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Old 07-09-2014, 09:07 AM   #16
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: NoVA
Oddometer: 1,037
Day 5

Kinsale -> Rosslare -> Somewhere on the water


Today I packed up my bike and bid a fond adieu to the crew at Motofeirme.
I didn't take too many pictures on the ride to Rosslare as I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the Ferry which is about the only mandatory portion of my itinerary. I did have to stop to take a picture of a tall ship since everyone loves tall ships. Well maybe not everyone, but if you don't love tall ships you're probably a communist.


I made the ferry with a half hour to spare and it's an impressive ship with at least 3 restaurants and as many bars. It also seems to be moving at quite a rapid clip. While the seas are calm you can still feel the swell and I hope my chicken curry doesn't come back up. It didn't taste that good the first time!


The next update should be from the continent or the bottom of the sea (Probably shouldn't make Titanic jokes before boarding a ship).


More pics : http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=167





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Old 07-09-2014, 09:38 AM   #17
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Day 6

Somewhere at Sea to Carentan, France


I had been hoping to update the blog from the ferry since they advertised fee wifi but the connectin was so slow as to be useless. Other than that and the horrible soccer game the trip to Cherbourg was uneventful.


Once in Cherbourg I stopped by the first mall I saw to pick up a power adapter and the first person I spoke to other then the customs was a waiter. A rude waiter. Way to live up to the sterotype there buddy. Other than the waiter everyone I've spoken to has been very friendly and helpful.


I then made my way to the Guzzi dealearship in Carentan where I told them about the my howling 4th gear. There were a lot sad looks and shaking of heads and prophecies of doom. They added some magic liquid to the gearbox which may alleviate the howling. I'm hoping it's the magic spray they use on soccer players that are writhing in pain one moment and hop up like nothing happened the next.


Carentan is a beautiful town and full of D-Day 70th anniversary displays. It also doesn't rain every 15 minutes is a bit warmer than Ireland.

Anyway I'm now chowing down on moule-frite while my silly english boots are getting repaired.


If you're religious feel free to pray for my transmission. If you're not religious feel free to send lawyers, guns, and money.


Now I'm off to find someplace to camp.


More pics http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=187





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Old 07-10-2014, 02:00 PM   #18
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Day 7


Carentan - Mount Saint Michel - Le Chateu Colombier


Today was another late start after being up to the wee hours watching Argentina in the World cup match surrounded by folks dressed in Orange. I think I was the only Argentine supporter in the room and managed to mute my enthusiasm until the second blocked goal of the shootout. I was actually a little sad that Holland lost as I plan on being there on Sunday for the final match and I'm sure it would of been quite the party if the won the whole thing.


The World Cup is now a battle of in-laws. One of my brothers has an Argentinian wife and another has a German wife. Hmm which should I root for? On the one hand I will be visiting my brother in Munich on the other hand yo gusta chori-pan y Quilmes.

In the morning I decided to head to Mont Saint Michel as it always looked like an interesting place. The island/fortress/town/abbey is very impressive but the crowds almost had me turning around a few minutes after I got there. God I hate tourists (Remember kids hypocrisy isn't just a good idea it's a way of life)! The loaded up the bus from the parking area to the island like a Japanese subway train. It pretty much sucked until all the French school kids started singing a song about being sardines in a can. I stuck with it though and am glad I did because it's a very impressive fortification/village/abbey.


After Mont St. Michel I started to make my way west until fatigue and hunger made me look for a place to stay for the night and picked out the Chateau de Colombier as a likely spot. I never stayed at a chateau before.
The bike is still running and with my earplugs in I can barely hear 4th gear. I'm alternating between babying it and riding it like I stole it. The French countryside is quite nice and I set my GPS to avoid all major roads and to take me on the shortest path to my destination which gets me on lots of secondary and tertiary roads. It's certainly not the way to make time but it is the way to see the countryside which is the whole point. These are also the kinds of roads where 4th gear would come in very handy.


Tomorrow I hope to make my way to Douai where my grandparents and Mother used to live and then it's on to Belgium and Holland.


I'm trying to setup and appointment with a Guzzi dealer in Amsterdam to look at the bike. I figure if I'm going to be holed up for a few days while the bike is worked on then Amsterdam would be an ideal place for it. I probably wouldn't even notice the time passing. Whatever happens I hope to get the trans torn into before I head north of Oslo. I figure once I head north it's going to be a whole lot of nothing for a long while.


