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Old 08-30-2009, 04:52 AM   #1
MotoErik OP
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: The great white north
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Italy to 66'33"

This July/August I took a 3 week motorcycle tour of Europe. The only "goal" was to reach the Arctic Circle, and only because it's there. Over the 18-ish months that I spend planning (if you could call it that), the trip turned into a meandering back-and-forth journey through 17 different countries, and was chalking in at around 6K miles.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...69&postcount=1

It ended up being 22 days on the road, and I put 6,861 miles (11,042 km) on the bike's odometer. I'll try my best to finish this off in a timely manner, but it may take me a couple weeks to type up the whole journey.

Let's start at the beginning:

Days -7 & -8
I started the weekend prior, assembling all of my camping gear, cooking gear, and most of the maps, tankbag things, etc. Of course I don't finish, because I have all the time in the world at this point. My plan is to finish packing up throughout the week, for a Saturday departure.

Day -1
Uh oh, it's now "next Saturday", and I haven't done a single thing yet... In the true spirit of a born procrastinator on vacation, I decide to depart mid-morning on Sunday. I figure if I finish all the packing & prep today, I can get a good nights sleep & hit the road around 9 a.m. Having layed the groundwork of a solid plan, I immediately blew it all to hell by goofing off for most of the day.
I did a little sporadic packing, and sometime in the mid-afternoon decided to wash the bike. I ended up doing a great job, and had me a spotless ride around sundown. I'm still not finished packing... It's OK, I can watch a movie tonight, and finish bright & early in the morning.

Day 1
All right! I wake up bright & early, and immediately start the final pack.



One minor detail leads to another, and OH, don't forget to....



Can't find my BeadRider seat, where are my straps, dead battery in the camera...



I manage to finally get everything together & depart before noon.





With an almost empty tank & a mighty feeling that it would be much easier to stay home, I rolled out of my driveway and was finally on my way.

I immediately discovered that for all my planning, I had ignored my own "backyard". I had no real plan on where to go! East? North? North-East? Oh, the decisions.... I started by popping up into the mountains on a favorite local road, just to get me into the swing of things.





I wandered north though the town of Cortina D'Ampezza, and started to fall into my groove. Heading east, I went into Austria.



I had a blast riding the Dolomites Road (111), after taking a small detour. I know, it's immature, but I wanted to visit this town:



Ended up stopping for the night near Auen, Austria, on the south shore of the Worther See. At this point I'm wondering if I'll ever complete my journey- if I hopped on the highway I could get home in about 2 1/2 hours...

Day 2
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MotoErik screwed with this post 08-30-2009 at 06:02 AM
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:20 AM   #2
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We're using to seeing Arctic Circle adventures through Canada and Alaska... this is going to be great

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Old 08-30-2009, 06:07 AM   #3
MotoErik OP
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Day 2
I wake up on Day 2 with a newfound sense of purpose: it's Monday, and I'm not at work! Of course, that thought is quickly followed by "Holy Crap is it cold"! My thermometer says it's 12C outside, and I believe it. Coming from Italy where it was hovering around 30C, this is a shock to me.

I am struggling with the little things at this point- my tent is small- 120x200cm, and I am having a hard time figuring out how to arrange everything. My prior trip with this tent was a one-nighter down the Croatian coast, and I didn't have the same bulk of "stuff" with me. I knew that the sleeping bag needed to go in diagonally to be comfortable, and I quickly ran out of room for my helmet, boots, tankbag, maps, riding suit, etc... I'm pondering shopping for a bigger tent and warmer clothing, but realize that I have no place to store anything bigger on the already overloaded bike. Hmmmm.

Anyways, I hit the road and head south into Slovenia, one of my favorite places to ride. The weather was great going through Loibdelpass, and there is virtually no traffic on Monday.









I don't stop much, since I'm still "in my backyard". After cutting across the northeast corner of Slovenia, I crossed into Hungary on a small back road.



Now, have you ever heard a street rider say "Hey, let's go riding in Hungary"? No? There's probably a reason for that... The countryside was nice enough, but the roads are complete crap. Hundreds of trucks and tractors clogged up the roads, and there was very little opportunity to overtake.



