The previous update of the Tour.

21.8. Thu (43) Bolu, Turkey

Because I was in Ankara (near Bolu), I decided to visit my friend there again. I had met there last time a new friend, Ahmet Sucu, who owns a restaurant in center of Bolu.

Mercan Restaurant in Bolu.

Bolu is quite small town, there live about 80,000 inhabitants. The invitations to the islamic praying was heard clearly five times a day. Good loudspeakers in the minarets... First one was at five o'clock in the morning, meaning early wake-ups for me :(

Some thanks:
On my way from Ankara to Bolu I got sick and then had to give up travelling for a while. I got into very weak condition, the fever kept on rising. I had 40°C fever, I was nearly to be hospitalized. But I couldn't have gone to hospital by myself, because I didn't know, what "hospital" is in Turkish language...

Anyway, resting in a motel room and some medicines luckily worked this time. My friend Ahmet (the owner of "The Mercan Restaurant") asked a waiter of his restaurant to bring me cow stomach soup to my motel room.
I am very grateful to him. I've met very nice people during my tour.

23.8. Sat (45) Bolu, Turkey

I heard glad news from Finland: my old bike, Suzuki DR750 was sold there at price of 20 kFIM. I can survive 3 - 5 months with that money. Thanks to my parents for that help in selling it. I had left an sales announcement to a Finnish magazine Keltainen Pörssi from Ankara via internet and the bike was sold next week in Finland. Power of internet!

27.8. Wed (49) Bolu, Turkey

I got into condition at last and then on the road!!! I had spent almost full week in bed, resting and taking medicines. Hoping that the high fever would go down :(

I rode through coast road towards Greece. In Turkey I didn't like the traffic: many car drivers were careless there and a danger to others. I had to be cautious almost every moment. I had some dangerous situations on highways, when a car driver continued overtaking a truck or some other cars without caring at all of the on-coming traffic! I thought, those drivers would need a mental therapy, or jail sentence!

As I arrived to Greece I had a strange feeling: "I'm at home again (Europe)". I can relax on the road and breathe free! (not so dangerous traffic).

28.8. Thu (50) Greece

Klick to hear the national anthem of Greece
General information about Greece.

As I headed towards Athens, I contacted the chairman of Suzuki DR Team of Greece, Jimmy Petropoulos.

They were waiting for me!!! :)

I searched the ferry lines from Thessaloniki directly to Athens, but the ferries go usually first to the isles and from there maybe to Athens. The trips may last two days. I would have wanted to visit some isles, but now I was going to Athens.

In Thessaloniki I almost 'dropped my eyes'. If more traffic accidents will happen to me, it is women's fault!! :-) :-) Greek girls are beautiful!

30.8. Sat (52) Athens, Greece

I met some members of Suzuki DR Team in Athens. Their team spirit was good, they were like "the same family". In the DR Team there are nowadays (8/97) about 60 members. The Team gave me two T-shirts as a gift. The other contained a wish for good trip. I like that a lot. Great, kind people!

I met also Martha Kambili, product manager of Sfakianakis, the Suzuki importer. I promised to co-operate with the Suzuki importer during my trip. It means writing about my trip and sending pictures. I guess some of them are published in Greek MC magazines.

31.8. Sun (53) Greece

On morning Jimmy and his girlfriend came to take me with them to beach. We put the flag of DR Team to flap behind my bike. It is an important thing to have a flag! :)

During the trip towards Korinthos there joined some other motorcyclists with girlfriends/wives, so then there were about a dozen of us. We rode a nice mountainous road. We took sun bath of course and played games. At the beach some 'clever' :) guys decided to begin to throw each others to water. Two threw the third one. Really funny looking! Of course I had to join to that funny and crazy thing :) :)

And later we (6 of us) made a pyramid, like in a circus. When that fell... I hadn't laughed that much for some time!

1.9. Mon (54) Athens, Greece

I could have my bike repaired (the damages due to crashes in Poland and South Lebanon) and maintained at Suzuki service in Athens. The periodical 12,000 kms maintenance was made and the additional oil cooler was repaired too (important thing). I got also spare parts what I wished to have... all this FOR FREE!!!

Also because the repairs & maintenance took time to next day, they borrowed me for that time the company's bike, Suzuki DR650!!

Many thanks to the Suzuki importer of Greece, and Jimmy and Martha.

2.9. Tue (55) Athens, Greece

We had a meeting at Suzuki, with Jimmy and Martha. They had written an article about my tour and it was to be published in all of the Greek MC magazines (14 pcs)! I was flattered. And in the text was mentioned "member from Finland" (of Suzuki DR Team of Greece). Very friendly!

