INTRODUCTION In the summer of 2015 I decided to ride in my home turf, Europe. It offers fantastic possibilities for the adventure enduro rider, but for some reason most riders stick to the bigger roads of Central and Western Europe. My focus was on the dirt trails of Eastern Europe. ASHES OF EMPIRES Europe has always been turbulent and a frequent theatre of war and clashing ideologies. Eastern Europe has perhaps suffered the most, and still holds many bitter memories. The Crimson Trail is a dirt track through the ashes of empires. A journey through our not so distant past, when Europe was still divided. If ever there was a time for this ride, it is now, as the superpowers flex their muscles and the embers of war have been relit. THE CRIMSON TRAIL The priorities of designing the route were remote and spectacular dirt tracks mixed with abandoned sites of the near history of Eastern Europe. Abandoned nuclear missile silos, military bases, villages and decayed Communist monuments contrast the beauty of The Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, The Dinaric Alps and the vastness of the North European Plain. This was the planned rough route, and conditions eventually dictated which trail to take. Rigid plans do not exist on rides like these. Only flexibility, creativity and a stern will to keep moving forward.