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Thread: The ONLY way to See the Alps...

  1. #136

    alps ride

    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Stelvios is... Stelvio. I think it brings people who shouldn't be there, people who think they rule there, and a few sane people like us. It's got a Name, and people want to show they're bad enough to humble it, or they're curious about all of the talk about it, or maybe they just want to join the party. Hard to know...

    I'm about to put together my video from Silvretta Panoramastrasse (western Austria). There was a classic car rally running at the same time I was there. The video shows more than one idiot (the soundtrack quotes me as saying "effin' idiot") coming at me while well over the center line in a straight piece of road. Grrr... Anyway, I guess they're out there elsewhere, too.

    The Dolomites remind me of the fantastic landscrape DaVinci used in the background of the Mona Lisa.


    I didn't have a chance to try more than a few passes, Passo di Gardina, Passo di Valparola, Passo di Falzarego, Passo Tre Croci, and possibly another, not in my records. Of the lot, Valparola was the only one where I stopped to take some pictures. Otherwise... meh. They're there - not much to add. I was disappointed to see the passes were mostly just big parking lots for the ski season. In general, they didn't compare with the passes I saw earlier. It's a pity, as the scenery, on the road, was like nothing else I saw.

    I'\m not an expert on the way boxers work, but, yeah, they seem to want to be wound up a bit to keep them happy. A friend has an '07 that needs that, the '09 loaner needed that, and wetheads I've ridden in the US and the Alps need that. Bottom line, if that's what makes them happy, then there it is. The problem with the bike from Edelweiss was that just maybe that gearbox really was coming apart. Anyway, I "rode it like I stole it" and things worked out.
    100% correct about Stelvio it has the name and everyone flocks there for bragging rights , there are so many great roads in the alp region. the Dolomite 's that area is just beautiful, But again can be touristy. The bikes that you rent are well used and not always by people that know how to ride so they take a beating , But on the other hand the good part is its not yours so like you said ride it like you stole it and they have to worry about the weak links

  2. #137
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Compared to a year ago, the vacation traffic was definitely heavier. In Germany, some of the schools started the summer break a week or two earlier, which meant more people heading south. My wife and her brother and sister stayed on Lake Garda for three days (Chris doesn't ride). They said it was seriously mobbed. The Andermatt area was fairly calm by comparison. The only other place where traffic was light was Grossglöckner. There was a fairly nasty rain storm moving in the valley, with B100, coming east from Dobbiaco. (I didn't see lightning, but it could have been there, too) I thought that turning north would get me away from it. I stayed dry, but it was hovering in the background. I stopped long enough to take some pictures and then Auf Wiedersehen. That may have discouraged some travel. Further north, going through Zell am See, there was tons of traffic. Go figure.

    You're right about rentals being beat up. The RT had some miles on it (7000 mi???), so anything's possible. This year's K1600 had about 600 miles(!). Looking at the Silvretta footage and the motor sounds in the hairpins, I'm now tempted to wonder if the rental folks somehow fiddled with the ECU to take some power out of the bike. I remember passing a truck and putting my hand on the throttle with some ...um... enthusiasm. I hit about 80 mph but didn't have that "hanging on for dear life" feeling I've seen in other KGT's.

    I ride an '03 K1200RS (flat four) - it's got a lot of torque just off of idle, and delivers an OMG experience when I wind it up. Hmmm...


    ADDED: For the longest darned time, I've been tired of the phone pole sticking out of the bike. Photoshop is now my BFF.
    Last edited by RBEmerson; 09-01-2017 at 02:45 AM. Reason: Updated photo
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  3. #138
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post

    Er, not to be pesky but... ---> panniers:
    Since you now own a fine German motorcycle, the correct German word for "gal in back" is "sozia" (if it's a guy in back, "sozius"). The sozia is not the guy waving his arms during a training drill...
    I think the word he wanted was "pillion". I didn't offer a correction, as I figured a guy that just called his wife an old bag would not live long enough to use the information.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  4. #139
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Well... here are some more words to die by: sticker on a "beanie" helmet - "If you can read this, the b***h in back fell off". Funeral is Saturday at 2PM.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  5. #140

    alps tour

    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    Compared to a year ago, the vacation traffic was definitely heavier. In Germany, some of the schools started the summer break a week or two earlier, which meant more people heading south. My wife and her brother and sister stayed on Lake Garda for three days (Chris doesn't ride). They said it was seriously mobbed. The Andermatt area was fairly calm by comparison. The only other place where traffic was light was Grossglöckner. There was a fairly nasty rain storm moving in the valley, with B100, coming east from Dobbiaco. (I didn't see lightning, but it could have been there, too) I thought that turning north would get me away from it. I stayed dry, but it was hovering in the background. I stopped long enough to take some pictures and then Auf Wiedersehen. That may have discouraged some travel. Further north, going through Zell am See, there was tons of traffic. Go figure.

