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Thread: A return to Yugoslavia

  1. #65
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    BRILLIANT THINGS

    My pillion! It's nowhere as much fun on your own! Anyone that can put up with my flights of fancy and actually add to them has to be acknowledged. When I was young...like in '88 I'd arrive somewhere with an astonishing view, look around and think - this is spoilt without sharing, it's just not the same on your own and when things get tough it's always good to have ally. If you haven't a pillion, take a (or some) friends.

    Heidenau Scout tyres - WOW and I say WOW again, these are a great discovery. For just about 20 years I've almost exclusively used TCK80s. I never find them gripless or dangerous in the wet - I'm no hero but I don't hang about, ride mainly two-up and can say hand on heart they'll out-perform my ridding in at least 99% of occasions and I'll allow the awful wear and part worn front tyre rumble for the advantages as soon as anything other than tarmac is in front of you. Though I've not tried the Scouts on any more technical stuff, for dry stony or gravelly ground they seem as good as the TCKs. The wear rate seems to surpass the TCKs - that central 'strip' on the rear certainly seems to make a difference. Let's face it, the vast majority of the time you are upright (though it didn't feel like it on this trip, there were twists and turns a plenty...even so...lots of straights). You are also on tarmac 90% of the time, almost anywhere. I guess there are some who could genuinely find them not good enough, but to be honest I can't see me going any faster even on a track day than I could on these, OK, I've never been on a track day - I don't think riding any of my bikes round the Circuit Paul Ricard in the 80's when it was quite traditional to rip up the fence after the race and invade the track - bet that doesn't happen anymore haha, happy days! Anyway, incredible tyres, even laid right over as they were many times on this trip they inspired confidence. Didn't notice any problem in wet either...so far, nothing not to like. New best friends!

    In 3,800 miles the wear was Front, 3.5mm to 2.5mm & Rear 5mm to 2mm. These figures are for the 'wear' marks, NOT the actual thread. I.e. there is more miles left - on that basis the rear would go to past 6,000miles and the front about 13,000 if in regular use. Pretty impressive for two up loaded riding.

    Average MPG 57, worst 40 doing 80 odd on motorways, best 66. Pottering around should give 60s easily

    BMW System Helmet - Always loved the flip front, ideal if you like taking pictures and great for face to face without having to remove your helmet. The 'roof' vent is particularly impressive. Weird sizing on these latest ones though - I had to 'adjust' the removable liner as it was killing my forehead. Very light and aerodynamic though the Vstrom has problems with screen helmet interface that are well known.

    Autocom (wired) intercom, sure blue tooth is great but the wires mean never a loss of battery and I have a so many bits and bobs from over the years & it suits us.

    The Bike - everything (except chain) absolutely bloody wonderful machine. Could do with a slight bit more power but would rather have the slow-speed control. Could do with less weight...but all of them could. May get footrest lowerers as knees did feel it after 3 or 400 miles. Standard screen is good on Madstad brackets, but could still do with some fine refinement. The screen the bike came with was epic but I can't abide looking 'through' a screen, needs to be just under my eye-line.

    Halifax Clarity Credit Card - naturally you have to check it works for you, but it's by a country mile the best one we've had since Nationwide started charging for withdrawals abroad. There are other alternatives, but this worked great for us. You do have to be aware of the fact you have to pay off in full or be penalised. Also 'You don't get charged interest on spending abroad as long as you repay IN FULL, but do for cash withdrawals until paid off (5p-ish per £100 per day), so pay as soon as you can – e.g., via internet banking while abroad'. Mainly used as a debit card, but also to get cash at ATMs. That is WAY WAY cheaper than most alternatives, but do your homework.

    Also watch for some very confusing street ATMS in Croatia (and possibly elsewhere), not in bank walls, but free-standing. They use sort of double negative questions to confuse you and (potentially) charge you upfront for using them. Can't remember specifically but you're asked about currency, to which you say 'local kuna' to avoid being penalised, but then next page says something else about paying now. I think these specific ATMs are maybe not 'free' and charge you if you're not careful...I think. Bev's my banker but there was one occasion I had to leave her as 'insurance' when we found we couldn't pay by card and I had to take the bike off to find an ATM. See, that's why she doesn't let me have the card! Almost everywhere does take card payments though, even for small amounts.

