Kim & Mike's Most Excellent Planet Ramble

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ride2ADV, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Thanks Matt!
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  2. Blamski

    Blamski Ride like you mean it. Live like you ride it.

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    I agree. As someone who has been fortunate enough to see so much abroad, I am grateful for you both sharing this lovely experience. Such beautiful memories captured!
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  3. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Thanks Blamski! More to come soon!
  4. Ruspat

    Ruspat Adventurer

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    Sorry if you have already said this but. What tires are you running on the Ducati ? Loving yalls RR looks like fun be safe and ride!
  5. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    It was very hot. I mean real hot! It was over 100F and we were ready to try to cool off. Just before we got to Lichtenstein, we came to a small park with some shade so we decided to stop there. We got off the bikes and grabbed the last of our fresh food for lunch. As we walked to a park bench, we saw this fountain.

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    I wasn't sure what it was all about, but then I found this...

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    It seems we had stumbled upon the location of a town which has taken credit for being the home of Heidi from the book of the same name. As we sat and ate our lunch, tour busses passed and stopped and tourists piled out to take pictures of the statute and of themselves with the statute. So the park came complete with some shade and entertainment!

    Back on the bikes, we beelined through Lichtenstein. Like we said earlier, we just sort of rode through Lichtenstein. From our vantagepoint, it seemed like a small city with lots of financial businesses. I'm sure that there is great scenery somewhere and nice people, but it was so small and it was so hot, we made a beeline for Austria and hopefully some cooler air. Once in the mountain twisties again, it cooled off a little, but was still quite hot.

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    We really just wanted to get to our destination for the day and try to cool off. Our destination was Landeck, Austria in an AirBnb home. The house number was supposed to be 311, but when we rolled into this tiny town, there was no 311 to be found... anywhere. We spent about 20 minutes looking, sweltering in our suits and finally found a local to talk to. He pointed to the hill beside us and said "go up there". So we went up there and sure enough, there was the house we were supposed to be staying in.

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    So why couldn't we find it on our own?

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    Yup, it was number 433, not 311! It wouldn't have been a big deal if it wasn't so freaking hot and we were running around in our riding gear. Argh!!!

    Anyway, once inside it seemed like a stereotypical Austria house (at least to a couple of Americans)...

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    Lots of wood and handmade items...

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    Once in our room, we opened the doors and windows and took a look from our balcony...

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    It was pretty nice...

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    It was still hot in the room, but hey it was summer and at least we were out of our gear. We then walked down the street to a little pub/restaurant under the watchful eye a watchful...

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    but disinterested cat.

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    Passing by the cat, we were ready for some cool beverages...

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    Mission accomplished!

    After a nice sunset...

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    We hit the rack for the day. When the following morning dawned...
    It was....

    Hot!

    So we tried to get an early start. We put on our gear and collected the bikes next to a neighbor's storage shed.

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    Ok, I don't speak German, but I do know that the yellow sign is saying don't block the exit. The others.... well, I think I can tell that there's something going on with alcohol and sperm. You can look it up.

    On the way out, we passed one of Landeck's attractions...

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    Their very own castle. We didn't stop because we were headed for Slovenia which was a fairly good distance from where we were starting. Ultimately, we swung down into Italy for a while (it's stinking hot and we head south. We're not to bright sometimes).

    But we did hit a few long tunnels, and it was nice and cool inside them...

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    There were more mountains ahead...

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    where we hoped there would be some cooler weather.

    Shortly after arriving in Italy, we found a little roadside cafe and pulled in for lunch. OK so now we're in Italy, what should we have for lunch?

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    Pizza of course.

    Let me tell you, this place had a bunch of different pizzas. There were 3 pages of different pizzas. They had all of the normal stuff... as well as some pretty exotic pizza toppings...

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    Hmm... did I see that right? Let's take a closer look...

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    Yup, that's right...

    Viagra pizza. Perhaps it has a thicker stiffer crust and a requirement that you eat it in 4 hours or less or you have to call a doctor? Anyway...

