Alps Adriatic and Alcohol is the story of my first ride to Croatia on my XJR1300 in 2004. I wrote it from my Travel Journals when I returned home. I haven’t read the tale in it’s entirety since and I’m sure some of it will make me blush. Odd bits have been used by popular motorcycle publications but most of it is as fresh to me as it was seven years ago – as are the memories.
The opening photograph was taken by a fellow traveller at the entrance to the KrKra National Park. He was a braver man than I, was Gunga Din. He was on his way home to Germany from a holiday in Bosnia with his wife and two very young children in a venerable old split screen Volkswagen camper van.
I was nervous of going to Bosnia as I had no insurance cover for that country. His reply was ‘I don’t know what you are bothered about as nobody down there has insurance anyway’. I like his style!
Alps, Adriatic & Alcohol – 2004 – Part One
I have had my Yamaha XJR1300SP since it was new in 2000 and over the past four years I have carried out a few modifications with the aim of improving the handling, power and comfort of the machine. A naked bike without protection from wind and weather isn’t generally regarded as a long distance tool, particularly when planning some mile-munching in short order but the big-finned, air-cooled, four cylinder motor in the XJR certainly rocks my boat and together we can usually hold our own when the going get’s tough.
Purchased for the trip were a set of Oxford Sports throw-over pannier bags and a Baglux tank cover fitted with a bag big enough to hold my camera, binoculars, spare maps and a few other bits I thought be useful.
These together with my well-travelled Camel holdall strapped on the pillion would have enough capacity to swallow spare gloves, clothes and footwear plus cans of sealant, chain lube and WD40 or ‘instant maintenance’ as it was known by the African mechanics in my civil engineering days in Africa.
H-mmm — still room in the expanding pannier bags! In went a handful of cable ties, tying wire and pliers plus the heavy duty ‘just in case’ ratchet and sockets. We’ve all been caught out at the side of the road with a flat tyre. The wheel nuts have been done-up some months previous by an eighteen stone gorilla tyre-fitter with his windy-gun set on maximum. The manufacturer’s chocolate wheel brace is in our hand bent into a ‘U’ shape and the wheel is still on the vehicle! Well it wasn’t going to happen to me – not in the places I was headed for!
I couldn’t have been carrying more gear had I been setting off with Charley, Ewen and Claudio on their Long Way Round World Tour!
Alps, Adriatic & Alcohol 2004 – to be continued