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Old 10-31-2009, 12:56 AM   #1
glitch_oz OP
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Tornanti_2...Three Weeks Of Carve Till Ya Barf!!

After the first “Tornanti” ride in ’07 there wasn’t much left of the Alps to cover, right?


(Ride Report HERE)

Tornanti 1 (short “T1”) had stretched over 6 weeks and we’d covered a LOT of ground ….T2 was going to be a little different then....and we only had half the time.
While not such a big area if plotted on a flat sheet of paper, the Alps span Austria/Italy/ Slovenia/ and part of Switzerland in the eastern half…with France/ Italy/ the other half of Switzerland and a little bit of southern Germany making up the western half.

All up around 800km east-to-southwest ….and between ~25km and 300km north-to-south... as the crow flies.
Chuck in all those mountains, and things multiply at least four-fold…. at least as the roads go.

As T2 started looming, I didn’t have any firm ideas of what to tackle this time around, but the all-too-short T1-stint in Slovenia had left its mark.

There was a hell of a lot more there….and we’d missed out on the far north-eastern corner of Italy, the Friuli region as well…due to bad weather.
Friuli…reportedly one of the poorer, non-“Golden-Arched”, areas of northern Italy….little tourism, little flimflam….and downright Italian to the core.


Lots of hours researching the net yielded some interesting conclusions.
The Isonzo-Line was one of the most hotly-contested battle-fronts of WW1 and stretched from the Carinthian Alps (Austrian-Italian border….stretching juuust into Slovenia) .... across the Dolomites about 200km further west.... and south-west to the Val Sugana/ Asiago Plateau, just west of Feltre in today’s Northern Italy.
http://www.worldwar1.com/itafront/virtualsoca.htm
http://tinyurl.com/yk8w88b
Map : http://tinyurl.com/yfvqnox

Borders marked in blue, Isonzo battle-areas marked pink


In short…the eastern ascent of the main ridge of the Alps is fairly narrow (~30k’s at its foot) and climbs to ~3000
The land to the north (Austria) and the south (Italy… with the Adriatic coast and it’s ports and trade) are fertile low-lands, which for 1000s of years have been extensively farmed (and vino’ed )….both sides then are valuable ground, divided by a fairly narrow, but steep and rugged mountain range.

That natural border brought along its own set of considerations. Each side was keen to somehow cross the mountains and grab the spoils on the other side. A feuding King’s (or Pope's) dream: cross the mountains, rape and pillage to your heart’s content, then establish a firm “bridge-head” on the other side to guarantee trade and taxes for generations to come.
In the meantime, get rid of that inbred yokel, the black sheep of the family, and place him/ her far enough out of the way with hard-to work-soil, limited resources and a little castle here and there to keep ‘em under-resourced and unlikely to start some revolution….but in-line to be used when the big push across the mountains looked good for the next ego-expansion.

No shortage of skirmishes and biffs of all sizes along those mountains then….and WW1 proved the most recent one.

What’s THAT all got to do with motorcycling??

Weeellll….with that sort of background, and the most expansive military action a mere 100 years ago, there just HAS to be a lot of infrastructure left, which supported action of that kind.

Considering the terrain, it means that the valleys were the supply routes, with the ridges being hardest fought over (to control the valleys!).
That in return, makes for a myriad of “leftover”-roads and tracks, (to supply the military action along the ridges) which have either been
1) re-developed as main roads by now
2) became small local roads/ farming roads
3) have been left to deteriorate and fall into disrepair
4) have been re-developed to some extent for some local purpose

Whatever their fate…there just HAD to be a lot of interesting stuff around after a lousy hundred years (which is NOTHING, when compared to the local church or public building with their cornerstone markings of 1200 or 1500AD).

What a place to kick off T2 then….

A smorgasboard of tiny single-laners….a little dirt…remote areas with awe-inspiring scenery, sticking our noses into some historical stuff along the way.

