RTW Trip on a Himalayan

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
You Sir, are a legend !
I hope you write a book some day about these adventures, with all the great photos.
Thanks petespace1, I just enjoy the travel and like sharing my travels with those that wish to view my posts, like yourself and others on the forum. As for writing a book, well that's something that I might do just for the fun as I am more interested in riding than writing.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 78 - 79

The Balkans

Part Three - Serbia

I arrived at the border of Hungary and Serbia and everything was quite painless until the question of "Green Card" insurance arose. Now having a UK Insurance policy I automatically have cover for most countries in the Balkans. However, before I set out on my latest journey I had contacted my insurer to get a hard copy of my green card.

No problem they said, just use the website and request it online. The website was not functioning correctly for this task. Phoned again. Again told use the website, told them it was not working. Don't worry it will be back up soon. Cant you send me a copy by email? NO, use the website.

Still not got a copy, so I needed to buy it at the Serbian border before I was allowed in, no problem, correct? Yes but 50 Euros for 15 days cover? Oh well I just got legally robbed but nevertheless I get in to Serbia.

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I made my way to the city of Novi Sad where I sent the night in a nice hostel for about twenty Euros. I had a walk about the city and bought a SIM card for about ten Euros. The next morning I set off for Belgrade which was the former capital of Yugoslavia. The road there was pleasant enough but not what I would describe as scenic. Once in Belgrade it was madness. Horrendous traffic, very few road signs of any relevance.

I managed to get close to a very large church with a huge domed roof and got a photo but I could not get near anything else.

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So I decided that I had had enough of Belgrade and headed out of it to the south. As the rode rose up out of Belgrade I saw one of the most beautifully decorated churches that I have ever seen. I had to stop and photograph it.

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As I headed further south the road passed by the river Danube.

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I continued south but again the countryside was pleasant but uninspiring. I took some roads through the hills surrounding the main roads but on doing so I found that these were just roads through forests with nothing to see nor no small villages, towns, or bars to stop at. Eventually I headed back on to the main roads and nearing the border with North Macedonia I passed the biggest quarry that I have ever seen. Truly massive in scale.

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Only when North Macedonia approached did the scenery improve.

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To be honest I was very disappointed in Serbia, I had expected much more that I saw or experienced. Whilst i am glad that I have been there, I shall not be rushing to return.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 80 - 81

The Balkans

Part Four - North Macedonia

I normally like to take a photograph of the sign at each border to record my visit there. However, on leaving Serbia and entering North Macedonia I must have missed it so no photo of that to include in this post. It might also have been the fact that the "Green card" insurance here was only fifteen Euros for fifteen days that distracted me. No robbery here.

As it was getting late in the afternoon when I crossed the border I decided to head for the capital, Skopje. I managed to book a small hotel near the city center for about twenty three Euros. Once parked, showered and changed I headed in to the city and had a very well earned local beer before calling it a night. The next morning I wandered around the city center marveling at the enormous statue of Alexander the Great which dominates the main square.

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Then just over the river another one of him.

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The place was full of very impressive buildings, old bridges, and an old fort.

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It really was a very impressive place, but I was not there just to walk around so I headed off East in to the mountains that I had seen when I approach Skopje. The roads were good and very twisty and as I turned to the South I encountered a really old stretch of cobbled road.

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I don't know how old it is but it was a bit of a shaky ride along it. I then decided to take a small mountain road across the South of the country just below Kavadarci. The road was superb for about twenty kilometers and then it degenerated in to a potholed obstacle course for another five kms or so before turning in to a rock and gravel path. Undeterred I pressed on passing logging camps as the rode rose up in to the mountains.

Then the road grew quite steep and very rocky but I pressed on until eventually it turned in to a full blown earth logging road with huge long deep mud pits every twenty meters. Being fully laden I had to admit defeat and turn around. In all I had ridden about thirty five kms before u turning. However, fate was smiling on me because as I was nearing the junction with the main road I saw a small hotel and I decided to enquirer.

It turned out the the hotel was a family run business and one of the family members was a woman called Liz who spoke perfect English having lived and worked in London for about thirty years. I was made very welcome at this really nice hotel.

