RTW on a H.A.T. In the slow lane.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Just arrived in the southern Dolomites after days of fantastic riding and shite internet. Too tired to add much more at the present, hopefully tomorrow there will be a decent update. Provided the wifi is capable of uploading a few photos and thats pretty doubtfull to be honest.
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  2. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Crikey we love this area, our first wanderings through this part of the world was back in the late 90's. I had a few selfish rides around here on my Moto Guzzi LeMans, whilst Katrina held the fort back home in Yorkshire with the two boys. She's a good girl thats for sure. There is only so many times that you can say how amazing this part of the world is. So rather than prattle on about this road and that, here's a little photo fest of this last week or so.

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    This is a pretty rough old mud map, but it gives an indication of the main passes we have done. Not all though.

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    Centralish Austria.

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    Sunken church in lago di Rèsia Reschensee, Italy.

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    Nope, never get tired of it.

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    Spotted at the Albula pass, Switzerland. 1955 - 57 - 55. I said to one of the guys driving them. "They look better than new". The owner of the red beetle replied. "I can assure you the red one does not drive better than new". We both had a laugh.

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    As we were heading back to our digs in Pontresina, Switzerland from doing the Julier pass a couple of BMW's passed us and indicated to us that we should pull over.

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    Turns out Armin on the left thought we were another Aussie, Alan Cox, who's currently somewhere in Europe. Nope wrong on that score. Then he says. "Hey you weren't in Munich last year were you"? Umm yes, early April, why do you ask? Because I saw your bike and got a photo of it, but I never saw you guys. Thats Jurg whom I'm mooching up to by the way.

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    Here is the photo that he took. You may notice a few less stickers on the topbox back then.

    Then we rode together for a while. Armin had to get home to Lichtenstein and Jurg was also staying in Pontresina.

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    There are currently a lot of road works happening in Switzerland. I guess it's a little difficult to carry out repairs in the middle of winter after all.

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    Lake Silsersee to the right.

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    This glacier is just south of Pontresina, i never did get it's name.

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    Soon after we were at the one and only Stelvio pass. Fourth time for me. Yeah i'm a greedy bastard, I know. I though it would have been busier to be honest.

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    Katrina doing here best Where's Wally impersonation.

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    Taken on the fly, heading down the countless switch backs.

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    We relocated to Schluderns in Sth Tyrol, Italy. Switzerland was emptying our wallet at a frightening rate.

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    Their cemetary's are nearly as attractive as their villages and countryside here in Schluderns.

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    Random road side mural. Don't ask me where. :dunno Alzyhmers remember.

    That will have to do for the Swiss - Italian boarder region. It's now time to swing down to the south Dolomites. An area we know well. More will be revealed in a few days.

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    We are carrying a hip flask of Grappa, given to us by a lady in Slovenia ( I think ). I neglected to bring it with us whilst here, damn it.

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    Atop of Mt Grappa there is a war memorial. It was here that the Austrians advanced to during WW1. Both the Italians and Austrians dug in, in the surrounding mountains sides and bombed each other with artillary. The Austrians would advance no further. During WW2 many partisans hid in the tunnels and caves around here to carry out attacks against the Germans. Many were killed or hung down at Bassarno if captured. I've been to the bridge previously where this all happened. We just may get there again in the next few days. Lets see what happens. More here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Grappa

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    At 1700 odd metres we were amongst the clouds. i did think it was a nice gesture to see both the Austraian and Italian flags flying together here.

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    Descending around the back of Monte Grappa.

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    The entire area is pock marked by caverns and tunnels. It was in man made caves like this that opposing forces imbedded there guns and lobbed shells at each other, mountain top to mountain top.

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    The final plunge down to the little valley of San Valle Liberale. Jeez this stretch was steep, as steep as any we have done and we've done a lot.

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    This restaurant was our destination. But our luck was out. It was shut, the first time for this summer, damn it. Just means we will have to come back.
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  3. DunkingBird

    DunkingBird Been here awhile Supporter

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    Morteratschgletscher
    rätoromanisch (4th national language): Vadret da Morteratsch

    With a volume of around 1.2 cubic kilometres, it is the glacier with the largest volume in the Eastern Alps.