    You're right about rentals being beat up. RT had some miles on it (7000 mi???), so anything's possible. This year's K1600 had about 600 miles(!). Looking at the Silvretta footage and the motor sounds in the hairpins, I'm now tempted to wonder if the rental folks somehow fiddled with the ECU to take some power out of the bike. I remember passing a truck and putting my hand on the throttle with some ...um... enthusiasm. I hit about 80 mph but didn't have that "hanging on for dear life" feeling I've seen in other KGT's.

    I ride an '03 K1200RS (flat four) - it's got a lot of torque just off of idle, and delivers an OMG experience when I wind it up. Hmmm...
    We were lucky last year the traffic was fairly light in the mountains only when we came down out if the mts we would run into traffic, That looks like an awesome ride you have there, and my Ducati is like you describe very good low end torque with a outrageous top end it's just not a great interstate bike ( not enough wind protection) I live on the east coast right by Atlantic city New Jersey and to get to any decent mountain riding you have to suffer through some very busy interstate, I usually always ride two up the wife loves to ride so I just needed a bike that is accommodating for the two of us and the RT seems to fit the bill, WE have traveled many a mile on my road king here in USA I just never realized how much more comfortable a bike like the RT was Harleys are just prehistoric when you compare them to a BMW or even the Ducati in ride quality handling and power, I hate to say it but when you get older you just don't want to get beat up anymore and you get tired of the shaking and the noise and you appreciate the smoothness and power of a refined motorcycle like a BMW, I have two try and figure out how to post pictures of are trip we do have a ton of them

  6. #141
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    I haven't done a ton of long trips on this bike. Day trips of 200-300 miles are fairly common, though. The bike remains surprisingly comfortable for that. My longest trip is Philadelphia to Fernandina Beach, FL (and back). Day #1 was mostly in non-stop rain on I-95. Day #2 the sun came out and life improved greatly. I'm happy to say I didn't have that "do I have to get back on this thing" blues.

    Not a lot of mountains in the AC area, that's for sure. It's tough when the biggest "hill" is a bridge over the bay.

    I'll pass on commenting about the whole "HD lifestyle" thing. Suffice it to say there are a lot of Harleys trailered somewhere, not a lot of BMW's on trailers. 'Nuff said.

    Way back when, the original plan was to fly my bike to Europe. Air Canada and, I found out this July, Lufthansa have "fly your bike" programs. Do the arithmetic and it turns out that the break-even point between renting and flying is about a three week stay. My in-laws live about an hour's drive from Frankfurt. Fly to FRA, get the bike if it came on the same plane (not guaranteed), and ride off, or call someone to come get me, and come back when the bike arrives. Do the same dance, in reverse, to get the bike back on a plane, plan on staying overnight if needed, and ride home. Aside from the "how cool is that!" to have your bike on European roads, how many PA plates are on the autobahn? [/snicker] Unfortunately, my wife shot that down. But it turned out that we spent 2 1/2 weeks in Germany, etc. Sigh... And the kicker is I'd trust my bike in the hairpins more than any rent-a-bike. Oh well...

    I'm kinda Alped out at this point, but there's a heckuva lot more to see. Just maybe... hmmm... [/wink]
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  7. #142
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishrover14 View Post
    [...]The RT I have now came with a Russell day long after market seat and I hate it, I would rather have the stock seat after all that riding in the Alps the stock seat never hurt me. I only have a 30" inseam and I'm on my tippy toes with the Russell seat even in the low position
    IMNSHO that saddle is more trouble than it's worth. I've ridden three bikes with them, and hated it every time. The width is a major problem.

    Look into lowering options for the RT. BMW has, IIRC, a lower seat and possibly suspension changes.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  8. #143

    alps trip

    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    IMNSHO that saddle is more trouble than it's worth. I've ridden three bikes with them, and hated it every time. The width is a major problem.

    Look into lowering options for the RT. BMW has, IIRC, a lower seat and possibly suspension changes.
    Wow lucky you to have relatives in Germany, My wife's from Ireland, Donegal to be exact, that too is a very Beautiful country with great roads. The problem is the weather, everyday it's rain with sunny spells LOL!!. But to be fair, I've been there over 20 times and it never has rained more than 3 days in a row and once we had a whole week without rain buts that's nearly unheard of. If you haven't already I suggest riding Spain and southern France we just did that trip this past spring, flew to Barcelona rented bikes through I M T bike rentals rode along coast up to southern France to San Sebastian then back over the Pyrenees mtns and back to Barcelona, I highly recommend Spain it was a very inexpensive trip and the weather roads food and the people are awesome, That trip we are definitely going to do again instead of going to SAN Sebastian we plan on going to more towards Bordeaux France, a lot of the roads they took in this years tour de France we were on and there are so many more we want to explore
    Definitely this winter my seat will be sorted out and also I'm going to be installing some engine guard bars with some highway pegs just so I can stretch my legs out on the longer rides

  9. #144
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    We go to Germany regularly; we don't quite live there, but it's gotten to point of knowing what's up in the area, etc. We feel a little odd not to do some of the German daily routine when we get back. OTOH, we don't face the taxes, etc. Lucky us.

