Text and photography from 2014 participant Scott Simon
For me, this trip began nearly fourteen years ago. I was in the military, and while stationed in the Balkans, I told myself I needed to come back on a motorcycle. When I did, I would go to the Croatian coast. Having missed the inaugural Croatia Coast and Curves ride in 2013, I made sure I wouldn’t miss out in 2014.
This 10-day tour would take us from the alpine regions of Germany, Austria, and Slovenia through the vine-covered hills of Central Croatia and Istria to the beautiful Dalmatian coast. On the return, we would get another healthy dose of alpine riding as we worked our way back through Slovenia and Italy.
While racking up all those kilometers, our point man, Uwe, made sure that we took some of the more scenic roads. As this was a riding tour, he would expertly strike the right balance between stopping at scenic overlooks/sites and maintaining the rhythm of the ride. That ride rhythm was made up of challenging alpine switchbacks, cobblestone streets, sweeping vistas, and, my vote for moto-nirvana—the seemingly endless twisties up the coast from Starigrad to Rijeka.
It was on this coastal road of motorcycle perfection that our guides allowed us to ride individually and meet up at a designated spot along the way. The hounds were released as they say, and I’m quite sure Florian, who was on sweeper duty and therefore spent a lot of time looking at my tail light, appreciated it as I was moving pretty good when he passed me.
Each day’s ride ended with a hassle-free assignment of rooms, followed by a boisterous group of strangers-turned-friends recounting the events of the day over excellent food and drink. Diversity ruled throughout the trip—twisty alpine roads with snow-topped ranges? Check. Sweeping alpine valleys? Check. Relaxing ferry cruise to the outer islands? Check. Rocky Adriatic coastline with whitewashed seaside villages? Check. Medieval castle-turned hotel perched atop a steep and narrow pedestrian-filled cobblestone road? Check, check, check, and check (the ride up to the hotel in Motovun is an experience in and of itself).
As the van pulled up to the departures curb at Munich International Airport, I told myself I need to come back again—I just hope it doesn’t take another fourteen years.