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Topic: Alps 2011: 4 Riders, 3 Countries, 2 Factories, 1 MotoGP Race  (Read 64629 times)

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« Reply #40 on: July 29, 2011, 10:07:30 am »


Nein, nein, nein!  Sagt man ,,Herzliches Glückwünsch zum Geburtstag''!   Bigsmile


Aber am nächsten Tag fuhren wir nach Sud Tyrol und dann Italien.    Cool
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« Reply #41 on: July 29, 2011, 12:00:34 pm »


b] PS Happy Birthday!!![/b]

 Beerchug Banana Chili


Happy (belated) Birthday!
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« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2011, 04:58:51 pm »

Love the report, Ken!
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« Reply #43 on: July 29, 2011, 06:11:52 pm »



That's not Sean Connery, it's Jim, the Explorer. He gets around you know.  Lol

Fantastic stuff!  Thumbsup
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« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2011, 08:47:51 pm »

:popcorn:
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« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2011, 09:17:38 pm »


:popcorn:


I'm back in town, updates coming tomorrow  Thumbsup
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I see what you did there.




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« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2011, 01:48:45 am »

:popcorn:
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« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2011, 06:57:06 am »

[jealous]


Beautiful ride Ken. Thanks for taking the time to share. Can't wait for the rest of the report!  Bigok
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« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2011, 07:02:53 am »

It's nice to live in a place where other people vacation  Bigsmile

BTW for you history buffs, here in front of the Feldherrnhalle in 1923 is where Hitler's attempted Beer Hall Putsch came to head and police and nazis exchanged fire. About 16 Hitler supporters were killed and Hitler fled injured, although he was captured several days later.


This view probably hasn't changed much in the last couple hundred years



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« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2011, 07:31:22 am »


It's nice to live in a place where other people vacation  Bigsmile

BTW for you history buffs, here in front of the Feldherrnhalle in 1923 is where Hitler's attempted Beer Hall Putsch came to head and police and nazis exchanged fire. About 16 Hitler supporters were killed and Hitler fled injured, although he was captured several days later.



Interesting - thanks, Ralf. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Hall_Putsch


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« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2011, 04:11:23 pm »

So let me see if I got this straight.

Hitler fled like a coward, got put on trial for treason, and became a national hero as a result of all the free publicity.

That's politics for ya.  Interesting, and we were drinking beers right across the street from where that happened.



Dear Mods, please don't move this thread to Politics Only.  No more outbursts, I promise.
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« Reply #51 on: August 01, 2011, 10:08:08 pm »

06/18, Austria Loop

I had laid out a route of a little over 200 miles for the day that included some roads that were specifically mentioned in Hermann's book and some that just looked good on Google maps. I was also using this great set of maps as a source of good road choices. Since we managed to hit some good roads yesterday I was hopeful that today would uncover some gems. The weather wasn't looking great, but you have to take what you get sometimes. We all decided to taunt the weather gods and not don our rain gear.



Frank is raring to go



Departing the Hotel Almrausch


After getting gas just south of town our first new road of the day was 305 going west from Schneizlruth. What the road lacked in twists and turns it made up for in scenery. When it wasn't passing through quaint little towns it offered sweeping views of the countryside. It would qualify as a decent connector road to get to something interesting, but I was hoping for more. At Reit im Winkl we turned south on 176 towards St. Johann in Tirol, which turned out to be quite a busy and, quite frankly, ugly town. Truck traffic had increased substantially in this area, and my love for Austria was waning.

I had planned a 50km loop from St. Johann in Tirol west to Worgl, then east to Kitzbuhel and back up to SJiT, but just a few miles in decided to scrap that whole section. While 178 may look good on a map, it was just a busy commercial road that we shouldn't be wasting our time on. I don't know what 170 would have been like, but I'm guessing more of the same. We backtracked through SJiT and picked up 164 to Saalfelden which took us over Griessenpass. Or at least that's what the map said, the pass was certainly not memorable in any way.