The Slovenian Border Ridge Road….The Panoramica…the Mangart…Mt.Zoncolan….the Stol…the backroads around Northern Slovenia…Casson di Lanza…Torri de Fraele….and endless other tiny stuff.

Stringing it together via some more well-known stuff, still single-laners though….the Gavia, Vivione, Kaiserjagerstrasse,….the Tremalzo and Croce Domini….not to miss the Mortirolo/ Foppa….then throw in a few of the Classics and “Must-Do’s” like the Timmelsjoch, Grossglockner and Stelvio….pad it out with the Umbrail, Spluga, Albula and OfenPass…just to throw a few names around…..and finish off with the Grimsel/ Furka/ Susten/ St.Gotthard rollercoaster.

And that’s only the riding!!!!

Red circle= approx T2-area….green= approx. Eastern Alps Main ridge



Ideas came together… and if the order to the "weather-gods” had been processed correctly, we’d make a major dash east from Zurich to Slovenia, then spreading our time moving west towards Zurich again in an extended North-South ZigZag.

Lump in the local tucker, the low-season timing post EU school holidays, glorious autumn colours!! the incredible vistas, the “smells” of the place, riding on the wrong side of the road, extreme landscapes, buildings and history….and it should be an unforgettable time!!!

Those were the plans…and that’s how it went!


T2 had it ALL….AGAIN!!!...
incredible riding, unbelievable scenery, delicious single-laners, magic moments, SUPERB tucker …and “liquid bread”….FANTASTIC people along the way, roaring laughter and mirth, moments that turned knees and belly to jelly….and places which made you sit down, open-hearted, head in idle… and just let it all FLOOD IN.




Some stats ?
Near enough to 5000k’s, the bikes from Moto Mader near Zurich were EXCELLENT!!!!, no crashes (or rather: free-falls, considering the terrain), all timing and arrangements/bookings worked out perfectly, and a week after the return to Melbourne, the blisters and callousness on the “gas”-hand are slowly starting to come off… it’s been a HOOOOT of a time and the “weather-gods” DID PLAY ALONG!!

3 weeks of near perfect weather with only SOME wet roads on the 2.last day (near Andermatt) and a little drizzle on the last day along the way to Zurich….
The last day’s (Sat) Swiss morning-TV forecast promised something about “…a low-pressure-front coming in, snowfalls down to 1600m”.
By Monday , “Ranger” (from Alpenbiker.eu forum…who lives in the Dolomites) reported the Timmelsjoch closed due to snow, snow-tyres and chains needed for other passes…and the Passo di Gavia closed for the winter period since last Wednesday!!!
“The Aussies are gone!!...close down for winter NOW!!”

It just couldn’t ‘ve been any tighter!!


Hang in for Day1…
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A Dozen Years Of Adventures
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:56 AM   #2
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The T2 Crew...

Tim (TT)


Moike


Dave


Marty


Goodie


Pete







....and a couple of snow-ins.

Skyskippy


...our Flying Dutchies Ed + Henrike
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:57 AM   #3
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The modern, airy Duesseldorf (Northern Germany) Terminal is jam-packed with folks hustling and bustling to the gates to fly off to where ever the discount tickets take them this weekend….with 3-5 flights-per-minute leaving the place, there’s quiet chaos everywhere.

Most probably like any late-summer Saturday morning, I guess.

The mobile buzzes: “Tornantis in Dubai, all ok and on time”.
Tim’s SMS nails it then….if Air Berlin is on time, we should all meet in Zurich/ Switzerland within 40 mins of each other. Goodie and I had left for Europe a week ahead of the crew for some family-time with Goodie’s mum.

With Emirates Air running a tad late and Air Berlin copping some tailwind it all comes together nicely …we meet at the exit just before customs.
”Maaaan, what a draaaag!!”….the tired eyes and slightly-out-of-focus-eyes say it all….it IS a bloody long flight.









Find an ATM for a fistful of the local baksheesh, grab a coffee, get some train tickets for the ride to Aarau, a 45min trip…. where Kurt Mader, the boss of MotoMader, had offered to pick us up for the short hop to the Bike shop “just walk out of the station, we’ll be at the carpark out front…we’re in a Van and an X5” ….easy enough !!

