Mike and Shelley go to Europe and ride around some

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AMEretired, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    The next day we would visit with Dalmatino.!!
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    #81
  2. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    I've fond memories of Split! Thanks for sharing your visit! As I recall, Diocletian was one of the few Roman emperors to die of natural causes! Wondering how you found costs in Croatia?
    #82
  3. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Blader54
    I am tempted to say that after being in Paris everything is cheap but that's not really fair.
    The simple answer is that no we did not find Croatia expensive in fact we found it to be very good value.
    We are however quite aware of the rising costs of Tourism in Croatia and the fear that those Rising costs will have and are having a detrimental effect.
    Our accommodation costs were quite low as we stayed out of mainstream accommodation. There are so many private accommodations available that the competition should keep that price low.
    It must be difficult to maintain any thing in the major centres off-season with such a high percentage of rentals in the area.
    Our food costs were most reasonable in particular if we paid attention to where we shopped.
    Perhaps if we were there in mid-summer our opinion would be different
    Hope that answers your question.
    Mike
    #83
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  4. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    We met Dalmatino AKA "V" in Trogir the next morning for coffee. Unbeknownst to us he had come into town not only for coffee but also to purchase a selection of fish to prepare for us, quite marvelous!! The previous picture of V was of him quickly heading home before the sky opened up. Riding a liter sport bike on the smaller roads of Croatia is at the same time a challenge and a traction search, combined with diesel spill and rain it can become something else again. If a rider of his level doesn't want to play then its WAY above me.
    Considering that the day might become a bit wet (it did, a lot), the decision was made to pick us up in V's van.
    Great little diesel van with front engine and rear drive that was perfect for demonstrating the lack of road grip, delivery, motorcycle transport, whatever." the air-conditioning even works"
    Probably should have a name.
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    One of these followed him home in the van. Nice.
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    After picking us up we went on a little (actually a great) tour of the Vinisce area. We stopped at an area of new, and quite spectacular construction while discussing some of the building permit challenges.
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    We then climbed up some loose gravel roads as far as the van would take us. Just beautiful. Olive groves with trees older than I thought possible.
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    Quite windy as you can see from these two
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    Hvala ti što si slikao ovu sliku kao da je jedan od mojih favorita ovaj put.
    Hopefully that says "Thank you for taking this picture as its one of my favorites of the trip."

    The wind in my hair
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    The chef at work. Wine, cheese and good conversation.
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    The traditional kitchen for a traditional meal.
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    Innumerable meals had been prepared here. Pissing rain outside, a little smoky inside, what a fabulous treat!!!!!
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    After dinner, more wine, some sweets and perhaps a bit of fire water we were delivered back to Trogir.
    "v" I cannot express enough how cool it was to meet you. You not broke bread with us in a traditional way but also shared with us a bit of Croatian culture.
    OK and some wine, and sweets and fire water and friendship :)
    Hvala vam nećemo zaboraviti.
    From Shelley...can’t put into words how much it meant to us to see Croatia from the eyes of an insider, to experience your generosity and to share such a great meal with you. People ask why Mike and I do what we do..meeting people such as yourself is a huge part of the answer. Thanks V.
    #84
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  5. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    After spending a couple of more days riding in the area it was time leave our yellow house on the hill. Lots of good hill walking here.
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    So, on May 21st we packed up and headed for the island Vis. This was to be our worst day with some definite ups and downs although it did have a positive outcome, eventually.
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    We had a pleasant ride over to Split and pretty much knew where we were going as we had been there a few days earlier. Apparently we should have arrived 15 minutes earlier as 10 minutes before we arrived this lovely diesel spill happened.
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    We were arriving from the upper right as I had missed the entry into the slip road (mistake one). I was aware that we had to cross over to the slip road at some point and was focused on which area was ours , and apparently not on the road (mistake two). Turned in carrying oil on the front tire (mistake three).
    As a result I brought us across the painted diamond plate with oil on the tires while looking somewhere else and that put us down instantly, fortunately at parking lot speed but still!!!
    All my mistake, no excuses.
    I only hit on my hip and elbow pads, no damage at all. Shelley, however smacked her hip and elbow. She was limping and her arm wasn't working all that well, crap. I do not mind banging myself up a bit on occasion but causing pain to Shelley affects me in a very different way.
    Bike was fine although the right box needs a bit of love, and an upside down Split sticker.
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    Nothing for it at this point but to board the ferry and proceed.
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    I was freaking out a little , Shelley was "relax and enjoy the ride"
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    It was, if truth be told. a nice ferry ride and pretty much what we needed.
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    After a couple of hours we found ourselves offloaded on the island of Vis with directions to our VRBO.
    Unfortunately, as we were about to find out, the instructions were for pedestrians. Even I realized that when presented with 25 stone steps up.
    After wandering for literally 2 hours and being VERY ready to dump Vis and ferry back we were rescued by a couple of young men in a work truck (twice), a bicyclist (once) and by a very nice older gentleman who spoke English (once).
    I was also hampered by not being very good at telling the difference between a sidewalk and a road.