    There are ton of riding options in the Central Germany area: The Eifel region, the Rhine and Mosel (see below re: tastings), Odenwald, Westerwald, and Schwarzwald is an easy trip.

    Chris' current itch is to head to northern Germany, particularly Amrum, of the west coast, in the North Sea. It's a great place to be, not chaotic like nearby Sylt - tourists wall to wall. Unfortunately, the riding options are limited to getting to the ferry and back. Taking a personal vehicle to the island is a "not gonna happen". Which isn't so bad, if the weather cooperates - bicycling is easy.

    At the moment, neither of us feel the call for France or Spain. However, I'm spending more time trying to understand wine. The possibilities open up... The problem is doing tastings. Drink and ride is 100% something I will not do. No "just one" anything. I follow the flying rule: "24 hours bottle to throttle". Which can be very frustrating. I'd rather be sober and frustrated than tuned up and in a neck brace.

    I agree on the engine guards. Take a look at Wunderlich's offerings. Think about bag guards, too. Essentially you can walk away from a "garage drop" with nothing more than a small mark on the bars. Highway pegs? Think about the position the fairing will leave you in - not comfy. IMHO, there's more than a little prudence in keeping your extremities near the controls. Feet on pegs when a panic stop is needed is, again IMHO, like "can you hold off on this collision until I get my seat belt on?" FWIW, I "guard" (the term I hear most) the front brake and clutch (w/ two fingers) most of the time from the time the ABS lights stop winking until the side stand is down. The only exception being the occasional "shake 'em out" to keep my hands from h=numbing up. Even that leaves me faintly uncomfortable.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  10. #145

    alps

    Quote Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post
    We go to Germany regularly; we don't quite live there, but it's gotten to point of knowing what's up in the area, etc. We feel a little odd not to do some of the German daily routine when we get back. OTOH, we don't face the taxes, etc. Lucky us.

    There are ton of riding options in the Central Germany area: The Eifel region, the Rhine and Mosel (see below re: tastings), Odenwald, Westerwald, and Schwarzwald is an easy trip.

    Chris' current itch is to head to northern Germany, particularly Amrum, of the west coast, in the North Sea. It's a great place to be, not chaotic like nearby Sylt - tourists wall to wall. Unfortunately, the riding options are limited to getting to the ferry and back. Taking a personal vehicle to the island is a "not gonna happen". Which isn't so bad, if the weather cooperates - bicycling is easy.

    At the moment, neither of us feel the call for France or Spain. However, I'm spending more time trying to understand wine. The possibilities open up... The problem is doing tastings. Drink and ride is 100% something I will not do. No "just one" anything. I follow the flying rule: "24 hours bottle to throttle". Which can be very frustrating. I'd rather be sober and frustrated than tuned up and in a neck brace.

    I agree on the engine guards. Take a look at Wunderlich's offerings. Think about bag guards, too. Essentially you can walk away from a "garage drop" with nothing more than a small mark on the bars. Highway pegs? Think about the position the fairing will leave you in - not comfy. IMHO, there's more than a little prudence in keeping your extremities near the controls. Feet on pegs when a panic stop is needed is, again IMHO, like "can you hold off on this collision until I get my seat belt on?" FWIW, I "guard" (the term I hear most) the front brake and clutch (w/ two fingers) most of the time from the time the ABS lights stop winking until the side stand is down. The only exception being the occasional "shake 'em out" to keep my hands from h=numbing up. Even that leaves me faintly uncomfortable.
    I'm with you on the drinking and motorcycling part, I'm not quite as strict on myself I couldn't help myself I had to try one of those great beers at dinner in the Alps, But one was enough you definitely want to have a clear head when riding the Alps

  11. #146
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    I'm hardly adverse to hoisting one or two hefeweissen (wheat) beers, or enjoying a bit of wine. If I'm not driving or riding. The BAC limit in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland is 0.05, 0.02 in Poland, and 0.00 Hungary. Scandinavia... 0.02 is typical. At least Ireland allows 0.08. Anyway, flunking the test is more than a warning finger under the nose.

