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Old 09-27-2008, 07:07 AM   #1
panzerphil OP
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Italia 2008

11 nights, 8 countries
UK to Rome.

Day 1, UK
Been looking forward to this Italy gig for a few months. I'd never been to Italy or camped before so this was a voyage of discovery.

A leasurely 270 mile ride in quite pleasant conditions to meet up with Chuck & Gippo for an overnight stay at a Travelodge.



I had Friday off work so I set off early, hence I was 1st to arrive.
When I arrived I saw a Little Chef on the other side of the road. Unfortunately the road had a barrier & was impossible to cross so feeling peckish I set off on an 8 mile ride to get to the other side. When I eventually got there I was greeted with a 'sorry sir we're just closing, why don't you try our other premises over the road' Goddam it, there was another Little Chef just yards from where I set off from & I didn't even see it.

After a few beers & a bite to eat I sent a text to Gippo & informed him I had secured a parking spec in view of the 24hr reception & retired to my room to wait for Graham & Richard to arrive.



G & R arrived & I had some more beers.



Day 2, UK to Nancy, France

Today saw the 1st of many early starts as we set off for the short ride towards Dover to meet up with the rest of the group (minus Flash & Trassa and Stolzy, who we would meet up with later).

Our 'leader' Paul informed us to fuel up at Dover as we'd be doing a full stint when we set off from Calais. I assumed filling up in Faversham & riding 15 miles to Dover would be OK, more of this later!

Got on the ferry, got my tour t-shirt & then waited at Calais for Flash Of The Gap & Trassa.

Some bikes at Calais.

Paul's classic 1150ADV


Sue's stunning Rockster


Tony & Trassa, hurray! Welcome to the convoy. (Novice getting in on one of many photo ops)


Pablo taking it easy


Major Gadget's Mothership


DV8's ADV


Seamus's 1150 & Gippo's 1200


Ewan..


& Charley!


Right, off to Nancy we go.......

Everybody got full tanks?
Oh yes, let's go....

...about 150 miles later my fuel light comes on & counts down.. 35, 25, then 15 miles to empty.
I stop & check my GPS for fuel stops.
Next fuel on this route is 20 miles away.
Everyone else has ridden of into the distance.
I set off & tuck in behind a caravan doing about 40 mph.
I arrive at the petrol station with 6 miles showing on my countdown.

Lesson 1
Look after yourself!
Always have enough fuel for your planned route.

Arrived at the Nancy campsite, my 1st camping experience.


Set up my tent for the 1st time 'in the real world'.
I didn't even know how to secure the stringy bits onto the pegs, I looped them round & tied knots. Major Gadget later told me how to do it properly.

Here's his set-up.
Music, table & chair, tent you could stand up in, welcome mat, litter bag, cooking gear! I need to take notes.



Salted peanuts & beers for supper.
Gotta fill up with those essential nut oils & beer sugars for the long ride ahead tomorrow.

tbc..............
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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Good start to the report.

Can't believe everyone rode off and left you as you ran low on fuel B'stards! Are you sure they're your friends or had you not bought a round the night before?
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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Friends?
This was a trip set up on the internet. I'd never met any of them before.

Day 3, Nancy to Como

France, Switzerland & Italy

Croissants & coffee for breakfast



After the previous day's fuel drama I decided to set off early & fuel up.
Today we plan to meet up with Stolzy at the Swiss border & then ride on to Dongo on Lake Como.

We're still waiting for some continental weather & quite a few miles are covered in wet conditions.

Our stop at the Swiss border saw the 1st signs of what was to become an obsession for a few of us, collecting stickers! (decals)

A few Como camp shots










If I was to do this trip again I would stay another night in Como. We simply didn't have any time to appreciate the area. After setting up camp we set off in search of a resturant & had your typical Italian scran, pizza - spag bol etc.











Yea, more time needed here next time!

Early night tonight, Pisa tomorrow.
The ride to Pisa turned out to a be bit more eventful than today!
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Beautiful Phil!!

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Old 09-27-2008, 11:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Beautiful Phil!!


Wait until I post the Austria photos!

Day 4, Como to Pisa

Our 1st stop of the day was at a little bar for coffees & toasties.





2nd stop of the day was at Sestri Levante (more stickers!) and an opportunity to dry off my boots. Waterproof boots are OK so long as your pants don't let water in at the knees & water dribbles down into your boots! Once the water gets in it doesn't get out & my toes were turned into white shrivelled up prunes.
A change of socks & half an hour on top of the cylinders went some way to dry them out.



After we left Sestri Levante we rode onto the AutoStrada & had to stop & pay at the end. Unfortunately this is where some communication broke down & the group rode off leaving me struggling with a faulty barrier.
My wing-man, Gippo, saw I was in some bother & waited for me.

So there we are, Gippo & I, looking into the distance for about 10 other BMWs.

Nothing!

'Blow this!' we thought, we'll make our own way to the site & take photos along the way.



Funnily enough, along the way we ran into Novice. He seemed a bit miffed that he had company so he waved us on past.

We stopped for more photos...







We eventually rolled into Pisa to see everyone else had already set up. Apologies were made for leaving us but I really didn't mind, I enjoyed riding with Graham & it sealed a plan I had for riding alone later on to visit Tavullia, Valentino Rossi's home town.

Night fell, beers were drunk & we set off to see the Tower.






Next morning we had to go again & see it in daylight, (& collect more stickers)



At Pisa I parked up next to Seamus, he took his tank bag off & laid it down on the floor, took his jacket off then turned around to see his tank bag was gone, never to be seen again! He reconed his journal was the only item of value in it. I'd be well cheesed-off if I lost my tank bag, Seamus seemed to take it well. Security was tightened up from this point on!