    Back on the road we headed towards our destination for the night, another AirBnb in Valdaora, Italy. Unfortunately, the GPS was having a problem finding the place. Everytime I entered the address I received from the home owner, it could not find the address. The name was German sounding and the GPS couldn't deal with it. I texted the homeowner and she said, try the Italian name, maybe that will work. She proceeded to give me a completely different address and bingo, the GPS could find it.

    We made our way there via some very "highwayish" roads and some narrow single lane roads. Once into town, we were able to find the place...

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    It was the brown and white one in the center of the above pic. We met the owner and she directed us around the back of the house where we could leave the bikes out of sight from the road.

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    We chatted for a while and learned why the GPS couldn't find the first address given to us. The town of Valdaora was originally an Austrian town and the whole town speaks German. But at the end of World War II, the landed was allocated by the Allies and Valdaora became part of Italy. Just speaking with her, it was clear that she or the townspeople did not like being Italian.

    She then showed us to a nice little apartment and we settled in. At dinner time we walked into town and found an outside restaurant/cafe. It sat right under a church and we were able to sit outside as heavier and darker clouds made their way towards us.

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    When dinner came out it looked like this...

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    Pretty nice eh?

    After dinner, we went for a walk around town and decided to check out the church we had just eaten behind...

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    But as you can see from the first church pic, the clouds were really beginning to gather so we hightailed it back to the apartment just before the rain let loose.

    There was lots of thunder and lightning, but after a few hours, the storm began to clear leaving us to look at this from the porch.

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    The following morning we got a relatively early start and headed towards Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The route would require us to head back into Austria and then into Slovenia. Kranjska Gora is in the Dolomite mountains so we expected some great scenery and twisty roads. We got both.

    On the way there, we saw the most amazing and terrifying thing we had ever seen. We had stopped for our normal roadside lunch at a single picnic table at the side of the road intending to enjoy some mostly unhealthy but stable food.

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    As we sat there eating, we were discussing how crazy the drivers were in the area. We had just traveled over a two lane undivided road with a speed limit of 62 MPH. As were were looking at the vehicles going by we saw two tractor trailers following each other and two motorcycles coming the other way. Suddenly, the last tractor trailer decided to pass the first one. We could already see what was about to happen. The second truck continued to attempt to pass the first truck as the bikes rapidly approached. Instead of getting back in line, the second truck kept going in the oncoming lane. We were sure there was about to be a collision. However, the bikes weren't having any of it and ended up going into the grass and gravel at the side of the road to avoid being hit. Neither of the trucks stopped. We were slack jawed.
    From that point, we rode like everyone was trying to hit us and headed for the mountain pass.

    Within an hour, we were off that road and traveling through the mountains. But the clouds were gathering once again and we knew we were in for some more thunder and lightning.

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    Ultimately were were able to make it into Kranjska Gora dry, but soon after all hell broke loose in the sky. As the clouds broke in the early evening, we were treated to our first real view of the Karavanke mountains...

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    Until later!
    Pete S, Rhode trip, ShimrMoon and 3 others like this.
  6. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Ruspat, we are both running the OEM tires on both bikes but they are different. Kim is riding a Ducati Scrambler Icon and I am riding a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. They have different wheel sizes. The Icon has an 18" front wheel and Pirelli makes a bike specific tire for it as the MT 60 RS. The Desert Sled also has Pirelli tires, specifically Pirelli Scorpion STR Rally.

    We've replaced both of Kim's tires already, she got about 5,000 miles out of them. I am changing both of mine shortly in Copenhagen, Denmark and will be putting on TKC-80s. The current tires have about 5,000 miles on them. Both could probably go another 1,000 more, but I prefer not to wait.

