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Old 06-15-2009, 02:11 PM   #16
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Thank you fellow Caponordisti!

I've updated the photos of day 2, 3 posts above. You can get a better idea now...
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:04 AM   #17
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wow excellent to see 2 fellow capoheads in one place!

i have ridden the dolomites on my falco and also travelled accross them in the car.

keep up the good work

also your written english is absolutely faultless.

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Old 06-16-2009, 06:06 AM   #18
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The capo feels right at home on these passes, too bad so many bikers are intimidated by aprilia's reputation and have chosen 1000cc tourers without trying it out.. It would have been a different market today if they had...

Thank you for your kind words, I'm fluent in English, and I'm glad I'm able to share this experience with the entire world, instead of "just" my fellow Greeks, who, in vast majority, are able to follow this narration just as well...

Day 3 is coming up shortly..
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:42 AM   #19
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We had our breakfast and then started to carry our luggage back to the bikes, and just before loading them back on the bikes, we realized once more that 4 bikes can carry A LOT..





We payed for the room (35 euros per person per night) and enjoyed our last km in the Dolomiti region.






We passed Bolzano, which appeared to be a relatively big city, and got back on the smaller and quieter roads towards the north entrance of the Stelvio.










The weather was once again phenomenal and as the first road signs pointing towards Stelvio started to appear, I was filled with anticipation, as I thought that we would reach the top of the famous Alpine pass.





At the next gas station we were informed that the pass was still closed, which was a bit disappointing (ok a lot), and I was surprised to see that in this region the locals speak Austrian (well, German) among them and Italian is not widely (and correctly) spoken. Our official Italian fixer and co-traveler (Mr Sweet feet, who had studied in Italy) was no longer able to understand very well parts of the conversation.. I’d like to add another piece of information, we had seen signs in the Dolomites stating that the Bolzano region is an autonomous region (Sud-Tyrol is the name, it is the 4th photo above), and all the road signs have both German and Italian names (which are sometimes completely different). I don’t know the story behind that and I’m still wondering so someone from Italy or Austria can tell us what’s the deal with that matter…
Anyway we started to ride Passo di Resia and stopped for coffee near the border on the Italian side, at a wonderful village near a lake, called Curon Venosta.











Shortly after that we entered Austria and stopped again at the first gas station to buy the Austrian vignette (4,40 euros for 10 days).























The road was perfect again, sparkling and letting you know that it wouldn’t fail you, the scenery nice, and not before long, we reached our hotel which had been booked by another friend who was heading for ITT with his group only one day ahead.. The hotel was in Mutters, it was lovely, 15 minutes outside Innsbruck and cost the usual 35 euros per person..





We unloaded (again) our side cases, had a quick shower, and went out to check out the city. We took the hotel’s owner advice and went by tram, which proved to be a good choice. The tram travels downhill towards the centre, offering a spectacular tour at the passengers, and it’s really scenic and relaxing…



















We had a first walk around the city, took some photos and sat at a restaurant, where we were joined by the other group of friends.























After that, we all went to a very nice bar called 360 which is at the top of a new mall and has spectacular view of the city, we would have never found it as it is well hidden for a tourist, but, as this friend frequently travels through the region, he had discovered it and was definitely worth it…



















We grabbed a beer and took the tram back to Mutters, half asleep and exhausted by another fantastic day on this trip..








Next up: The mythical Grossglockner and arrival in Salzbourg…
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:49 AM   #20
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Great ... more please
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:01 AM   #21
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Day 4 - The Route

Google maps refuses to plot a route through the Grossglockner, but with some creative cutting and pasting, here is the day's route, 430 saturating kms:

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Old 06-16-2009, 11:01 AM   #22
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It's about damn time that I finally see a trip report with some Capos in it!!!! Thanks for sharing the great report and pics. Keep it coming!
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekms377
It's about damn time that I finally see a trip report with some Capos in it!!!! Thanks for sharing the great report and pics. Keep it coming!
Be patient all of you caponordisti, a whole week with just a capo duo is coming up!! The lesser bikes still hold us back, but from the Czech Republic onwards, we will set the rotaxes freeeeee!!!
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:14 PM   #24
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Bravo, bravo my Capo bothers....keep it coming........
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:32 PM   #25
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Day 4

Having missed the Stelvio, the Grossglockner (GG for short, that word is impossible to write, let alone pronounce) was something not to be missed, but it was completely out of the way. The easy way to Salzburg is a mere 190km on the motorway, but that was never even considered. We decided to ride up to Bruck via Haizenberg, a route which showed as “scenic”, and make the decision whether to enter the GG there, depending on the weather and the time we would reach that point.

We paid for the hotel, and got on our way without haste, a rule that was set long before we started that trip. We wanted to take everything easy, travel at a relaxing pace, enjoy every km of the way, stop wherever we felt like it, and never follow a time-based schedule…



We got off the highway the soonest possible, and started to follow the gps’ directions, and soon we were riding a wonderful, quick country road, which took us by surprise with its natural beauty… At some point along the way, we reached a remarkable rest area, overlooking a serene lake, which mirrored the surrounding mountains. It was desktop-material-photos-gathering time!!














