Sunday 31 May 2009

Camping in the rain

After lunch in Monaco we headed North from Nice on a superb road, now its quieter and the driving 100 times better. Were camping just North of Puget Theniers. The scenery was outstanding and the road popular with the local motorcycling fraternity. The only downside is its started to pee with rain as soon as we stopped to put the tent up. Anyway we've now been fed and started a bottle of red so its not all bad!

The plan was to stop here for a couple of days but since its raining we're heading a bit further North in search of the Sun tomorrow!


Stopped for lunch but meanwhile the clouds have suddenly appeared.

Saturday 30 May 2009

The old home town looks the same.

Well actually its been sorted up a bit. Just been for a walk in the mountain path where my dad and uncle carried out their smuggling operations after the war and before!

Nice to be back

A visit to see christina and bruno this morning. Luigi was there as well which was great. Just spending the day around the village not much motorcycling getting done today.

Friday 29 May 2009

Back home

Well to the home in italy anyway. This is the cafe my mum and dad owned many years ago. I'm next to the square i played in as a kid and looking at the house my sister was born in. Today was another hard day on the road. The traffic was intense and the price they charge for using the crowded roads ridiculous. Having a quick beer then back to the hotel for dinner.


Here's fiona at the sign at barga which is twinned with prestonpans. In the mountains and the place where many scots italians came from. Funny the lady who served us originally came from glasgow! Nice place.

Thursday 28 May 2009

The place is falling down!

In pisa now holding up the famous tower. We had a late one on the ferry with a couple we keep meeting on the road. Sid is the british ambassador to cameroon normally but is doing a train journey through europe. He had some good stories. Got again today and i'd forgotten just how busy the roads are in this part of italy . Arctics everywhere. Anyway got the tent up and walked into pisa for food and good italian wine of course. Only problem is the north african's selling crap everywhere. Don't know why berlussconi doesn't ship them out. Well we are at ease now just waiting on a feast! Bloody road tolls are a bit expensive it cost us 27 euro each to do 200 miles and the camping was 27 euro as well. At least the wine as cheap!

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Rain today

As we wait for the ferry and fi studies the map of italy preparing for tomorrow i thought i'd fill you in on details for today. The first rain since we left britain and spectacular thunderstorm. It made riding very tricky the roads are bad enough normally but with rain they are like glass. We saw 4 accidents in the last 100 km's . Scary stuff

Waiting for the ferry

In ignonumenita waitin for the ferry to ancona so a slight change of plan. Here we are with stefan from germany who has been off roading in albania for 2 weeks. Italy tomorrow morning. Heading for pisa hopefully. Superfast ferries which is a bit strange, they still have a photo of the boat going under the forth bridge here!

Stopped in the mountains

The last few miles have been on mountain roads. We reaches 4900ft at one point nice scenery but you have to pay attention as this is the main road. It rained a bit making the roads a bit difficult. We saw our first english bike plates since we set out, unfortunately one was in a ditch with his 1200 gs wrecked. He was ok though. In metsovo a small village for lunch as recommended by the thessalonakki guzzi club who entertained us last night.

Tuesday 26 May 2009


Well here we are stopped for lunch in the red light district. This is the taverna associated with the 24 hour strip club. The boss tells me business is very good with the sailors from the nearby harbour and his young assistant thinks he has a great job serving meals to the near naked girls. Fi wanted to stop up the road a bit but i noticed the cafe with the nicely dressed girls was next door to a brothel.

Monday 25 May 2009

Hot work!

Its been hot the last few miles along the coast. We took the coast road which was deserted and superb. Decided to stop 100 km's short of thessalonakki and couldn't find a campsite so decided to slum it here instead. Its a tough life but we just have to soldier on.


Well thats us into greece now. The difference on the roads is amazing, smooth tarmac with no potholes. Stopped for lunch in xanthi. Not planning to get to thessalonakki till tomorrow so will look for camp sites soon.

Sunday 24 May 2009


The mouth of the sea of marmaris. Waiting for the ferry back to europe and gallipoli scene of the british army's defeat under winston churchill in 1916. Also the start of the birth of modern turkey.. Only 100 miles so far today but good fun. Hot and great scenery.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Asia 2

It's been a very hard 250 miles today. First the entertainment of Istanbul. If you can imagine a very busy three lane road full of people driving like a 17 year old out to impress in dads car on a saturday night then multiply it by 10 times then thats half as bad as it was. Got ripped off going over the bridge into asia, then the guy tried to rip me off some more but a threat to punch his lights out sorted the situation. In bandirma now and fine to get a decent wash. With the 30deg heat iand the leathers on i was starting to smell like a local.


