Moselwein, D-Day, Battlefields and Much More in Europe on a TransAlp

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JMead11, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Last October I did a great ride in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>Europe</st1:place> for a week and so I decided it was so great that I would want to do it over and over again. So with the help of a friend in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region> I purchased a 1998 Honda TransAlp 600 and proceeded to gather all the things that I would need to have for it for three weeks in <st1:place>Europe</st1:place>. The motorcycle was acquired from a private seller in the Stuttgart area and my friend Thorsten took the train down to pick it up for me and ride it back to his home on the Moselle River. I had the bike months before my planned arrival then, so I would be able to begin riding as soon as I arrived. The bike had just over 25 thousand kilometers on it and though it was eleven years old, it looked really nice. I had thought about getting an f650, and I had even bought an F650 here in <st1:State><st1:place>Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> with the intention of shipping the bike to <st1:place>Europe</st1:place>, but this was going to work out better just getting one over there.
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    I found a complete three piece set of Givi luggage on German Ebay and won them, two E45&#8217;s and an E36 for 123 Euros. They were in great shape and although we thought they were black from the pictures, turned out they were gray, but that was fine, they would look good on the bike.
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    I ordered the necessary mounting in a Givi Monokey kit from Polo Motorrad for 99 Euros and it too would be waiting for me when I arrived.
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    The only thing about the bike was that the rear tire was like new, and the front one needed replacing. This was a problem because we could not find a new front tire to match the rear as they were out of production, so we had to replace both tires as they do allow mixing of tires in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Germany</st1:place></st1:country-region>. This meant that a new pair of tires had to put on and I opted for Tourances for it. Thorsten ordered the tires for me and made arrangements to have them put on same day I arrived. I felt safer knowing that the bike would have brand new tires anyway, because I think they old ones had been on the bike for many years as I believe the bike had little use the last few years.
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    So, the plan, was that there really was no plan, other than I would show up, I would ride as much as I could for 3 weeks, not go too far or too fast but see as much stuff as I could while enjoying as many winding back roads as I was able to. I had a few ideas on some historical places and cemeteries from the wars I wanted to see, but nothing was solid, there were no reservations other than a plane ticket and I would just wander the landscape.
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    Now that I have returned home comes the part where I have to try and choose the best of the over 9,000 photographs and share with you the experience that is riding without a schedule in some of the most beautiful places in the world. This will take a while to all get done, so I hope you enjoy the ride report as much as I enjoyed the ride.
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  2. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I left my house early on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:date Year="2009" Day="26" Month="5">May 26, 2009</st1:date> and picked up my Dad who then drove me from <st1:City><st1:place>Tucson</st1:place></st1:City> to <st1:place><st1:placeName>Sky</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Harbor</st1:placeType> <st1:placeType>Airport</st1:placeType></st1:place> in <st1:City><st1:place>Phoenix</st1:place></st1:City> for the first leg of my journey that would take me to <st1:City><st1:place>San Francisco</st1:place></st1:City>.
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    I had a two hour layover there before getting on a flight that would not stop till <st1:place><st1:City>Frankfurt</st1:City>, <st1:country-region>Germany</st1:country-region></st1:place>. As we left <st1:City><st1:place>San Francisco</st1:place></st1:City> I had a great view of the city, the <st1:place><st1:placeName>Golden Gate</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Bridge</st1:placeType></st1:place> and <st1:place>Alcatraz</st1:place>.

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    The flight was the usual long less than interesting journey in a seat that was slightly smaller than the others as it was in the back of the plane where the fuselage just began to taper back and they had to put a smaller seat in the space available.
    We flew over the Great White North and headed out over the <st1:place>Atlantic</st1:place>..
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  3. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Morning brought great views of the German countryside below and eventually the city of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Frankfurt</st1:place></st1:City> itself.