A little further we entered a national park, with 4 euros toll/entrance fee, and we were finding it difficult to move on without stopping every couple of minutes to get some photos…













We managed to reach the doorstep of the GG at 13.30h, and we all agreed to push on, ensuring that by the end of the day we would be completely exhausted, we never regretted that choice..



The toll is 18 euros per bike, but, since we had paid 4 at the other national park, our toll was reduced to 16 euros.



The GG is advertised as “motorbike heaven” and the truth is not far from that… 48 kms of spotless tarmac welcome the rider and seduce him into pushing his bike to the limits (add “her” where applies, no pun intended to the female riders), up to 2570m of altitude, in a magical blend of snow, rocky peaks, and astonishing drops on the outer side of the road…

























I let the capo loose, which happily started to scream at every twist of the right grip handle. I was in trance, enjoying every turn of the road, until I had enough… I slowed down and I turned on the camera, set it to video mode, and started shooting, I wanted to preserve this memory… My friend Yani overpassed quickly, I knew exactly what he felt right at that moment… It was pure joy…



We reach the top and I notice a familiar triumph bike passing on the opposite direction, at the last moment I make out the Greek Transalp club flag… I make a U-turn and follow him into the parking lot, and, suddenly, I am back in Greece! The biggest ITT group from Greece (17 bikes), which had traveled through the Dalmatian Coast, is there, and they are joined a little while later by the “late” group (9 bikes), which were going from Venice to Salzburg in a single day’s ride, and of course our selves (4 bikes)… 30 Greek plated bikes and some 45 people turned the quiet Grossglockner peak into an Athenian rush-hour nightmare!! Loud and ecstatic, we turned all the heads of the unsuspicious travelers nearby… The other two groups had a rendezvous there, we were the cherry on top, it was really memorable…















We leave the others, who traveled north-bound unlike us, and had less road to travel, and continue south for the descend. A little later, we left the GG, 16 euros well spent!!















We had planned to eat before hitting the highway, but since everything was closed at that time (it is times like this that I feel homesick), we ended up exiting the highway to go to a random village, which was, as expected, tidy and clean beyond any reasonable comprehension… The funny thing is that Germany was even tidier, but for our Greek standards, Austria seemed like a sterilized hospital wing, an hour before the programmed visit of the minister of public health…

We had a great lunch, with the friendliest Dutch waiter (gotta love the Dutch), had one espresso, and soon we were back on the highway…





It was boring now, and we were tired, so the two capos got separated and we started to go a bit fast… We would wait for them at the highway exit, or so we thought… On the way to Salzburg there is a big tunnel and the toll is a whooping 9.50 euros, on the other direction the traffic had come to a complete stop (for unknown reasons) and the queue stretched for many kms. Everyone was calm, the auxiliary right lane was clear, and we didn’t hear anyone honk. We were taking pictures of this weird sight, in Greece it would have been a different story to say the least…



Back on our story, there was a radar speed trap at a narrowed section of the road which had a reduced speed limit of 80, the “fast” duo was blocked by a truck and we cruised by the two policemen at the civilized and legitimate speed of 75km/h… You guessed it. The two transalps were clocked at 112km/h (they were slowing down but didn’t use the breaks as is the norm there) and received a speed ticket of 35 euros… We had a good laugh later at the hotel, saying that Yani (stop trying to follow the names, 3 of us were Yani, better stick with the bikes) the rider of the ’96 TA600, would frame the ticket as proof that he can reach 112 with the “granny”…

The rest of the road was uneventful, except for the fact that I thought I had lost my bike key when we unloaded the bikes… Another interesting day was ending and it was nice that all Greek ITT groups (except for two individual bikers) were all staying at the same hotel.. The hotel was in Seeham , some 15 kms from Salzburg , and had been booked by another Yani (the same who had booked our Innsbruck rooms) for the unsurprising amount of 35 euros per night…

Tomorrow we invade Germany and reach Bischosmais!
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:09 PM   #26
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I am quite literally at this moment and enjoying the heck out of this RR!
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:43 AM   #27
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Day 5 - The Route

We rode to Salzburg for a tour of the city, and then we took minor roads to get to Bischofsmais. We did however get a small taste of the autobahn! 186kms roughly, Germany here we come!

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Old 06-17-2009, 08:53 AM   #28
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DAY 5 - Did you really say NO speed limit?

It was gradually becoming more difficult to wake up relatively early in the morning, as the long days on the bike were taking their toll…






We woke up at the Greek-infested hotel, had breakfast, and started planning the day.













We had little distance to cover, but Salzburg has many sights, both within the city and nearby. On top of that, we wanted to reach Bischofsmais by 19.00h, when the buffet and later the opening ceremony would take place. We decided to start with the town center and adjust the program on the go.





I managed to find my missing ignition key, which sat gloriously inside my tankbag, which I had turned upside down a thousand times last night (I had a spare anyway but still…), so we went through the usual loading of the bikes, and left for Salzburg.

