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Old 08-29-2008, 10:27 AM   #16
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I continue south, ride up the Ötztal (valley of the river Ötz) and pass through the small town of Sölden, where this house catches my eye:




Nice house, and an even nicer view!



Now, shortly after Sölden, the real part of my ride begins: the first pass of my tour, the Timmelsjoch! You can see the road faintly, high up on the side of the mountain.






Here I´m about a third of the way up from the valley floor.





Another video that I took, not much better than the first one, I´m afraid. I need to pan much slower, I think.



&ampnbsp




I´m almost at the tree line here.





I´ll post more pictures tomorrow, then the real fun begins!!!
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:51 AM   #17
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Post some pics from, Erding too... it is a cool town. And the beer is not too bad... I lived there for a few years.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:37 AM   #18
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I´ll post some pics of erding at the end of the report if you wish...the "Erdinger Weißbier" has made Erding surprisingly well known all over the world.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:58 AM   #19
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here I am almost at the tollstation. The line running diagonally through the picture is not some flaw in the photo but a steel cable. Many houses in the alps have such steel cables connecting them with another, usually more accessible location further down the mountain, they are used for transporting goods, especially in winter when the roads are impassable due to snow and ice.






This is still higher up. All the passes I rode during my three days were literally crawling with bicyclists pedaling upward. Some old guys too, in their sixties or so. I don´t think I could have managed these passes and I´m half that age...






if you ever wish to ride the Timmelsjoch, I strongly recommend you approach from the Italian side, that´s were the good stuff is and you can ride around 95% of the road for free. I crossed into Italy from Austria, however, so I had to pay 11€ toll.


The road continues to go up, still on the northern side here...






Here I took a picture looking to back where I had just come from...





And another one, taken from higher up. i´m also looking "backwards" here. This photo is quite memorable to me, because when I stopped I came closer to dropping the bike in the mud and gravel than ever before...the sloping ground really plays havoc with your sense of balance if you don´t watch out




The real twisties have begun!




Just over the top of the Timmelsjoch, looking into Italy:


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Old 08-30-2008, 07:41 AM   #20
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I have to confess this street made me feel queasy a couple of times...this is the southern, Italian side of the Timmelsjoch:




The road was every bit as steep as it looks on the pictures, the hairpins were so tight that oncoming cars usually took up the whole road, and the cow you se in the picture was just one of many on that slope - which was an open range! Not only did you have to watch the curves and the other traffic, you also had to be on the lookout for cows. And for the cowflops they had dropped all over the road, preferably in the narrowest turns. Scary road, I definitely wouldn´t want to ride it in the rain or at night. The wall you can see lining the road is just calf high, if you touched it it would only serve to lever you into the abyss a little more cleanly.





A little lower down it wasn´t as steep anymore.




I didn´t take any more pictures on that road, my attention was pretty much occupied. Anyway, I finally made it to Meran. I also was in for an unexpected treat: The descent from the Timmelsjoch had been more stress than anything, but the road to Meran is a lot more fun than one can tell from the map - smooth, rhythmical twisties, just the right radius for some fun on two wheels. Neither the "first gear and lots of clutch" hairpins of the Timmelsjoch nor fast dangerous sweepers, just right. And great scenery all along the road.

Originally I had planned to just visit Meran, then go on across the Jaufenpass and camp in Sterzing, but I was feeling pretty worn out and decided against riding on. I spent some time looking for the camping ground, and just when I had found the sign I stumbled across the meran youth hostel. To hell with camping, I thought, I´m staying here tonight. I paid 21,50€ for the night for a clean, albeit very small room on the fifth floor right under the roof. A massive supporting beam was running right through the room at eye level. Miraculously I avoided cracking my head aginst it during my stay (except once, that really hurt ) An all-you-can-eat breakfast next morning was included in the price. I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Meran.


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Old 08-30-2008, 08:04 AM   #21
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Oh boy! I have been on steep, switch-back roads all over the American West, and I am getting sick just looking at this picture.