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The price was just over thirty Euros which for this place was excellent value for money. I had a meal and breakfast here which is very unusual for me as I don't often like hotel food and both were excellent. I don't often recommend places to others but this one I would to anyone visiting this area. The next morning, after breakfast I headed West through the mountains in the direction of the Albanian border crossing at Lake Ohrid. However, as I was nearing Lake Ohrid I saw the dark clouds massing and just managed to get in to a petrol station before an enormous thunderstorm rolled in keeping me drinking coffee for nearly two hours till it passed.

Next stop Albania.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 82 - 84

The Balkans

Part Five - Albania

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So as I crossed the Albanian border it was late in the afternoon so my first task was to get a SIM card and cash. All of the countries that I have visited have their own currencies.

This caused me some issues, the first being that at all of the border crossings that I had used there was a distinct lack of places to change the local currency. The second was that some of the currencies, like the Serbian dinar can not be exchanged once you are in another country. Therefore I had to try and estimate how much local cash I would need for each country in order that I was not left with a load once I had left.

However, once I was back online I quickly found a nearby hotel run by a really friendly owner who sat and spoke to me in English for over an hour, telling me for about his family and his country. The hotel was very nice and well worth the twenty Euros that i paid for my large room. The next day I set off for the coastal city of Sarande.

The road took me due South close to the Greek border before turning sharply North following the East side of a range of mountains before turning South again to Sarande.

From what I encountered I would say that Alabanian roads fall in to two broad categories, Either long stretches of perfect tarmac or tarmac roads that have been unmaintained for so long that they have disintegrated in to rubble strewn obstacle courses. Either way quire enjoyable most of the time except when you encounter the latter as you run a corner carrying a bit of speed.

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However, the scenery in this part of Albainia is quite breathtaking and it was a great place to ride through.

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However now and then other obstacles were encountered on the road, most of which were quite large and quite mobile.

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By late afternoon I had arrived in Sarande which i found to be little different from any other coastal tourist destination. I obtained a room at an overpriced hotel for about thirty five Euros, the cheapest available, and spent a restless night being constantly wakened by passing traffic or late night revelers heading home.

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Once packed I took the coastal road from Sarande up to Vlore and this was again a stunning road to ride along. This road rose and fell continually and at one point from one decent vantage point I photographed Vlore from the roadside.

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North of Vlore I followed the coast until I got to Tirana. This part of the country I would not recommend as the roads were much busier and the countryside was pretty flat. In addition, most of the buildings that could be seen from the road were partly finished and partly a construction site. When I got to Tirana I bookd a "Communist Style" room for about twenty Euros, however the name was merely a marketing ploy to attract gulibile tourists (like myself on this occasion) to pay for an un rennovated room stuffed with old 70's furniture. To be fair it did however have some reproduction communist style electrical appiances so I suppose it fulfilled the description to some degree.

Tirana was not what I had expected and much of the city was very modern. The main focal point of the city was a massive square where the opera is situated but there is little around it in the way of bars, cafes, or restaurants. I found a very small area of the really old part of the city but this had been hollowed out and filled with tourist type shops.

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However, in a bar where i stopped to get a coffee and a cigar I did find a relic of the communist era.

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Next stop Montenegro.
 
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madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 85 - 86

The Balkans

Part Six - Montenegro and Bosnia

After crossing the border from Albania in to Montenegro I spotted two bikers parked at the side of the road on the other side of the road. I stopped and spoke to them, a man and a woman on two bikes. It turned out that the couple were from Switzerland and were heading for Albania. After a chat about our respective bikes I donated the small amount of Albanian currency that I still had to their coffee fund for which they thanked me.

I followed the coast road Northwards with a view to cutting across Lake Shkodra to the capital Podgorcia.

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However, due to a combination of really heavy traffic and an abundance of only local road signs, I missed the turn off and found myself still riding up the busy coast road. Eventually I found a road to Podgorcia and on reaching it, total disappointment. Almost no building older than maybe thirty years old. Very modern and very characterless. Time to move on.

I rode to Mojkovak and I then took the road along a gorge to Durdevica Tara Bridge which was spectacular.

