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Old 04-22-2015, 10:59 AM   #1
KevinC OP
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Three go mad in Italia

It was long(ish) in the planning in that myself and Andy had been talking about it for a couple of years, but was short(ish) in the planning in that we worked it all out at The Golden Lion beer festival in early May . While we didn’t think we’d drunk that much the evidence the next day suggested otherwise but, somehow, we remembered the plan and began organising. In the end there were three of us, myself on a GS, Andy on his Multistrada and Simon, newly returned to biking, on his very recently acquired MV Augusta Brutale.

Friday 20th June

An early start



followed by a meet with Andy at our local Tesco and a meet with Simon at services on the A13 then the inevitable motorway trek down to Folkstone



ready for a 6.00am crossing by train to Calais.

A short break at the terminal,



(incidentally, we British are a messy peoples, cans and bottles just thrown onto the ground when there’s a perfectly good bin just a couple of feet away, drives me nuts and yes I did dispose of them correctly … but I digress)

we headed round to the train





where as usual we had to wait and were the last to board



but once on we settled ourselves for the 35 minute ride to France.



Parked just ahead of us, in fact the only other car in our carriage, was a splendid looking Morgan Aero8 which, sadly, wasn’t in a position where I could get a good pic but it sounded magnificent as we left the train



and headed to our first fuel stop for Simon who had had a longer ride. Now, I was due to do the navigating as we were heading to Simmersfeld in Germany where I had stayed the previous year so I pulled up the route in my venerable, 10 years old this year, GPSMap276C and it cheerfully announced we were 69km from our destination . This seemed a little odd as it’s about 500km but what the heck, I was sure things would be okay so off we went.

Things were not okay, we got to our ‘destination’ on a French Autoroute and my GPS just gave up, I tried getting it to redo the route and it threw memory errors and locked up to the point where we had to stop and remove the battery to get it working again!

Fortunately the route was fairly straightforward at this point as we just wandered roughly along the French and Belgium borders so we were making fair progress and stopped at a Belgium service area to refuel the bikes and riders.



Andy’s (on the right, Simon on the left) choice of a Monster energy drink was certainly a good one as I hit upon a somewhat strange fix for the GPS, It seemed happy with the route I’d used back from Simmersfeld to Calais so I simply used that and navigated it backwards following the purple line and, amazingly it seemed to work as we carried onwards through roadworks





and some very nice country roads





before a lunch break in Givet, a lovely little French town surrounded on 3 sides by Belgium. I was obviously not firing on all cylinders as I unaccountably didn’t take any of my usual gratuitous food pics but at least I got the beer (and Andy)



while our bikes were looked after by a well trained guard cat!



Back on the road we carried on through France



and Belgium



into Luxembourg



where we had another break (more Monster) and a fill up as the fuel is way cheaper than the surrounding countries



then south out of Luxembourg



and back into France







before finally arriving at our destination.

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Old 04-22-2015, 11:24 AM   #2
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Oh yes! Thanks for sharing!! Italia =

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Old 04-22-2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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Except of course this wasn’t our destination, it was a obscure crossroads somewhere in north eastern France but my GPS had finally had a nervous breakdown and refused to do any further navigation

So Andy took over



and trying to speed things up we took to the péage





and ‘enjoying’ the evening sunshine



we crossed the Rhine



into Germany



and headed to our destination on top of the hills ahead



after a very long day, 537 miles, 864 km and about 16 hours, in the saddle.





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Old 04-22-2015, 08:05 PM   #4
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I am enjoying your ride so far and looking forward to the next installment. Looks challenging!
Cheers!
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Oh yes! Thanks for sharing!! Italia =

My pleasure, hope you enjoy the trip!

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I am enjoying your ride so far and looking forward to the next installment. Looks challenging!
Cheers!
Hmm, I wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say challenging but it does have its moments. Hope you continue to enjoy it anyway!
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:11 PM   #6
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Fortunately we arrived just before the kitchen shut and a quick order, bikes to bed, change and suddenly all was right with the world.







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Old 04-23-2015, 12:32 AM   #7
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Fortunately we arrived just before the kitchen shut and a quick order, bikes to bed, change and suddenly all was right with the world.

Beer...............

For sure, I am following you up.
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Old 04-23-2015, 01:32 PM   #8
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Saturday 21st June

A good nights sleep, a sunny day and suddenly all was right with the world, so it was off for my pre-breakfast constitutional to see how the bikes were



and by jove there were a lot of them





including Bernd’s GPZ



and Jessica’s relatively new (for her) GS500.



A very nice morning for a bit of a stroll too







but in the end it’s back to the bikes.



I also took the opportunity to sort out my GPS, it finally sank through the fog of yesterdays early start that what I was seeing were all the symptoms of full memory despite having nowhere near the limit of routes in there but I deleted all but the ones I’d absolutely need and as if by magic it all started working fine and gave no further problems the rest of the holiday, go figure.

Off to breakfast and there are some people who got up before they woke up

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Old 04-24-2015, 09:41 AM   #9
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After the extremes of yesterday the plan was for a nice gentle start to the day since we didn’t have a huge trip ahead of us as we were only heading off to the German/Austrian border



Since we weren’t in any great hurry we tried to keep to the minor roads



and since I had got my GPS working I was in the lead again











as we slowly made out way south eastwards from Simmersfeld.



Eventually we stopped off at a town for lunch except we forgot that Germany seems to shut at lunchtime on a Saturday







so, somewhat inevitably, we ended up at one of the few places we could find opened



but what the heck, it was shady, they had food and large cans of Monster so we were happy!



