The Rides …

June 22nd, 2019

My writing has been sporadic, but I thought I would take a stab at collating a few activities in the past week or so.

The weather has been awesome during this visit.  After all the rain during our last visit, I was unsure that the rumours of perfect weather were just part of the marketing pitch.   The temperatures range from about 18C overnight to 30-35 during the day.  There is a rumour of rain on Monday, but there have been similar rumours throughout the last week, and none of them have proven true.   Just sun and heat.

One of the benefits of course is that cycling becomes possible.   I have been a bit hard pressed to find lots of time with boat projects and the trying to miss the heat of the day.  The scenery here is awesome (at least once you get up high), but the roads are exceptionally dangerous.

The roadways near Tivat (and environs that I have cycled to) are very narrow without shoulders and that is in the busy areas.  This lack of space causes traffic backups regularly, even in less busy areas.   At this time of year there are a LOT of tourists and so the roads are crammed with rental cars, buses and normal users, including a lot of dump trucks.  Not so many large commercial (transport) trucks, but there are some.   There is simply no where to go.   They also have the habit of honking.   Scares the crap out of me each time.  Makes me think I am going to get hit, so there is a lot of effort to control my reaction when the horns start going.   Every once in a while, on a climb/descent near these key towns, there are two lanes on the climb.   That allows the crazy drivers to rip around the traffic that has been slowing them down and tear up the hill.   These passing lanes are frequently short and the cars race past, again . . . with no shoulder.

Of course the normal reaction would be to get away from the main roads.   That’s best described as a mountain road here.   Generally these are steep, winding, and fun to climb.   There is a problem here as well.   Those two lane roads mentioned a moment ago, those are one lane roads in the mountains.  On the major roads, it is two lanes, on the minor roads, it is one lane and on the really quiet roads, it is one lane and pavement cannot be guaranteed.  That one lane is for both directions.   Climbing is okay on these minor roads; frequently the traffic comes at a rate of about a car every five minutes,  but the descents must be handled very carefully because there is nowhere to go when you meet traffic and it is hard to slow down during the descents.

The result of all of that description is that riding requires 100% concentration, 100% of the time and that (along with the heat and climbing) makes for shorter rides.

Here are some photos from the bike rides.   Spectacular and I think well worth the risk, despite the need to do shorter rides.


The photo above . . . that’s the backside of the baby mountain mentioned below.   This was a very scenic ride on quiet(ish) roads, but the young drivers ‘racing’ through these roads made every blind corner un-nerving because the road is only 10′ wide for both directions.

This is what a 23% grade looks like!  It’s also a good example of the road width (although this road is in pretty poor condition, but at least there is cement, better than in some places.


Yesterday, after working on my strength for over a week, I finally tackled this mountain. It is just under 1000m high, and I started at the water and climbed for an hour and a half. That wasn’t even really the top! There is another 500m of vertical that I didn’t get to yet! What a view!  That ‘hill’ in the middle of the photo; the picture (two up) is from the back side of that ‘hill’.


… And the Boat

Of course the boat has been getting a lot of attention as well.   I have had problems with air conditioning, which is unfortunate in this weather, but after much diagnosis, I have the system working properly again.   Jinhee will appreciate that when she gets to the boat because she likes the temperature much lower than I do.

While I haven’t used the dinghy in a while, we will be anchoring out during the summer I am sure, and I needed to get all the systems working again.   During a recent service, many of the wires were disconnected and so lights and such didn’t work.   I rebuilt the courtesy light and made sure all of the navigation lights were working properly.  I know that coming back from dinner, it will be dark and working lights are a necessity.

One of the more practical projects is a gas lift for the master bed.   Under that bed there is room to store things, but lifting the mattress is a difficult job.   I finally put a gas lift on the cover to make it easier.   Originally I planned two gas lifts, but having one on (which makes it easier, but not easy) I now think that two will make the bed levitate, perhaps while sleeping, so I am going with one for now until Jinhee can test it to see if she can manage this on her own.

When your boat is powered by Diesel engines only, they run a lot, and so I have decided to change my oil again (at about 300 hours) even though the manual says that I don’t need to change for 500 hours.   I also switched out the transmission fluid on my main engine, which normally only needs to be done once a year because I didn’t like the look of the fluid that was there.  It looked to be congealing and that can’t be a good thing, so for  a few bucks, I have swapped it out with transmission fluid that was left on board and will likely do so again once I find transmission fluid that I am sure is appropriate quality.

After getting a bit of dirty fuel in Albania in February, my Racor filters (used to protect the engine from dirt and/or water in the fuel) were really dirty.  I have never cleaned this equipment before and so I took the time to figure out how, clean them up and then test the engine to make sure everything works . . . so far so good.

A clean Racor bowl (slimy brown gunk removed!)

As usual, there is cleaning to be done as well, and so I have been plugging away at that too.  Always fun, but it is a good opportunity to improve the tan and since the sun is so strong I can’t clean for more than 30 minutes or so at a time 😂

If you are still reading, thanks for hanging in there.   Night has fallen here, and I just witnessed wonderful fireworks over the bay.   I am not sure what they are for, but it was really well done.

Much of this is documentation for myself as well.  I do keep these items in my log/maintenance book, but if I put it out into cyberspace, I can access this ‘storyline’ anywhere any time.  So it’s as much for me as for you!


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