Oct 14th The time has come. Originally I was to head back to Croatia in April but due to this on going virus bullshit with borders and countries in lock downs still. I planned for now Oct 14th. I really do not know what is going to happen on this trip seems as though we have gone backwards instead of forward. I did know I was able to get into European Union. So if my trip was delayed or blocked I figure I would be able to at least ride my bike for a few weeks and get it out of Croatia because I feel bad that its been siting at my friend Darios house now for two years. I flew out of Washington Dulles airport had a layover in Istanbul then onto Zagreb then to Dubrovnik. Everything was going just fine till I woke up on the plane from Zagreb to Dubrovnik and realized we were landing in the city of Split. Now this was not exactly that odd there def been scenarios where the plane lands some people hope off then some people hop on. This was not the case this time around at all. They made some announcement about sorry for the inconvenience and blah blah. Now at this point I still have no idea what the heck happened but we all had to get off the plane. Finally at some point walking through an empty airport I found out the reason we were redirected was that there was bad winds in Dubrovnik. Now you think we just wait for the wind to calm down and board but nope they decided to put us on a bus and bus us 4 hrs down to Dubrovnik. We did have one pit stop at a gas station about a hour out where I grabbed two beers. Thankfully when we did get to Dubrovnik I was dropped off at the bus station and not the airport because the airport is actually located another 45mins further away in the wrong direction. Now I been to Dubrovnik 9 times now and honestly can drive around the city no problem without gps so I knew my hotel was just right across the water. It was 5am though at this time and was not in the mood to do the walk so grabbed a taxi and 5 mins later was finally checking in. When I checked in the front desk guy knew the issue with my flight so he was expecting me and told me my friend Erwin is in the next room and wants to be called to wake him up when I arrived. Now Erwin I met last year at the Ukraine and Hungary border. We were waiting in the immigration line and he spoke with me about my travels and I talked to him about his trip. We got into Hungary and we were both heading to Slovakia so we rode into the country an both grab a hotel that night and had a few beers. Erwin and I have kept in contact with each other since that day which has been about a year and half later. He made plans to meet me in Dubrovnik and would ride together towards turkey. As soon as I walked into my room Erwin came a knocking with beers in hand. We drank till 8 in the morning and then went downstairs to grab some breakfast and I need to get some sleep.
Saturday I slept in till one contacted my friend Dario to pick up my beloved Bernard. My bike has officially been sitting now for 13 months so obviously he will need a new battery. Dario had my battery ordered and charge so we just need to swing by and pick up the battery. Erwin came along with to help so we grabbed my battery and after short drive away where Bernard was sleeping. After a hour ordeal getting everything switch in and out I flipped the switch and he fired right up. Took the drive back to my hotel and got the bike up on the center stand and ready to throw on the new parts. My parents had bought me a new slip on exhaust and new lights. The lights bolted right up but the wiring well that was another thing. The wire housing was super long and the year of my bike the battery is up front where the gas tank would be not under the seat. Under my seat is the gas tank so there is tons of wiring to try to stuff somewhere all right there in the front and somehow try to make it look clean. I think it worked out the best it could or good enough for me anyways. After wards was the new tank bag that I purchased that replaced the old Balts of the previous cover and then finally the sparkling new chrome exhaust and man did that thing make a difference. We finished getting the bike done shortly after dark which was around 7. Got cleaned up and need to get some food in us. We went to this Bosnian restaurant that I been to before that was just up the street from our hotel. Grabbed dinner and then went into the old town for some beers and just walk around. It is Oct so it is not bunch of stupid USA citizens looking for some dumb tv show about dragons trying to find film locations. I was exhausted so two beers even made it worst so we ended up heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.
Sunday woke up early like usual cause of the time difference ate the breakfast at 630am and then decided to try to pass back out. Got some rest in and when I finally got back up Erwin has already been up and out and about. I decided to unpack all my boxes on my bike and tried to reorganize everything yet again. We had to hunt down Steph lost luggage so made the drive to the airport to see if anyone could help. After a beer and hour later it appeared. On our way back to the city we took a ride up the look out on the hill above old town. I probably have gone up to the top of this almost every time I been there as Dario usually takes me to his friends restaurant there. So since its a new year I still Grabbed some photos just for my blog and updates but did go to the museum up there for the first time and managed to catch an amazing sunset as well. It is on top of a mountain so it is a bit windy so I was cold and was ready to go back down and get back to the hotel and get dinner. Erwin tonight choose the hotel we would eat at. So we parked the bikes and made the walk right down the street to the restaurant of choice. Afterwards went back to the hotel and had a few beers in the hotels bar. We did not get to crazy because we decided we were going to get up early and make our way to Sarajevo Bosnia which is a 4 and half hour drive there and of course another 4 and half back not including the time off the bikes exploring. I been there 2 years ago and just absolutely loved that city.
