I enjoy Rolling Thunder a lot. I usually spend the hours that we spend staging in the Pentagon parking lot catching up with old friends that I don't get to see that often. For example, this year I met up with one guy that I used to be in scouts with 30 years ago. As far as the mileage hit, its not as bad as you think. I don't have the results in from this tank, but when I do, I doubt it will be significantly different from my other tanks.
Having a Scarver (aka BMW F650CS, for any reader outside f650.com) myself, it was a year-old plan of mine to visit the Czech Scarver Meet. Meets at unseen to me places are always interesting, and after having to skip the last one I absolutely had to visit this one. I planned to see beautiful and interesting places on the way there, so I split the way there to two days.
We began with perfect bodings: a drained battery, going back home for a sweater, losing the sleeping bags and the tent from the back seat over the first leg... the weather was cool and windy, so everything was perfect
The first picture was born at a fuel station along the Hungarian road 81 - because of the 'nodding' oil pump:
We left our country at noon, and headed towards the Little Carpathians... through a very funny village which was called Horny Bar Then we challenged the twisties of Pezinská Baba, or Old Hag Pass of Touhou fans
In the picture above you can see a true Carpathian Forest. There was an extra red tabby cat in the parking lot on the crest, but no gazebo or anything. After a brief stop we rolled down the other side, where the town of Malacky/Malacka (meaning Piggy - we partly chose this route because of the name ) lies. We bought some food there, and headed towards Kúty and out of Slovakia. The vegetation changed a bit when we got north of the Carpathians, coniferous woods were following us along the road.
Of course we made another turn into the wrong direction at Kúty (which I had thoroughly explored via Street View before the trip ), but it could be corrected quickly so we finally arrived in the Czech Republic.
There we followed Bure's (the organizer of the meeting) advice and took a turn to the west. We went along nice hills with ruins on their tops, through the old town of Mikulov, and turned back through Pavlov and a lake dam:
We also filled up the bikes' tanks in Lednice, where I got this trip's worst tank, while shiNIN got a good one... I did windy and rainy commuting before we left on this road trip, while her bike was resting after a hot summer trip among Hungarian hills.
After this turn we returned the motorway to bypass Brno. The road was made of concrete slabs that didn't fit perfectly, jolting the bikes at every joint. Yeah, Bure was right, it wasn't that good - but it served its purpose, saved us from going into an inconveniently large city.
So we left the superslab soon, and headed towards our destination that day: a campsite at Jedovnice, via small forest roads. It was hard to navigate through the complicated Czech names on the map, which didn't even show all of the villages. If I thought I memorized the surrounding few villages, I saw a few road signs and it erased my memory, and I had to stop again to have another look at the map... this was the first time I really wished for a GPS... but I'll still try to hold on to the old school as long as I can - yes, I know I'm stubborn
It was getting already dark and cold in the woods, so it was refreshing to reach the campsite... these are some fixed points in time: the time we leave, the distance, are totally unimportant - we arrive late in the evening, no matter what
The receptionist didn't know any English nor German, but with drawing and the leftovers of my childhood Russian lessons we could place our tent and we even knew the price
We began the second day in the vicinity of the rift of Macocha, which I planned to see. See, but not to photograph, as I found that it can't be fit in the 18mm lens from the balcony on its edge. To take the picture we had to climb down a twisty trail, get through the Punkevní cave... and then, from the bottom, the camera could contain it
The road at the bottom, leading to the cave entry:
Warning! Breaking off the dripstones is strictly forbidden for evil zombies!
The cave itself was really beautiful, it was worth all the time, climb and entry fee:
We reached a branch on the water:
Then came the point where we dropped our original plans. We wanted to go on through tiny back roads, but learning from the last day's struggle I decided to take the roads 150 and 19 which were much easier to follow - and still led through nice hilly area, winding pleasantly. Along the road 19 we bumped into this stone dragon:
I don't know the exact location, and I couldn't find it after the trip, so it's a riddle for all of you
Everything changed at Havlíčkúv Brod. Traffic jam in the downtown, and the boring, almost straight, modern main road 38 after leaving. It was a pain to get past this leg, but Kutná Hora wasn't far... where a whole chapel was waiting, full of bones. A whole medieval cemetery was piled up in the ossuary hundreds of years ago, and now the carefully arranged bones stand there as a memento.
