagined it would be that "difficult" riding 200 kg bicycle off-road when there is no engine braking...

Soon I come across first uphill section. No way I would be able to push the bike up so I decide to start the engine. It looked promising, oil wasn't shooting out of the hole and oil warning light went out immediately. I was able to climb to the top of the hill without any problems, although I spent more time staring at oil pressure lamp than on road in front of me. Quick check of oil level confirmed that everything is rather good, no noticeable loss... When I came to next uphill section I had no worries about leaking oil so bike was fired again. Another check off the level and I was relaxes, still no noticeable losses. From that point on I rode as usual, now it was clear that oil is leaking only when bike is leaning to the left side. Once I reached pavement it's time to check oil level one more time; still good. Score!!! From there it's 30 km of nice twisty pavement to Pirot. I'm not enjoying, not at all.

At the edge of town I stopped to contact Darko, friend from local biking community. After ten second conversation there is a huge smile on my face;
-"Don't worry, I'll meet you in ten minutes in city center, we'll go to a mechanic immediately."

I was waiting for him to arrive, just taking some notes. After several minutes I noticed huge oil puddle beneath the bike. Idiot... It leaks oil only while leaning to the left, for example while on a side stand... I would feel much better if bike didn't have center stand

Quick ride to the mechanic, his yard is full of bikes in various stages of repair. He digs into my bike immediately, I know I'm in good hands. Crack is welded in no time. Painting and drying the cover took a little longer but hey... By the time he was done part actually looked better than it did before the crash :) He was even nice enough to replace a missing fairing bolt and to wash the whole bike (well, I just wanted to clean the radiator, I worked hard to get all that dirt on the bike ). When I wanted to pay for all the work he just smiled:
-"Don't be silly, you're traveler and Darko's friend. I'm here to help."

And once again I'm speechless and grateful. Amazing how every time I need some sort of help there is always somebody there. It really restores my faith in people. Ah, joys of travel :)

Few things worth mentioning:
-I never met Darko before. We only exchanged several messages trough a forum few months before.
-He was only contact I had for the entire route. Funny how shit like this happens when you have a backup.
-If this happened close to my home town it would take me much, much longer to get it fixed as I don't know any mechanic who could help me.

By the time all this was done Sun was already low. It was pointless to start next off-road section (probably most attractive on this whole trip. Damn, I'll have to come back ) so instead I went straight to Topli Do village where I planned to camp. Road leading there is narrow and twisty, it goes trough Temstica river canyon. Scenery is just amazing, deep canyon with red rocks. No time to stop so it's another place to revisit. Along the road I'm searching for backup places to camp, in case my planned location proves to be bad. Like I would time to backtrack, completely disregarding the fact it's 20-25 kilometers one way and the Sun has set by now.

Just before the village I caught up with tractor, and two backpackers in the trailer. Extremely surprising to see a tourist in this area. My planned camping location was several kilometers further down the road, off-road, dead-end and with night starting to fall. It didn't take long to dismiss that option. Backpackers turned out to be two Israeli guys visiting Serbia for last few weeks. I hoped they will be up for camping 'cause it would be cool to have some company but no such luck this time, they wanted some proper accommodation. Locals told me of several places which could be suitable for camping, one just up the river and another in the backyard of abandoned school. I didn't feel like experimenting and searching for the spot in darkness so I opted for school yard.

I'm fortunate because one of three working street lamps is lighting the backyard. Village is already asleep, there is only one guy walking around, talking to him self. Sometimes later there was one older couple, walking hand in hand. It was very surprising to see a sight like that in this place, like they were strolling main street in some downtown.

Anyway, it was almost nine o'clock when I finally retreated to my sleeping bag. Just 110 kilometers today, four hours of moving or whole day. What a day!

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Old 07-08-2013, 09:21 AM   #175
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Together with the birth of a new day village itself started to come back to life. Not a big surprise considering the fact that everything went quiet after sunset. My new neighbors are making it difficult to get some sleep. A donkey, a horse and small flock of sheep, some of them with bells around the necks.

