Monday, August 17, 2009

Turkey Hangover


The one thing I have begun to dread on this trip is running out of gas and... BORDER CROSSINGS!!!

I hate them. You just never know how you're going to be treated or how long you will have to wait. I know Bulgaria is part of the EU, but it's not part of the western part of the EU and it has strange rules. Every step along the endless border crossing makes me more and more confused. I kept getting asked for a “chip”. I have no idea what they were talking about but when I gave them the confused look they kept waving me through to the next checkpoint. I don't think I will ever understand what they wanted but I have a feeling it had something to do with the sign that said you have to pay to drive on the Bulgarian roads.

After ten kilometers I became very happy that I didn't pay for it. These roads are, for lack of a better word, shit.

Shit, shit, shit, and more shit. It' only one word but it is so accurate. These aren't roads they're goat paths with a little bit of asphalt on them as a disguise.

The great thing about the motorcycle I drive is that I can beat on her and I know she will take it. I don't drive fast to begin with so my pace doesn't slow for even a minute. I just hang on like a bull rider and go. I have to tell you that the roads may be terrible but the scenery is amazing! The forest is only outdone by the oceanside resorts that I pass. I wish I had more time.

Golden Sands, Varna, they are so beautiful but I will have to save this for another trip, I have to keep going. Romania is my destination today. If I'm lucky I can make Constanta today.

I'm a little anxious about running into the police. I don't have a vignette to drive these roads and I've heard that the Bulgarian cops like to beat on tourists for bribes. I'll have none of that! The road wears me down going through the passes and I have to stop a couple of times. There are some great roadside taverns and every hundred kilometers or so I stop and stretch my legs and enjoy a cold beer.

The problem with stopping on a motorbike is that you can't be quick about it. Park, kickstand, gloves off, helmet off, rider off, unzip jacket, etc. it's routine you have to go through forwards and in reverse everytime you stop. It always adds at least twenty minutes to every stop. That is if you don't stop and rehydrate with a liter of water or a nice bottle of beer. Then it's forty five minutes... at the least.

Bulgaria becomes a country lost in my rear view mirror and Romania becomes my landscape. In my obsession to make it to Consanta I pass by some great towns where, in hindsight, I should have stayed. I let you know the names when I get home and look at a map closer. Constanta was a disappointment. Just another larger town on the coast with no atmosphere. Whenever I see a McDonalds I know I'm on the wrong road. But the town serves it's purpose and I spend the night.

Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow I go to Odessa!


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