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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    Sorry for being slow to answer. We are back in Calgary
  2. Dalmatino

    Dalmatino Been here awhile

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    Holly cow, time's up already!!
    It seems like you just got there.
    Touch base once you settle back in..
    AMEretired likes this.
  3. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    N! :beer

    Finally caught up. Awesome RR, Thanks!
  4. severely

    severely almost a noob

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    Awesome RR, great pics and love the routing displayed. Could you give us some idea of the daily costs please.
  5. Gagoem

    Gagoem Adventurer

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    Great photos! Thanks!
  6. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    The next day, Sept. 23 was a bit damp.



    Fun watching the storm approach ( on the deck drinking wine and not riding).
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    Then you could see pretty much nothing.


    In the evening everyone left and we were left with this.
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    The next day dawned sunny and warm.
    Everyone got lazy.
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    The town got full and very busy.
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    Time to go for a walk, pack up and prepare to move on.
    Next stop would be near Tirana in Albania.
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    Han i Hotit border crossing between Montenegro and Albania was interesting. We arrived to a rather long line that did not really look like it was going anywhere fast - think 2+ hours. hmmmm. Several kind folks were gesturing for us to go to the front of the line, I hesitated but did so. Arriving at the front of the line others appeared to be pointing at the pedestrian walk through- hmmmm. That was when my old brain remembered a conversation back in Zagreb and instructions to use the pedestrian walk through. Well, that made things a whole lot better!!! We walked up to one window, left Montenegro, walked 2 meters to another window and entered Albania. Integrated border crossing without a no=man's land, very cool. And yes please just ride down the pedestrian path and out the other side where you can purchase insurance!!! Insurance purchased and on our way. My new favorite border crossing.

    We had booked a place near in the Lura resort complex on Lalzi Bay for a few days. looked like a nice place to kick back, lots of local restaurants and a walk on the beach.

    We may have assumed too much. Apparently the season was over.
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    One of these is not like the others.
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    Quite beautiful yes, still quite warm - good. Pretty much all the restaurants closed for the season - not so good.
    The beach was great and we made ourselves comfortable, just not quite what we were looking for.

    There were, however highlights.
    Not everything was closed. Not bad place for dinner at sunset !!
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    Which were memorable to say the least.
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    And Raki !
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    And the people who were all lovely. For example the young lady in the market who, when she realized we spoke English shepherded Shelley around the shop translating, at one point leaving her position at the market and guiding Shelley to the baker, so sweet. Turns out she is a university student studying, among other things, English. She asked if she could sit on the bike and was pretty chuffed sitting there. Alas no photo to enter, I have some but neglected to as permission.


    Albanian driver wanting to pass, or stop, or turn, or go --- or.
    Sorry couldn't resist.
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    We had read about Albanian drivers ,Albanian roads and the police.
    ROADS -- We were warned that a good road can turn into a bad one with no warning and that a bad one could become a goat path also with no warning. ALL TRUE.
    DRIVERS -- You will have to share the road with all manner of machines and creatures -- TRUE, sometime all at once . The drivers will perhaps be in their lane and perhaps yours, they are aggressive and unpredictable, you will die -- come on not anywhere near that bad. You certainly do have to pay attention though.
    However on entering Greece the drivers did seem rather calm and not at all aggressive, which in itself might say something.
    POLICE - They will stop you constantly, fine you constantly, you will hate it. NOT true. Although we certainly saw police radar in many many locations we were neither harassed nor bothered nor stopped.

    Next stop Sarande on the way to Greece.
    NaMi, Cal and B10Dave like this.
  7. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    This is really a nice ride !!!

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    The ride on SH8 down the coast past Mount Cika is particularly spectacular.
    Once past Orikum the road climbs toward Mount Cika. Just a few Km from the top stopped at a the Freskia Bar Restaurant, what a breath of fresh air. Outdoor patio with pack horses grazing nearby and perhaps the best fries ever.
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    Met with some locals along the way.
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    This entire ride is great including the ride up to the lookout at Mount Cika.
    As is the lookout itself.
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    The entire Mount Cika area was spectacular, the ride up marvelous, the ride back down to the sea spectacular.


    Our first stop in Greece would be at Nafpaktos, too far for a one day ride. As a result our
    destination became the Harmony hotel in Saranda for a couple of sleeps.
    Saranda or perhaps more correctly Sarandë. With a cruise port, ferry connection to Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site nearby and over 300 days per year of sun its not surprising that Saranda has a tourism driven economy. We really need to do better with hike planning but did enjoy some long walks about the town and the opportunity to swim in the sea.
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    Very lucky scruffy old guy!!!
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    Sella found a great spot to rest.
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    We endured more crappy views. That's Corfu 14 km across the water.
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    Relaxed rather well.
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    And ate rather well.
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    Next stop Greece!!!!
    NaMi, NSFW, B10Dave and 3 others like this.
  8. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sometimes you just need to get there.
    We knew that a transit day (or 2) were going to be needed if we were to reach our destination in time, so, highways and tolls were in our future, Nafpaktos being chosen as a good via point on our route to Artemida.
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    What followed was lots of this.
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    And this.
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    Excellent road system, well maintained, just not our favorite way to travel. Oh well suck it up.