Swiss trains are ON TIME….even if they use the basement of the airport as a station. Straight through to Aarau on the Tilt-train to Geneva then…
Tilt-what??

Yo….tilt-train!!

While the tracks are flat to allow slower, local trains to use the same tracks, the InterCity trains have carriages which tilt like on a banked track through the high-speed bends…an eerie feeling.

Another call to MotoMader confirms locations and times.

Instantly noticeable is the lack of graffiti and rubbish strewn everywhere….even during the slow cruise through Zurich’s Outer Suburbs….before it’s into the deep-green countryside of rolling hills and small villages with their prominent church towers.

Aarau appears in a flash…then there’s a pile of suitcases, backpacks, jackets and helmets flying out the door onto the platform, the train leaves with doors barely closed.

Checking around, there’s some major building works going on at one side of the substantial station…that’ll most probably mean the other side for us then…..suitcases and gear dragging up and down stairwells, underpasses etc. Man…it’s warm, too!

Gasping, we finally appear at street level….and there’s a small carpark ! That must be the one!! No cars though….

Then Tim turns WHITE:SHIIIIT….I must’ve forgotten my backpack on the train!!!....yep, with all the money, passport and all the other important stuff!!”.

OH, Jeezaz!!

Chaos reigns for the next 45 minutes….Goodie and Tim are off to the train station’s Lost Property office to lodge a claim….
....more calls to MotoMader HQ (“Yes, they’ve left 20mins ago, they’ve GOT to be there, it’s only 5km”)….
....in the end it all comes together, Kurt and Joerg show up in the Van/ X5, Goodie and Tim are back with copies of forms in their hands “it’s lodged, let’s see what comes out of it” ….and we’re chucking all the gear into the van.

Off to Oberentfelden, the small town right on the Swiss A1 Autobahn.



The drive ends in a small industrial area and …HolySchmoly!!….what a place MotoMader turns out to be!

The boss has talked some of the Mader-Crew into staying way past their usual Saturday arvo 4pm closing time to “process the Aussies” and get the official stuff out of the way.
Let’s take a short stroll around



Some of “our” bikes in the foreground


Dave getting the lowdown on where to find that BMW indicator-cancel button


Just sign on the dotted line


Showroom gems






You got that fuggen indicator switch now??


The upstairs accessories and clothing section make you weep with delight (and envy)



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A Dozen Years Of Adventures
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:58 AM   #4
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There are 2 blue and a red GS650 for us…plus 2 grey GS800s for Tim and Marty….and at the lack of a third one of those, the boss throws in a GS12 for the same price. All done!!


All bikes are virtually brandnew….the “oldest” are the 2 blue GS650s and the GS12 with ~ 5-6000km on the clock. Tim’s GS8 sprouts a virgin 30k’s!!! We'll fix THAT pretty soon...

All with panniers/ topboxes and tankbags….and full tanks.

That paints BiancoBlue in Milano 2 years ago “into the bin”!!!


In amongst all the kafuffle, Goodie’s mobile sprouts some good news: Tim’s backpack has been found intact and untouched by the conductor of the train (still on its way to Geneva!!) and can either be picked-up from Lost Property in Geneva (~250km away) tomorrow….or be returned in about 3 days to Aarau. Looks like a long train trip for Tim tomorrow then….in 2-3 days we’ll be somewhere else.

HUGE KUDOS to MotoMader…. Kurt, Joerg and the others who were there to help out 6 travel-weary Aussies getting their stuff together, get looked after like family (with nibblies on the counter and ice-cold drinks in an esky….incl. some Feldschloesschen beer for those who wanted it).

What a super-friendly and professional bunch they are!!

In the end they lumped us all back into the van and X5 for the 2km hop along the single-laner backroads to Muhen, a small village on the other side of the Autobahn….and home of the Gasthof Baeren, our stay for the next 2 nights….and the last night upon our return and prior to the flight back to Oz.

