Slovakia Tenere Meet

I rode my bike from the garage to the house so I could load it, packed all my gear ready for the trip. I loaded the bike and went to go start it but no joy the solenoid was coming in but the starter was not turning over. Luckily it was all down hill to the garage so I jump-started it and she ran fine. I put her into the garage and tried to see what was going on but with limited light it was difficult and by 10 pm I decided to call it a night. I locked up and walked back to the house. The next morning I jump started her and went to work. At lunchtime I did a bit more investigation and determined that the starter motor was faulty. I asked a few guys to bump start me after work and headed off to the euro tunnel as there was no way a starter motor was going to stop me going on this trip. I arrived at the terminal with plenty of time to spare actually they put me on the earlier train. On board the train I had to switch the bike off and spoke to the staff asking them if they could push start me at Calais as my starter was broken. They said no problem. We arrived and the staff came and jump-started me and off I set to Gerke, which was 210 miles away. I would have to refuel on the way so luckily I had a spare set of keys with me so I left the bike running while I used the spare set to unlock the fuel cap and refueled. I arrived at Gerke just after 9pm and he welcomed me with a beer and food. We sat and chatted till about 1am in the morning. Luckily he had two spare starter motors for me to fit in the morning. We headed off to bed and I had a good nights rest. It did take me awhile to get to sleep as their dog was sleeping on the sofa with me and it was a pug, and it was snoring which made me smile. I woke up around 8am and got stuck into replacing the starter motor, which was a mission, as I had to take the center stand off.

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Got it all done and loaded the bike into the van as we were driving the bikes to the Czech Republic to one of Gerke friends and from there we will ride the bikes to Slovakian meet. We had some breakfast, which Gerke’s daughter made for us and was delicious. We hit the road after that and were about half an hour into the drive when we had a blow out at the rear. We pulled over and Gerke started to change the tire while I put my hiviz coat on and kept signaled to the traffic to move over to protect him while he change the tire.

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We carried on and then stopped for some lunch. I had schnitzel with chips and a mushroom sauce.

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After we lunch I took over driving duties and drove for 5 hours. We stopped at the Czech border were we purchased a vignette for the van. Gerke took over driving and we were about half an hour into Czech when we got a puncture in the front passenger tire. We jacked up the van and looked at the tire but couldn’t see any nails or whole. So I got a can of tire weld from my bike and we put that into the tire but while it was going in we spun the wheel to see where the puncture was but no foam was coming out. The tire was not inflating so we took our time searching the tire and found about a two-inch long year in the tire.

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That was it time for recovery. We tried for about 2 hours to get a recovery vehicle but with no luck then walked about half a km to the dos call box and within 10 min the police were there. They were very friendly and got a recovery vehicle sorted for us and said that they will be there in 30 min and asked if we can pay for it at which we said no problem. 30 min later the recovery arrived but it was too small to pick up the van so another half an hour wait while they sent out the bigger truck. We were recovered and dropped off at a tire shop and that cost us 120 Euro. While Gerke off loaded the van I ran across to KFC to get us some food and coffee. We ate our meals and then I went to the back and cleared a space alongside my bike. It was a tight fit but I squeezed in while Gerke slept in front. It was 11 o’clock when we got to bed and considering how cramped I was I actually had good nights sleep and woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning.

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I got the cooker going to make us a coffee and while the water was boiling I packed away all the sleeping gear.

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With coffee served we sat in the van with heater on waiting for the tire dealer to open at 8 o’clock. We got the tires replaced for the grand total of 36 euros and hit the road. We arrived at Gerke’s friends house and unloaded the bikes.

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It was just after 12:30 so we headed off pretty quickly as we had a 4-hour ride ahead of us to the Slovakian campsite. We were avoiding the motorways and sticking to small roads. About an hour into the ride I hit a pothole as I approached a small village and my bike just died. I pulled over to the side of the road and started to investigate. All the electrics were dead, I checked all the fuses and plugs and all were okay then I realized that my voltmeter was coupled straight to the battery so the problem lay with the battery. I got my multi meter and disconnected the cables to the battery and checked the voltage 10,6V. I connected the cables again and checked the voltage again and read 0V. By then we had drawn a little Crowd and using Google translate we where able to ask if there was a bike shop nearby to buy a new battery. The one guy, who’s name was Milan offered to drive me to a bike shop about 15 km away and so we set off. We arrived at the bike shop and I gave him my bike details and he gave me a battery. They put the acid in and checked it was all okay.

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Thank You Milan Your Help was much Appreciated

We headed back and fitted the battery but there was a problem as the battery was just a little to big so with a struggle we managed to squeeze it into the batter box and connected all the negative cables. Once fitted I went to connect the positive cables and as soon as I touched the terminal the wiring started to smoke that’s when we realized that the terminals were the wrong way round. We disconnected the cables and turned the battery around and connected the cables after taping the burnt insulation up. I tried to start the bike but the starter was fried so we got the locals to give me a push start and the bike fired back into life. We quickly packed up and put all the panels back on and said our farewells and thanks and continued on our way. We decided that due to the late hour that we would go on the motorway and get there as soon as possible. We arrived in the campsite at around 8 o’clock in the evening and we got a little wet too. We climbed off our bikes and were welcomed by everyone and were given shots of vodka to drink. Gerke registered and paid our fees and then we were shown where the food was, we were both starving.