    The origin of its name:
    The name Morteratsch is explained by the Swiss legend Die Jungfrau vom Morteratsch. The rich farmer's daughter Annetta and the cattle keeper Aratsch fell in love at a social event on an alp. Their parents, however, prohibited the relationship, unless Aratsch soon became wealthy, which is why Aratsch became a soldier abroad. The young woman died of grief before he returned. He then rode up to the alp and let his horse jump into a throat in the glacier behind. The ghost of the girl then floated around on the alp more often and the alpine dairymen heard her complain: "Mort Aratsch" (Aratsch died). One of the herding boys noticed the apparition, whereupon the cows gave more milk and hardly a piece of cattle died. His successor, however, rejected the spirit of Annetta von der Alp, whereupon he pronounced a curse out of a thunderstorm: "Schmaladida saja quaist' alp e sia pas-chüra!" (Cursed be this Alp). Then the meadows became desolate and the alp was abandoned. Later the glacier spread further and covered the mountain Munt Pers (German: Verlorener Berg).

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  4. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    It was easily the largest glacier that we saw. Thanks for that DunkingBird.
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  5. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    So having relocated to the Dolomites it was time to further explore this area. We did of course pass through here last year, but it was only for a couple of nights. It's no wonder the area is so popular. Just about every corner you go around, hill top you crest, there is another picture perfect vista. You plan a route for the day, say 200 klms and in most other parts of Europe with their good road network you can expect that it will take 2 to 3 hours. Not here though, you need to readjust and at least double that time. The traffic of course can be severe. Best to avoid July & August if you can, when most of Europe is on holidays. The roads can be tight and twisty, throw in many stops for photos, then you'll see a cafe that you just need to stop at. It all makes for slow progress. But here it doesn't matter, just go around in circles all day long and take it all in.

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    Village in the valley, another on the mountain side.

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    Passo Fedaia, 2057 metres. Some of the movie, "The Italian Job" was filmed up here.

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    Lago di Fedaia.

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    The place has been discovered.

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    Looking the other direction along the dam wall.

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    Surely I am not the only one fed up with the inapropriate plastering of stickers. Have your stickers if you must, but put them in sensible places. Give them to other bikers, moto shops, hostels, you know what i mean. I see it as no different than a dog pissing on a post and I bet most of these are doing a 2 week grande tour of the Alps. FFS give me a break, only a squillion people have gone before you.

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    Random shot on the fly. You see this stuff all the time.

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    But this is unsual, even by European standards. Passo San Boldo. There was a light system in place, allowing one way traffic for say 5 minutes, then the lights would be reversed.

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    Then 20 minutes later we were at 1200 odd metres dining on local cheeses, meats and red vino, looking across the plains towards Venice. Refugio Posa Puner if your ever in the area.

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    Nothing on the hill top other than a solitary restaurant and some mooey's. Whats not to like?

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    It wasn't until I downloaded the photo that I realised that, that is a robot lawn mower. Well at least I think it is. They take their gardening here pretty damn seriously.

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    The valley in the distance is our home for a week. Lifes pretty damn good.
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  6. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I totally agree.
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  7. DaleE

    DaleE TransAlp Adv

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    Which one is not like the others :lol3
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  8. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    :lol3:lol3:lol3

    Reminds me of this great skit, movie actually DaleE
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  9. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    You may recall the photo above of the empty reataurant, Motoristaurante. Trust us to visit on the first day after the busy summer period that they were closed. Just meant that we had to return and we did yesterday. Allow me to explain. I first visited here back in 98 or 99, I really can't remember the year. Primarily to catch up with a friend from back In Australia, John. John at that time had been coming across each summer for a number of years to chef in the reataurant. He continued to do so for about 15 years. Like many small restaurants in Italy it's a family affair and then as it is now it is run by Maurizio. Now we all know Italians are passionate about their motor sports. Maurizio takes that passion to new heights. To the point, that years ago he created his own club; Pompone.https://www.pompone.com The club sponsors racers, holds many events at the restaurant and around Italy and so it goes. Over the last 20 years or so, we have visited Maurizio and his restaurant many times and we weren't going to come to Italy and not visit this time. So that is what brought us to this tiny little valley in the southern Dolomites, a place you would never find or come to unless you were lost or like us wanting to have a great meal in the company of fellow motorcyclists. It's always interesting to sit out on a table and listen to the burble of a motorbike coming up the valley and trying to guess what exactly will emerge in front of you. It literally could be anyone or anything. If you are ever in the area do yourselves a favour and drop by, you won't be dissapointed.