Muhen proves to be one of those typical semi-new-time, semi-traditional villages of the more industrialized northern Swiss “flat”-lands.

A big sign outside proclaims : “CLOSED” for holidays….WOT???
I’d just called them again a fortnight ago to confirm everything!!!
On further inspection, there’s a small bar at a side-entrance….and we’re expected.


The narrow doorway opens into a big courtyard….the Gasthof out the front used to be a typical farm-building with stables and hay-lofts out back, all wrapped around a courtyard with thick timber benches and tables nowadays….a sort of beer garden.

A steep staircase drives the sweat again, but there are 3 renovated rooms with ensuites upstairs….CHRIST, those suitcases weigh a ton!! Especially after that first half-liter stein of local brew has turned the legs to custard…the shade in the beer garden was just too inviting.

YOU wanted to be first in the shower?? Kiss my %$#@


Around 7ish, the world looks good: Got the keys and rego-papers for the bikes, the bed for the night is fixed, Tim’s backpack is only a 6hr. train ride away, the shower bolted the legs back underneath, time for a short look around and getting some tucker organized….



The local Farmer’s shop along the main street….the “Stainless Cow”….selling raw milk out of a fridge-come-vending-machine.



Bring your container (or grab one of the cleaned, re-usable Mineral Water bottles next to the machine), stick a Franc (~A$1) into the slot and watch the absolutely sensationally-tasting stuff glug about a litre worth of the cold, white stuff into the bottle.

Doesn’t go too well with the beer-foundation we laid about an hour ago though
Time for some chewies at the Restaurant Bahnhof !






Couldn’t care less about the local tram (connecting with Aarau Main Station) screeching away later that night and early the next morning…



….or the decidedly rural smell of the place.

“Shitflicker”-time around the Alps…more about that tomorrow, eh?

The local Saturday-Night crowd takes the downstairs Bar apart…while 6 Aussies snore blissfully unaware, wood-chipping half of Switzerland’s pine forests…
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A Dozen Years Of Adventures
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:58 AM   #5
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Pitchdark….5.15am….there’s no holding back.

I’m up… and out 10 mins later, picking my way through the narrow lanes out of town… retracing the way the Mader-van had taken yesterday arvo. Come past the corn-field and pinch a corn-on-the-cob….early breakfast, and it’s delicious!!

Still dark, the traffic on the A1 Autobahn is surprising for a Sunday morning. I grab one of the keys in my pocket…it fits Marty’s GS8…shove the helmet onto the noggin and slowly tootle back along those narrow lanes….even the very fine drizzle/ fog can’t dampen the spirits the slightest.

By now most of the bunch is up…today being a rest-day’ to shake some of that jet-lag and time-difference.
Off to breakfast to that little café down the road….the one with those delicious croissants and Bircher Muesli Yoghurt.


Pumpkinheads?


Juuust checking the menu for tonight, eh? Closed?? Yo, closed on Sundays!!



The tram/train trip into Aarau only takes 10min..but Marty heard something…



Being the old charmer that he is, it’s a 20sec pick-up


She’s a push-over!!





….dropping off Tim first for his backpack-retrieval mission to Geneva…



I’ll tell ya where to go, dear



….then exploring the Old Town of Aarau.
Situated at a major Swiss river, the Aare, one thing stick out immediately: this town/ small city has seen some wealth, at least in the past.

A river means transport (at least in the old days before trains and roads)…transport means commerce and trade, which in return bring money into town. And not just money, but also a wider horizon, as the river also allows travel.

The buildings of the old town are simply astonishing!!!.... richly decorated with elaborate timber-and tin work….and then add the paintings!!

Coming along for a stroll ??


The old (and still current) market place


Just look at those decorated eaves


















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Old 10-31-2009, 12:59 AM   #6
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The more we look, the more there is….this is never ending!! What a stunning place…and we had NO idea. Listen to the locals!!









Joerg from MotoMader had mentioned the Old Town being something special but hadn’t let on, what to expect. Sure glad we followed the advice!!











