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Old 10-11-2013, 01:39 PM   #1
moto rrad OP
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My Report : Alps & Balkans

This is it, my first RR.

Firstly, a little background about your author and narrator. My parents named me Stuart, and most people called me Stu. I'm 24, nationality is Canuck, and I'm currently living in Germany (Hallo).

I bought my first bike when I was 18. A shiny blue SV 650. Speed demon and okay a little bit of me wanted to show off. Day trips and short rips were all I was concerned about until 2 years ago when I did my first moto-travel.

I backpacked Europe for 4 months when I was 19 - but oh man, as I found out, the two just do not compare. At that time riding a bike in Europe was a dream, one that I didn't even conceive was possible.

Time shift to 22, arrived in Germay in the Spring. After testing the waters, summer I buy the bike: Slightly bagged out, but in nice shape. My lovely 1992 (?) Kawasaki GPZ 500s.

The trip was.. magical. To date, still the most fun i've had both on a bike, and travelling.











But that's another story.
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Old 10-11-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
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Hi Stu,

show us some more! Which year was that trip?

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Old 10-12-2013, 02:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
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Hi Stu,

show us some more! Which year was that trip?

pip_muenster : my name could be stu_muenster. You also in Muenster NRW?

That trip was 2011. Now on to 2013
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:14 AM   #4
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August 26th 2013 - 2 days late.

New fork springs & oil, new tires, new rear spring, fresh oil & filter, front & rear braided steel break lines, valves adjusted, carbs synced, seat re-worked, USB power outlet installed, new phone with navigation software(s) installed, new helmet on my noggin, new boots on my feet. Yep check list is complete. Only 2 and 3/4 days late! Who knew trip prep was so much work?

Bike packed, I finally set off about 7 PM Monday night. Despite the time, I have that feeling that I need to leave. I comically struggle to put my new helmet on over my earbud headphones. On goes the helmet, out come the hearphones *repeat x20*

The battle is won, wave goodbye to the girlfriend and I`m off on my way. Lovely voice in my head telling me `turn left in 150 meters`. It`s soon dark and I continue along for an hour or two to a camp spot just off the autobahn. The kindly german proprietor lady asks me where I'm from, and tells me my German is "sehr gut". Booyah! (despite the compliment, I know it's truly atrocious). This may be old news to some of you, but as a first-time GPS user. Wow, this is great! Struggling to read a map in the dark? can`t find where the eff you are? Nope, no more! The lovely lady takes me to my camp spot and I fall asleep listening to her sultery voice reading out turn by turn instructions for the next day's route.




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Old 10-12-2013, 07:02 AM   #5
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Looking fwd to the RR
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moto rrad View Post
pip_muenster : my name could be stu_muenster. You also in Muenster NRW?
Well, the license plate gave that away ...

I used to - now I'm about 1/2 hour to the north.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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AAHHH to be young and free! Enjoy it! Live every moment.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:03 PM   #8
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The RR will be awesome, can´t wait.
Keep it up!!
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Old 10-13-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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Aug 27th - On the road again

I find myself on the road again, and I'm lovin it.Tunes flowin through my earbuds, I cruise through Cologne setting my sights on FC Moto in Aachen. I stick to the autobahn, trying to put some miles behind me.

I position my self in the far right side, of the right hand lane."Lane Dominance" be damned, I rather put some distance between my self and the cruise missiles in the left hand lane. Single cylinder and 45 HP doesn't get you much velocity, and the brand spankin new Heidenau K60 on the front doesn't exactly inspire confidence as the speeds go up either. The bars start to bobble and the front slightly weaves about as speeds pass 140 KM/H. The front end feels much more "active". Exuberant gear changes result in the bars doing a little dance. No judgement yet, tires need to be scrubbed in.

The voice inside my head has been quite for a little while. (hey the meds are working!) Pull over to check GPS, lady is still happy and functioning. Yep, but the phone is at 79%. Damn - I guess the charging juice from the USB outlet doesn't keep up with GPS navigation draw. Don't think much of it.