WARNING to HEATHENS & HERETICS ! Much Catholic content follows. Don't worry though it'll be good for your eternal soul. Unless you're a ginger then you're just screwed, so party on.


way too many pictures http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=220






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Old 07-10-2014, 03:14 PM   #19
GvG
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Arguably the best Guzzi dealer in the Netherlands is TLM in Nijmegen.
www.tlm.nl/en/
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:14 AM   #20
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Day 8

Le Chateu Colombier - Goeulzin France


Today I rode more nice country roads and through more picturesque French towns.


At one point I almost fell asleep going around a turn in some village or other so I stopped for a couple of cups of coffee where I learned I had missed the Tour de France passing through on the previous day. Merde Alors !


I made it to the village of Goeulzain where I went looking for my Grand parents old house. First I drove directly through the town (which takes about 45 seconds) without spotting it. I remembered that it was near the church so I scanned the horizon and headed toward the spire. I was half way down a small street when I spotted the boulangerie and I knew I was in the right spot. I took a few pictures than made my way to the home of some friends of the family where I was very warmly greeted and provided plenty of nourishment as well as being regaled with stories of my families history.


Merci Monsier est Madame Willoquec for your hospitiality.


Another positive development is I received a message from John Brooks from the WildGuzzi motorcycle forums that though no Guzzi dealers could find the time to really check out the bike he did find an independent Guzzi mechanic who was willing to look at the bike and host me if it needed fixing and would take more than a day to do so. How sweet is that!


More pictures: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=285






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Old 07-13-2014, 09:51 AM   #21
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Day 9



Goeulzin France - Waterloo Belgium - Venlo Holland


After leaving Geoulzin I tried to visit yet another old family friend but not having any success I continued making my way east to the location to one of the most tragic events in human history (screw you Wellington you pomey poltroon and theat goes double for you Blucher you Prussian pimple and triple for disabilitating illness (Napoleon spent the battle of Waterloo unconcious laid low by disease which left the Forces of Freedom,Truth, Beauty, and Love under the command of Marshall Ney. History records that Marsahll Ney was an exceptionally brave soldier and also an exceptionallhy bad general. Even so the Forces of Beauty,(etc..) would have overwhelmed the evil redcoats if it hadn't been for those meddling Prussians )).


After shedding a tear over what might have been, I continued heading east. I didn't take many pictures of the Belgium country side because there doesn't seem to be any. So I beat feet to the Holland/Netherlands. A country so nice they named it twice. Or so they say. I'll let you know if it's true though my first impressions are very positive.


I actually found a reasonably priced campground. So far camping in Europe has been as expensive as a three star hotel in Buenos Aires. They even had a campfire which I got to sit around with half a dozen of my new Dutch friends.


Tomorrow I'll be heading to Amsterdam to see if I can get something to quiet the voices in my head. I swear if another pop culture goes bouncing my cranium for umpteen hours while I'm riding I'm going to take a flamethrower to the place. Schijt!


More Pictures http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=325







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Old 07-13-2014, 10:41 AM   #22
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Day 10


Veen Netherlands - Amsterdam Netherlands
Riding through the Dutch countryside is mostly excellent except for the ludicrously low speed limits. I'm convinced they post these low speed limits so you'll think these postage stamp countries are bigger than they are.


The good news is I've seen very few cops. The bad news is they have plenty of speed cameras positioned everywhere. I suppose they figure if they're generating their revenue with cameras they can cut down on the manpower. I expect an email from Marin in Ireland any day now letting me know that there has been a bulk delivery of speeding infractions.


Holland is a very neat and orderly country. With tons of bicycles everywhere. It's disgusting! OTOH I must say the Dutch ladies look quite healthy. It might have something to do with their deviant pedaling lifestyle. Another side effect of all this pedaling is there are no shoulders on the roads making pulling over on the roads to take pictures a bit of a pain.


Anyway after having my gps routing me in circles for a bit over an hour in Utrecht I finally made my way to Amsterdam. Wow, what a madhouse. No Parking and mad amounts of pedalers and pedestrians everywhere. It was also baking hot while it was so chilly for the last few days that I had been wear my thermal top under my jacket. It was so bad that I was ready to say screw it and programmed the gps to take me to the Guzzi Mechanic in Germany. I finally pulled into an ally and noticed it was lined with hotels. I inquired about pricing and motorcycle parking at a few of them until I found one that had what I thought was an American ex-pat hosting the front desk/bar. Turns out he was a Costa Rican but hey we're all Americans and I can park the bike directly in front of the joint so hopefully it will be there tomorrow.