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    We once again catch up with Maurizio.

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    Click the link to get an idea where the restaurante is. Secret location or what?
    https://www.google.com.au/maps/plac...49f093adae77605!8m2!3d45.8655541!4d11.8341065

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    You'll see a bit of this around the place. Twenty years ago there used to be a Ducati 900SS engine here. I never did ask Maurizio what happened to it. He'll have it stashed away somewhere I guess.

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    It's a lousy photo, but thats Carl Fogarty cutting a cake here at Motoristaurante, back in his good days. Literally anyone could pop by, Troy Bayliss, Agostini and others, they're all been here.
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  10. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Too busy riding to bash out an update, anyhow thats my excuse. We are slowly making our way back down to the Balkans where the bike will be housed over the winter. So we bid Italy goodbye, we know we'll be back, it's one of our favourite country's. It really has it all. Great riding, food, history, weather, mountains and people, always the people. We are thinking Sept 2021 for Moto Guzzi's 100th birthday bash. But hey, lets not get in front of ourselves.

    A lazy week in the Julian Alps of NW Slovenia is a perfect way to finnish off our time in the mountains. You look at a map and it's really just an extension of the Alps. Not quite as dramatic perhaps, but a fraction of the people and traffic, price too. There isn't the same network of roads through here as you'll find in the Alps. Many are dead ends, where you need to back track. No big deal, you get to see beautiful areas from the opposite direction.

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    Hire a row boat on Lake Bled anyone. I thought Katrina might serenade me out on the lake, it never happened, I don't know why. :dunno

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    Dining in a proper flash restaurant with my cousin Noel and his wife Conney at lake Bled. We'll stick to the motorised cycle as they push bike from Austria to the Croatian Adriatic over about 7 weeks.

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    Julian Alps, beautiful mix of forrest, farms and mountains.

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    Road works, always roadworks.

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    Remember Blinky the lost and forlorn Koala that Katrina found on the footpath in Poznan last year? He's really enjoying this travel melachy.

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    Spomenik v spomin na dražgoško biko monument to the local partizans taking the fight up to the occuping Nazis in 1942. Say that quickly 3 times and let me know how you get on.

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    We've passed thousands of these hay sheds in the last couple of months.

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    Another sweet little 2 smoker from the communist past, apparently also manufactured in the Netherlands and only went broke and out of production earlier this year. Got to love the horn.
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  11. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    We were hoping to finnish off this year on the tyres we've been running for the last few months, but a couple of weeks back it was becoming increasingly obvious that, that just wasn't going to happen, not with any degree of safety at least. Ljubljana in Slovenia seemed the obvious place to fit tyres, but where? The usual internet search brought up very little. So we put the word out there in the overlanding community and we got a quick response back from Anja that we needed to contact VIP Moto centre ( https://www.facebook.com/vipmotocenter/?referrer=services_landing_page )just a few Klm's outside of Ljubjana. Good call Anja. I don't normally give business's a plug, but I must say if you are coming through this part of the world and you need tyres check them out, you won't be dissapointed, Great guys to deal with and at a really good price, they were genuienly interested in our journey. Thanks guys we apreciate it. :thumb

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    Mitas E0-7+ 21425 klm's, 13312 miles.

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    TKC80 28700 klm's, 17833 miles.
    Ok, maybe they should have been changed a 1000 klms ago, but still neither tyre gave me any grief in any way whats so ever. Why the hell anyone would use the horrid Hiddenau K60 Scouts is a mystery to me.

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    Check them out if you are in the area.

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    Here is Anya and her partner Ruben. I hope I got the spelling right Ruben, at least i think I did. They have been busy these last 5 years setting up their own craft brewery. They just now need to figure out how to make the time to go travelling. The plans are in place to hit west Africa sometime soon. But like a lot of people it's juggling competing interests. I'm sure they'll figure it out.

