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Thread: Round 4: Another Ramble

  1. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanum View Post
    He's on his way

    I did everything I could to get rid of the fekker.......all my holiday photos, fed him some dodgy chicken from the kebab shop, some ex-lax in a cuppa and it was only when I resorted to playing him a LONG moto-morocco video that he got the message and fekked off to get his ferry

    What a lovely chap

    PSSST I know where's he's going as well

    Enjoy Rob
    Cheers, Bill.. thanks for the kind hospitality..

    Top man!

  2. #18
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    Well I hope it is somewhere warmer than here at the moment!
    [SIGPIC]http://www.ukgser.com/forums/image.php?u=1024240&type=sigpic&dateline=1267183772 [SIGPIC]

  3. #19
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    'Orf we go again..

    OK, let's get this show on the road..

    It's been quite pleasant to be back at home despite our wonderful home weather. Strange, in my mind it feels like summer and I still can't quite get used to it being November.

    Anyway.. sod it, I'll go for another ride.

    My very good lady friend you might recall from the early stages of the recent Iberian dispatches has gone crazy ape bonkers and tidied, cleaned and organised my house in a very thorough Scandinavian manner, going through it like some sort of whirling dirvish. Whilst it was an incredibly nice thing to do sadly for me the consequence is I just don't seem to be able to find anything at the moment (that said it was always somewhat of a struggle).

    Anyone who knows me here and has visited my house would know that I don't live in a tip by any means, but I do live in a kind of organised chaos. Of course, I don't put any of that detail on eharmony.

    First thing to do then, was to try and get organised. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail, as some crappy 'habits of successful robots' book told me some years ago. Let's do an Audit then. From the rambles so far, the casualty list is as follows:

    Bike

    Rear Wheel Speed Sensor (Fixed by a BMW dealer in Spain)
    Mysterious LAMPF (Repaired)

    … so not too bad eh.

    Other Equipment Damages

    550 Zumo (Screen bizarrely damaged- soon to be returned to Garmin. If you're viewing this please send me a 660 eh?)
    Contour Roam Camera (Some mist inside the glass of the lens AGAIN even after my last repair and not using it in the rain on the last tour)
    One pair of Sunwise Sunglasses (Broken)
    One pair of Crappy Rayban copies from Sarajevo (Destroyed, only like six quid anyway)
    HTC Desire Mobile Phone (Died in the rains of Espana. Now repaired )
    Spare phone #1 Sony Ericcson W995 (Again, death in the wet. Now repaired )
    Spare phone #2 Sony Ericcson W595 (Still knackered )
    Tissot T-Race Watch (Replacement battery has not fixed it)
    A pair of O'Neill Flip Flops (Died, used to death)
    AA Atlas of Europe (Disintegrated)
    Michelin Map of Spain (ripped trying to get it into the crazy map pocket on the tank bag. Let's call that 50/50 design/user error)

    Losses

    A copy of John Le Carre's 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'
    One faded 'Rusty' branded Sun Hat
    A rather natty pair of socks with the word 'Beer' on them
    A Sony Memory Stick USB adapter (lost in a Podgorica hotel)
    A quite nice Zefal Water Bottle (doh.. didn't even make it to Dover on the last trip.. flown out of the holder).

    ...

    You know, actually I'm quite staggered at just how limited the losses were. I always manage to lose bits and bobs somewhere along the line and it drives me mad so I'm very happy for a little list such as that.

    Let's look at documents. I empty my Passport Wallet. Some random ATM receipts, a card for the Moby Dick restaurant in Bandirma, Turkey, the WiFi code for a hotel in Sarajevo and a hidden fifteen quids worth of Croatian Kuna. Otherwise documentation is all in order aside from the bike tax disc appears to have gone. Never mind.

    Back again to visit Sir Steve of Motoscot for a service. At 40k everything seems to be holding up OK touch wood, and we've still even got half brake pads, the consequence of my slow / organised, thorough, planned riding* (delete as applicable). One new front Conti trail attack and we're good.

    I repair my Alpinestar SMX-2 Gore-Tex boots with Shoegoo (that stuff's the wasp's nipples you know..)

    I invest in a pair of rather nice Rukka gloves..



    I buy a heated waistcoat..



    And the 'pre match' meal is a very good Steak, Egg and Chips.



    Think we're ready then

  4. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow White View Post
    Well I hope it is somewhere warmer than here at the moment!
    It most certainly is not


  5. #21
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    Romford to Harwich

    HQ, last night, 1900 hours.

    Them: 'Go on, have some Chinese, we're all having Chinese.'
    Me: 'I've eaten really.. So I don't need anything',
    Them: 'Go on'
    Me: 'Really, I'm OK, thanks'
    Them: 'Go on go on go on go on'
    Me: 'Oh..'
    Them: 'Go on' etc ad infinitum.

