A perfect day on the road

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A perfect day on the road

4 minute read

A rider from Argentina, a listener of a motorcycle travel podcast I used to be on, came through Bulgaria last weekend and dropped in to say hi. He reminded me of a thing I’d done on the show about the perfect fantasy day on the road. Nearly, but not all of these little serendipitous occurrences below have happened to me during my 40 years of motorcycle travel. I have condensed them into one perfect day, the ultimate ride.

Wake up realizing I didn’t have to piss in the night and the sleeping bag isn’t wet either

The tent too is dry, no dew

Unzip tent to see a deer outside

The sky is pink, the mountains silhouetted,

River to wash in, no mozzie bites

It’s a clean underwear day

Roll up a dry tent. Haven’t left keys inside

Everything fits in panniers first time.

Find my Swiss army knife I thought I’d lost

Phone charged fully overnight

Take my boots off the mirrors, aired and fresh, glance in mirror and hair looks fabulous

Put on my helmet, it’s comfy first time, no crinkle in the scarf

 Washed, refreshed, clean,

I don’t have a specific destination today, only a final one, I’m not killing time nor chasing deadlines of visas expiry, ferry departure or the limited statutory holiday allowance.

Swing my leg over the bike, don’t hit my knee on the pannier, glance over my shoulder, I’ve not left anything behind

Bike starts willingly, I haven’t left my disc lock on.

Wobble down the dirt track without dropping the bike, and onto the road.

I got away with a wild camp, no unwanted company.

Into the cool morning air that has the effect of high octane fuel, the bike is responsive

There are mountains ahead, as I ride my eyes water from fresh air, the road is empty,

Slow feels like the right pace today, there is a roadside bin to put last night’s rubbish in that is bungeed on the pannier, don’t even have to get off my bike

As I follow the river it falls into a canyon and I realise there was nowhere better to camp last night, I picked the best spot.

Misty cloud on mountain tops and my tummy rumbles, smell smoke, it’s a road side restaurant and they’ve just lit the stove,

 Get a coffee and omelette

Served by a pretty girl who gives me a smile of availability. Look out at my bike sitting there loaded and equally available

 Get out my phone to take a photo, the waitress checks her reflection in the window and fixes her hair, take a photo of the bike, the waitress slams the door as she stomps into the kitchen.

Spread my map out on the table as I eat and find a route of green windy roads

Pack some leftover bread into a napkin for an emergency snack later.

They have a clean porcelain toilet and hot running water.

Back on the road – see the turn-off and take it

The morning is warming but the road is climbing so the temperature remains pleasant

The mountains are jagged rock

I catch foxes and deer, other wildlife out the corner of my eye

Pull over for a view and there is a conveniently placed rock for a phone selfie

I see I have an email on my phone, just sold a box set of books, forward it to the dispatch department

My bum isn’t sore, my clothes aren’t clinging, and my bike is in a good mood, time is passing at just the right speed.

Ride on and road descends, stop to take off a layer of clothing,

Some locals come past pushing a bicycle, the girl’s one is broken, so is her English but she wants to practice.

Get out my tools and fix her bike, she insists sharing her firm, ripe avocados she’s just picked, and I share my bread. Sit and talk about the beauty of the planet her boyfriend has a golden bit of wisdom I write down for my next book

There is no fb exchange, no name swapping, no photo, a moment in time and I leave.

Need fuel, should have got some yesterday, it’s getting low so turn off ignition and free wheel downhill, hear bird song and see a wild cat and lizards that my exhaust didn’t scare away

Into a little town of rustic beauty, see a gaggle of GS riders outside a hotel, just getting on their bikes, they are stabbing at their sat navs

They don’t see me as I ride past, they have also missed the best of the day

Find fuel, on the counter they have fresh bread, buy last loaf, and salami, tomatoes, cheese.

Check oil, chain and tyre pressure, just as I’m finished the BMWs turn up, all noisy and chatter.

Again they don’t notice me but I see one of them has my sticker on his Touratech pannier, smile behind my bandanna start my bike, they look over, I just leave.

On the outskirts of the town a bunch of kids are hanging out in a bus shelter, one of them throws something in my direction, I duck and it hits a police car coming the other way, I see its brake light in my mirror.

The road is faster, and twists with predictable horse shoe curves I can see round. I overtake a truck on the blind bend because I have just bet my life I read the road ahead correctly, the adrenalin pumps

Ride like Rossi but the scenery becomes so spectacular I have to slow to take it in

A lone bike comes the other way and waves, faith in the 2 wheel camaraderie restored

See a dirt road, pass it, think, slow, turn back, and tentatively take it

It leads me through another canyon, of moisture and jungle like environment.

Through the bamboo I see a panda, gorilla and tiger

There are snow-capped mountain vistas, a fresh spring to fill up my water bottle

I pause, not to take a photo, but to just feel it, it’s too early to stop for the day,

Take a paddle in the river and while my boots are off put on trainers and take a little walk, find a circle of stones, and fire wood. The only sound is the river, the sun is making shadows, I’d be a fool not to camp here.

Put up tent, ground is flat, tent pegs slide right in

Gather some kindling, make a fire, smoke deters the biting insects

The sky darkens and I can see the first stars, and then the moon rises and lights up my surroundings, bouncing off the mountains that I’m hidden in.

I hear the distant call to prayer from a mosque

Eat my bread and cheese, brush my teeth and as I undress to get into my tent I decide I can definitely get another day out of this pair of underwear.

As I turn around to zip the fly screen I see a shooting star and wish tomorrow will be like today.

Most of these photos and many of the experiences were taken from the ‘Eureka’ journey to Iraq and the Caspian Sea a bad trip that I turned around.

1 thought on “A perfect day on the road”

  1. Ahh Graham you forgot to break down and then be saved/ repaired by a kind and gracious local person.

    Its not quite perfect day but it is perfect memories of good people. I have a lot of them because I break down a lot!!!

    Go easy


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