We stopped for a quick break (eat, drink, bathroom, warmer gear) near Saalfelden, and then had to stop a few miles later to put on rain gear as the gloomy day with on and off fizzing finally turned to proper rain. We continued on 164 over the Dientner Sattel, which at 1357 meters was our first real fun road of the day - which unfortunately wasn't saying much. Our enjoyment was kept in check by the steady rain and the car traffic. By this time we'd been on the road for nearly 4 hours and really hadn't come across really fun roads.




Lunch (well, pretzel anyway) stop



I was born in the Bronx. Austria is not the Bronx.



My bathroom had a nice view



And the rain gear goes on, making the day even better


We split off 164 onto 166 on the other side of Huttau, and at least shed some of the traffic. There were a couple roads in this area that I had high hopes for - one was Pass Gschutt, which sported a 17% incline, and the other was a road through Postalm. The Postalm was a toll road, and highlighted in Hermann's book.

Pass Gschutt didn't take us where we needed to go so we just did a run over it to Gosau and headed back. The very beginning of the road was quite fun with several hairpins, steep hills and some tight turns, but it quickly petered out into another "just kinda curvy" road. In the town of Gosau there was some kind of big community event going on, with many folks in traditional dress and people setting off fireworks. I'm thinking it was a wedding, but I'm not ruling out a funeral either. Whatever it was, it slowed down our return to the pass while all the partygoers drove from the fireworks site to a reception hall. We did a photo stop at the start of the good section of the pass, and several of the guys made runs up and back for the camera. Unfortunately the gloomy weather did not conspire to make for interesting photos.



Pretty scenery, but the road was just so-so



Frank's enjoying it



Waiting on the revelers



Crappy photo of Dave on Pass Gschutt



And a crappy photo of Frank on the same pass



The front of the TDM is certainly...interesting


We made it back to 162 and turned north to get to the Postalm road. We had some confusion finding the start of it, with the Zumo saying one thing and the road signs saying another. We stuck to the road signs and found ourselves heading higher and higher as the road got narrower and narrower. Within a couple kilometers we were on a glorified goat path with no other traffic in sight. We left behind a couple isolated farmhouses at the start of the road and then were "in the wild". Even with the subpar weather and its attendant visibility issues there were some terrific views deep into the valley below.



The veiew from the start of the Postalm road



Dave's quite pleased



Not to bad on the straight section, but when this bus just missed my parked bike on the hairpin I held my breath


After another few kilometers we came to a toll booth, and had to pay 4 euro each to continue. Given how "blah" the roads had been so far I was happy to fork over some cash for what promised to be a good road. Took the four of us a while to deal with cash, gloves, toll gate, etc. Once we were all on the other side of the gate, I started a routine that would serve us well for the rest of the trip: I told everyone to go "ride their own ride" and "wait for everyone at the top". I was glad we could stay together on the transit sections, but I wanted everyone to do the fun roads at their own pace.



Fortunately the BMW driver was patient





"Who's unimpressed with Austria so far?"


The Postalm was certainly the highlight of the day, and I bet it would be even better on a dry day. We pretty much had the road to ourselves which was an added bonus. A shorter ride than I had hoped led us to the broad open summit where we all met up again. Fortunately the road had much to offer past this point, and it began twisting and turning it's way down the eastern side.



I had to wait a minute for these guys to get off the road



The top of the pass



Dave's day was going to get worse before it got better



More cows at the top



The eastern descent of the Postalm wound its way through a narrow canyon. Dave's in the distance there.


It was at the photo stop above where we ran into a problem. When I packed up the camera and rode up to Dave, he motioned for me to stop. Turns out when he stopped to take in the view he noticed a great deal of steam/smoke coming from his bike, and a pool of liquid forming beneath it. Unfortunately none of us are really mechanically inclined, so we set our heads to scratching.



