Hi Gordon...pre booking was not possible but we are being served as we come...Hannes will try and get us all together 1 after 1...make sure we all meet at 12 exactly at the Mieders Bahn to th tobaggan ride...I have been in Portugal for some urgent paperwork this week so did 2 BBG in cage with a full and empty tailer.....am busy here tmrw till abt 17.00 will try and catch a bit of sleep then wonder off at 10-11 ish to ride to Mieders and see you all fit and awake while I take a nap in mm tobaggan!
Great ride so far, apart from the road works on the A8 in Germany, which made me detour of onto a side road after filling up at a petrol station.
I really did look like a narrow one-way road, much to the surprise of the white Audi driver who came around the bend to find me on the wrong side of the road. His reactions were quicker than mine and we passed each other with a cheery wave and a smile.
It got interesting again when I rode into the Ibis Styles hotel in Kaufbeuren Allgau. The entrance had one of those single arm barriers that lift as you drive up to it. Well it lifted OK then came down straight away as I moved forward, with the arm trapped between the wing mirror and the screen on my bike. It’s quite amazing how much those barriers can bend. The trouble was the bike was being pushed over as the arm was still trying to come down, and I couldn’t go forwards or backwards. But with a lot of horn tooting the receptionist came out and released me with lots of apologies and an offer of a free beer. Fortunately, there was no damage to the bike and the beer was cold
Today the ride was into my overnight stay in Nuziders with the plan to visit the fairy tale Castle that looks like it was built by Disney.
The trouble was it is a real tourist honey pot and I could not get up the road to where I had worked out I would get a good picture.
Never mind the scenery in Bavaria has been beautiful and Austria is awesome.
At the moment I am watching out of my hotel window, a Huey Helicopter climbing to the top of the mountain on the other side of the valley.
Then spiralling rapidly to the ground as if on a medi vac in Vietnam, interesting.
Saw a Huey lifting a felled tree from a hillside as I rode along earlier. (don't see a lot of that in Sussex)
On to Innsbruck tomorrow to meet the rest of the riders
So transferring pics from phone to computer I have to do via Betsy's phone as direct into mailbox is no way I can transfer....now let's see if I can get them here......I cannot find anywhere how to add them!!
The ride to Innsbruck was about as good as it gets with scenery, I was hitting the make a waypoint button on my satnav to mark the most beautiful
spots over and over again. It went a bit tits up when I got to the Longs & Lat position that a certain person said meet here. Now It wouldn’t be nice to
put that person’s name on here, but there was nothing there.
Being a veteran of a few rallies BBR,BBL & 1 Iceni my bonus locating skills helped.
First: Call in to a local petrol station and ask if they know where the toboggan run is. They didn’t even understand what I was saying??
Second: I load a page from the inter web thingy showing a picture of the toboggan run, still none the wiser.
Third: Buy a bottle of cold water and enjoy a cool refreshing drink, I didn’t even want to have a go at this anyway. But it would have been nice seeing the other idiots having a go.
Whilst drinking my bottle of water I notice a huge poster advertising the said toboggan run on the side wall of aforementioned petrol station.
Fourth: Go up to counter and point to the huge advertising poster for toboggan run with a very hopeful face.
Drive to the end of the end of village mate and it’s on the left, you can’t miss it (In Austrian of course). Strange thing is I knew what he was saying, it was probably the hand signals.
You see bonus locating skills will always get you there in the end. Mind you the rally masters usually get you within a few millimetres with their long & Lats.
You’re not planning to become a Rally Master are you Bob?(opps sorry)
Any way I found the others about 2 kilometres up the road. They also confirmed that the position was wrong. That made me feel a little better as I begining to think, I may have entered them into my satnav incorrectly.
Any that’s enough of that.
The intrepid ones the boarded the cable car to be taken to the top of the hill to get ready for the decent. (When I say hill, that doesn’t really do it justice. I was a very large and very steep hill. the sort of thing that if you slipped a parachute might be handy you get the picture).
With instructions from Michiel after giving me his Mobil phone to make sure I get some good pictures of them coming down. He said that he would probably be the first down. But there were loads of people doing the ride and I had no idea how long it would take for them to get to the bottom.
So he was given instruction to wave both hands when he saw me and to scream like a girl. Well he waved one hand and I needn’t have told him to scream like a girl. (only joking Michiel).
When thy came down it was in very rapid succession, I hope I got some OK pictures I just kept hitting the button.
After the toboggan run we were led out on a very nice ride by Hannes our host from the hotel. I actually managed to see my first Glacier in real life not on TV, which was nice. On the way back to the hotel in convoy. I suddenly realised that my spot tracker was not on my arm, now did I take it off when I was at the toboggan thingy and put it in my top box or have I dropped it there?
I had to stop and check as we were fairly close and I could nip back and see if it was still there. Panic over it was in the top box.( It’s terrible when you get older and your short term memory starts to go). But I had now lost the rest of the group.Luckily enough it was in my top box.
Well it was not long till 4pm when we all had to be at the castle for the group photo, so I decided to go straight back to the hotel to see if they were there, they weren’t. So I booked myself in any way to save time when they all arrive. Now to make my way to the castle which is only .3 of a mile from the hotel. Now those of you that know me, know that I don’t do walking. So jump on the bike, spark up the satnav to go to Ambras Castle. It takes me down the road around a couple of bends, then tells me to ride up a foot path. I decide to ignore these instructions. After zooming out on the satnav map I notice that if I just continue on the road that I am on. It seems to take a very large loop to the other side of the castle, and I was pretty sure it would reroute me to a better entrance. Well I think it did, but I rode past it carrying on for about another 4 miles to the foot path again.