Arrive in Aachen. Crusing along, no directions, okay straight on it is. Still going straight. Straight through here as well.. Pull over. Phone running on battery conservation mode, GPS reciever is turned off. Huh? Plug it out, plug it in. Nothing. The blue status light on the USB outlet is no longer shining. Jam in the USB lead and wiggle it around a bit, status light flickers on then off again. Must be kidding me. Maybe 5 hours on the bike and the freaking thing is dead.

FC moto: look for some gloves, nothing floats my boat. Peruse the "ADV" helmets. Pick up some "functional" underwear for under the gear and carry on along the autobahn; direction south.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moto rrad View Post
I cruise through Cologne setting my sights on FC Moto in Aachen.
I bought some Held "warm&dry" gloves there that I love every time it rains. Fellow Canuck near Aachen I left for the Balkans/Alps a few weeks after this (actually wanted to leave the same week!)
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:15 PM   #11
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Aug 28th : Richtung Sued





I awake with the sun shining into my tent, and a heavy dew. Last night's Schnitzel dinner and beers still sitting in my stomach. (That meal deserves a mention. Massive salad, massive schnitzel, and massive plate of fries. num num. I saw the dinner, my eyes went wide and I asked "so much?" and the waitress replied, "What, it's normal".)



Pull the USB outlet apart, and culprite wire is on the circut board is spotted. I figure it's fixable.

Not far from camp I notice once or twice that I'm having difficulty getting into 3rd gear. Need to have 2 or 3 stabs at it before it will shift up. Hmmm...

Jet some autobahn, then endlich into the twisty bits. Route number 48 down through the Pfaelzerwald. My first taste of some real twisties in faaaarrrrr too long. Back and forth, left to right. Tight and twisty. A smile spreads across my face ear to ear. New tires are feeling good (Front: K60 100-90-19, Rear: K60 Scout 130-80-17), bike is cornering well. Again the front end requires a light touch. I'm a happy chappy.

I roll into Louis (Megastore! Mega!) in Karlsruhe to check out gloves again. Don't have what I'm lookin for, but i'm sold on the knee high moto socks. Sexy!

Again I'm having trouble getting into 3rd. And is it my imagination or is 1-2 feeling notchy as well? In fact down shifts are difficult to snick into place too. Destination is Freiburg. Let's make Freiburg and re-assess.

A late lunch of Borscht in Baden-Baden and im onto the Schwarzwalder hochstrasse through the Black forest. The Black Forest is surprisingly mountainous and forested. Certainly a contrast to the rest of Germany. oo the roads are good! In my opinion the roads of the Schwarzwald hold up to those in the alps.









Great views, single lane roads passing through the villages dotting the Schwarzwald. Excellent day.

Arrive to camping platz in Freiburg at dusk, I steak out my 2m x 2m peice of land between the other tents and get to work erecting. At check in I am informed that I need to bring my own TP to the toilets. umm, well, okay?

After a beer and some Ox stew (meh) for dinner, I'm quickly passed out in my tent. Guten Nacht!
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squawk77 View Post
I bought some Held "warm&dry" gloves there that I love every time it rains. Fellow Canuck near Aachen I left for the Balkans/Alps a few weeks after this (actually wanted to leave the same week!)
Hey! I took a peep at your RR a day or two ago. I hope the troubles in Bosnia i Herzegovina are resolved? I found the ppl in Bosnia to be really quite wonderful. Definitely a stand out from the trip
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #13
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Aug 29th, 30th: Freiburg, and onwards

Right, I need to find out if I ACTUALLY have a problem with my bike, or if it is my imagination. I take a close look at the shifter and shift mechanism to see if anything is bent. The rest of the morning is spent in the beautiful sunshine trying to connect my phone to the un-connectable wifi I have just paid for. Not much luck. Did I mention that the campsite has a bring your own TP policy?

Does that tool tube look a little low to you?

Go for a cruise. First 1-2 shift feels notchy. humph. Up into the hills of the Schwarzwald surrounding Freiburg. I pay attention to shifting carefully and observing my left foot. It seems I may have a case of new boot/ broken shifter syndrome

Afternoon is spent in Freiburg cruising around by foot. Nice city, nice surroundings, I'm liken it. The centre of the old city of course features a cathedral. This one is quite large and quite impressive.









