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Photo by George Guille, It's going to be a long 300km... Bolivian Amazon

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by George Guille
It's going to be a long 300km...
Bolivian Amazon



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  #376  
Old 18 Dec 2014
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/187.html



My clutch is fried like chicken in Kentucky.

I'm not that surprised. I've got close to 185,000 kms on the odo, which isn't bad life for a dry clutch. That's like 250,000 kms in wet clutch years!

I limped back to Lugano, taking care not to give too much throttle at low revs. I've heard clutches achieve total failure very quickly once they start to slip and I worried about making it back without a tow.

Back at home base, we surveyed our options. There was a BMW dealership nearby in Ticino, but Stefano told us it cost a lot to get their bikes serviced there. I could not have picked a more expensive place to break down! Stefano was in the middle of researching shops across the border in Italy to take their bikes to, and he told us that the one in Varese got good mention, so the next day, we dropped my bike off there to see what they could do.

On the ride over, the clutch started slipping at the bottom of third gear. I don't think I could have gone another 100 kms more before total failure.


My GS was a minor celebrity at the BMW dealership. It was the highest mileage bike they'd ever worked on!

Switzerland has four official languages, and Ticino is the predominantly Italian canton. I was so glad to have Stefano there with me at the dealership in Italy, conversing in Italian to describe my problem. They told us that it would take a few days to order the parts from Germany and another day or two to install the clutch. I also had a laundry list of other issues (10K service, broken hand warmer, leaking shaft drive) so I added those to the wishlist as well.

This meant that we were about to turn from invited houseguests into unexpected roommates...


Two-up ride to get some ice cream

Bettina's kids arrived a few days later and found their house bustling with new visitors!


What tastes better than ice cream? Someone else's ice cream!!!


I memorized the back of Stefano's helmet

We got Neda's bike serviced as well in Varese, which meant two extra trips for Stefano as he carried me back to Lugano on the back of his bike. Varese is only 30kms away from Lugano, but three trips in three days meant that I was doing a lot of staring at the back of Stefano's helmet. I'm not often a passenger, so I thought up of an invention: a periscope you could fit over the passengers visor so they could look *over* the rider's helmet as opposed to having to peer over their shoulder!

What do you think? I'm working on the Kickstarter site right now...


Look, autumn is here!

While Bettina is at work, we fill our days walking around the area, doing small hikes and picking up groceries. The weather has cooled rapidly in the time we've been here and we're surprised to see that the leaves are falling from the trees. We've not had to face an impending winter for a couple of years now so we need to formulate some kind of escape plan.


It's only been a few days and I'm already suffering from motorcycle withdrawal


Cats looooove motorcycle seats. Stefano loooooves Foo Fighters
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  #377  
Old 18 Dec 2014
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Celebrating a Swiss holiday

One evening we took the kids outside to light some fireworks in celebration of a Swiss holiday. That night, I tried to look up on the Internet which holiday it was, but couldn't find any mention of anything this time of year. Stefano said tomorrow was another holiday and that we would be setting exotic cars on fire to celebrate. Ok!


With the kids egging us on, we all showed our hidden talents


Sneaky kids!


For someone who doesn't like birthdays, I was getting a lot of parties this year...

We're really enjoying our time here with Bettina and Stefano and the kids, but we're anxious not to overstay our welcome. The latest news from the dealership is that the fix is going to be delayed a few more days. We had originally planned to head back to Croatia because there were some matters Neda had to attend to with her mom's passing. Because it looked like my bike would not be ready for a while, Neda decided to go back to Pula by herself, while I stayed here in Switzerland.


Bettina's bike waiting for her to get back from work

I really liked hanging out with Bettina and Stefano. A few nights we played a game that I think we invented called Pass-The-Spotify. Spotify is a jukebox app on the smartphone where you can call up any song ever recorded.

You can tell a lot about a person from their song selections. Bettina played all the music I used to listen to while growing up, so I could tell that she and I were the same age: 29.

From Stefano's song selections, I could tell he reaaaaally liked the Foo Fighters.


You want a pizza me? I'll slice you!

Ticino is such a nice place to live in! I've been here over a week now, starting to get really comfortable. I'm thinking about calling the dealership to tell them to take their time with the repairs. Too bad I don't speak Italian...