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    https://www.facebook.com/tocilnica.maligrad/ Seems everyone now-a-days just advertises on FB. Also check them out if you are in and around Ljubjana. The IPA which I tried was great. They must be doing something right, because there is currently a new bottling line going in. Thanks again guys for helping out with the tyres. We'll see you on the road somewhere. :ricky
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  12. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Continued goodness.
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  13. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Yep I guess so RedDogAlberta. We riders all have our preferences and bias's and once we find what works for each of us then we tend to stick to it. This certainly works for me. If I were German or from any number of other European county's then there is a good chance I'd be fined. They have this crazy law here that states that all motorcycle tyres must be matched. That is of course. Mitas E 0-7 rear, then it has to be Mitas E 0-7 front. Conti - Conti and so it goes. I think thats crazy.

    Eh hang on a minute, have I missed something. Maybe you are referencing the craft beer? My bad in that case.
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  14. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Today it was the Ohlins forks turn to get some love. Ohlins recommend that the forks get serviced every 40,000 klms. This is the first service I've given these forks in 70,000 klms. Sorry Mr Ohlins. But I have changed the oil twice, I keep neoprene gaiters on them and most of the riding has been on good European roads. Anyway thats my excuse's. Turns out all was pretty damn sweet inside. There was evidence of very minimal wear on the leading edges of the bushes, but that is all. So cleaned up, new seals, new oil, back together. Everything tickity boo.

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    Not that you can really see it. But the steel bush in the centre is the one that has the minimal wear on the leading edges. Nothing to be overly concerned about and perhaps replace at the next service. That could even be at 40,000 klms. :augie

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    The only other service job we'll do this year is oil and filter in 1500 k's or so, before laying the bike up for winter. Next season there will be chain and sprockets go on and we are good to go across Russia.
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  15. DerekP

    DerekP n00b

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    Wow that is amazing millage out of those tyres! You are dead right about the Hidineau Scouts....they are just shite. The only thing they do well is prolong the misery by lasting a long time.
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  16. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Yeah I always get big K's out of my tyres. All the usual reasons, maintain high pressures, for me thats 32/42 psi and check regularly and ride smoothly. What really hit home to me whilst riding in the Alps and following other riders is how little I use my brakes as compared to most other riders. They seem to be hard on the anchors coming into a corner, especially going down hill. I tend to use a lot of engine braking. I really think this has a lot to do with the tyre life. Further proof of my light braking is, when we did the tyres I changed the front brake pads. They had done 61,000 klms and they probably still had 5,000 k's left in them.

    So far as the Hiddenau K60 Scouts, they are effing horrible. I'll never forget the words of a couple of German overlanders that I met in Darwin 3 years ago. I'd just that day fitted a set of Hiddenaus, my first ( and last ) ever. Corina, whom along with her partner Ollie had just finnished 3 years coming from Germany said. "Ahhh yeah we know about the problems with Hiddenau's, thats why we use Mitas tyres". Now I also know. Loud, I mean howling banshee type loud. Will inevitably crack, sometimes alarmingly so like mine did. Will wear square every time. Will deteriate under hot conditions. Thus airing down is not an option with K60 Scouts. I've actually seen an email from Hiddenau to another dissatisfied customer and it states, from Hiddenau remember, that their tyres need to maintain high pressures because of the heat issue with them. Of course a tyre with low pressure in it, will run hot compared to one with high pressure. That solid centre strip of rubber that promotes long tyre life works against you on both the tarmac, when it is wet, giving poor traction and off road. Off road you want big seperation between the treads. Something the K60 does not have down the middle of the tyre. Yes I know the 130 and narrower versions do, but thats not what AT's run. The front still has this opposite touque steer charactaristic when slightly worn. Not a single rider that I have met that runs these tyres has noticed this torque steer on the front tyre. But it is there and it was confirmed to me by the tyre fitter that we had fit new tyres in Budapest last year. Whithout me saying anything, as we walked around his extensive tyre racks. He said, "of course you need to be aware of the funny feeling with this tyre when steering around corners". I replied you don't have to warn me, 'I know exactly what you are talking about'. In any case I'll never use them again, if I can avoid it. All in all fucking awefull tyres.

