UK to NZ - Travelling Ent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by joshuwaa, May 9, 2017.

  1. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Hey guys

    OMG I acutally get to start one of these, and it's in the Epic section too, I'm ****ing stoked from that alone.

    I've been planning my trip for about 18 months now, and that's when I started reading ride reports and trips and didn't stop. Here, HUBB, youtube and everywhere else.

    I'm not sure how much of my trip i'll report on. My default state is pretty introverted and non-sharing so I have to really make an effort to write diaries and share things. I'm hoping my facebook will be up to date within days and the blog within a week or so. ADV Rider, I hope to update you guys when I do my blog, detailed text with pictures backing it up is hard, I have the upmost respect for some of the people I've read here who are only 3 days behind and have lovely updates, that's hard work.

    Anyways, my next post will be my first few days report, hope someone can read and learn from this, they helped me so much in planning, it's nice to give back. Enjoy and ride safe.

    Edit:
    I entirely forgot to link my facebook and blog:
    Short sharp updates here: https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/
    Longer stuff here: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/
    #1
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  2. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

    Joined:
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    I’ve finally actually left! I rode out of home in Nottingham on Sunday Morning. A very boring ride down the M1 to get to West London to stay with some friends for a traditional games day of board games, escape room and Chinese takeaway then off the next morning to the Chunnel.

    [​IMG]
    Lucie’s Epic Quilt. 3 years and 100s of lovely nerdy crocheted tiles.
    Waking up the first day in France felt weird. I expected to feel like I was on the trip, on an adventure, but it was actually just a freezing cold, wet car park in France. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’ve been through there before a couple of times, ridden in France a lot, and camped with the bike, there was really nothing new there to feel adventurous.

    The decamping routine came back to me pretty quickly. Bike cover off and packed, locks off, gear tidy up, rope tidy up. Getting dressed, packing up the bags with everything I took out, reorganising as I go. Pack the panniers with the camp stuff, fit the rear bags, try and dry the tent, get bike gear on, pack tent up, secure everything with the straps, double check everything, set off. It usually takes about an hour from snuggled in the sleeping bag to riding off.

    [​IMG]
    The first camp
    Day 1, 2 and 3 was quite dull really, northern and central France doesn’t really make for excellent motorbike riding, just getting miles done, stopping in a McDonalds or two, and looking for camping spots. I definitely had the riding itch I read about somewhere, you just want to keep riding, you see no real reason to stop anywhere other than a quick rest at a petrol station. It’s mostly caused by nerves, if you keep moving nothing can go wrong, once you make camp you’ve succeeded, until then, things can go wrong. This is obviously not true, but your subconscious doesn’t know that. The first three days were pretty long riding days, but I slowly broke the itch, first by not using motorways, and second by forcing myself to wild camp (camping somewhere that isn’t a campsite, generally in the wilds out of the way, but not always) which can’t really be rushed like finding a hotel can.

    By Day 4 I was happily taking farm tracks up into the Pyrenees, knowing they were almost 3 hour detours. Though I had to keep telling myself it’s OK, this is why I’m on the trip, to detour and enjoy the areas and the riding. It was stunning up there, going from 300m to 1600m repeatedly through the day, half of the route was on single track roads with cattle crossing it. Winding up the mountain is hard work for the bike, sharp blind turns and steep climbs in places. Coming down is hard for me, with all my weight on my arms, heavy braking, and off camber turns. Bloody good fun though.

    [​IMG]
    You really shouldn’t rush hairpins like these
    I met Mike from Oregon (he has an ADV report here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/oregon-to-europe-morocco-6-months-rtw-leg-1.1219820/) who was at the start of a big trip too. I had just sat down on the grass at the petrol station just over the Spanish border when I heard a mean exhaust noise coming down the road, he spotted me and waved, I waved back, noticing he was all panniered up, looked very travellery and just ridden over the border. “That’s another adventure rider!” I jumped on the bike and set off in chase, caught up with him about 5 minutes later, and when he saw me in his mirror he pulled up. We had really good chat for 30 minutes about the bikes, travelling Europe and all sorts. I wish him the best on his Europe trip, he’s got a lot of stuff ahead!

    [​IMG]


    I made up for the pleasure of Day 4 the next day with a very long day, around 450 miles. I did detour through some mountains and avoided the tolls all the way from Ainsa to Benidorm. I’ve travelled that section of Spanish coast a few times, so there was nothing new, but riding in hot weather was a welcome change.

    Arriving in Benidorm was lovely after 5 days of camping, a cold beer and dinner waiting for me at my Dad and Step Mums place. I’m staying here for a few days while they take care of me, plenty of beers in, good food and lovely weather. They’re the last family I’m going to see for a good long while so we’re making the most of it.