It's almost *too* perfect here! I asked Bettina and Stefano if there was anything bad about their perfect little country? Bettina replied, "Well the politicians here are terrible.." What? They're terrible everywhere!


Even the trains are happy here...

They say that houseguests, like fish, start to smell after three days. So I made sure to take many long, hot showers every day. I even used Bettina's special bath soaps so I could smell extra-pretty. They looked kind of expensive.



"Hey Bettina, how do you make a Swiss Roll?"
"Well first you..."
"Wrong! You push him down a mountain! Har Har!"
"...!"


How do you make a Swiss Cross?
Ask them how you make a Swiss Roll...


Stefano has been calling the dealership three times a day for the last week demanding when my bike will be ready to pick up. That's so nice of him!
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Last edited by lightcycle; 18 Dec 2014 at 09:20.
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  #378  
Old 24 Dec 2014
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Updated from Nov 02 2014: Pants Off Time

My bike is fixed!

I hopped on the back of Stefano's bike and we rode to Italy to pick up my motorcycle. The reason why it took so long is because they noticed my GS was still equipped with the old-style fuel pump controller which is a known defective part prone to failure. So they ordered the new replacement part from Germany and fixed it under warranty, which was really nice of them, since the warranty on my bike ran out years ago!

What was supposed to be a two-day visit in Switzerland turned out to be close to a two-week stay. I thanked Bettina and Stefano profusely for sheltering me while my bike was in the shop. They were so hospitable, friendly and helpful, they made me feel so at home at their place. I really hope to see them again soon.



I left pretty late in the day from Lugano and took the Autostrada all the way from Switzerland to Croatia. 600 kms flew by in a matter of a few hours. It makes you realize just how small Europe is, that you can ride through four countries in a single day. You can't even ride through Ontario in a day!

The days are getting so short! As soon as the sun set, the temperature dropped down to low single digits. The windchill while riding at 130 km/h forced me to put the heated electric liners on. First time since Alaska! We have gear to deal with the cold temperatures, but the imminent snow and ice will surely drive us southwards.

When I crossed the border from Slovenia to Croatia, I used my British passport for the very first time in my life. Since Croatia joined the EU, the guard just glanced at my document and waved me through. And here I was all ready to do my, "Bond, James Bond" impression...

Pretty cool just waltzing through though. I felt very European. Riding into Pula, into familiar surroundings again, I was hit with a sense of returning from a long journey. This was the first time in years that we had left a place and then returned back, as if it was a home of sorts. Neda still has to sort out some of her mom's affairs after she passed away this summer, so we are staying put here for awhile.


Trevor visits us in Pula! Photo by Iva

We first met Trevor at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California back October 2012. Since then, we've kept in touch and our paths have crossed on the Stahlratte between Panama and Colombia in April 2013 and now he's in Europe with us, so we're hosting him in Pula while he decides where to go next.

We're all part of a network of Round-The-World motorcycle travelers and it's not unusual to say to someone, "See you in Europe next year!" or "Meet you in Croatia in a couple of months!"...


Day trip to Rovinj

Iva and Tajana once again take up the mantle of Istrian tour guides. But since we have motorcycles this time, Trevor, Neda and I all follow on two wheels. The first stop of the day is the tourist port-town of Rovinj.


Oooh, pretty bottles of olive oil...

Neda pulls me aside and tells me that these aren't the good olive oil, they're the crappy blend that they sell to tourists who don't know any better. "But the bottles are so pretty! It's got the name of the town on it and everything!"


Collision course.


Balbi's Arch

Rovinj used to be a fortified town due to the conflict between the Turks and the Venetians. In the 17th century, the gate of the town as well as the walls were pulled down and this arch was erected in its place. On one side of the arch is the head of a Turk and on the other side is the head of a Venetian.


Scootin' around Rovinj


Hanging out with Trevor


Waving to fellow motorcyclists

The geography in Istria is described using colours. There are three main area: "White" Istria are the mountain peaks, "Grey" Istria is the fertile soils of the interior and "Red" Istria describes the red clay soil along the coastlines, suitable for vineyards. You can see the red soil in the picture above, it's similar to the red earth in Prince Edward Island (Canada).
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  #379  
Old 24 Dec 2014
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Our next stops, the ruins in Dvigrad


What remains of Dvigrad Castle, constructed in the 11th century


Dvigrad was abandoned in the 17th century due to a pest and malaria outbreak

The only pests that hang out in Dvigrad now are tourists.