Anyways it's time to go find the Little Mermaid. If you're expecting pictures of the infamous dead eyed girls of Amsterdam I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Not that I wont go have a look. I am boxer and a fighter by trade after all (metaphorically speaking).


Ugh! There go those voices again. I'll take care of that right quick. Amsterdam is a very aromatic town.


More Pictures : http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=387








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Old 07-13-2014, 01:27 PM   #23
OscarCharlie
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Thank you for posting; this is an interesting RR.

Hopefully, your mechanic in Germany will know how to move his magic wand.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip!
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:05 AM   #24
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Day 11


Amsterdam Holland - Warmsen Germany


Let get this out of the way first. A few of you have felt the need to point out that the Little Mermaid is not in Amsterdam but in Copenhagen which is not in Amsterdam. Copenhagen is in Denmark which also is not in Amsterdam. I knew this, it's called poetic license and if you don't like you can go read some Byron or Keats. Heck you can piss up a rope for all I care. (poetic license, yeah-yeah that's the ticket).


I've got to say I failed miserably on the drunken debauchery front. It must have been due to the lack of drunkeness which made the debauchery seem less appealing and was asleep shortly after the World Cup game. Oh what a drag it is growing old. I didn't even do anything about the voices in my head so I guess you're going to be stuck with them too unless you'ld rather read Byron and Keats.


I made my way out of Amsterdam around 7:30 in the morning and while it smelled aeromatic in the evening the smell in the morning could most kindly be described as pungent. I think a honey wagon down the street has having some probelms.


Reflecting on Denmark the one thing that struck me the most (besides the weirdness of Amsterdam's Red Light/Reefer district) was all the towns looked relatively new unlike France and parts of Belgium where everything looked like it had been around for a few hundred years. Don't know if I was travelling through newer parts of Holland or if they tore down their old buildings and replaced them with new ones.


Crossing into Germany the first thing I noticed is that traffic immediately started going about twice as fast. Also all the two lane roads are marked as passing areas about 99% of time the way God intended. This means coming up on a slow moving truck becomes a moment of celebration instead of frustration and the best way to celebrate is to drop it down two gears and pin it weeeeeeeee. Germany seems pretty awesome so far except.....


So what's this I hear about the Germans being an industrious people. Around 2pm I was feeling a bit peckish so I stopped by the first restaurant I found to find it closed. Same with the next two restaurants. Apparently they only serve lunch from 11am - 1pm and then close till dinner time.. Doesn't seem to industrious to me. This meant I was left with McDonalds as my only option for sustenance. Those Scots, now those are industrious people. They'll slap a McSomething on your tray 18 hours a day 8 days a week.


I found my way through the German countryside to KMS Mottorad which wasn't at all like what I expected. I was expecting something in an industrial park or town centre and the GPS had me stop at an intersection seemingly in the middle of farm country with nothing that looked like a motocycle shop. I found the place tucked away behind some trees and it appears to be a small slice of Guzzi heaven. The owner Achim Kinderman asked about my travel plans and then took the guzzi out for a test ride. He told me if I headed back to Ireland right now I would make it. Looks like the motor is coming out of the bike tomorrow. When I mentioned the World Cup game he said 'Meh, I was racing all weekend'. I think I came to the right place. Also Achim is letting me stay in his camper and use the shop's facilities while the bike is being worked on so I'll save some money on camping at least. I think this is all part of the Guzzi character people go on about.


More pictures: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=397






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Old 07-15-2014, 05:56 AM   #25
bobw
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Great photos, good luck with the repairs!
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:03 AM   #26
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Day 12


KMS Mottorade Warmsen Germany


Not much to report today. I mostly hung out around the shop watching my bike being disassembled and trying not to get in the way. Achim's techs took the trans out of the bike and then he took the transmission apart. Fourth gear showed significant wear and pitting so he sourced a new/old one from another Guzzi friend/mechanic of his who does a lot of work on the smaller engines. He also replaced numerous bearings in the transmission and on the bench everything is tight and smooth. Tomorrow his techs will be putting the trans back in the bike.


