Some questions on a Europe trip, and motorcycle shipping...

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by cialowicz, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    One of the reasons I hung back was I was having heavy duty deja vu to trip to the west coast of Ireland. On the boat going over, my glasses had blown off. I had a slo-mo of seeing them smash on the steel deckplates before sliding out of the scuttles. I am 5.5 short sighted without the bins.
    Riding buddy Mike offered me his - which was fine and almost a perfect match, but I had to refuse as he would then must have been as blind as I was.
    Wobbled into Dublin (2pm on a Saturday) every optician we found was closed, except one. She said come back Monday, they could be ready by end of the following week.... Our departure day.
    Did a bit of hunting for junkshops, thrift shops, charity shops. In what was still a pretty poor country back then before the Celtic tiger, found none. I had memories of all those old card suitacases full of discarded glasses.
    Stayed the night in Naas with friends - they asked around but no one they knew had any spare glasses, so the following morning we set off for Cork where the ex was working. A few minor problems, mainly not being able to see the cow shit in the road before the front wheel got there. A few shimmies ensued.
    In Cork, an old guy had an old pair of bifocals he could spare - the main prescription was better than nothing but the near sight was a total loss, anything below horizontal was not there as far as I could see.
    But better than no specs.
    Having set out round Bantry and Kerry and Dingle, somewhere up in Clare, looking for the Burren, we came across a herd of cattle being driven up the road. Slowly.
    We pulled over - me very tentatively - because I now had a passenger and even less vision downwards, so the soft Irish verges were terra ingognita. I could detect the difference between grass and a puddle or was it a ditch? But that was about the limit of my visual acuity.
    So there I was, perched precariously and vulnerably at the side of the road, cows all around, stopping to examine any tasty bunch of grass or interesting looking human or maybe it was the guzzi. Several came very close. One nudging me quite hard in the direction I wanted to go least.
    When they were almost clear, one come past, nice and close, lifts its tail - and likely you don't need to be a farm boy to know what happens when a cow lifts its tail - liquid shrapnel ricocheting everywhere. I did manage to turn my head (and open face helmet) so there was no ingestion risk.
    And fortunately, I was wearing my trustry Helly Hansen PVC trawler man suit. Fortunately the rain and steaming Irish fog had removed most visual evidence of my encounter before we arrived at a B&B.
  2. enduro Dan

    enduro Dan Sticks and Stones™..

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    IMGP0330.JPG

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  3. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    The cows are scary enough, and maybe goats are scary, too. But it's the cow pats on the road that are reeeeally scary. Eek!

    Speaking of scary livestock, has anyone had to dodge deer while riding in the Alps? I was told they're around but (I'm happy to say) I never saw any.
  4. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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  5. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Seen several convocations of eagles up in the high Alps. Buzzards are commonish throughout Europe these days since farmers stopped setting post traps.
    Even seen a few herds of cranes is Alsace and Baden, the other side of the Rhine.
    But deer, on the roads? No, fortunately. Never in 40 years. Had venison on a few plates though.

    I used to go to Germany for xmas walking holidays - a week of pounding up and down ravines was great fun. In -10 C.
    On foot you do notice more. Saw a tame deer out side a house. At first we thought it was model or a poster. Until it moved. We traversed the valley and backed up to the house - in a row of others - and it stayed there and allowed us to approach. I even got to touch it, to stroke it. My sister was standing next to me, it turned its head and bent its head forward and gently blew into her face - she was gobbsmacked by that - felt the communication. It turned round looked at me again and very delicately sauntered off inside the house.

    On another occasion, we were high on a ridge, and spotted a line of guys forming a cordon on the next skyline along. Then we noticed a tractor, a big JD racing through a small stand of maize. Lots of abrupt turns. Suddenly a wild boar darts out followed by some piglets. Lots of gunfire. None of the targets broke stride, and made the cover of woods on the other side. Much as Max, my BiL, hates them for what they can do to his Wineberg, even he was pleased they got away. On that day, so many men. So little skill. But it was xmas, and they could have been at the Asbach since early morning.

    My sister calls them gamekeepers, but their operation is nothing like Lady Chatterley's Lover. Apparently people bid for the right to the game in an district, to cull and control numbers if necessary. But they also have to be on call in case of a vehicle strike, to go chase the animals and if necessary put them out of their misery. Middle of a meal or middle of the night they are obliged to go.
    We rented a house from one such a few years ago. They had a huge room - Schlachtkammer - full of all sorts of game - which they can then sell on.
    Wild boar are a big problem in Germany, and presumably other central European countries since the Wall came down. The boar from the wild parts of Poland etc are migrating into the lusher, more fecund lands to the west, and boar love grapes. A family will decimate a vinyard over a few nights, not just eating the grapes but ripping up the vines and trellising. Not to mention fields of maize.
    Last I was told, 150,000 boar, and rising, were shot per annum in Germany alone.
    As a bike rider, worry about the deer, but have nightmares about coming round the bend and meeting a full grown boar, think something like a big black bear, but more athletic. With six inch long, razor sharp tusks.
  6. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    Good point about boars.

