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A Team of 7 set off for a trip to Asia in June 2005

 
The numbers are waypoints and not overnight stops
  Day 01 : Saturday 28th May 2005 : Take Off  
Miles : 5 Time : Mov. ave :  :
  Always a good turn out to see us off  
 

No problems here apart from Ian's bike refused to start, with only 4v in the battery Panic 1 was off the ground, after a jump start BMW assist was stepped down. Then followed the losing of his passport, only to be found in his jacket pocket after emptying the panniers etc, what a mess.

The ferry was boarded on time in a rough sea swell, after the usual family send off we took up position in the bar. Thompson's put on a parade and send off in the river, a rare visit by a cruise liner to the Tyne.

Captain John Nelson (Snake-Bite) soon discovered he can't sail and after 2 coca cola he was off to bed, we worked it out that if they put a vibrating floor in the Grey Hen, John would loose 4 stone

 
 
  Day 02 : Sunday 29th May 05 - Eisenach (Germany) .  
Miles : 341 Time : 5Hrs 10m Mov. ave :  :
 
 
 
A bad accident had closed the road
 
 

1st day proper and the only thing to do was a lot of miles as it turned out the rain that had been promised didn't come only the heat, reaching 33C by lunchtime.

By this time Ian had learned of his new name "Lucky" after breaking his radio and having problems with a oil warning light.

Shortly afterwards we all witnessed a horrible scene on the motorway/Autobahn. What speeds the traffic moves at, we looked like we were standing still at 100 mph when all of a sudden the traffic ground to a halt. We did not move for over an hour, 10 fire engines lots more police 2 helicopters, and sadly 2 bodies.

 
  Day 03 : Monday 30th May 05 - Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic)  
  Miles : 303 = 650 Time : 6hrs 20m Mov. ave :  :
 
One for Badcock
 
 

A fantastic hard days ride keeping off the motorways and on the smaller A and B roads taking from 9am start to arrival in hotel room at 7pm. Our days average was only 48 mph but is much better than sitting on the motorway all day doing 90.

The night out was fine thunder and lightning and cheap beer.  This is home to the original Budvar beer before the yanks pinched it . Seven meals in the pizzeria 4 starters 14 pints and change out of 30 pound.

 
 
  Day 04 : Tuesday 31st May 2005 - Budapest (Hungary)  
Miles : 271 = 920 Time : 4hrs 22m Mov. ave :  :
 
Budapest
 
 
 
 
 
 

Everything is either falling into place or falling apart by now. Another good start after a late night.

 
 
  Day 05 : Wednesday 1st June 05 - Sibiu (Romania)  
Miles : 342 = 1262 Time : 7hrs 15Mins Mov. ave :  :
 
The Gypsies where the first pests
 
   
 
and then Plod...John's turn first
 
 

Let the fun begin they say, well after another late night or rather late for some, 3 of the squad (Billy, Den W and Paul ) received a dressing down for calling into a small piano bar next to the hotel at midnight and spending the kitty money. we were to be shamed.

Well I can say God has a way of correcting problems. By 2pm we had crossed the border into Romania and were set upon by gypsies selling there wares and generally begging. After an escape and a decision for lunch in a quieter place where we were to learn the clocks had moved on 1 hour, it was now nearly 4 and the half way stage had only just been reached, we pushed on

In the 1100 miles we had travelled John Nelson had never been in the front and now was his moment, by 1101 miles we had been stopped for speeding, 105 in a 50, times 3 (John Nelson, John Hold, and Ian ) all together and witnessing the video it was time to pay the fine 3,000,000 roll. thank goodness they are 50,000 to the pound, sixty pounds to save the calculators. John N tried to beg for forgiveness but no chance, this was to be the last of Nelson taking the lead.

From this point the speed was dropped down and Holdie resumed the lead . The discussion continued on the radios that the 3 speeders had now squared themselves with money that had been spent the night before at the piano bar. At least I had not wasted mine.

after a slow painful run Denny who still had money in the kitty decided to take the lead and leave a gap so he could radio back if any police were on the case at least this way only 1 would be caught.  Off he went and within 5 miles "Police Police"  could be heard, well spotted he thought, too late videoed at 95 in a 50 and another million was to disappear from the kitty.