The investigation begins


Was it the radiator? Didn't look or smell like coolant, but what if the bike shop used water instead of coolant? Brake fluid? Some sort of overflow reservoir? We poked around a bit, and it didn't look like anything was actively leaking when the bike was started. I slotted in behind Dave and we rode for a short while to see what would happen. Not much, it turned out, until we stopped again. Dave stopped the bike, got off, and billows of steam starting coming from the radiator area. The bike wasn't riding strangely, there was no temperature gauge to check, the coolant level wasn't dropping so far as we could tell, and we were really not in a good place to do anything to the bike. We decided to ride the few kilometers to the Agip station the Zumo promised us was ahead.

The rain started coming down in buckets as we neared the gas station, and it was a relief to be under a roof for a bit while we figured out what was going on. With the aid of a very helpful local who lent us his phone (because none of us could figure out how to correctly dial a German number, the + sign was the culprit) we gave the dealer a call, and the best Herman could do was send a truck around on Monday. This being Saturday, that did not fill us with happiness. Worse yet, tomorrow was to be the ride over Grosglockner into Italy, and a bike with issues on a Sunday could be big trouble.

To make a long story short, it was rain water. Like I said, none of us are mechanics. When Dave rode the bike, splashed up rain water would collect on some fairing inner or some other hideyhole, and when he put the bike on the sidestand it would dump out over the radiator producing copious amounts of steam. Buncha geniuses we are.





A very helpful stranger


Once we had that sorted, we just needed to get back to the hotel. My route had included some more exploring east of Salzburg, but the rain hadn't relented and we were mentally beat from mucking with the bike and playing out various "what if" scenarios. A more or less direct course to Bad Reichenhall was plotted (avoiding the Autobahn though) and we pulled out into the deluge. We had some more GPS-induced problems on the way back, culminating in ending up in a back alley of a back alley in Bad Reichenhall. While Frank punched more buttons to find the correct route out, I took off up a tiny leaf-strewn path that looked promising. Fortunately it did end up at the main road so I didn't need to try to turn around or head back down the slippery path.

We parked the bikes, got changed, and headed into town for dinner. Some of us managed to score umbrellas from the hotel, others just used their raingear to stay dry. We ended up at the closest restaurant to the hotel, La Dolce Vita. While it had been a mostly disappointing day for me, with the exception of the Postalm road, this dinner helped end the day on a high note. Meals were excellent all around, beers were large and cold, and desserts were fantastic.



Yum




Route for today
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« Reply #52 on: August 01, 2011, 10:09:05 pm »

Next up is Grosglockner, the Dolomites, and sunshine  Smile
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« Reply #53 on: August 02, 2011, 12:10:10 pm »


06/17, Austria Loop



Not to bad on the straight section, but when this bus just missed my parked bike on the hairpin I held my breath


I think i was lucky to still be breathin'.  As I recall, the mirror on that thing missed my head by inches, or at least it looked that way from inside my helmet.  I was facing downhill and didn't see him coming.  Can only imagine how it would have turned out if I had decided to move before looking.  This was my first encounter with a alpine tour bus and I re-learned an important lesson.  Anything with more wheels than you always has the right of way!

PS  Your crappy photos look pretty damn good to me.  Keep on clickin'
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« Reply #54 on: August 02, 2011, 07:32:32 pm »

06/19 - Part 1, Up the Grosglockner

I can't tell you how jazzed I was about today - after 2 long years I would once again be riding in the Dolomites, a place I consider heaven on earth for motorcyclists. We'd be staying for the next several days at the Hotel Mesdi, one of the high points of the last trip. Adding to my excitement was the prospect of introducing 3 friends to this area and acting as tour guide. To top it all off, we'd be leaving Austria by the best way possible, riding over the Grosglockner.

Once again the weather looked uncooperative in the morning, so we had a quick discussion about changing our plans. Perhaps we shouldn't bother with the Grosglockner in the rain and fog? That alternative was quickly dismissed and we donned our rain gear after a hearty breakfast and headed south.