Last days I had got an idea of arranging a 'friendship visit' from Finland to Greece after my tour, with MC Sukkamehu. Let's see... But I have to do this trip first.

3.9. Wed (56) Athens, Greece

We had party with some members of DR Team at Porsche Club. One of the members thought that I would be having problems in Sahara with all that amount of luggage. I agreed. I have to arrange the stuff better, because riding on sand with heavy bike (and with lots of luggage) is difficult.

Later Jimmy showed me some pictures about Paris-Dakar rally. They gave me good inspiration, how to arrange the tools (11 kgs) better, for example.

I said goodbye to some of the members of DR Team, which I now consider to be my friends.

4.9. Thu (57) Patra, Greece

I left early in the morning towards Korinthos and Patra. I would have liked to stay longer, but "El Viaje" has to continue.

The trip from Patra to Ancona by FastFerry was luxurious. It took about 21 hrs and cost 37,000 Drakhmas (130 USD).

5.9. Fri (58) Ancona, Italy

Klick to hear the national anthem of Italy
General information about Italy.

The destination of ferry trip was North enough, just because of convenience. North Italy looked very wealthy and luxurious. All the people were very friendly.

6.9. Sat (59) Bassano del Grappa, Italy

I rode by my heavily loaded bike to Bassano, where Luca Piotto lived. I had met him half year ago in internet. We had planned to meet during my tour. I met that proud Suzuki street bike rider in Bassano.

Because there are almost no camping places in North Italy, low budget living would have been a problem. But, Luca called to his friend Maurizio, who is an owner of a restaurant. He said it's no problem, I could camping at the backyard of his restaurant, at the Ducati Pompone Club!!!

The Pompone Club was in mountainous, peaceful place surrounded by woods, 700 metres above sea level at Paderno del Grappa. The restaurant is also the headquarters of the Ducati moto club: Rifugio Bellavista da Maurizio (bikers' restaurant) and also a camping area. Sometimes there are arranged Ducati/Laverda bikers' meetings.

Thanks to Luca, thanks to Maurizio of all the arrangements!!!

Maurizio did the 'welcome rite': he gave me official T-shirt of Pompone Club, official coffee cup, official cap, official soap... :) I could also buy riding gear at very reasonable price from the Pompone Shop! That update was an important matter, as I didn't have practically any other riding gear than helmet, when I left Finland...

Luca offered me the membership of Ducati Pompone Club. In that club there are members worldwide. During that weekend there was a Laverda meeting, there were almost 100 bikers.

In the evening there was nearby a MC party, lots of people. Rock, beer and beautiful women!! Not bad, not bad... In the end we saw two good striptease performances!

9.9. Tue (62) Bassano, Italy

As Maurizio closes his restaurant on Tuesdays and has day off, he took us (some tourist bikers) to the mountains. We rode in very curvy, mountainous, narrow roads. We had a little bit speed (for me enough) I enjoyed a lot about that.

Usually I ride with heavy luggage on highways and now it was a little bit 'racing' feeling. Nice! In a group it is more fun to ride, but one has to be more careful.

10.9. Wed (63) Bologna, Italy

In the morning we left to Bologna. We were almost 10 tourist bikers attending that occasion from Pompone Club. In Bologna there lives Mr. Fabio Taglioni, who has been a famous design engineer of Ducati. He worked at Ducati 1954 - 1990 and had effect to all the design of the bikes. He was a famous person already in 1970's. This day he had 77 years anniversary.

Birthday occasion at Bologna. (Web page of a German guest)

In Bologna there was a birthday greeting moment at his home and then all of us went to a celebration dinner. There were among the family, some famous racers from 1970's and also some tourist bikers in their leather suites... It wasn't a formal occasion at all.

In the dining hall, there was also a Ducati Desmo model 1974 fully restored. Like a piece of art. Nice opportunity to visit, nice party! Thanks to Taglioni's and thanks to Maurizio.

Later news: Mr. Taglioni has died in 19 Jul 2001.

11.9. Thu (64) Bassano, Italy

Luca's friend, David welded more engine protection shields to my bike and made a toolbox. The original engine bottom protection in Suzuki DR is of plastic and therefore not good in rocky roads. Also I had my tools packed up and rear, so I needed a tool tube "Tubo di Attrezzi" to get the load more down.

That man likes cutting & welding bikes, do I have courage to leave my dear bike into his hands?? (joking) :) :) He had previously made a custom bike from Kawasaki 1100 GPZ street bike!!!

The bottom shield was made of a 7 mm thick duraluminium part (from motocross bike) and tool tube was made from stainless steel. The tools were now easier to steal, but good installation was far more important. They made good work and riding was easier after the modification.

