The Sahara and Us Morocco 2011

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

So what’s next – a Re-invention?

41st Anniversary picture in Oberursel

Well after a beautiful day in Heidelberg and a visit to our friend and bike shipping contact Stefan, we changed oil on the Strom, took mileage readings and then headed back to Frankfurt where we met up with Heiko
Heiko, a true friend indeed!
for our anniversary supper. It was a beautiful evening in Oberursel and we ate out at Zum Schwanen, a pub that Sandra and I had discovered back in 2011.

Back when we began to plan our ‘retirement trip’ which became the 2011, 5 month 22,500 km 16 country 3 continent extravaganza, we had quickly realized that we really enjoyed the opportunity to travel this way and see all the places we wanted to see.  It became and always will be our “Trip of a Lifetime”.

We have now completed 5 motorcycle trips to Europe, spent cumulatively a year on the continent, visited 24 countries, and saw in excess of 180 World Heritage Sites and traveled approximately 60000 kms. by motorcycle. We even learned that we've stumbled across some of the best beaches in the world, not a target we had set for ourselves.

Ending where it began
We found on this trip that while we will never see it all, that we have now seen the best of the best and that with other regions of the world out there it’s time to re-invent our next travel plans. For sure we’ll be back in Europe, and have the friends we made here welcome in our home in Canada, but with we will now focus on eastern Asia.

And when I returned to Heidelberg today to turn over care of our beloved Strom to Stefan for it’s journey back home I met up with a BMW Motorrad group from Malaysia, coincidence?

I was introduced to “1$ ” the expedition leader of 24 bikes and over 40 travelers who attended  the recent 2013 BMW Motorrad gathering in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. As you can see the fleet was being readied to be shipped back to KL on Friday. It's too bad they didn't have 1 more pallet!
The group from KL

He invited us to look him up when we travel later this year and he’d work at arranging a ride with us.

Nice coincidence! and so the adventure continues.......

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Splugen Pass - a day in 5 Countries

Moto Guzzi Factory and Museum
As everyone knows when we plan our trips we look to connect great riding roads to great destinations. The past two days have been just so.

We left Levanto early. It was hot already, about 28C at 08:00 hrs, but as we got into the mountains behind the coolness was evident for a bit. We took the autostrada to Genoa where we got held up for close to 30 mins in a series of traffic jambs. Nothing like being in a tunnel and not moving, but we finally weaved our way through the cars/trucks and headed off toward Milan, finally getting out of traffic there and into Mandello de Lario, on Lake Como, and
one of the exhibit halls
 the home of the Moto Guzzi factory and museum, where we waited until 3 pm for the opening of the museum. The exhibits were good, but it’s a shame that the new company that opens them, Piaggio hasn’t spent a restoration dime there. Hey guys, how do you expect to re-build the brand?
A racing 3 cylinder

Finally our Day 1 destination of Chiavenna was achieved and our great B&B was ready for us.

Breakfast served in our suite

After an enormous breakfast this morning we ventured out early again into the bright sunny skies. We have been so lucky throughout our trips that many people have to return to the Swiss Alps for the riding routes 2-3 times before finding a sunny day, us, we just arrive and it becomes sunny. It was 32C in the Alps at sunset last night and did cool down, but still very comfortable.

Our destination ride today was Splugen Pass, voted Best Motorcycling road in the World until the Transfargaresen in Romania unseated it. (See that blog entry back in August 2011). Now we mounted the helmet cam today, and while this is not our video on Youtube it is representative of what we experienced.  Splugen pass youtube  
A view over a village on the way up

It is a difficult and technical ride for sure, especially when you meet oncoming buses while on the mainly one lane road and cascading switchbacks, tons of tunnels blah blah blah.
If Splugen wasn’t enough we made our way through the backroads of Switzerland to Chur and  happened upon a canyon that was obviously a connector to Splugen. It was one of the most dramatic canyons we’ve been in and I hope the photos do it justice. Again, we have lots of video shot here as well.
Bikers Paradise
Cascading Hairpins
Artsy shot on Splugen,        have you ever seen my bike? lol
The required snow shot at the top
Traffic at Canyon
Canyon Whole look near boulder for Cave and people
Here with the help of a telephoto lens

Finally we made our way through a total of 5 countries today, we started in Italy, entered Switzerland, then Liechtenstein, for the castle at Vaduz, Austria for a brief period around Bregenz, then Germany where we are now just off the Bodensee at a Gasthoff Zum Hirschen.