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Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's Only a Flesh Wound!

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Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Cafe Racer overlooking Croatian CoastSo I had a couple of beers at the corner store and I'm starting to feel better. The sun was rising in the sky, my motorcycle was starting to shine, and the temperature was rising too. The cold beer and the warm sun loosened me up and I started thinking about changing venues. Don't get me wrong, I could sit here all day and drink beer but I would like to see as much of this countryside as I possibly can.

Here's a good tip if you're planning on touring Eastern Europe and you like to drink beer out of glass bottles as much as I do. Stores and store owners take deposit on glass bottles seriously! The deposit on a glass bottle in some countries is as much, or more, than the price of the beer. Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Elvis and a bottle of KarlovackoThey really discourage you walking away with a bottle. Some stores won't even sell you a glass bottle if you don't return one at the same time. If you want to save yourself the argument with the shopkeeper every time you pull a nice cold glass bottle out of the cooler do what I do. Go to a larger chain store and pick out your favorite bottle of beer. Sometimes these stores won't even have cold ones. Then be very disciplined about keeping your empty after every drink. I actually carry two empties with me at all times. Then when you pull into the small village you take your empty out before you enter the store, making sure you make the empty very visible to the shopkeeper, and put it into the bin they always have for empties and the buy your favorite beer. It saves you having to struggle in another language to get that tasty pilsner or refreshing lager.

So, I put my two empties back in my shoulder bag and climbed on my motorcycle. My leg was well enough to put some weight on it so I tip toed the bike backwards and started it up as I rolled down the hill. I took a left turn and headed for the Adriatic.

Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Elvis drinks a pivo in Primosten CroatiaWhen I reached the Jadranska Magistrala (Highway by the Sea) I took a left and headed towards Dubrovnik. Of course I wasn't going to go to Dubrovnik, but I like the thought of heading there. After about half an hour on the motorcycle I pulled into Primosten, drove down to the beach, and traded one of my empty bottles of beer (the word for beer is pivo in Croatian) and a small brass coin for a full one. The water looked inviting but I wasn't feeling confident enough with my leg to go in. Plus, all the small scratches I incurred during the motorcycle accident would have stung as I entered the salt water. My day was going better than I hoped so why mess a good thing.

After the beer I left Primosten and headed up into the hills. I had no destination in mind so I couldn't get lost. If I did need to go somewhere then after the third fork in the road I could officially say I was lost. The hills were littered with olive gardens and vineyards. Occasionally I would see some horses and pass by a house or two. As I crested every hill the view of the sea would bless my eyes. The higher I climbed the more I was rewarded with a view of the Croatian seascape.
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I stopped and had another beer. The heat coming off the tarmac was intense in the sun so I took shelter under an olive tree. I pulled out some bread and topped it with some cheese and salami I had in my pack.

Now this is living!

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Where There`s a Will, There`s a Way

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Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Elvis with Custom Motorcycle HelmetIt was hard to get to sleep last night but it was even harder to sleep in. The motorcycle crash was being replayed every fifteen minutes like that accursed CNN Headline News channel. I really tried to sleep but my throbbing leg just wouldn't let me get comfortable. It was nine in the morning and I had to get up. I could feel my body was in need of a morning beer and if I didn't secure that somehow there would be an all out rebellion. The only problem is I'm really not sure how I'm going to walk.

I've had this problem before. I remember when I left the womb all those years ago I had a hard time walking. It took me a couple of years to figure it out but this time I could use past experience to shorten my learning curve. What did I do again?

Right! I crawled first.

So I rolled myself out of bed, thankful that the bed was the European style without a box spring. My arms prevented my crash to the floor. I had a lot of trouble straightening my leg so I did a one legged crawl/stumble/hop move that got me to the other side of my bedroom door. Once out of the bedroom I got a bit of a rhythm going and made my way to the fridge.

Damn it all to Hades! No beer.

I settle for coffee and made myself a small sandwich. I pulled down my pajamas to see what my leg looked like and I'm really quite impressed with the color palette used to create this masterpiece:
Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Elvis with bruised leg
The contrast of purples and yellows mixed with a bile like brown. A real Picasso if I say so myself. Or at Monet at the very least.

I crippled myself upstairs to see if there were any beers hidden in the 'secret' fridge but alas it was barren of any hop flavored medicine. There was no choice left. I would have to get to the corner store about 400 meters away. Oh the humanity!

I realized very quickly that walking 'down' stairs was infinitely harder than walking up them. Damn that was uncomfortable. When I got outside I realized that walking to the corner store was a bigger task than I had planned for. I was beginning to think getting to the store was going to require a travel agent so I sat down and pondered the situation. It was with a simple observation that I realized what had to be done. It didn't hurt to bend my leg as long as it stayed bent. I then tested if I could wiggle my toes. My toes worked. How about my ankle? Ankle... check! I think I'm in business.

I went into the foyer and grabbed my helmet. There was a big crack in it. It doesn't matter. I'm just going to the store I don't even need a helmet! I grabbed my matching green beanie instead of my regular convertible motorcycle helmet and hobbled over to my bike. Normally I would have rolled the motorcycle to the bottom of the hill before I started it, but I didn't have it in me to take the chance that I might have to push it back up the hill. I climbed on the back of my cafe racer slowly and started it up. I set my right leg on the foot peg and put it into 1st gear while it was still on the kick stand. I put the kickstand up and balanced the motorbike with my left leg. I slowly released the clutch and picked my left foot up I tested the rear brake with my right foot and I didn't enjoy the shot of pain so I decided this was going to be a front brake only kind of day.

When I reached the pavement at the bottom of the dirt driveway it was clear sailing. I rode down to the store with no problems. There was the usual group of men congregated outside the corner store having beers and smoking cigarettes but they moved out of the way when I approached. I coasted the bike onto the flat in front of the store, pulled the clutch in, put my left foot down as I braked, and turned the motorcycle off. I couldn't get at the kickstand without putting weight on my right foot so I just dismounted the bike and put down the kickstand from an upright position. Piece of cake!

How am I going to back my motorcycle out? Who cares lets have another beer!
Motorcycle Travel Adventure - Cafe Racer at Croatian Corner Store

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