While I was packing all the kids (exactly two of them) from local elementary school joined me, interested in bike and all the gear.

None of the locals I talked to looked surprised when I told them where I'm headed. Translated to my language: road is normal. While I was packing several people, including those backpackers from yesterday, herding cows and sheep went by in same direction. "See you down the road."

Right from the start road was worse than I expected . It wasn't difficult at all but somehow I hoped for good, graded gravel.

Five, then seven kilometers goes by and I still haven't caught up with anybody. No way that they could go this far in such a short time, especially while herding animals. And yet, I never saw any other, alternative road. "Mystery" remained unsolved.

At one intersection my route takes me to the right. Immediately road gets worse, it's overgrown, there are some ditches... Hm, that doesn't look like road which regular passenger cars could take. An old, abandoned cabin by the road, after that road gets even worse. Now it's becoming steep and completely overgrown with tall grass. I don't feel like experimenting so it's backtracking time.

Back to the last intersection and normal road. There are several small stream crossings, one short section where water is flowing on the road. Just nice and relaxing riding.


And then it just had to happen. Hairpin with loose rock surface, I'm going way to slow and, just to make sue, look everywhere but the road. I lost balance and there's no way to keep the bike upright. Naturally it falls with wheels pointing uphill. First attempt at picking it up ends without results, other than some shouting and swearing. Luggage off, turn the bike on the ground and try again. And once more there's no way to pick it up. Even more manhandling of the bike on ground followed, to put it into better position. Somehow it's up! I'm completely spent, can't catch any breath, my legs are shivering... This is not what I needed this morning. Fuck riding solo, fuck off-road, fuck everything! As soon as I get to pavement there's no way I'll go off-road 'till the end off the day...

Once at the pass I can only stop and try to keep my jaw from falling.

Intersection: pavement to the left, Midzor, highest peak in Serbia, to the right. Well, fuck it. Road looks good enough, let's give it a try.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:26 AM   #176
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Location: St.Leonards on Sea, England.
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Originally Posted by Gliga View Post
fuck it. Road looks good enough, let's give it a try.
That's the spirit.
3 - 1 black Tigers. 955i+800XC (sold)+800XC=113000 miles of fun.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:14 AM   #177
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Location: Serbia
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And off to a new trip I go. Time to explore some new areas in Bosnia and then Montenegro. Here's just few photos from last trip, a week or so back, more on that when I come back :) Enjoy :)

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Old 07-13-2013, 12:55 AM   #178
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Keep it coming brother!
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:08 PM   #179
Joined: Jul 2013
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Wow, just wow! Just found this thread and actually I'm quite tired and wanted to go to bed but then I just couldn't stop going through the whole thread!

Amazing! There are some photos that could be straight from a bike magazine.
Could you share some info on your camera gear? Sorry if you already did, I must admit I didn't read everything, the photos were too distracting!
I love your editing and your style.

It also amazes me what kind of 'roads' you went up with that bike!
Admittedly I don't really know anything of bikes yet, I am just looking into getting my first one, but I have been riding a Honda NX650 (Dominator) for a few weeks and it's pretty much the exact same thing from Honda, maybe a bit heavier, and I could never ever imagine taking those roads. Never thought a bike like that could go up roads so steep. And as if that wasn't enough, those roads weren't even roads but paths, full of boulders.
Really blows my mind, I still can't wrap my head around how you did that.

And it's also great to see this side of the area.
To be honest, most of the time in western Europe the one thing that you learn about the Balkans is the wars and how the destroyed cities look.
I saw many documentaries on Serbia and the war and read a lot about it, so it was really great for me to see it from this perspective.

And now I can't get the Winnetou theme song out of my head because of the scenery .
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:50 AM   #180
Joined: Jul 2013
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fanatastic read,keep it coming
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