    The day did have 2 cool moments.
    FIRST
    First border, fine, leave Albania-- Ride to Greek border, dismount, walk to window, get stamps, all good.
    Return to bike and , oh oh!, 4 customs agents walking toward us including the canine agent. What the hell was this about? Complete inspection? No idea! We timidly offered greetings and were rewarded with smiles and handshakes. The gentlemen were riders as well as customs agents and genuinely just curious. What followed was several minutes of fun conversation, pictures ( I screwed up again and did not ask permission). They asked if they could take pictures of Sella, wished us safe travels and we were on our way. That is a GREAT introduction to a new country!!
    It always blows us away how traveling by motorcycle melts away barriers, so very cool.

    SECOND
    The beer in Nafpaktos at the end of a long hot day.
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    Nice place for a one night stay.
    In the distance is The Rio–Antirrio Bridge, officially the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge, one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type. It crosses the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese peninsula to Antirrio on mainland Greece by road. It opened one day before the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, on 12 August 2004, and was used to transport the Olympic Flame. We would cross that the next morning.
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    October 2nd 2019, our last day of riding on this trip. Any riding after this was to set Sella in storage.
    3 H 29 Min! Not likely. Between stopping for an oil change, getting a bit lost at times, lunch stop in Corinth and a bit of traffic that's a long day.
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    This is where I heap praise on Patras Moto Technology.
    A friend recommended Patras Moto Technology and had contacted them for us. Without an appointment we just sort of showed up. I am sincerely grateful to Nontas as he put other work on hold to help us. Nontas gave me the choice to do the work myself but in the end he put the bike on the lift and did the work himself. Service was exceptional, knowledgeable and professional not to mention well priced. I now have knowledge of where I will take Sella for larger service if travel allows. I will, however, be sure to make an appointment.
    I am, as I said, sincerely grateful.
    Respect
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    We did make it to Artemida where we spent a couple of days relaxing, getting Sella cleaned up and into storage.
    Reach out the bedroom window and pick citrus off the tree, walk one meter out the front and do the same!
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    Or perhaps just visit with the dog(s). Our host works to rescue stray dogs, a huge task given the quantity of stray and abandoned dogs in the area.
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    With that we ended part 3 of our little trip,bid adieu to Greece and flew back to Canada.
    If all goes well Part 4 is planned for the Spring of 2020.
    I humbly thank all who choose to watch.
    Mike
    NaMi, Joris van O, Pongo and 7 others like this.
  9. NSFW

    NSFW who else would love noobs? Super Supporter

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    thanks for the RR. i enjoy reading and learning from your posts. same here, my bike is now in storage in Thessaloniki and i will be flying home this Friday. my plan is to return next year, not sure what month, maybe in June, and continue north. i'm riding solo and wasn't sure if i should go through Albania but it looks like you have no issues. i may use your routes but backwards.

    cheers and hopefully we ran on to each other since i will be going to Athens and Patras.
    AMEretired likes this.
  10. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Fantastic ride and read :clap

    Shane
    AMEretired likes this.
  11. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks Mike and Shelley for taking us along on your most excellent adventure. I look forward to it's continuation next year.
    AMEretired likes this.
  12. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Crap! I really am slow to answer.
    When we are on the road we are at about $200 CDN per day. That is including accommodation, food, drink, fuel,insurance and general sightseeing. We do go a bit overboard on hotel and food at times.
    Hope that answers your question
    Mike
  13. severely

    severely almost a noob

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    Yes it does, thank you very much. Looks like a great ride and RR.
  14. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Spring 2020
    32 days or so, very loosely this is the plan.----NOT. Sad, difficult, tragic and heartbreaking times for so many. Delaying our trip does not even register on that scale.
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    Looking back to Shelley's birthday in early November -------
    After many, many years of living with my best friend I asked Shelley if she would join me in making it official. YES was the answer. The world at that time was a very different place. After all this time Shelley deserved to have some fun with this, so, it was off to the jeweler with us to design a ring.
    Fast forward to March 25th when we pick up the ring.
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    Then to March 26th when I took a knee and asked Shelley to marry me.
    After -- Ahem -- 27 years we are engaged to be married.
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    We have no idea when or even where in the world that we will have a ceremony, certainly not until this tragic pandemic has subside and the world regains its health.
    Why would I input this into a ride report ?
    Couple of reasons:
    This is certainly part of our journey.
    In a world that is currently drowning in sadness and tragedy If we can show one small happiness then that is a win for me.
    Please, everyone, keep you, yours and anyone else possible safe.
    See you on the road.
    Mike and Shelley
    This is Shelley. First and foremost I would like to reiterate what Mike said..everyone please stay safe but connected in these difficult times. Secondly I only recently found out that Mike had intended the engagement happen during the planned (and subsequently postponed) continuation of our European ride in the spring. Since it would have been posted here when it happened...well why not? And finally, as a typical woman, I have to correct my beloved and remind him that it was 37 years together (not 27!).. but time flies when you are having fun.
    We look forward to eventually being back on the road and the continuing our adventure and our updates.