    What really gets me going is a parking lot full of bikes at a bar.

    A friend of mines puts it about right: "Stupid kills, but not often enough."
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

  12. #147
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    Why I liked Beach

    I had been riding for a long time before I took my first tour with a group. I'm not anti-social but I don't like riding on long trips with other riders; I've tried it and it takes away from the freedom I was seeking. Anyway, when I talked to Bob back in 1981, he told me that I could either ride with a group of ride alone as long as I ended up at the hotel at dinner time. I wasn't about to miss dinner, so it sounded good to me. There wasn't a lot of traffic in the Alps that I remember and we took a few side roads that ended up on dirt but always made dinner.

    I took my first tour with Bob and Elizabeth Beach in 1981 and it was all he said it was. Most days my wife and I rode alone and stopped when we wanted and did what we wished. Before it was over I had ridden with all the other tour members and it was OK. Bob and Elizabeth were leading the tour and they were wonderful host. He was a funny guy. One morning he was giving us a safety speech before we shoved off. We as a group left the hotel and when we got to the first Y in the road, Bob with Elizabeth as pillion hit some pea gravel, lost control and hit the pavement. He got up laughing and said, " this is only an illustration of what I was talking about."
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco , 180cc Kymco Racing King
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  13. #148
    Kein Nasebohrer RBEmerson's Avatar
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    It's a tough choice. Having tried both options, I'm a solo rider.

    I very rarely ride with another rider, and I can't recall if I've ever ridden with a group, outside of last year's Edelweiss tour. As far as a single rider, even that can be a challenge. Recently we rode together, particularly to shoot some video of my friend and his wife. My inclination is to use cruise control one almost any straight road with little or no traffic; my speed's constant. The video hows the other bike closing and opening and weaving, intenionally, a lot. Trying to maintain a constant distance became serious work. Curiously, one of the points where the "formation" held together was in a few four lane high speed sweepers. I stayed on the "hammer" lane and got some good video of the bike laying into the turns.

    The group ride was, for me, a near disaster. 19 bikes, 2 group leaders; a few slower riders and a lot of Rossi-wanna-be's. I came to see scenery as well as ride curvy roads. Some of the slow people were downright scary. The fast group was, at least for me, a step over sanity. The smell of testosterone was in the air, and most of the group was inhaling a lot. There was no middle group.

    A week of riding alone avoided the group issues. OTOH the routes were a mix of map reading, GPS routing (planned or real-time), and occasionally just following signs. The group trip included some "secret roads" (like the secondary road going north from Brenner Pass - hard to miss on a map). Some worked well. Some were not so good, and one was an "oops, road closed, gotta turn around". "Trust me, I know where all the radar cameras are". I spotted several that were never remarked on. One has a nice picture of me headed towards it on my RT. This time I didn't have turn-arounds (well, a couple of times, when the GPS lied to me). Maybe I missed a cool secret road. Maybe not.

    Group tours feature "3, 4, 5 star hotels!!!". Um, Michelin gives out three stars, max, and they're rare. TripAdvisor... ya get what ya pays for (except for my higly objective, deep, and profound reviews, of course). As I said recently those stars are for how many extras a hotel has. Yoga - ca-ching! - star. Indoor pool, outdoor heated pool? ca-ching, ca-ching...

    On this trip I stayed in moderate-sized hotels (two with my wife and her family, one solo), and one more expensive hotel - Ansitz Kematen, NE of Bozen/Bolzano - by choice (good choice - highly recommend it - as if that's not obvious). I stayed in a simple pension near Andermatt. The solo hotel, Hotel Post in Prutz, Austria, was because finding reservations at pensions in the area wasn't working. They all worked out well, despite not waving stars about (even Ansitz Kematen). The Edelweiss trip had a hotel that charged a lot for those stars. At the end of the day, I want a good meal, a beer, some chatting, and good night. Paying for the stars was a dead loss.

    So... nice to have some local information, nice to not have to work up reservations, nice to not have to work up a bike rental. Not so nice to ride with a mob, not so nice to have little choice in stopping to smell the roses, not so nice to pay for features I won't/can't use. Weather and traffic issues are not very relevant. There's no way to reschedule because it's raining, snowing, or whatever. Rescheduling because there's an hour's wait to get through a toll booth for a "pay to play" road... not happening.

    Will I do another tour? No. Will I do another solo ride? Of course.

    - - -

    A side note about language. Almost anyone you really need to talk with has somewhere between good working English and enough to handle most requests. If language is presently the sole decider between a tour (at least someone speaks the language) and solo/two-up (OMG, how do I say "flat tire" in Italian?), don't worry. Take a dictionary and have a good time without the mob.
    Some people are wise. Some people are otherwise.

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