Friday, August 29, 2008

Do videnja ("Goodbye")


Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Elvis in CroatiaLast night I could barely sleep. I knew I would have to say goodbye to Croatia today and I was trying to savor every moment until I crossed the border into Slovenia. My motorcycle adventure was coming to an end and I honestly didn't want to leave. I stayed awake until 3am drinking Karlovacko on the patio overlooking the bay in Jadrtovac. I was going over some last details in my mind and preparing myself for what lay ahead tomorrow. I had finished most of my packing but I still needed to put my motorcycle away until next year. The gas would need to be drained, or used up and the bike would need to be put inside out of the way. The funny thing is I knew I would need to drain the tank yet I filled up with gas yesterday. I guess I will have to go for one last motorcycle adventure.

I woke up around 5:30am and snuck out of the house as quietly as I possibly could. I was actually like a ninja. Not quite a super ninja like you see in the old samurai movies, more of a hungover 235lb ninja with a bag of empty beer bottles slung over his back type of ninja. As a matter of fact, when I look back on that morning I'm surprised I didn't wake everybody up.

I went down to my bike and let out a sigh. I was getting a little depressed knowing that this was going to be my last ride for quite awhile. I actually had to stop myself and put in effort not allow my mood to ruin the day. I put on my game face and looked to the immediate future. Today I was going for a long hard motorcycle ride and I don't care where I go as long as it's fast and curvy.

And there better be somewhere to buy beer!

I rolled my Yamaha cafe racer down the hill one last time and I pressed the ignition button when I rounded the corner. It fired up with no problem and I cruised down to the corner store. This was probably the earliest I ever arrived at the store but low and behold there was a group of old men having a beer outside the door. How can you not get used to this kind of life?

I bought two icy cold Karlovacko's and walked down to the water across from the store in Jadrtovac. I had spent many hours sitting on the bench by the beach reading novels and drinking beer. I wanted to enjoy it one last time.

After I finished the beer I brought the empty back to the store and didn't replenish it. I still owed them one more empty but I figured i would just single bottle it for the rest of the morning.

I got out to the Jadranska Magistrala (Highway by the Sea) and turned left. I hammered on the throttle and within about 30 minutes I was in Split. I burned through town like a man possessed and parked down by the market at the ferry terminal. I drank the beer I had with me and then I sat down for a coffee... and then a beer.

I stopped and traded my empty for another road pop and I remounted my steed and headed back north. This time I took the back way and made my way up the switchbacks through the hillsides by Split. These turns are so tight and so much fun. The one thing you have to watch out for is the fact that they are more slippery than ice. The heat and the usage has compacted the asphalt into a glazed finish that looks deceivingly like fresh tarmac. Fortunately, I knew this and armed with that piece of information I compensated for the surface. I was so low coming around the corners that the leather on the ankle of my Pumas kept rubbing as I full on drifted around the tight corners. Both my front and back tires were sliding and a couple of times I either hit the shoulder barriers or slid into the oncoming lanes. I was as fearless as a teenager and confident in what my bike could do. When I reached the top of the mountain (hill to a British Columbian) side I was exhausted. It would seem a summer time spent drinking vast quantities of beer was catching up to me and I was sweating like a fat man looking at a free buffet.

I pulled over at an inhabited look out and the people there were taking pictures. They didn't know what to make of me so they kept their distance. I could see the guys were eyeballing the bike so I walked away from it to let them get in closer while I sat down on the guard rail and drank my beer. I saw them take a few pictures and I enjoyed the view.

The morning was starting to heat up as the sun was rising quickly. The thermometer was probably in the mid 30's now so I geared up and got back on the road. Within about 20 minutes I was looking over the waterfalls in Krk national park. I traded my empty for a full one and had another drink while I meditated to the thundering sound of the waterfalls.

I started to rush myself as I wanted to burn through the tank of gas. The funny thing is by the time I reached Beograd I had to switch to my reserve. I guess I'll need to buy a little more petrol.

I wasn't paying attention and I accidentally filled the gas tank right up to the brim (How did that happen?). I made my way south and before I reached Vodice I mad a right hand turn to head to the water. I had never been on this road which is surprising considering the amount of riding I had done in this area. It was taking a little longer than I expected to get to the water but I figure out why quickly. I was in a little archipelago of islands connected by bridges. What a beautiful little spot of paradise!

I rode the motorcycle down to the end of the road and ended up in the town of Murter. The sun was out full force so I grabbed a piece of shade and enjoyed a beverage.
Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Close up of Elvis' Yamaha XJ650 Cafe Racer in Murter
Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Elvis' Yamaha XJ650 Cafe Racer in Murter
I wandered through the town on my motorcycle and then made the long turnaround to head back to the mainland. The roads were twisty with alot of up hill right hand corners that I could really lean into. I pretended I was on a race bike and opened it up.

I was back on the highway in record time so I headed into Sibenik for one last tour about. These roads had become so familiar to me and I knew I was going to miss them tomorrow. I zigzagged through the back streets and came out at the tunnel near the train station. I blew threw town and detoured past the police station at high speeds to see if anyone wanted to play chase. No takers.

I stopped at a favorite little corner store on the way to Jadrtovac and grabbed a Karlovacko. I put it in my bag and headed to my favorite road side pull over by the new bridge that spans the opening of the bay into Jadrtovac. I savored every last moment and took a couple of pictures for memories.
Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Elvis drinking beer on motorcycle
Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Elvis drinking beer on motorcycle
I made it to the turn off to Jadrtovac but I decided to head down to the beach for one last drink and view of the Adriatic. I turned right into Žaborić, grabbed a beer at the store and headed to the water. I parked my bike right on the beach beside me and the two of us looked over the water and said farewell to Croatia and then to each other.
Motorcycle Adventure Travel | Elvis drinking beer on motorcycle
Until next year...


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