After taking a bunch of pictures at the ossuary we returned to the road 38, to finally reach our destination, the village called Provodín, and the Riders' pub Dřevenka in it. We took one more stop to get food, and while eating we saw a pack of bikers rolling along the road, some of them with Scarvers. We caught up at a gas station, and rode with them - until I took a different turn. I followed my own thinking, instincts, anything, even though I didn't have any knowledge about the place Did I say that I'm stubborn?
Well, the direction I chose was right too. The only problem was getting out of the middle of Mladá Boleslav Really, I used the bypass on the way home
But after leaving the town the road and the scenery got nicer again, forests, hills crowned with ruins, to rest our tired eyes. And the end of the road, the pub and the assembled bikers and their horses. We found Bure, gave him the Tokaji wine we brought (the bottles didn't break on the way here ), set up our tent, and went to talk and eat and drink with the others.
The pub, Dřevenka, is a very nice place anyway - the staff and the prices were really friendly, the food and the beer tasty (we drank Svyjani and Bernard), they didn't mind that the participants brought some cakes and drink too (like the plum spirits they offered to us). They didn't know much English, but it was enough to order simple things, and we had a great guide, Bure, to help us with the specialties
In the morning everyone was resting... we had a walk around (we were late from the grocery store too ), taking pictures of Provodín, the bikes, and so on...
Soon the dead were up too, and went to the nearby lake to treat their hangover. The lake in the woods looked cute, and some were crazy enough to really swim in it, though the water felt freezing - of course it wasn't, but it wasn't exactly warm either
For me it was enough to walk in knee deep...
Later at the pub we took the mandatory Scarver group pictures, and... well, other photos too (the life of the pub didn't stop just because of the Scarver meeting).
That box is for a dog:
After the group shots came the ride in the nearby hills, small villages and roads (there were some so bad ones I began to feel at home ), fields and forests... unfortunately I couldn't concentrate on the landscape enough, group rides always need a lot of attention (especially if you want to drive efficiently while keeping the formation).
But we could at Sloup! There's a sandstone rock, with a castle carved in and built on the top of it, with great view:
It seems that someone else learned it too, earlier in the history:
These sandstone rocks host another riders' pub too: I don't know the original purpose of this grotto, but it is large enough to let you drive into the pub. If you want to know how it feels to ride your bike in a cave - here you can try.
On the way there was a little accident involving some gravel and Ciliegia (shiNIN's Hyosung GV250) and now we had a footrest with a broken screw to fix. The resourceful Czech guys found a quick fix for the problem: they patched the part with piece of wood, carved with a swiss army knife Then I checked the suspicious clutch cable, and... broke it while debugging. This was the point they learned that the word 'kurva' is part of Hungarian language too But these guys helped with the cable too, and Ciliegia was ready for the road again.
Of course we just had to drink after this experience. Just gingerly, to be sober early in the morning, when we planned to leave. We wanted to get home in one day, so we took a lot of main roads and motorways, except for some picture hunting at the Pavlov area, some cute villages in Hungary, and the twisty road 82 at Csesznek, very close to where we live.
The distances were somewhere close to 400km on the first day, near 300 on the second, and around 600 on the way home. The Saturday local ride must have been like 80. No more exact numbers here, sorry...
The tanks (Teresa/BMW F650CS vs Ciliegia/Hyosung GV250):
2.99 vs 2.69l/100km (78.7 vs 87.4 US mpg): Different route, different weather, I got rain and much strong wind riding Teresa before this trip.
2.86 vs 2.74l/100km (82.2 vs 85.8 US mpg): Same route, from South Moravia to the meet and the Saturday ride.
2.76 vs 2.68l/100km (85.2 vs 87.8 US mpg): Crossing the Czech Republic on the way home, with tail wind.
2.66 vs 2.64l/100km (88.4 vs 89.1 US mpg): Crossing Slovakia and the Northwest of Hungary, and another trip before we had to fuel up the bikes.
So my little Scarver (in good hands) is still almost as efficient as a modified (a bit taller gears) 250