What a long day this turned into, the roads were terrible, the driving skills terrifying and of course the speed traps, arrival at the hotel at 9pm is a poor day in the saddle.

I decided that this ranks in the same category as Great Yarmouth, Pleased I have been but won't come back. In saying that the city centre looks well from the 13 floor of the hotel, but no time for a wander as we push off into Bulgaria.

 
 
  Day 06: Thursday 2nd June 2005 - Sliven (Bulagaria)   
Miles : 393 = 1655 Time : 9hrs 52m Mov. ave :  :
 
Just a pretty view
 
 
 
  Cafe Romanian style  
 
 
 
Leaving Bulgaria
 
 

Arrival at 11pm was about the hardest days riding I have ever had, I have to say to leave the hotel at 9am and not remove the bike suit for another 14 hours amounts to a hard day. The timings for this part of the trip have gone right out of the window. Making time is impossible, police on almost every town and the towns go on forever, it seems that everyone lives by the main road.

With Wednesday costing us 4 speeding fines we had to be careful.  The day started bad, things like a garage with no petrol a road that was closed (snow) a garage that took no credit card or euros and it was still only 10.30am. The only redemption we can give the police is advising what good road to take. By the time we reached the capital Bucharest it was 30 degrees 3pm and no idea of what road went where, no signs poor GPS mapping and road quality the worst I have ever seen in a capital city. Holes like manholes with no covers, complete carnage.

A pain at the boarder followed, but we were glad to see the back of Romania. I have to say that this will be my first and last visit to Romania it is a hellhole (other words could have been used but net nannies will not allow them to be opened by some) and the day was just passing away.  when darkness fell about 9pm panic started to set in. It was pitch black poor headlights daytime visors all added to the time. When we reached the town which appeared to be in total darkness we quickly gave up the search for the hotel and pulled a taxi which we followed. We would have been looking yet. Added to the difficulty is the use of the Russian Alphabet on the road signs.

One item of motorcycle equipment I have always sworn by especially for touring is the Autocom Bike To Bike Radios, helpful for the odd comment and to warn the others of any dangers, like hole in road idiot coming up behind you etc. etc..  For this trip six of the seven bikes were fitted with the equipment. John Hold having a dislike of talking in the helmet  has never fancied the idea. We could not even convince him of the advantages after a run up a duel carriageway section the wrong way. An easy mistake on a bad piece of marked road. We all could have done it especially after 12 hours on the bike. But had the Autocom been fitted we could have adverted what could have been a disaster. Most of the lads were rather shaken by the experience, but still failed to convince him of the advantages.

 
 
  Day 07/08: Friday 3rd June 2995 - Istanbul (Turkey)  
Miles : 279 = 1935 Time : 5hrs 45m Mov. ave :  :
 
Entering Turkey
 
 
 
 
Bikes get a turn to pose...back in Bulgaria
 
 

The mileages are always taking from the GPS but the riders always talk about the speedometer so in those terms we moved to 2037 miles, a hard weeks ride putting it bluntly, more than half on poor roads. We all wanted a good day to get to Istanbul early and enjoy the night.

The 9 am start pushed into gear hoping for a better day, things were going quite smoothly until we reached the Turkish border about 1 hour behind planned, no problem until the following checks were carried out all in separate places, all back on the bikes next check followed by another. It took over 2 hours to get into the country.

Checkpoints

  • customs, waved through

  • Vehicle check registration to see what came in went out

  • Passport

Entering Turkey

  • Passport details entered on computer

  • Number plate check against V5 and passport checked- Vehicle import papers issued

  • Police Check informed visa stamp required

  • Pay £10 for visa at separate queue

  • returned with visa, in passport and then stamped

  • Customs , checked V5 and Passport

  • Check on V5 pay 15 euros road tax

  • Check Passport, and vehicle import papers

The road to Istanbul was the best we had been on for days, 145 miles with 1 problem no petrol, Denny was to use emergency litre for the first time, we could sense the day going pear shape again. What we had not bargained for was the hotel finding competition in Istanbul. With a population of 8 million this was impossible after 2 hours in town the closest we got was 500 meters according to the GPS which does not have street level detail in Turkey , the job is to find the dot on the screen by working in and out of the streets, welcome the good old taxi, easy to find then. 7.30pm was on the clock by the time we arrived. Tired faces complete.

