‘Come this way Sir, we need to ask you some further questions’ they said, and led me away to the local police station. I was kept under guard but allowed outside, asked lots of random questions, and given a £17 fine, before finally being returned to the border where my passport had been waiting for about an hour.
We had now finally arrived where we would spend most of our time on the rally - at the holy grail of off road riding - Romania. Romania with its lax rules and outstanding scenery has it all. That includes snow fields, grassy pasture, alpine meadows, clear rivers, logging tracks, fast gravel tracks, you name it… Romania has it in spades.
Spending four days touring around the north of the country took us to places that in all honesty you’d normally only see in movies. Let’s be clear about this, in some parts of the country there is still a healthy population of wolves and bears. Romania still has plenty of ‘wild’ places and one group of riders came face to face with a bear, which looked at them before ambling off. Not something you would usually encounter on the lanes of Hertfordshire.
Most days riding was around 250km and that would involve minimal tarmac, The off roading usually comprised of gravel forestry roads and cross county trails used by traditional herders who live in the mountains during the summer months. Sometimes these trails are well defined paths, other times they are just grassy meadows with a hint of a worn track where the animals have been herded on and off the mountain depending upon the season.
One thing everyone in the group quickly came to be aware of is the herders’ dogs. Most herders will have their own working dogs as well as three or so, ‘bear dogs’. These dogs are huge and supposed to be only interested in chasing bears away although they quite liked to chase the bikes and boy can they run fast….