That post has sure seen a few centuries


Open drains…the neat way










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Old 10-31-2009, 12:59 AM   #7
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Someone taking a Sunday bath…..GOTCHA!! 10X zoom does that…



“Town Church”…rebuilt 1471-78 in place of an earlier church…the bell tower from 1442 was re-used and extended in 1663.
The organ from 1728, total renovation in the mid-60s….ahhhh, 1960 that is.





YES….rego for pushies!!


The local stone mason….glued to the old city walls











We’re just standing there, mouth agape….drooling!!







Then this…one sign above the entrance, the other carved into a stone below.
All up it looks like this used to be some children’s hospital or surgery at some time.
Chindli=Kind=Child….Chirurgo Publico Aloysius = surgery-public-Aloysius
Alosyius’s Public Children Hospital?


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Old 10-31-2009, 01:00 AM   #8
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A couple of shots after leaving the magical old town…a bike (scoot?) rack with nothing locked


And some weird modern-day plastic of all sorts of storybook-characters


Back to Muhen and some superb refreshments along the way….Moike just HAD to give this a go !!




…and onto the bikes !! Slowly walking along fields and paddocks, carrying helmets and gear… MotoMader is only 20 mins away.

Then it’s onto adjusting bars and mirrors, fixing the RAM mounts and all that.




…with advice from above.


The search for some grub proves a bit harder tonight, everything…but EVERYTHING…. is closed!!

We finish up at a lonely Pizzeria near the very end of the 3km main street.


The poor guys didn’t know what hit them…but came up with some good pizzas and a couple of bottles of vino in the end.


Even had a nosy visitor…the local hedgehog


After that vino things got a bit hazy….




Finally back at Tornanti HQ….

…where Marty found something else to play with


Can’t wait for the morning!!


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Old 10-31-2009, 01:00 AM   #9
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CRUNCHTIME !!!

Tim and I meet outside before 6…we can’t sleep with the “Big Day” finally on the doorstep...

It’s a bit grey up there…but fairly mild. Brecky is a somewhat quickish affair… then the first tentative steps on the “wrong” side of the road…this is WEIRD!!

Around the backblocks of Muhen and straight onto the A1-Autobahn, the going is good…we settle quickly at the 120kmh limit. The sun breaks through as things get badly choked around Zurich for a while…after all, this is Monday morning rush-hour…and the sweat starts running.

No use cracking the shits…straps get loosened, jacket-zips come down….eventually the bottleneck dissolves. A quick stop at the Thurau Roadhouse on the A1 Autobahn…the mission is still on track: Gasthof Schoenblick in the Ziller Valley tonight….a major push east.

NOICE !!



Planned are 2 days of heading towards Slovenia, sprinkling in a few “choice bits” for fun.

Thankfully the bikes came with Swiss Autobahn Toll-Stickers….we’ll only have to buy the 6Euro/A$10-for-10days Austrian equivalent when we swap from the Swiss side of the Rhine Valley to the Austrian side at Diepoldsau.

An hour later, now in Austria, it’s east again across the Arlberg Pass….not the old road, but the quick option of the 7Euro per bike Arlberg Tunnel….and the first lot of “decent” hills.
Yep…7 Euros!!...A$12 !!....which makes it about 90c per kilometer of tunnel…this dark pipe is a whopping 14k’s !!!





More quick progress past Landeck…more tunnels…and finally off the ‘bahn at Imst for a couple of frustrating laps through town until we had the right exit into the Oetz Valley.

By now, Germany is only a lousy ~35k’s to the north…we tack south through, the steep-sided valleys becoming impressive. A quick tack east in Oetz

…and Dave misses the boat completely!!

The very first few hairpins....and he’s still in Autobahn-mode, while the rest up front of the pack gets wide-eyed and twitchy. LET’S ROCK!!



EVERYWHERE!!! Signs welcoming riders….just imagine something like THAT in Oz!!



The fun is too short-lived though…the Kuhtai-Saddle tops the stretch, time for a break…and greeting some locals.





