Kim & Mike's Most Excellent Planet Ramble

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

  1. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Will do Juno. This winter I plan to work on fabricating some hard pannier mounts for Kim's Scrambler. We'll see how that goes... :beer or :2cry
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  2. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Well winter has ended here in Vermont (although the Killington Ski Resort still has 3 trails and one lift operating) and we're just about ready to re-start our Planet Ramble. We'll be riding to Montreal, Canada and flying both us and the bikes to London. From there, we plan to make a large clockwise loop of Europe starting with the British Isles, north to Scandinavia, then south to eastern Europe as far south as Romania and then head west back to London. This time we'll leave the bikes in England and return in March, 2018 to head south to Morocco. For this portion, we plan to visit the following countries

    (listed in alphabetical order): Austria, Croatia, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Netherlands, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales.
    (listed in order of the route): England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France.

    As usual, we'll be posting updates with plenty of pics as we travel along. Can't wait.

    Until later!
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  3. Knobby Bob

    Knobby Bob Adventurer

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    Mike and Kim, wishing you safe travels... the bikes look great ,looking forward to following your journey. Enjoy your trip ....Bob
  4. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Wow! Taking the big plunge. Best of luck to you guys. Looking forward to the reports from Europe.
  5. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Thanks for the well wishes Knobby Bob and Juno. We made it to Europe and are about to start the show... :y0!
  6. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    It was a somewhat cool and partly cloudy start to our latest Planet Ramble. This time we're doing a bit of an experiment and have outfitted two Ducati Scramblers (Kim's 2016 Icon and my 2017 Desert Sled) for this almost all pavement ride. Most of the items we added are bolt ons, but we did have to made some modifications to get the equipment to fit and work together. I really have to thank Patrick and his team over at Cyclewise Ducati in Middlebury, VT for helping out get these machines ready. We couldn't have done it without them.

    We left our home on Saturday, June 3, headed to Montreal, Canada to drop the bikes off at the shipper and board the same plane as the bikes.

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    Along the way, we stopped for fuel and ended up at a jolly place...

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    This in preparation for "jolly old England".

    The border crossing was anti-climatic with the usual questions. We answered them and the border guard returned to his building. A few minutes later he came back and said, "Good news! We're not looking for you!" He handed us our passports and off we went.

    It was a pretty standard ride to Montreal, and we got stuck in traffic for a while as the air/oil cooled Scramblers got hot. But in the end, we made it to Montreal and got to the shipping point.

    Shipping the bikes turned out to be a non-event. We brought the bikes into the cargo terminal and took out our personal belongings and anything that couldn't fly.

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    I disconnected and taped over both the positive and negative terminals of the battery and we were ready for inspection. The inspector, Steve, did a thorough job of ensuring we didn't have any prohibited items and when he was done, the bikes where wheeled away and sent to be tied to pallets.

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  7. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    We got through airport security very quickly and were soon in the terminal waiting for the late evening flight. While sitting there, we noticed we may have had a bit of a problem. It appeared that a giant meteor was heading right for us!

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    Luckily, we escaped unscathed and could impatiently wait for our plane to depart. By now it was dark and dumping down rain. We were glad to be inside warm and dry. But outside, conditions were quite different for cargo personnel and our other "family members".

    Cuddled on the back of this lift truck, our two bikes sat getting drenched.

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    and were loaded into the cargo bay...

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    After what seemed to be a crammed, sleepless eternity, we were almost there.

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    Since the airline food was dismal to non-existent and it was 10:00 AM London time, we decided to have some breakfast and then pick up the bikes.

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    The breakfast wasn't small...

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    We scarfed it down and walked outside the terminals with our four bags. It was London alright... Workers in Floro gear...

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    and blue and yellow checkered police cars...

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    Later we went to pick up the bikes at the cargo agent at London Gatwick.

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    Once again, it was a pretty easy job to pick up the bikes. We were let into an area that we really weren't supposed to be in (we weren't if anyone asks) and allowed to hook up the batteries and load the bikes.

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    While we were there, Customs came by and started going through shipments. Apparently we didn't look dangerous and they never said a word to us.

    Bikes picked up, we went to the hotel to catch up on rest and get ready to drive on the left side of the road.

    -Until Later!
    Cmnthead, Mudclod, roadcapDen and 2 others like this.
  8. AnotherHobby

    AnotherHobby Been here awhile

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    Great thread! I have a question for you. I just picked up a new Desert Sled and I'm looking to get some pannier racks on it. I recognize the cases you are using, but what rack did you use to mount them on the Desert Sled?
  9. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Our original plan was to do a clockwise loop around the european continent, but the weather in the UK looked like rain and wind for nearly a week. Time for a new plan then eh? Kim came up with the idea to do a similar route counter-clockwise. Well then, DONE! We jumped on the bikes and headed for the Channel Tunnel (Chunnel). It was the first time either of us had driven on the left side of the road and it was a bit intimidating at first. But before long, it was pretty comfortable riding. One thing they do have in this part of England is lots of hedges. Oh not those little 36" ones we're used to seeing. No, there were complete canopies of the things. Riding through the hedges was like riding through green leafy tunnels. Dark and on curves little forward visibility. We didn't get to see much of the English countryside because of them, hence no pics. But I'm sure we'll get some more on our return.

    Anyway, before long we had made it to the Chunnel. We lined up for the drive onto the train...

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    It only took about 15 minutes and we were given the go ahead to actually go to the train platform.

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    Ultimately, you ride onto the platform and load yourself into the train when told to do so.