They had worn huge tire ruts into the tarmac, and I had to keep a constant watch for potholes, loose gravel, and the like. All in all, it reminded me of Wisconsin. The temps had been climbing through the day, and it was a steaming 35C near Lake Balaton. I wasn't in the mood for the tourist scene, so I swung to the left & headed north.

As soon as I crossed the border into Slovakia, everything seemed much nicer. The scenery reminded me of Slovakia, and the road conditions drastically improved. Wanting to avoid civilization, I bypassed Bratislava and started looking for a campground. After 2 hours of being misled by my GPS, and following horrible directions by locals, I ended up backtracking all the way into Bratislava & spent the night at a campsite in the middle of town. My camera has been acting up, and I missed many great pictures- it is a several year old relic that hasn't had an easy life, and I'm thinking that it has finally had enough...

I'm tired, and a little frustrated with my poor planning & crappy gear, but really enjoying myself nonetheless.
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:37 AM   #4
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Day 3

I departed Bratislava and headed straight north into the Czech Republic, towards Brno. My camera isn't taking pictures at all now, and I ended up with this one shot after spending about 2 hours in Brno, which is a wonderful old town.



It was a nice cool cloudy day up until I left Brno, and that's when the rain started. It was just heavy enough be annoying, but not heavy enough to slow me down. Going north through Krkonossky Narodni park over the mountains was beautiful, and I even conviced my camera to work a couple times.







After crossing the top of the mountains, I entered into Poland, and the weather cleared up. This is when I discovered that I lost the rain cover for my RevPack bag. Although I dearly love the RevPack bag, the rain cover was designed really poorly, IMHO.





I found a nice little campground in the town of Legnickie Pole. I took my camera apart to see if I could fix it- I couldn't find anything wrong with it, but after I put it back together it started working much better.





I was in the mood for a restaurant, but oddly enough there wasn't one. I had to settle for getting dinner from the local butcher shop/mart.



It was a nice little town- quiet & in the middle of nowhere. This is what I had been looking for on this trip.

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Old 08-30-2009, 07:13 AM   #5
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Great trip.
Aviano? So you live close to Agordo. My family name is from Agordo. Beautiful there.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:38 AM   #6
MotoErik OP
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Day 4

I took a picture of my breakfast being cooked, mainly to see if my camera still worked. Seems like a good time to describe the cooking gear I brought with, right?
From left to right:
Steel cup, made by Coleman. I believe that steel cups are mandatory for all motorcyclists...
My Italian coffee pot. Seemed like a great idea pre-trip, but next trip it gets to stay at home. It was bulky to pack, and took forever to brew. I should've gone with instant coffee, or tea, as much as I hate to say that.
Titanium spoon, which came with a matching fork. A Swiss army knife completed the cutlery set.
Aluminum wind screen, which can double as a table and cutting board.
The stove is an Athena "Max Burton" (a discontinued model) that refills from cigarette lighter butane cannisters, and fits nicely into my pan for storage. You can see the red top of the butane can behind the wind screen.
My left saddlebag was the kitchen, and held all of my food and cooking gear.
Last but certainly not least, my aluminum water bottle, with neoprene cover, purchased from Duluth Trading. I didn't buy any water until day 22, my bottle performed awesomely.



I hopped on the highway and headed west-north-west into Germany, towards Berlin.



I didn't even smell it....



Berlin is a grand town, but they need to stop with the construction and the one-way streets... The Brandenburg Gate was impressive.





As an American, I rode my German motorcycle through Checkpoint Charlie- my how things have changed...



Being another hot day, I decided to head north to cool off, and hit the road towards Rostock.

The Germans were nice enough to line the roads with shade trees for me...







...and apparently had trained the trees to eat trucks.



In the spots where the trees were missing, they had installed giant fans, which provided a nice gentle breeze. They think of everything!



I called it a day near Rostock- after checking the ferry schedule, I found a campsite on the Ostsee, about 20 minutes from town. As soon as I pulled into the campground, I was invaded by these little buggers:





I'm not sure if there were really bees, but when 2 or 3 hundred of them decided to swarm my bike, I wasn't taking any chances... I must've squashed something tasty that day, because they couldn't get enough of my bike or helmet. Deep Woods OFF cured that problem, thankfully.





