2010 Harley Davidson Road King Custom, Vance & Hines ovals and only mods are a set of Kuryakin Sound of Chrome speakers for ipod mounted on handlebars behind the wind shield – just for the hell of it!
After all the many trips with Glenn MacArtney on a Harley Road King, in January of 2012 I acquired a 2010 Road King Custom from ProvinceWide, the Harley Dealership in Northern Ireland. Three days later they closed their doors. Fortunately this meant that the clearance price was irresistible.
I kept the bike in Northern Ireland until May, and less inclement weather arrived, and then spent 4 road days to get her to Izmir in Turkey. The trip was uneventful and you can certainly cover a lot more ground on a Harley than you can with an old KLR650.
I departed Dromara at 6.15am on a chilly Sunday morning for the 7.30am Belfast/Stranraer ferry. Disembarked at Stranraer, Scotland around 10.30am, in bright sunshine as it turned out, and then rode the 168 miles across Scotland and the top of England to Newcastle in time to make the overnight ferry to Amsterdam on Sunday night.
After spending Monday in Amsterdam (Oude Wetering) I set out at 8.00am on the Tuesday morning and headed south. Route took me down through Dusseldorf, Bonn, Koblenz, Heidelberg to the Swiss border south of Freiburg by about 4pm. Cross into Switzerland, and paying their road tax on the way, I crossed the alps using the St Gotthard pass and crossed into Italy just south of Lugano. By this point it was getting late and I’d put in a ot of KM in one day.
I was aiming to be at the lunch-time ferry in Ancona on Wednesday, but still had 520km to fo so I decided to press on and get through Milan that evening rather than deal with traffic on the Wednesday morning. I finally pulled off the highway at a motel in Piacenza at 11pm that night with just over 1200km (750miles) covered that day. That’s my record distance for one day in the saddle!
Up at the crack of dawn again and hit the highway at 7.45am with 380km to go before catching the ferry at 1.30pm that afternoon from Ancona. There was sporadic rain, unlike the Dutch and German sunshine the day before, but I made it to Ancona just after midday and hit the ferry bound for Patras in Greece. The ferry to Patras is a 24-hour affair calling in Igoumenitsa in northern Greece at breakfast and then Patras, some 200km west of Athens, at lunchtime. The nice thing about this is that I got a 24-hour “sort of” cruise to recover from the 1200km the day before. I’d planned to simply ride the 200km from Patras over to Athens and then take the ferry from Piraeus to the Greek Island of Chios, only 8km off the coast of Izmir. And from there it would be a “piece of cake”. And, off course, I figured Greece would be nice, warm and, well, Mediterranean!
Disembarked at Partas on The Thursday morning into a nice rainstorm ….. Almost all the way to Athens. The highway has to rank as one of the worst and misleading highways in Europe. Half of it was roadworks, and the rest was one lane either side with a wide, rutted hard shoulder. And to make matters worse there must have been a thousand heavy trucks on the highway.
I got to Piraeus, despite the complete lack of anything in the way of signposts to the port and managed to find the booth for Nell Lines that sells the tickets for the overnight ferry to Chios. Fortunately, being in Greece, I reckoned that stopping at an ATM en route would be a good idea. This turned out to be a masterstroke, no credit cards accepted by the ferry co. At any rate, I made it on the ferry and managed to weasel a nice cabin, had dinner and turned in early – arrival at Chios scheduled for 4.30am in the morning.
Disembarked form the ferry onto an idyllic little Greek island quayside – warm weather and it only got warmer as the sun rose. The twice-daily ferry to Cesme on the Turkish mainland left at 8.30am and was considerably smaller than the large passenger & car ferry that brought me to Chios from Athens. However I spent four very pleasant hours quayside sipping coffee and waiting for the ticket office for the Turkish ferry to open at 7.30am.
All aboard for the one-hour ride over to Cesme. Arrived in bright sunshine and so far so good! Then disaster! I’d been riding with a copy of the original registration (old habit) but Turkish customs required the original and there was nothing to be done.
I ended up leaving the bike there, under cover in the customs yard at Cesme for a week and getting the original fedexed from Ireland. The following week I got the bike through finally into Turkey and she’s done about 7000km here so far.
I guess I should add that that the Harley Davidson dealership here in Istanbul is about a half km up the street from my apartment. Looking forward to many more good rides here in Turkey. The weather is much more pleasant for a lot longer than in Northern Europe.
Below is roughly the route I took … the ferries aren’t correct though …..Share