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We took a Long kebab stick and put two sausages on and then put it over the fire pit and while we waited for them to cook we got ourselves some beers. Once the sausages were cooked we slid them into some bread and added some ketchup and that was dinner. At 10 o’clock I pushed my bike to the camping area and then set up my tent ready for bed and then headed back to the pub. I was feeling quite drunk from the beers the vodka shots and pilinka shots. When I got back to the pub there was more waiting for me. I hadn’t drunk so much since my air force days. At 1:30 in the morning it was time to hit the sleeping bag. I went over to Gerke and helped him over to the tee pee tent and lay him down on the bench and then chucked a load of logs on the fire to keep him warm for the night. I then made my way to my tent and made some coffee then after drinking that I went to sleep.

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The next morning I woke up with a big headache, I got the cooker going and made myself some coffee, if went down well, I then made my way to the showers and had a shower soaking in the hot water as I hadn’t had a shower in two days, and it felt good. After the shower I got dressed and made my way to the mess hall and chatted with the guys and ordered myself some breakfast which was coffee with a roll with a sausage inside. After breakfast I went to see where Gerke was and there he was, exactly where I had left him, my mouth dropped as I could not believe that someone could sleep the whole night on a small bench without falling off, so I left him there and decided to go have a look at the bike.

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I took the panels off and had a muzzy, and found out that the starter was defective as well as the starter so there was not much I could do, so I boxed up. I went back over to the main area and saw Gerke was now up and asked him if he was going on the bike ride, he said no so I said that I would stay with him as he had invited me to the meet it would be rude to go without him. I needed to refuel so I thought I would after the guys had left, would take a ride to the garage and refuel and get some groceries, so I got one of the guys to push start me and rode my bike to the main hut where everyone was getting read to go on there ride out. I moved over to the front gate as all the bikes were getting ready to go and I wanted to take a video of all the bikes, and as they went passed I saw Gerke riding his Honda, apparently the guys had persuaded him to go, The doctor who was the official photographer was standing next to me,  I said to him “there’s Gerke” he said he wasn’t going, the doctor said to me you want to go now, I said hell yes, so I ran to my bike, jumped on and raced to my tent, chucked on my riding gear and helmet and raced back to the main gate where the doctor was waiting for me. We raced ahead to catch the group, but at one stage I thought we would never catch them up but luckily Doctor knew the route and knew were thy would be stopping and that’s were we caught them up. I couldn’t switch off the bike and i also needed to refuel so plotted the nearest garage into the TomTom and headed over there, i hot refueled and rode back to where the rest of the guys were parked. They were all waiting for the clock to strick on the hour. The clocks in Slovakia and Czech republic are quite famous  especially the one in prague. After watching the doors open on the clock and the dancing puppets going round in a circle the doors closed, and watching it is supposed to bring you good fortune. We all moved off on our bike and headed up into the hills an wet gravel roads which was tricky, especially with the slick road tyres i had on the bike. we carried on for about 10km and ended up on a grass filled hill where we parked the bikes and gathered for a group photo.

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After the group photo we travelled back down the hill and up another track which brought us out by and little railroad with a steam train and carriages and there we stopped again for those who wanted to go for a ride on the train. Gerke bought us tickets and we climbed aboard the train. Unfortunately the steam loco was broken and the connected a small diesel loco.

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The two carrages were full so off we set riding up the mountains which was very beautiful, we even saw a witch flying in the forest. The train ride was very beautiful through the moutains and very relaxing.

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After the train ride we headed off back to the campsite stopping of at supermarket to buy a few things. We arrived at the campsite and i climbed out of my gear and headed over to the dinning area where they had a noodle soup and breaded pork and mash

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After lunch we all gathered for a bit of fun sports, like bag race, wheelbarrow race, sprocket throwing and balancing glasses while holding your arm out in front of you, with a prize for the winner of each category. we had a good laugh and fun was had by all and the whole time this guy was giving us shots of vodka to down. After all the sports was finished i went back to the tent and got my shower gear and headed for a nice hot shower. After the shower i went back to the pub where we had a guest who had been travelling on his tenere which we watched while we ate dinner which was goulash and then they had a live band play for us so we all got out onto the dance floor and rocked away. with all the vodka and beers that i had had i was rocking and at midnight the band stopped. I had a few more beers and then retired to bed.

The next morning i woke up early and started to pack up the tent and all my gear, as we wanted to hit the road early to go to Poland but on talking to Gerke we decided that we would skip that and head back to the Czech Republic to load the bikes back into the van. We decided to plan on my GPS winding roads. We said our goodbyes to everyone, which in a way was a little sad as I had made some good friendships.

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The route was awesome going straight over the mountains passing two ski resorts and riding through mountainous forests, really picturesque.

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We arrived at our destination in the early evening at Gerke’s friends house, and loaded the bikes into the van and got undressed out of our bike gear and while we were doing this we were met by Gerke’s friends wife but unfortunately he was not there as he was working in France but his wife took excellent care of us and offered us a beer once we came inside and had dinner cooked for us. We sat down and ate our dinner and then sat outside and chatted. We decided to leave at about 3 in the morning as we had a long way to go so after our second beer and a cup of coffee we hit the sack. 3:00 am in the morning we were up and on the road the drive back was uneventful until just before Luxembourg we decided to stop over and meet our good friend Sabine for a coffee and a well earned break. While we were there the heavens opened up and it really rained hard, we spent around an hour there then hit the road again. We were driving through Luxembourg when we got our third puncture of the trip, the tire wasn’t flat but we decided to pull over at the services and changed the tire and then hit the road. After offloading the bike I left Gerke and made it back to the UK and went straight back to work. Although short the long weekend turned out to be a fantastic trip