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As I was photographing the bridge a thunderstorm rolled in over the hill on the road to Savnik but just before getting over the summit and avoiding the heavy rain the skies opened up on me and before I had a chance to get my waterprooff trousers on I was soaked. Once over the summit and heading downhill the temperature had quickly fallen from about twenty seven degrees to about fifteen degrees. It was cold. I rode for about twenty miles but I was not getting warmer so I saw a hotel with the "Bikers Welcome" sign outside and decided to stop for the evening.

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The next morning I headed to Savnik and then South to Nilsik and then on to the border with Bosnia at Vilusi and to my relieft the sun had reappeared. One of the best views that I saw and that I was able to stop and photograph was near to the Bosnian border.

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Once in Bosnia I rode North to Mostar with a view to having a look at the famous bridge but like Montenegro,

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Mostar was choked with traffic so I gave up, headed out of the city and headed North to Sarajevo. I arrived in late afternoon and I booked a small self contained apartment for about twenty five Euros which had secure parking for the bike. Very good value. Sarajevo I found to be a strange city, it is very long East to West but not that deep North to South. The "older" part of the city is at the East end of the city and this was where my accommodation was situated. Once settled i went for a walk only to find that like Podgorcia in Montenegro, there were very few traces of any buildings built more than thirty years a go.

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The next day i set off North to Banja Luka which on arrival I found to be very nondescript. I then headed West for the Croatian border. Whilst the scenery was reasonably pleasant, like my time in Serbia, I found very little to hold my attention and like Serbia, it is not a country that I will return to.

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As for Montenegro, very beautiful country choked with traffic which stopped me from stopping and taking photographs of the stunning scenery.

Next stop Croatia.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 87 - 88

The Balkans

Part Seven - Croatia

So I crossed the border in to Croatia and I headed West to the coast. I stopped at the first reasonable sized town and I was able to get some Croatian money from an ATM. Luckily I had made better calculations so I had no Bosnian catch to try to get rid of, which was fortunate because yet again there were no money exchange facilities at the border crossing.

A few weeks before setting off on the trip, I had encountered post in somewhere or other about a guy who ran a small operation hosting bikers in the spare rooms of his house, so having made contact with him I headed for his place. The guy used to run a motorbike shop in England and provided me with very comfortable accommodation for around 20 Euros a night. I stayed for three nights to get a bit of a break and to attend to an oil change and some minor tinkering here and there.

I asked him about route to ride whilst in Croatia and he recommended that I stay away from the coast road as although it was very scenic, during the summer is is swamped with tourist traffic. The city of Zadar was about forty miles away and he said that it was a nice place to go for visit so after the oil change I set off to see it.

Zadar sits on the coast and true enough, as I approached it the traffic got worse. Getting in and out was relatively painless however, the old town is mainly pedestrianised and had a one way system that was very busy. I eventually found a place to park the bike and I went for a wander around the old town before settling down for a coffee and a spot of people watching.

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After leaving the city I took a route recommended by my host from Zadar and over the mountains back to his place. It was a small road that eventually turned in to a dirt road and then a stony goat track. On the unladen Himalayan it was perfect as the bike easily scooted past heavy duty 4x4 jeeps trying to climb the pass. Near the top the views were truly spectacular.

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After a day of rest I got back on the bike and headed off North. The plan was to get to Zagreb but it was just one of those days. It started off when after I had ridden for about an hour I stopped for a coffee and on checking my phone, the guy who I had been staying with had sent me a message. I had forgotten my front panniers that were still sitting near to where my bike had been parked. Duh...what a twat. So, after another hour on the bike to retracing my earlier route, I got my panniers and again headed North.

Whilst this part of Croatia was quite scenic is was nothing to write home (or here) about. I made my way North on road number 50 to Zuta Lokva where it meets the 23 which runs from Senj on the coast to Zagreb to the East. I must have been thinking about my earlier memory lapse concerning the panniers because instead of taking the road to Zagreb I took the road to Senj. I only realised my error when cresting a hill I saw the sea. Duh... what a twat, again.

However, I was on the coast road now so I decided to follow it in the direction of Rijecka with the intention of crossing in to Italy. Although very busy, the views along the coast road were indeed very scenic.