Riding up here I had the thought that being a mechanic on Italian motorcycles was probably a job reserved by the state for particularly depressed German engineers. I could just hear Gunther saying "Hey Franz come over here and look at what the Eyetalians did." and then both of them laughing their Teutonic asses off. As it turns out Achim just seems to love Guzzis and Italian cars which may be cause for counseling in itself.


< Defenders of Italian Engineering can feel free to insert pictures of burnng BMW final drives here >


As if being a Guzzi nut wasn't nutty enough he also races Guzzi powered sidecars and does so quite successfully with a monkey named Hamster.

There are supposed to be some hack racing Swedes and a New Zelander coming by tomorrow with a barbecue planned for the evening so depending on when the bike gets back together I may be hanging out for another day. Achim also said he would take me for a ride in his racing hack on the local roads which is an opportunity to good to pass up.


At one point in the day I went for a bit of walk around the countryside and so I took a lot of pictures of German wheat fields which I'm sure you'll find engrossing.


More pics: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=448






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Old 07-19-2014, 04:43 AM   #27
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Day 13


KMS Mottorad Warsen & Minden Germany


The bike was back together late in the morning. First Achim then I took it out for a test ride and everything checked out fine. No more howling 4th gear. Another great development is that the price for the repair dropped ~150 Euros. Achim found a loophole in the German tax laws or more likely he took pity on me when he saw me convert a wheelbarrow full of dollars into a few hundred Euros.


In order to stay out of the way during the rest of the day while I waited for the rest of the mad sidecar racers to show up for the BBQ I asked Achim about some attractions in the area and he suggested I take a boat ride through the locks in nearby Minden. Apparently it's the largest elevated waterway in Europe where the canal crosses over the wesser river.


After my 2 hour cruise I picked up a large case of bottled beer and strapped it to the back of the Guzzi. With my keen powers of observation I

noted that the Germans really liked drinking beer (and vodka, and whiskey, and schnaps, and Jagermeister).


When I got back to KMS the racing hack as out and Achim took me for quick blast up and down the street. I got a video of this but I think it's going to have to wait till I return before I can post it.


By this time the other sidecar nuts had shown up and the BBQ was a great success. The high point was a bunch of drunk Germans and a Swede belting out 'Country Roads' by John Denver. I found it particularly amusing that there favorite song is about the area I had come from.


Achim and Hamster if you're reading this thanks again for your hospitality and efforts getting my bike running correctly. It's definitely a few days which will never be forgotten. Best of luck at the Isle of Mann next year.


More pics : http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=491


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Old 07-19-2014, 05:45 AM   #28
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Day 14


Warmsen Germany - Augustenbork Denmark


After getting packed up I rolled out as early as the previous nights festivities allowed. It was a beautiful day, the bike is running great and it felt good to be back on the move.


I stopped for the evening in the small town of Fynshav or maybe it was Augustenbork around 8:05 which was 5 minutes after everything closed. Fortunately a hotdog stand stayed for a few extra minutes to whip me up some grup. The Danes seem to be very fond of hotdogs that are twice as long as the buns as I've seen quite a few of these stands.


The Danes are also crazy over old American cars ( I hear it's true of all of Scandanavia) and you'll seem more 60s and 70s American Muscle cars in a day then you would in a month back home.


more pics: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=588




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Old 07-19-2014, 06:09 AM   #29
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Day 15
Augustenbork Denmark - Copenhagen Denmark


It was another beautiful day on the road. The Germans told me that Denmark was going to be flat and boring. I think they might have been pulling my leg. After getting lost early in the day I didn't make it to Copenhagen until after 6pm. I spent a few frustrating hours trying to find a hotel before giving up and heading to a not so nice campsites outside of town. My opinions of Copenhagen weren't to high at this point so I used the campsite's wifi connection to book a hotel for the following night. This will give me a whole day to give the Little Mermaid her due.


As far as I can tell there is nothing rotten in the state of Denmark other than my riding gear so I'll probably spend half the day in a laundromat. Mmmmm Laundry.


(and the other half updating my blog. My kingdom for a fast internet connection!)


More pictues: http://www.twowheelsgood.net/europa2014/?p=592





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Old 07-20-2014, 02:28 AM   #30
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Great report.
It's nice to see the pics of the bike in far away places.
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