I don’t know when it was actually official, but I’m pretty sure this is now my longest ever holiday! I can’t think of a 3 week holiday I’ve been on so I’m pretty sure this is my longest time away from the UK. It really doesn’t feel like it though, all the riding days sort of blend together, with everything being new all the time, no towns the same, the continuity gets all messed up in memory. I can remember everywhere when I look back, but it takes some figuring out to know when it happened. I think having another short break will help, I’ve got one planned in Dubrovnik, a whole day not riding will be weird at this point but it should help me reset again after 9 days of riding.
Following my own trend I had a lazy start to Day 20 in my tent, I got some stuff cleaned up and had a wander around the beach. I thoroughly cleaned my visor, inside and out, because it was starting to get caked on. I am now way more comfortable with insect guts than anyone should be. Not 5 minutes after leaving I hit something big that spattered all over the front again and dried in seconds so that was pointless. Then I had a minor heart attack when packing up and my passport wasn’t there, it took me about 5 minutes of searching my bags to remember that reception kept it the night before.
I planned to head down the coast today so I had to cross the peninsular first and get toward Rijeka. I stopped there for a humongous salad to refill some vitamins then headed off down the coast.
The coast road has taken the top spot of Best Motorcycle Road; over places like Stelvio Pass and the North Coast 500 of Scotland, which I do not give out lightly. It had amazing views the whole way, over the sea to the Croatian Islands, rest stops with fuel, coffee and food every 10 miles or so and a town with supermarkets every 30 miles or so. The tarmac was near perfect all the way so no big bumps or changes to catch you out. It had plenty of hairpins, some tight some flowing, big wide 200 degree bends you can happily take at 110kph (70mph), rolling hills and even the odd tunnel. All this lasts for about 220Km (140m) so it just keeps coming at you, heaven.
I started to realise at about 6.30 that I probably wasn’t going to find a wild camp like I planned. The mountains just meet the sea with the road hewn between them, there’s national park over the other side that I had hoped to find camp in, but there were no roads actually going that way. I checked out a few paid campsites but they were mostly for caravans and had no facilities worth paying for. So I reluctantly used some 3G and found an Airbnb further down the road. I only booked it 20 minutes before I arrived so I fully expected to be turned away, since they had no time to prepare, but when I got there they were just finishing up and I settled in!
Dinner and a beer on a balcony overlooking the beach and the islands is not a bad way to end a long ride.
Not a great deal happened on Day 21, I hung around the apartment until 2pm, calling some family and sorting some things out. I continued the ride down the coast toward Split in the afternoon, still in stunning scenery. I didn’t want to ride too far today since there’s a massive thunderstorm coming in, and I can just about wait it out here.
Tomorrow I head for Dubrovnik for 2 days. It’ll be my first time in one place for more than one night! I’ve wanted to visit for years so I’ve set aside a whole day for wandering around and sightseeing. It also gives me a chance to catch up on things that are hard to do camping or on quick hotel stops, bike maintenance (tighten the chain, change brake pads, check over fluids) and wash some clothes so I don’t smell like an old boot anymore.