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Old 08-09-2011, 05:07 AM   #1
jack_mccain OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Cool2 S.v.e.r.g.i.e

S.V.E.R.G.I.E (Some Very Exciting Riding in Gotaland Islands and Elswhere)

or a story about how to keep your wife relatively happy



The problem: time. Only two weeks to combine family and motorbike holidays. Wife not too happy.

Solution: Put grandparents in use and rent a car for your wife. Life is full of compromises.

When: 21 July - 7 August

Where: Belgium, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium

Distance: 4500 km

The equipment: new BMW F800GS, Rev'It Sand Suit, AFX FX-39 helmet, Giant Loop Great Basin luggage.


It is my first ride report, so bear with me. It will not be hardcore, as I started riding motorcycles really only a year ago, so was not sure if this will be my cup of tea at all. After many kilometers, sore a$$, drenching rain for 600km, I can say it is and I want more!!

Wakacje 2011

jack_mccain screwed with this post 08-09-2011 at 08:18 AM
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:14 AM   #2
PerpetualMotion
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Joined: Sep 2009
Oddometer: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jack_mccain View Post
Distance: 45000 km
You mean 4,500km ?

Looking forward to your RR, should be good
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:51 AM   #3
jack_mccain OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Day 1: Brussels - Hannover (500km)

Day one did not start well. I still had a lingering cold, so was not looking forward to riding a bike for several hours. In the morning, I drove my wife and my son to the airport and came back home to pack up the bike and get going.

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I initially planned to avoid motorways, but not feeling well I decided to get to Hannover as fast as possible. Ride was boring but fast, so no pictures. Made it to the hotel and after ample amount of nose drops, cough syroup, paracetamol and beer I drifted into sleep. :) I was planning to take some small scenic East German routes to my family town in Poland the next day.

Day 2: Hannover - Pyrzyce (Poland) - 500km

Views form the hotel window didn't bode well. Heavy overcast and strong wind. I had a full breakfast and decided to hit the road. I kept my rain gear in the bags. 100km further I decided to put it on. Immediately, it ripped into two - 9.99 EUR - I guess you get what you pay for. Still, gave it a chance for several miles, but decided that it slows me down more then keeps me dry. Rev'it Sand suit was on its own.

I kept going on motorways, as I wanted to get home as fast as possible. Approaching Berlin, I was cold to the bone, so decided to stop at the gas station and get as many layers onto me as possible. I needed to put warm liners into my pants, as my b@ls started to freeze. Getting into 1m2 WC cubicle dripping wet, undressing, attaching liners and getting dressed up again is not an easy task. I guess I passed an entry circus exam. Getting out, I looked like a Michelin man. Sand suit will all liners (but I was dry inside!!!), thermal underwear, polar fleece, and on top of that all my Gore-tex shell. Now, all the rain in the world could kiss my a$$.

Hundred kilometers from home I decided to get off the highway, as the wind started to be so strong that I deemed it not safe anymore. Small D.D.R roads here I go! I immediately encountered two problems. My AFX FX-39 helmet started to fog like crazy with lower speeds. My 3M safety yellow googles as well. No shield was not an option, so after 50 km, I dug out my trusty Uvex skiing goggles and finally started to see where I was going. Second problem was my GPS. I took an ordinary GPS with waterproof case (going cheap again). This was fine except fogging, but the USB connection was out there in the rain. After attempting to cover it with empty tissues pack, I told myself 'f@ck it' and left it as it was. No problems encountered.

In the last dozen of kilometers, I was going almost on an off-road track. Some tertiary Polish roads under construction, so I had some gravel, ample amount of puddles and gaping holes covered in water. I was so wet and miserable that I started to shout-sing in my helmet a French nursery rhyme that my 18 months old son was recently listening to - 'Joli tambour' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18x3kFoNxTM. Finally made it home. Alpinestar Drystar gloves were dripping wet, cheapo Probiker boots with Sympatex membrane were dry inside (!!!!), Sand pants kept me dry as well. Giant Loop Great Basin luggage is NOT waterproof despite me meticulously sealing it before the trip. Neither Fandango tank bag. I was mentally prepared for that, so I had all the clothes packed in garbage bags.

Day 3: Pyrzyce - Olpuch (Poland) 300km

After using a full power of my father's gas oven overnight, I started a day relatively dry again. Forecasts were mixed, but I managed to avoid rain.