    AFAIK, much hunting is done from stands - little houses on stilts. What's reeeeally interesting is how many of them are close to roads. OTOH, I do know there is some stalking of deer. Way, way back, in my Army days (Vietnam era), the German sentries, around the US part of the area where we worked, were known to loose off a few rounds at funny noises in the woods. (This is in the days when Ivan would break out of Frankfurt on intelligence gathering trips). I never heard of any hits on stalking hunters. Or Ivan.

    I have no idea about how boar hunts are handled, but my guess is there's some stalking involved. Now, is it the hunter chasing the boar or vice versa? ;)

    Speaking of animals, good ol' Herman Göring thought raccoons were cute and imported them to the Fatherland. The raccoons, with few natural predators, are a major pest. And they can be rabid. How cute. Not.

    The good news is anyone allowed to hunt has to go through all sorts of training before being allowed to go off and blast away.

    Finally, here's an interesting thought for anyone who's been on any European roads: how much roadkill have you seen? Hmmmm?
  7. GvG

    GvG Been here awhile

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    I've never had to dodge a deer in the Alps, only sheep and cows.

    Only in Scotland did I ever encounter a deer on the road. (And reindeer in Scandinavia.)
  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We have lots of road kill here in the UK.
    Badger, cats and dogs, foxes, rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats, phesants and pigeon. Plus assorted flat things - just bits of fur or feather.

    The neighbour who goes away a lot has a couple of Norwegian Forest cats (no, no relation to Norwegian Blues). One time, they were not at home to greet her, missed tea, and the next day. For a week or more, Zizza turns up with another mole, unconcerned.
    Neighbour sets off, round all the fields and fens about - we live in the most agricultural county of UK - all though various neighbours barns and sheds, across dykes and drains, in pumping stations and behind trees. At Bulls Bridge she finds some dark stripy fur stuck to the road in a rough cat shape, throws a flood of tears and starts to pick up the pieces. Much to the annoyance to the passing traffic, ploughs or combines or whatever the agro season required. Took the Ghengis bits home, washed his fur, and was looking for a suitable box in which to lay him to rest, when The Lord Be Praised! He Is Resurrected! Or rather the live Ghengis walks in through the cat flap, calm as you like, looking for his tea.
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  9. enduro Dan

    enduro Dan Sticks and Stones™..

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    :lol3
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  10. Johann

    Johann commuterus tankslapperus

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    Lots of Montjuic deer in parts of S. England. I lived in Berkshire for a few years in a couple of different areas and the place is infested with them. Apparently the population started with an escape from Whipsnade Zoo in the 1920s give or take. I had one spring over a fence into the oncoming path of my MZ Skorpion. Luckily it was a 30mph limit and I was in bimble mode, the only damage to the bike was gear lever and clutch cable but Bambi wasn´t looking too good afterwards.
  11. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    After an overnight at the Gurnigel Berghaus 10 years ago, I woke up to this:

    [​IMG]

    They were bringing the herds up to the summer pastures. Needless to say what the condition of the parking area and road up was as I rode down to Thun. Thankfully, they only drove a token herd up and trailered the rest.
  12. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Nice capture there Michael. Just like the ones on the front of the Milka chocolate bars. Funnily enough the shot that E Dan posted, there was a foodie porgramme about cheese made from the milk from that breed of cow - which I can't remember the name of... something blue?

    The transhumance is not what it was. I have come across huge flocks of sheep up on the higher slopes. Later in the season, they were being herded in to big corrals, as you say, mostly trucked about - and they say modern kids are pampered.
    I don't know if the shepards stay with the flock full time still or commute now they have cars, bikes or atv's. The dogs still have the spiky collar to help them ward off the wolves.
    [​IMG]
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  13. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    The following is waaaaaaay OT but:
    I posted the following on the Sena user forum. I'm interested to see if it lasts.
    At the moment I'm doing a time lapse of a snowfall. Works like a charm.

    As I said above, if something goes wrong, don't blame me. :p

    - - - -

    In general, the ratio of space used to space on a microSD is slightly under 1 Gb/10 minutes. A little quick math shows a 64 Gb microSD allows a lot of videoing. I haven't test my 128 Gb microSD, but I think the Proof Of Concept testing say 128 Gb is possible, too.

    The clever among us will say, but what about the batteries? They're only good for about a half hour. True. But... go to eBay, buy a really huge external LiON battery pack. Mine is rated at 50,000 mHa - that's fifty thousand mHa. Happy filming in the Alps!
  14. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    True - but for me, a 16GB card is more than sufficient. I travel with a laptop and dump everything (camera(s), GPS, etc.) to it at the end of the day - and back that up to a portable USB hard drive. Given sufficient bandwidth, photos will get uploaded to Smugmug. As to battery life, I get about 2 hours per battery (Contour +2) and just carry a few charged spares.

