“When was the last time you smoked weed?”
I thought this was a strange question coming from the 20-something border patrol officer with a gun on his belt as we were crossing into Croatia from Slovenia. He had seen our american passports and wheelbarrows of bicycles with all our things on it as if it were some mechanical drug mule trying to sell a few kilos in his country.
“Do you have anything to declare? Weapons, knives, guns, drugs?”
I have a bottle of multi vitamins, I said.
“What’s in the black bag up front?”
Phone for music, sidewalk chalk for notes, and a multi-tool to fix bike problems, I replied.
Seeing that we weren’t going to have the giant stash of drugs he was looking for and that our bags were just filled with camping equipment, bike parts and cheap food he lost interest.
Wait, so were good? We can go?
“Yea. Okay bye.”
A fist bump from Josh and continuing the superstitious tradition of following behind him across the border, we rolled our bikes into Croatia.
I eat when I’m hungry. I drink water when I’m thirsty. I sleep when I’m tired. Fortunatly I am able to listen to my favorite music as I ride my bike over some of the most beautiful roads one can imagine. The coast of Croatia is undeniably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The heat of the midday sun, at almost 95 degrees, melts the giant mountains of rocky grey into the cool clear blue water of the Adriatic sea below. The road in which we peddle our bikes slices along the sides of cliffs like a hot black knife. Cliffs that drop off 100 feet below to a beach covered in smooth grey stones that have been weathered over endless time. Occasionally that steaming hot black road has seemingly melted through the rocks and stone on which it was laid forming 30 ft canyons 3 ft from the road on either side. Those canyons giving just the right amount of shade to cool my sweaty over worked body before opening up to a vast seascape of incredible beauty. In the distance are floating brown mountains. I liked to imagine that no man has ever been there and no man ever would. The sights reminded me of the final scene from the goonies paired with neverland. We would sleep unseen and unheard on the sides of these cliffs under olive trees next to grape vines sipping wine from the bottle and watching the deep orange sun burn through the now misty blue mountainous hills on the islands to the west. Occasionally woken by the ringing bell around the sheeps neck as the weathered shepard holding his staff walks his sheep to graze. This country smells like the pig being smoked on a wood fire spit next to the road. It’s carcass spinning and sweating as the scent brings your head towards the air conditioned restaurant where the waitresses are required to have a perfect ass. Like the pig my skin is slowly cooked from the hot sun above, but as I sweat and burn the cool salty breeze from the crystal clear blue water cools my skin. I am an animal who’s only job is to ride a bike and be free. I am occasionally rewarded with a place such as the Croatian coastline where everyday seemed to give way to the next, becoming better and better.
As we crossed the border out of Croatia and into Montenegro, our border patrol officer handed us back our passports.
“You two are American and biking around the world? Respect!”
“No. Seriously, respect.”