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

  1. #136
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    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
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  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
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    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.
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  8. #143
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    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
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    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."
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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.

  14. #149
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    Alps Ride Two Up, Rented GS 6/17/18 to 7/9/18 in Heidelburg, Oilhead

    Studied this forum and then did a great trip without B&Bs lined up ahead of time. 23 days riding, 2 with rain. 10 to 40 deg. C, 152 miles per day avg. 3600 miles, 350 of highways, 35 of tunnels. Paper Maps, 500,000 scale and some iPhone:Google Maps to get out of cities to the country. Motorcycling Alps Book in tankbag. Sena SMH10 intercom and some iPhone Google Map instructions. Some Trip Advisor or Googlemaps or ask a bicycle shop or ask a bakery where to stay tonight and get checked in so you can be in a place to eat before their kitchen closes at 9pm. We loved the countryside and high mountain passes. We found nice towns to stay in: Heidleburg, Baden-Baden, Brienz (2), Bormio(2), Igls, Corvara, Ettal (3) and others.

  15. #150

    Whoa, what a thread

    Somehow I missed this thread... there are many interesting comments by interesting people!

    International touring has always been in my future, but being self-employed limited my opportunities. Now retired, over the past two and a half months I tested two touring options to see which would be better for me.

    Option 1 was the Beach's TT Tarry Tour, Option 2 was the do-it-myself Alpine Tour. My experiences with both approaches made it fun to read this thread, especially learning others' perspective.

    Beach's TT Tarry to see the Isle of Man Races was an impulse purchase for us. Rob and Gretchen Beach only do this tour every 4 years, a late space came open, and yours truly is really not the one to do all the planning it takes to get there, see the race and get back. Beach's did a great job on what had to be an incredibly tough project. Good Lord, these people sure earn their money! Gretchen has a great nose for accommodations and is all over every detail. Rob has a great nose for roads and like others have said, he really knows how to ride motorcycles, and in uncertain conditions. There is no requirement to ride in a group and the GPS work is good. My only beef is that they use BMW Nav V, with a User Interface that is the spawn of Satan. I truly hated that GPS and had to unlearn 10 years of technology advancements in order to deal with it. This is not Beach's fault and it's still how most Zumos work today. We dropped a significant chunk of change on this 3-week ride and I thought it was an excellent value. And as bad as that GPS was, I would not try Europe without one.

    The tour took in Wales, England and Scotland and got you out there into the deep countryside, the routes were awesome. I did a lot of my own routing, as I am pretty nutso about super-backroad riding. There were a few clumps of 3-4 riders who have done multiple Beach's tours, and sometimes a 8-12 rider posse behind Ride Leader Rob... definitely not where I wanted to be. We toodled around, my wife and I rode mostly alone, in fact I rode exceptionally cautiously... frequently bringing up the rear. There is absolutely no way I will take chances with my wife on the back, and I do not want to die in a foreign country. Rob's advice of "Look Right, Ride Left" was a boon.

    What I liked:

    • Destinations
    • Routes
    • Accommodations
    • Zero hassle factor


    What I didn't like:

    • Nav V GPS
    • Being dressed and friendly and having friendly conversation while eating breakfast every morning at the prescribed time
    • No ice for after-ride drinks
    • Having to be dressed and have friendly conversation while eating dinner every evening with a loud group at the prescribed time
    • No window screens or air conditioning (man, this sucked)


    You can see my Facebook posts for a longer list of (funny) bitches, pictures of various things, especially the vintage lawnmower show that I found way more interesting than the Isle of Man TT races, which are much better on TV than they are live.


    The Visian Alpine Tour was something that started with me in the 5th grade, where my teacher showed her vacation slides of their trip throughout Europe on a 500cc bike. That was it for me, I wanted to be on the road without a care. Over the ensuing years, I became a lot more savvy about moto touring, and I was exposed to a lot of great minds here in the MOA and other groups, but I wanted this trip to be simple, low cost, fun... and the platform for similar trips in the future... maybe with my wife, but most likely not. Or most likely not with her on a bike but in a car.

    So hold your horses... I didn't ride a BMW on this trip because BMW does not make the bike I was looking for. I bought a lightly-used 2013 Honda CB500X with Level 1 Rally Raid suspension upgrade. Earlier this year, I shipped this bike via Stefan Knopf's service to Heidelberg and I now store it there for future rides. It cost $1400 to ship, I had to handle exactly zero customs or shipping details, and my bike was waiting for me in front of my door at Stefan's B&B when I arrived immediately after the Beach's tour. I'm paying $360/year to store it there.

    The bike... ok, I am sure you all think I am crazy, but at 426 pounds my little Honda was the perfect thing for European roads, unless you plan a lot of motorway riding and it did fine there, too, as long as you don't mind some big Mercs, Audis and BMW flying past you at a buck-twenty. If you like the tight and tiny roads and technical riding like I do, don't rent anything bigger than an F800. Btw, Stephan Knopf rents some fine older bikes from his facility for very reasonable prices. This is a very good low-cost option, I just wanted to have my own bike there... and there are more than a few details involved with doing that (which leads me to doing business with Stefan instead of going it on my own), but I think it's worth it.

    The ride through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria was excellent... here is the link to my InReach share page. I did all the usual stuff first... but if you zoom in, you'll see that I took many side trips, too. I went over God-knows-how-many passos... I tried writing them down, but I am not known for stopping. I did over 3k miles in 3 weeks... rode right past a lot of castles and museums.

    What I liked:

    • Riding my own ride
    • Staying in 1 place for a week and riding out loops
    • Traveling light, eating most breakfasts and dinners in my underwear
    • Having ice and limes for my vodka-tonics


    What I didn't like:

    • All the insurance I had to buy for peace of mind
    • Getting stinky-passed by bigger bikes in the mountains, and by scooters in town
    • The adversarial relationship that reckless motorcyclists have created with cars in the mountains, it can be like the Dragon on weekends x 10
    • Tour busses, mega-big trucks and tractors on impossibly small roads


    Next time I am going in May and September... and going to some of the less-likely tourist destinations.

    So, this isn't supposed to be a travel guide or anything, but there is a lot of good points in this thread... and I enjoyed its reincarnation.

    The travel business is changing. Air BnB and Google Earth made a significant difference in planning this trip. Some tour operators are offering self-guided options... I met several people in England and Europe that are doing that. There's now a web site where you can buy custom tours directly from the tourguides that so many touring companies hire. (this is semi-lame, imo, but it's like Uber and the taxi business, I figure)... at the end of the day, I drew a lot from Alex Clanner's Global Touring pages... and honestly learned not to over-think or over plan things.

    Guided tours are wonderful, they are just too next-next-next for me. There are simply a ton of guided tour companies these days... and they are now all over creation. But I have to say, the reason I dropped the dollars I did on a Beach's tour is for their well-deserved reputation. As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, many of the people on my TT Tarry tour had ridden Beach's tours over ten times. Many on that tour had ridden with other companies, I have not, so qualify what I say. But those people described other companies' touring structure and techniques in ways that sounded like a real buzzkill.

    I don't know what's right for you, but I am sure enjoying my setup. Now, don't rib me about my little Honda.... it's a groovy little motorbike!

    Ian










    Note, this nice seafood lunch wasn't part of the Beach's tour, the ride just happened to go past my favorite restaurant from our tour of Scotland 4 years ago. However, there were many excellent meals on the Beach's tour... but you had to get dressed and make nice conversation during dinner. I ate this seafood in my riding gear.
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '07 Xchallenge || '13 CB500X || '14 Grom

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