July 23, 2011 GMT
Back Home Again
After riding in 13 countries and involuntarily visiting another (I’ll explain) in mostly good weather (fog and wet at Nordkapp, fog at Timmeljoch Pass, and some rain getting back to Frankfurt) but otherwise sun and warm, we made it back home to Southern California. In order, we rode in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland (helped the economy there by paying a traffic ticket), Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. 5800 miles of riding gave us more scenery than we could imagine. Since I had a GPS for the entire trip and it was keeping tabs on us, I have a visual track of the route. Here is a large scale look at the actual route in the GPS.
It matches fairly closely to the planned route
but we added the area in the Alps since we had a bit more time than planned. This picture of the Stilvio Pass
shows a portion of the switchback road but there was much more of it than that as this enlarged look at the GPS track shows.
All in all it was an EXCELLENT adventure and another “ride of a lifetime”. It is good to be back to the old routines (especially the naps in the afternoon)! :=) Oh, almost forgot the involuntarily visited country. Our plane out of Frankfurt had some fuel delivery problems and had to land in Iceland on the way to Houston. Still didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Houston so we landed again in Newark, New Jersey. Just a little more excitement to add to an already exciting trip.
All the pictures are here if you like!
Stay tuned for further adventures. I need to go to South Africa to complete the “Four Corners of the Globe by Road Tour”.
Rick (glad to be home again).
Posted by rickmcd at 10:38 PM
July 18, 2011 GMT
Stilvio Pass and Beyond
As I said, the Mountain Passes god gives and takes away. He/She must have been feeling bad about our near death experience on Timmeljoch yesterday as we had an almost perfect day for one of the most famous passes in the Italian Alps, Stilvio and then later and little lower Ligano. Here is what we started out with on the way up.
Beautiful scenery, warm weather, and curvy roads.
At the top it was still nice and we were still considering ourselves incredibly lucky. From the top the GPS said that the village of Bormio (our next planned stop) was 4 miles away (in a straight line) BUT 11 miles by road and here is why.
NO STRAIGHT ROADS WITHIN A HUNDRED MILES! :=)
Made it over that pass plus another, Ligano
and down into Switzerland. Mother Nature decided to show that she was still in charge so we rode in the rain and cold the rest of the afternoon. Thank goodness for the Widder electric clothing. We are now turning north for a little side tour thru the Black Forest and toward Frankfurt.
More pictures here if you like.
Rick (all Heidi’d out) :=)
Posted by rickmcd at 04:18 PM
July 17, 2011 GMT
More Alpine Passes
The Mountain Gods give and they also take away. They gave us a perfect day to ride the Grossglockner Pass in Austria but they got even when we tried to ride the Timmeljoch Pass. It was beautiful
right up till just before the top. The we stared DEATH square in the face with one of the curviest roads and near ZERO visibility. The rain, fog, clouds and road contributed to one of the most stressful rides (don’t know about Corey) I have ever done. It was the best scenery that we have NEVER seen. :=) Major switchbacks in in these conditions is NOT fun. After we got down a ways the fog lifted, and THIS is what we were riding WITH NO VISIBILITY!!
I told Corey that he had my undying admiration for leading us thru that. There were some GREAT views when we got out of the fog. Here you can see some of the switchbacks closer to the bottom.
Tomorrow we will try Stilvio Pass and another in northern Italy (IF IT IS NOT FOGGY).
Rick (glad to be alive).
Posted by rickmcd at 03:46 PM
July 16, 2011 GMT
We blew out of Prague heading south with a general idea that we would explore some of the Austrian and Swiss Alps. From Prague we rode into the very northeast corner of Germany, then into Austria, then into Germany (again) and back into Austria. Some very nice roads
and LOTS of quaint villages along the way.
After a bit of research we headed for a village named Zell am See in Austria.
It is the jumping off point for some of the best motorcycle roads around and many of the Alpine passes that we were looking for. Unfortunately, we arrived in Zell in a little rain and right away met a fellow that said he had been waiting 3 days for the fog and rain to clear up so he could ride the pass. It wasn’t looking good for us as we couldn’t even see the tops of the mountains. In the morning, the nice lady at the reception asked if we were riding the pass. We said yes, but the clouds and fog had us worried. She immediately got on the internet and called up some real time web cams and said “It is a PERFECT day to ride the pass”. Sun and warm. We must have been good boys to get such a break. Many motorcyclists have said that you haven’t really ridden the Alps unless you have ridden Grossglockner Pass. Well, we rode it and did it in PERFECT weather. What Luck. It took us 4 hours to go 20 miles because we stopped so many time for pictures and such. Again I’ll let you decide which you think are best but here are some of my favorites.
Tomorrow we will head past Innsbruck and then on to St Moritz looking for more perfect weather and mountain passes. Wish us luck!
Many more pictures here if you like.
Rick (OD'ing on Mountain scenery)
Posted by rickmcd at 05:13 PM
July 14, 2011 GMT
Prague (or Praha as they say here)
Made it thru Latvia, Lithuania
Poland, and into the Czech Republic
and Prague on some very scenic roads.
Had trouble finding a hotel in old town since there is a film festival, a bohemian jazz festival, and some Norwegian thing going (Corey got excited) but we got lucky and found some “economy” rooms in a VERY nice hotel (Hotel Caesars Palace). The elevator doesn’t even go to the floor our rooms are on, since it is the attic but they actually are very nice and the fancy people in the lobby and bars don’t know that we are attic rats! :=) Several people had told me that Prague was the one place that we didn’t want to miss. They said it was beautiful and they were right. There are so many great buildings,
to look at that my neck hurts at times. Corey has some friends here and they took us to a famous roof top restaurant (and several bars) that had views that were unbelievable.
After the last blog entry, some folks said they were disappointed that there were no pictures – be careful what you wish for. There are a LOT of pictures this time. Sometimes 2 or 3 of the same thing as I was trying different camera settings (none of which are very good since it was generally cloudy and overcast). Don’t know what page the new ones start on, on your computer since every display is different (they start on page 39 on my little traveling laptop). I’ll let you decide which pictures you like best out of the bunch. The rest are here if you like.
Posted by rickmcd at 03:04 PM