    Namaste
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  15. Umbrianissimo

    Umbrianissimo Adventurer

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    Hi Mike and Shelly. Such a wonderful post. Not enough 'thumbs up' emoji's available to show how great this is. Life and travel together- the very best. It is sharing moments like this that keep the friendships and communities alive and meaningful. My thanks for your post and my great support for your future.
  16. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Congrats guys!!! I'm with you - keep our heads down and let the storm blow over, then saddle up and head back out! Stay safe, stay well and we'll see you when we see you!
    AMEretired likes this.
  17. sirtwisty

    sirtwisty Been here awhile

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    Mike & Shelley
    Have read 100's of RR's and for me, your trip reports are the best.Mainly because of your riding style, not huge days, not just scraping pegs, great historical info, plus you like to stop and explore along the way. Lastly, all the great food & wine porn, how can that not be appealing.
    Wife and i are the same vintage as Mike and this past September enjoyed our 3rd moto trip through Spain, a 30 day affair.The next rip on our radar is the one you've been posting, so thanks for all the great info and pic's.
    Question though regarding your bike. Do you feel that shipping your bike over is economically the best way to go, or would buying a bike over there through Dooby have been a better choice.
    Also, after your trip goals over there have been achieved, will you sell the bike or ship it back to Canada.
    Thanks for any info you can share on why you chose to buy.
    In the meantime, be safe and healthy during this very troubling time.
    Hopefully there are more trips for all of us in the not to distant future.
    Terry Smith
  18. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Kind words Terry, thank you !
    Our choice to ship our own bike was for several reasons:
    --We wanted a bike that was prepared properly for the planned trip and the only way to do that was to build first. Even though I went overboard and over budget on prep I would do the same again as the upgrades have made life a lot more comfortable. We also were flying blind as we really did not know what to expect.
    -- The price for shipping on Air Canada was too cheap to disregard.
    -- Truth is I cannot resist taking things apart.
    -- Financially it made sense for us as we planned to be doing this twice a year for at least 5 years.
    -- Our plan was and still is to bring the bike home eventually. If we ever have to change that and sell someone will get a very good Vstrom.
    -- We compared having our own bike to renting (FAR too pricey to rent) but did not look very closely at Europe purchase. As a result our knowledge of purchase in Europe, insurance on same, selling same is poor.

    My head says that purchasing from Dooby would be much simpler and very possibly cheaper. We are very fond of Dooby and would certainly not hesitate to deal with him.
    My heart, however,looks forward to once again be riding with Shelley on Sella.
    I think your decision will have to be based on time and fiance ( but not that simple). Do you like, or have the time, to prep your own bike? How much will you want to invest emotionally in your bike?
    We hope this helps and will always help.
    Keep your heads down, keep safe.
    Mike and Shelley
  19. push

    push Adventurer

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    Hi....first of all awesome RR.. love the pictures and writing.

    I also have a vstrom 650 which I store in Germany. Every year I ride I try a new go pro mount and to be honest I have yet to find something that works for me. For starters the batteries for go pro run out really quickly. On a helmet mount you never know if it’s recording or not. If you use remotes then there one more thing to fiddle install and charge. Plus I do want to plug in a power source full time for convenience. Last but not least when it rains suddenly I do not want the camera exposed to rain.

    Question on your mount - is that an official go pro accessory that you have mounted below the left handlebar by your fog lights or is that from an independent brand? Where can I find this? Appreciate any help..

    Thank you.
  20. AMEretired

    AMEretired Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hey Push
    I hope you, like us, are reacquainted with our bikes soon.
    So, GoPro mounts and such.
    -- I agree with you re remotes etc., too easy to miss the moment while we are working on capturing the moment.
    -- The mount that we are currently using was just fabricated from a bit of aluminum using hand tools, a bit labor intensive but it came out well. Previously had tried mounting on the crash bars -- too much vibration -- filled the crash bars with foam insulation -- better but still not good enough for video -- mount on helmet -- not all that pleasant for Shelley as pillion. If you can use a similar location I can recommend it.
    -- Having a permanent mount also allows for ease of power supply. Thanks for the reminder that I have to look at the power issue.
    -- Protection from rain while powered is always going to be an issue. With my Hero 2 I was able to cut a hole for the cord and keep it waterproof but with the current Hero 5 I would have to remove the door after which it is no longer waterproof. I am sure a solution exists, just have not found it yet.
    Don't think that I have helped much
    Mike
    edit.
    I just ordered an x-pwr-h5 from 3BR Powersports in an attempt to solve to issue of waterproof power supply, still does not solve the water issue at the other end yet.