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    #3
  4. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Thorsten’s father Ludwig, and sister Kathrin were at the airport to pick me up and drive me to their home to pass on to me my new toy.
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    Soon I would be doing this too.....
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    I was there just in time for lunch, including some wonder fresh strawberries.
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    #4
  5. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Right after lunch I took my first ride the on the new TransAlp, which was to go get the new Tourances put on it at Thorsten&#8217;s regular motorcycle mechanic near Hermeskeil just outside of Trier. I stopped for gas on the way.
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    Thomas Faber used to be a mechanic at a major BMW dealership, but has now struck out on his own, and Thorsten had made all the arrangements with him to put the new tires and new tubes on my TransAlp.
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    Nice shop poster.....

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  6. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    When Thorsten got off of work he met me at the shop and I followed him back to his family&#8217;s house, where we had some dinner.


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    I got a look at the local newspaper that had an article on someone making handbags out of cats......
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    And a biker had recently been killed on the road just above their house. Apparently he had left the road hitting a sign and was killed. I was going to try to be careful so as not to have the same thing happen to myself. It is a risk we all take riding these machines.
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    Then I went to work putting the Givi luggage mounts, autocom and Zumo on the TransAlp.
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  7. Snuffy

    Snuffy Long timer

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    You took like 5 pics of it. It's there so you won't notice what's really being done to your bike.

    Nice score on the Alp and will follow your thread. Really enjoyed your last one! :deal
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    oh this is going to be great :thumb

    :lurk
    #8
  9. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Yes, the TransAlp was a nice score, it has turned out to be the perfect bike for such a trip, and I love it even more now after putting a few thousand more klicks on the clock. Nicer thing about it is that now it will always be ready and waiting for me, and it needs nothing more added to it except for the Monokey mount for the E36 topcase which I ordered, but it did not arrive in time to use this trip.
    #9
  10. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I am going to do my best to not disappoint anyone.....some greats pics coming up.
    #10
  11. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Thursday morning I headed out to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>Luxembourg</st1:place></st1:country-region> and a familiar place to me, the <st1:place><st1:placeName>Luxembourg</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName>American</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>Cemetery</st1:placeType></st1:place> in Sandweiler.
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    Freddie poses.....

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    #11
  12. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Then, not having any real plan for the day, I decided to head into <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>France</st1:place></st1:country-region> and ride over to an American cemetery that I had never been to. I went to Saint Avold which is one of the bigger ones. Very beautiful place that really makes you think of the price paid in war that our country and others have had to pay.
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    <BIG>*MILLER, ANDREW</BIG>
    <SMALL>Rank and Organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company G, 377th Infantry, 95th Infantry Division. Place and Date From Woippy, France, through Metz to Kerprich Hemmersdorf, Germany, 1629 November 1944. Entered Service at: Two Rivers, Wis. Birth: Manitowoc, Wis. G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945.
    </SMALL>Citation: <SMALL>For performing a series of heroic deeds from 1629 November 1944, during his company's relentless drive from Woippy, France, through Metz to Kerprich Hemmersdorf, Germany. As he led a rifle squad on 16 November at Woippy, a crossfire from enemy machineguns pinned down his unit. Ordering his men to remain under cover, he went forward alone, entered a building housing 1 of the guns and forced S Germans to surrender at bayonet point. He then took the second gun single-handedly by hurling grenades into the enemy position, killing 2, wounding 3 more, and taking 2 additional prisoners. At the outskirts of Metz the next day, when his platoon, confused by heavy explosions and the withdrawal of friendly tanks, retired, he fearlessly remained behind armed with an automatic rifle and exchanged bursts with a German machinegun until he silenced the enemy weapon. His quick action in covering his comrades gave the platoon time to regroup and carry on the fight. On 19 November S/Sgt. Miller led an attack on large enemy barracks. Covered by his squad, he crawled to a barracks window, climbed in and captured 6 riflemen occupying the room. His men, and then the entire company, followed through the window, scoured the building, and took 75 prisoners. S/Sgt. Miller volunteered, with 3 comrades, to capture Gestapo officers who were preventing the surrender of German troops in another building. He ran a gauntlet of machinegun fire and was lifted through a window. Inside, he found himself covered by a machine pistol, but he persuaded the 4 Gestapo agents confronting him to surrender. Early the next morning, when strong hostile forces punished his company with heavy fire, S/Sgt. Miller assumed the task of destroying a well-placed machinegun. He was knocked down by a rifle grenade as he climbed an open stairway in a house, but pressed on with a bazooka to find an advantageous spot from which to launch his rocket. He discovered that he could fire only from the roof, a position where he would draw tremendous enemy fire. Facing the risk, he moved into the open, coolly took aim and scored a direct hit on the hostile emplacement, wreaking such havoc that the enemy troops became completely demoralized and began surrendering by the score. The following day, in Metz, he captured 12 more prisoners and silenced an enemy machinegun after volunteering for a hazardous mission in advance of his company's position. On 29 November, as Company G climbed a hill overlooking Kerprich Hemmersdorf, enemy fire pinned the unit to the ground. S/Sgt. Miller, on his own initiative, pressed ahead with his squad past the company's leading element to meet the surprise resistance. His men stood up and advanced deliberately, firing as they went. Inspired by S/Sgt. Miller's leadership, the platoon followed, and then another platoon arose and grimly closed with the Germans. The enemy action was smothered, but at the cost of S/Sgt. Miller's life. His tenacious devotion to the attack, his gallant choice to expose himself to enemy action rather than endanger his men, his limitless bravery, assured the success of Company G.</SMALL>