Bugger it back to the hotel it cannot be too far to walk.
It wasn’t but why do they have to put Castles on the top of bloody great hills. And in Austria the are as mentions large and steep. After what seemed like an eternity and several possible heart attacks later, I made it there. AND NO ONE WAS THERE.
Well apart from Gerhart and Thomas + Katarina. (I do not want to miss out on the photo after climbing up that sodding great steep hill) So I start making panicking phone calls only to get answer phones. (I didn’t know you were still out riding). They all eventual turned up and the photo was taken. Now the walk back, I wasn’t quite as hard as going up but is tough on the calf muscles going down and I started getting cramp in on leg, probably from being so dehydrated from the climb up. Next time I will ride up the bloody footpath.
Well it was back to Hotel Bierwirt for a shower to freshen up, a bit of chat in the bar about all sorts of sensible thing to do with motorcycle riding. (I don’t think the wife reads this but you never know). We were the requested to go into a special dining room that Hannes had set up for us and a great meal was had. To finish the evening Hannes produced two bottles of Snaps/Liquors I am not sure what you would call it. One was apple and the other was peach. They certainly took the fur off your tongue. Then it was time for bed. This realy dosent explane what a great evening it was or what a gerat host Hannes was. But I have got to wind this for up for now as it is time to eat.
It was now time to start heading back to Calais, the plan was to put a couple of 200-mile days in then a couple of 100-mile flower sniffing days.
During a chat with Gordon and Colin on Saturday night, they recommended riding the B500 through the Black Forrest. So that was the plan for the first day. Head north then cut across to the B500 and head for Barden Barden. The only fly in the ointment was the A7 and The A8 (2 fly’s) The first hold up was on the A7. On a bendy twisty bit of road, a massive tailback of stationary traffic. No overtaking signs in force and a single solid white line.
Now on the Saturday night on of the sensible things I talked about with Lyn from Wales was he told me that people were being prosecuted by the police after seeing what had posted on line about their driving YouTube etc. So I would like to point out that I did not overtake at any time when it was not legal to do so. And when I did get to the front and find out what the holdup was. It was a red traffic light at the start of a tunnel. And it took more than several minutes to turn green. There was traffic coming from the other direction all the time. I must admit I could see no reason for it to be red as there was no contraflow in place.
The second fly was the A8 a duel carriageway most of the time, it had severalvery long tailbacks on it due to road works. Again I did not filter as I was not sure if it was legal to do so.
Once I got off these roads and started heading for the B500 and the Black Forest the traffic improved, even if the weather didn’t, it started to drizzle lightly. But Gordon was right the road was worth the ride to get to. It runs along the ridge line of some hills, and at one point the view across the countryside, to the Rhine and beyond was fantastic. I did notice a sign saying that you were at an altitude of over 1000 meters. On a clear sunny day, you must be able to see for miles and miles.
I was a bit disappointed to find that there was not a single Gateaux Factories as promised by Gordon.
The drizzle had started to turn into rain and all the hold ups had started to make it a longer day than I wanted. So it was time to turn off and go and find a hotel as I had nothing booked.
Found a nice hotel called the Rebstock in the village of Buhlertal, a bit pricey but as they say in the adverts I’m worth it. Had a superb meal in their restaurant and a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, I got up and started planning my route for the next day. I noticed that I was not that far away from 3 national parks. The Parc Naturel Regional des Ardennes, Parc naturel régional de l'Avesnois and Parc naturel régional Scarpe-Escaut. So it was into the Ardennes for that night.
No hotel booked but a couple marked on the route on the Sat nav. After about 20 miles I had to stop and get some fuel. To my dismay I found the key to my previous night’s room in my pocket. ( I told you about my short term memory didn’t I) Now the question is should I turn round and take it back, or do I keep going and post it back when I get home?
As it had already started raining and the landlady said it was going to be dry, she could wait for her key. It would cost about a gallon of fuel to take it back I decided on the latter. (you think Yorkshire people are tight).
I did spring to mind there is a third option as there seems to be a common theme starting happening with these Euro RTE.
Ziggy let me know I you fancy a ride to the Black Forest area via a PM please.
Getting back to the ride what a lovely area the Ardennes is. If you are one of those bikers that wear a full leather one-piece suit with knee sliders, its might not be your cup of tea. But I you like a nice gentle ride I could not get much better almost empty roads and the weather improved after lunch time. Talking about lunch I was riding over a river. On a bridge I hasten to add. (I am not Jesus) When I noticed a café down by the river side and thought how nice it would be to go and have a short break and a bite to eat. But as usual I just carried on for about 3 miles and then thought sod it and turned around. What a treat this almost turned out to be. First of all, I have always wanted to have a paddle in an Alpine stream. But when I was in Austria, always rode past them. The same thing happened whilst riding through the Pyrenees with the wife a few years ago. Always road past them!!!
Not this time, there was a lovely Stoney and gravel beach leading down to the water’s edge, so this was going to be my moment. The problem there wasn’t anything to sit on to take my Boots and socks off, and unfortunately my arms are now too short to do it in the standing position.
The only place to sit was a bench at the top of the beach. but I have always hated walking over stony beaches bare footed( I do come from Brighton and have done this enough) so it didn’t happen.
I had to make do with a bag of chips and an Ice cream.
It was now time to go and find the Hotels I had ear marked, pulled up at the first one “Sorry we are fully booked” same at the 2nd and 3rd after one or two more I was beginning to wonder if it was because I was dressed up as a biker as some of them were off the beaten track. Finaly I found one about 20 miles further on than I expected, it was cheap and cheerful which balanced out the previous night’s hotel that was quite expensive.