06-14-2008, 05:08 AM
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
11 Days in Germany & Austria
It begins with my wife driving me the two hours to the Springfield, MO airport for my 10:15 am departure. My plane is late and the threatening sky’s have opened up. I’m an hour late into Chicago but I intentionally picked a flight with a 2 ½ hr layover. I locate my gate and have time to grab an airport sandwich before the 9 hour flight to Munich. The entire package was nominally through United but the leg to Germany was on a Lufthansa late model Airbus. I don’t fly very often but this was far and away the nicest plane/finest attended flight I had ever been on. The plane was nearly full but by chance the seat next to me was vacant. I offered those in front and behind storage for their pillow, blanket, etc. It was a typical flight, most passengers in ‘leave me alone in my own space’ mode.
My wife had given me a pill that was to ‘knock me on my ass’. I may have gotten the placebo instead. I listened to an ipod and sat with my eyes shut but didn’t sleep at all. I arrive in Munich at 6 am May 8th. A minor drama ensues but eventually I am at Karl Maier BMW in Neufinsing fifteen minutes before their opening time of 7:45. If I was ever in a BMW shop it was 35 years ago, this is the most impressive motorcycle dealership I’ve ever been in (granted, I don’t get out a lot).
Check the Karl Maier website for more pictures and information.
I was a bit disappointed that Magdalena, Karl’s wife who had handled most of the email for my bike reservation, would not be in (‘she’s off on Wednesday’). My “secret german-american connection” also was a great help in arranging the rental. I hoped to hook up with him at some point. Karl has a lot going on but eventually he says ‘Eichmann, come here’ (I had reverted to the original spelling of my surname while there) and led me outside.
I had reserved an F650GS and was expecting the ‘standard’ version of my ’01 Dakar. I see I am getting the new model F650GS which now has an 800cc Rotax vertical twin and a six speed transmission. A pleasant surprise. I had been emailed that on May 13th I could return to Munich and exchange the ‘650’ for an F800GS that another renter would be returning. But that unit was on a trailer, headed back to the factory. I’m sorry, but I was unable to obtain the reason for that. I don’t wish to imply they were ‘stonewalling’ me, just that they were busy, my German language skill is almost non-existent, and I was anxious to get on the road.
My companion for eleven days
The one that got away
A shop employee comes out to explain anything I need to know about the bike. The thing has an ‘Info’ button on the left bar that toggles information on a display to the right of the tach/speedo. I might have inquired more about. There was a fuel consumption or mileage gauge I never really figured out. Let me rephrase that, I never had a clue as to what it represented. I found out the power outlet was for low wattage use. It did have dual tripmeters which I made use of. I almost asked if the owner’s manual was in it (a lot of good a manual in German would have done me).
Perhaps I should have asked what the fuel capacity was. But then I would have had to figure mileage (kilometerage?) in the metric system. The purpose of the trip was not to improve my analytical thought process. I just wanted to ride in the Alps. The furthest I went on a tank was 220km; I was constantly referring to my maps anyway, so I often did it in a gas station if I had over 125km on the tank.
At 11am I am feet up, with 1199km on the odometer. I begin my first trip with a motor vehicle in a foreign country. I soon find Pension Wess, my only room reservation of the outing, for my last night in Germany before returning home. I knew it was nearby but am pleased to see it only 1.1km from KM BMW. I am then off for points beyond.
I would like to re-live the first couple of hours on the bike. ‘Fish out of water’ might be appropriate. Everything was different. I was happy just to (the flying term is ‘aviate’, I’m not sure what the motorcycle equivalent is. How about ‘ride without crashing’). My navigation was pathetic; I was just trying to head southwest. Fortunately it was sunny.
I am immediately snared in a time/space mystery between Feldkirchen, just east of Munich, and Feldkirchen, 20km south-southeast of Munich. Eventually I escape, and begin making my way toward Urfeld, on the Walchensee. Someone had suggested it as a place to stop and catch my breath. I leave the built up area around Munich and find Bad Tolz. Before long I am at the lake.
I motor on for a couple of hours. At one point I thought I had come across the crash site of a BAC Concorde or other aircraft but further investigation showed it to be a ski jump for the insane.
My first zimmer frei
I then ride to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and head north, ready to look for a zimmer frei or pension for the night. It’s around 3 pm and while I don’t feel tired I know I’ve been up a long time. I’m trying to do the math now, was I awake over 24 hours? I never do stuff like that.
In Farchant, a town of 4000 or so, I randomly pick a street to explore, looking for a zf. Near the end of it (it’s only two blocks long) I spot one. The owner sees me pull up and comes out. He shows me a room and tells me when and where breakfast is and where I can park the bike. It will be 30 euros.
I push the bike into the’ courtyard’, dump my stuff in the room, and walk around the town. It feels good to slow down. I find a place that has food and beer. I had been given the impression ‘almost everyone there knows some English, they teach it as a second language in school’. There are four people there sitting at tables outside. Between them they know maybe a dozen words of English, which correspond nicely to my dozen words of German. But they must have had an idea of what I was there for. I leave having had something to eat and drink.
My food /drink provider the first night
An hour or so of daylight remains on my return to my place for the night. I had brought along a few tools to access the battery in case my bike did not have an accessory socket adequate for my Gerbing jacket. Getting to the battery was similar to my ‘old style’ 650 and I soon had my connector hard wired to the battery (don’t tell Karl). By dark-thirty I was asleep.