This page is in reverse order, so to read it from the beginning start at the bottom.
14 AugustI managed to leave Amsterdam and make the way back to Frankfurt to catch the plane back to the United States. Could have done with another couple of weeks to see more of Europe. The motorcycle was even on the same plane going home.
9 AugustTrying to find somewhere to wash the bike was a major challenge. Took until 3pm to locate such a suitable location. In Germany you can only wash vehicles at designated locations so the waste water does not pollute the environment. The problem is all the easy to find places only do cars. It took some four hours to get the bike looking clean again, it was incredibly dirty.
The next task was to drop the bike off at Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt for the trip home. This was actually very straight forward, since I had an Air Bill Number. So the bike is now waiting to catch the plane home on the 14 August. It has been very well behaved and performed exceptionally well considering the distance traveled. The final total is 12,420 miles so just a little short of 20,000kms for the metric folk. The only thing changed as said before were the tires, so I really do not want to know what the oil looks likes when it gets changed. The brake pads front and rear are worn out, and the left hand mirror that got snapped off needs to be replaced. Otherwise it is still running strong.
Since I still have three days of this vacation to go, took the 3am train to Amsterdam and will relax. After that back to work :-(
8 AugustWas hoping the ride today was going to be easy, and relatively trouble free ride to Heidelberg. Thirty minutes into the ride, ran into the mother of all traffic jams, on the A7. Three lanes into two lanes into one lane, looked like a truck or something caught fire and burnt the surface off the road, because they had workman replacing two lanes of the highway. The traffic was backed up for 10 kilometres, and it took 90 minutes to get through. The rest of the day was trouble free, just a 900kms today. Tomorrow the bike gets a wash.
7 AugustThe Sunburn did happen, fall asleep on the beach for five hour and you find out all the places you missed to put sunburn cream upon. The ride today was to start riding back to Frankfurt. Unfortunatley most of the route was the same route as the one down to Almeria. Finished the day in Orange, France, a ride of 1400kms.
4 AugustHeaded south into Spain. The original concept was to ride to Fargo, Portugal and take a few days traditional vacation. After riding 1200kms (750 miles) decided riding another 600kms was just not going to happen, so stopped in Almeria, Spain. Found a nice Hotel on the beach and will spend the next few days getting sun burnt. After that will start heading back to Frankfurt. Want to drop the bike off at the airport on Friday morning and then take a train trip. Southern Spain has a lot in common scenery wise with Arizona and Southern California, explains why the Spanish colonized them so long ago.
On the bike front, it is going well, considering it has now clocked up 10,900 miles (17440kms). The only things that has been done to it so far is too change the tires and lube the chain. Just need it hang together for another 1500-2000 miles before it gets home and a much-needed service. The bike has to be spotless to go back to the USA to get passed Customs, this means sometime next week a day will need to spent cleaning the bike, because at present it is filthy. Not looking forward to this task.
2 AugustRiding in European cities at peak hour is not for the faint hearted. Rode through Marsilles at peak hour and was wondering if one would escape. Going to take tomorrow off, feeling really tired. So a break from riding should be good for the bike and myself. Stopped in Montpellier, rode through the vineyards of the Rhone at sunset which was magnificent.
1 AugustRode from Imola down the east coast of Italy to Pescara then across to Rome. People have always told me that Italians are crazy drivers. Before arriving in Rome I was discounting this, since they were not that bad. Rome however is a totally different story, you make up the road rules as you go along. Arrived in Rome at 4pm and came to the conclusion it is not the town to try to explore on a motorcycle at rush hour. After 3 hours managed to get through Rome, and headed north up the west coast of Italy.
31 JulyArrived in Venice around lunch time, and spent 7 hours walking around and catching ferries. It is a extremely nice place, except it is full of tourists, so I decided to make my retreat for parts south.
30 JulySaid fairwell to Renae and Anja after breakfast with them. It was still overcast in Luzern. Headed down to Locarno on Renae's recommendation. It was a short ride, and arrived around 3pm. The weather in Locarno was blue skies and the temperature was in the low 30s. It was a good change from the rain in Luzern. Walked around the lake and just sat watching the birds fly around.
26 July to 29 JulyHoliday Interlude. The US Government decided to schedule my finger printing for my green card during my holiday. Considering it has taken two years to get to this point, re-scheduling it is out of the question. Why fly on the 26 July? No way am I going to miss this appointment.
25 JulyCatch up on my email, and meet up with Renae. I'm leaving the bike at Renae's while I go back to the USA for a couple of days.
24 JulyA long fast ride back down to Zurich from Wien.
23 JulyHad Lunch and Dinner with Gunter and his wife. Before this did some more sight seeing of Wien.
22 JulyFinally arrived in Wien. Took the direct route this time, instead of going via Italy. It was much more boring than going via the Alps. Wien is a beautiful city. It must have been on the trade routes, it the only explanation I can come up with to describe the lavishness of the buildings. The former rulers spent a lot of money on building their palaces and churches.