    Our road
    Day
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    Night
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    When we finally found home we were greeted by a wonderful older gentleman who made us feel at home although we had no common language.
    Home
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    And, once again, Sella was given great parking.
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    It took quite a while, a long slow walk and some cold beer for us to settle down. What a bloody day.

    Time, the realization that Shelley was going to be ok, dinner and this view from our deck was the final cure.
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    In the morning we were pleasantly surprised and more than a little relieved that Shelley was much better.
    We would now be free to enjoy the island.
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    We were told that Vis was a beautiful little island and we would find that to be true.

    And cats, of course there were cats.
    Our hosts cared for one spoiled feline.
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    This one who took up position on a wall and absorbed attention from all passersby.
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    AND THEN THERE WAS THIS ONE!!!!
    The events I describe here must have taken all of 15 seconds.
    I stopped to take a photo of what I saw as a unique looking cat sitting on a wall at my eye level.
    When I pointed the camera to take this picture I realized that this was nobody's snuggle kitten.
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    Perhaps 1 second after I took this picture the look changed from threat to imminent attack. Keep in mind that the cat had still not made one sound.
    I flinched and turned away for perhaps one more second and when I turned the camera back all I got was this.

    Threat successful, danger passed, time to leave.
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    RESPECT
    VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE !!!
    #85
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  6. Dalmatino

    Dalmatino Been here awhile

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    Mike and Shelly, it was a pleasure meeting both of you also! I'm very happy that It worked out and was able to show around a bit.
    Glad you enjoyed Dalmacija! Your Croatian's pretty good lol...

    The Van does has a name now, (thanks to Reg) "The Terminatior" lol. It just needs that Cat to go with it! So cool....looks to be a lynx?

    Gixxer can rest...it's safer that way.
    The mule (KLE) is doing all the work but I must say that I miss my Vstrom...you definitely picked the right bike :)

    Weather is getting better last few days and looks real promising ahead. It's nice to soak in the Adriatic!

    Thanks for hanging out, and coffee in Sibenik!
    Looking forward to some future meet/ride in Alberta.

    ttys
    V...
    #86
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  7. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    The island of Vis is the farthest inhabited island off the Croatian coast and has an area of 90.26 square kilometres.. Its highest point is Hum, which is 587 metres above sea level. Vis has a rich military history and was at one time unapproachable, ok perhaps you could approach but you would also be shot at. We did not take any of the military history tours or hike the island to explore same, just not enough time , perhaps if we find ourselves there again we will.

    Today the charter fleet uses Vis as a stop. It was fun to watch the 17:00 arrival rush over a drink.
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    All sort of 2 wheel conveyances, Shelley provided for scale.
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    Everyone uses scooters.
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    A magnificent cemetery, beautifully maintained.
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    This is as far as you can ride to Tito's caves.
    The name came from the fact ex Yugoslavia’s president Tito was there while the cave served as an HQ of Partisans’ army.
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    There are 270 or so steps up to the caves. We really would have liked to do the hike on Vis and see the caves, abandoned military etc, just not enough time for everything. We did climb around half way and enjoyed the view.
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    There was a second way to ride from our apartmanti into the town of Vis. The road on this route is considerably wider but it also contains a couple of kilometers of road construction. Not bad at all but not great for a pillion.
    Seemed a good idea as we wanted to have a bit of a ride and needed to purchase ferry tickets.

    If you take the ferry over to Vis perhaps purchase return tickets in Split as the ticket office on Vis has limited hours of operation.

    Here are a couple of small videos to show what its like to get around on Vis.






