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  • Writer's pictureProfu'

Wandering through Scotia

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

For over a year, two members of HOG Bucharest Chapter, Bicheru and Cosmin, also known as "Good Man," meticulously planned their trip to Scotland. The pandemic did not make their work any easier, but it gave them the opportunity to become friends with technology.

For a year, they planned every minute and even covered thousands of virtual kilometers on Google Street View to ensure the group would have the most enjoyable experience. Shortly before the departure of the riders' expedition "Lords of the Carpathians," anticipation and excitement began to grow, and we could already imagine how we would ride, what we would see, and what we would do. The WhatsApp group specially created for the Lords of the Carpathians discussions was filled with frenzy and exaltation until the evening before departure when silence fell over the mobile phones. It was the calm before the unique adventure that was about to begin. Each Lord was preparing their equipment, luggage, and checking for the 100th time the list of things to take.

I remember that on the night before departure, I could barely close my eyes, eagerly waiting to see my fellow bikers and set off on my first long tour in a country where I knew rain and wet asphalt was the norm. However, the stress vanished as sleep arrived, and I was convinced it would be the most spectacular journey.

The meeting point was somewhere close to Bucharest at 7 in the morning, intending to leave at 7:30. To my surprise, everyone arrived early, apparently, we were all eager to begin the great adventure. From the moment we met, a magical connection was created, and a fraternal feeling filled our hearts as we set off towards the west of the country, where we were to meet three more Carpathian Lords brothers.

We crossed Romania like the wind, so that by lunchtime, our group was complete, and we continued our journey towards Budapest, where we spent the night. The next day, we set off on the following stage, covering approximately 800 kilometers.

Following us, the last member of the self-proclaimed Lords group was to arrive. Bicheru, the creator of the expedition, left a day later and intended to catch up with us. The infernal heat on the highway between Budapest and Würzburg melted our brains inside our helmets, and after a day of struggle, the news that Bicheru had an accident hit us like a blow to the head. Fate with its icy fangs seemed to remind us that the expedition was not a stroll along the seashore through fine sand. Fortunately, even though injured in body and soul, Bicheru is alive.

We continued our journey towards the islands, conquering and discovering cities, roads, and new people one by one. Memories flood my mind; the information in such an expedition is very dense and abundant, so the experiences and moments that moved you are the ones that remain deeply imprinted in your mind.

In Calais, we boarded the train to Folkestone, and that was the moment when the "aroma" of the island floated in the air. We were about to ride on the wrong side, but two islanders, English by accent, playfully warned us that we were finally about to drive on the correct side.

Meeting the two Englishmen was almost like a scripted scene, as surprisingly they were two HOG members who had "crossed" the English Channel, as if someone had sent them to greet us. We quickly adapted to driving on the "wrong" side, faced a few dilemmas at roundabouts, but managed to adjust to them as well. I think we all agreed that there is no right or wrong side; both sides are fine.

The road to London was much more exhausting due to the heavy traffic and highways that seemed to be from Roman times. London is a city full of history and especially many nationalities, which reminded me of the Tower of Babel. However, the historical beauty filled our minds and hearts with memories, and our journey continued towards Liverpool but not without adventures and unique situations. Ionut, also known as Doc, had announced from the beginning that this ride would be special for him.

Doc was to become a godfather, and for that, he had to interrupt the ride to return to Romania and then come back and continue the journey through Scotland. That's exactly what happened; we left London towards Liverpool, and Doc headed to Glasgow to return to Romania and fulfill his godfather duties.

On our way to Liverpool, just as we were fully immersed in the adventure and enjoying every bit of history, every statue or building that we had only seen on television or the internet, the motorcycle of the second creator of the expedition broke down. From ecstasy to agony, within just 10 minutes, we knew that our Road Captain could no longer continue. We couldn't believe it; the two creators of the expedition couldn't participate.

With tears in our eyes, we left him in the hands of friends at Harley Davidson Liverpool and continued our journey, promising to stick to the plan until the end. I had barely come to terms with parting from our Road Captain when the group appointed me the leader of the ride, and with a lump in my throat, we continued our journey through crowded England.

We quickly crossed from England to Ireland, and suddenly the noise, congestion, and English coldness were replaced with more tranquility and friendlier, cheerier people. We went from Dublin to Belfast, enjoying the history of the places and the beautiful roads of the island.

The crossing from Belfast to Scotland meant two things: reaching our main destination, Scotland, and reuniting with Doc, who was returning from Romania to continue the ride with his wife. Of course, the sequence or order of events and emotions wasn't premeditated, but we experienced emotions from the entire spectrum, and the chosen route gradually offered us more and more beauty. After England, with its overwhelming abundance of history and cold English smiles, came Ireland, with landscapes and cities full of beauty and joy, and finally, Scotland revealed the true gem of the islands, with cheerful and welcoming people.

Doc's return to the ride filled us with joy, and we continued with him leading the ride designed by our brothers who, unfortunately, were following our route from a distance. Although the ride was full of unexpected situations, Scotland's coast, winding and narrow roads, and charming, quiet towns made us forget everything, and we enjoyed every place and moment.

One by one, we passed through Glasgow, Fort William, Fort Augustus, Ullapool, Thurso, Inverness, Elgin, Edinburgh, and even though we missed Kirkwall Island, we gained the NC500 route. In my opinion, Scotland is a must-ride destination for any motorcyclist; the beauty and tranquility of Scotland cannot be conveyed in words, photos, or films – it must be experienced. The beauty of the place is enriched by the welcoming and friendly people.

Our journey in Scotland and the islands ended in a fairytale-like way. If we entered the country accompanied by chance by two English HOG members, we left accompanied by dozens of riders from the Dunedin Chapter Scotland, a unique experience. If I had to describe the image of that moment, I would say it was just like the movies about kings and lords when, in times of need, you'd see them gathering from all corners of the country, marching alongside their warriors towards their brothers.

That's how the riders from Dunedin Chapter Scotland appeared, multiplying the number of Harleys and people before our eyes until we were finally escorted on the most beautiful final ride in Scotland, the ride towards the border with England.

For us, of course, the ride did not end with the departure from the Dunedin group. The final effort was ahead: Amsterdam, Dresden, Budapest, and finally Bucharest.

It was a journey full of events and emotions of all kinds, a journey that ended partially, because Om Bun promised to pick up where he left off, alone or accompanied, he doesn't know yet, but I am sure he will enjoy the upcoming journey even more when it happens.



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