RTW on a H.A.T. In the slow lane.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    You'll see stacks of posts & video's of the secret airforce tunnels of Croatia that every one and their dog rides through. Well these tunnels can be found in numerous places throughout the old Yugoslavia. We went through some just outside of Mostar in Bosnia. It's a shame that they are now used as a dumping ground for rubbish by locals. But you know what, this is so very typical in countless places that we have been to previously, be it in Europe or Asia. Pretty damn depressing for sure. In any case heres our little unedited Vid of going through one of these tunnels. Steven Spielberg can sleep easy I'm quite sure.
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  2. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    shame about the rubbish
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  3. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    MrKiwi we've seen sights like this for the last three years. I never get used to it. What we humans are doing to this world is a disgrace. One thing that both Katrina and I have come to realise, is that there are far too many people on this planet. I for one are going nowhere soon though. :D
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  4. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Throughout the Balkans there is one sport that pulls all nationalities together. Well two really, the first is obvious, football. But the other is Bull fighting, not Spanish style, where the bull always leaves the bull ring dead, dragged unceramoniously out by a team of horses. Once was enough for us back in 2002 in Madrid. In this part of the world, every sunday there will be bull fights somewhere. Two contenders are led into the ring to face off. The tension is palpable as they size one another up. Lots of posturing, snorting, bellowing and kicking of dust. This can go on for up to an hour as one contest did. Sometimes a bull will yield and make his escape via the gate. But if neither does, then heads clash and something like 1 1/2 tonnes of muscle, bone and horns clash. The best 14 bulls are brought to Ostra Luka in northern Bosnia on the first sunday of August so as to determine the grand champion.

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    This big boy on the right was effing huge. To the credit of the darker bull, he stood his ground for 10 minutes or so. But then thought sod this, I'm out of here.

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    One happy handler.

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    As bulls lock horns, handlers embrace.

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    Most bulls were led in on a slack rope. Bit more caution with this guy.

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    He kicked up a storm of dust for a while. But big blondey, stared him down, turned, smacked heads and it was all over in about 10 secs. All good, he'll be back in the paddock tonight with the girls, with his ego just slightly dented.
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  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    We relented, it got to the stage we had to de-stink our riding gear. Man it gets on the nose to the point where it's a little embarassing when meeting people. So we found a cheap airbnb with a washing machine. Katrina pulled out all the protective pads and assorted paraphanalia. She even hand scrubbed the rubber impact pads. She's a doer thats for sure. Don't get me wrong, KLIM make great gear as do other company's. But if I were to buy again I think I would go for a lighter jacket & pants. I've got the Badlands and it's damn heavy. Which just further promotes sweating and adds to the pong. Katrina has the lighter womans Altitude. Nowhere near as heavy, but boy it does lack features, like pockets and vents. Finding the right compromise is bloody hard to the point of being nearly impossible. I would still stick with the integral Goretex though. None of this water proof liner melachy.

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  6. markinthailand

    markinthailand Long timer

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    Pulling the pads is the biggest hassle with Klim jackets. I've got the new Latitude, and it is light, vents really really well. A lot of coin, but worth it.
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  7. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Katrina and I spent a lot of time figuring out the right gear prior to departure. We tried countless jackets and pants. Rukka was immediately eliminated, just too bulky, it's origins in Finland are obvious. It would have been murderous in the tropics. I remember trying a Dainese gortex jacket and rather liking it. I've been using a Dainese jacket for maybe 15 years and really like it. We have only one retailer in Australia selling Klim, on the northern fringes of Sydney. So when we were up there it was inevitable that we'd drop by and check them out. I remember trying the Latitude, but the Badlands just seemed to fit my frame that much better. Maybe I was just sold on all the extra bells and whistles, I dunno. But knowing what I know now, I'd go with the lighter jacket and just follow the layering principle when it gets cold. When in the tropics and central Asia I essentially always rode with the Badlands completely unzippered so as to try get some cooling air across my chest. I will say though, in anything other than crazy 40 deg C + heat, the Badlands does ventilate rather well.

    But nailing the right gear is nothing but trial and error. We started with Forma boots, essentially because of most peoples reports about comfort. Indeed they are comfortable, but they fail in the water proofing department. We encountered many others wearing the same boot and their experiences were similar to ours. Although some of them would say that their boots were waterproof. But in addition to the lack of water proofing, the downside to the comfort is the lack or at least the percieved lack of protection. In any case we have switched over to Sidi Adventures and are very happy with these. Way more protection, water proof and still reasonably comfortable. Not as much as the Formas, but you can still wear them all day and we do from time to time.