Now in asia. I'll update more later need to move as its mental here

Friday 22 May 2009

Istanbul again

Been round the town now. Crazy place, the driving and horn blowing has to be seen to be believed. Very heavy police presence, not sure why but good job creation scheme. The carpet sellers are less troublesome than in north africa which is good. Zillions of tourists everywhere.

The blue mosque

Inside the blue mosque in Istanbul. Very impressive.

Thursday 21 May 2009


Now we are being treated to the dutch oldies singing hyms just across from us. Obviously some religlous sect to do with motorhomes i do hope they aren't going to sacrifice anybody. Can't be botheres with the screaming tonight.


Well we've arrived at mocamp on the outskirts of Istanbul. Got the tent up and just been to the local supermarket for provisions includin beer and some johnny walker the only whisky always guaranteed to be on sale worldwide. Sunny 23 degrees but a bit windy. Thats a good thing as it'll keep the beasts away. This site is also full of dutch motor homes and caravans. I think they're taking over the world. Haven't seen a british number plate since austria.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Settled in for the night

In the camp site at last . The last few miles were as always difficult. The border control was a bit of a joke as expected. Anyway all is well now cooked our own food and now been invited for a beer at some dutch people's camp. They were just telling us about being in the middle of a gun fight between the police and some baddies but it was a a police bullet that went through one of the vans so they thought that was ok.


About to endure customs!

Lunch stop

Only around 50 miles from the turkish border. A bit of stress as we heeded the wrong way for a bit. Back on track now though. The main road has been full of signs for depeche mode who appear to an playing in all the towns. Bizzare and sign that the soviet era still damages there peoples minds.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Sofia bulgaria

This is as good as it got. Glad to get stopped tonight we've been on the road 11 hours and my backside feels it. Add in my multiple insect bites and lightning storms on the best bit of road. My welcome to bulgaria was a bit strange. No less than five people wanted to see my papers. When i thought i was through a woman asked for the usb stick i got at the first window. It appears her computer didn't like it so i had to walk back with both dongles to the previous window. A quarter of a mile! Not happy and she knew it!. Glad to get out of serbia tho. Not really much to write home about.


Just through belgrade very busy and hot eyes stinging with the fumes. Been on the road before 7an local time and done 230 miles so far. In theory the same again this afternoon. Got eaten to bits by insects last night lumps and bumps everywhere.. Sitting next to this dodgy fixer guy but i think the state of me is stopping him from speaking to us.


We'll we've arrived at the same camp site we stayed at last year. Big changes and it looks like they've had a good year. My phone is on the blink so not sure how this photo will turn out. 30 deg c at the moment. Quite funny when the owner saw me he said so ur back he remembered the state of me after been bitten last year.

Monday 18 May 2009


Just before the slovenia border having lunch. Lost my sun glasses yesterday so had to buy new ones. Just been through the austrian alps.

Sunday 17 May 2009


Well after a hard night partying with tomas and andrea we managed to get on the road just after 10. Over 300 miles today on the autobahn which was hot and busy. Stopped at a campsite near claus south of linz. We should possibly have kept going a bit further but decided to call it a night here. Nice site set in the mountains. Tomorrow we head south through slovenia and into croatia. Here's hoping the weather remains kind to us.

Saturday 16 May 2009

A new invention

This is an example SCHWEDEN FACKEL which is a fancy form of burning log

Party starts

A good run through holland and germany. Some sun but still not so warm. Stopped with tomas and andrea in frankfurt. Having a bbq at the stone table. A 2500 year old outdoor court. Last held 100 years ago.

Friday 15 May 2009

Leg 1 over

Well the run down to newcastle was harder than it should have been. High winds and rain made it not so pleasant. On the ship now, the new waterproof's weren't ! I felt the cold dampness attacking the parts they shouldn't just north of newcastle. So the bikes are now dirty to start the journey. Feel some beer coming on soon. It would feel strange (but good ) to get a dry run on day 1 !