We parked the bikes and secured our belongings with various patents, and walked towards the good staff, the old town.












The “Salt City”, named after its salt mines which used to be located to the south, is a lovely town. It is also the birthplace of Mozart so everywhere you look you see Mozart-shaped things: Chocolates, key holders, stickers you name it. I bet they have Mozart-shaped condoms but I didn’t bother to ask…














Mozart used to play the organ in this very church until the age of 17 (from probably before he was born, those geniuses get on my nerves )



One can pay and tour around the old city by horse carriages, the only problem is the "emissions", which turn some road into minefields..



The old town is well preserved, and is ideal for relaxing walks, souvenir shopping and Mozart-related trivia. We found out that there is a lazy way to get to the castle, a nice rail lift, which costs about 10 euros for a return ticket. We had to conserve energy for the trip ahead (a good excuse to be lazy), so we decided to do just that.


We got to the top (fantastic view), and sat at the café-restaurant for a coffee/beer.. I didn’t catch the name, but they served a wonderful smoked beer up there, make sure to check it out if you ever go there (I will add a special beer section later on, I believe I have a good audience for that topic in here…).












We visited the castle which had a wonderful torture tools collection among other interesting stuff… I thought I’d get my wife one of these but they didn’t have her size…


How you doing?



We returned to the town, sat for a sausage snack (always sample the local specialties, I say), and realized that the salt mines were out of the question, we will have to wait until our next visit to see that. Thankfully Salzburg is a central passing point so I’m hoping I’ll go there again soon…


Oh, there was a vintage car race taking place that day:








We returned to our bikes, geared up, and left for Germany.



Once again, the gps and the different colored road signs were the only way to realize that we had entered a new country (Yani, the other capo rider, thought we were still in Austria even 120kms past the “border”).



We stopped at a small village for a quick coffee (Yani: we are in Germany already?).



I had the funniest conversation with a German biker who didn’t speak any English:
-Gesture -> “bike”, “twist of the throttle”, “thumb up”?
- Yaa, “twist of the throttle”*2, sound “vrrrm, vrrrrm”, Gooot yaa!
- “wave bye bye”, “thumb up”, gesture “long way”
- “wave bye bye”, “thumb up”
We could talk for hours like this…



Back on the road, we reach our first autobahn section, for only 20kms. I have IGO8 on my gps, and I have it show on the left lower corner the remaining distance, the altitude and the current speed limit. I was wondering how “no speed limit” would show, it turns out it simply blanks out, and the speed limit field is suddenly empty.

Party time!! The truth is that there IS a speed limit of 120 when it rains, and there are signs indicating that, at the moment it’s not raining so it’s time to step on it… It’s very expensive to go really fast on the autobahn because someone will always be slowing you down, as they change lane to overpass other traffic. So you go to 200, then down to 100, then 210, back to 80 (trucks overpass too), then 190, and so on. Needless to say all that slowing down and accelerating increases consumption but, who cares for that, the bloody road has no speed limit!! It is very rare to manage to stay above 200km/h for long periods because of that fact. Even like this, the 20kms are gone before you know it, and we (the two capos) stop at the side and wait for the transalps (this will be our downfall tomorrow)… Whatever the deal, the German autobahn is still the only place on the planet (except for race tracks) where you can LEGALY have the time of your life with a set of quick wheels, and the capo falls into that category…

We finally reach Bischofsmais, we go to the “rezeption”, get our keys, and hit the buffet immediately with ferociousness… It’s starting to rain lightly as we go back to the main building’s large balcony for beer and catching up with the others.





A little later, we are guided at the “campfire”, where the Germans have prepared a little opening ceremony, to get things started. Personally I leave a couple of minutes later because I’m starting to feel like I’m in church camp…








I head to our accommodation with Yani (the capo one), unload the damn luggage (by now its “damn luggage”, notice the climax?), and start unpacking. Teo (the TA650 guy, or “old fart” for short) joins us a little later and we have some small talk before hitting the bed…

Another day comes at an end, and tomorrow we’re headed for an extra autobahn dose, plus a burned regulator… Stay tuned!!
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:49 PM   #29
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wow excelent....keep it coming i am looking forward to more stories of helenic 'derring doo' in germania! (dont ask me what derring doo' means but it sounds good)

as for the auto bahn i managed 150mph (245km/h) on the A81 between stuttgart and singen on my falco. funny thing was it didnt seem so fast because the other cars were doing 130mph.

some sections are quiet enough for high speeds

the germans also know how to have propper big motorway 'pile ups'. i have seen them happen and the result isnt pretty.

yes an audi A8 may be able to cruise at 240kph but try stopping 2 tonnes of german steel in a reasonable distance...or maybe just plough through the car that happens to have got in the way!
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:04 AM   #30
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Yeah, the parts we rode had a bit of traffic, I guess at some other parts you'll be able to go nuts uninterrupted...

Luckily we didn't see any accidents (apart from a minor one in Austria), it can be a real downer..

In any case the autobahn is in a league of its own when it comes to motorways, a unique experience.
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