    I get the asking over the period of two hours waiting for a friend to come over so they could order, so by that time I'm mildly hungry and I give in, deciding on a wee helping..

    Nibbling away, consuming a chunky crispy chip with curry sauce I get crunch/crack. Ace, just ace

    Fast forward 16 hours and I'm stood outside the Hornchurch Family Dental Practice. Luckily they listened to my plea and said they'd fit me in- I've done dental pain on a bike and never again, certainly not if there's any choice in the matter. Half an hour of drilling and all of that hoohah and we have a tooth fixed

    Time to get back home to pack up and get going.

    I quickly sort out the heated waistcoat and get it wired up. Observe: No panniers this time. No camping gear. Just the top box and the soft bag. Sporty, flatter, more pointy. Of course, you could have observed if I didn't delete the photo. Anyway, it's a red 1200 with a top box. You've seen one, you've seen 'em all

    Final tweaks: There's a millinery switch. I change the System 6 over for the Caberg Hyper X. I figure there'll be not much riding with the flip up, a favoured pastime, given the promised temperatures.

    And we're off. Or are we? The bike didn't want to start. Huh. It did though after a bit of faffing. I guess a sort of 'How dare you leave me unused' huff after the long exile in the garage for ten days. But it gives in and kicks into life and away we go, hustling along a dark and crowded A12 and out to the East.

    My first port of call will be a social one to our Fanum of this parish (as you will have gathered now). I call in at the shed and have a browse.. A lot of Landy kit.. A Kalahari on the way to becoming an outfit.. A certain red 1150 awaiting some tender loving care.. And a K100 with a rather natty fairing.
    We head off for kebabs. Fine living indeed. A cup of tea and a good chat.
    I'm lent a puncture kit (cheers buddy) ...

    ...and I say farewell...



    Not a great picture. Arty though. A 'Billhouette' if you will

    So all that is left on the road is an arduous three minute ride to the ferry

    Hitting the port and getting to the boat is a breeze. I get to the window, lady gives me a cabin keycard and says that we're boarding now so just go on. Thirty yards past there's three bored border agents. As I pull up, I stall it. 'Don't ride it much, then?' asks the bod. 'Erm.. Actually, yes, not so's you'd notice, though…' We have a quick chat; no bikes thus far today on the ferry and there's a bit of good natured banter. Last question was 'Are you carrying any large sums of money?' Answer, 'Sadly, not'. Ah, If only



    And we're on the ferry presently. I think I'm probably last on. The thing is half full loaded but the car deck is eerily deserted. We're still an hour and a touch away from the 23.15 departure. A little man appears, like the shopkeeper from Mr. Benn. Without fuss he ties the bike down and swifly disappears. I take the lift to my quarters. And the verdict there is.. well, most impressive as it happens. An inside two berth cabin; typical compact cabin size, but there's a sofa and a flat screen TV, and the whole thing has a bit of a cruise liner feel to it. Certainly much better than any ferry I've taken over the summer and there's been a few.

    I de-clobber and head up to the lounge clutching my laptop and a pikey blue plastic bag with two tins of 'Lech' lager I'd collected from the offy in Harwich adjacent to the kebabery. I order a Heineken from the bar, and it's £3 for a pint, so actually it wasn't too silly, but I get a souvenir glass to tip my take outs into.

    Clearly you have to be on time for the Stena Hollandica. Just before 23.00 we're moving, 15mins ahead of schedule.

    After my relaxing beverages I retire to the cabin. I'm not ready to sleep yet so switch on the television. Not something I generally do, but it's a novelty to see what channels they get. It is a silly mistake. I ended up watching some crappy Sylvester Stallone film on ITV4. It was an early one. He had a beard and wore flares. Rutger Hauer starred as the psycho bad guy. It was so bad it was good if you see what I mean; I couldn't tear myself away.. I simply had to watch it. The acting was so incredibly wooden.. the whole film was a bloody fire risk. Eventually it finishes and I get off to sleep. It must be 2am when I do.

    Tut tut, silly boy.

    ..

  6. #22
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    Aaaaaaahhhh - that's better. Like the first beer after a drying out spell! Has it only been 10 days?

    Ride safe Rob!

  7. #23
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    Crack on dear boy, crack on and keep it coming. I think a lot of us are living the dream vicariously through you!

  8. #24
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    Cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by JKW View Post
    Aaaaaaahhhh - that's better. Like the first beer after a drying out spell! Has it only been 10 days?
    It's good to be back


  9. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8roberto View Post
    Cheers



    It's good to be back

    So, come on, tell us where you're going

  10. #26
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    Harwich to Bad Meinberg

    Yup, I'm tired. My own fault of course.

