The Great Gallivant - Video blogging 35,000 k's around Europe...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jetjackson, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    490
    Location:
    Houston, TX - Aussie expat
    Cheers mate!

    I am back home, and at the moment working in an underground mine. It's a long story but my editing pc has broken and so I am waiting until I have enough cash to buy the latest and greatest editing mac before I start putting together another video blog.

    At this stage that looks like April, however I found out I can book in editing time on some great pc's they have in town at the state library. Keen to book one in soon but I can only get max 4 hours per day and it takes about 20-30 hours normally to edit together one of these video blogs... soon though, soon :D I won't leave this story unfinished, it might just take another year to tell :D
    #81
  2. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    490
    Location:
    Houston, TX - Aussie expat
    May 31-Jun 1 2012 - Can Jou, Catalunya - Piacenza, Italy - Opatija, Croatia - 1400km

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    I woke up feeling groggy. You know the feeling. Like someone has rubbed sand in your eyes. Your face feels numb, your limbs disassociated from your body.

    Originally my plan had been to leave at about 7am but I pushed that idea out a bit with every extra hour that I failed to fall asleep. At about 3am with thoughts still racing and no sign of sleep I booked another hostel in Genoa. It gave me a back-up option for the day ahead and at 150 km shorter than the originally planned 880 km to Piacenza it meant that I wouldn’t have to push myself if I didn’t have the energy. I was negotiating with my own mind, hoping this compromise would alleviate some tension and slow my thoughts enough to drift off to sleep. An hour later I was still compromising, booking a hostel 2000 km closer, this time in Nice, making it a total of 550 km for the next day. With the first signs of morning starting to show I packed my bags onto the bike in a haze.

    5am, asleep finally, only to wake up about two and a half hours later. I struggled down a small breakfast of muesli, my appetite sapped from sleep deprivation. Hugs goodbye to Adina and Cammie. I hit the road. Half a dozen layers keeping me warm, a feeling of anxiousness diluted by my insomnia induced haze.

    When riding long distances in a day I find it takes about a hundred k’s to get into a rhythm. After this you start to get into a groove and the 2nd hundred seems to take half as much time as the first. All until you reach the afternoon and fatigue starts to kick in.

    This time I am 250 km in and already feeling groggy and fatigued. Stopping for an apple and to remove a couple of layers now that it has warmed up. Surprisingly the 15 minute break rejuvenates me. I have since heard a rumour that Apples are an alternative to caffeine and have similar energy boosting qualities. Some quick research however seems to point to this as just being a myth propagated by an agricultural lobby in the US.

    Another 300 km until Nice, my first exit strategy from what seems to be a personal quest of endurance. Things start to brighten however and the circadian rhythm of my body must be making up for the lack of sleep. I start to feel good. By the time I reach a fuel station outside Nice I am confident that I can at least make it another 200 to Genoa. A few sandwiches and a quick kip and I am back on the road to Genoa.

    Clouds set in as I head west and I pull over to put the banana suit on. A local trucker takes interest in me, he speaks a bit of Spanish. Our broken conversation goes along the lines of. I am travelling some 1400 km for a woman and he thinks I am crazy and should have just found a new one that was a bit closer.

    Buoyed by my progress I seem to have enough left in the tank to make it to my original destination, Piacenza. It is late in the afternoon by the time I trundle in.

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    My bike in front of the hostel in Picenza

    The hostel I stay in is a work in progress. After a chat with the owner I learn that they are employing many African refugees to help rebuild the hostel. Many of them have been there for long period of time, applying and reapplying for asylum with the assistance of the owners. Originally British they complain of the bureaucracy of the local government and how it is very difficult to get anything done. She tells me that there have been earthquakes a few 100 km away just the day earlier. Not something I am keen to hear. The thought of the tarmac shifting a metre sideways whilst I am hurtling along at 130 clicks doesn’t appeal to me.

    There are only a few other backpackers there. They are all walking a Catholic pilgrimage to Rome and we exchange war stories over dinner. After a couple of glasses of wine I am shot and have very little trouble getting to sleep.

    I wake refreshed and eager to get away from whatever geological fault line underlies this part of Italy. It seems to be poor weather but it is hard to tell from the smog that hangs in the air over northern Italy. I vaguely remember someone earlier in my first trip to Italy telling me that there is a period of the year where northern Italy might as well be avoided thanks to thick smog. Perhaps this is that time of year, luckily I’m not interested in the sights. One thought is motivating me, reaching Nicole in Croatia and being free to explore the Balkans for the coming months.

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    Stopping for a quick chat to the Camera about how I am feeling, for the video part of this blog...

    At this stage I have no idea what Eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans is going to be like. When I was young I grew up with Croatian family friends in Australia. We used to play soccer at the Croatian Soccer Club and I only vaguely knew that their parents had come to Australia because of war. That and the Croatians hated the Serbians for some reason. Everything else I knew was from heresay and stereotypes.

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    Crossing the border into Slovenia

    Crossing the border into Slovenia it started bucketing with Rain and I could barely see the road. There is a very short distance to cross here before you make it to Croatia. It would be my first time crossing a non-shengen border with the motorbike and I was curious to see how it would go.

    It went smoothly, they stamped my passport and didn’t even request papers for the bike. My first issue was about 15 km down the road when I came across a toll road, despite my GPS being set to go around tolls. Without any Croatian Kuna I was worried about how I would pay. Apparently this happens often though, and they were happy to accept my Euros.

    1400 km and 2 days later I had made it to Opatija. Nicole was out the front of our hotel, eagerly awaiting my arrival. After what we had both put ourselves through to get to that point, it was just good to be back together.

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    The view from our Hotel room in Opatija
    #82
  3. CurDog

    CurDog Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    58
    Location:
    Daytona Beach, FL
    It is great to have you back with another installment. Was beginning to worry that you had fallen off the map. I enjoyed the written report of your time in Can Jou. You provided a lot of detail as to what it was like working there plus good background as to the various characters. Sorry to hear of the stress and anxiety you faced during that time. I am looking forward to future video installments. They are a real treat!

    :clap:clap
    #83
  4. LethPhaos

    LethPhaos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    636
    Location:
    Belgistan
    enjoyed the update, looking forward to the next reports as the balkan is my destination this summer :D
    #84