9 August 2011

The alarm wakes me. I can hear rain. Heavy rain.

Breakfast at 0830 is good – an omelette – will keep me going all day. It is still raining and seems to be getting heavier.

My washing is still damp.

Three other bikers from Luxembourg also stayed at the Guesthouse last night. They are heading west. Opposite direction to me.

We swap opinions on the weather. No problems for me to stay another night here. But I am keen to explore more of this fascinating country. How many more horses and carts will I see today?

We recover our bikes from the out the back and park them out front ready for loading.

They are ready to go and make a start before me.

Fellow travellers heading west

A local asks me about my eye. It is much improved now but still a little swollen – should be back to normal tomorrow. I tell her it was from an altercation with a red hot poker. She seems to understand though offers no sympathy.

As I am about to load my bike the rain starts again. I wait for another two hours.

At 1300 I set off with light rain falling. My wet weather kit is on from the outset. I thought about heading off without putting it on but I made a good call. I ended up keeping it on all day.

Another low mileage day but made tougher with the conditions: bad weather, deteriorating roads and cows. Horses and carts clearly stay out of the rain.

The first 45 miles were the worst. But I took it easy and made it with no problems.

Not that you don’t have some moments.

Other bikers will understand this.

Those milliseconds when you are not as in control as you like. Either too fast into a bend, cars going the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road, gravel on a bend, potholes just where you don’t need them, cows lurking on the side of the road, rain in your eyes, visor fogging up, wet roads.

I had them all in that 45 mile stretch today.

Potholes were the main problem. I think they are best taken front on ie upright. If the front wheel is even slightly turned this could spell trouble. You try and miss as many as you can. But some you just can’t. Hang on tight and hope it is not too deep. Rain fills potholes – hiding their secrets, concealing their danger.

I had some moments today.

But the Family Truckster took it all in its stride even if I didn’t. Most modern bikes are way better then their riders abilities unless you are Casey Stoner. Traction control, ABS, adjustable suspension – bring it on I say. If it keeps you upright then why not have it.

A modern bike and respect for the conditions is a good start to a long tour. Conditions need to be evaluated constantly. They can change quickly. I did have one pure road surface today and the road was dry. 7.4 miles of sweeping bends. And didn’t I enjoy it – I made the most of it. Almost didn’t take the turn when the GPS said so. It was over so soon.

Some nice scenery today.

I stopped a few times to take photos but did the whole route to Bicaz from Borsa without taking my helmet off. One break for a coffee and a chocolate bar – the helmet stayed on.

Sometimes conditions like this can be a blessing. For the first 45 miles I did not get past 3rd gear. Most of it was in second and sometimes less than half of the speed limit. Nothing about the road surface was taken for granted. My speed was appropriate for the conditions. The occasional half road closure due to a wash out was easily negotiated at this speed.

I never enjoy riding when it is raining. But it is a good skill to have for when you need it.

Made it – time to find somewhere to stay.

Total miles today 138 (222km), cumulative 2,236 (3,598km).

Update: I don’t recall now exactly when I got the email from Kalahari George.  Went through my old emails even to try and pin the timing down.  They have all been deleted – by me though and not through the passage of time or my email providers policies.  They were likely deleted by me out of total disappointment with the position I found myself in with Kalahari George.

You may recall my post dated 7 August summarising the border crossing into Romania (go back a few posts and have a look if you don’t).  It seems Kalahari George took offence to my descriptions of his money changing practices and whingeing about the rain.  Not that he saw it – not initially anyway.  Kalakari George was not an avid reader of my blog (as we’ve already established in my post dated 5 August).  Seems though he had told someone about it who was keeping up with my daily updates on the road – I recall it was either his wife or children.  They had read the post dated 7 August and informed Kalahari George he was coming across perhaps a little differently to the way they perceived him.

Hence they drew his attention to my blog so he could take a look for himself.  This gave rise to an email from Kalahari George demanding I make certain changes to the way he was portrayed that day.  I was taken aback a little and remember emailing him back to chill out.  In my opinion there was nothing untrue about the events described, nothing made up or fabricated. I thought then and now still I’d been pretty reasonable not to include details of his nightly strip club adventures with Serpy nor his penchant for trying to chat up any young ladies with whom he encountered along the way (not that he had any success or much chance of success but it was entertaining to watch initially but became embarrassing after seeing the routing a few times). I hadn’t even disclosed his real name – but plan to do so in my last Turkey motorcycle tour post update, so stay tuned. By my thinking I’d been pretty generous and stuck by the old principle of “what happens on tour stays on tour” – until now that is.

I was kind of hoping that would be the end of it – he’d get over it and things would continue as normal.  But Kalahari George had other ideas.  Even though his email was a disappointment, another email from a third party in a few days time would really bring me to a dark period on my Turkey motorcycle tour.  More to come on “The Great Blog Scandal” including claims of me making “nasty, abusive, disparaging etc comments about other people”.  Strange days indeed.