21 JulyFrank and Thorsten told me to head south and they were absolutely correct. The weather further south was fine and warm. Did plan on riding to Wien (Vienna) but took a wrong turn somewhere and ended riding up and down the Swiss/Italian Alps all day. his is fine by me because the roads and scenerey were absolutely spectacular. Visited Lugano, and Paradiso, and it is a magnifient area. The temperature there was 35C, and the houses were built out over the water,a nd the raods neally narrow. Riding in Italy needs a high degree of agressiveness otherwise you do not get anywhere.
20 JulyOne would think following the Rhien River would be easy. Guess again, large towns get int way and you end up miles away from the river. I can now say I have been to France, although only for 100 miles along the Rhin. The French call the Rhien the Rhin, the Germans the Rhien, and the English Rhine. Finished up in Luzern Switzerland, which is where I need to be next Tuesday night. It is a beautiful town.
19 JulyRain. It rained for a lot of the day. The ride was following the course of the Rhien River up towards the source. Saw a lot of real castles on the top of the Valleys and miles upon miles of vineyards. HAd to sample some of the local wine with dinner. Getting through Frankfurt proved to be a challenge, every road I took went in the opposite direction that I wanted to go.
18 JulyFrank and Thorsten helped me find tires for the bike. You would not believe that this simple exercise can be so complicated. I have learnt one thing about Germany, everything is forbidden unless explicity allowed. The bike now has new tires, which it desperately needed. The previous tires after 6500 miles, 10,000kms were completely worn out. Went riding with Thorsten and then had dinner with him and Frank. Also looked at my email for the first time in 10 days, argh over 2500 emails. This must be longest in 7 years I have gone without email, is there hope for me, I think not.
17 JulyThe GPS bread crumbs tell the tale today. Talk about going around in circles trying to find the Cisco Office in Dussledorf. Then again I arrived too late in the day, and a huge circus was on the foreshore of the Rhien near the Cisco Office. Every street I wanted to go down was blocked off.
16 July"Adapt, Improvise, Overcome" Caught the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm on the 15 July. The ferry leaves at 6pm, and arrives in Stockholm at 9am. I ran into a couple of Australians and had few beers. Was planning on spending the day and night in Stockholm. I changed my mind after being there 2 hours. It was pouring with rain, so decided to travel south to warmer and hopefully finer conditions. Rain was every where until 200 miles of Copenhagen. Rode through to Kolding, so that tomorrow it is a short ride to Armen, to start a ride to source of the Rhine. The hotel I'm staying at in Kolding is a restored country manor house of some rich or minor royal. It is absolutely amazing, and overlooks a lake, it is extremely picturesque.
Norway: North Cape, the northernest most point of Europe.
15 JulySpent most of the early part of this day riding. Then slept for a while, the rest was working out and waiting for the ferry to Stockholm.
14 JulyThe longest riding day so far on the trip, 1400 kilometers. Rode from Alta, Norway to Helsinki, Finland. Departed Alta around 10:30am and arrived in Helsinki at 4am. The weather was great until 200 kilometers from Helsinki where it started raining heavily. Grabbed a Hotel room and got a few hours sleep, then went and booked a ticket on the Ferry to Stockholm at 18:00. A Swede told me Finland was boring compared to Norway, it is all "just lakes and trees". What he left out were bugs as well. The roads were straight compared to Norway so could average a lot better time that Norway. If I ever come back to Europe again to ride, the Fjords of southern and middle Norway is where I will spend my time. The roads of northern Norway were not as spectacular as the south, they were fairly straight and boring like Finland.
13 JulyThis was not exactly a short day. Rode to North Cape, and then to Hammerfest. had to dodge a lot of different animals on the road: sheep, goats, and reindeer. Thankfully I did not see any moose, and see if the bike passes the "Moose Test". The riding was spectacular, but I prefer the southern fjords to this part of the Norway. The roads in the south are much more exciting.
12 JulySpent the day walking around Tromso and drinking beer. More photos.
Norway: Been to Hell and past it
11 JulyTook the ferry from Bodo to Moskenes that took 4 hours. The ferry trip was very picturesque. Finally arrived in Moskenes at 4pm so then it was time to head to Tromso. Arrived in Tromso at 12:30am. The ride was magnificent, the downside was the cold and rain. Have really arrived in the land of the midnight sun, because there was no sunrise or sunset, just daylight all the time.
9/10 JulyHad to leave paradise and head for Trondeim on the 9th July. It was a pretty boring ride by Norwegian standards, spectacular for any where else in the world. July 10th was not that exciting just a 10 hour ride up to Boda (Don't have the Norwegian Character for the name, the last o is like an a). Now I'm above the Artic Circle for the first time in my life on dry land.
7/8 JulyWent to Hege's mother cottage in the mountains, with Kjetil, Bjorn, and Hege. This really is the middle of nowhere. Not even electricity. The location is magnificent. Just look at the photos.
Some PhotosBerlin: this street does not look like it has changed in 100s of years
Denmark: the bridge joining the islands in Denmark. Makes the Golden Gate seem tiny.
Copenhagen: Would not like the job polishing this
Norway: Norwegian roads are very narrow
Norway: It is a long way back down again. Only me and the sheep up here.