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On reaching Rijecka I saw a wall of black clouds to the North and as I needed to refuel I pulled in to a petrol station for fuel and a coffee. As I sat I saw the lightning flashes in the clouds moving slowly South towards where I was. A heavy downpour started but only lasted for about thirty minutes. It was obviously the starter as the main course was still advancing South and the lightening was getting worse. A quick look at the map and after getting ready I was heading East towards Zagreb.

As I road East the the bad weather seemed to be sitting on the North side of the mountains that ran West to east so I continued to ride East until I saw a break in the weather to the North. I made for the break and crossed the border in to Slovenia. After crossing I got caught in a small shower but after that, heading North the weather cleared and I had avoided the huge thunderstorms.

As I said, one of those days.
 
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Robert

Well travelled
Location
Holland
Once again thanks for sharing your journey and pictures!
I understand that this was all last summer? (Here in Holland summer is truly dead again, plenty of rain and temps around 15 C)
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Once again thanks for sharing your journey and pictures!
I understand that this was all last summer? (Here in Holland summer is truly dead again, plenty of rain and temps around 15 C)
Hi Robert. No, this was just last month. I set off from Poland around 13.08.2022. The reason I use the consecutive day count in the posts is that I only count the days that I am actually traveling on the bike. When I am not traveling I don't count those days as being part of my trip.

So, since August 2019 I have only traveled about ninety something days, the rest of the time i have been locked down (along with everyone else) or killing time till I can do some more traveling.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Days 89 - 94

The Balkans

Part Eight - Leaving the Balkans and entering Puncture city.

I stayed the night in Slovakia in a very pleasant guest house for about twenty five Euros and then the following day I set off to meet up with a US biker at a rendezvous about one hundred miles from Ljubljana.

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He was on a GS BMW, our paths crossed on social media so we agreed to meet. A nice guy, so after a chat we rode together to Ljubljana but since I had been there before I pushed on in to Italy whilst he went in to the city. I stopped for the night Padua and I was glad to find out that the "Green Pass" requirements for staying in a hotel were no longer in force. The hotel was nice and reasonable value at thirty euros.

The next day I set off on the SR/SP 10 for Alessandria, then on to Asti, and then south to the coll de Tende on the Italian/French border. I had gotten about one hundred miles or so when suddenly the front end got all squirrelly on me. I saw an opening to a factory and managed to get in off the road. Sure enough a puncture. So after unloading the bike it was off with the front wheel and out with the spare tube, tyre levers etc.

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After about an hour of sweating under a very hot sun I was back on the road. This part of Italy is not very scenic but now and again a town with old fortifications appeared which helped. By about four pm I had reached Cueno and headed for the pass. As I rode up the mountain I saw that the tunnel was closed, I had no option but to take the pass. When I eventually got to the top there was a notice in Italian which I could not read but there were a couple of guys in 4x4 jeeps standing at ti.

There was also a set of traffic lights which were at red. The guys explained to me that the road was closed for traffic till six pm so they turned their vehicles around a left. I decided to ignore the lights and I set off down the hill. On the way up it was tarmac but on the way down it was a very broken and rock strewn track. It was also one of the tightest and steepest roads that I have ever been on, countless first gear turns on loose surfaces with no barriers and nothing to stop the bike going over the edge if I made a mistake.

I eventually hit tarmac but the steepness of the road and the severity of the hairpins did not change. I passed some bikers who were on the way up along and apart from one solitary car nothing else was on the ascent. As I finally reached the bottom where the tunnel exit was, the road widened. and slightly further on was where the French border was.

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As I road down in to the valley towards the town of Tende, massive black clouds appeared along with the odd lightening flash. I needed to find a place to stay before the downpour started. It was also getting dark so I opted for a room in a hotel just south of Tende for fifty Euros for the night. Expensive but I had limited options and very limited time to seek cover from the approaching storm. Just as I reached the hotel the storm arrived.

The following day it was sunny but cold. I rode for about ten miles south from Tende on the D6204 and then took the D2204 to go over the coll de Brouis. The road was fantastic and the views were spectacular.