    Sometimes its just hurry up and wait.
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    In the end we really warmed up to Vis, however, Sibenik awaits!!!
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    #87
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  8. Pongo

    Pongo Been here awhile

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    Shelly is hard!
    Keep up the great report I have never been to that part of Europe but it is on the list.
    #88
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  9. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    The 15:00 ferry to Split was later than we might have liked but the 05:00 was a non starter. We could also have taken quicker route to Sibenik but why would you really. Full disclosure, turned out to be a great route even though the only reason we were on it was a wrong turn.
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    Sella's parking spot along the pathway.
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    Not knowing anything about old town Sibenik I previously asked the hotel if we could ride directly to the hotel.
    OK perhaps not :imaposer
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    We LOVED Sibenik. I admit that we spoiled ourselves for a couple of days.
    The King Kresimir Heritage Hotel :-):-):-)
    7 rooms ( I think) in total and voted the best small hotel in Croatia 2018. What a way to wind down a trip.
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    V and a buddy from Canada rode up the coast to Sibenik for morning coffee and a a wander around town with us. Good to see V again and also great to meet Reg. Made for and excellent morning.
    (and thanks for the ice cream !!!)
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    Certainly there was a church, in this case he Cathedral of St. James .
    It is often known as "St Jacob's", because Croatian, like many other languages, uses the same name for both "James" and "Jacob". It is dedicated to Saint James the creator.
    The Cathedral is stunning, the see of the Sibenik diocese, the most important architectural monument of the Renaissance in the entire country and Since 2000, the Cathedral has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
    Quite the list.
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    Located on the square near the cathedral, four wells are the work of the famous Croatian master builder, Juraj Dalmatinac. They were the source of water in Šibenik during the Middle Ages .
    So, what do you do with an ancient cistern capable of holding 24,000 barrels of water?
    The square overhead is rebuilt to echo its original design with the original well heads becoming skylights. The cistern itself has been repurposed as a venue for small concerts. Very cool.
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    After the gentlemen rode off toward Trogir Shelley and I wandered a bit ( quite a bit ) more.
    It is quite a nice walk up to the St. Michael fortress.
    A postcard around every corner.
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    Climb down from The St. Michael fort, take a little walk to another fort.
    The view looking back to St. Michael fortress.
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    This is thirsty work.
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    After dark the town takes on a brand new personality, far less tourist rush and far more slow down and relax. Almost like the town just took a breath.
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    One happy lady. I think the look says "perhaps just leave me here and pick me up in September". Would be nice, but alas no.
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    Main square in old town Sibenik with NO ONE in it :) Super busy all day--- until now.
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    The street light on the corner of the King Kresimir hotel is reputed to be the first electric light in Croatia

    From Wikipedia
    The oldest Jaruga power plant was the first alternating current (AC) power system in Croatia. It was designed to power the street lights in Šibenik, making it the first city in the world with street lights powered by a polyphase system of alternating current (AC).

    In 1893, the mayor of Šibenik Ante Šupuk and one Vjekoslav Meichsner started a business and obtained a license to use the waters of river Krka, and in 1894 they obtained permission to set up electrical power lines on municipal property in order to start lighting the streets with electric power. The construction of Jaruga started in 1894 and lasted for 16 months.[5]

    The two generators (42 Hz, 550 kW each) and the transformers were produced and installed by the Hungarian company Ganz. The transmission line from the power plant to the city of Šibenik was 11 km (6.8 mi) long on wooden towers, and the municipal distribution grid 3000V/110 V included six transformer stations.[5][6] The original Jaruga system supplied 340 street lights and some electrified houses in Šibenik.

    Croatian Post printed a stamp commemorating this power plant in 1995.[5] The Croatian national electricity company HEP lists the same event and date as its origin and marks the date.[7][6]

    Three years after the first Jaruga was built, the construction of the second Jaruga hydro power plant began, the current location. It was completed in 1903 when its capacity was 6 MW.[6]

    Since its construction, the current Jaruga has been refurbished in 1916, 1937, 1970, 1995 and 2008, but the basic concept of the plant had been maintained. In 1936 a second generator was installed that increased the capacity to 5,6 MW.[6]

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    As is plain to see we truly enjoy Croatia and love Sibenik. Staying a bit longer would have been wonderful , but , we had to go home sometime.