Back on the road!


Some of the trees have already shed their leaves for the season, which reminds me we should be leave-ing soon too...


Neda found a feather duster. And she is whistling to it...?

Our last stop for the day is a little town on top of a hill called Draguc.


Cat watches as tourists clad in motorcycle gear wander around her village


Everyone is so beat from racing all over Istria, we take a little nap.
Except for Trevor, who looks to be attempting to break into this building...


My friends are such bastardos. Since I was the first one to fall asleep, I could hear them in my sleep giggling and taking pictures of me, but I was too tired to wake up and yell at them.


Heading back home, lots of Autumn colours on the way


Neda is so happy to be exploring her old country on two wheels


Tajana poses on the back of Neda's bike

Trevor left after spending almost a week with us. He was off to explore the rest of Croatia. Pula was experiencing some heavy rainfall, so we worried a bit about his trip. But on the other hand, we now had the place to ourselves again! It's been a very social time for us lately, either being guests or hosts for nearly a month now and I was missing some serious Pants-Off-Time. You know, when you walk through the door of your house, and then immediately take off your pants so you can walk around the place in your underwear? I know you know what I'm talking about...

I know you do.
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  #380  
Old 24 Dec 2014
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Gene, Neda

merry christmas to you and your families

fall colors ha i wish . was in TO on the weekend .No snow on Bloor at all. At home 6 hours north bikes are parked with two feet of snow on the ground

wish you well

john
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  #381  
Old 24 Dec 2014
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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year you guys!



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  #382  
Old 24 Dec 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miles4smiles View Post
merry christmas to you and your families
Thanks John, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you as well!

Quote:
Originally Posted by L84toff View Post
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year you guys!
Thanks Mark! Best regards to you and Lori for Xmas and the New Year!
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  #383  
Old 26 Dec 2014
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Great thread. Much pleasure. Thank you. PS Italy is much more interesting than Switzerland and the food is tons better. Order and punctuality got them chocolate and cuckoo clocks. Centuries of chaos in Italy produced Art, Cuisine and Sensuality. But I did like having a Swiss bank account when I was a young Italian traveler.
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  #384  
Old 27 Dec 2014
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Yes, Italy was very fascinating culturally. And Switzerland does have its share of wonders - the scenery up in the Alps is fantastic!

Still, a good contrast between neighbouring countries.
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  #385  
Old 27 Dec 2014
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Updated from Nov 16 2014: Last Days in Croatia



We haven't been doing a lot of moving the last couple of weeks, mainly recovering from our Italian vacation. We both agree that our pace through Italy was good - not too fast, but enough time to see all the things we wanted to see. There is such a thing as moving too slow, even for us. We had eased up to such a crawl in South America that we felt a heavy sense of lethargy every day, like it was a struggle to break the inertia of our snail's pace. I think in our future travels we'll be more alert to this.

Neda's mom's affairs are almost wrapped up so we'll be saying goodbye to Pula soon. In the meantime, here's a quick update of what we've been doing (not too much):


As promised, we rode our motorcycles 400m down the street to pose in downtown Pula

Unfortunately, tourist season has long since passed and there was nobody to ogle our motorcycles...

I can't believe how empty Pula is in the off-season. A lot of residents here lament the fact that the entire region tries to make all of their annual revenue through tourism within the 2-3 month window of summer. Prices tend to stay high the rest of the year, making it expensive for the people that actually live here. There's always talk of how to bring tourists here all year round, but so far nothing has come about.

Having lived here for a few months now, I kinda feel a kinship with the Puljankans.


We did another presentation. And it was huge!

Iva's friend, Goran, heard about our trip and organized for us to do a presentation at a local bar. It didn't sound very big, but that evening, so many people came out to see us. We were very surprised! It was standing room only! Even some members of the Croatian motorcycle forum that Neda posts in came out to see us. Goran got the bar to hang up some of our favorite pictures from the trip on the wall, you can see them in the background above.


Watching our rock-star friend Tatiana perform one evening.
She lent me her guitar while we were staying in Pula! Hvala!



Pizza with Iva!

We've been eating so much since coming to Europe. I have a bit of an eating disorder now: First I have disorder of fries, then I have disorder of spaghetti, and then disorder of pizza...