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Some grub at the gas station in Poland.

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Had an eye on my trusty steed while eating.

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Approaching my destination in Kaszuby region in Poland.

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Nice roads on the way.

I finally made it to a rented cottage where I and my family will stay for a week. I did some small local trips, weather permitting, on the roads like these

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and that

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some other local landscape

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but actually the weather was so bad that our preferred past-time was this

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jack_mccain screwed with this post 08-09-2011 at 08:16 AM
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:53 AM   #4
jack_mccain OP
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerpetualMotion View Post
You mean 4,500km ?

Looking forward to your RR, should be good
Indeed ;) Corrected.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:45 AM   #5
jack_mccain OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Day 4: Olpuch - Gdynia (100 km)

After a week of miserable weather it was a first nice and sunny day. Here also compromises started. I was supposed to have a full riding week with my brother-in-law in Southern Sweden, but after long sulking by my wife, I changed reservation and we decided to go together, me on a bike and her in a rented car. So we left our kid with grandparents and headed to Gdynia-Karlskrona ferry terminal.

Boarding was swift. There was a dozen of Swedish bikers coming back from trip to Germany and Poland. They had a full week of rain...

The only crappy photo I have from the ferry:

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Day 5: Karlskrona - Kalmar - Oland (250 km)

Overnight ferry crossing was silky smooth. Arriving in Karlskrona, we were welcomed by sunny weather and blue sky.

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We took E22 to Kalmar with a small detour on E22N via Hagby. Since it was still early and our hotel room was not yet available, we decided to go to Oland island directly. I dropped my luggage into my wife's car and took direction of the southernmost point of Oland - Lange Jan lighthouse.

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We crossed the Klamarsund via the bridge. It is till one of the longest road bridges in Europe

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We took Road 136 south to Ottenby passing lovely small villages along the way. Since there are many speed limits in Sweden, one has a lot of time to contemplate landscape around. The entire southern tip of Oland is a nature preserve area and on the UNESCO heritage list. It is dramatic. To get to the lighthouse you have to pass a narrow road through marshes:

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'Long Jan' at last:

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This area is also famous for bird spotting and wildlife, so you have many people coming with sophisticated equipment.

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Ours wasn't good enough to spot anything apart from the sea.

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What struck me the most when arriving in Sweden is its typical architecture, with colourful wooden houses:

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While we have not seen any elks alive there, we saw at least some rests of it:

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From Ottenby, we took the east coastal road towards Norra Mockleby.

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exploring sometimes side roads leading to 'fine beaches'

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Still, there were few people there, including us.

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Few things that struck me about Sweden is: a) obsession about mowing lawns. Everybody does it and in particular women on things from David Lynch's "Straight Story" movie. b) flags - they are everywhere, even more than in France; c) old American cars - I think that even in Cuba they don't have so many anymore d) number of red cars.

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We arrived in Kalmar, took shower and hit the town, which is truly lovely.

Kalmar castle:

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New town

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Marina, with line dance going on

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The pier:

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and old machinery

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Next day we plan to explore the north of the Oland's island.

jack_mccain screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 05:09 AM
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:07 PM   #6
jack_mccain OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Day 6: Northern Oland (270 km)

The day welcomed us with this:

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The plan for today was to see the northern part of the Oland island. First, we tracked back towards one of the two Iron age forts on the island - Graborg.

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There is a second fort on the island, Eketorp, which really nicely reconstructed. Graborg is just in the middle of fields and barns. The ruin below turned to be XI century church ruin...

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However, some of the barns were quite interesting inside...

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One of many Öland's windmills

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We then headed to Himmelberga, an open air museum of rural life.

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This farm was apparently still in use until 1950 and you could feel that it was not and easy and quite demanding life they must have had there.

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I really enjoyed the feel and intensity of colours and materials there:

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From Himmelberga we drove up north in search for famous sandy beaches. Found one but was already taken.

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So decided to pay a visit to 'Long Eric' a sibling lighthouse on the northernmost tip of the island.

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We also went to see a Trollskogen (Troll Forest), but decided against full 5km hike as it was too hot that day. Sill, views were impressive.

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On the way back to Kalmar we had nice views of the coast:

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and of course an elk sign

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In Kalmar we paid a visit to the old town, which is really picturesque.