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I stopped in the town of Sospel for coffee and croissants then once heated up by the morning sun I headed down to Nice and then on to the Spanish border.

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My plan was to go up in to the Pyrenees but as I approached the border the mountains were topped with lots of black clouds in which lightning flashed every so often. No choice but to head for the gap in the clouds and in to sunny Spain beyond. As by now it was getting dark I headed for the seaside holiday resort of Lloret de Mar where I got a room in a five star hotel for thirty Euros, good value if stuffed with tourists.

The next morning I set off to Reus where I was planning to stay with a friend for a few days. I had just gotten south of Barcelona on the N340 and i was approaching a petrol station when the front end went all squirrelly again. Yup another puncture to the front tyre, however, this time I had forgotten to buy a spare inner tube. So off with the wheel etc. in the forecourt of a petrol station about three miles from the nearest town.

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The tube was cut and after checking the tyre for anything responsible for the puncture, I found that there was nothing. I had also done this when I got the first puncture in Italy but found nothing stuck in the tyre then either.

However, I now had a dilemma and sat drinking a coffee thinking about how I could repair it as I did not have a puncture repair kit. Eventually I cut a piece of neoprene cable shrink in to a patch and superglued it in to place. I then cut another two to re-enforce it.

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It held when I inflated it, so it was put back in the wheel and I rode to the nearest bike shop that had a replacement tube. It took me visits to three separate shops before i got one. Now four hours behind schedule I again set off for Reus but I only got about forty miles before my repair failed. So for another roadside episode of unload the bike, front wheel off, etc. etc and the newly purchased spare inner tube was now in the front tyre. Once inflated I continued my journey and I eventually made it Reus just before it got dark. I obtained a replacement spare tube and after a few days of rest I set off for Galicia and my ultimate destination on this trip.

I rode West along the N240 to Zaragoza and then on the N 122 to Soria where I stopped to eat. Then I continued on to Valladolid and then via the N601 and N 610 to Benavente. This journey was very relaxing as the roads passed through some very scenic countryside scattered with old castles and quaint towns and villages.

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As I approached my hotel on the outskirts of Benavente on the N6 the front end went squirelly on me again.

On stopping in the hotel car par, I saw that the front tire was deflated somewhat but not quite flat so after checking in and unloading the bike I used my air compressor to inflate it and it seemed to hold the pressure. I again checked the tyre for anything sticking in it but found nothing. I set off the next morning along the spectacular N6 and just as I was approaching the junction for the N120, yup you guessed it. The front end going squirrelly again. This time the tyre would not reinflate.

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So it was yet one more episode of the unpacking of the bike and wheel off pantomime.

I again checked the tyre for something causing the puncture but nothing so on with the wheel containing my second recently purchased spare tube and I rode off hoping that it would last the seventy miles that I needed to cover to get to my destination. With a great sigh of relief it did.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
The End of Chapter One

I started my RTW trip properly when I bought my Himalayan in August of 2019. Since then, just over three years later, I have visited every country in Europe that I wished to see and covered about thirty four thousand miles doing so.

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Covering those miles I rode for just over ninety days of actual traveling, which averages out at around three hundered and sixty miles per day.

Ninety days of actual traveling in three years, not a lot.

The reasons for this are quite evident. The insanity that was, and in some places, still is, Covid 19 and all the associated restrictions on travel for those like myself who opted not to take the injection.

Had this pantomime not have been staged thirty three thousand miles would have taken me on my intended route across Europe, through the Stans to Vladivostock, back to the towards the Stans, through China, in to India, all the way down to the south of India and back up to Nepal. God only knows where I would be now three years on if I was able to travel as before the pantomime. Instead, each year I rode backwards and forwards and sideways around Europe, for three years, hoping that I would be able to continue my travels to the East and each year being dissapointed at the prevailing insanity preventing me from doing so.

The Himalayan only let me down twice, once with a piston seizure cause by a loose oil jet within the crankcase and once with a failed injector. It performed well on all roads and in all conditions, and in my opinion, much better than a 411 cc bike ought to have.

So three years on and what are my options? Well now that the pantomime appears to be getting less and less audiences, it looks as if it is about to close. However, in its place armed conflict seems to be the order of the day in the countries to the East of Europe. Russia v Ukraine. Armenia v Azerbaijan. Kyrgyzstan v Tajikistan.