    I guess when they first came out 6 or 8 years ago, they were the only tyre of their type on the market. The overlanders and others went WOW, look at the big mileage i'm getting, thats great. Well it comes at a big cost. Thankfully the tyre market has moved on in leaps and bounds and there are many other great alternatives. Ok rant over, back to our normal progamming.

    We've entered a country where some of the locals stop and stare at anything or anyone that is slightly different. We are slightly different, thus we attract a few stares. I do find that quite unnerving I must say. In any case Romania is quite cheap and it is very pleasant here along side the Danube.
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  17. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Well , thanks for the heads up on Heidenau Scouts , I had been considering them for my V-1000 . I balked at the price , then got a set of Metzeler Tourances that seem to work great.
    I read these reports to benefit from others experience .
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  18. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Cheers bk brkr baker, we are all of course biased with our own experiences and prejudices. But honestly there is much better than Hiddenaus. The Tourances are probably my normally go to tyre for the black top. They of course have no off road pretences. Pretty much all of Metzlers tyres are good or more correctly the ones I have tried are good. Including the Karoo 3's and streets. My only gripe is again the noise, but it disapears after about 5000 klms from my experience.
  19. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    The mornings are fresh now and the trees are turning colour. It won't be long and most of Europes motorbikes will be tucked away for the winter. Ours will be one of them. This time next week we'll be at 34,000ft and winging home to Australia for a solid 7 month break. To be honest Katrina and I are both looking forward to it. We've been on the road for 33 1/2 months out of the last 38, but even on those two short stints back home we were bed hopping between family and friends. So really not so different than being on the road and just as tiring in many respects.

    But this time will be different, the tenents move out and we move back into our home. Hopefully the house will remain tenent free for the remainder of our travels. We are going to try and mix it up a bit more and hopefully spend about equal time both travelling and at home. Sounds easy and ideal, but it's actually quite difficult to juggle. A rough plan for next year is in place. We need to get out of Europe and spice it up a bit. Lets see what happens eh.

    It's in Sofia that the bike will over winter, about 1500 klms from Ljubljana. Our green card insurance does not cover Serbia so that means taking a bit of a loop through Hungary, Romania then onto Bulgaria.

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    Found these "totems" wedged between a farmers paddock and a country road in Hungary. The message is a little sketchy to us, but clearly religion plays a part as always.

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    For much of our journey south we kept bumping into the Danube.

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    It seems to be wedding season in Romania. We've seen quite a few, over these last couple of days. This scene has been repeated a number of times on our journey. Most notably in Indonesia and India, where we saw similar processions along the road, Muslim, Hindu, Christian. I suggest have more points of commonality than difference.

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    Of course whilst travelling through much of eastern Europe and particularly in Romania you'll see many still living the traditional life. Not all, but most would identify as Romany or more commonly known as gypsies. Thats a well conformed horse actually. Many look pretty damn scruffy and of dubious breeding.

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    The last of the harvest is coming in.

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    Romania being ex communist you see a lot of this around. From what we could tell, this derelict factory use to manufacture textiles.

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    We follow in the footsteps of the D-Day WLA tour guys. Found at the Danube ferry crossing customs point.

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    Our last ferry crossing of this leg. Over the Danube, Romania to Bulgaria.

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    Once home and settled into some normalacy I need to get one of the above taxed and on the road. Forget the AT, thats the original and in no shape for riding. So should it be the prima balerina that has an exhaust note that makes the late, great Barry White sound like a tenor ( apologies to Barry ) or the panzer, that is........................well, just plain sensible. Oh and sounds like a fart in the bath of course. :lol3 Katrina is not a great fan of sitting on a narrow ironing board for any length of time. I know which one I want to ride. :evil Credit has to go to my mate Andy in England for the Panzer moniker. I like it and it has stuck. Hi Andy. :thumb

    There will be a post or two before we bed down the RR for 6 months or so. But I just want to thank all those that have followed along, we've met along the way and have contributed in one way or another. As a way of paying back for all the amazing hospitality and generosity that we have recieved over these last 3 years or more. Our home is open to one and all. We may even find a motorbike for you to use to explore this great country of ours. Don't start thinking it will be the LeMans though. You can quash that thought straight away. :lol3
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  20. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I once took the ferry across the Danube at Calafat (Romania -> Bulgaria) but there's a bridge there now. Where was this ferry?
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