10 August 2011

Rain is difficult on a motorbike. Road conditions are challenging. Field of vision is limited. Grey skies cloud judgements. Cars are more difficult to predict. Man holes and paint on the roads can spell disaster.

But life is tough. How many of you would want to swap with me? I’m not going to. Rain is a test. Time to hone your skills. To find out what you are made of.

There were times today that I was challenged. Not by my riding skills but by my mental strength. Could I keep my concentration up – could I keep the bike upright?

Today I passed the test. It was a tough test today. Better road surfaces but rain that wouldn’t let up. I did enjoy some moments of respite. On the few occasions a dry line emerged I made the most of it.

The cars frustrated me today. Mostly Dacia’s and some Skoda’s. There were still horse and cart to contend with. But somehow the Dacia’s and Skoda’s were less predictable. They slowed when not expected. The Family Truckster does not pull up quick in wet conditions.

The highlight was a duel with a DHL van. Boy that guy could drive. He was on my hammer for some time. His lights in my mirrors. I don’t experience this often. Better let him pass – he knows the roads better than me. I’ll fall in behind – learn from him.

But the roadworks were my saviour. So many half road washouts today. Stop/go signals – both manual and automatic. I could sneak up to the front of the line – be first off when the light changed to green. But the DHL van got me again. In no time. I doubt he even noticed me, but I would like to think I helped him pass the time to the end of his shift.

Another stop/go signal at a half road closure. I got past some trucks this time. Never saw the DHL van again in my mirrors.

Bicaz Gorge was the highlight today (please watch the video below in the update section to see more of the spectacular scenery plus the DHL van). I had read about it. Was confident my route would take me through it. It did not disappoint.

But the naturists were disappointed. They remained true to their calling under their rain suits. I could see them waiting for the sun to emerge so they could disrobe. It wasn’t too cold today. Are they allergic to rain perhaps?

When I left Brisbane more than three and a half years ago it was dry. Water restrictions were in force. The grass was brown around Newstead house. It doesn’t take much rain to make grass green. Brown grass is wrong.

It was then I learned water was precious. Not to be taken for granted. I don’t want to see brown grass again. The grass is green always in the Europe. Why? Because it rains.

It is part of the UK culture to complain about the weather. Sometimes the weather can be average. But the seasons are a delight. Four of them. Each distinct from the other. They drag you through the year. We never got this in Australia. Just two in Brisbane. A hot season and a less hot season. Some cold mornings sure. But not proper cold days when it is dark at 4pm and you need to wear a thick coat and gloves. Dark when you leave for work in the morning. The Tube a cosy refuge.

When I feel like complaining about the rain I think of the brown grass at Newstead House.

It is better that I appreciate the fine days more, and don’t take them for granted.

But two days in the rain are hard going. As I arrive in Brasov, I think enough is enough. I will stay here until it stops raining. I’ve had enough of the rain stinging my face, like hundreds of piercing pins and needles, as I ride with my visor open to stop it from foging up. My gloves are soaked today. Most of the inside of my helmet too.

I don’t dare look at the weather forecast.

I’ll just open the curtains in the morning.

The new day will determine my destiny.

Please let this rain stop.

Sorry – no MapSource trip tracks for today.  I must of forgotten to download and save them.  Here’s where I reckon I rode courtesy of Google Maps.  You must take that ride through Bicaz Gorge if you are ever within cooee of the place.

Total miles today 137 (220km), cumulative 2,373 (3,819km).

Update: Weather was miserable but Bicaz George is spectacular in any conditions (as you will see in the video). Watch out for my duel with the yellow DHL van after passing through Bicaz Gorge.

I was so glad to make the hotel and escape the rain by the end of the day.

It was interesting to watch this video again – it paints a very realistic of how things look from the inside of a visor when riding in the rain.  I’d forgotten how bad the roads and the conditions were that day.  These had to be the worst weather conditions I’d encountered so far on this Turkey motorcycle tour, and coupled with the poor road surfaces, my skills and patience were thoroughly tested.  I can’t believe that my original blog post commented how the roads were better on this day!