Then there is Iran, no entry for passport holders from the UK (me) the US and Canada. Then there is Iraq, controlled by the Taliban. Syria, no I think not.

The prospect of any way East opening up anytime soon does not look like a good bet so I have to come up with another plan, I think I might be on to plan J or K by now but I am not sure. It seems highly likely that I shall have to fly the bike to another place from which I can continue my trip. That sounds like a good idea until one starts adding up the costs.

When I bought mike bike in August 2019 it was a year and six months old with just over two thousand miles on the clock and I paid three thousand two hundred pounds for it. It is now four years and six months old with just over thirty six thousand miles on the clock. The maximum resale value is probably somewhere in the region of one thousand five hundred pounds. The cost to fly it somewhere starts at around three thousand pounds. I think the term not economically viable sums it up.

So, I have decided to say goodbye to my trusted steed and leave it in a good home here in Spain along with all of my tools, bags and spares.

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The only other thing that I shall be sad to see go is my Dainese Antartex bike jacket. I bought it in 1997 for seven hundred pounds and it has been the best piece of motorbike kit that I have ever owned. It has served me well but it is now past its best and time for it to retire.

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Where I shall go next? Well I have yet to decide that. I shall spend the winter here in Spain and make my decision over that period of time. Wherever I end up I shall buy another Himalayan on which I can continue with my disjointed RTW trip.

Until then and the start of chapter two, its adios mi amigos!
 
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m1ckDELTA

Well travelled
Hello Folks.

I have posted an introduction and it was recommended to me that I should start a thread here about my trip.

I actually started my trip about two years ago but at that time I decided that as I did not yet have the correct bike to do an RTW trip on and that I needed to learn how to speak Spanish, I decided to live in Spain for a couple of years to learn the language. So, two years and a recent purchase of a Himalayan later, I decided to start my RTW for real. In August this year I rode the bike from Glasgow to Spain to go back and say goodbye to my friends there as the chances are it will be a long time before I decide to return or not.

I did about 2,500 miles in about 5 days, I had planned to do it in about 10 days, however, my UK bank decided to lock my account, leaving me on the French/Spanish border with 40 euros in my pocket. I had to do a long haul on mostly motorways to the home of a friend in Galicia where I just made it before running out of money for fuel.

The bank refused to unlock my account until I presented myself at a branch in the UK with 2 forms of ID. I had to borrow money from my friend to obtain flights back to the UK and get this mess sorted out. £500 later I presented myself at a branch, unlocked my account only to then be told that it was the bank's mistake and my account should never have been locked. Two months later, still no apology or refund for my expenses to get back to the UK from Spain. I normally don't carry lots of cash, just cards, but after this I will ensure that I always have access to some method of getting cash other than from my bank, that is until i change banks because I am not remaining with my present one.

Anyway unplanned horror story/Adventure over, back to the bike.

The bike has performed better than I expected. It is relaxing and very easy to ride. Does not like to be in 5th gear anything under 35 mph so in town I usually trundle about in 4th. Staying off the motorways was always my plan and apart from using them as little as i could during the ride from Glasgow to the channel tunnel ( almost an impossibility), the one day that I mentioned above in Spain and another that I shall talk about later, I managed to do so without any issues. The bike can be hustled along quickly when required and as others have mentioned the overtaking of long vehicles or a line of cars needs to be well planned as the bike does lack a little bit of power when making such manoeuvres.

The Trip.

Days 1 - 5

UK to Spain

My ride from Glasgow to Folkestone was largely uneventful but cold. A mix of A class roads where I could and motorways where I could not got me to Folkestone by early evening. Sitting at an indicated 70-75 mph the bike ran well and without complaint, although it did sound a little strained the closer it got to sustaining 6,000 RPM for a while. After a night in a an unremarkable hotel I rose to a beautiful sunrise in Folkestone.