    We've been very happy with the Shoei Neotec modular helmets. I ride with mine open nearly all the time. I do sometimes wonder why I just don't wear an open face. But those few times when it's bloody cold or raining I really apreciate being able to flip the chin piece down. So we'll stick with these. When they flog out, chance sare we'll get the series 2 or what ever they are called. One mistake I did make was buying the Sena 10U (I think) that is dedicated to the Shoei's. I should have simply bought the 10 or 20 that is universal to most any helmet. In any case we hardly ever use them. After 40 years together and 37 of those years yelling to one another without intercom, we find them fairly superfluous. :crash If they die we won't be replacing them.

    Yeah, like I said it's trial and error. Not being wedded to sponsors I think is very important a slippery slope that we never intended to go down.
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  8. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    I really don't care if my jacket is waterproof or not. But I do care about being cool in it when hot so it has to breath.

    When cold I layer up.

    When wet I put on an over coat which doubles as a night jacket.

    That combo works for me.
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  9. markinthailand

    markinthailand Long timer

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    I got the new Latitude after my Klim Apex delaminated, and they replaced it for free. The new one is much lighter, and I agree -- lots of bells and whistles! I've also got the Sidi books and they are proving to be bombproof -- and fit my feet perfectly. I'm got Forma shorts for commuting in, so not as worried about waterproof long term and as I can re waterproof them as needed.

    Gear is all about figuring out what works. Too bad it is so expensive to do that! :-)
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  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    With us more than anything else MrKiwi it comes down to real estate on the bike. We are about as light and compact as two on a bike can be I think. Carrying an over coat or rain jacket are extra's that we can do without.
  11. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    From our own personel experience Klim does indeed back their products and customers well. They have a policy that if you have an accident complete with a police report and you did nothing illegal, they'll replace your gear. We hit them up on this more than a year after our accident in Australia and they honoured it, no questions asked. Can't fault that.

    I tried the short Forma's, but felt very exposed to the shin area so dismissed them.

    The cost is an intersting one. When in your part of the world markinthailand I was in need of new gloves. I bought a pair of Revit's just up the road from where I got the Mitas tyres. They were the most expensive in the shop at about $140 from memory, but they were only ones that fitted. 100,000 klms later I'm still wearing them. I mean they are getting to the point that they too need replacing. But still I reckon they were cheap at $140. I think you get the gist.
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  12. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    it's not an extra for me as I wear as a coat when not riding it's dual purpose.

    But it is what works for me.
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  13. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    On the 12th August 2016 Katrina and I left home. So today marks the start of the 4th year on the road. How much longer we continue for I can't say. Certainly as time has rolled by our plans have changed and evolved to best suit our needs and mood at the time. Most definately there is a lot more to do, but we are both increasingly wanting to begin to split our time on the road and at home more evenly.

    Unlike many, we chose to keep our property. Letting it out, to of course help pay for our travels. I guess the rent we recieve pays for about 1/2 of our expenses whilst on the road the rest is simply made up by savings. No rocket science in that formula. But we have both got to the point that the headache of renting and the desire to spend some more time at home has overtaken the imperative to collect rent.

    In any case heres a short summary of the last 3 years.

    # 1095 days since leaving home.

    # 133 days back in Australia.

    # 963 days travelling.

    # 115999 klm's on the odometer.

    # 120 klm's per day +/-.

    # 63 countries visited (61 with the bike) Singapore we bussed across for a few hours to see a mate & Cambodia we flew to, to get Indian visas. The Thai permit/guide shit fight ruined our plans for this part of the world. C'est La Vie.

    # Favourite places, hmm many, but a short list must include. Borneo, Myanmar, Pakistan, "Stans", Turkey, Isl Man, Norway, Spain/Portugal. Of course India gets the gong for least favourite. Other travellers love the place, I get that. But those that don't, like me, can't get out of there quick enough. There is no middle ground with India, you either love it or hate it. Interestingly some that start out loving it, end up hating it, never the other way around, at least from my experience.

    # 3 accidents of any consequence.

    # Zero breakdowns. Failed wheel bearings etc don't leave us stranded, so not breakdowns in my world.

    # Did we take the right bike? Still I can't see a better choice for two up riding. Solo as I've said many times requires a 450cc, 150 kg, 450 klm range (minimum), long service interval, quality component unicorn. It'll probably never happen! But honestly just about any bike will surfice, if you are prepared to make the compromises.