Plus, even in an urban environment there’s always something interesting to look at if you try hard enough









Back on our journey it seemed my GS was trying to tell me something, LAMPF? I wonder what that means, my German is rubbish



oh well, the bike is still running fine and we’ve not too far to go so just carry on



onto the last leg which was a bit of Autobahn



when , thanks to the reflections or rather lack of them off the back of cars it finally sunk in the LAMPF meant simply Lamp Front or rather my headlight bulb had blown. So we pulled off into some services and sure enough the dipped bean had gone so I strolled up to the shop only to find a big hole where the H7 bulbs sit so we swapped the dipped beam with the main beam until I could go shopping.



As a thank you to the chaps I went back to the shop and got ice creams all round.



Now, just by us were a family, mum and dad, two youngsters and boy and girl about 4 or 5 and a baby, the little girl seeing our ice creams started to sneak closer and closer to Andy with a wicked little grin on her face then, when she was right behind him I was expecting her to make a bid for his ice cream, suddenly she leant in and gave him a big kiss right on the lips and ran back to her parents giggling. Myself and Simon had a good laugh while Andy was somewhat surprised; mind you it was bloody typical, day two of the holiday and Andy had already pulled

The dad came over for a chat, they were off on holiday, then they all piled into their van and headed off with a jaunty wave while we sorted ourselves out and headed off on the last leg of our journey down the autobahn to Kempten.



A stop to fill up ready for the next day, and purchase a couple of bulbs, €19 each, ouch, then we found our hotel and set about locking the bikes up for the night.





A much quieter and more relaxed 134 miles 216km for the day.

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Old 04-24-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:28 PM   #11
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Having sorted ourselves out at the hotel we wandered in the direction of the town in search of sustenance, it was a nice evening and it looked a nice place





even if there were some oddities!



But we weren’t there sight seeing, we were men on a mission





now at the time the World Cup was on so being English we had no more than a passing interest (actually I’ve no idea what Simon thought but myself and Andy are rugby fans so the round ball game is at best tolerated) however, when it’s kind of there you just end up staring at the damn thing.



In this case it was Argentina, one of the pre tournament favourites, beating that mighty football powerhouse, Iran, by a goal to nil. As you can see Andy was enthralled



but we managed to cope somehow.



We decided to call it a night before the crowds appeared, Germany were playing Ghana later so we wandered back to the hotel listening to the very occasional cheer from those still watching (they drew 2-2)



and yes this pic is the right way up, I had leant back in my chair to take it.

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Old 04-25-2015, 08:13 AM   #12
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There is a question,

Is there OK to have beer while ridding?

I really German beer.


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Old 04-25-2015, 12:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Quote:
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There is a question,

Is there OK to have beer while ridding?

I really German beer.

It's fine just so long as you don't spill any

And be careful the morning after the night before
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:29 PM   #14
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Sunday 22nd June

After a nice early breakfast we sorted ourselves out and got on the road pronto as we needed to get to our destination by 3,00pm to meet Andy’s friends before they headed into work





Andy was leading this leg so I just sat back to enjoy the view though I hadn’t appreciated how high we were











We were heading south into Austria, sad to say the first time I’d been to that country,







and as the day warmed up the traffic started to build but to compensate a little the scenery started getting better and the roads twistier.























We did one of our now traditional fuel and Monster stops and to finalise the route







the plan had been to head over the Stelvio Pass into Italy but Simon was suffering from vertigo especially on the twisting descents which is something you certainly don’t want on the Stelvio so we had a change of plan and, although there’s no way into Italy without some hill work it was decided it was best to take a less challenging route, not that it was bad by any means.



There did seem to be a lot of small tractors wandering about though



but it was such a lovely clear day you could see the Eiffel Tower!



I was by this time back navigating and we’d now snuck over 4000ft





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Old Yesterday, 02:20 AM   #15
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Surprisingly quickly we made it into Italy, sadly again the first time I’d been to that country too,



where the views just got better and better



though what appeared to be a sunken church was a bit of a puzzle.



The ride into Italy was certainly looking good, the views were wonderful and the roads relatively empty







sadly the traffic began to build



and became pretty horrible for a time until we caught up with another of those damn small tractor convoys, once dealt with it was back on the open road with Andy leading as time was becoming of the essence which also meant autostrada.





Then it was the turn of Andy’s GPS to throw a wobbler and take us off the autostrada into a town so I took the navigation back, since my GPS was behaving itself, and took us around the town behind this fellow,



and back onto a very warm autostrata.





Sadly, since it was such a warm Sunday the crowds were out and the descent down to Lake Garda was packed so I told Andy to make a break for Brenzone which is south of Malcesine on the East side of the lake to meet with his friends who needed to leave for work about 3.00pm and I would gently navigate Simon down there at our leisure.



Well that was the theory, I waved Simon forward so I could explain the plan but he took that as a follow Andy indication so he roared off after him, oh well. I decided to stay in the traffic and gently make my way down to the lake. At the junction that was causing the hold up I wanted to turn left so got in the lane and pulled over when I caught movement in my peripheral vision which resolved into a young lady on a maxi scooter who appeared on my left where I didn’t think I’d left any space, shot past the two cars in front and roared off up the road! I soon realised that everything I had heard about Italians and scooters was perfectly true, they’re bonkers.

Anyway, I just headed south along the lake enjoying the misty views,





when I saw a red Multistada, not a huge surprise in Italy, then I realised it was a UK registered one oh wait that was Andy! So I pulled over into a small car park and waited when he roared past so I set off in chase and eventually caught up with him in Brenzone.



Now to try and find Simon and meet up with Andy’s friends! Then Max turned up from his apartment where Andy would be staying and pointed out the hotel he’d booked for myself and Simon, then we managed to contact Simon who had turned right when he’d got to the lake. Since time was pressing, Andy followed Max up the hill and I waited for Simon to appear which he duly did,



so having caught up we headed to our hotel, just a short ride away.



A total of 233 miles 375 km for the day.

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