Saturday 4th June 2005 - a day of rest to sight see in Istanbul

Heaven, mini bus hired with guide, boat trip with belly dancer sorted

A quick brief on Istanbul is that everything we like (beer) is expensive and everyone wants to rip you off, some appear to be honest thieves but thieves all the same.

The best experience I will always have was the the sight of the blue Mosque and the hammering I took in the Turkish bath.

Sunday morning found none of us any fitter for the day of rest, we were ready early for the run over the bridge and slip into ASIA.


The Blue Mosque


The Magnificent seven


Hair Cut Time

 
Where Asia meets Europe and John and Den meets a belly dancer
  Day 09: Sunday 5th June 2005 - Plovdiv (Bulgaria)  
Miles : 291 = 2227 Time : 5Hrs Mov. ave :  :


The bridge "over the Bosphorus" looking from the Asian side

 


First foot in Asia

 
 
 
 


Roman amphitheatre, Plovdiv


Roman amphitheatre, Plovdiv


Skyline View

 
 

Away from the hotel early to beat the traffic as a half hearted decision had been made to go into Asia, not for long just a run over the bridge. I think it has more to do with the fact we can now say we rode to Asia on the bikes that excites some of us.

The day went smoothly with the journey back to Bulgaria being on a Sunday certainly helped and the border crossing was only one hour, with 6 less queues to get out than on the way in.

It was quite ironic that this was our first early finish at 5.30 and the first hotel I have ever stopped at that didn't have a bar. John Nelson was suicidal, he called for an early round up in reception by 7 to go and find a bar.

Plovdiv has some fantastic Roman Artefacts so the culture tour came before, the beer but only just.

Bulgaria must be the cheapest place in Europe, with a beer costing around 35p and taxi ride into town 50p and £20 for a meal for seven complete with wine and beer.

 
 
  Day 10 : Monday 6th June 05 - Belgrade (Serbia)  
Miles : 344 = 2568 Time : 6Hrs Mov. ave :  :
 
 
     
 

After a meeting with the agent who had booked our hotel in Bulgaria and Istanbul, who did a fine job in a country we were struggling with and can be well recommended we made ready for the next hit.

The experience of entering Serbia was somewhat of an experience, First time I have seen a petrol station duty free 40p a litre on the way out of Bulgaria. Then questions and more questions where have you been what do you do how long you stay etc etc. I was first for the checks and on the Insurance and Passport check I was waved through the barrier it opened then as I started the motor the barrier dropped again and out he came for a second look at my papers along with two colleagues finally it was accepted. The two den's both failed on the insurance papers and had to pay 70 euros for the cover.

I made my way to change some money and was informed that Bulgarian money can not be changed, and we had over £120 of it left. The only thing we had gained up to now on Serbian side was an extra hour and two more stamps in the passport which now amount to sixteen to date.

The ride from the boarder was our first taste of rain, what a first impression of Serbia over 60 mile of it on terrible roads, or rather roadwork's, it was a shame because the scenery was beautiful.

The hour we had gained was soon to be reclaimed when I notice Holdie's tyre looked a bit flat. True to form the lucky tour had picked up a nail in the rear. The break we got was a tyre centre situated in the motorway service area. Who agreed to patch the tyre at a cost of £2.50.

On entering Belgrade later than planned we were greeted with amazing sites of bombed out buildings, something I would have liked to photograph, but feared it was a little on the sensitive side to be seen.

The city centre had a good atmosphere by night and our hotel was smack bang in the middle of it all. once again by comparison the meal in a lovely restaurant came to £80.

 
 
  Day 11: Tuesday -  7th June 05 - Maribor (Slovenia)  
Miles : 317 = 2885 Time : 5Hrs 19m Mov. ave :  :
 
hotel Habakuk Maribor
 
 
 
 
inside hotel Habakuk Maribor
 
 

This was probably the boring day, do 250 miles on the motorway and then a bit play on the twisties. Perfect start 200 miles in the heat on a long flat expensive toll road leaving Belgrade and heading for Zagreb. We had decided to leave the motorway at Zagreb and head for the "A" roads to have some enjoyment when the heavens opened and I mean opened. We had seen the cloud approaching and thought it might pass us by, no chance so we stayed on the motorway as long as possible to reach Maribor and one of my favourite hotels the Habakuk . We and made good time even with the rain, so it gave the party a chance for a look around the facilities.

