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Old 07-07-2013, 06:57 AM   #46
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Makes me want to ride out. Thank you!
Do it! You're lucky to have the roads you have there!
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:28 PM   #47
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The trip in hindsight

While suffering at home in London in 30°C weather with clear skies and nearly 100% humidity, and after nearly a whole bottle of Chat-en-oeuf circulating through my veins I thought it would be a suitable time to reflect on the trip.

Hightlights? Visiting Loutre in Lille, my friend Laure in Ammerschwihr, my friend Renate's family in Flachau and meeting Rango in Belgium all top the list.

There were a few more. Hôtel La Val in Ručras Switzerland with its kind and accommodating husband and wife team, Hôtel Ambiente in Wemding Germany with its considered mix of old and new carried out to perfection, and Urberacher Hof in Urberach Germany with mum and daughter team Margarete and Gisela who made us feel part of the family. Honourable mention to Hôtel du Commerce in Thônes France with its tip top restaurant and meeting Zoë our expat Irish server (and fellow biker).

Every country we went to was full of generous, kind and welcoming people without exception. It's interesting how countries gain reputations from visitors but our experience shattered all the preconceptions. From petrol station attendants to restaurant servers and hoteliers, everyone did more than their fair share to make us feel welcome. I don't know how much of that was down to travelling by motorbike but it doesn't matter really.

But which country did we enjoy most? I would have to say Germany. There is a certain acceptance ingrained in German culture toward outsiders that I can't quite put my finger on. The roads on the whole are an engineer's wet dream with curves and bends seemingly designed to fling a motorbike around. And the autobahn is always close by when the temptation of opening up the taps on the bike becomes too strong to resist.

I can't neglect the Grimsel Pass in Switzerland, however. This caught me out, temperature dropping from 17°C at the bottom to 0.5°C at the top with a full on snowstorm. Perhaps I didn't express earlier just how terrifying the experience was... I really thought at a few points that the next hairpin corner would be my last, slipping on black ice and sliding off the guardrail-less edge and smashing to our deaths on the rocks hundreds of metres below. But I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything.

To balance the Grimsel, the Cormet de Roselend was the definition of joy on a bike, especially on the way back with a mad German man on an R1200GS as a pace bike in front of us. I think we caught him out keeping up on a fully loaded F800GS, a testament to the capability of BMW's midrange GS bike.

Finally, the real star of the show was the bike. After 2,500-some-odd miles of heavy going (225kg including us and the luggage) it kept chugging along without retort, not giving a single problem along the entire journey. True, I replaced the rear brake pads in Austria, but they were nearly shot when I left London. I checked the oil a few times along the way but I needn't have bothered—it didn't use a drop. And the economy was the biggest surprise—60mpg on the nose. Considering the weight and the steep mountains we crossed, this figure is nothing short of a miracle.

I can't wait for the next adventure later this summer—though it won't be quite so far from home, I'm thinking Wales or Scotland.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:39 AM   #48
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A true artisan beer (and a strong one at that!) on my birthday—thank you Rango!

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Old 07-08-2013, 03:14 PM   #49
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Hey, what a lovely surprise.

Congratulations. Your health
and many years, including
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:30 PM   #50
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Duffs, Just finished reading your ride report, I thoroughly enjoy it and thanks for the gear reviews too!
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:17 AM   #51
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very nice ride report Duffs , I hope we'll have an other diner with loutre :-)
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #52
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Hey, what a lovely surprise.

Congratulations. Your health
and many years, including
Thank you, I'm dangerously close to 40 now! Where did the time go?
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:56 AM   #53
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Duffs, Just finished reading your ride report, I thoroughly enjoy it and thanks for the gear reviews too!
Thanks! Thought I would kill two birds with one stone seeing as the weather conditions were so varied... If I was travelling only in hot, dry weather I would have probably used my BMW Rallye 3 jacket as it is very well ventilated, but the Icon was an excellent all rounder from hot to cold.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:57 AM   #54
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very nice ride report Duffs , I hope we'll have an other diner with loutre :-)
Yes, a most enjoyable evening! If you ever fancy a weekend in the UK let me know. Or both you and Loutre. That said, Lille is close, might do a weekend out your way again sometime too! It was great to meet you and your lovely friend - hope she is doing well at uni in Belgium!
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duffs screwed with this post 07-09-2013 at 10:05 AM
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:44 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by duffs View Post
But which country did we enjoy most? I would have to say Germany. There is a certain acceptance ingrained in German culture toward outsiders that I can't quite put my finger on. The roads on the whole are an engineer's wet dream with curves and bends seemingly designed to fling a motorbike around. And the autobahn is always close by when the temptation of opening up the taps on the bike becomes too strong to resist.
Great trip and report!! This kind of new appreciation for foreign places is the best part of travelling imo!