Great pictures and a great report!!
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:50 AM   #22
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Meran has been a health and holiday resort for the rich for a very long time, thanks to its mild climate and balmy air. You can tell by looking at the streets, shops and buildings that there is some serious money here. Nowadays, however, tourism is more profitable than health. Consumption has, after all,pretty much died out in western Europe.



















Ooooooh, those Italians...... If you like swimming in cold water, this swimsuit is guaranteed to show off your nipples to their best advantage










Old buildings coexist quite peacefully with new ones...





They also had some pretty cool sculptures on the promenade.
The wire frame is filled entirely with chunks of green glass.






In the evening it was time for dinner.

These little dough wraps were filled with spinach and spiced curd, baked under a crust of Parmesan cheese. "Schlutzkrapfen" - very good!

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Old 08-30-2008, 12:25 PM   #23
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I slept quite well, taking into consideration that for Italians "evening" sets in at about 10.oo pm and "night" begins at about 2.oo am and they use the time in between for cruising around on their two stroke motorscooters.

I stuffed myself shamelessly at the all-you-can-eat buffet in the morning, then set off nort again to ride the Jaufenpass road. It begins exactly where the Timmelsjoch road ends, so Meran was actually a detour (but very worth it!)


In this picture I am standing on the Jaufenpass road, just a few hairpins up from the valley floor, looking back south in the direction of Meran.





unfortunately i didn´t take any pictures of the road up the Jaufenpass. There is a simple reason for it: I just couldn´t bring myself to stop and dismount to take a photo. Pretty much all of the alpine roads are interesting in one way or the other, but that one was a BLAST !!!

The Timmelsjoch was difficult and challenging, the Großglockner is pretty much in a league of its own as far as scenery is concerned, but the Jaufenpass was without doubt the road that provided the most riding fun!

This is hands down the craziest and funnest road I have ever ridden or driven in all my life, and just those few kilometers were worth the trip. Should you ever have the opportunity to ride it, do it, whatever it takes, do it.

How to describe it? Maybe imagine the Tail of the Dragon, with the road half as wide and twice as many curves to the mile, bumpy asphalt and going up and down in the bargain, with spectacular scenery thrown in, that comes about close, I think.

Towards the end, I found myself cackling with glee inside my helmet and had to stop at the mountain crest to cool down and to take this picture of the far side.




The ride down was pretty uneventful and not as exciting. I passed through Sterzing, then rode north to Innsbruck over the old Brennerpass road ( also a lot of fun if you go very early, otherwise there is horrible traffic) and then followed the Autobahn to Salzburg until I came to the Zillertal. i passed through some pretty villages...








....where I bought something to eat and called home from a telephone booth to tell my folks I was O.K. ( I hate cellphones and don´t own one)



The Zillertal is one of the most famous (and expensive) tourist places in Austria. i wouldn´t mind staying in that hotel for a few weeks....





....nor in that one right next to it:





At the end of the Zillertal I rode up the Gerlospass, which is basically quite a fine road, but is spoiled by too much traffic...and by some genius engineer who put two foot wide, slick metal manhole covers right in the middle of both lanes, one every 50 meters or so. And they always, always are right on your line when you´re riding a bike.

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Old 08-30-2008, 05:10 PM   #24
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Great pictures! My wife and I spent some time in Salzberg and Mattighofen in 2000 riding motorcycles. We hope to go back in 2009.

You live in a beautiful part of the world.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:27 PM   #25
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I miss Switzerland. It is so amazing there.
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:31 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtrider
Great pictures! My wife and I spent some time in Salzberg and Mattighofen in 2000 riding motorcycles. We hope to go back in 2009.

You live in a beautiful part of the world.

2009 isn´t too far off anymore (only with winter between ) If you manage to come over here, just send me a pm, perhaps we can go on a ride together. If I remember correctly Montana isn´t too ill equipped either, as far as mountains and pass roads are concerned.
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:32 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by idea man
I miss Switzerland. It is so amazing there.
You know that I didn´t come anywhere near Switzerland on my route?
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:06 AM   #28
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Danke and more pictures please - I'm really enjoying this.

