The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I rode down from Trieste, Italy, along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. It is hard to believe that this country was communist Yugoslavia just a short time ago.  It is certainly beautiful now.

I stayed at a nice house owned by a very outgoing and hospitable woman. I camped though. Just outside the garden gate was the beach, full of activity and sun bathers.

There was one rather large man who had a beautiful Labrador Retriever. Over and over the man threw things into the water for the lab to fetch. They must have played for an hour. So much fun for them both. I didn't get their picture, but I did get a photo of this beautiful ketch that was anchored there.

When I looked out across the water this morning, I could see rain coming. By the time I got everything all squared away, it started a drizzle that was to last all day. Still, it did not detract from the beauty of this Dalmatian Coast. Croatia has come so far in the last few years, and a lot of it must be due to the tourist trade. Each town was filled with people out having fun.

I didn't see any of those spotted, firehouse dalmatian dogs, but I did see a lot of interesting sights along the coastal highway.  Now, here is a question for you, kids. A long way across that body of water is Italy. I am looking west. So, what is the name of the sea? Hmmmm.  Give up?  I will tell you in a little while.

I loved the coastal highway. It tended to stay up high, a each curve revealed a picturesque village way down below by the Adriatic Sea.  It couldn't have been more beautiful. Plus, they thoughtfully put pull-off places with picnic tables every mile or two so that it is always tempting to pull over and look at the view.

Speaking of views -- this valley caught my attention right away.

I pulled over to take a picture of the valley, and there was a fruit stand right there. The lady inside told me all about the valley, continuing all the while to sample me with fresh fruit that they grow there.

She spoke excellent English. I asked her how she got to be so good at it, and she says everyone speaks English these days-- American English, because of all the TV shows and movies. Anyway, she explained that 60 years ago the valley was under water, and is still under sea level, and that some people call it "Little California" because of all the fruit and vegetables they grow there. Her son was all that much interested in that. He was more excited that America is doing well in the World Cup Tournament down in Brazil, but he was sad because Mexico had beaten Croatia, so his team was on its way home.

But look at this town. It is absolutely breathtaking.

It is named Dubrovnik, and it is absolutely packed with tourists. One of the main attractions is the city wall. Gotta walk around on top those things.

I can just imagine the Ottoman Turks trying to break through those walls and take over Dubrovnik back in those long ago days.

More recently, back in the early 90s when Yugoslavia was breaking apart, Croatia tried to declare its independence -- Yugoslavia (what was left of it) and particularly the neighboring Serbs, bombed the heck out of Dubrovnik. So much of it had to be rebuilt. And a good job of it they did, too.

Dubrovnik is at the south end of Croatia. As I rode on further south, the drizzle made the roads so slick and my back tire fish-tailed on a couple of curves. I thought that was scary.

As I rode on, I went through border checkpoint after border checkpoint. I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina for all of 20 minutes until the road spit me back into Croatia. Finally, I ended up, tired and a little wet, in Montenegro.  Time to quit for the night. I stopped at a beautiful hotel and took a room, breakfast included, for 27 Euros (about $32.00). It even has air conditioning, a luxury I have not found many places in Europe. Another couple just checked in for the night. Those two plus me makes a grand total of 3 customers staying here. How can they stay open at those prices?

Gotta get up early tomorrow. There are two big motorcycle rallies happening in this area the day after tomorrow. I am going to have to decide which I want to go to. One of them is Horizon's Unlimited, a club of international riders I belong to; the other is the VStrom Club of Greece (I ride a VStrom).  Which to go to --- hmmmm.

I will let you know my choice later.  Goodnight.