Monday got up early like planned and got out the door fairly on time. Started on our way to a small border crossing and that’s where it back fired. The road is a nice windy single lane country road just outside of Dubrovnik about 30 mins. Exit Croatia easily get to the Bosnia side and Erwin being European got straight through. The immigration officer ask for my insurance which instantly knew right away okay I’m fucked cause I definitely do not have any sort of insurance on Bernard. So I was of course denied entry and had to turn around and go back into Croatia. To my defense I never have insurance on my bike in all the places I been to unless they sell it at the border I never get it. Well being its a small border they didn’t sell it. So called my go to Dario and ask him what I should do he said go to the other border you do not need insurance. Problem with the other border is that it makes the trip longer to saravejo and originally wanted to be out by 9. After searching for Bosnian insurance nearby the border with no luck and speaking with Dario it was now almost 11 and we are still in Dubrovnik. I told Erwin lets just go to Mostar Bosnia
instead and use the other border crossing. I mentioned there is some really nice waterfalls in Bosnia near the Croatia border we can see. He agreed and up the Croatian coast to the border of Bosnia and sure enough no info no insurance no covid bullshit we were in Bosnia. We did take a different route that I never took before where it was this awesome small windy road and small as in one lane yet traffic goes both ways. We arrived at the falls and two years ago when I was here the place was packed yet this time no one was here and on top of it they let us ride our motorcycles down towards the waterfalls. We had a beer down by the falls enjoyed the moment and decided to make our way to Mostar for dinner. After another amazing road to Mostar through the mountains we arrived in Mostar 2hrs later. Made our way to the infamous bridge that is around 90ft high that people jump off of. Actually Red Bull has a high dive event at this exact bridge for some consecutive years now. We grabbed an amazing Bosnia dinner yet again on the river there and after some desert at a gelato stand we made our way back to the bikes to start the 4 hr drive back to Dubrovnik but this time taking a different road. Which was yet again nothing but and absolutely beautiful windy road up and down through the mountains where we caught yet again another amazing sunset while in the mountains. Probably one of the best sunsets I ever seen in mountains I feel like you usually got to be near the ocean to see something that is that amazing. We crossed back into Croatia again with no stamp and no one caring about any sort of paper work and got back to our hotel around 8. So I usually get to hang out with my friend Dario everyday when I am in town but he was busy this time around but we had plans to meet up tonight after he got done playin futbol. He message me at 9 that he finished up and gave me the location which was near my hotel. So we walked over there to get some beers and catch up. Called it a night at midnight but made plans to meet him at a cafe in the morning towards the airport before we make our way into Montenegro. I also been trying to meet up with another friend Christian who rides in Dubrovnik during the past few days who is also was busy. He to mentioned he would meet me at my hotel in the morning and would come to the cafe with us.
Tues 19th of Oct The morning and finally the ride is going to begin. Got up at 6am to get the rest of the bike loaded
up. There was a group of about 8 other bikes all from turkey there as well. I been trying to contact bmw in Istanbul to get my bike serviced when I get there since its been sitting for 13 months and I also think my clutch was going bad. I did end up running into one of the guys and asked him if he could help me reach them. He then mentioned the main guy of his bike club lives in Istanbul and he has a friend who has a bike shop. He was still in bed but was going to be coming to breakfast in ten minutes and would be able to help me. I met up with them in the breakfast lobby and he made the reservation for me to drop off my bike Friday to have it serviced and the clutch inspected. When I came back outside to get on the bike and get on the road my friend Christian just pulled up. So Christian Erwin and I all rolled out of my hotel and made our way to the cafe where Dario was. As we pulled into the parking lot Dario was just pulling in as well so grabbed a table. They ordered there shitty smelling coffee and I grabbed my piss yellow beer. After all of our drinks I was finally making my way south to Montenegro. So first stop about 30mins later I arrived at the border through Croatia in know time and then Montenegro. Again didn’t have
insurance but like every other time it was available there right at the border. Paid the 10 euros for insurance and continued my way south to the city of Kotor. Last time I was here was ten years ago so wanted to come back and visit cause I remember how amazing it was then with all the yachts and what not. Well since it is coming up on winter I guess the yachts are not there so that was a bummer but the city was still beautiful. Walked through the old city walls had some gelato again took some photos and got back to the bike. Cruised the amazing beautiful coast for a few more hours stop to take photo of this island that the queen from elizabeth built up from above and moved to Bar, Montenegro for dinner. Got some amazing seafood that I fight with a stray cat over and enjoyed the amazing views with some beer. While I was sitting there I made plans instead of going to the city of Tirana in Albania that I would go to the beach city of Durres. So I book my hotel and carried on down the road. When we left the town of Bar it took us on these amazing single lane windy roads once again before we arrived at the border of Albania. There was a semi big line to get into the country but people suggest I ride my bike up on the side walk where the pedestrians go through the border. As I waited there for about 5mins the officer just told me to go. He did not take my passport he did not even look at me or the damn thing but im like well okay. So no stamp nothing here we are in Albania hahaha. Again the roads were just perfect winding through small towns before we hit a freeway and got into our hotel for the night.