    Hope this helps!
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  7. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    Hey Mike, I see you were enjoying a Weihenstephaner Weiss beer. Did you know it is the oldest continuosly operating brewery in the world? It has been brewing commercially since 1040! They make good beer.:D
  8. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Mike, I did not know that! Thanks for the info. And you are right, it is good!
  9. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    google Certified Cicerone, I was the first one east of Montreal and the 14th in Canada.
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  10. Ruspat

    Ruspat Adventurer

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    Thanks trying ti figure out what tire to put on my gs I stay mainly on the hard top.
  11. Ruspat

    Ruspat Adventurer

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    Nice duct tape wd 40 and a pair of pliers is all you need to fix anything lol . Great RR have fun ride safe.
  12. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Kranjska Gora was indeed beautiful. It's a bit "touristy" because it is a tiny ski town, but the Karavanke mountains are impressive!

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    We ended up walking around town for a while and found a little history while doing so...

    It turns out that Kranjska Gora played a significant role in World War II as a result of it's location and its use as a major supply route, particularly through the Vrsic Pass. Many people were lost during the winters from both sides and there are memorials in the town dedicated to those who were lost.

    We spent only one night in Kranjska Gora as we were anxious to start our journey north, hopefully into cooler weather. We packed our gear up and headed northwest. Our route took us back into Austria for a while and ending up in Maribor, Slovenia. Along the way we found some interesting sights. At some of the many roundabouts, the town had erected statutes, monuments or just nice landscaping. This once caught our eye...

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    We also found some very large crops with vines stretching for what seemed to be miles... We couldn't really tell what was growing...

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    It was still very hot, but outside of town, we found a little hotel with AC that made our stay very comfy. Once settled in, we went for a walk to find some dinner. Not far away, we found a family run restaurant called Villa Rustica. It was situated right alongside some ancient Roman ruins...

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    Here's what it looked like in its heyday...

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    Besides the history lesson, Villa Rustica served some amazing food...

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    The following morning we walked into the center of town and found that a festival was in full swing. Apparently delegates from all over Europe had descended on Maribor...

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    Some brought their own musical accompaniment...

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    and brought some entertainment as well...

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    The parade route went down to the river that flowed through Maribor...

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    ending up at an open air market...

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    Once the parade was over, the delegates boarded some barges and settled in for some eating and drinking...

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    We wandered about along the river, just enjoying the scene

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    and some of the ancient buildings...

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    On some of the buildings, some old dead vines still clung to the sides of the buildings...

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    Little did we know how old the vines were...

    Until later...!
  13. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    Hey Mikey, you didn't recognize those vines as hops?! All those brewers around need those so you can have nice beer to drink.:lol3
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  14. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    I didn't!!!! Yikes! I should have brought a professional along on this trip!!! :-)
  15. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    I'll fit in your luggage easy!
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  16. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Well these vines were very significant for a reason. The vines here were dead, but here...

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    The vines were quite alive and producing grapes. In fact, they have been alive for quite some time; approximately 500 years! That makes the vine you see here, the oldest producing grape vine in the world!!! To read more about it, click HERE. You may wonder if they produce wine from these grapes and the answer is yes they do. In fact, the door just to the left of this vine leads to this...

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    Of course, we had to stop and do a tasting! :photog

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    They were good! After we had completed some liberal tasting, we continued our walk through Maribor. Narrow roads and ancient buildings surrounded us...

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    We really did get the feeling that we had been transported back in time.

    All that walking around made us hungry and we decided to stop at a sidewalk cafe near the town square. It was a breathtaking atmosphere!!!

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    The food was not too bad either!

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    Dessert...

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    Believe it or not, just after these pictures were taken, clouds quickly moved in and we got stuck in a torrential thunderstorm. So much for walking back to the hotel. We got a taxi and headed back for the hotel. After arriving back at the hotel I discovered I had lost my phone. We called the same taxi company back and the same driver arrived. We drove back to the sidewalk restaurant and the taxi driver was nice enough to wait for me to run around the restaurant while the thunder boomed and the rain poured. The result, me soaked and no phone (with many pictures). I was severely bummed. I ran back to the taxi bummed and angry at myself. As I went to buckle myself in, there it was. My phone was just barely sticking out from between the seat back and cushion! I was elated. The driver drove us back to the hotel and the fare was about $2.50 US. I handed the driver $20. He looked at me like I was nuts, he didn't want it. I thanked him and told him if he couldn't accept it to buy something for his kids. He then broke out into a great big smile which made me smile even more. This whole thing happened using broken English and hand signals. Travel really does revive your faith in mankind.

