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Old 06-14-2008, 05:08 AM   #1
on2wheels52 OP
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
Oddometer: 2,492
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.
R1200GS Ural Patrol KLR650 DRz400 XL185
Austria '08
Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:20 AM   #2
Ride that nasty thing
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Great stuff so far !! Be sure to take alot of pics of the local talent, ie Men, Women, Children in their element .
2015 BMW R1200RT 600 miles
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:37 AM   #3
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:44 AM   #4
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Location: Russell, Manitoba, Kanada
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Used to live there (in region around Salzburg, Austria - aka Bayern). Your pics are bringing back memories. Anxiously awaiting your next posts!
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:39 AM   #5
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Oh this is gonna be great!! it already is Keep it all coming in this thread.. and I can fix your thread title, just PM me.

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Old 06-14-2008, 02:00 PM   #6
on2wheels52 OP
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
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'Be sure to take alot of pics of the local talent, ie Men, Women, Children in their element'

I wasn't sure what would be of intrest to anyone but myself (plus some 'cultural' things for my wife) but will see if I can add some of this 'local talent' each day.
R1200GS Ural Patrol KLR650 DRz400 XL185
Austria '08
Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:32 PM   #7
on2wheels52 OP
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
Oddometer: 2,492
Day 2
Breakfast is at 7:30 but I’m up well before then. I load the cases on the bike and walk the side streets. The view from the driveway

A short walk away

Shortly before food time I look in on the family area. The wife indicates I can have a seat and breakfast is almost ready. I get my first breakfast of meat, cheese, and bread that soon becomes the norm. And my first ever soft-boiled egg. Soon after 8 I am on the road.
I go a few km north and turn west on a ‘blue highway’ to Reutte. The scenery is quite impressive and I haven’t even made it to the mountains yet.

I decide to get my castle photo-op out of the way and go to Fussen (pop 15,000). I take a left and go through the center of town, certainly a unique place but crowded with many tour busses and visitors. I decide to circle the town, expecting to spot Schloss Neuschwanstein in the surrounding mountains. I don’t.
I pull off the road at a place with parking to consult the map. A family pulls up. I indicate I’m looking for the castle. Though they are not very fluent in english, I can tell they don’t see how I missed it. We take each other’s picture.

I return to town and soon see the signs for it. Had I continued another km instead of going through the center I would have seen it. It’s another 4km to the castle. Several years ago my wife and I received a 3D puzzle of it. You can’t drive to the castle itself but must park and either walk or take a bus to it. I have to decide to either join the crowd or continue riding.
Cathy appreciated the (distant) pictures I took of the thing.

I go to Weibach, then through Vils and Reutte again. I have a ‘hot dog’ and then on to Warth, Au, and Egg. In the area of Warth I’m in snow country. Two BMW riders tell me a road I was planning to take is closed by snow. I continue north to Bregenz.

I have at least thirty road sections pre-plotted on my maps, many from the Alpine Roads website. I knew going in I could only cover a fraction of them in the time available. I was getting a feel for what kind of distance I could cover and decide to write off the Swiss section. That must sound horrible. It looks bad in print also. But most of the mountain passes I had down in Switzerland were still closed with snow (often many aren’t open until late June). I will hit them next time.
I ride a few km into Switzerland, hoping for a Checkpoint Charlie type crossing to stamp my passport, but they are a thing of the past (if ever). I didn’t realize I had been half a day in Austria without any such theatrics. I backtrack and enter Germany, ready to look for another zimmer frei. I encounter a 6 1/2km tunnel, ride a few km more and exit at Sigmarszell. It’s more of a district than a town.
I see a zf sign but continue on, thinking I’m now too experienced to stop at the first one I find. I see a sign for another but cannot readily locate it so I return to the first. Two guys (brothers, as it turns out) are getting a charcoal grill going, beers in hand. The grandmother, mom, and two teenage kids are sitting at a table next to the house. I dismount and inquire about a room. The mom (Brijette) says she knows some English but that Simeone, the daughter, is quite fluent, so she handles my discussion with the grandmother (who owns the house).
We discuss the arrangement for a bit. I’m certainly ready to commit to stay so I use the only phrase I picked up from the Basic German cd, “vas kostet das?” (how much does it cost). The daughter gives something of a blank stare but Brijette lights up and repeats it with a slightly different pronunciation. Then everyone is smiling and they show me the room. I unload my cases and head out for supper. A pizza place is nearby (the only seating is outside; most orders seem to be delivered). I eat half the pizza, drink a beer, and take one to go. I return and park in the designated shed.

