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Turkey Motorcycle Tour Day 59 – Italy, Slovenia & Austria

24 September 2011

The ride from Pontebba to the Slovenian border was superb, starting with a fast road south following a mountain river, before again heading east into the mountains and over Passo Sella Nevea.

This road was probably the tightest of the day (to here at least) and included several short dark tunnels that incorporated tight corners. Up until now most of the tunnels had been relatively straight.

Heading further east past Lago Del Predil a right turn would take me up Passo de Predil to the border. I had all my documents ready for presentation and was suprised that no checks were made at all. It was not even manned. I just drove straight through but stopped for some photos, catching a glimpse of what lay ahead.

My first taste of Slovenia more than justified the day of backtracking. Following an unbelievably clear mountain stream, the road had everything for the biker, with fast sections, tight sweeping bends, next to no straight sections and unbelievable scenery.

This was great fun.

Finally I started to head north towards the Vršič Pass and onto the town of Kranjska Gora. There were 50 switch back turns to get up and over the Vršič Pass. Some of these were very tight.

I’d done quite a few passes today and encountered many tight corners. The right handers are the worst as they are much tighter and on the really steep sections it is almost impossible to see if there is any traffic coming the other direction, meaning that swinging wide and using all the road is not a risk worth taking.

For the most part I’d handled the tight right handers ok with a couple of misjudgments that saw me swing wider than I’d planned, but on all occasions there was no oncoming traffic to contend with. For many of the tight right handers on Passo Stella Nevea and Vršič Pass I’d had to resort to first gear and get the Family Truckster around them at a snails pace, barely enough to keep it upright at times.

Doing 50 consecutive switchback turns requires plenty of concentration, all the time looking ahead and through the corner you are trying to negotiate. You cannot afford to get your attention fixated to a point too close to the bike. This is what makes you misjudge the entry and exit speed and run wide or sometime almost stop mid corner.

The first time I rode a big bike on tight roads like these was terrifying. I was sure I’d drop it by either not maintaining sufficient speed through the corner by running wide off the side of the road or into oncoming traffic.

The more you ride these roads the more comfortable you get though I’m not sure my technique has improved that much. The balance of the Family Truckster is superior to my last bike even though it is heavier – it just feels like the extra weight is lower down, which is preferable when taking tight turns at low speeds.

I refuelled in Kranjska Gora and much to my surprise it was the best priced fuel I’d encountered on the whole trip – and by some margin.

Before long I was crossing the border with Austria at the Wurzen Pass, again no stops or document checks.

I’d been in Slovenia barely two hours but I’ll count this as as another new country for me. Probably my last new country on this trip.

And it was a great two hours. No regrets about heading east on today’s instalment of my Turkey motorcycle tour. But maybe a tinge of regret about not spending more time here – maybe I should try and do the route I’d originally planned.

But it’s just not possible to ride all the good roads on the one trip, even though I’ve done my best. I’ll just push on west further into Austria and find a place to stay for the night.

Here are my favourite scenes (at least of those where I stopped to take some photos) from my Slovenian adventure today.

 
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Distance travelled today 262 miles (422km), cumulative 9,038 miles (14,545km).

 

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