I wasn't sure about sharing my shower with "Tricky Ricky"



My room at the Hotel Almrausch



Funky sliding glass door to the bathroom





Nice view from my room



Getting ready to roll


Frank had plotted today's course so he took point as we rode down 311 past Saalfelden and Zell am See to the town of Bruck where we gassed up. I made one quick photo stop to get a shot of the Austria sign but couldn't swing getting the Germany sign on the other side of the road. Most of the ride was pretty uneventful, but pleasant enough. That may be how I would sum up riding in Austria on this trip - "pleasant enough". There had been a few really fun stretches of pavement, but there was also an awful lot of dull connectors to get to them. Don't get me wrong, riding in Austria kicks ass compared to riding near my home in southern New Jersey, but knowing some of the other areas we could have been in it didn't impress. As I described earlier, I had basically swapped out riding the passes near Andermatt, Switzerland for riding this area of Austria, and in hindsight I'm not sure I made the right choice. It was good to see a new area, but nothing we rode in Austria comes anywhere near the phenomenal confluence of Furka, Grimsel, Nufen and St. Gotthard passes from the 2009 trip. I would have hated to miss Munich though, that's a town I really fell in love with.



The big day begins



Dave



Dave waiting on me to finish taking pictures (as usual)



The scenery is definitely getting more interesting



Not sure about the ergonomics on that thing



So, how do you get to the other side of that?



A welcome sign of things to come



Frank heads off to the start of the Grosglockner. You can see a sign for it on the far left. No idea what those other 2 round signs were (or used to be).



OK, that's very pretty



The TDM900


It took us just over 2 hours to reach the toll plaza for Grosglockner. The tarrif was pretty stiff at 19 euro (about $26.50 US at the time), but the reputation of the road seemed to warrant it for us. For your duckets you got a brochure, a sticker, a receipt, and most importantly, a "magic coin" to open the tollgate. Temperatures were dropping and rain was falling so I had my heated gear connected and cranked up. I took up post at the toll machine to help get everyone through (no sense eeryone fumbling with coins and gloves) and get some photos, and in a few minutes we were ascending the famed Grosglockner High Alpine Road.

Not that we could immediately tell what the big fuss was all about. As we started bending through the initial hairpins the fog got thicker and thicker until you could just barely see the road in front of you. We had again started the "meet at the top" riding model, but nobody was attacking the road so we were in loose formation for most of the beginning. After a photo stop at an all-too-brief clearing in the fog (where a group of dozens of classic Alfa Romeos were heading the opposite way from us) we continued the ride up into the white mist. By this time the rain had started mixing with something more solid, and the fog had gotten even denser. I know I was happy to have another bike in front of me so I could see his taillight. There were some sections in the beginning where I don't think we did much more than 15 or 20mph for miles at a time. I can honestly say the ride up Grosglockner was enjoyable only looking back on it (what's the saying? Adventure is adversity recounted at leisure). At the time it was a pretty miserable slog up a cold, wet road with zero visibility. I had to laugh as it got colder, wetter and foggier, but after a bit I just wanted to be done with it.



The $26.50 magic coin



Enter...if you dare!



Dave



Frank



Hey Mikey! I think he likes it!



Hairpins ahoy!



Up we go



Frank and Dave appear through the gloom



Frank



Dave



A brief break in the fog



As always in the Alps you share the road with cyclists


Surprisingly it got a little better as we neared the top. The fog was going in and out (and the in sections were just as bad as earlier), but the rain/snow/whatever had stopped. One of the features of the Grosglockner that we were looking forward to (or dreading, depending on who you were) was the ride up the cobblestone switchbacks to the Edelweisspitze, the highest point on the "High Alpine Road". Our hopes were quickly dashed (or fears averted) when we got to the entrance and saw the snowplows still clearing the road. Even if they weren't clearing the road, the wet/icy conditions on the cobblestones would be a recipe for disaster for sure. We warmed ourselves at the rifugio/gift shop, had some ice cream, warmed ourselves again, and took in the views during the brief breaks in the clouds.



