June 04, 2012 GMT
It had to happen.....

The rest of the night in the Dolomites was entertaining. I found my mp3 player and remembered, I liked music. So standing with my back to a tree, I looked up at the wonders of the Dolomites and mouthed the words of many a song as darkness came, with a broad grin on my face.

All of a sudden, there was this old chap there looking at me with a similar grin on his face. I think a few lyrics may had leaked out. He was Flemish, and we chatted for a long time about travelling, the state of our countries and Europe. This is one of the joys of travelling alone, you are not only forced to talk to other people (or cows), but you are a prime target for other people to come and have a chat with you. It's great.

The morning saw me away by 8.30 and I left the Dolomites to join the Autostrada up to my first mountian pass, The Jaufenpass. at a mere 2094 metres high, it was good fun to hit all the hairpins. The view from the top was fantastic. Betty and I stopped for a bit. to admire the view.

Time was beggining to creep on. I wanted to be in Oberammergau by 2pm. so I could unpack, eat, bathe (it had been a while) and wash my clothes (has never happened, last pair of knikcers inverted for past 2 days). After this I would need to ride to Munich airport to pick up my family so we could spend a week in the town together. The other side of the Jaufenpass was a nightmare. slow cars, constant hairpins, roadworks and ancient tractors coming the other way. I was becoming late.

When I got down to St Lenardo in Passeier, my road atlas showed a fairly straight run into Austria and beyond. Unfortuntately, after passing through the delectiably named Moos in Passeier the road took me up the 2509 metre Timmelsjoch. Now this pass had hairs on its chest.

With it being a Saturday and a sunny one at that, there where hundreds of bikers out and as I peoceeded up the pass, I was being goosed by some dude on his BMW GS1200 adventure bike at the front of a big group. The drop off from this mountain pass were very spectacular, but I am afraid, for the sake of Betty, a much maligned model of big traillie bike, we had to show a clean pair of heals. And we did, mainly because there wern't any long straights to allow the bike behind, with twice the power, to catch up. It was toe down on a lot of the corners.

it timmeljoch.jpg
The Timmeljoch Pass. It will put the Willies up you...

The silliness lasted 10 minutes but I know I has to stop, it was a bit mentally tyring. I pulled over at a nice spot to view the pass below. It was a long way down, a very long way down. And then I looked up to where the pass was going, it was a lot higher, and the road looked even more severe. I was beginning to pap myself. The last few hairpins were taken at a snails pace and then hthough the tunnel. On the north side, the amount of snow was fantasitc. the side of the road had up to 2 metres of snow at the sides.

By this time I was proper late, midday had long gone and I was only just inside Austria. Fortunately, the roads now became quicker and at about 3pm I crossed over into Germany. I was immediately pulled over by a German policeman.

I has a twofold plan for getting pulled over, and it depended upon circumstances.

If I was pulled over, and it was a fair cop, I had been speeding (I try not to in excess), or done something knowingly wrong (like riding the wrong way down a one way street shouting "Pene Picolo"), then I would pull over and assume the strongest Glaswegian accent I could do. I would be as helpful as possible, but in a dialect even I would find hard to understand. I had been told, if the police can't understand you and it's going nowhere, then thewy will tell you off and let you go, especially if you are as nice as pie. And I can do that, uninteligibly.

Or if it was a random stop check, I could be nice as pie, too, but entirely legibily. This was one such occasion. The young officer took my licence, my vehicle registration and my insurance details and then I remembered, I didn't have my counterpart of my driving licence. I couldn't really change my accent now could I? Do you see where dishonest plans get you?

The Policeman came back, and retuning my documents, he wished me a very plesant stay in Germany. Stuff like that doesn't make good TV for Police, Camera, Action, Tazer (he was asking for it), but it does make you feel confident about a countries police force.

I arrived at the apartment that were were to stop at and was totally blown away by how nice it was, it was certainly in a different league to any UK holiday accomadation we have stopped in. Our hosts, Gerrad and Nellie, originally for the Netherlands had stocked us up with enough tea bags to keep a workman heads down for a month and a whole host of other things to keep us going.

A quick shop at Lidl, a shower and a clothes wash, not quite in that order and it was a lightweight Betty and I on the road to meet the family at Munich Airport.

Halfway down Autobahn 95, doing 130 kph, Betty missed. It was a "Listen sonny, I am about to die, so start to make plans, quick"! I was close to a junction, so missing and reviving we got off the Autobahn at the next junction, only to join another one!

Betty went totally blank a few seconds later and I freewheeled into breakdown cut in. Of all the times had to break down, was the one time I had to be somewhere at a certain time!

So... It is an Italian bike, therefore an electrical problem is likely, so is the way she died. A wiggle of the ignition barrel lead indicated some on/off life. Then I knew I could fix this. If only my penknife was not 80kms away in Oberammergau!

20 minutes of cack handed cutting and hot wiring saw Betty back to life and with a very inpromptu start up sequence, we were back on the road.

I arrived at the airport very late, but fortunately my family were noy yet out of the arrivals. I was constantly worrying because I had ridden over a peice of grass to get into the car park and not obtained a ticket. Needs must and I didn't understand the language either (Glaswegian model was on high alert).

Coming back in the dark was hard work especially with roadworks but eventually we got to our apartment. So here we will stay for a week.

I am going to blog off for this time. but after I return to my trip, we will be heading to some high alpine passes, some famous mountains and a concentration camp. I will post again by 10th June. Ciao!

Posted by David Bailey at June 04, 2012 07:27 PM GMT

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