As for the Spot Connect.. I'm not too happy with it either. I eventually got around the glitchy app and battery issue (the latest app is actually far better than the original one but yea it's still glitchy) however after the warranty ran out the cheap plastic has broken where the battery door screw into... I figured they would replace it considering the cost of the annual subscription but no! Even worse, many countries have free public emergency services but Spot will instead call a privatized $$$ one..... I won't buy another

I find my GoPro 3 is also VERY glitchy... but like the Spot it will work after restarting it a few times...
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:11 PM   #56
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Great trip and report!! This kind of new appreciation for foreign places is the best part of travelling imo!

As for the Spot Connect.. I'm not too happy with it either. I eventually got around the glitchy app and battery issue (the latest app is actually far better than the original one but yea it's still glitchy) however after the warranty ran out the cheap plastic has broken where the battery door screw into... I figured they would replace it considering the cost of the annual subscription but no! Even worse, many countries have free public emergency services but Spot will instead call a privatized $$$ one..... I won't buy another

I find my GoPro 3 is also VERY glitchy... but like the Spot it will work after restarting it a few times...
Thanks for that! Sorry for the slow reply, I've not been on the computer as it's been so hot/humid here I've been trying to stay away from anything heat-generating. I've been to Germany a few times and it never disappoints. If I don't do a Spain/Portugal trip next year it will be Berlin I think (maybe a BMW Motorrad factory tour in it as well)...

I didn't know that SPOT called private emergency services, their literature gives the impression they call the public emergency services/search & rescue etc... I'm starting to feel more and more screwed by them... although my travel insurance *should* pick up the tab.

Oddly my GoPro Black has given absolutely no problems at all, other than chewing through batteries faster than an electric car... It even reliably charges the internal and bakpak batteries via the camera's usb connector (though not through the bakpak's connector). And the app worked as advertised... maybe I've lucked out on this one?
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:18 AM   #57
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I didn't know that SPOT called private emergency services, their literature gives the impression they call the public emergency services/search & rescue etc...
I re-read it and I think you are correct. The SOS button goes to a private emergency response center in Texas, but they should call local emergency services first or private ones if required. SPOT wouldn't replace mine out of warranty but luckily Visa has extended warranty built in
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:54 AM   #58
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Just discovered your post..excellent...brings back memories of a similar trip I took in 1971 on a BSA Goldstar...long long ago in a galaxy far far away...these days my trips are mostly around northeast U.S. on my 1200GS...where to next??.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:18 AM   #59
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Just discovered your post..excellent...brings back memories of a similar trip I took in 1971 on a BSA Goldstar...long long ago in a galaxy far far away...these days my trips are mostly around northeast U.S. on my 1200GS...where to next??.
Nice! Many of the roads through the Alps, particularly in Austria, were designed with motorbikes in mind as they used to be the "everyday person's" transport before the average joe/jane could afford cars after the war. In fact, the Austrian government has a fat brochure promoting the Großglockner specifically for motorbiking enjoyment as it is now been superseded by a motorway for the majority of travellers.

One of these days I would love to ship one of my bikes to North America and do a 2–3 month tour of Canada/US/Mexico.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:37 AM   #60
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[QUOTE=
One of these days I would love to ship one of my bikes to North America and do a 2–3 month tour of Canada/US/Mexico.[/QUOTE]
I am a Canadian living in Pennsylvania...have ridden a fair amount in Ontario growing up--some great roads in northern Ontario...upstate Pa and NY states have some great motorcycle routes...look me up when you make the journey across the pond.
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