Most of the family is still outside. As I walk up the son offers me a beer from a refrigerator in the garage. I offer to exchange it for the one I had just bought as it was not as cold as I like. I was going to head to my room but am invited to join them at the table. They open the bottle and give the son instructions on how to properly fill my glass. I soon felt like a long-lost cousin. The uncle has left but the sister-in-law and their young son Johann are there. Brijette is drinking a glass of wine. The dad is done grilling and joins us. They give me a braut and potato salad. We talk into the night. The dad gets a clear bottle of something that his uncle had made. His English is as good as my german. When I say schnapps? they discuss it a bit and decide that is close. We have a few toasts.
The father and I

I think if he could train his beard to grow like mine he might look like the younger brother I never had.
I sleep even better than the first night.
R1200GS Ural Patrol KLR650 DRz400 XL185
Austria '08
Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the update.. very enjoyable

It's amazing, the resemblance is striking, he looks like he could be your brother!!
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:13 PM   #9
Call me Hollywood
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Location: The Hudson Valley, New York
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I love that friggin' beard! A handlebar beard! This is the one time I can't come up with a snappy saying for that facial monstrousity! Hahahaha........
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by on2wheels52
In 20 years you'll only regret what you didn't do.

World Tour finished!
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Old 06-16-2008, 12:11 AM   #11
Kev. Haute Savoie, France
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Location: French / Swiss Alps
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KTM 950 Super Enduro R - Kejago's Travel Machine!

K: Kejago - That's me!
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:32 PM   #12
on2wheels52 OP
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: northern Arkansas
Oddometer: 2,492
Day 3, Saturday
I’m done with breakfast by 8. Brijette convinces me that Lindau and its island on the Bodensee are worth a visit, plus I should be able to find a place to use the internet and touch base with home. Johann sees me off.

Lindau is an interesting place to walk around.

Who says germans have no sense of humor?

The woman at the shop next to the internet place says he usually opens at 10. When it’s not open at 10:30 I ride to another store with access but find it is closed until summer. I’m ready to leave town but swing by the first spot and find it open. I do my emailing and head northwest along Lake Constance. By the time I ride the 30km to Meersburg I’m tired of the traffic and head inland into Schartzwald (Black Forest). I left a business card in someone’s hunting blind.

While eating a lunch of leftover pizza I decide to return to Sigmarszell for the night. That afternoon I ride as far as Krauchenwies before looping back. The roads were entertaining but not as twisty as I was would come across later. The sandbox in the Stockach city park had running water.

I have supper with Mainting at his bistro in Friedrichshafen.

The family was entertaining company inside when I arrived but the grandma was there to let me in. I was content to have a quiet evening with a beer on the balcony.

R1200GS Ural Patrol KLR650 DRz400 XL185
Austria '08
Back to the Alps in '11
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:00 PM   #13
Panzer pilot
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Trollhättan, Sweden
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I think it´s interesting to read RR´s with Americans riding in Europe.

Great report, thank´s for sharing!

I past the same area at last years alp touring, Lindau is nice.
-07 R1200GS Adv
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:09 AM   #14
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:06 AM   #15
Ze Red Baron
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Very nice pictures and a great story too. I hope you had a day off to enjoy a real "Bayerisches Frühstück".
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