Greece - the final frontier !!

Where you've been and what you done
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nethen1
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Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:41 pm

The Riders....

Me - XT660R
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Scott Walker - CCM GP 450 posh one
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Minky - CRF250L
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The plan - Ship the bikes to Bulgaria -
Day one pick up the bikes and get to Greece -
Day 2 get to Meteora in Greece
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day 3 till whenever ride through the pindus mountains into Albania and maybe beyond.
day 8 start to head back to Bulgaria
day 9 arrive back and load the bikes - get drunk meet the locals who we know through previous events
day 10 home :(

What actually happened is as follows........
Are we stoppin for a brew !

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nethen1
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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:09 pm

We lost Minky the day before our departure due to work and family illness ( get well soon )
So we had lost the most experienced member of our team The safety barometer too. Needless to say myself and Scott were gutted to loose our travelling companion so late in the day. :(

So it was up to us to sort ourselves out on this trip.

We arrived fresh and ready to ride, the weather was stunning and it was lovely to see Bulgaria in the summer time. temperature was about 26 in Samokov when we arrived to uncrate and prepare our bikes.
I'd casually mentioned to Scott if he had the documents for his bike...... "why would i need them?" ooops, after a brief explanation and a frantic call to the girlfriend, some photos where sent over and we managed to get them printed at the transport hub... It was decided we were best keeping to Bulgaria and Greece and not testing the Albanian border with non original documents.
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Ready to roll within the hour , approx 2pm and head to Greece... i found out my friends were at the lake having lunch, full family team, 20 of them !! so we nipped to Kamalot on the side of lake iskar for a quick lunch. Image
Cheap as chips food and a fanta, quick catch up and route discussion we
Said our hellos and goodbyes and we were off.

We headed toward the Greek border approx 2.5 hours away.... well that was the plan.

Within a few miles i noticed my newly fitted tyre was going down, then again about an hour late it went again... really didn't want to change it so i prayed the gunk in the tubes would do its job.... over inflated and hoped for the best....
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We kept riding and riding, the roads where sublime, beautiful, nothing like i'd expected,, great surfaces, near as dammit empty, twistys for miles and miles and miles and miles.......
a few too many miles it seemed...
It became apparent that there was something a little iffy with my garmin. Scott had the new montana but hadn't managed to put the European maps on it or ruff route we had... busy ! :)
I checked mine.. it was set to off road only, avoid highways / motorways / tolls etc etc etc... i quickly changed it. plotted a route to Thessaloniki and we set off again.... we seemed to be doubling back on ourselves but soon we were off on more bigger and sweeping roads, through gorgeous planes and then we slowly started to climb ...
Last edited by nethen1 on Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Are we stoppin for a brew !

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by boboneleg » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:22 pm

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one-legged adventurer

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nethen1
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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:29 pm

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Are we stoppin for a brew !

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnqi2JsFoNCV6ktRGEOVXQ/playlists

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppp :)

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:56 pm

We just kept riding, it was glorious, the tyre stayed up, it was pumped, we were pumped as we headed towards the border.....
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Arriving at the border we where told to line up with the wagons, a separate route to the cars... seemed strange, using internationally observed hand gestures it was confirmed we needed to stay on the road we were on.... honk, hoooooonk... the truck behind us started to sound his horn and shouted wrong way in English.... more internationally observed sign language later it seemed the official new nothing and we were indeed in the wrong lane... quick U turn then back into the car line... 1st official realizing we were English, just said traveling. to which we replied yes.. on to the next window....

PAssport - handed over
Documents for bike... ok,

No problems. I was free to move on. I waited to see if Scott had any issues.... good job i did... Problem !!!
No Possible !!
BIG Problem......

needless to say we shit um !!!

after quite a lengthy exchange using lots of the words problem, big problem, no possible, the customs official deemed it a good idea to get his boss. A very smart, forceful looking man, who looked although freindly, not to be messed with.

Problem and big problem and no possible were still a constant.. he explained that if we were travelling to another EU country, its no problem... said twice for good measure, but as this wasn't EU... BIG Problem.....

It was obviously at this point I had new we had f'd up .... " this IS EU is said, when did Greece leave the EU? i thought it was us 1st?"

"Greece? said the confused guard... "this is Macedonia no Greece" !!! even the brass on his lapels steamed up as he was clearly getting flustered by our extreme level of incompetence. I think he must have thought we were taking the piss.
I quickly explained we had a ... quite a serious navigational error that had brought us to him... but an error none the less.

Many apologies later and me asking him not to mention to anyone else that he'd met dummer and dummer that day, we were free to go.... back to Bulgaria.... but no !!! STOP !!!.

PASSPORT !! jeeeesus, I wondered what was in store for me after my half hour of no mans land... it seems I'd been signed out of Bulgaria but not into Macedonia ... i was truly in no mans land... and needed signing back into Bulgaria before I could move on...

