18 August 2011

So as to avoid the likely traffic, I rejected my planned route further south along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and programmed the GPS for the quickest route to tonight’s hotel in Edirne, a short distance over the Bulgarian border.

Not a huge mileage day but still just over 200 miles to cover, mostly through Bulgaria. And the uncertainty of the border crossing into Turkey.

Even though I was in the country just 24 hours, I liked Bulgaria and some of the roads on my first run of the day were enjoyable. I was taking things easy of course due to my front wheel issue. Keeping an eye on the tyre pressures monitor just in case there were signs of loss of pressure.

For this trip I am carrying a small electric pump (it plugs into an outlet I had wired up directly to the battery) so small losses of pressure could be managed. There was also the fall-back to BMW Roadside Assist if I didn’t feel comfortable continuing.

By taking the quickest route chances are you will get mostly motorways so mostly good road surfaces.

I ended up with a real mixed bag. Some twisties and some motorways and some roads little better than goat tracks.

I stopped at a small town called Lozarevo, at about half distance, to stretch my legs and rehydrate. This was really in the sticks.

Another 70 miles and I’d be at the border. Is was this leg that I experienced the worst roads Bulgaria has to offer, mostly due to a detour required by roadworks.

The Border crossing was not too bad with about 5 checks, 2 in Bulgaria and 3 in Turkey and a short walk to get a Visa. I think all up it took about 30 minutes so definitely could have been worse. There was a huge line of trucks at the border as this is the major route between Europe and Asia. The entire border complex was very large. English was not widely spoken.

Through the border I was now only a short motorway run to Edirne where I would spend my first night in Turkey. Boy these roads were smooth – as good as the best I’d encountered to date on my Turkey motorcycle tour. I do hope Turkey can continue to live up to this superb first impression – but I suspect the best roads in any country are reserved for motorways leading to borders.

I’m expecting some rough stuff once I head east out of Istanbul.