    Booking.com - but there may be cheaper better sites? First time we've ever used but certainly makes life easier...doesn't necessarily mean you're getting a better deal than you would face to face - there are still people that approach you asking 'do you need a room'. But, you do know you have somewhere and you can still leave it to last minute to book.

    LESS BRILLIANT

    Hein Gericke Roulette heated grips. Sure I can resolve, but they don't always come on - fault on the button side I guess, repair, or change, don't want off in cold and don't want on in heat.

    Suspension fine, but needs replacing for two up loaded use was on max most of the time, only bottomed out once, generally very impressed.

    Lights, need to suss how to lower (now have, not too difficult) - they were a pain to drivers 'over there' in dark, must have a left bias - tried to check online beforehand but advice suggested not - needs taping, better still pointing more 'down', I'd make the effort to do that in future

    DISSAPPOINTING

    Chain - how did it go past about 4 wear marks in one trip, perhaps a crap chain, perhaps on way out before we started. Upgrade to DID with Suzuki Sprockets and an oiler, I'm sure that should improve things considerable, I know they are consumer items but I'd expect to get far more miles from chain than tyres.

    Nowt else!

    If you've thought of a trip down that way, go ahead - it's great. 3 full days will easily get you to Slovenia (from Calais) and then the world is your oyster, the bends are your friends and the fun keeps coming. Watch out for the bears though

    If you want to know anything I haven't already covered let me know, it's been a blast....and it still hasn't stopped bloody raining
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    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  2. #66
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    One thing I didn't mention in my now / then (as opposed to nowthen of hereabouts or 'nowthen nowthen' the catch-phase of the hideous DJ monster ) summary was the effect travel has post trip.

    The war broke out in Yugoslavia a short while after I'd been in '88 and the news kept bringing grim news, it seemed like it just kept getting worse.

    Where I'd ridden through Sarajevo became 'Snipers Alley', couldn't believe it, shocking. The ancient bridge where I'd sat talking to an old local bloke 'Tito was all that kept this country together' - was he gone? like the bridge. Scenes of Mostar blown apart and gutted where I'd got lost and turned my bike around. Probably those black scarved ladies and peasant farmers I saw in '88 were in what's now Bosnia Herzegovina, the sights of the frequent mosques then was quite a shock to me - I had no idea there were such large Muslim communities there. The abhorrent scenes of Srebrenica and the resultant massacre and the details that were exposed just about finished me off.

    I literally could not believe that all that could be happening a brief few years after I'd been there - and so close to home.

    When you've been somewhere and things like that happen you can't help but have a connection you otherwise wouldn't. And of course it continues to remind me even now. Only the other night I watched a program https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes...105108744.html detailing the worst of the war and that brought it all back again, shocking. Tens of thousands of genocide victims, tens of thousands of women held in rape camps, the things that happened there are unforgivable. Bizarrely I wished I'd continued a bit further and visited some of the other places I had been in '88 (I didn't have direct green card insurance for all the 'new' countries). I suspect it might have been a bit harrowing though, maybe another time.

    In '88 I had a visa for Romania (I wanted to visit Transylvania) but didn't go even though I was virtually at the border after I found out just how grim life was under Ceaușescu, 'even as a tourist, you may have difficulty finding bread never mind meat' a Romanian had told me. At that point I thought 'fuck it, I'm a tourist not an investigative journalist', the journey had been quite testing already and I wasn't sure I could cope with more solo hardship. Perhaps a visit to Bosnia Herzegovina might not be quite the same as visiting bear sanctuaries or coastal tranquillity, mind even Croatia has one or two names, such as Vukovar, that made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

    Travel broadens the mind indeed.
    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  3. #67
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    Just on the tyre wear - these are the 'Scouts' after the trip with a trip mileage of 3,800, new at outset.