I've discovered the secret to hiding double-chins in pictures. Take your selfie from above!
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  #386  
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Neda's sister came to Pula to help out


Neda spending some quality time with her niece on the shores of Verudela


Queen of the World!

Neda has spent the last couple of weeks trying to wrap things up here and I think the stress is affecting her. She's experiencing frequent gastrointestinal problems and I'm not convinced it's the food because we're basically eating the same meals together. In addition, the weather has turned very dark and rainy in Pula. Although snow doesn't accumulate too much in Pula, it's still a reminder that we need to be on the move soon.
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  #387  
Old 29 Dec 2014
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Happy New Year

Gene,
Thanks for letting the world and I tag along on your incredible adventure.
You and Neda have opened a world to me that I will probably never see.
-
Happy New year to you and Neda.

Jim
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  #388  
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Thanks, Happy New Year to you too!
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  #389  
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/190.html



We're on the move! Neda is finally finished here in Pula and all week long we've been eying the forecasts, trying to pick a window of dry weather to depart.


Our last moments in Pula

I asked Neda if leaving Pula was very emotional for her. This might be the last time that we would be back for a while. She said that these past few weeks had been very stressful for her and that she was just happy that it was done and over with, and that we'd be leaving it behind now.

We're heading westwards on our search for warmer and drier climates. On the way, we had a quick stopover in Milan for the weekend, to spend more time with Neda's sister and her family. Then back on the highway and in the blink of an eye, we were in France! A brand new country on our trip!


Neda says, "Nice!" No, not nice as in pleasant, but "Nice" as in the city in France!

We thought we would have some clear skies to travel under, but the weather changed its mind after our weekend stay in Milan - our journey on the French highways was fraught with cold and heavy rains. We are in "Relocate" mode right now. The conditions are not very conducive to pleasure riding, so we opt to pay for the toll roads and we're hugging the very southern coast of France in an effort to stay as close to warm weather as possible.


The hotel where we're staying at told us we could park anywhere on the sidewalk. So we did!
Love being on two-wheels in Europe!


The staff at the hotel reassured us about the security of our bikes. They told us that Nice is the most heavily surveilled city in France with CCTV cameras trained on every inch of the city. I still locked up my bike out of habit. *shrug*

And yes, we're staying in a hotel. We thought we were getting an off-season deal, but with all the taxes and tariffs they levied at check-in, it turned out to be more than our budget allowed. And this was one of the cheapest accommodations as well - it was 70% *OFF* the already low off-season price! France is turning out to be more expensive than Italy!

The hotel listed the room rates for different periods. During the F1 Monaco Race (less than 30 minutes away), the rate skyrockets to €200 a night! We're not going to be staying in France for very long, I don't think.


On our short stopover in Nice, we braved the cold and rain to walk around the coastal city


We were surprised that there were still a lot of people spending time outside despite the weather


Their relationship looked to be on the rocks...
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  #390  
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Opéra de Nice is an example of the Second Empire Architecture

Second Empire architecture was popular from the mid-to-late 19th century. Although it originated in France, and many more examples exist in Paris, you can also see this style in North America as well, like Boston's Old City Hall. But perhaps most people know the style of architecture from the houses from Psycho, The Addams Family, The Munsters and Beetlejuice. Yes, it's the horror house architecture... That's exactly what the French had in mind when creating this architectural style...


View of the coast of Nice

Near the shoreline was a tall outcropping of rock called the Colline du Château (Castle Hill). You can climb some stairs or take an elevator to get to the top, where you can walk around a large citadel that they built up there. It's the best place in the city to get some great views of the beaches and the rooftops below.[/size][/b]


Poor man's French Riviera

We've been to St. Tropez and Monaco before and Nice's marinas pale in comparison to the million dollar yachts parked in the swankier docks. In fact, only the downtown area of Nice is nice-looking. When coming into town, we noticed that the outskirts are kind of grungy-looking.




Reflection of Place Garibaldi, in one of the oldest squares in Nice


Heading into the old part of Nice (Vieille Ville)

We always gravitate to the older sections of cities and towns we visit. In Latin America, this would be called Centro Historico. The pastel paint on the buildings tell me that we're in a Gringo Trail Town!


Like any Gringo Trail Town, Vieille Nice is lined with shops and restaurants


As far as sculptures go, this was one of the less abstract (saner) examples. More about that later...


Scooter's eye view of Nice
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