Down the other side towards Kematen/ Innsbruck and back to the ‘bahn for a final short stretch.



First fill up…”who the hell’s got some Euros?? I only got those Swiss Whatevertheyare, mate”







Late afternoon, the sun still giving its best, we tack south at Jenbach into the Ziller Valley…



….now, that’s rather like it!
The roads narrow a little, traffic thins out, everything’s a LUSH green, and the slopes are getting steeper, the mountains higher.
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:01 AM   #10
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7k’s on and there’s Ried, the village we’re supposed to look for.

I’d made the booking a few weeks earlier, after some fantastic looking pics dropped onto the screen right in the midst of an extended Google-session.
http://www.zillertal-online.at/schoenblick/auswahl.htm

OK, let’s find this “Zillertaler Höhenstraße” (Ziller Valley High Road)…no probs, there’s a sign…then some local single-laners shoot off in all directions…and so do the Tornantis!!

All of a sudden there’s only 3 of us left…then 2…then 3 again…
We decide to give it a whirl, find the place, and then sort out the mess via mobile phones.

Some friendly “local” waves and shouts from some 2.storey window of one of the buildings….in the end it turns out to be Sky (from the alpenbiker.eu forum), who’s been expecting us for tonight’s meet-up.

Right, there it is !!!




Holy Schmoly…WHAT A PLACE !!!

High above the valley floor, the views are simply STUMPING!!
For E38(~A$65) night/head incl. a simple, but sumptuous and generous 3-course dinner AND a MASSIVE breakfast-buffet, this place is a GEM!!


Add a few beers and a Schnapps and it’s 80bux for a day’s food/drink AND bed!!
Try to find a place LIKE THAT in OZ!!

Within 10 mins, the rest of the crew seems to appear from all sorts of little roads and tracks below and above.
Howzzat, folks ???


Sky rocks up a minute later



Time for ditching the clobber, have a stein and shoot some shit











I can’t take much more of this!!




The rooms are even cozier than what the externals promise….dead-gorgeous!


A little “Hello”-chockie



It’s been a GREAT day…





They even got their own deer



….and some “liquid dynamite”
(Fresh wine just pressed and starting to ferment….tastes like lemonade, until one tries to stand up!!)



Meeting in the dark:
The chat with Kurt, the former Vice Chairman of the Swiss Postal Service now retired and on holidays, is a perfect end to a fantastic first day. Thanks for your amusing (and highly educating) stories, friend!

Night above the Ziller Valley….oh maaan!!





See ya tomorrow!!

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Old 10-31-2009, 01:02 AM   #11
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ARGHHH, groan….:eek:

Marty’s having problems dragging his sorry arse out of bed. “All beer’s goat-piss” …he just wouldn’t know one exceptional brew from another if it bit him in the bum! :bt

So we tried to get his customary Bourbon ‘n Coke….quite an unknown item around here.
The bottle of JB was the only whiskey around and had most likely spent more years curing in the bottom shelf here than at the distillery. None of those wanky 15ml measuring gizmos on top of the bottle….grab a 250ml standard glass, fill half with whiskey:eek:, a few small ice-cubes, then gingerly top up with Coke…and none the pre-mix shit, either.

They didn’t even know what to charge for it….and made up some arbitrary sum. :so

That pretty much set the pattern for the 3 weeks in that department.
2 or 3 of those….and someone’s off to the shower to clear the head. :bs

Oh yeah…and while on topic: There’s NO bottleshops, BYO’s and all this bullshit….
Booze is EVERYWHERE!!

The friendly local grocer, the kiosk at the corner, the big servo along the Autobahn….booze everywhere, from “goat’s piss” to rocket fuel.
And before those puritans start jumping with their pants on fire…. it all seems to work out just fine.
Looks like the Euros can manage very well without the dumbing reglementation from above.

Morning folks !! s:s:



Since we’re already partway up this road, we may as well pay the E4/7bux toll and do the rest of the ~30k’s of singlelaner high above the valleys.