    On leaving Sibenik we would ride back to Zagreb, however, we needed to make one more stop on the way.

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    #89
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  10. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    May 25 2019.
    Sibenik to Zagreb
    This was the last day on the bike for this part of the trip. You can do this in just a couple of hours but, partly intentionally,I managed to make it quite a long day. No real hurry although we did have a 20:00 dinner reservation at the Witch of Gritch made several weeks earlier to celebrate our safe return and certainly we needed to get to Lobagola in some sort of timely fashion.

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    But first we visit Zeljava
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    A little information about the abandoned airbase that is Zeljava from the internet.

    Zeljava Air Base, situated on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina under Plješevica Mountain, near the city of Bihać, Bosnia, was the largest underground airport and military air base in the former Yugoslavia, and one of the largest in Europe. The facilities are shared by the local governments of Bihać and Lika-Senj County in Croatia.

    Construction of the Željava or Bihać Air Base (code-named "Objekat 505") began in 1948 and was completed in 1968. During those two decades, SFRJ (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) spent approximately $6 billion on its construction,[2] three times the combined current annual military budgets of Serbia and Croatia. It was one of the largest and most expensive military construction projects in Europe.

    The role of the facility was to establish, integrate, and coordinate a nationwide early warning radar network in SFRJ akin to NORAD. The complex was designed and built to sustain a direct hit from a 20-kiloton nuclear bomb, equivalent to the one dropped on Nagasaki.

    The main advantage of the base was the strategic location of its "Celopek" intercept and surveillance radar on Mount Pljesevica, at the nerve center of an advanced integrated air defense network covering the airspace and territory of Yugoslavia, and possibly further. In addition to its main roles as a protected radar installation, control center, and secure communications facility, the airbase contained underground tunnels housing two full fighter squadrons, one reconnaissance squadron, and associated maintenance facilities. The units based there were the 124.LAE (Fighter Aviation Squadron) and 125.LAE, both equipped with MiG-21bis fighter aircraft, and the 352.IAE (Reconnaissance Aviation Squadron), equipped with MiG-21R reconnaissance-fighter aircraft.

    The underground tunnels ran a total length of 3.5 kilometers, and the bunker had four entrances protected by 100-ton pressurized doors, three of which were customized for use by fixed-wing aircraft. Eventually, it was hoped that the base would be re-equipped with the indigenously developed Yu Supersonik aircraft.

    The underground KLEK facility was lined with semicircular concrete shields, arranged every ten meters, to cushion the impact of incoming munitions. The complex included an underground water source, power generators, crew quarters, and other strategic military facilities. It also housed a mess hall that could feed 1,000 people simultaneously, along with enough food, fuel, and arms to last 30 days without resupply. Fuel was supplied by a 20-kilometer underground pipe network that ran from a military warehouse on Pokoj Hill near Bihać.

    Above ground, the facility had five runways and within the immediate vicinity of the base, there were numerous short-range mobile tracking and targeting radars; surface to air missile sites equipped with; 2K12 "Kub" (NATO: SA-6) mobile surface-to-air missile interceptor systems, motorized infantry bases, two Quick Reaction Alert aircraft ready for take off at any moment, military police stations, and a hunting lodge used by civilian and military leaders on occasional leisure trips.

    Access points were heavily monitored and guards were authorized to fire upon anyone attempting to enter without authorization. In practice, however, only special permits were required and unauthorized visitors usually turned away.

    The airbase was used intensively in 1991, during the Yugoslav Wars. During its withdrawal, the Yugoslav People's Army destroyed the runway by filling pre-built spaces (explicitly designed for the purpose) with explosives and detonating them. To prevent any possible further use of the complex by opposing forces, the Military of Serbian Krajina completed the destruction in 1992 by setting off an additional 56 tons of explosives there. The ensuing explosion was so powerful that it shook the nearby city of Bihać. Villagers claimed that smoke continued to rise from the tunnels for six months after the explosion.

    A short distance before the base we find this. Perhaps it was a display piece at the base entrance. I am declaring it unserviceable.
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    The base
    THEN
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    NOW
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    There is more than one reason not to wander !!! Poor picture as i was a bit hesitant.
    We asked locals what it was and the answer was VIPER.
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    Or this.
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    The scale of the place in both size and waste is mind boggling !!

