The plan is to ride our GoldWing from its home in Germany to the treffens in Bulgaria
and Turkey, finishing off with a couple weeks in Greece.
We are leaving in late August to where our bike is stored in Heidelberg, Germany.
Then the planned route is to go southeast over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road
to Ljubljana, Slovenia. After a couple days there we will continue south to Dubrovnik,
Croatia for a couple days. Then we turn east and head for the Black Sea where the
Bulgarian treffen will be held. After the treffen a group of 20 will follow a pre-planned
route to the Turkish treffen in northwest Turkey. We are signed up to be in that
group. We will then tour around western Turkey before going to Greece. We have been
to the Black Sea once before but this will be our first trip to Turkey. We don’t
have a return date yet but it should be in early November. We are hoping to sell
the bike on this trip and where and when will determine our return date.
This is close to the planned route.
The Gold Wing European Federation (GWEF) sanctions the treffens (rallies) held in
every country in Europe. From Spain to Norway and Ireland to Bulgaria the countries
have assigned weekends in which their country’s GoldWing club will host an International
Treffen. Even little ones like Luxemburg and large ones like Russia like to have
their time to shine. A rider could spend most of the spring, the entire summer, and
most of the fall traveling from one to the next and not get them all. Some weekends
have two treffens. Gold Wing clubs are spread throughout the world, including Iceland,
Brazil, Israel, Japan, Viet Nam and I’m sure many others. Gold Wing Riders Association
(GWRRA) has chapters in many countries also. We are members of the GWRRA. It is a
great time to be a Gold Wing traveler.
The clubs compete for prizes with the grand prize being for the club with the most
mileage points. These are earned by multiplying the number of a country’s members,
at the treffen, by the number of kilometers from their home to the treffen. A close
club needs to bring more members than a far club. For instance, 4 from Portugal going
to Norway could beat out a dozen from Sweden. We are not a member of any of the clubs
now although when we traveled through Europe in 2006, 7, and 8 we belonged to the
But as seems to be the case with us (check our our previous tours of Europe). Our
best laid plans went wrong right from the first. A regular readers of this know we
now are living full time in a new motorhome. We rent a space in an RV park for a
little over USD $500/month. We made arrangements with a friend to leave it on his
property, about 50 miles (80 km) away for a lot less. Two days before our flight,
as I’m driving to his place he sends me a text. His insurance won’t allow us to use
his property. So I turn around and go back to our space in the park and make arrangements
to leave it there. Problem 1 solved, but not cheaply. Next, as we arrive at the airport
for our flight from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington I find out that I’m looking
at the wrong time. The airlines had changed our flight times and numbers several
times and as I’m looking at the wrong one we’re too late to catch our flight to Seattle.
Seattle is where we fly from to get our flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Although we
do get to Seattle we are now too late for our flight to Germany. We are landing just
as it takes off. So we spend the night in a hotel and catch the same flight on the
next day. Problem 2 solved but not cheaply. As I write this we are in the air over
Iceland. We are flying Condor, a German airline. I do not recommend them. First,
too many schedule changes. Then the plane is OLD. There are still ashtrays for smokers.
The cabin lights flicker and change from on to off and back on again in different
parts of the cabin without any reason. It is an overnight flight and people are trying
to sleep. The air conditioning doesn’t work, or works poorly. It is hot inside and
there are no air vents above the seats like we have had on all other flights. We
will be taking a different airline home.
We finally arrived, took the train south to Heidelberg and met with Stefan and Chris.
The father and son team that runs Knopf Tours where we, and many others, store their
motorcycles. He has it out of storage and ready to ride. We are in the BMW Room.
(He doesn’t have Honda Room.) But we need to hit the ATM for the money we owe for
storage, room, insurance and a new battery. They only accept cash for all but the
insurance. We were last here to ride in 2018 so we owe three years worth. The next
day we did that, paid our bill and went out for dinner. The second day we left and