Next stop, Rome & a day off from riding! (for some )
From this point on the weather gets a lot hotter.
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Old 09-27-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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Sign me up for this one! I will be taking notes for my own European Trip I'm planning for next summer.

I'm especially interseted in road and campsite recommendations.
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Old 09-27-2008, 02:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6253
Sign me up for this one! I will be taking notes for my own European Trip I'm planning for next summer.

I'm especially interested in road and campsite recommendations.
I've got road & campsite recommendations coming out of my 4ss.

Campsites so far,..

Nancy, France. http://www.camping-brabois.com/lieu_hebergement.asp

Lake Como, Italy. http://www.magiclake.it/en/campeggio_en.html


Nancy was a quiet campsite but clean & well stocked, Como was the best site of the tour with Rome a close 2nd.

Stayed tuned for day 5, Pisa to Rome & day 6, a day off in Rome.....
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:41 AM   #8
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Days 5 & 6, Pisa to Rome

After yesterday's breakdown in formation 4 of us decided to look out for each other. Fuddy, Gippo, myself & DV8 who plays tail-end Charlie. That doesn't stop DV8 & Gadget getting lost on the way to our 1st rest stop.



My Italian was demonstrated here in all it's splendidness!

Cup of tea please.

CUP OF TEA!

OK, Orange juice?

Must press on, so off we set on the road again but before long we needed more fuel.
We pulled into a petrol station which proved to be Paul's nemisis.

Check this out.
You pay first!
You get your fuel!
If you put in less fuel than you paid for you run back to the pay point to get your receipt.
You take your receipt to the attendant for change.

Or in Paul's case, you pay - you get sod all.

Why not just fill up & pay the attendant?




We eventually rolled up at Camping Tiber Roma



I had my video rolling to capture this moment & you can clearly hear Oasis's 'Rock n' Roll Star' playing over the camp PA. That must've put a smile on Paul's face. Well done No.1, you got us as far South as we're going to go.

A huge strip was reserved for us but for some reason we set-up all together, crowded down one end.








Rome, we made it, the weather was glorious too!













Time to relax over a few beers.






Gippo gets his fighting trousers on!




Everyone made plans to visit the city tomorrow by train/foot.

I made my own plans,
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:43 AM   #9
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I don't know when I'll ever be in Rome again.

I wanted pictures of my bike in front of the sights.













Glad I'm not walking around in this heat - Let's get back to the site & get beered.



Few shots without the bike in picture,

















While no-one was looking I sneaked off to the campervan service area & washed my bike

Gotta look good for when I roll into Rimini tomorrow!


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Old 10-03-2008, 07:04 PM   #10
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Day 7, Rome to Rimini

The journey home begins.
Today I leave Rome early on my own. My plan is to ride to the Rimini campsite but first pop into Tavullia, Valentino Rossi's hometown.

My last photo of our stay in Tiber.



..and I'm off!

I enjoy the freedom & excitement of riding alone!

When I'm riding in a group I always feel I'm constantly trying to catch up with the riders in front & when we stop I'm always eager to get going again but it takes forever to satisfy everyone's need to fuel up, eat, rest, pee etc.

How refreshing to ride at your own pace, stop whenever you want & fuel up & be moving again within 5 minutes!

I could tell this was going to be a good day because within a few miles of leaving I come across a Ferrari & ride behind it for a while.



Italy, sunshine, a GS & a Ferrari. You couldn't think of a better 'Happy Place'.

Free to stop & take photos whenever I wish.





An hour or so into my journey I look at my GPS & I see I'm running along side our 'official route'. I'm on the Autostrada but up to my left I can see a village where the rest of the group have planned to stop for lunch. It looked very appealing.



I make good time & roll into Tavullia.



It may have been my imagination but as I get nearer to the village I think people are acknowledging my presence, waving, nodding heads. Knowing I've come a long way to pay homage to The Doctor's hometown.

The Fan Club Headquarters









and a bit further down the road, the cafe.







Suitably refreshed & it's the short ride to the campsite.
1st to arrive, , tent up, shower, beers in.
Camera at the ready & wait for the others to arrive.



I go over the road in an attempt to catch the main group roll in -



- but get distracted.



More beers get drunk.

I check my rear tyre & find a bloody big wedge of metal sticking out.
I remove it & thankfully no air escapes.



I check my front tyre & find another!



It's getting late & I decide not to push my luck & leave this in until Venice.
As it turns out no air escaped when this was removed either.

Puncture repair kit at the ready but not needed.



Seamus has his own drama going on. His front brake pads have worn down to the backplate despite getting his bike serviced before the trip. A visit to the camp's reception sorts out the location of the nearest BMW bike dealer & he's off to get it sorted.
Unfortunately his paralever has started squeaking too!

Tomorrow, a short ride to Venice.
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Old 10-04-2008, 03:16 AM   #11
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Wonderful report and pics. You were close to the BMW dealer in Rimini. I paid them a visit in '06.
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by marty hill
Wonderful report and pics.
Cheers Marty - The best is yet to come!

Day 8, Rimini to Venice

Venice!

Not my cup of tea!

If you're really interested, here's some pictures.



















The highlight of the day?



Good to say I've been there but it's not really 'biker'.

Tomorrow, the best day of the trip!
We ride out of Italy, through Austria & into Germany.


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Old 10-04-2008, 02:49 PM   #13
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Well done guys!... keep it coming please!
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Old 10-04-2008, 04:07 PM   #14
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Confession time - I'm envious.
Looking forward to the rest of your trip.
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Old 10-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #15
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Dude, either you need new GPS software, or it washed away this summer, but the Isle of Wight is missing.
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