 
 
  Day 12: 8th June 05 - Passau (Germany)  
Miles : 260 = 3145 Time : 5Hrs 54m Mov. ave :  :
 
Photo call 9am Habakuk hotel

 
 
 
 
Nelson with Wardle in hot pursuit "Austria in the rain"
 
 

Having dragged everyone out of the hotel kicking and screaming we headed north to Graz in Austria and had a good day coming of the main road and heading over the passes to Ybbs and then keeping to the small roads we travel 80 or so miles along the Danube to Passau . The day was once again dogged by rain in fits and stat. We hear that back home the sun is splitting the stones.

 
 
  Day 13: Thursday  -  9th June 05 - Bamberg (Germany)  
Miles : 221 = 3365 Time : 4hrs 32m Mov. ave :  :
 
Bamburg
 
   
 
Smoking a hooker
 
 

A good days ride keeping away from the Autobahn totally and following all the smaller biker type paradise roads, It turned out to be a fantastic days ride with no rain which makes huge difference.

This was followed by a nice 4pm finish at the hotel. The lads chomping at the bit for an early beer.

I have to comment that the difference having full GPS mapping with the hotel marked is paradise compared to driving round and round in hope that it is round the next bend.

Arriving a little earlier than planned it gave us a chance to have a Holdie culture tour around the old town, very interesting I must say.

The night was spent with Den W insisting he tried out a hooker in the local Egyptian bar, he did confess that he slept with his shoes on.

 
 
  Day 14: Friday 10th June 2005 - Aachen (Germany)  
Miles : 303 = 3665 Time : 4Hrs 52m Mov. ave :  :
 
Nurburgring
 
 
 
 
caption .......Well
 
 

Sadly it all has to end sometime and the days plan was to start heading for the ferry which leaves Saturday 6pm. So off we went with the intention of killing some miles on the autobahn. Denis with the hangover decided to push for the land speed record an d managed 160 mph followed in hot pursuit by the 2 Yamaha Fazers.

Lunch was off the motorway at the Nurburgring racetrack which is about 20 miles long where on certain  days you can pay to do a lap or more of the circuit, sadly this was not one of those days. Arriving in Aachem on a lovely sunny Friday night was a good end to the trip. all that's left is to do 180 miles to the ferry, so a lie in has been booked by all.

 
 
  Day 15: Saturday 11th June 2005 - Ijumden (Amsterdam).   
Miles : 195 = 3870(4080 per bike) Time : 3Hrs 3m Mov. ave :  :
   
  We even had time to visit the war museum  
 

the final encounter, drinks on the boat

 
 
 
 
and just in case you thought 2 weeks on the road was easy, riding bikes all day and drinking all night you were wrong!!
 
 

Thoughts are now getting home and by the time this last bit is updated we will according the BMW bikes speedometer have covered 4080 miles. We even managed a detour to Arnham on the way to the ferry and a visit to the war museum.

Well that's it we are sitting in the ferry Queue as I catch up the final words.....I am waiting to see results of a webcam used by some friends this year and if successful may consider it in the future, to improve the site.  However I do feel that the technology and the download times required at this time are not adequate to make this possible at the present time.. I shall do my post a link to the website tour to Kiev when available.. I now believe that it was not possible (we never seen them did we)..

 
 
  Day 16: Home  
Miles : 5 Time : Mov. ave :  :
 

 
 
Dave Badcock on hand to take the Photographs of the home coming
 
 

Home

 
 

 

 
 

The Team :-
Billy Skipper 45, BMW R1150 GS Adv
a (all round good guy, a man of many missions)

John Nelson 45, BMW R1150 GS Adv
a(don't **** with me)

Paul Haynes 37, BMW R1150 GS Adv
aaa(a bit of a home comforts man " mammy's boy" . Team cook, spends more time looking in the mirror than riding a bike also requires a lot of rest,
and cannot hold his beer)

John Hold 50+ Yamaha Fazer
a(
"not a has been........more of a nearly was")

Denny Chappell 60- Yamaha Fazer
a(out)

Dennis Wardle 49, Honda firestorm

a(red wine)

Ian Armstrong 41, BMW R1200GS
a(DAS SHORT)

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13-Oct-2009