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jack_mccain screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 05:11 AM
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:14 AM   #7
jack_mccain OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Day 7: Kalmar - Ottenby -Eketorp - Hörby (380km)

Long day in the saddle. The weather was still brilliant. Blue sky and sun. We left our hotel in Kalmar and decided to see Eketorp on Öland.

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It is a reconstructed Iron age fort, where you can try yourself in using a bow.

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cooking

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or try yourself as blacksmith if you fancy it :)

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We asked the guy how often the blacksmith's hut was burned down, given open flames and wood as building material. He said that they did not discover many fires during excavation. People were born and raised with the fire, so there knew how to handle it. He said that he is shocked how carelessly people treat fire now. He had some tourists trying to grab hot iron, as they thought it is not real. He blamed computer games :)

Interior of the living quarters. There would be an open flame there. Still, it must have had been miserably cold in the winter there...

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I waved goodbye to my wife who drove to Karlskrona to take the ferry back to Poland and went to finally meet up with the rest of the crew.

My brother-in-law driving Yamaha Virago 1100

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and his buddies on Honda CBF1000 and HD Ultra Glide

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After visiting Ottenby once again (for me) we drove to Hörby, taking Rd 25 direction Nybro, 120 direction Ryd, 119 direction Hässelholm, 23 direction Höor and finally 13 to Hörby. Roads 120 and 119 were glorious, cutting through the forests and lakes. Unfortunately, the crew did not want to indulge my habit of stopping and taking photos...

It was my first time driving in a group, and I must admit it is difficult. For some time, I was driving second, but was out of my comfort zone. The only good positions were being first or last.

Day 8: Hörby - Torekov - Kattavik - Bastad - Mölle - Hörby (320km)

We set out for a visit on the west coast. Took Rd 13 and 105 to Torekov, sleepy coastal town

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Then took small roads to Kattavik and Bastad and took E20 and Rd 112 and 111 towards Mölle and Västra Kullabergs naturreservat.

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The lighthouse

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Nice views

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This photo reminds me Caspar David Friedrich's painting called "Wanderer above the sea of fog"

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Yours truly on the photo at last.

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We drove back on Rd 109 & 13 through some nice farmlands back to Hörby.

Next day: Oresund bridge (Malmo - Copenhagen) on the plans.

jack_mccain screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 04:20 AM
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:51 AM   #8
jack_mccain OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Non-country (Belgium)
Oddometer: 52
Day 9: Hörby - Pyrzyce (590km)

We hesitated whether to stay or go, since the forecasts for next days were not brilliant. The morning welcomed us with light drizzle, so we packed up and took direction Oresund bridge, which is the longest road and rail bridge in Europe. The weather in the west was supposed to be better. It didn't rain on the way, so we we looking forward to the crossing of the bridge. The moment we entered it, we hit the cloud/fog and this is how much we saw (not actual photo, as didn't want to stop on the bridge with this weather).



We were gutted to say the least. On the Danish side the weather improved and we headed towards Gedser (DK) - Rostock (DE) ferry crossing. Just before embarking on the ferry it started to rain, but in Rostock the weather was fine. We kept to the motorways, as I wanted to see my sister and nice before going back to Belgium the next day.

Day 10 and 11: Pyrzyce - Brussels (960 km)

Nothing to write home about really. Good weather, motorways and boredom. I stopped over in Hannover just for a night.

Last stop before home.

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Conclusions: I really enjoyed this trip, which was my first one, so not very hardcore. There are some lessons learned. Driving in a group is difficult, not technically but because of different expectations. I would stop more often, take more photos, and take smaller roads. Also, I prefer to "be on the move" and change places I sleep in, as it gives more purpose to the driving.

As for the gear, I am very happy with the bike. It is vibrating a wee bit too much on the motorway, screen (Givi) is still to small (Desierto 3 it shall be), seat is bad, but I can live with it. For touring Europe I should have gone with hard luggage, as they are more handy.

Rev'It Sand suit is nice and versatile. Putting in liners/membrane is a bit of fuss, but when it is hot and dry it gives you really nice venting without the liners. AFX FX-39 helmet is not for touring, at least for me. The beak catches turbulence a lot, it is loud with my windscreen. I love it when it is hot, as it puts lots of air through though. I would look at Shoei Qwest for the next season.

Kudos to cheapo Probiker boots as they passed waterproof test brilliantly. Also, DSLR is nice, but not on a bike. Helmet cam is a must for the future.

THE END
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