And what an absolute GEM this thing turns out to be…WHOWWWW!!!!









From drop-dead gorgeous…..to BREATHTAKING!!









NOW!!!....that’s ONE pile-of-shit in anyone’s language!!



Ohhhh….that gets me back to that “shitflicker” thing mentioned earlier.

In these parts, things get done the age-old, traditional way. None of those 50kg bags labeled “XYZ-Agricultural Chemicals---WE know what’s good for you---for stock market enquires call XXXXX” full of bile-green pellets or flakes here….

Cleaning the stables, the dung and straw mixture gets piled and stored. The summer brings the insects to “process” that pile ready for autumn, when the solids get mixed with water, stuck into 5000l tanker-trailers and pulled across the paddocks, a ‘rotary-twirler” at the back making sure of even distribution.
Sort of like a concrete truck with spreader-fan attached.

The snow then packs it all down and makes it soak into the ground during the snow-melt in spring…easy, aye? Bloody effective, too!

On T1, Tim termed those little tractors pulling the manure-tankers “shitflickers”….as usual, right on the money!

On their way home and back on “normal” roads”, the shitflickers are a dribbling, sopping mess….and following one on a bike can be decidedly adventurous.
Things get really nasty when there are wet roads, drizzle,or rain about…it’s like riding wet clay on qualifying slicks.

Of course, shitflickers can be around ANYwhere and ANYtime…

One good thing though….one usually knows when there’s one of them ahead….long before seeing ‘em.
The stench, especially if they’re loaded with undiluted concentrate, is like a king-hit with a baseball bat.

Back to the Ziller High Road



Sky zipping ahead







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Old 10-31-2009, 01:02 AM   #12
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Down the valley it’s a quick tack east across the Gerlos Pass…not much of a pass really, but nice nonetheless. Another E4/A$7 toll per bike.





The view across to the well-known Krimml Water Falls. Sadly we haven’t got the time for a proper look (which apparently involves a coach-trip etc etc)…the look from the distance has to do.









There’s plenty of other things ahead if we want to make it into Austria’s “Deep- South” today.
A couple on a RoadKing shows up….looks like they’ve got that badging right.



Mittersill…Zell am See…things flow smoothly.







Sky wants to show us the “Milestone #1” of the Grossglockner Road, but roadworks put a stop to that.


It’s up the GG then, one of the classics of the whole Alps region.
Tootling and pissfarting-around is OVER, the hammer comes down.
Just about traffic-free, the E16/A$28 toll is worth every penny!!
This time Dave’s ready and makes the GS12 earn its rental-$$. The big-12 disappears….

















Around the top…the views are thrilling, if even mostly obscured by clouds.










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Old 10-31-2009, 01:03 AM   #13
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Yes…they’re a Biker-friendly mob here!!










Heh?? There are even various maps on display, suggesting great bike-loops





Dave…hoisting our own flag







Now….THAT ONE’S doing it TOUGH!!



Display of some of the motorcycling history of the Grossglockner….as a RACETRACK!!









Down the other side towards Heiligenblut…and the turnoff to the Franz Josefs Heights and Pasterze-Glacier







Let it sing, baby!!









The Pasterze-Glacier….what a shock to see it for real….and realize how much of it has thawed away.
Thinking back 40odd years….the little Glacier-Lift from the carpark actually ended on the ice….nowadays call it the Rubble-Express, as it ends in a huge rubble-field of where the glacier used to be. Even more disturbing are the obvious changes after only 2 years.
Global warming has a lot to answer for…









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Old 10-31-2009, 01:04 AM   #14
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The amount of mint-looking Africa Twins is astounding…but then, they were sold here until only a couple of years ago. Outright irritating are the numbers of GS12s….it REALLY looks like BMW had a “Buy one, get 2 free” campaign running for the last few years.

And, of course, they’re just like 4WDs in urban Oz….out of a 1000 perhaps 5 will ever see an extended roadworks-section, maybe 3 of them a couple of “dirty weekends in the bush”.

