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Old 02-02-2010, 04:12 AM   #1
the_lone_wolf OP
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Location: Wiltshire, UK
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Elefantentreffen 2010

Day one - Isle of Wight to Brussels

Km today: 510km
Km total: 510km

Up early and full of anticipation only a trip into the unknown can conjour up, there's not much to say when you spend all day riding...

The previous night I'd found myself watching the weather forecast thinking "I hope it doesn't snow here tomorrow" before i realised where I was actually travelling to. On the way to the ferry from the Island to the mainland I got used to having the additional weight on the bike, waited the 45 minutes for the crossing and met up with Jack (jackofnone) at Portsmouth. After a quick exchange of greeting we were on our way.

Arriving at the Eurotunnel terminal early in time for a bite to eat we parked up and waited for Chris (rockhopper) to arrive:







Five minutes before the final call for our train I see a grey shape zip up the access road and park up, we were all there. So after more hastily exchanged greetings we were on the bikes and waved through customs without stopping once, perhaps the KTM hard panniers would be a good method of smuggling drugs?

On the train we had our own carriage to park up in, and before the announcement informed us we were liable to set off the fire detection system we got about taking some flash photos:





Chris set about repairing the connector for his heated vest, all the while protesting that "It's not a breakdown" ;)



Off the train and into Northern France, instantly noting how it's chillier on the continent than even a pretty cold day back in the UK. After an hour or so we stop for fuel. My preparations didn't go far enough and my neck warmer wasn't keeping the cold out. Thankfully Chris had a spare balaclava which saved the day for me, without it I'd not have made it to the site





Onwards to Brussels!! We rock up at a hotel somewhere outside the city and quickly decide 180 per night is a bit spicy, punch the nearest Etap into the sat nav and head off, well the other two do, I swing the bike off the side stand with a bit too much enthusiasm and it doesn't stop when centred, cue a graceful dismount to the right and a bike on it's side...

Thankfully the panniers and crash bars stop it going very far and despite being loaded up it was an easy lift to get it back upright. We travel the few km to the Etap and park up all in the same space, only for the bike to decide it'd be happier on it's left hand side this time, a heroic team effort somehow prevented any damage despite the incident involving three bikes and a parked car. My distain for Brussels continued unabated.

After a quick meal and a beer I left the other two in the bar, punched in tomorrows route on the Zumo and went to bed, tomorrow was going to be the big day...
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:13 AM   #2
the_lone_wolf OP
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Day 2 - Brussels to Nuremburg (almost)

Km today: 627
Km total: 1137

Up early, The 8 breakfast didn't live up to the promise the price made, thankfully the continentals know how to do coffee...

On the road there's not much to report, slog it until the fuel light comes on, refuel, rinse and repeat. As we travel further south the snow gets thicker on the ground and we get the occasional blizzard. The wind chill means any moisture on the front of the bike freezes, the screen, the muffs all had a thin coating of ice after a few hours riding.

The pinlock system worked wonders in keeping out the fog, but evcentually it succombed and the ice crystals begin forming on the inside of the visor, gradually working their way up until the view from one of your eyes is completely obscured. Flip the visor up and wipe it away and you're eyeballs feel like they're frozen, then the moisture on your glove covers the whole inside of the visor and blocks your view entirely, I only made that mistake once...

Anyway, somewhere north of Wurzberg we stop for fuel while the snow is falling, at the time it was a novelty as we didn't know this was pretty much going to be par for the course for the next few days:









These were the conditions all the way to Nuremberg, until disaster struck.

Only a kilometre from the hotel we would be staying at that night we come to the end of the highway and stop at some traffic lights, thirty seconds later with the clutch in I hit 1st gear only to get a lurch and stall - the clutch had completely gone, zero pressure!!

Much to the delight of the traffic I wheel the bike over from lane three to the side of the road and set about looking for the problem, there's a smell of mineral oil by the slave cylinder and after some poking and prodding it's obvious the fluid is leaking from the hydraulic hose, where the banjo meets the braided steel.

Thankfully I'd extended my UK breakdown cover to Europe before I left so after a quick call and an hours wait I get recovered to a KTM Roadstar roughly 10km outside the city who were open until 20:00, but only on a Thursday - what luck!

If they know one thing at KTM Roadstar it's customer service, as soon as I arrived a mechanic wheeled the bike off to the workshop and I was greeted with offers of tea and somewhere to sit down, gladly accepted after three hours standing by the side of the road and recovering the bike in the coad weather. After some discussion about parts and times we agreed to remove one of the lines from a 2010 shop floor bike and fit it to mine the following morning. One of the guys who worked there even drove me back to the Motel to save me the taxi fare - awesome!!

As I left the dealer I saw my bike already on the ramp prepped for tomorrow...



Back at Nuremberg a late dinner and a fruitless search for a cash machine were about all I managed before crashing and wondering what would happen tomorrow
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:13 AM   #3
the_lone_wolf OP
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Day 3 - Nuremberg to Nuremberg:

Km today: 120
Km total: 1257

It feels odd putting on your riding gear knowing you've no bike to ride, but we set off on the slippery streets of Nuremberg to KTM Roadstar to pick up my bike. This would be the first time I'd ridden pillion since passing my test and the early morning snow did little for my nerves, but Chris proved more than capable a pilot and we eventually got to the dealer after a couple of wrong turns. Jack's KTM had all the fixtures for my luggage so it all made it there with me.

At the dealer we were offered more drinks as we waited for news, Chris and Jack returned to the hotel to get their stuff and while they were gone KTM Roadstar's desert truck turned up:












They use it to take tours into Africa, quite the opposite of the weather we had in germany. Once Chris and Jack were back we packed up and set off.