Characteristic of Freiburg is the open water running through the streets. Take note; if you happen to waking down the street in Freiburg next to a beatiful girl, (there are many in Freiburg) do your best to fall into the water. It's said that if you fall into the water, you will marry a girl from Freiburg. This is, of course, all based on well documented fact.



A very nice beer

Following morning I decide to try and get the USB power outlet sorted. Sitting in the bathroom at night reading a book, waiting for your phone to charge draws some strange looks. GPS navigation set for A.T.U (garage) - ask the garage manager "can you repair this" pointing at the broken wire. He shakes his head, "No, the wires are to fine". He then points down the street to another shop, "Bosch Car Service". I repeat the process, again head shake indicated no. Huh really?

He refers me onto a motorbike shop down the road, which is.. closed.

I go back to shop #2 and ask "What if I get a new outlet, can you splice the wires together". Again "No, we don't do that here". ?? I went away unhappy, and thinking how useless these people are. Revisit shop #1 and ask the same question. He says sure, but they are busy today - so I can just do it myself. Perfect!

Off to Polo of Freiburg to grab a new outlet. After finding my way around the detour/ road closure I find that they are sold out. Godddamn! Now I am sweaty, very sweaty from running around in the city under the big orange ball of sun. Note; leather gear is sweaty.

I go back to shop #1, ask if I can try to repair it myself using thier soldering gun. "Sure" Yay!

Damn, that is a small wire! Big soldering tip + only soldering experience being in 10th grade shop class makes for a less than ideal job but it works! The blue status light is once again lit up. Put er back together and plug in my phone and.. not charging. huh? Back apart, status light is lit, plug in phone, no go. Bahh! Alright, screw it time to go. About 14:30 by the time I hit the road.

Paper map in the tank bag, my route takes me south through the Schwarzwald along those great roads that go left, right, left.



Looking across the boarder Germany>Switzerland.

Nice evening and into Der Schweiz (Switzerland). With road signs pointing every which direction I have no idea where to go. Ride around in circles a bit, road signs do not correspond to city names on my map. This is hopeless, GPS on, set destination for a campsite near lake Sur (Sursee).

First impression of Switzerland is that it is very modern, there are lots of swiss cows with bells, the grass is very green, and some damn cool cars cruise the roads here. Strangest car I saw was an 80's caprice cop car. Other notables were a 80's Trans Am, Willys jeeps, Lotus Europa (wayy cool!)

Tent up and I'm soon asleep on the luscious swiss grass.
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #14
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Aug 31st, Sept 1st: Your average days on the road.

I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.

There is a POLO store about an hour back to the north where I should be able to pick up a new USB power outlet. Yes this is beginning to be a pain in the ass, but I figure that with the store nearby I might as well bite the bullet and get the thing working.

I neglected to bring a computer, or a GPS unit, or a spare mobile phone. Why would you when one device can do it all? (For those who are curious, that device being a Sony Xperia Z).

Great theory, but I need to keep the bloody thing charged! European campsites are great. Fully serviced, bathroomed, and showered. However I haven't found a campsite with phone charger inclusive.

This time I phone ahead. Yes, one unit left in stock. Sold! I'll be there in an hour.

Wire the thing up with some "waterproof connectors", and success, I'm powered again.

Next destination: Interlaken.


Green, grass






Laundry day


New Booties: Alpinestars Toucan




Looking North from near Interlaken onto lake Thun (Thunersee)


With clouds lingering around the mountains, and thunderstorms threatening for most of the day I just stayed close to the tent, read a book, and waited for the laundry to dry. Life is good!
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:50 AM   #15
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Ah-h-h-h, the joys and sorrows of electronics. Not that paper maps are foolproof, either. In France, Michelin maps show every road with it's proper route number.....too bad most French road signs do not display those numbers! I was also surprised recently to see how many hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, etc only provided latitude/longitude coordinates as "directions."

Enjoying your report and looking forward to more updates. Wondering if the shifting anomalies were in fact due to the new boots?

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