I don't think we're going up that road anytime soon



Where we're headed next



"next on the catwalk is Peter, showing off the latest offering from Frogg Toggs, the hi-viz rainjacket..."



Plenty of other crazies out today



Road? What road?



Oh yes, much better now.



Dave's debating if a snowball to my face would get me to stop making him pose for pictures



Our warming refuge for a little while





The other side of the mountain





Here come the guys



Frank and Peter



Dave



I really liked Peter's Hi-Viz Frogg Toggs jacket



Maybe, like the tunnel in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" things will be magical on the other side



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« Reply #55 on: August 02, 2011, 07:34:37 pm »

I apologize for the time between updates  Embarassment
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« Reply #56 on: August 02, 2011, 07:38:26 pm »

Panorama of the "other side" of Grosglockner

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« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2011, 09:06:25 pm »

Damn...y'all were living the dream: AWESOME! Clap
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« Reply #58 on: August 02, 2011, 11:06:32 pm »

06/19 - Part 2, Down the Grosglockner

It was only after we passed through the tunnel that the weather started to improve. Seamingly with every additional mile the clouds got thinner, the air warmer, and it wasn't too long before a patch of blue sky miraculously appeared. Maybe we could salvage this day yet! Sure enough, 15 minutes later we were carving up hairpins on a beautiful summer day (albeit a chilly one) under a blue sky with puffy blue clouds. Suddenly all was right with the world and a new item was added to the "Top 10 Moments of the Trip" list. The Grosglockner instantly became one of our favorite roads. Vastly different than everything we had ridden on this trip so far, it was all suddenly perfect pavement, big mountain views, and fellow bikers sharing the moment.

The run down that side of the pass was over much too quickly. Actually, I thought it kept on going. I had left the guys behind to go get some more photos, and when I came to a traffic circle I went across to the other side to take the spur road up to the glacier. Not all of us were on the same page, and some confusion led to Peter exiting the circle onto the road that led to the exit of the pass. We waited roadside for a while, then sent search parties out when he didn't show up. Eventually he was found at the southern toll plaza, unfortunately on the other side of the tollgate. Lucky for him he had kept his receipt so he had no trouble getting back in. I had really enjoyed my fast run down the pass to the toll plaza, to which I had added some sort of artificial sense of urgency to find Peter. For the run back I think I pretended I needed to get the word back to Dave quickly so I enjoyed another very spirited run to the roundabout.

Since the weather was so perfect none of us wanted to leave Grosglockner. We all agreed that we should take the side trip to the glacier, even if it meant delaying out arrival in Arabba until near dinner time. This turned out to be a great decision, as the road up to the glacier was excellent, and the views absolutely outstanding. We hung out at the glacier for a bit, grabbed some snacks, and then enjoyed a perfect summer-day ride down to the toll plaza.



Could that actually be a tiny piece of blue sky?



While the road was nice and dry, the shoulders were dicey



What an amazing road



Peter enjoying a dry road for a change



The 22nd hairpin on Grosglockner



You can see more of the pass in the left



What a change from only an hour ago



Frank passing by



The Grosglockner High Alpine Road





My kind of traffic



I can't overemphasize how hot I think the Honda CB1300S is



What a great way to spend an afternoon



I think every other biker stopped at this turnout to enjoy the view



The road up to the glacier



Well, he is ATGATT and he's wearing Hi-Viz, so I guess he's kind of safe





The Pasterze Glacier is moving at the rate of 15 meters per year



That's a very big rock. Too bad we didn't have time to take the Glacier-bahn tram down to the bottom



Goofy group photo



That walkway was just hanging in space and I didn't like walking on it. Not one bit.



View on the ride back down from the glacier



Frank's got his head in the right place



Wow



Beautiful series of man-made waterfalls



It was fair to say we really enjoyed the Grosglockner



That's a really long gallery coming down from the glacier



The exit of the Grosglockner
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« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2011, 11:36:02 pm »

Oh. My. God. or rather Oh. Mein. Gott.  EEK!  Inlove
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