I am well behind on my blog. If you follow, I apologize. I will be catching up.
The next couple days were spent riding south to MotoCamp Bulgaria. The weather remained good for riding with cooler nighttime temperatures, moderate daytime temperatures and no rain. We decided to follow small roads south into Bulgaria, first headed a little SW and then angling back SE into Bulgaria. The road were in very poor condition with missing tarmac, large potholes and heaves that you had to be on the lookout for. I realized there was something wrong with my suspension and it would need some attention at MotoCamp Bulgaria.
There was a place we saw on the map called Pădurea Colorată, the Colorful Forest.
… “It is an artistic manifestation of Mihai Țopescu from Gorj . It is his protest against illegal deforestation. It is the expression of the revolt of an artist who remembers from childhood how the forester marked with red paint the trees that were to be cut down, the trees condemned to death. The colorful forest is the revolt of the child who did not understand why the trees should be killed and could not be left to die peacefully.” from Tourism Romania.
We pulled into MotoCamp and felt like we were coming home. Polly and Evo have a way of making you feel that way. Every time we return there have been improvements and additions, and this time was no exception. With the daytime temperatures now climbing to near triple digits, the swimming pool was a welcome addition. And with plenty of good beer available, it seemed to be the place to hang out. This was the weekend of their Horizons Unlimited Travelers meeting, so many friends, old and new, would be arriving over the next couple days. A friend of our whom has traveled extensively, Frank Voellm, had also decided to come to the HU meeting. He had a presentation that he had prepared for a prior HU event, but had never given the presentation. He took meoff the hook and gave his presentation instead and it was very well received. Thanks, Frank!
Before every one got the the HU meeting I had a chance to do some maintenance on the faithful ‘ol “Yellow Donkey”. With the oil changed, air filter cleaned, electrics checked and front brakes replaced, it was time to move on to the suspension. What I found was that the dog bones supporting the suspension were very worn and needed replacing. I had another set with me but the bolts were stuck in place and had to be tapped though, which ruined the bearing. I didn’t have the tools for this but a neighbor had a complete machine shop and was able to fix the issue. not perfect, but good enough.
The temperatures continued to climb during our stay so that when we left the thermometer was in the triple digits. We headed south toward АРКА НА СВОБОДАТА, or the Arch of Liberty/Freedom at 1520 meters on the Troyan Pass. This monument commemorates the victory of the Russian army in January 1878 capturing the pass, leading to the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman regime. It is a beautiful 37 meter high monument reached by a very narrow road allowing fantastic views of the Balkan range.
We continued on as temperatures continued to rise to a ski resort in the south of Bulgaria. I thought, “Ski resort means cooler temperatures” Wrong! We passed through on the edge of town where the temperature on a back showed 41C (about 108F). A place with A/C and out of the heat was on the agenda for the night. Finding a small village a place was found on a steep and broken cobblestone street. Melanie decided it was best for her to walk to the top where the inn was. I bounced up the cobblestone and parked precariously next to the wall, as I didn’t see any other place to park. Knocking on the old large, double wooden doors a nice lady came to the gate and said I could park in the garden inside the gate. As I got turned around, my right leg wouldn’t reach the ground, it was too steep. I turned the wheel and slowly got headed in the right direction but one of the stones caught my wheel just as I got to the threshold and down we went. I got of the bike but took a couple extra rolls downhill for good measure. Quite a site, I’m sure, as several spectators came running to help lift Yellow Donkey.
We found a place to camp on a lake for US$5, with a cold beer.
The next day we crossed into Romania, rode along the Danube River on our way to MotoCamp Budapest. This was a camp for motorbikes and peddle bikes. It was located close to the center of the city, right on a bus line. Excellent location.
Time to head to Overland Expo East, in Virginia. Budapest was a beautiful city which will require an entire chapter in itself.
So, off for a ride for a couple weeks.