Illyria Raid – Day 7 of 7

🗓: 14 Sep | 🌍: Kupres, Bosnia to Biograd, Croatia

The final day as we cover 284 km from Bosnia 🇧🇦 to our finish in Croatia 🇭🇷 – an easy day!

Good morning Bosnia! Another beautiful day. We ended up being blessed with wonderful weather the entire week-long event.

The off-road portions started through muddy forest roads…

…but soon we were enjoying the dryer, high prairie lands.

Funny story: My SD card for my GoPro was full so Adam let me borrow one of his. While holding two cards and putting one into my GoPro I dropped the other one down between the motorcycle seat and into the engine area. We searched for about 5 minutes without any luck so I started the motor and revved the engine until the card rattled out and fell on the ground. Victory!! No corrupted data – double victory!!

Not so victorious… This SSV had a collision with another motorcyclist from Switzerland (not in our group). They were both on the trail moving opposite one other and the rear tire of the SSV hit the foot peg of the motorcyclist. The motorcycle was damaged but ridable. A hole was ripped on the boot of the Swiss rider and a hole was ripped in the sidewall of the tire of the SSV!

Fortunately, no one was hurt seriously. The medical support crew, from our group, picked up the Swiss rider and had him checked out at a hospital and then brought to our hotel to recuperate. The navigator of the SSV ended up riding the Swiss riders motorcycle to the hotel. It was an unfortunate accident that ended about as good as it could have.

A pretty Christian church along the route.

It was a very muddy day today. At one point Apache was so stuck that we needed two people to free him from the deep mud.

Mud and grass in places it shouldn’t be!

The chain will have to be cleaned and oiled before I start the next two-week portion of my trip.

We debriefed the event and each participant received this memento to remember the trip.

Video highlights from Day 7.


Closing thoughts on the Illyria Raid

What an experience! Riding from Greece to Croatia via some of the most remote and beautiful trails in Europe was an adventure of a lifetime. We rode a total of almost 2,200 km and most of it was off-road. Each country was unique but Albania was the most memorable. The friendly waves, the bright smiles, the ‘high fives’ from giggling children, and the crazy traffic made it so unique and memorable.

Positives

  • This was my first organized motorcycle trip event. The cost was a very reasonable €1790 ($1990) considering that all hotels, meals, routing (road-books and GPS), security for the motorcycles, mechanic, and medical support were all included. It costed me an additional €800 ($890) to ship my motorcycle and two large bags to the start-point in Greece. Because the organizers took care of everything I could just focus on riding the route. This is why I feel that organized trips are so popular – just show up and it’s all planned for you! However, it does come at a cost.
  • Seeing six counties from the vantage point of the backroads and off-road trails provided a completely different way to see a country. Although, we were passing through quickly, we got to see the countryside, homes, and farms of average folks. Definitely not touristy!

Negatives

  • My bike was just too heavy for this kind if event where the focus is on covering a lot of off-road miles in a single week. Many may wonder “since when is a 650cc heavy?” In the world of adventure motorcycles it is definitely on the lighter side. However, in the world if dirt bikes – it’s a heavy pig of a bike! My bike was the heaviest of all the motorcycle participants – some even called it “The Beast”. My bike was often a challenge to move around the trail and especially during very steep climbs or descents. Did it work? Of course it did, but a better tool for the trail would be a lighter dirt bike.
  • The pace was just too fast for a relatively new rider like me. I was not comfortable riding at the speeds needed to get to the hotel well before dark so we rode nearly 10-12 hours every day. Riding that much, especially off-road, is physically exhausting at times. My hats off to professional rally riders who cover much larger distances at much higher speed.

How did the bike and rider fair?

  • The bike did great despite how difficult some of the trails were. The kilometers of gravel and rocks did their best to rattle every bolt not torqued to spec. The bracket for my tool box broke and needed zip-tied. A bolt for my windscreen came loose but I noticed it and tightened it. My chain came off but was easily put back on and adjusted. I had to remove my throttle lock because it was effecting my throttle after I dropped the bike in a rocky section.
  • As for me… I was pretty sore after each day and in the morning. Standing on the pegs of the motorcycle for hours a day is a lot of work. Having to maintain a high level of concentration is also mentally demanding. The worst was after my fall. I was thrown to the ground so hard that I had the wind knocked out of me. That evening I felt like my chest was bruised a bit and I had difficulty sleeping on that side. By the next day I was feeling much better.

Overall, a wonderful experience with many cherished memories but not something I would do again due to the constrains of time and having to be at a specific place each night.

Thanks to Adam Testor for approaching me and asking if I wanted to join him. You were a wonderful and patient motorcyle companion and roommate.