Day 19 - Goat tracks and Honda hangings?

Tuesday15th July 2014 

So it's goodbye to Kamp Koren and goodbye to the lovely Monika who has kept us supplied with coffee, beer, wine and pizza during our stay here.

It's a lovely morning for a ride. Our route takes us over the hills of central Slovenia through the towns of Skofja Loka and Kranj then over a couple of low passes into Austria.

Unnamed pass, unnamed road

At first the going is slow, one set of light-controlled road works after another. We wind up a river valley following a Tyre route planned back home in UK. It looked good at the planning stage but as we turn onto a minor road for a hill climb up to Cernko the road deteriorates badly.
Rest stop on the goat track

It's a single track road and the tarmac has cracked and sagged alarmingly leaving a raised crest down the centre. Stray off the crest and you are in a world of hurt in the deep ruts and potholes. Definitely GS country.

"You've brought me up a bleeding goat track" Mick moans when the road smooths and we stop to calm down a bit.

We drop back down to Cernko and stop for coffee. We seem to be in cowboy country. Coffee here in Slovenia is 80 cents for an espresso and €1.70 for cappuccino. I love this country.

There's a cowboy lurking behind Mick

After a dusty and slow drag through the traffic of the central lowlands north of Ljubljana we finally clear Kranj and head up and over the Seeburgsattel into Austria. This is a glorious bike road with hardly any traffic and long sweeping bends interspersed with smooth hairpins. We cross the border and stop at the Gasthof at the top for more coffee. We are 100 metres into Austria here and coffee is €2 for espresso and €3.70 for cappuccino. What a difference a border makes.

The Austrian side is also perfect. A series of hairpins, perfectly surfaced takes us rapidly down to the valley below.
View from Seeburg Sattel

We run along the valley for a ways to the state boundary between Kärnten and Steirmark, or Styria in the Latin tongue. This ancient region was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes during Roman times, then serially conquered by the Visigoths, the Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Rugii, the Lombards, the Franks and the Avars. In 595 the latter were defeated by the Slavs, who thenceforth ruled it (thanks Wikipedia).

The final leg of the trip takes us along the B69. I have used a lot of superlatives in describing great biking roads so far on this tour, but I need a new word to describe this run up and over the heights at Soboth. It is stuntastic (there, add that one to the lexicon).

Into Styria
At the start a road sign warns bikers that it is 'kurvenreich' (corner rich) and boy is it! There's very few hairpins but a series of very fast sweepers loop and swoop up and over a series of hills into the heart of Styria. It's reminiscent of the B500 in The Black Forest, only better. It's the equal to some of the best roads in the Harz Mountains. We don't have anything remotely like it's pure quality for riding motorcycles in Britain.

And so to the Route 69 biker hangout near Leutschach, on the B69 naturally. I stopped here on a tour with Charly a couple of years ago so I remember it well. On that occasion, a Sunday, the big car park out front was full of bikes and the cafe/bar thronged with leather clad bikers of the Harley variety.
Donuts at Route 69

Today it's it's almost empty, three or four bikes parked up. We quickly establish the house rules and get sorted. It's €12 for overnight camping including a ham and eggs breakfast in the morning. They have Weizenbier. Everything is awesome.

We camp in the field up above the place. It's all set up with marquees and stage for the Rolling Dudes Rock and Roll and US Cars Festival this coming weekend. Last weekend, sadly, we missed the Vespa Party. Oh well. But tonight we are the only ones here. The sun drops behind the hills and a just-past full moon rises. A heavy dew is coming. It's a perfect end to a perfect day.

They hang Hondas in these here parts

Tomorrow Hungary and into the unknown. I've no idea if there will be wifi available but watch this space. 


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