Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dawn on the Adriatic Sea

It was with some surprise that I saw it getting light outside as I wasn't sure if we had already docked at Igoumenitsa, the second Greek port after Patras before making the crossing to Italy.  Somehow I must have slept through it although how that happened in the wretchedly uncomfortable seat will remain a mystery.  Right now most are still sleeping and there are sleeping bags on every free space on the floor that isn't immediately needed as a path to somewhere.

The start from Katakolon was, I thought, within limits but that did not turn out to be so.  And there is a good reason for that as the speed I could make on the scooter was about what I had planned but it took much longer to get through Patras than I anticipated.  Getting there was one thing, getting to the port once I arrived was quite another.  It was dumb luck that I found it at all as I had been driving through Patras for some while and then took the Patras-C exit as I thought this could be the middle of the city.  That turned out to be a good guess as I stopped in a Shell station and the serviceman gave me further directions to the port.

You may have already guessed that I missed the boat to Brindisi and that would be a splendid analysis.  I had no option for spending twenty-four hours until the next one left so the only option was what's the next ferry out of here.  That turned out to be a trip to Ancona which the girl told me is a little bit north of Brindisi.  I asked about Bari and she said, oh yes, just a little bit north of Bari.  Since I didn't know where Ancona was but knew Bari and Brindisi weren't so far apart, I decided to take that ferry.

She also said, oh yes, there is WiFi on the ferry.

It turns out her estimation of things was a wee bit optimistic.  I had hoped to check in on the blog via WiFi from the ferry as this one would get to Italy quite a bit later than the one to Brindisi but that hasn't been possible as it does not have Internet capability.

It also turns out her estimation of 'a little bit north' was optimistic as well.  Ancona is about five hundred kilometers north of Brindisi and consequently about a thousand kilometers north of Catania where Mount Etna is located.

This presents something of a tactical dilemma as the scooter, loaded down as it is, has become more dangerous than it ever was.  I had not expected the weight of the guitar to so upset the balance of the scooter but that's how it went and it's incredibly dangerous to drive.  The question now is whether to abandon the volcano and simply continue north since I am so far north already.  From Ancona I won't be so much more distant from England than I will be from Catania.

What's logical to do right now is obvious.  But that means skipping the only volcano I'm ever likely to see in my life and missing the chance to dance with Cat on the slopes of it.  That sucks pretty ferociously but so does a two-thousand kilometer round trip to get there.  We shall see!

The Thrill Ride of My Life

Yesterday's ride was the all-time most dangerous stunt I have ever tried as the scooter is not only unbalanced but the extra packed on it makes it act like more of a sail than ever and wind will cheerfully blow it off the road.  When it's a one and a half lane road shared with big trucks, you've got the makings of a thrill ride you will absolutely never forget.  I was running at about seventy to seventy-five kilometers but the trucks were going at about one hundred so that made for a backwash from them that could have done an Atlantic hurricane proud!

The reason for the unbalance is the guitar case as the body of it on one side of the case is much heavier than the neck and head of it on the other.  I've said sometimes how my shoulder will sometimes be shot after a gig and that's why; it really is a heavy guitar.  Even so, it's not as bad as a Les Paul as they must put lead shot inside those damn things.

The additional entertainment of the packing is that it goes too far forward and that puts me in a highly awkward riding position.  All the way down the road my cojones were telling me what a bastard I was for treating them so badly but I told them to shut up as I wasn't enjoying it much either.  As soon as I can get somewhere stable, I'll certainly be tearing it down again to see what else I can do.

While it doesn't really make any difference how long it takes to get to England, I'm leaning more toward just doing it as there is dangerous which is often fun and then there is plain stupid which often results in dead people, namely me.

There will be time for thinking more on this when I get to Ancona as it will be about 18:00 so that will be too late to take on very much traveling and I will be looking right away for somewhere to sleep.  The first thing will be to find WiFi so I can break my radio silence and let you know I am not a dead people already.

So, if you were looking for crazy, you found it!

There's Always the Option to Back Out

In any situation one can turn chicken and back out.  If I were to turn about and go back to Greece, it wouldn't be any more dangerous than anything I have already done and perhaps give the option of trying again after rethinking things.  However, that would mean several hundred euros having disappeared with so much as a pile of well-smoked roaches to show for it.

Taking that option would mean going back to Pyrgos and taking Harry up on his offer of an apartment in Pyrgos to ride out the summer.  Good science means considering all options and this one is available until I pull away from the coast in Italy.  Therefore I will hang about in Anacona at least for the night before deciding what to do.

This may be the time to return to my own song, "On the Road with a Mouse and a Chicken," in which the mouse is useless because I can never find it and listening to the chicken is never a good idea or you would never go on the road in the first place.

Somewhere in Italy ... No Idea Where

After landing in Ancona, I headed out of town but this turned out to be vastly more difficult than I hoped.  I am now somewhere south of there but I have no idea where.  The ferry docked at 18:30 or so and ever since then I have been trying to find someplace to sleep with one premium level of exhaustion repeatedly telling me, dude, you are so screwed.

This situation is really dangerous.  Before I get riding again I will tear the load back down and will definitely abandon anything not needed to keep a B-17 in the air.  I'm sure you've seen those kinds of movies.  If it's this or the plane going down, whatever it is goes out the window.  You want guitar passion ... it's no exaggeration that I've risked my life for this one!  This isn't a whine as I am very damn glad it survived and I've still got it.

This is present moment so it gets us caught up.  I'm sorry I couldn't post an update sooner but there was no possible way.  I couldn't even find a cafe between here and the port with WiFi.  I'm staying in the Hotel Girasole and the rate is €50 which makes a profound hit in the finances but I was to the point of putting the sleeping bag down on the side of the road, I just couldn't see anywhere a cop wouldn't have easily busted me for doing it.

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