    Stena Line have an interesting wakey wakey ploy. You are woken by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass's 'Spanish Flea' which is piped into your compartment with some jolly salutation at the end. I pull my pillow over my head. Knob off..! It did give me a chuckle, though.

    Further cajoling follows. I duly ignore a further bit of tannoy telling me breakfast is available and all of that rhubarb.

    I do eventually get up, and I'm in my undercrackers, toothbrush stuck in my mooey still when the announcement 'Drivers and their passengers should now make their way to the vehicle decks'. Ah. Clearly they don't send a bod round to turf you out like they do on every other ferry I've taken this year. Circumstances call for some Benny Hill chase scene style packing to be done.

    Welcome to Holland, then..



    In a flash I'm mingling with the early morning Rotterdam rush, criss-crossing over to the main motorway and direct route East. I do need to get something to nibble on, and I can't hold out any more so I visit a BP station. How exotic. One Groot Cappuccino and an Appelflap..



    I pass Utrecht and then it's away from the Motorway and on to the more interesting stuff.

    A rather leafy lane..



    Erm, quite..



    It's a beautiful pleasant and bright Autumnal day, the colours are quite something..



    I cross the border into Germany south of Enschede.

    Das Windmill. And it appears to be a Fire windmill ..



    Heading down the little lanes, as one does..







    I carry on floating along, along nice roads, cutting through the odd little one, and just having a thoroughly enjoyable ride.



    The temperature starts to drop and the light begins to fade. I source a little Guest House on the web in the town of Bad Meinberg. It's supposedly a very nice place, but the time I arrive it is already pitch black so I can't really tell you much. They're big on preventing light pollution here, or saving energy, or have run out of streetlamp bulbs. Whatever, but there's not a whole lot of illumination.

    I reach the accommodation which cuts an Amityville Horror house profile in the chilly darkness. I toddle up the driveway and I'm shuffling the bike around when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I'm greeted by a jolly, toothy chap who says that I can 'park ze motorrad in ze garage'. That's champion.

    The place is really very comfortable and pleasant. A nice comfy big bed and a radiator that works and goes up to 5. Toasty warm, just what the doctor ordered. The owner is really friendly and welcoming. He recommends some places to eat. Though I don't fancy sitting in a restaurant. I'm really feeling tired now. Only about five hours sleep, so I have a quick wander out to see what I can find. Brrrr.. My my it is cold.

    Tonight's menu is the room dining option, courtesy of the fine fayre of this establishment..



    I'd previously said I'd found it hard to adjust it being November. Well, reality check and adjustment now made. A very quick walk back, tuck consumed, and so to bed..

  11. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    So, come on, tell us where you're going
    Oh.. the mystery of it all

    You know, I have only one fixed place to go to.. other than that.. I don't even know myself


  12. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8roberto View Post
    Oh.. the mystery of it all

    You know, I have only one fixed place to go to.. other than that.. I don't even know myself

    It's gonna be another great adventure, I can feel it.

  13. #29
    David Lee
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    It's going to be a chilly adventure by the look of things.

    Why not head for Poland

  14. #30
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    Bad Meinberg to Berlin

    The Guest House has an upstairs honesty bar for the rooms. There was Paulanier Dunkel, so I decreased some of their stock.



    Google Weather this morning is telling me that the temperature range in the region is -2 in Hanover to a mighty 1 in Paderborn. Perhaps I'll head the Paderborn way and break out the Hawaiian Tropic.



    Yup, it's cold alright. Even the breakfast boiled egg sports a bobble hat..



    I get checked out. I correct the host- he's undercharged me for the wrong and very much inferior pils beers and he's delighted that I've corrected him.

    So now.. we want the gear to work in this kind of weather. I'm layered as follows.

    Fine M&S sporty undercrackers
    A pair of SmartWool socks
    Gore-Tex Alpinestar SMX2 Boots
    Two pairs of thermal leggings
    Dainese Gore-Tex Trousers (without liner)
    A thermal baselayer top
    A North Face technical t-shirt
    An Exo-2 Heated Waistocat
    A Halvarssons 'Outlast' Zip-top
    Dainese Gore-Tex Jacket (with liner)
    EDZ thick neck tube
    Neck buff #2 with a trendy Dunlop logo
    Neck buff #3 in camo print

    I never did get the final bike base layer set sorted, so I've just used one layer which I got from my local Sports Direct which I wear when I go to the footy in Winter, plus an additional set of thermal leggings from that technical specialist George at Asda.

    So eventually, all bundled up, I do the robot and wobble off to the bike. Actually it isn't too bad- very comfortable in fact. Certainly snug.

    Ninja biker. Thank heavens for the lack of Fashion Polizei..



    On setting off the bike shows 0.5 on the gauge. Conditions are dry which is of course rather good news for those who prefer their motorcycling to be mostly upright.