We made it to a petrol station ~60km south of Nuremberg and the clutch started to go again, not catastrophically this time but the pressure would start to go and you had to pump it back up. After some roadside head scratching we decided it was best for the guys to go on ahead and I'd limp back top the dealer to see what's what.

Back at the dealer we have more head scratching until the mechanic spots the problem; the heated grips were shorting onto the handlebar, through the clutch master cylinder and down the braided line, causing it to heat up and boil the clutch fluid.

The solution: Don't use heated grips!!!

By the time we sorted it all out it was too late to try for the site so I spent the night back in Nuremberg, with renewed confidence that I knew what the problem was and could stop it occurring...

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Old 02-02-2010, 04:14 AM   #4
the_lone_wolf OP
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Day 3 - Nuremberg to Elefantentreffen

Km today: 214
Km total: 1471

With a relatively short day, only just over 200km, I took the oppertunity to start the day lazily. The weather was fine, sunny and crisp, and very cold. The roads of Nuremberg were still icy at 10:00 and it was a slippery ride round the block to the main road then out to the highway

Stopping for fuel roughly 40km before you turn off the highway onto the smaller roads I got plenty of odd looks from the locals, but plenty of people who knew about the rally and had visited in previous years. Somehow with my non-existent German and their limited English we conversed until we got the jist of things and wished each other safe journeys:









Once off the highway the roads were suprisingly clear until the last mile to the site which was total chaos, cars lined up waiting to park for the event were stopped for a good kilometre so we had to filter past with outfits and bikes coming the other way, all in several inches of powdery snow. Once past the cars you slowly rode downhill to the site entrance throughmore bikes coming the other way and pedestrians.

Once I'd parked up, met the other guys and got settled in it was time to take some photos, so here we go...



































































































































After a nice meal of army beefburger and chocolate pudding we had another wander around and hit the sack...
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:14 AM   #5
the_lone_wolf OP
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Day 5 - Elefantentreffen to Brussels

Km today: 815
Km total: 2286

I woke up early, around 05:00, because of the cold. Even with my wooly hat, knee length socks, trousers, base layer shirt and hoodie in a winter sleeping bag it was cold. I managed to go back to sleep in fits and starts and heard the other guys leaving early, we'd spoken last night and we decided to head off separately as they wanted to leave early, I wanted to have a lie in!!

I emerged at ~09:30, the sun was just breaking through the cloud and lighting the site beautifully:

































What I hadn't realised was that with all the breathing you do inside the tent the condensation tends to form on the inside and freeze onto anything, which included my riding gear. It was pretty unpleasant putting all that on with ice crystals in it, but dragging all my kit back to the top of the hill where we'd parked warmed me up:









The bike started first time and I got it loaded up and made for the exit, which was uphill through 6" of snow with ice underneath.

Half an hour later I was there but not before I'd stalled it a handful of times, almost dropped it more times than I remember and had a crazy fritz come flying the other way, slam on the brakes and get his outfit wedged between my pannier and snow drift - sturdy things these KTMs;)

Parked at the bottom of the hill just before the highway back north I stopped to put on the many layers and took a couple more photos







Back at the Etap:



Long day!!





My head was a blur from the last 10hrs, I couldn't remember how many times I'd stopped for fuel, but I was glad to be closer to home than I thought I would have been at this point...
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:15 AM   #6
the_lone_wolf OP
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Day 5 - Brussels to Isle of Wight

Km today: 510
Km total: 2796

By now I wanted to get home so I set off at 09:00 or so, the car park was still icy but somehow I made it to the road upright

It was a day of more miles with little worth mentioning except the winds down the E40 to Calais, the Adventure is a tall bike that catches the wind at the best of times, but with all the gear on it I was leaning as hard as I dared just to keep it going in a straight line. it's a very odd feeling going round left hand curves whilst leaning to the right, and every truck overtaken would cause the front end to skip around and push you ever closer to the snow close to the central reservation - not much fun...

Still, I made it safely to the Tunnel and just jumped on the next available train, once stopped the sun was warming and I could already feel like home was close:










Back in the UK it was reassuringly British normality on the motorways, after several thousand kilometres on European roads where everyone keeps to the inside lane and people tend to use their mirrors I felt like humming the national anthem when after only twenty minutes on British soil I'd had two 60mph dawdlers in the middle lane and an oaf in a pickup try to side swipe me because looking in his mirror was too taxing for his brain...

The last photos I took were at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth, I must have looked a wreck, covered in salt and road grime, absolutely shattered, but so happy to be home



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Old 02-02-2010, 04:35 AM   #7
Nicky Vaux
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It looks like you had a nice ride there. You got some great photos. TOTALLY mad to be camping in all that snow you must have been frickin freezing. Looked absolutely amazing though.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:03 AM   #8
Louisdut
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Well Done All great stuff

Thanks for posting your pictures

Louis
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:19 AM   #9
rockjohn
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Holly Shit! I love you Hardcore MFers.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:39 AM   #10
DeeGee
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Location: Up North In The UK!
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Top Banana!!!

Well done fellas
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:54 AM   #11
manfromthestix
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Man, you folks are TOUGH and a bit crazy! The old saying "misery loves company" comes to mind...

Very well done, gents!

Doug
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:35 AM   #12
Thorne
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Wow, those are some amazing photo's...............
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:57 AM   #13
Threewheelbonnie
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Great report.

I can smell the woodsmoke and hear that *****y MZ powered air-raid siren all over again

Andy
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #14
RumRunner
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Brilliant, just frigg'n brilliant.

DW
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:03 AM   #15
fyr
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Love it
Just love it!!
Best winter camp pics !!
Cheers
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