Saturday 9 May 2009

Trip details

Well just 6 days to go now so i thought i'd post the trip details. Below is the map of the route, plan is from Ijmuiden in Holland to the Frankfurt area on day one. Beyond the first day it'll be in the lap of the gods as to what what progress we make. Rough plan (well quite detailed actually) is to stop in Germany on Day one, Austria Day two then blast through Slovenia and camp in Croatia day three. Hopefully an early start on day four as we are going to try to get through Serbia in one hit and end up in Sofija capital of Bulgaria on day five. The remainder of the plan will see us camping just inside Turkey near Edrine then towards Istanbul before crossing the Bosphorus bridge to take us from Europe into Asia. That will be a defining moment, my first time in Asia and on a motorcycle! Then back along the south side of the sea of Marmarus then arriving at Cannakalle to visit the battlefields of Gallipoli.

A short ferry will take us back into Europe and Northern Turkey before heading through Greece hopefully meeting up with fellow Guzzi owner Dimitri in Thessaloniki for a beer before heading to the ferry port of Igoumenita to sail for the port of Bari in the south of Italy. Visits to Pompei and Pisa are on the cards then back "home" to the small village i spent the formative years of my childhood for a couple of days.

Heading then via Monaco and the small roads in France to arrive at the BBA meeting in Belgium on the 6th of June (hopefully) Like all lengthy trips you need a plan but if things don't go to plan then it will change. When planning trips like this you plan your aspirations and if something changes along the route then chill, take it in your stride and enjoy the adventure.

At the moment we're furiously making lists of things we need to remember, this is fun and a tad stressful at the same time, after all the planning and preperation my throttle hand is itching now to get on the road.

The Lyrics from the song "on the road again" now keep running through my mind (with some changes)

On the road again

Just can't wait to get on the road again

The life I love is riding bikes with my friends

And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been

Seein' things that I may never see again,

And I can't wait to get on the road again.

On the road again

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway

We're the best of friends

Insisting that the world be turnin' our way

And our way

Is on the road again

Just can't wait to get on the road again

The life I love is riding bikes with my friends

And I can't wait to get on the road again

Click on map to enlarge

Friday 8 May 2009

Lothians Classic club

Decided to take MVD out for a run last night down to the Classic club just off the Edinburgh bypass at Flotterstone. The SU carb is still giving me problems, the bike runs like a dog until it's warmed up and I feel there is a lack of power when accelerating. A feature of the SU is that it does run on the lean side. Having just rebuilt the engine again I think I'll fit the recently aquired 36mm Mikuni. I helped Sandy Bloy fit his and he reports that it's transformed the bike. No power loss from the original twin Amal set up and at least 50mpg. This though will have to wait until I come back from the Turkey tour. Only a week to go now!

Some nice bikes pictured last night including a non standard but tasty and used Rocket 3. Had a good crack with George Martin last night who's just back from visiting his son in the states. He went on a tour of the Harley factory and despite being a British bike man through and through tells me he was very impressed by the quality control. Well I suppose just like John Deere all tractor manufacturers have to up their game these days.

Monday 4 May 2009

Guzzi Rally

Well that was some weekend, whisky frenzy Friday Saturday and Sunday! Really struggling today after three days of liver abuse. Brilliant crack with Phil & Andy on Friday night and The guys from the rally. Really nice people and the organisers worked hard to keep everyone fed and watered over the weekend. The Bands were excellent on both Saurday and Sunday nights, good to see Pete Nicols band the Muttleys at long last. Worth listening to. Martin and Kevin appeared from Cork on their faggot Harleys despite both having perfectly good Guzzi's at home but good to see them anyway despite them turning Sunday night into a whisky frenzy again. Weather quite shit today for those with any distance to go today, strong gusty winds and rain, a few people were heading North for holidays so no chance of them staying dry or warm this week. Just over a week before we go now!

Saturday night madness

And this guy was only drinking water! But his guzzi had developed a terminal rattle so i suppose he had an excuse.


A fine brace of guzzi's sunday evening.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Saturday night

Just sitting outside having a beer at the guzzi rally . Good turnout and good company.

Saturday morning

Alex's daytona pictured resting amongst the trees. I've got a terrible hangover following a session of the whisky olympics last night with andy malloch phil and alex. Alex has still not surfaced. Promise i'll take it a bit easier tonight.