All of them look like they came off the showroom floor this morning.





We’re a bit strapped for time now…but it’s hard to leave the heights, the endless vistas and peaks behind.
It just does something to you….













Winklern, across the Iselsberg Gap and south-east to Oberdrauburg…another tack south-east across the Gailberg Saddle, which proves a nice little surprise. More twisties, YEEEHA!!


With the sun warming the back, the run parallel to the Austrian-Italian border up the Gail Valley towards Villach gives some space for other thoughts.




The bikes are doing fine…and so are we. We’re all starting to get used to the steeds…Moike is still a bit hesitant, riding something completely new after 20odd years of riding his R100RS….
We’re damn lucky with the weather so far….and Sky has been a surprise, punting that cruiser up and down those mountains like there is no tomorrow. Also integrating seamlessly into the on-the-road dynamics of the group.
Skip,….get off the cruisers! Stop dreaming of a new 1100/1400 Intruder. You’re riding that bike like a sporty…just get one then.
This driving-on-the-right thing is really no problem at all….so far, so good.
The shadows are getting long….and we’ve still got to find our way through the maze of roads around Villach. A longing glance at the turn-off to Troepolach…the mountains are clear… wouldn’t a run up the Nassfeld be great? Right NOW?

Tim punches the destination into the GPS and gets us through Villach just fine…then up some country roads, turning off here and there. Things are getting narrower and narrower, until we finish up in someone’s drive way, the other choice was some track disappearing into the woods.

A short, heated exchange… the maps come out and it’s onto the next main road, which gets us to the target 10 mins later, all’s good.
…and straight into the open arms of Hans and Elisabeth (from Vienna, 4hrs away) and Michael (castle-of-teck, on his way home from a holiday).


The small Gasthof is bursting at the seams with the need of 8 beds and 10 hungry mouths to feed.
What can I say??
I really didn’t believe that it would all come together!!
Hans and Elisabeth….after nearly 3 years of forums it was unbelievable to finally meet up (and we’ll do so again in NZ in a couple of years!!).
Michael…THE man with THE Strom!! The only DL1000 on this planet WITH ABS!!
Again, a real pleasure to finally meet face-to-face…. even though it was far too short!! See you in Oz one of those days, you’ve gotta promise me that!
Sky….well….we were lucky enough to have a little more time together….and many, many thanks for all the efforts that everyone made to meet us there.
Another BIG THANKS has to go to the couple that runs the Gasthof Mariandl
Gasthof Mariandl, Keutschach, Tel./Fax: +43/(0)4273/2880
http://tinyurl.com/l25gd2
…I’m sure they didn’t see it coming.
A bunch of Aussies and mates who just took over the place within minutes, running an hour or 2 late for dinner, not enough beds (initially) and general chaos from the kitchen to the 2.floor.
Then Hans pulls one out of the hat!! ….the topic we’d been egging each other on about for the least 2 years…


Dumbfounded!

I KNOW WHAT THIS IS !!!!

AND IT IS!! A TRUE and GENUINE Vienna Sachertorte from the Royal Confectionery !!
In its wooden box, decorated with an (edible) pic of a Strom carving the bends….talk about tears in your eyes, mate.

Hans!!...you’ve outdone yourself!

Let the festivities begin



MORE!!

Dave and his breadrolls….but that’s another story


Bloody oath, I do!!
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Old 10-31-2009, 01:05 AM   #15
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It’s been sad to see Hans and Elisabeth leave for home last night (and their 4hr. return drive to Vienna starting ~11pm had me worried a bit, too)….add the foggy, grey morning and the mood is down a bit.

Michael and Sky will leave us this morning; too…both are not really game to tackle the planned dirt in Slovenia.



Early morning visitors



The Strom of all Stroms….Michael’s 1000ABS





Poster downstairs…”screwly” translated: The Stromless….poor buggers!



With the pending parting-of-our-ways, the fog out there and a laden brecky-table, nobody’s in a rush this morning. L->R Marty, Michael, Goodie and Sky
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