Episode 24 – From Bulgaria to Germany

It’s time to speed up a little the way back to Germany. I was in the middle of Bulgaria, and the only way up across new countries is through Serbia to get to Montenegro. After a couple of hours of driving, I passed Sofia and got to the border. There was a lot of cars waiting to pass the border control. Luckily for me, a policeman waved at me to overtake all the line and we only spent there about twenty minutes. I then continued through Serbia a bit on the North direction to later turn left to Montenegro. As I was getting closer, the night began to fall.

Crossing the Serbian border to Montenegro was quite a challenge. I found myself driving at night, in a high pass full of curves. That is ok with me until I found there were cars and truck drivers driving like crazy. Even one truck driver almost hit me as he was overtaking another truck in a curve. What the hell are they thinking of? I also found car drivers overtaking in line when I am approaching them. I mean, don’t they see it is dangerous? After struggling a little with this so-called “drivers”, I arrived at the border point by ten o’clock. Everything was ok, I was in Montenegro.

I had booked from a petrol station in Serbia a room on some sort of camping area not too far from the border. Even if I specified I was not arriving early, the owner wasn’t so happy about me arriving at eleven o’clock. It was not possible to have dinner, so I ate some cookies I had on the saddlebags. I tried to work a little bit on the computer but the Wifi connection was really bad. I had to get out of the room to the corridor to get a very light signal. After a couple of hours, I decided it was better to go to sleep.

Instead of crossing Montenegro from East to West, I was told to pass by Cetinje, the old Royal Capital. It is also the historic and the secondary capital of Montenegro, where the official residence of the President of Montenegro is located. This city is located in the southern region so I had to take quite a detour to get there. On my way there, I run into the highway construction area which I think was planned by a Chinese company. I drove for a couple of hours on mud, dust, dirt and all sorts of construction materials. I was really a mess. Although the idea of a highway would make moving around the country easier, the transport trucks were destroying completely the road they were working on.

I arrived in Cetinje but I didn’t find what I was expecting and continued to the border. I drove more, and more kilometers on very small roads in the mountains, surrounding by cliffs and trees. As most of the terrain is composed of mountains, it was magical for me to drive in this country. Although it was a marvelous experience, I feared I was going to be stuck there forever when the bike’s engine began to have problems to start. The number of cars I came across those roads was so little that I thought to myself: “If nobody came for you in Slovakia, who would come for you now?”. Luckily, the problem was solved, even if the cause of it was unknown at that time.

I spent the night at Prozor-Rama, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Crossing the border was again a matter of time due to the number of cars in line. Bosnia-Herzegovina has better quality roads and the driving was delightful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go any farther that day and stayed at a small hotel in town. The most expensive hotel I stayed in at the moment, but it was late and I didn’t want to pitch the tent. I had been on the bike for fourteen hours and I just wanted to sleep well. I was already behind schedule, as I was supposed to meet Senad, who I met in Slovenia, but I had another five hours to get to his house.

We woke up with sunny weather and continued to the border with Croatia. Against all odds, the border crossing only took us ten minutes. There were several border crossing points, but the GPS took us through Gradina Donja. The road to Zagreb took me to Hrvatska Dubica, where I found a biker bar called “Route 66” to have a rest. The employees were so nice that I gave them a couple of stickers. In return, the owner gave me a t-shirt and a sweatshirt from the bar.

Crossing the border to Slovenia would have been a nightmare if I was driving a car. Luckily, I wasn’t’. I overtook around two kilometers of three lanes full of cars. I’m not joking, it was madness. I just went through all the line and crossed to the other side. Once there, the border crossing was not going to be an issue for the next couple of weeks as I would travel inside the European Comunity.

I finally made it to Gratz, where Patrick was waiting for me. Patrick is Christopher’s son, both members of the Vulcan Riders Steiermark in Austria. I met Chris about five years ago in Slovenia, and it was not until the Danish International Rally in 2018 that I met Patrick. I was staying in Gratz as the final stop before continuing to the Vulcan Riders United MC Rally in Germany, and I needed a new rear tire.

Before changing the tire, I found out what the electric problem on the bike was. The battery box was loose and the power connection was not stable. I went to a DIY shop and made a metal strap to hold it in place. One problem solved. Back at the tire store, I found out that Austrian tire dealers do not pull out the wheel from the motorcycle to avoid having legal issues afterward. The shop was going to close in two hours and they couldn’t give me any solution. I tried to tell them I could take the wheel out but I needed their tools. It was not until Markus came, that they understood what I was saying. I just needed the car lifter and the necessary wrenches. One hour later, the tire was changed. During this process, I had Stefan looking after me from Germany, trying to figure out how to help me, or where to get a bike workshop. Even having someone coming for the bike with a trailer. Again, the German Vulcan cavalry at stake.

After all this mess, I could make it to the party and spend one more night surrounded by friends from all over Germany.

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