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    It turned out that were weren't the only ones on bikes this day.

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    These guys were from the UK and Germany.

    The ride into the rail car was very simple and all you do is drive to the end and turn the bike sideways.

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    The train is so smooth, you really don't need any tiedowns.

    In less than 35 minutes, we arrived in Calais, France. Easy!

    We found a close-by hotel near the Navy monument and settled in for the evening.

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    Right behind the hotel was a town square where there were several small restaurants. We found a small family owned Italian one (yes, we know we are in France) and ordered. What arrived was this...

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    The following morning we got back on the road and headed east. We traveled through many tiny towns and through lots of French farmlands.

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    This little overlook even had a handmade tile table telling you about the sights below.

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    We moved along through large green fields lined with bright red wild poppies and eventually found an ancient resurrected farm to stay at for the evening.

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    We'd grab a quick night's sleep and would start the wandering for real in the morning.

    Until later!
    Pete S, roadcapDen and Mudclod like this.
  10. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Just to be sure, the panniers are Happy Trails made by Tim Bernard in Idaho. I didn't use a factory setup, but used parts from other manufacturers. The rack holders are Givi made supposedly exclusively for their own plastic cases. All you need to do is remove their Givi specific attachments and you can bolt on the Happy Trails using newly drilled bolt holes. I then purchased some bolts, washers and nuts, added plumbers rubber and sealed off the old holes. Then we used round stock steel as a brace between the two bags to give them more stability on the bike. I can report that they work very well, our panniers are loaded and there's no flex. I'll do a full up article on it on my blogsite Ride2ADV.com when I get back in a couple of months. Hope this helps!
  11. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

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    Enjoy. I'm about halfway through my time in Europe, and for me this is the other side of the road. Got used to it now. You'll enjoy Europe. So much to see.
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  12. AnotherHobby

    AnotherHobby Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the info! Did the Givi rack bolt up to the Desert Sled rear foot peg mount okay?
  13. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Yes, no worries!
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  14. AnotherHobby

    AnotherHobby Been here awhile

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    I just realized I have another question. What tail rack did you get for your Desert Sled that works with the Givi side case racks? I just ordered the Givi side racks and some cases and was trying to figure out what rack would work. It looks like you have the hepco & becker one on the yellow Icon. Does that work with the Givi?

    What an awesome trip you are on. I'm very jealous!
  15. JaxGt

    JaxGt Where to next....

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    Great trip so far. I rode my GT through most of Europe having bought it there and have really wanted to take my GSA over for a ride as well. Which Airline did you use, it seemed painless, aside from being mistaken for Bonnie and Clyde :chace :lol3
  16. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Thanks! Yes they are both Hepco & Becker and they worked well with the Givi racks. :-)
  17. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Hello JaxGT, we flew Air Transat, a Canadian budget airline. Believe us, getting the bikes on board was far more painless than the 6 hour flight! :lol3
  18. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Sorry for the delay in posting. We've been staying in places that do not have internet, so the only connectivity we've had lately is on our phones. It's already fairly late here now, but I'll try to squeeze a little in now before I turn in. Here goes...
  19. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    We left Calais the following morning and made a few quick stops before we headed to a place that really struck me deeply, far more than I had anticipated.

    The first quick stop was an overlook as we headed up a small mountain. Below us was this beautiful little town.

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    Here it is a little closer...

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    While it was a pretty sight, what made it made it somewhat special was this little table at the roadside.

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    It was just a concrete table, but was covered with hand painted tiles of the town below. Someone had stood on this overlook and created these tiles to match the town and labeled the more "significant sights". The artwork was amazing and it was just a nice little welcome gesture into this town.

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    But we didn't stay long because I really wanted see today's key destination. Soon we were nearing the place and as we rode into a tiny little town, we started seeing things that told us we were getting nearer to our destination.

    As we rode into a tiny village, we saw things like this...

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    We even saw some of these drive by...

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    It was all very emotional for me.

    If you look very closely at the picture in front of this church...

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    If you look very closely at the picture in front of this church...

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    You can see that it is the very same church that was partially destroyed and now has been rebuilt.

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    We had rolled into Colleville Sur Mere, a place where many fought and lost their lives during the D-Day landings.

    But we were not finished for the day. We were going to the beaches where some very courageous and valiant people lost their lives and others moved on to save the world.

    Not far from here is the American Cemetery, and we went to pay our respects.

    Before we went into the cemetery, we went into the memorial center. It is a well designed and very impactful place. As soon as you walk in you see this...

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    It's just the beginning. Instead of me narrating what I saw, I'm just going to attach some pics so you get the feel of what is inside. You may have to enlarge some of the photos, but I think you will find it worthwhile if you do.

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    And then we went outside.

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    Think back to the time this beautiful shore was the place where 10s of thousands of soldiers landed, fought, died and survived. It is difficult to imagine given the serenity of the sight.

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    Once you stood and stared at the place, you turn around and discover this...

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    I have to tell you that both Kim and I got a little emotional. There are over 9,000 people buried here, all having sacrificed themselves for our and much of the world's freedom.

    That's enough for tonight.
    gammel, Pete S, ShimrMoon and 2 others like this.
  20. AnotherHobby

    AnotherHobby Been here awhile

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    Wow, what a powerful place to visit!

    So I ordered the Givi rack and it showed up today. I did a quick test fitment and it does not align with the rear foot pegs on my Desert Sled. Did you have to do some fabrication to get it to work? Sorry for bugging you. I'm excited about getting my new bike set up. :)