    Hmm, that about sums it up I guess.

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  14. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    that's impressive
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  15. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Cheers MrKiwi I guess we are fortunate to pretty much keep on going. We just love the joy of visiting new places. I guess you probably realise that Katrina and I have been doing this for a long time now. I just wish we had the means to do it when we first set out back in lat 83. Man the world would have been a whole different place then. Next year and beyond we need to visit places that hopefully re-ignite that spark of excitement that we experienced back then. Inevitably the world is becoming very homoginised and there is pretty well nowhere that is now not visited or documented in one way or another. Escaping the hordes is very nearly impossible. Of course we are part of that problem.
  16. Beaso66

    Beaso66 n00b

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    Hi Graeme
    Really enjoyed your thread as am planning a similar trip starting February 1 next year. The commitment and honesty in your posts really helped me understand some of the challenges I will be up against. Thank you.
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  17. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Thanks for the encouragement and praise Beaso66. It sure does take some commitment and there have been times that I've doubted continuing with the blog. Your've maybe noticed that I've never taken a selfie as an example. That "look at me" mentality that pervades the world today is something that repulses me. Point being, we've got little or no interest in developing a social media following. Our motivation is multi facetted I guess. Firstly for Katrina and I to be able to look back and smile a bit in our dotage, assuming we make it there. Something for our kids to also look back on as well and be able to laugh at mum and dad a bit and it's simply a great way to hook up with similarly minded people around the world. An aspect that we really enjoy.

    You'll find Feb 2020 will come around real quick. On the road, weeks feel like days and a month seems like a week. The preparation prior is not much different. Heres for a great trip. I'll watch out for a RR.
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  18. Lostmike

    Lostmike Cruising

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    Very inspirational mate, nice work. Lots of exciting riding to come!
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  19. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Thanks Lostmike we certainly hope that there is much more to come.
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  20. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    We really are taking this "in the slow lane" pretty damn seriously I must say. It feels like we are just killing time, waiting for our tenants to vacate our house back in Aus come the end of September. We'll both be glad to move on to the next stage and not ever have tenants again. It's simply not worth the heart ache.

    In any case we've cruised on through northern Croatia then onto Slovenia. Slovenia has shot right to near the top of our favourite countries in Europe. Beautiful countryside, quiet roads, well behaved motorists. It's remeniscent of the lower parts of Switzerland, but without the eye watering prices. Yep, we like it a lot here.

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    But first we need to finnish Varazdin in Croatia. This was also a lovely small city, well large town really. Actually very attractive, but the place was empty, hardly a soul around. I don't know why, maybe everyone is down by the coast? They can have it, over crowded, too expensive and the beaches are only so-so anyway.

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    Busy afternoon in Varazdin, go figure.

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    I think that this is a good metaphor for Varazdin. Could easily be me actually.

    It was only a short hop over the border to Slovenia. Both were part of the former Yugoslavia. But Slovenia is now a full member of the EU and Croatia will be next year I think. So there are border controls between the two country's. I mean it's pretty damn straight forward and not much more than a cursory look at the passport is required. At least when travelling on a UK passport. I wonder what it will be like if the UK crashes out of the EU, which looks increasingly likely?

    We've been hanging around the Spa town of Rogaska Slatina for a few day. Nearly anywhere in Europe where water bubbles out of a hillside there is this belief by many that it has healthy restorative powers. Hotels and wading pools abound, creating some local tourist dollars. Never the less it is pretty attractive.

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    We rode through the Slovenska Bistrica national park, along one stretch of road were all these art instalations.

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    There is lots of countryside like this. Another two weeks maybe and the grapes will be ready to pick.

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    Stopped in a little village for a quality Belguim beer. 3:70 Euro for one of the worlds best beers. Probably tripple that back home.

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    Then right across the street we spotted this. Katrina suggested we try a little bondage. :wink:

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    Seems there are only 3 "shaming posts" left in Slovenia. This one dates back to 1667.

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    Not exactly what i thought she had in mind. :dunno

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    Pretty much every corner you go around here, there is a church. When walking up the zig zag path to the top of this hill to visit the local place of worship it seems you can stop off at the shelters and take a breather whilst paying hommage to the local saint.

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    If not a church, then it's some local Barons digs. Still though, it sure does make it very picturesque.
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