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Leaving Folkestone I boarded the train that travel under the English channel to France. I have done this a few times before and as usual I met some fellow two wheeled travelers on board. After 20 minutes or so of exchanging stories and thoughts about each other's bikes, I said my farewells and rode south from Calais towards the city of Tours that would be my first stop on my way to Spain. Choosing to stick to the N or D class roads I was rewarded with not only relatively empty and well surfaced roads but also with some very scenic routes.

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Southbound on the D438 near Alencon

The next day I headed for La Rochelle, although I have been traveling in France many times before, this is one place that I had never been to. En route I stopped at the fortress town of Chinon for a quick breakfast. It was quite an impressive town.

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When I arrived at La Rochelle I found that the main port was pedestrianised and if I wanted to see anything I would have to leave the bike unattended. As all my worldly possessions are carried on it I decided to forsake the tourist experiences that La Rochelle had to offer and push on south to the ferry at Royan. Crossing the river Dordogne estuary on the ferry was pleasant enough despite the hefty 15 Euro ticket price.

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The D1215 south after the crossing was a great road to ride, the smell of pine trees filled the air and eventually the sun came out warming things up. I hit a couple of the smaller town on the coast looking for a place to stay for the night but as it was the height of the French holiday season most places that I found were either full or were asking over 70 Euros a night for just a basic room with no breakfast. Not happy to pay such prices I pushed on until I eventually found a place on the outskirts of Bayonne that was asking a more reasonable 40 Euros, still well overpriced, but as it was getting dark I decided to bite the bullet.

The next morning the sun was shining, it was warm, and I was looking forward to a long leisurely five day ride along the North coast of Spain. However, that dream was quickly shattered by my aforementioned banking problem, so a quick sprint along the motorway from Bayonne to Gijon and then south passed Lugo to the home of my friend.

During this long day on the motorway he bike held a steady 70-75 mph, getting up to 80 mph on a couple of overtakes on long vehicles, trying not to get rear-ended by a high speed BMW or Mercedes. I have to say that I was impressed by the bikes ability to take such sustained high revs while fully loaded. Although it is not the quickest accelerating bike once it got to 70-75 mph with the exception of long steep climbs it was releatively easy to keep it at this speed.

The week following this I spent arranging and then doing my traveling back to the UK to resolve my banking problems. Once this was over I spent the next couple of weeks relaxing and socialising with my friends. I also took the opportunity to ride some of the fantastic roads that this part of the world has to offer.

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LU-903 South of Douade Galicia Spain
This sounds like the beginning of something extraordinary. I have a question about your speed because you reference it in MPH vs KPH. I was under the impression that the Himalayan redlines at 70mph in 5th gear.
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
This sounds like the beginning of something extraordinary. I have a question about your speed because you reference it in MPH vs KPH. I was under the impression that the Himalayan redlines at 70mph in 5th gear.
On standard sprockets as I had on mine, flat out at 6,250 rpm redline it registered 83 mph on the speedometer (albeit downhill and fully loaded)

I don't know if the people who were reporting this were using standard gearing or not but these figures are my personal experience over riding if for three years and covering 34,000 miles.
 
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Wintrup

Well travelled
Location
Cumbria UK
Hello mate. When watching the whole global hysteria in 2020, Africa was probably one of the least mesmerized continents. The Tanzanian president, John Magufuli was almost ridiculing the narrative, until he was expired some weeks later. Point being there are many African countries that will be relatively restriction free. And it's just down the road from Spain. Don't fancy it?
 

madbiker

Well travelled
Location
United Kingdom
Hello mate. When watching the whole global hysteria in 2020, Africa was probably one of the least mesmerized continents. The Tanzanian president, John Magufuli was almost ridiculing the narrative, until he was expired some weeks later. Point being there are many African countries that will be relatively restriction free. And it's just down the road from Spain. Don't fancy it?
Hi Wintrup.

Good to hear from you again and i hope that all is well with you. Africa is not a place that I have any great desire to see, I was in Egypt on a package tour in the 80's and whilst the pyramids were an amazing place to visit, the whole vibe of the place was not to my liking. I have seen a lot of videos, and read a lot of books about travelers going through Africa but nothing that I have seen, nor anything that I have read sparks my interest to go there. My leanings are towards South America or India, however, i have yet to make up my mind which will be the best choice for me.
 
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