Norway: Kjetal, Bjorn and Hege at the Cottage
Norway: Norwegian Interstate NOT
Norway: Great parking spot
Norway: Just the Cottage
6 JulySaw the strangest thing in downtown Oslo, a GoldWing with California plates. I am not alone.
I have not read email in four days. I'm going to have to go to Betty Ford clinic if I do not get an email fix soon. The bike is starting to look very ugly, it is covered in dust and little bits of road surface from riding through road works. In two minds whether to clean it or just leave it, if the past two days are any indication of the roads then I might as well not bother. I should finish writing that white paper; Nah, I am on holidays.
5 JulySpent the day riding around the fjords and across the top of mountains. Took several roads that must classify as the back roads for Norway since there was not much traffic. Was a shorter day on the bike, only 12 hours. I need to replace the seat on my bike when I get back to the USA, or replace my butt for one with more padding. The sceanary is unbelievable pictures do not do justice to riding expierence. Riding up and down switch backs, passing trunks and buses. Oncoming traffic being within inches of you when passing. The roads are narrow enough that you get to witness the spectacle of two buses going in opposie directions having to reverse up, to get around each other. Quite a spectacle.
4 JulyAnother long day, did not stop until 11:30pm at Bergen. Now know a reason to move to Norway, the roads in fjords are amazing to ride. They make skyline look like a straight line. Would only be for the summer months because in winter these roads must be covered in snow and ice. The only problem is a lot of the roads are 1 1/2 lanes wide that makes it very interesting with oncoming traffic. Took a couple of the side roads, and these are better described as goat tracks. They are one lane wide if you're lucky, and the penalty for missing a corner would be death. The bike gained another battle scar today, dropped it while getting of a ferry. Something bad had to happen since I was riding on Highway 13 for most of the day.
3 JulyLong day in the saddle rode from Copenhagen to somewhere after Kristiansand. Had to go back to US way of finding hotel rooms, if the one you try is full, then ride down the road and try again. The speed limits in Norway are very slow (90Kmph). The smog in Oslo was atrocious, then again it could be because I was behind a lot of diesel vehicles.
2 JulyOnly Traveled a short distance today from Hamburg to Copenhagen. Spent the majority of the afternoon walking around downtown. The big event in Copenhagen this week was the opening of the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo. Will get to travel across the bridge tomorrow on my way to Goteburg. The bridge between the Nyborg and Korsor is incredible, the size of the bridge in amazing. This was really the highlight of the ride today. Current thinking is to travel around the fjords of southern Norway for the week. (Yes I have photos, but not enough bandwidth access at present)
1 JulyThe day started of overcast and drizzly. Had trouble sleeping so decided to head over to the airport at 6am. Everything went smoothly today, and left the Lufthansa Import area at 7:10am. Managed to work out that "Super Plus 98" is equivalent to Unleaded 92 grade US gasoline, so now the tank was full.
Headed out onto the Autobahn destined for Berlin, via Dresden. The Autobahn is an experience, where else can you be doing 160Kmph and still be getting passed regularly. Spent most of my time sitting at 160Kmph (100mph). The bike with the entire luggage does not feel over great at 200Kmph (125mph). Settled down down for the ride into Berlin, via Dresden. I was passing enough cars, but you learn he fast lane is only for passing and going very fast.
There were stark reminders of former divide between East and West Germany. The most notable was the ugliness of the construction if buildings in the former East Germany. It also was very much like the United States in a lot of respects, McDonalds at the off ramps with Gas stations, and road works. It was very much like traveling across the USA in that manner, except no speed limit and the signs are in German.
After riding Berlin for 4 hours decided not to stop there but rather head up to Hamburg. After a few more kilometers finished up traveling some 1000Kms in the day. Yes it is rather short by my normal standards, but it was the first 1000Kms for the bike and me in Germany.
It is not exactly simple at times when you do not speak the language. People say things to me and I just stare blankly back. I'm really good now at saying that "Nein Sprechen Deusche". Sign language gets you a long way, then again it has at present.
30 June"The best laid plans of mice and men" ... No bike today. Went to the Lufthansa Cargo to pick up the bike, and was told that it will not show up until 12:30 midnight. The plane it was on had mechanical difficulties. "Mechanical difficulties" appears to be standard excuse from airlines exactly like "line came clear with test" from the Telco's. Not much to do except to go back and walk around Frankfurt.
Starting to get the feeling that there is a conspiracy against me.
28/29th JuneArrival into Frankfurt was on time. Economy was jammed pack as per normal. Checked into the hotel, and then walked around Frankfurt for several hours. The weather was slightly overcast, and the temperature pleasant. Looking forward to picking up the bike tomorrow.
Shipping the bikeThe bike got dropped off on the 26th to be shipped on Frankfurt at SFO. Customs needs at most 72 hours to allow them to inspect the bike before shipping. So the bike is scheduled to fly out on Thursday. So much for the bike being on same flight as me, and picking it up when I arrive. The bike is scheduled to fly out on same flight number but the following day.
Photo GalleryPhoto Gallery Part 1
Photo Gallery Part 2
Photo Gallery Part 3
Photo Gallery Part 4
Photo Gallery Part 5
Photo Gallery Part 6