    Plenty of rubber left as previously described and this was two-up with luggage. Lighter rides likely get more miles - unlikely with average GSer sizing mind
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    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  4. #68
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    Good stuff and thanks for the time taken to share this.. enjoyed it..

    We too got heavily delayed in Croatia due to the motorway bridges being closed completely a couple of years ago.. Seems a common thing.. The mountain roads were then horrendously busy.. missed our flights which impressed me not one bit!

  5. #69
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    All in all, a fantastic and fab RR, very inspirational and thought provoking

    Some excellent pics (barring the 2 of you in blue shorts) and nice to see your wife smiling and happy

    Bravo, thanks for taking the time and sharing with us, been a while since I have ridden those 'white' roads in the Balkans and would love to get down to Mostar
    JohnnyBoxer



    So many roads...........So little time......

  6. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritz View Post
    So this year, now, Oil changed, Heidenau Scouts fitted, MOTd, temporary wooden rack made for new TekLite bag and a bit of loose research done.

    As mentioned I was in Yugoslavia in 1988 on my way to Romania riding my much loved R80/7. On the way back - via Circuit Paul Richard for the Bol'd'Or I had an altercation with a yacht that luckily didn't kill me but mangled the bike. We both survived and rode together many many times from the eastern block to NordKapp and over to Portugal and all point between, the rides were shared in later years with Bev and I suspect it's still her favourite ride even now (still safe and sound in the garage). Aye - forget about the yacht thing, I'll maybe tell you about it another time. I was known as 'Yacht slayer' for some time afterward!

    So where were we...oh aye...reminiscing. So Bev found my 1988 diary and it made for some very interesting reading before we went. In no particular order there are some of the entries above. Let's see how things have changed (obviously it'll be 'phenomenally'). I'm a bit of a soft shite for a start now, anyways.

    Bev finishes work as soon as she can Thursday 19th September and we head south for Dover and an overnight B (left early next a.m. and got second B on boat). 301miles. Booked with DFDS but they let us take an earlier boat outward at no charge.

    A funny thing that happened at Dover customs on way out. Though we'd managed to get an earlier ferry I got that sunken stomach feeling as the UK customs waived us and another bike (a Rotary Norton of all things) from the lane and into the customs shed...bang goes our early ferry I thought. bloke stops us both and shows us a laminated poster "Do you have any of these items in your luggage", pictures of explosives, tazers, guns, daggers and all sorts of bizarre weaponry. Taking a chance (humour doesn't always go down with officials does it!) I says "Blimey, we have fluorescent vests and spare bulbs but I didn't know we needed all that for France too" the other biker chuckled, I confirmed we didn't have said items in our luggage and fortunately we were released without further investigation
    Just to be picky, that wasn't Customs/Border Force who stopped you and shepherded you into the search shed. It would have been port security, employed by Port of Dover.

    UK Customs stop incoming traffic at Dover but very, very rarely stop outgoing traffic.

  7. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinten View Post
    Just to be picky, that wasn't Customs/Border Force who stopped you and shepherded you into the search shed. It would have been port security, employed by Port of Dover.

    UK Customs stop incoming traffic at Dover but very, very rarely stop outgoing traffic.
    We had that, going out of Plymouth last month
    Asked about knives etc
    The blokes in bibs were really nightclub bouncers, once the ferry punters had been embarked and went off down Union Street thereafter
    All quite surreal I thought
    JohnnyBoxer



    So many roads...........So little time......

  8. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritz View Post
    It was a joy to see the Adriatic sea appear for the first time in the distance. Of course, as usual, the road jut twisted and turned and was well surfaced and a joy to crank over and enjoy.

