Today in Romania we are going to ride north and east to the Bicaz gorge between Gheorgheni and Bicaz and then north thru Borca to Vatra Dornei. This will get us north and east towards Moldova…..
The road surface today was mostly pretty bad. Along the route there are several tourist towns where there are thermal springs. The gorge was a slot canyon packed with tourists.
We did however see a lot of bikers today. This Romania rider pulled up beside Dan and asked “are you really from Canada?” After the short version of the story he said “respect”.
The 650 has just not been handling normally for the last 2 days. I just could not figure out exactly what the issue was. After a couple of hours of very rough paved road and about 60 km from our destination the rear shock on the 650 did not feel at all good. We pulled right over and it was spewing oil and was totally blown!!!
We headed to the campground and as it looks like rain and they have very cheap nice cabins (50 ron= 13$) we booked onto one. There was no wifi so we walked to the center and the first restaurant we found was packed and had great wifi. Here we sent off some mails and pleas for assistance. We found the nearest large EU and Schengen city is Kosice Slovakia 470 km away and so we are headed there. They at least have a KTM shop and hopefully can help us out. We can remove the shock look at what it needs and ship it to Madrid to DMX if worse comes to worse. This does kibosh the plan a bit since we were headed east to Moldova and not west again. If we can get this fixed and not loose more than a week we will back track thru the south of the Ukraine to Moldova and then to Kiev, Liviv and to Krakow. This likely means we do not have time for much else in Poland, the rest of Slovakia, and the Czech republic. The later 2 are not a big deal as they are on the route south next year to Armenia…. Time is running out this year as we have to be in Leipzig in 28 days.
Good news we had reply from Horizons Unlimited and ADVRider forums and both recommended K-moto in Kosice and fellow rider Bevin in Slovakia has set up the contact.
This is what can happen when you order breakfast and it is lost in translation. We ordered one omelet with cheese and one with cheese and mushrooms. At least we got the two cappuccinos. What we really want to know is what chef thinks someone would order stuffed mushroom caps for breakfast?!
Today we will go about half way to Kosice Slovakia and we will try to stick to the smoother main roads. The sky continues to look threatening, but so far no rain.
Romania is a place with so many horse drawn carts its amazing. I love it when the driver is wearing a yellow safety vest!
Almost all the villages have one of there churches with incredible silver or gold roves.
In Satu Mare we did a walk about town.
We awoke to a very nice sunny day and just 200 km to Kosice. We devised a basically diagonal route that was the shorter distance, but the same time as the 80 km longer major road route.
The road surfaces were mostly pretty good especially after we left Romania for Hungary. We had a short stop at the border for the Schengen passport control and we were on our way. They are smart here they have a sign that says toll vignettes are needed and a place to buy them just before the border if you did not do that on line already.
There is no border control for Slovakia as it is both in the EU and Schengen zone. The route was on small narrow roads thru clean quite villages until basically you arrive to the outskirts of the second largest city in Slovakia.
We headed straight to K-moto to meet with the owner Kamil to sort out what we can do. They will look at the bike this afternoon. They want us to get a new Tourtech shock, which is actually the easiest and cheapest at 150 including shipping or to send ours to Touratech Prague for service. The issue is my shock is Touratech outside and custom DMX inside. If we just go with a new Touratech it does not come in short spring size, and if they rebuild it they will replace inside and it will again not be custom lowered like mine. If we have to ship I think better to DMX in Madrid. Our luck there is a pretty nice pension almost across the road from the shop and they had a room for the next few days if we needed.
It is very hot here in Kosice today and after dropping the bike off at K-moto we walked over to the mall to enjoy the air con and a very good meal at the Vietnamese takeout! We got in some Olympic coverage and saw Canada take the bronze in women’s synchronized diving! YEAH Canada! By 7 it had cooled off enough for a walk and we caught a glimpse of the very nice looking city centre from the hill side. When we arrived back there was a business card taped to the door of our room with a yellow post it note that said “Please call me” and a number. The card was from a realtor and when i looked him up I was pretty sure we had not met. As we don’t have a phone I sent an email that said as much and “i’m sorry do we know you?’….Silver lining.
Today it is much cooler and cloudy. When we arrived at Kmoto in the morning we met Tomas, the owner of the yellow post it note. The story is funny. He was at the shop dropping his bike the day before and saw my BC plate. He said he was “a spy” and took a photo and called his wife to say “ I saw a bike at the shop from Canada. They are traveling around the world. I want to meet them. Come over and speak English for me” So the note!
We made a plan to meet for dinner. It began to rain very heavily about 4 pm and continued on and off. Tomas and Majka picked us up and we made a tour of the centre with stops at several awesome locals. We had some great craft beer, traditional Slovakian food, and more beer!
Well more good news today at K moto the shock itself is good, but the seals are blow from overheating. They did all the repairs, replaced the front fork oil and mounted a new front tire.
These people are incredible! Tomas has been all over on his many different bikes over the years. His trips include Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Israel, all over Europe, and a circle of the Black sea! They are so hospitable! They even made us a huge goodbye breakfast to send us off to the Ukraine.