Prologue For those of you that have been led here from the link from our other RR Retired and Riding thanks for clicking the link. You may remember on our first post in that report I had written that there was a long back story. Well this is part of that back story. In fact, this trip was the impetus that started us planning on retiring and traveling. That plan evolved over a period of a little over two years. It went from traveling alone as in taking trips to becoming traveling as a lifestyle. So, it started like this. We have close friends in Vermont (SteinVT on ADVrider) that were generous enough to let us join them on a trip to Europe that they had planned for June of 2017. I don’t think we even had to think about our response it was definitely yes. Lynne and Mark were newly minted veterans of European travel on motorcycle. They had been introduced by other friends who had been doing European trips for several year. These other friends, the Linns’ had a motorcycle stored in Heidelberg at Stefan Knopfs’ place. Many of you reading this are familiar with Stefan and the services he performs for motorcyclist interested in touring Europe. Here is a link to his site: http://www.knopftours.com/Web-Site/Transport.html. With the Linns’ encouragement Mark found a K100 that he bought with Stefans’ help shortly before their first trip with the Linns’. They learned from the Linns’ how simple touring through Europe was and how you do not need a plan or to be part of a tour. Lynne and Mark fortunately decided to give us the same gift that the Linns’ had given them to introduce us to motorcycling in Europe. The Linns’ were not going to be part of this trip. They were extremely generous and loaned us their R1100GS to use. What a gift! Fortunately, Lynne is an excellent planner and had a great outline. We didn’t have to do much at all just be packed and ready on the appointed day. The rough outline was fly to Germany. Travel through Austria, Northern Italy, Croatia, Slovenia then back. At the end of the two-week trip we had traveled over 1200 miles. More on that later. Plans were made, reservations gotten and we packed for our trip. June 6-7 We left Vermont on June 6th heading to Logan Airport where we would be taking a red eye on Lufthansa to Germany. Patti and I had squeezed all of our gear into two 50-liter Wolfman Bags. It’s tough getting a complete set of riding gear along with the rest of our essentials packed down that tight. We’ve since learned to trim things down better. Fortunately, they were not over weight and Lufthansa does not charge for checked luggage. Soon we were on our flight and heading East. I have to say after flying all domestic flights on domestic carriers flying Lufthansa was an eye opener. Even coach was comfortable and they did not charge for beer and wine and the food was good. I was fortunate enough to catch a few hours’ sleep during the eight-hour flight. As I recall we landed mid-morning. The approach to the landing was a little choppy causing more than one of us to be a bit queasy. We gathered our bags and cleared customs with no problems. Lynne and Mark had made arrangements for Stefan to meet us at the airport. This is one of the services he provides. He was waiting for us just inside the baggage claim doors and led us to his van which was may have been parked less than legally. It was around a 90-minute ride to his place in Heidelberg. Along the way we stopped at a BMW dealership to pick up some maintenance parts for the bikes. We arrived in Heidelberg and I was very impressed with his operations. He has several rooms that serve as his bed and breakfast that run along one side of a driveway. On the other is his family’s home. Off the back is a workshop with lifts and a smaller warehouse where he keeps some of the motorcycles he stores and some that he rents. At the back part of the BnB is a kitchen with a refrigerator stocked with beer and soda. Beers were 1 Euro each. It was on the honor system so you dropped your Euro coins or bills into a bucket as you grabbed your beverage. Further back on the property is a grassy area where people that wish to can camp. All in all a real nice set up that runs very smoothly. Stefan had already pulled our bikes out of storage at another warehouse that he has. When we were there, I believe he said that he was storing around 400 motorcycles for riders from around the world. Mark and I wanted to do some service on the motorcycles before we headed out the next day. I specifically wanted to change the oil in the GS and I think Mark wanted to do the same in his K bike. We rolled the bikes into the shop. The rule is you can use the tools but you have to put them back. There are also bulk fluids which you also need to track so you can reimburse Stefan. The lifts were all in use so I took some discarded shrink wrap from the garbage and placed it on the floor so I could do the oil change without ruining my new jeans and new shirt. I think we were done within an hour or so and rolled that bikes back outside. To make it easy to store the bikes in the warehouse Stefan removes the bags and stores them in locked rooms in the basement of his house. So, part of getting the bike ready to go is to go to the basement and search through hundreds of various panniers and top boxes to find the ones that go to your bike. They all have tags on them but you still need to pull bags that look right off the shelves to check the tags. This went pretty smoothly. The Linns’ had been kind enough to loan us their bag liners so we would be able to pack and unpack the panniers during our tip. Of course, you have to worry about some people who overstuff their liner making it difficult to squeeze into the odd shaped BMW system cases. Work complete it was time for some food and rest before we took off on our first day on the motorcycles. Does anyone remember what this is? We were shocked to see they even still existed.