    The actual Adriatic Highway is absolutely motorcycle nirvana - one road absolutely all motorcyclist must ride once at least - it gets better further south, but even from Rijeka it's good, particularly after Senj but down south of Split I think (from 30 year old memory) it's amazing, by sea then hundreds of metres up then down by sea again and twisty twisty twisty . wonderful stuff - I guarantee you won't be able to get enough of it (unless you tyre of bends that is!). Maybe in summer it gets more traffic, but there is a major road network inland now, anytime we were on it very little traffic....warning....you will have to 'occasionally' break the solid while line or bend speed limits. The central solid white lines can run for miles on end (as they did in '88) and on a bike there are numerous opportunities to safely pass, so too the 30kph bend limits (not t be confused with village limits of course). No doubt you would be nicked if caught in act naturally.

    Got to Senj, using the booking.com / google map directions app straight to base and park, wonderful place. Checked phone and yes, Stripe and Laura were in town so we were up for a meet. Just getting dark so wondered the merit of climbing off bike and going into town for what would probably be several beers, but then how many chances would you have to meet an old mate in such circumstances. a couple of calls and it was sorted, shower and into town. Only been in the place half an hour and we were out.

    Found Stripe and Laura a whole 10 minutes later - the walk looked a fair way but in fact was very short. Lovely old town with lots to admire, but not much time. Lots of hugging in this rather unexpected meet and thence to drinks and swapping travel tales. Food followed, a last beer in a smoky rock bar that then wearily waited for us to all leave. A great night was had by all. We'd had an adventure in the woods and they had tales from Albania and being refused entry at (I think) Bosnia Herzegovina at one border then welcomed unquestioned at another (no advance green card).

    They returned to their Autocamp - 18€ were they were completely boxed in and surrounded by huge motor homes, yet for 5€ more we had a full apartment. Would have made a huge difference if they'd shared the weather we had on our return to explore the place - plot spoiler Goes to show, that's exactly what I also didn't discover were I was in Yugoslavia in '88 - rooms can be as cheap as camping, or cheaper. Nuts! Of course if we'd all known we were to be in the same place at the same time we could have coordinated, but that's the beauty of this type of travel - no plans. Late finish, late night but corking day

    PS - we're around 1,600 miles from home at this point for anyone's future planning - 1,300 ish from Dover
    Your mate Stripe, looks awfy familiar, is it Neil from Dumfries? Great RR

  9. #73
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    Great trip.
    Great report.
    Thanks

  10. #74
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    Great RnR.....
    Nice write up on each stages aswell
    Thanks...

  11. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinten View Post
    Just to be picky, that wasn't Customs/Border Force who stopped you and shepherded you into the search shed. It would have been port security, employed by Port of Dover.

    UK Customs stop incoming traffic at Dover but very, very rarely stop outgoing traffic.
    Ta for clarification..so....may get away with humor there then...not recommended with customs, or it didn't used to be - but maybe they, like most modern things, are more lovey dovey than fascist now too
    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  12. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBoxer View Post
    All in all, a fantastic and fab RR, very inspirational and thought provoking

    Some excellent pics (barring the 2 of you in blue shorts) and nice to see your wife smiling and happy

    Bravo, thanks for taking the time and sharing with us, been a while since I have ridden those 'white' roads in the Balkans and would love to get down to Mostar
    Quiet a few Germans round Senj with dirt bikes - world of choice over there and many trails easily rideable on big bikes (and many much harder too I suspect as trailers of KTMs and the like)

    Shorts packed away for several months...mind they are swimming shorts so with all this rain...
    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  13. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by bazman View Post
    Your mate Stripe, looks awfy familiar, is it Neil from Dumfries? Great RR
    Aye - the one and same, there with camera shy Laura. We've been bikers together since early 80's but he's kept it more authentic than wossy me He was ridding back from Bulgaria
    Puttin the F in Ritz...........

    6 months in South America see here : http://www.ukgser.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

  14. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by fritz View Post
    Aye - the one and same, there with camera shy Laura. We've been bikers together since early 80's but he's kept it more authentic than wossy me He was ridding back from Bulgaria
    Knew it was lol, Dumfries was my home town , and used to bump into Neil all the time at different events, think I last saw him at Farmyard rally 2018!

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