Travel Through Poland on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Poland on a Harley (9/7/10 - 14/7/10)
Distance 815 km (572600 km to 573415 km)

This is part of the sixteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from Germany  or read our previous visit to Poland

9/7/10 Again Europe has expanded compared to our previous visit eleven years ago. The large structures, once designed to isolate a country, checking goods for customs and people for visas still remain at each border, but the are now empty shells, empty of officials, just the money changers remain, and they will slowly disappear as the Euro spreads. We are travelling the northern route, the main road between Berlin and Warsaw, but it is slow going. The open border has allowed free trade between Germany and Poland and further into the Baltic countries, even as far as Finland, but the Polish government hasn't kept pace with this increased traffic with road construction. The old Soviet built, asphalt over a sand base roads have sagged under the loads and are well grooved, and with roadworks finally underway it was slow going for a lot of our 450 km's to Torun, made worse by the discovery that oil was now transferring at the rate of a litre every 300km's from the primary area to the engine areaAnother lovely city scape, Torun meaning we needed to drain excess oil each couple of hundred kilometers from the engine compartment, and buy new oil to refill the primary. Our other concern was the possible damage to the new engine with this transferred oil, with any impurities that may be coming from the primary area.

10/7/10 We felt we had no choice but to open up the primary area this morning, in the hotel carpark, to try to isolate the likely cause of the oil transfer. It was a new hotel, one of the B&B Hotel chains, had only been open for a week but they were happy for us to work on the motorcycle in their carpark. Lying the motorcycle on its right hand side we opened the primary area and removed the clutch, primary chain and sprocket, something we have done many times previously. Behind the sprocket is the rotor, then the stator, then the oil seal we wanted to investigate. We discovered the magnetic rotor had been wearing, rubbing on the new engine's casings. It had worn at the stator lead attaching screws, and had smashed one of the rotor's magnets longitudinally, leaving magnetic powder and fragments through the rotor area. We also noticed there was no spacer washer on the inside of the rotor, the one that keeps the Smashed rotor magnet from hitting case and screwsrotor away from the engine casing, presumably forgotten when the new engine was fitted? A Skype phone call to Thames Valley H-D, and an email with photos of the damage, and they would arrange a new rotor to be sent, but it would likely be almost a week before they had one and could get it to us. Not wishing to stay at the hotel in Torun for a week we replaced the oil seal and spacer with spare parts we carry, and glued the broken rotor magnet back together, finally putting the motorcycle back together late afternoon.

11/7/10 We checked into the hotel for another day as we hadn't yet had time to look around Torun. It is a lovely city of enormous red brick buildings. Its old city centre, like many in today's Europe, has been pedestrianised, giving that quiet old worldly appeal of life before the motorcar, and yet just a few hundred metres away there is the bustle of modernity. There are the church squares, now sprouting summer outdoor restaurants and bars, the buskers providing ambiance, and children playing in the streets. Of course there are the few street dwellers, disheveled and drunk, like in most cities, but Torun, even though it attractsStorks nesting on farm chimney some tourists, is not on the major hit list, and keeps a lovely appeal.

12/7/10 A shorter days riding, just 300 km's to Przykop, a tiny village near Gizycko, where we had selected a farm stay for the night on a horse stud with a magnificent old stable, now a restaurant/bar, and a lovely welcoming family. We are finding the people of Poland very helpful and welcoming, friendly. Again the traffic on the semi-major roads was heavy, trucks, farm tractors, filling the overcrowded. Once onto smaller, really smaller roads, tree lined, the riding was great, although bouncy, alongside lakes, a feature of this part of Poland. Storks, we have been seeing all over Eastern Europe, now with large chicks standing in stick nests, dot electricity poles and house chimneys, or fill the mown fields looking for frogs. The only disappointment for the day was oil was still flowing from the primary to the engine compartment. We didn't have the correct tool to insert the oil seal and it was still leaking, no where near as much as before, but still significant.

13/7/10 A Skype callOld Polish stables at the farmhouse to Thames Valley H-D and the new rotor could be at the Helsinki Finland H-D dealer by the end of the week, but the labour expense to have it fitted had not been approved, that would be for us to pay. It is always a difficult issue of what to include in this diary and what to leave out. We try not to be influenced in this regard by anyone who supports us on the trip, as to do so would mean they, through their support, could create a biased opinion in our writing, which could result in a misleading account. Already in the mass media too much is dictated by advertisers and vested interests, which, whether they are government or industry, give a clouded picture to honesty. We try to give an accurate account of what we consider to be what is effecting us as we travel, both good and bad. Thames Valley H-D have been incredibly supportive in our travels. They stored our motorcycle during our last trip back to Australia, they allowed us to work on the motorcycle in their workshop, they have stored our old engine while we waited for the new engine, and looked after the new engine's installation, so it is an unfortunate situation that has now arisen regarding the missing spacer and subsequent damage. Meanwhile, thinking that the oil leak might be around the outside of the seal, or through loose fitting parts in the primary area we went to town, purchased some glues and again opened up the primary area. The seal hadn't moved, and the glued rotor magnet was holding. We ensured all components were tight fitting, trying to eliminate any alternative other than oil leaking through the seal, either from a problem with the seal installation or the sprocket shaft spacer it runs on. 

14/7/10 In occasional light drizzle, the first in almost three weeks of great summer weather, we headed for the Lithuanian border this morning.

Move with us to Lithuania or go to our next visit to Poland




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