Crazy... on we went back down the road, towards the Hotel paradise 3* heaven as it was going dark , we had our tails between our legs,

The Adventure had truly begun.
Are we stoppin for a brew !

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:25 pm

Day two - after a lovely night in Paradise, we were welcomed, fed, watered and entertained by 2 english speaking girls and a moody older women.
20£ per night, food was free as i always say in Bulgaria as its that cheap !!
there is always something cold on the plate though that should be warm. good food though. The rooms were eastern black but clean, brown, lots of brown !!

One of the girls in Paradise was studying fashion design in Falmouth of all places and spoke English really well. The Bulgarians are generally always good hosts and really friendly towards travelers. She asked why only older people would speak to her in the UK, said that if she spoke in the common room in the University to say her mother, but in Bulgarian, she could empty a room, Seemed to think the language put her fellow students off somehow. "only people from the balkans will talk to me, even in a club they hear my accent and that is the end of the conversation" older people on the other hand, she found to be engaging and inquisitive towards herself and culture. She asked why this could be... I didn't have an answer. "elderly people like you are always kind"... Elderly !!!!! that was the end of our conversation lol.. she was lovely and was clearly upset on why the young people of England had such bad attitudes towards her and her friends. I obviously corrected her on her use of the word elderly :)
It was a great laugh, we treid to get invites to her and her mates pool party in the local town,,, but the good hosting didn't stretch to this :)


Sorted the bikes and then off.. after checking and double checking against google that our route was the correct one !! Garmin still send us some crazy ways so I decided to stick with google and maps.me
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or route map of the entire trip
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To Greece !!! .. hopefully
Are we stoppin for a brew !

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Braaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppp :)

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:40 pm

It was a great day to be riding, fresh air, warm, great roads and knowing.. ish we were finally on the right path...
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My tyre had stayed up over night and we rode through valleys and lovely twistys toward the main motorway that should take us to greece.
Quick lunch stop, Scott needed a cash machine as he'd turned up without any currency... lol.

re group and onwards. Glorious !!
The plan was to head towards Thessaloniki ETA 3:30 pm perfect...

The ride continued via a lovely A road busy in parts but sweeping and twisting under a tree canopy through gorges and opening out as the landscape change before us.

I was a little hot and we were getting hungry so i stopped at a garage. it was a rough looking place compared to the all singing all dancing garage a couple of hundred yards before... i looked down at my wheel.. big problem...
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gunk was escaping from the valve hole, the tyre was still inflated but there was obviously an issue, the last time i saw this, the valve let go and I watched Minky slide down the road somewhere in shropshire.. I didn;t want the same thing to happen to be so I decided I better change it than risk it.
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There was a bike stand outside the garage, a little unusual, but bloody handy, although i was roasting, it was HOT, my crap fish tank gauge i bought for £3 off ebay showed it was 36 in the shade. I really didnt want to fight with a E09 mitas in this heat.. The ubiquitous smoking bloke sat near the pumps saw our plight and said the words we'd got to hear on repeat.. problem? big problem?.... we agreed

2 minutes !!! we waited as we was not sure what 2 minutes meant for us... sure enough, 2 minutes later the owner of the bike stand appeared...
"Problem?" me and scott in harmony "YES !! big Problem "

"10 minutes" came the reply... !!

10 mins later a pick up with a young lad sporting shorts and flip flops turned up. .... "Problem? " lol yes repeat :)
Are we stoppin for a brew !

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Braaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppp :)

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:47 pm

"200 meters - follow " so we did.
Just behind the petrol station was a row of garages each with different businesses of no idea origin, a car mechanic place opposite and his place.

outside was this !!!
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inside was even more toys and tools - we had stumbled on the right place. He spoke no english, but Tony a mechanic from opposite new a little and we fathomed out how to convey we wanted it fixing and if possible a spare " reserve" tube

Sorted, wheel off and our flip flop friend drove off and a crazy guy on a vespa?> was dispatched to source us a reserve tube.
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Tony came over with some fresh water melon blimy it was tasty, It was still pretty bloody hot weh 2 lads turned up on an old tenere.
He spoke good english and we exchanged some bike chat and laughs. The others
were soon back with tyre and spare tube sorted, oh and a range of classy aftershaves that the crazy man was trying to sell us. We all had a propper laugh.
40 lev - £20 for the tube and repair. My tyre had been put on the wrong way in the UK and also had a staple stuck in the tube, hence the gunk. Lucky we stopped.

we were on our way again within 2 hours, with great memories of some lovely folk.
Are we stoppin for a brew !

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnqi2JsFoNCV6ktRGEOVXQ/playlists

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppp :)

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nethen1
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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by nethen1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:48 pm

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Are we stoppin for a brew !

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHnqi2JsFoNCV6ktRGEOVXQ/playlists

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaappppppppp :)

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Re: Greece - the final frontier !!

Post by Neil M » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:43 pm

Awesome so far, keep it coming 8-)

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