    THIS WEBSITE DEVOTED TO ZELJAVA IS FABULOUS AND DELIVERS FAR MORE INFORMATION THAN I EVER COULD.

    http://www.zeljava-lybi.com/Zeljava-index2_eng.html
    #90
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  11. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    On this day it seemed that we were destined to aim for the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three times we ended up approaching the border. One time was obvious but the other 2 only became apparent when we looked at the GPS track.

    Time 1
    We took a wrong turn heading into Zeljava
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    Time 2
    On the runway at Zeljava when we turned onto runway 4R


    Time 3
    Hot and tired later in the day we came to an intersection with a gas station on our right. We really needed a rest stop so we turned to the gas station--- oops.
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    We did however make it to Zagreb and were well greeted by Dooby. After checking in and a quick shower we even made our dinner reservation.
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    #91
  12. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    In Zagreb we had time.

    To smell the roses
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    Give Sella an oil change and a bath.
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    Cleaned up and ready for storage
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    Sella was put to bed at a different location after we left.
    We flew back to Calgary on May 27th

    So ends part 2 of our little journey.

    I have to end with some little thing
    One day we were riding along and I missed a turn, rode right through a town called GLINA. Well, Shelley remembered that and has named that maneuver a GLINA. So, forevermore missing a turn will be called a GLINA. or Good Lord Im N Arse :rofl
    One can GLINA or one can be said to have GLINA'D. One can hope to not GLINA in the future or perhaps feel shame about a past GLINA.

    The plan, if all goes well, is to return to Zagreb early September. We will spend a couple of days in Zagreb, pick up Sella and head out. Routing is not set although we will return out of Athens.

    THANK YOU ONE AND ALL FOR FOLLOWING ALONG, I AM HUMBLED THAT YOU DO.
    SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER
    Mike and Shelley
    #92
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  13. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Awesome report! Thanks so much for letting us tag along with you! Really appreciate all the time and effort you put into it! There's a tiny shard of Bosnia that reaches the sea somewhere between Split and Dubrovnik, which means the bus ride between them involves Bosnian Customs and Immigration. I had my passport, but another couple had to dig theirs out of their luggage under the bus!
    #93
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  14. Umbrianissimo

    Umbrianissimo Adventurer

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    Mike,

    Great to meet you and ride at the ART off-road course on 'the big island'. I'm inspired by this thread; I didn't realize that you'd come back so recently. I'm going to send links to friends and family. A great read with excellent info.
    #94
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  15. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Part 3
    September 4 to October 6 2019.
    Basically Calgary to Amsterdam to Zagreb--- ride some-- ride some more ---and return from Athens through Amsterdam to Calgary.
    We are SERIOUSLY ready to get back on the road.

    To be quite honest and candid I have some strange and interesting ( although certainly not bad ) feelings building around our travels.
    Hard to describe, but at times it feels that the time in Calgary is actually our time away from home.
    Perhaps it is just me---or. Don't know.
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    I know that this post is a bit early ( August 10 ) but perhaps you will forgive me this as I must get my thoughts, and a bunch of other crap in order.
    On each previous visit the city of Zagreb has not really been given the love it deserves, this time we will remedy that. Perhaps some of what we see and do there will be of interest to others.
    #95
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  16. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Hi Mike So are you going to store the bike in Athens and then fly out? Is the above map your route for Sept?
    #96
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  17. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Cal.
    That route is the plan, at least the basic version of it and yes we will store somewhere around Athens and fly out from there.
    Mike
    #97
  18. bout2ride

    bout2ride Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi there! met you at Dooby's place the day before you left Zagreb.....good to hear you are returning. I see that you will be going thru durres, I leave by ferry on sept 5th for Italy. did I miss you coming by?
    #98
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  19. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Good to hear from you I hope your travels are going well . You will be well into Italy before we get down that way so we will certainly misconnect.
    #99
  20. Umbrianissimo

    Umbrianissimo Adventurer

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    Hi Mike,

    Not too early at all to be planning or posting. I love the ride threads and yours is a favorite. Looking forward to the pics and the reports. Just going on my first motorcyle 'trip', Van to Summerland and back. Not quite the same epic journey, but starting small and hoping to get farther afield in the future. European moto tour definitely on my wish-list so every photo and scrap of information and experience welcomed.
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