In case you're wondering, that water *is* as cold as it looks.
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MotoErik screwed with this post 08-30-2009 at 07:49 AM Reason: spelling
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:43 AM   #7
MotoErik OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lion BR
Great trip.
Aviano? So you live close to Agordo. My family name is from Agordo. Beautiful there.
Lion
Yes, not too far at all. It's much more beautiful in the Agordo area, we're just off the edge of the mountains here...
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:21 AM   #8
MotoErik OP
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Day 5

The weather was great at the campsite, but as soon as I pulled up to the ferry...



Saying farewell to continental Europe, and heading to Scandinavia!



My first glimpse of Denmark...



...and then I'm there.



Denmark is full of impressive bridges. This one is notable because it's the only one I have a picture of, and it is the last picture taken with my old camera.



After not getting any pictures of downtown Copenhagen, I bought a new camera. I contemplated backtracking to take pictures, but finally decided that was a little silly. I headed out of town to see "the Little Mermaid", and spent a while just wandering around on the wharfs.





Heading north-east from Copenhagen, I caught another ferry over to Sweden.



I stopped for the night in Raa, Sweden, where a rainbow decided to frame my bike.

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Old 08-31-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoErik
Day 5

The weather was great at the campsite, but as soon as I pulled up to the ferry...

..

I stopped for the night in Raa, Sweden, where a rainbow decided to frame my bike.

awesome report Moto, very inspirational. Glad you "fixed"your camera :)
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:49 AM   #10
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In.
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Ridden; GBR CYM DEU FRA ESP AND MCO ITA BEL SCT LUX CHE SMR LIE AUT NLD POL LTU LVA EST SWE FIN NOR DNK CZE SVK HUN ROU BGR GRC MKD SRB ALB MNE BIH HRV SVN MYS IRL BRA MAR PRT ARE USA ISL JPN MLT Planning; AUS TUR MDA UKR MEX BLR MNG RUS KAZ TJK KGZ SEN ZAF ZMB MWI NZL IND CPN
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:56 AM   #11
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- I need another fix already.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:30 PM   #12
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I love these reports. Glad you got the new camera.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:49 PM   #13
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This is a very nice report

Thank you for bringing us along on your ride.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:35 PM   #14
MotoErik OP
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Day 6

Brrrr. It's cold. It's windy. Oh well, at least it's dry....



One of the things I want to do on this trip is see a Moose. Although this one is made of wood, I figure I must finally be in Moose country, and am watching the pine forests on the sides of the road like a hawk. A moosehawk.





Did I say something stupid like "at least it's dry"? I should know better than to do that by now. I keep skirting the edge of a rain cloud that's determied to follow me. I keep hoping I can get around it, and bask in the sunshine on the other side, but it just keeps moving, and spittering-sputtering occasional rain on me.



I spotter this unusual twin-spire church in the town of Vaxjo.



This countryside is beautiful. Yes, that rain cloud is still following me...



Oops- I stopped for gas, and it caught me....



....but not for long.





So, one of the things on the map that caught my eye was a castle named "Eriksburg". I figured that should be well worth the visit (if you're named Erik), right? So I started my quest down the dirt-mud road.



Getting closer



Umm, stupid map. Sure, Eriksburg ruled this region in the 18th century, but you need to work on your definition of "castle". Although the manor was impressive, it was a lot closer to "house" than "castle".





I was so disappointed, I couldn't go on. There was a campsite nearby in Djulo, so I dug in for the night.





Sweden is strangely familiar- I am a Minnesotan living in Europe, and Sweden is exactly like Minnesota with a European

flavor. The food, the people, the scenery, everything.





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Old 09-03-2009, 02:24 PM   #15
philofax
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RideReports - mostly Europe
The Grossglockner HighAlpine Street / Austria RideReport // 2009
How Nightmarion became an ADVRider a RR from Slovenia, Croatia and Italy 2009
Sardinia, the Italian beauty in fall 2009
A country a day keeps the boredom away, Ride Report / Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Germany Aug 2010
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