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  13. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    More of Saint Avold......

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    I left Saint Avold and hit the Autobahn back up to the Moselle River and made a stop just above Thorsten’s village to take some pictures in the vineyards that grow the areas famous Moselwein.
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  14. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

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    Sweet ride. You are a lucky man. She is gorgeous.

    FWIW if you have occasion to go back by there, check out the German cementary around the corner from the US one. Stark contrast in mood.

    Have you found Ausfart, Germany yet? :D
    #14
  15. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I did the German one in Sandweiler last October....but you will see many others coming up in this report too.

    Did not find Ausfahrt, Germany, but we did manage to locate Sortie, France.
    #15
  16. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    When I got back to the house, dinner was soon coming. I cannot say enough of how well Thorsten&#8217;s mother took care of me. She is such a wonderful lady, and the funny thing is she spoke no English, and I no German, but somehow we always manage to understand each other well.
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    Tonight they made me flame cakes, or flammkuchen, which I was reminded is not a pizza, but a specialty of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State><st1:place>Alsace</st1:place></st1:State> region of <st1:country-region><st1:place>France</st1:place></st1:country-region> known in <st1:country-region><st1:place>France</st1:place></st1:country-region> as the tarte flambée.
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    Kathrin had a vegetarian version of the same....
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    This was followed by generous portions of German pancakes, to be covered in sugar and cinnamon.
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    All of this was blended with some of the local wine, and I ate till I could eat no more.
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    Here's the pancake recipe for ya......

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    #16
  17. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Friday morning was bright and sunshiny, so after a little of this......
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    Mr. Nike had his breakfast too....

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    I started Friday morning with a walk around the village before I headed out on the bike for the day, so here are some pics of the place.
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    #17
  18. Two

    Two Been here awhile

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    Looks great, subscribed!
    #18
  19. Ze Red Baron

    Ze Red Baron Adventure seeker

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    Looking forward to another great trip:lurk:lurk:lurk

    My mother is from this region and I know it well. Your photos and commentary do it justice.:thumb :thumb
    #19
  20. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    When it was time to head out for the day, I was not sure where I wanted to go, but I thought I would start out with a little bunker hunting on the crest of the hill over the village.
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    I started by climbing up through the vineyards to the road on the top of the hill.
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    Back during World War II., there were extensive anti-aircraft batteries on the high ground above the village. Years ago when Thorsten and I first met, we used to go up to these gun emplacements and operate our amateur radios from up there. We used to just drive right into them with our cars and set up right where the gun was, but they have in recent years become more overgrown, so it would take a little hunting to even find them. I took a dirt road first, to get close, then parked the bike and started looking around for it....
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    It's hard to imagine that in such a beautiful place as this......... all the action that went on at this very spot.

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    #20