    The following morning dawned sunny and hot again for today's ride to Hungary. The woman who owned the hotel had let us securely park in her personal garage behind the hotel. From the looks of things, the hotel was doing pretty good...

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    Her husband thoughtfully opened the gate for us and we headed off to Hungary in the growing heat. Kim got to a point where she said she had to stop and cool off. Luckily, we found a little restaurant in someone's house so we pulled in and parked next to their grapevines.

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    Across the street was a house with its well in the front of the house.

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    We went inside and ordered a couple of drinks and within a half hour, Kim was ready to go again. Back out into the heat...

    Soon we were in Hungary. The border crossing was anti-climactic. We were on a narrow back road, surrounded by trees and barely large enough for two cars to pass side by side. At least the trees provided some shade. The border was literally an abandoned small 20 X 10 building. The only thing that told us we were entering Hungary was a small EU sign saying Hungary.

    There were plenty of road signs in Hungarian, which to us Americans meant nothing. It was great that most signs had pictures on them that told us what they meant.

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    It was looking like what I'd expected to see in Hungary...

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    But there would be no way I could pronounce most of the names of the towns...

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    Ultimately, we were able to find a hotel in a town whose name I could pronounce in the small town of Buk.

    It was a pretty nice facility run by two brothers and their family. There was no AC, but they did have one of these...

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    Along with a line to dry our clothes...

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    It also had a small restaurant...

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    and interesting eating accomodations if you were really hot.

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    We didn't take advantage of those eating arrangements but probably should have. Our room was on the second floor and with no AC it was sweltering. There was a small fan in the room and we decided to sleep in the raw with the fan blowing on us all night. For your safety, we have not included any pictures of this. :lol3:clap

    Til later!
  17. Fredo

    Fredo Turning VT Orange

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    Very nice Mike
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  18. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    It was still amazingly hot and this was the literal turning point of our journey. We decided to turn north and seek some cooler weather. Although we had planned to travel through Croatia and Romania, it just did not seem like a good idea. We decided it was time to turn north in the hopes of finding some cooler temperatures. So planned to head north back through Austria to our next stop in Trnava, Slovakia. Croatia and Romania would have to wait for another journey.

    Making our way towards Trnava, we entered rode through some small Hungarian farming communities...

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    before crossing into Austria again. We did find a small town called St. Andra and the clubhouse of the town's MC, the Black Bisons.

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    There were also some very large birds making nests on people's roofs. Some were apparently nesting at the homeowner's request...

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    I don't know what species they were, but they were indeed large.

    We decided that we needed some food supplies, so while we were in town, we found a small market where we could get some cheese, sliced meat and bread. Just after we pulled in, two more bikes came in to the parking lot and parked next to us. We chatted with them for a while and found that they were friends a a trip of their own. One was Turkish and one was German. They offered to watch our bikes and gear while we shopped and we took them up on their offer.

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    We did the same for them when we had purchased our food. Since we were traveling, we decided to eat lunch right there in the parking lot sitting on the curb. As we sat munching on our newly obtained supplies, I just happened to look over at the bikes and saw something I didn't like. The bolts that held the pannier mounts together had backed out and the pannier mount was bent inward...

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    The interior mount was so bent forward that it was contacting the swingarm and had made a gouge into it.

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    It did not look like an insignificant issue and I needed a way to make a quick fix and determine if the swingarm was still OK for riding. I had brought tools for the trip so that I could fix issues that popped up, but I did not think to bring any extra fasteners. Duh!!!

    It just so happened that there was a Volkswagen dealership across the street from the market so I rode the bike across the street and went inside to Service.