    I set off on the 11th May from here to start heading east for the first time and really get the trip underway. For now, more beer in the sun.
    #2
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  3. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    And for a more ADV Rider spin: Here's the four nights wild camp, a motorhome carpark near Rouen, a Picnic site in a national park, in a campsite car park (cheeky) near Bordeaux and by a lake near Ainsa, Spain. The last was my favourite camp, absolutely amazing spot, quiet, private, by the lake with good sun, beautiful.

    Some of them took me over an hour to find, some I found without trying, just how it goes.

    20170501_203502.jpg 20170502_192342[France Camping].jpg 20170503_201909_HDR[France].jpg 20170504_185353_HDR.jpg
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  4. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile

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    Jackson, WY
    Sounds fun. What is your route?
    #4
  5. oldbeer

    oldbeer Been here awhile

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    Great write up so far, looking forward to the rest of the trip. I'm in Auckland so I'll shout you a few beers when you get here. I see you have a Vstrom ...650 or 1000?. Great bike choice for your trip, I think.
    Good luck with your ride.
    #5
  6. young1

    young1 Long timer

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    Location:
    Taranaki New Zealand
    Give us a call if you get to New Plymouth (NZ North Island west coast)
    #6
  7. cristiano

    cristiano Been here awhile

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    Italy
    in ;-)
    #7
  8. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    I got back on the road after a 6 day stay in Benidorm with some family. I rode North on mostly dull roads just to get some miles done on a familiar route to me. I camped the night in the wilds (wild for a road traveller like me anyway),
    20170511_212742.jpg
    though the road I was close too was a lot busier than I thought it was going to be, kept me up a while. Also, I may have been going insane, there was a regular banging noise, it was a cross between a single firework and a metal on metal bang, but it was so regular and throughout the night, with no rhyme or reason, I even went to check the next morning where I thought it was coming from and it was just a small valley, I still think I may have been insane now.

    I decided to visit Andorra properly today, having passed through before, so I checked for cheap hostels but found none, I bumped my ambitions and settled on a hotel with parking for 38 Euros. I arrived around 2pm and went for a long walk around the capital. I surprised myself with how much I disliked it, it looks gorgeous all set in the mountains (properly in the mountains too, Europe's highest capital apparently) and very old buildings mixed nicely with the very new, but it all just goes against everything I'm doing, I think I counted more high end watch shops than cafe's. Shops that only sold watches for more than my clothes were worth. I don't mind high fashion areas but it seemed to be repeated throughout the city I could easily reach on foot. I did find a couple of nice food quarters but they were all almost deserted. I found a lovely place for dinner though and called it at that, I couldn't even find a nice little bar on the way back for one more.

    The ride up to Andorra from near Llieda is beautiful though, some stunning stretches of road, toward Sort then across to Andorra: 20170512_122946.jpg 20170512_125846.jpg

    I'll head off toward the Milau Viaduct tomorrow and camp somewhere in that national park, which I think is legal in France.
    #8
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  9. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    Here's the rough route

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    The bike is a DL650 2010

    I am more than up for a drink in NZ. Many of them in fact by the time I get there.
    #10
  11. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    #11
  12. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Looking forward to this - call in if you head down the west coast of here ...... thats a lot of miles and stories from where you are now though!
    #12
  13. oldbeer

    oldbeer Been here awhile

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    Hey Joshua
    Just read your blog, nice write up.
    That's an ambitious trip but as you can see from forums like this one its totally doable ( not that I've ever done anything remotely similar). And you only live once as they say. Impressive stowing of gear on the bike. Pity about the cactus and folding chairs, they might have come in useful but hey you have draw the line somewhere:)

    Not sure you are old enough to be an ent, but guess you're allowed some literary licence! I was a bit of an LOTR nut before I moved over here 40 years ago so it was a real bonus when they filmed it my backyard. As great as the movies are, the books are better, so I hope you have a copy on that kindle,

    I noted your comments about long days on the bike. When I was younger I was always in a hurry to get wherever I was going. Now retired with more time, I still need to remind myself to stop and take some time on the way, not just look at it all through my windscreen and mirrors. These days it's the people I meet and talk to that I remember most. I hope you don't have any time constraints on your trip.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress, best of luck.
    #13
  14. JoeFab

    JoeFab Been here awhile

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    niagara falls, canada eh!
    In...j.f. :-)
    #14
  15. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    London, UK
    The last few days have been fairly uneventful, awesome riding, nice camps, stunning passes over the Dolomites.

    I don't know how to attach more than a few photos on ADV Rider other than to link you to the facebook albums I uploaded with the same in: https://www.facebook.com/travellingent/photos/
    I hate linking away to other places rather than putting them in the report but updating two different places at different times if very hard to keep up with.