Weds 20 of Oct woke up early grabbed the free breakfast pack the bike up and started to make my way to Korce
Albania. 2yrs ago I made a new friend at the beach city of Vlores Albania we have stayed in contact all this time later. So I wanted to stop in his city and pay him a visit. The road to Korce I believe I actually rode two years ago as well in fact when we came up on Lake Ohrid that I even remember exactly where I camped on the water there. Anyways we arrived in Korce took some photos of the town and met up with Deni. I felt horrible to meet him this day he just attended his grandmothers funeral and after wards came to show me around. Talk about bad timing but he didn’t seem to mind one bit maybe it was good we met up to take his mind off of things. Deni order us some tradition Albanian food that was delicious and not extremely filling. After a few hours in Korce we needed to get on the road and head towards Greece. I was still wondering how this border crossing was even going to go consider we have no stamp in our passports. When we arrived at the border the guy didn’t give two shits.
He in fact was insanely nice and talked with me about my last trip cause saw I was already there before. Next stop was the greek border this was the first country that even had mask on an asked for vaccination. Old faithful card is not really what they had in mind he glanced at it and just handed it back it seem he was looking for a qr code or something. Stamped me into the country and off we went towards the ocean again. This ride was extremely boring it was a toll road straight to the city of Thessaloniki. It was well past dark by the time we got there but I was hungry so we got checked into our hotel and grabbed some greek food. I been craving mussels every since I saw them in Kotor and this place had them. So ordered some mussels and meatballs all of it was just amazing. Had a shot of ouzo to digest my food and then was on the hunt for a metal bar. This was Erwins last night so we had to go out with a bang and that we did. Instantly did more shots and beers and partied till 5 am. I will say that Erwin can definitely hang with the best of him at 61 and he sure was a great addition to the trip for the past few days.
Thurs 21 of oct Erwin and I will go our separate ways. Like I mentioned it was really fun to have it ride with me the past few days but its time to get that true feeling of being thrown out into the unknown. His route back to Austria will take him through Bulgaria Romania Ukraine Hungary then Austria. We did manage to get up around 10 for being out
till 5am and drinking all night some how. So we packed our bikes and said out good byes. The road to Istanbul was mainly toll road but fuck that that’s boring so I picked a bunch of beach towns to cruise through along the way/. Today was the longest day of riding so far it was 8 and half hrs to my hotel in Istanbul if I don’t stop but clearly I need to stop and then I also have the Turkish border to cross. Did two beach towns the second one about a hour outside of the border of turkey had amazing dinner on the ocean. Got check out of Greece crossed over the bridge and had one of the most surprising border entrances ever. Seriously look like I arrived to the holy land these massive structure that look like some thing out of the movie. The photo truly gives it no justice but it was just straight up beautiful and had me super excited to get back into the madness of turkey. First stop they check the cover card again didn’t even look at it. Next stop was immigration got stamp into the country even though I did not have my visa printed out. Next customs again had to purchase the insurance inside the building came back out so Bernard could get his stamp and then just one final stop to check to make sure everything was done and into turkey I entered. It was a boring highway till I finally hit some civilization the ride was all very easy till the big bad city appeared in the far distance and stuff got crazy fast. I took a toll road with no ez pass on my bike so sure ill have fines that will never be paid in turkey. O the perks of driving around with california license plate they can’t get me or so I think lol. Anyways during this traffic jam contest for over a hour I def realized my clutch was not working the best so I think it would just need tighten. Eventually I did get to my hotel after about a 12hr day of riding.