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    With broken German and mostly English, I told the service manager that I had a problem with the bike and asked if they had any bolts that I could purchase to secure the pannier mount. The service manager came outside with me, took a look at the mount and went back inside. When he came out, he had a technician with him. He showed the technician the issue and quickly the tech went back inside and came out with two bolts and nuts and then proceeded to bolt the pannier mount back together. Wow!!! I asked what I could pay him and he simply waved me off. When he was done, the pannier mount looked like this...

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    Perfect!!! Yet another example of people helping travelers... It was another uplifting experience!

    I still needed to bend the mount further away from the swingarm and there was no way I was going to be able to do it by hand. In addition, not knowing how thick the swingarm metal was, now all I had to worry about was whether the swingarm was seriously damaged. I found that there was a Ducati dealership in Bratislava, Slovakia and off we went using some highways since we didn't have much time to spare. There was a significant amount of traffic and we found one interesting thing on one section of highway. We were on a section of the highway that was posted for 130 KPH (about 80 MPH). Suddenly, there was a sign changing the speed limit to 70 KPH although the road was still a multi-lane highway. Soon we found out why. Somehow, the road surface elevated about 4 inches on a steep slope. Had we continued at 130 KPH we definitely could have gotten some air.

    We were ultimately able to find the Ducati dealership and I made a beeline straight inside concerned that we had arrived fairly late in the day. Again, using sign language and some English, we were able to communicate we had a problem and would like some help. One of the guys came out and had a look at my bike and said, "One hour." OK, what was going to happen in one hour? I gave him my best dumb look and he pointed to service and motioned me to roll the bike inside where a single tech was working on a Ducati Monster. He again said, "One hour."

    OK, so now we had an hour to kill while they did something to my bike. I wasn't sure what for, but they were going to have it for an hour or do something with it in an hour. I walked out of the dealership back to where Kim was and looked across the parking lot. I hadn't noticed it when I walked into the Ducati dealership, but across the parking lot was a gigantic Harley dealership complete with western theme...

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    If that wasn't enough, across the street was a bar. Not an ordinary bar, but a Harley themed western bar and it was big!!!

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    It was about 3:00 PM and the outside bar wasn't open but the "restaurant" inside was. So we pulled up a couple of chairs at an outside table. Soon a female server came over decked out in the bar's Harley t-shirt, tight jeans and boots. She gave us a menu

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    and in English asked us what we wanted. Despite the wide selection of booze, we ordered a couple of cokes, told her where we were from and that we were waiting the bike to be serviced. She brought over a couple of cokes, and then a couple more and still another. We sat there for a little more than an hour and a half and asked for the check. When she brought it, it was for 2 cokes. She also gave us these as souvenirs...

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    no charge of course! How amazing are people!!! If you want a better look around the place, click HERE.

    We paid for the cokes and walked back to the Ducati dealership. Inside, the tech was working on my bike. He had bent the pannier mount straight again and had adjusted the shock preload to stiffen up the spring. They signaled that all was OK and I went to pay for the service. I gave him a how much look and he said... One hour. Turns out it was about 60 Euro and that was fine with me. We were all set to get to our final destination for the day, a Holiday Inn in Trnava about an hour and a half away. The ride there was pretty anticlimatic and soon we were parked in the secure underground lot of the Holiday Inn.

    It was still early in the evening so we decided to walk around the town. Despite being a city, it had a delightful little square where people strolled happily just enjoying the evening...

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    There were several little cafes where you could eat outside, including one that specialized in gelato...

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    We decided that we had to stop and check that one out. It was great...

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    After wolfing down a scoop, we headed back to the hotel for the evening. The following morning however, would have its own drama.

    Until later!
    Pete S, ShimrMoon, roadcapDen and 2 others like this.
  19. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers

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    Thanks Fredo!
  20. ShimrMoon

    ShimrMoon Been here awhile

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    Absolutely loving this report! What is so amazing to me is the cleanliness of some of the towns you visit. Stark contrast to some the towns and cities here in the US.