...the work and parts didn't cost anything!!! I have great friends!

12.9. Fri (65) Bassano, Italy

Luca helped me to find some bike accessories (bigger tank) and equipment. For Sahara it would be necessary to have 50 litres of gasoline with me, but the Italian acessories manufacturer Acerbis does not make such big parts for DR800 anymore.

The original tank is only 24 litres, so then South from Morocco I have to take additional gas in jerrycans! Then I am not a motorcyclist, but a truck driver! :(

13.9. Sat (66) Bassano, Italy

I tried to put an oil temperature gauge to my bike, a cheap one of Biltema (Swedish). I found it to be of low quality and threw it away. Cheap things will come expensive, when you have to buy three of them... Before Sahara it is necessary to put an oil temperature gauge to the bike.

Luca arranged a biker's rain suit for me and back shield (both high quality Italian Dainese) in stock price! Great! Back shield is important for safety, it protects spine and kidneys from impact in traffic accident.

Because it was weekend, there was an MC party (of course). This time at Mussolente, near from Bassano. Luca was as a security man there. At the party, some motorcyclists were interested of my tour. Rock, beer, nice women... Good action! :) :)

14.9. Sun (67) Bassano, Italy

I tested my Magellan GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite navigator. I connected it to my bike and rode in the mountains. GPS worked well, I think I can rely on it.

One problem there is still with batteries. Battery changing between bike battery & four 'finger batteries', (a daily thing) is not so easy as battery change with mobile telephone, for example. That is a small security problem, because I can't leave the GPS connected to bike. I found out too, that GPS's are 'electricity eaters'...

15.9. Mon (68) Bassano, Italy

This week Luca had holiday, so we could ride on mountains together. There was also a German motorcyclist having 1000cc Moto Guzzi. We visited the highest place of Monte di Grappa, Casa Armani at 1,745 m above sea level. Nice place, clouds were at the same level or below us.

When returning back to Pompone, we saw a bicyclist laying in the roadside!! We stopped and rushed to the place. I checked, the man didn't breathe, nor heart didn't beat! We started to give first aid for him, artificial breathing & heart pressing. The German guy went to find the nearest telephone. There came in a few minutes a car driver, he possibly made the emergency report.

We continued with Luca about 15-20 minutes. Time went slowly... We supposed he was dead, but weren't sure, so we wanted to leave the decision for ambulance personnel. Anyway, I said to Luca: "We continue one hour, then we stop". The man had muscular trembling and was warm, when we came, so the falling had happened just before. His neck was OK and he had worn a helmet.

The ambulance came finally. They just covered him with a green sheet. He was dead. He presumably had got a heart attack and didn't die in our hands. During the action I was a little bit surprised, how calm we were. And we did our best. I admired Luca's coolness. Cool guy! :)

Later in the evening we took some Grappa (alcohol) in Maurizio's place, after the shocking experiences.

16.9. Tue (69) Bassano, Italy Munich, Germany

General information about Germany.

19.9. Fri (72) Munich, Germany

I could write this travel update by the computer of Mailajussit of Munich. Mailajussit is a pesäpallo ('Finnish baseball') team of the city of Munich. My friend Susanna plays also in that team. She has played twice in a team (Parkanon Urheilijat) in Finland, that has won Finnish championships.

Nowadays there are about 10 pesäpallo teams in Germany and in the beginning of October there are German championships in pesäpallo. Last three years Mailajussit of Munich has been the champion of Germany!

Pesäpallo is still quite a new thing in Germany. Finnish pesäpallo players staying in Germany brought the game to Germany a few years ago.

20.9. Sat (73) Munich, Germany

That day the world-famous "Oktoberfest" started!!! The three-week-continuing beer festival was held now 175th time. First it was established to celebrate the wedding of princess Theresie, daughter of king Ludwig. Ludwig's grandson, Ludwig II has built many of the castles in Bavaria.

And there were lots of people! Atmosphere was great: people cheering and having lot of fun :)

Beer steins were of proper size: one litre. "Eine kleine Mass, bitte!" In Oktoberfest, there visit 6 to 7 million friends of beer. A couple of years ago, the starting day of the festival was changed to two weeks (or so) earlier, because of climate matters (warmer weather). So, at least it ends during October.

21.9. Sun (74) Munich, Germany

Feelings of near future & end thoughts of Europe: I think I'll leave Europe within 2-3 weeks. I have spent more than two months in Europe and Middle East and learned lots of new things of MC travelling. The start has been good. Bike is now quite good for bad roads, after the modifications.

Preperations for the bad trails!

Everything has gone well so far and I have met great people. Let's see what the future brings...

Next update of the Tour