    And yes, I'm absolutely paranoid about only having one copy of anything that matters - but remember, even paranoids have enemies.
  15. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    As always, ride your own ride.

    After watching people on the July tour spend a lot of time keeping track of which SD's were used and which were clear for use, I like "bigger is better". Additionally, as a photographer, "more is better", "one and done" doesn't get it. For example, on Cape Cod, I tried to shoot the Gay Head lighthouse, showing the red side of the white/red light. IIRC it took 5-6 tries to get it, but I got it. Over-shooting never hurts, the excess can be dealt with later. And sometimes something unexpected but good shows up in the many shots. Or one shot fails (focus, etc.) but another gets it. The same is true for video: shoot more than you need and edit out the surplus.

    Even with the 32G card, I've turned the camera on anywhere near what I'm interested in and let it run. Better that than missing something; turning the camera on after something interesting isn't going to be very productive. A sad case on point: I did a "stop sign drop". Reviewing the video, a) I could have used a little more throttle (uphill start) and b) with low throttle, the motor stumbled, stalled and, feet up, over I went. (No damage to me, I'm closer to needing to get the tupperware repainted).

    The Prism doesn't support surveillance (keep shooting and loop around to write over very old material), but a 128G chip will certainly allow using the Prism as a dash-cam for a long time.

    YMMV :)
  16. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Unless you're using film (remember that stuff?), and then only financially. :p

    Can't remember how many times that I've wished that I had the camera running. I've turned around more than once to get another chance.

    On a semi-related note, I see where DJI is buying Hasselblad. Should be interesting. Looking forward to next summer with my Mavic in the tankbag. Still haven't figured out a way to pack the Phantom on a long ride without leaving something necessary behind.
  17. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    Wondering if my AAA membership does anything useful, I came up with the following. Spoiler alert: don't break down in Austria or Switzerland...

    Germany?
    Services provided to AAA members:

        • All members are entitled to roadside assistance and free towing to a garage, if necessary. Members should call 01802 22 22 22 or from mobile phones the short number 22 22 22. When the member travels on the motorway and uses the phone booth along the motorway to call for help, the member will receive help from ADAC.
        • Free maps and books at offices — books are in German.
    Italy?
    Services provided to AAA members:

    • Primary Road Assistance:
      • If visiting Italy for 90 days or less, AAA members driving private vehicles in Italy are entitled to primary assistance (i.e. on-the-spot repair in case of minor breakdowns or towing to the nearest ACI repair shop) free of charge on presentation of their membership card, in case of breakdown or accident.
        • For service call: 803.116 – toll free, if calling from an Italian landline or mobile phone; 800.116.800 – toll free, if calling from a foreign mobile phone; 39.99.43.116 – reserved for deaf people to call for roadside assistance via SMS (charged according to mobile provider’s rates).
        • Rental cars are excluded from this benefit, so it is advisable for members to inquire with the rental company as to what to do in case of break down.
        • IMPORTANT NOTICE: A national driving license is not sufficient for driving in Italy. Please be sure to apply at your local AAA office for an IDP to go with your national driving license before leaving the United States.
        • Foreign members from overseas driving private cars is not a frequent occurrence in Italy. Should AAA members be asked to pay for the above ACI services, the member should send the original invoice and a copy of a valid AAA membership card to the following address for reimbursement:
    Automobile Club d’Italia
    Foreign Relations Office
    via Marsala 8
    00185 Roma
    Italy

    Austria?
    Österreichischer Automobil-Motorrad-Und Touring Club (ÖAMTC)*
    Address:
    Schubertring 1-3
    1010 Vienne

    Web: www.oeamtc.at

    *Club participates in the global discounts program. Members of this club are eligible to receive discounts when traveling to other countries.

    Switzerland?
    Touring Club Suisse (TCS)*
    Address:
    4 chemin de Blandonnet
    B.P. 820
    1214 Vernier

    Web: www.tcs.ch

    *Club participates in the global discounts program. Members of this club are eligible to receive discounts when traveling to other countries.
  18. RBEmerson

    RBEmerson #1 Earl Pitts fan!

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    Film? Film? What is this film you speak of? [/ROFL]

    Last fall, passing through the Mystic Seaport (great chance to shoot a lot), we came across a team shooting for catalog. The photographer was using something looking very SLR, with a cable to, I assume, a monitor, showing what he'd just shot. Film? Film? What is...etc.

    Anyway, it's easier to toss too many exposures than it is to come up with the one(s) missed. :)
  19. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Truth!
  20. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Much better than nothing, but if you have a German address ADAC Plus will repatriate you and/or your moto to that address from anywhere in the EU.

    Not all that expensive, either.