    Waistcoat plugged in.. And toasty, toasty, toasty

    The riding is actually really very pleasant. I'm taking it very easy, naturally, but there's a wonderful serenity about the chill morning and light fog. The gear is doing very well; I'm not at all cold and these kind of temperatures are around the lowest I'd care to endure so all is very encouraging.

    I'm making relatively slow Easterly progress across wunderbar Deutshland. Quiet, immaculate villages; unhurried riding.

    Mist, fog, low temperatures..



    My first route is completed (when I sorted one to destination Zumo said 'Not enough memory to Calculate' so I broke things down to chunks). I stop at the side of the road to sort part 2. I'm not stopped a minute when a guy in a VW golf stops to check if I'm OK. That's happened to me before in Germany… you really have gotta love the place. I tell him 'Alles gut' and he gives me the thumbs up and hurtles off. Nice

    You know, some rufty tufty pictures…



    .. Just aren't as they first appear



    Yes, it's the first 'McDrive' squarely aimed at adventure travel folk I'm sure many of you will be thrilled

    I have a Cappucino at said McDonald's and further plan the route. Heavy Fog is indicated according to the internet. I'm pondering.. I don't think it wise to be caught out on the back roads with fog looming and freezing temperatures, so I adjust.. Let's get across to the A2 sharpish, the main motorway which will whisk me into Berlin.

    Half an hour or so later, the three ingredients for the rest of the trip today are as follows:

    1) A temperature hovering around zero;
    2) Heavy Fog;
    3) Autobahn.

    eek

    I've always been a fan of the driving standard in Germany. Efficient, brisk, disciplined. But I wasn't ready for what I encountered on the main road. I mean, I know Autobahns are quick roads, and you need to have a keen eye as the approach speed from behind is seriously rapid.. But what amazes me is with visibility at no more than a couple of hundred meters the Audi and BMW hyper-barges are still hurtling along at a hundred miles an hour plus, off in to the gloom. The illuminated overhead signs offer up a speed limit of 120kph. That is bloody crackers
    At home it would be 50mph on the M25 and that might just be about right.

    I do an hour of it and decide for a break. Cappuccino and strudel. The fog here eases a bit. The gear is working wonders so I do feel really fresh and that's a real bonus in these conditions.

    I don't go for the Iced Coffee, tempting as it is..



    I return to the bike after getting trapped in a sanifair turnstile. The somewhat amused lav attendant rescues me. Note to self: Lift tank bag when negotiating barrier.

    I head out at about a quarter to five. It's still light here, but not long later there's a fourth ingredient to add to the mix. Darkness. Back to the motorway. And... the fog returns with a vengeance. I hide between lorries and am at a steady 60mph. Not too quick, but not too slow for sure.

    I take another quick break. Brrr..



    Down to minus 0.5..



    Ice has formed on my crash bar bags. Gulp.

    There's a sign for Berlin over there. Sorry not a great photo, but I think it looks kind of chilly..



    It is hard work getting in to Berlin. There are no street lights on the motorway, right up until we're well past the suburbs. Eventually I meet a traffic jam and carefully filter through the traffic. Misty, chilly, full of lights. Very 'Blade Runner'.
    And then I'm there.. A right turn and I'm hurtling along the wide boulevard Strasse des 17 Juni, along towards the Brandenburg gate, and then crossing in to what was West Berlin.

    I meet up with my brother Nick who has gotten us an apartment sorted out for a few days. There's no parking so the bike is on the street. We'll sort something tomorrow. Anyway, first things first.. time is getting on and I need to find a nice beer.

    We have a wander around. I'm liking Berlin already. And looky.. Let's see what we have here?



    Gulaschsuppe warms the cockles.. and the house 'special' beer hits the spot



    Refreshed; a couple of cold ones at the Bruhaus and we move swiftly along to another hostalry.. For one of these..



    We move on for some further late tastings. My dear brother is talking to a fraulein and decides to go and source some late food. Me? I'm going home.

    My blasted key fob doesn't work to open the external door to the apartment block. Oh that's just great. It's 1.15am and freezing bleedin' cold. So how am I going to get into the apartment block? I know. Buzz a resident and ask them to let me in. But who should I bother? Decisions, decisions. I know..



    You know, previously I couldn't tell you what the German is for 'nonplussed', but now I think I'd be ready to have a stab at it..

  15. #31
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    Oooh, thank God it's Friday.. you're a BUGGER.. posting those lovely pictures of lovely dark, lovely beer

    ballistic

  16. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballistic View Post
    Oooh, thank God it's Friday.. you're a BUGGER.. posting those lovely pictures of lovely dark, lovely beer
    I'm at the 'House of a hundred beers' buddy.. its not going to get better any time soon

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