    I'll hopefully do a full fledged blog on the previous week in the next day or so.

    For now: I'm in Slovenia! It feels a little like the trip begins here, this is the first adventurous place anyway. The first country I haven't been to and have no idea of the language at all. I'm in an Airbnb tonight for a MUCH needed shower and power catch up. I'll head through some more of Slovenia tomorrow and then on to Croatia! cannot wait, I've wanted to visit there for years, Dubrovnik has been on my list for a long time, and the coast road.

    For the more mechanically inclined:
    I think I have a warped rotor, is it likely to get worse or cause damage?
    I can hear it rubbing when riding, in a pulsating noise, but it's not enough to cause a wobble.
    When in a long fast corner, or series of them, it starts to whine, stops once i'm upright, but starts at about 5 degrees over
    It's a little concerning but unless the disc is going to suddenly explode I'm not too worried, maybe just extra pad wear?
    I'll be changing the pads soon, so if it's that causing the noise, I'll find out then

    18575455_10155346941783336_1381046853_o.jpg
    I met up with someone I'm joining for a China crossing and she had a breakfast laid out ready. I nearly died at the sight of an unopened jar of Nutella
    20170516_184545_HDR.jpg It's still climbing!
    20170516_175141_HDR.jpg It was all this stunning in the Dolomites
    20170516_211224.jpg Step in to my office
    #15
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  16. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    I did a little sight seeing in Slovenia on the way down to Croatia today, up to see the castle at Predjama. To be honest I didn't even know where Slovenia was until about two weeks ago, having never given the country any thought so I was keen to at least stay a night and see something. The castle didn't disappoint it really is impressive from the outside. I assume the inside is even better but j wasn't paying 10 euros to find out. The people I met and even the drivers were all fantastic too, Slovenien is not easy to guess at but everyone was accommodating and patient even when they alone no English.

    So I've made it to Croatia and started riding the coast (D75 from Umag), it is beautiful, just skimming the sea occasionally. I came upon a camping resort and went in to see if I could get a good shit right up the coast on a hill or something. The camp looked nice so I approached to find out how much it was. It's around 18 euros but I'm writing this from a little private beach with the bar behind me and my tent is about 5 meters away. A very good intro to Croatia. I had a look for wild camps in the way down but it seems they're quite protective of their coast, there was very little unused ground and where there was, there was no camping signs. I'm more than. Willing to bend rules to wild camp since I know I take care of the place but I'm not willing to outright break them just yet.

    For now, some beers at the bar and a little planning for tomorrow. I should be in Croatia for a few days and heading to Dubrovnik so if anyone has any tips on what to see I'd love some.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    #16
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  17. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

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    Durham England
    Looking forward to this. Good write-up so far mate.
    #17
  18. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    #18
  19. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    #19
  20. joshuwaa

    joshuwaa Adventurer

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    It's been a while! I haven't really had much time to fit in reports recently.

    Day 20 & 21 was riding down the Croatian cost to Dubrovnik. I think it's the best motorcycle road I've ever been on. Just stunning all the way. I wrote up those days here: https://travellingent.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/day-20-21/

    Then I got to Dubrovnik and went into tourist mode, seeing the old town and riding up to the lookout point. I loved it, it's an amazing place to walk around, even if it is packed to the brim with tourists. It reminded me a lot of Venice which I also loved, just with less water and a little smaller.

    I also had to spend some time trying to fix and then replacing my phone :( some idiot got it wet and wrecked it (it was me). I took it apart to dry and tried to clean up some of the crud that got in, but the screen was not playing ball. I managed to find somewhere selling the same phone at a reasonable price so I cut my losses and bought one while I could.

    I rode down from Dubrovnik through Montenegro to Durres Albania yesterday, hitting the Kotor Serpentine on the way, amazing road to ride on, though not nearly as dangerous or exciting as this makes it sound: http://www.dangerousroads.org/eastern-europe/montenegro/2286-old-road-from-cetinje-to-kotor.html
    upload_2017-5-24_13-36-50.png

    I'm staying in a hostel here in Durres for a couple of days, there's supposed to be lots of rain tomorrow, so I'll wait it out here, then leave on Friday. Theres a good group of people here, it's got internet and everything is pretty cheap, can't lose.

    Albanian roads and drivers are a different beast from Croatia and even Montenegro. In the space of two hours of riding for around 100 miles I saw people over taking with millimeters to spare, and even forcing people off the road in some cases. It's a sharp contrast but nothing compared to the likes of India from what I've seen, so I better get used to it!

    Dubrovnik, also known as Kings Landing (from Game of Thrones): [​IMG]

    The view from the top of the Serpentine, Kotor. That's a huge cruise ship in the bay:
    [​IMG]


    The hostel I'm at right now, Donkey has his own garden:
    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #20
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