Day one was the usual shakedown, getting used to the bike, observing and evaluating the riding style of other members of the group, getting comfortable with having a passenger again. It’s been awhile since Carol and I rode any challenging roads. The run up the coast of Croatia provided an excellent opportunity for all the above. This would be the best road conditions we would see, equivalent to a North American secondary highway, albeit a bit narrower, but then so are most of the vehicles. Even the RVs are smaller. Tour busses however are the same dimension the world over and are to be avoided wherever possible.
Today would also see a pair of border crossings, out of Croatia into Bosnia, and then 15 Km later, back into Croatia. This little neck of Bosnia was one of the concessions of the termination of the war and effectively cuts Croatia into two segments. Each country has it’s own border facility so this meant 4 stops to produce passports and vehicle documents to have them inspected and stamped. For Non EU passports (special line) this took some time. After crossing back into Croatia we board the ferry to the Island of Hvar, the first of the many UNESCO heritage sites we would visit on this trip. The ferry loads motorcycles first to tuck them into nooks and crannies but in a departure from most North American ferries, they might disembark at any time, last even. This can create havoc for a group so our plan was to stop for lunch at the small village on the tip of the island and let the other traffic disperse. This proved to be a wise move.
The main road on Hvar runs up the length of the island following the spine or backbone for the most part, through lavender fields, Greek and Roman ruins with the occasional small village for good measure. One larger town on the coast about half way up deserves mention, Stari Grad. I’m not going to go into detail about these places but suggest you do your own research. The road itself is quite typical of rural Europe, narrow and twisty, following trails first made by foot traffic. At about the half way point the pavement quality improved dramatically and the quicker riders soon disappeared with instructions to stop at a well marked fuel station to regroup. Fun road but no pictures on this run… I forgot to turn on the bike mounted GoPro camera I’d installed.
We arrived at our home for the next two nights, the Podstine Hotel, late in the afternoon. The hotel is accessed by entering a 100 meter tunnel, rough carved through the mountain. The support van barely fits, in fact, if the van isn’t fully loaded it can’t get through due to it’s increased height due to the extended suspension. This proved to be one of our favourite locations of the trip.