Could never ride it myself - have a heights phobia !!!!
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:17 AM   #29
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From the Gerlospass the road leads directly to my next destination, Zell am See. There is some nice scenery along the road.







And when I say directly, I do not necessarily mean "straight"



WARNING! TEN KILOMETERS OF EXTREMELY CURVY MOUNTAIN ROAD AHEAD!

They consider that a "warning" ?!? You can tell that the sign was put up by a cager!

This little piece of road apparently was replaced by a much more modern, albeit longer road. It is stilf open to traffic, but in rather bad repair; twistier, bumpier and more rollercoaster-like than any other road I have ever ridden. Absolutely great fun, but almost too bumpy to be ridden full out with a street bike. This road would be supermotard heaven! I found no time to take pictures, the ywouldn´t have done the street any justice anyway because it´s so narrow andd twisty you could never see more than two curves at the same time.



I continued on to Zell am See, resting my poor wrists and butt. I took some pictures of the mountains lining the valley:





I still had the food I had bought in my tankbag and I was getting hungry, so I decided to have dinner. But not in an ordinary place, i wanted to eat it somewhere up there:




So I did.

A pic of my dinner enjoying the scenic view, just minutes before it went the way of all food.




The farmers working these meadows have special equipment with which they can drive on slopes I would think twice before walking on. The farmer and a helper were just mowing the grass while I was sitting there, and the farmers wife helped them rake the grass together - clad in nothing but a tight beach bikini! wow! I was too cowardly to ask for pictures, sorry. I think I may need some tips from the striking viking.
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:04 AM   #30
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So, I finally arrived in Zell am See. It is an old and famous, and also rather pricey, European holiday resort, much like Meran in that aspect. Zell am See is smaller and seems a little stuffier, though.On the other hand, it has the lake.

The first thing I did on arrival was to find the campingground I had stayed on once before. They wanted almost 15 € for one person, one tent and a motorcycle for one night. Not really cheap.

After my pleasant experience with the youth hostel in Meran I decided to try and find some other means of accomodation first. Many hostels in the area make a conscious effort to attract bikers as guests and for that reason display "motorcycle sculptures" (made from junk welded together) in their frontyards, indicating that bikers are explicitly welcome here (which has not always been the case, bikers having had an image as cheap, noisy ruffians here, much like KLR riders in the US I imagine . That is no longer true. I´d guess three fifths of motorcyclists in Germany are over fifty and usually have money to burn)

i had noticed one such hotel with a sculpture whe I entered the town and enquired for the price of a room - 36€. I wasn´t eager on roughing it on the camping ground, but 21€ extra just for my comfort was too much. No hotel for me. The hotel did have something really cute standing in the parking lot:





I have absolutely no idea what this is or what it is used for, but it sure looks like it can put up a good racket when irritated or crowded!


I looked around for a bit and found a bed and breakfast for just 20€ a night - perfect! Very nice, clean room with a double bed and an ample breakfast in the morning. I can really recommend that place. Should you have to stay in the area and be looking for a place to spend the night, sent me a pm, I´ll give you the address.

I rode only about 300 -350 km a day, so I was never in a hurry and had lots of time left in the afternoon and evenings which I used to explore the town a bit.


The old "Grand Hotel"







The southern part of the lake:



Lots of Arabs were all over the place. The guys in the (electric) boat were an Arab family. They used the boat to chase the swans, but the swans were faster

The northern part of the lake:




Two pics of the Zell am See "downtown":








Tomorrow I´ll post the best part of my three day trip - the ride over the Großglockner Hochalpen (high Alpine) road.




Just a little teaser - The way south from Zell am See to the Großglockner. This is what is lying in wait for me:




There will be almost 30 pics of one of the greatest roads in the Alps, so hang on.
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