Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Germany and Poland

9.23.2012 Rüfenach, Switzerland to Freiburg, Germany 106 km

The weather is cloudy but the sun is trying to shine through. Unlike the day before when it rained all day. The KTM feels good with the stock airbox back on and the new map. I am very pleased with the way she is running now. I don't really know where I will go in Germany, but I have a few nights to make it to Frankfurt. The black forest is has great riding. Many small roads in the hills and valleys. Lots of turns. Also, lots of tourists. I downloaded the locations of all Hosteling International hostels in Europe and other countries into my GPS so it very easy to locate a hostel now. No Internet needed. Whether or not there is secure moto parking, that is another story. Most places will let you bring your bike into the courtyard if there is one. Or in a common room if you beg hard enough. So, a hostel showed up in Freiburg called the Black Forest Hostel. On the way there, I was taking small roads. My GPS does not know which are gravel roads and which are walking paths. I rode about 10 km on what looked like a 2 track before it emptied into a small town with nothing but people walking. The main street was blocked off from cars/moto and I got pulled over by a cop walking in the crowds. I asked him where the road was and he pointed me in the right direction after making the walking sign with his hands then pointing at the moto and making the $ sign with his hand. I arrived at the hostel around 5 and got 1 bed in a room with 3. For the next 2 nights I was the only one there. Just down the street was the Atlantik cafe. Great beer, food and cute wait staff. And they had a Foosball table.

River through a hole in the rock. I think this was man-made in order to build the road. 

9.24.2012 Freiburg

I woke up with every intention of going north but it was pouring rain. I had to make up my mind by 11:00 and it was still raining so I decided to stay another day. As soon as I paid, the sun came out. It was sunny the rest of the day. Just my luck. I walked around Freiburg looking for a place to get a hair cut but no place is open on Mondays? I spent the rest of the day getting caught up on Journal and the ride reports and such. That evening 3 bikers from Belgium came into the hostel and we went to have some beers. They were great fun. Freiburg is a great town to visit. It is a college town and there is amazing riding, hiking, and sightseeing in the Black forest close by.
Another crazy thing happened in Freiburg: When I was in Dublin, I saw 3 guys dressed quite funny. Almost Amish but not quite. Then in southern Ireland I saw these same 3 guys walking on the road so I stopped and talked to them and they had in fact been in Dublin 3 days earlier. I was sitting in the Atlantik pub and the same 3 guys walk in. It turns out they are German traveling carpenter apprentices. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with but this is some info about the tradition.

An engineer who quit her job to travel. Seems to be an epidemic. 
9.25.2012 Freiburg to Frankfurt 340 km

It was sunny in the morning but it did not last. The opposite of the day before. While fueling up in Freiburg, 2 German guys were looking at my bike and started to talk to me. It turns out they were in a motorcycle club and they invited me for a coffee just around the corner. They said the club had been in this location for almost 30 years now. They begged me to stay and have beers with the rest of the club that night but I had to decline. I rode motorway for some of the time going north but took some twisty roads once I got closer to Frankfurt. The rain let up in the afternoon but the roads were still wet. That evening, I went to meet up with some of the Germans who were touring in Wyoming when I met them. They brought me to their club house and we had a feast. Harry gave me a place to sleep and a locked garage for the Moto.

A Honda 650 motard.

Dirk and his youngest

Some of the motorcycle club

They like their HDs. For all of you stateside, be glad you don't have to pay their prices. 

9.26.2012 Frankfurt to Seeburger See (Campingplatz) 316 km

Breakfast with Harry and his parents of rolls, liverwurst, cheese, smokes sausage and a boiled egg. Harry's dad has an Aerial from the 1920's that he is restoring. He also has a parts bike. I found it very interesting that the OHV motor and the fathead motor share the same cylinder. There were 3 motors offered: Flat head/sidevalve, OHV, and OHV w/ 2 exhaust ports and 2 exhaust header pipes. The Flat head offered the most HP at about 5.5. They gave me a can of Liverwurst and a can of Blutwurst for the road. This would come in handy over the next few days. I rode north with every intention of going into Belgium for the night. Once it started raining, I changed my mind and turned east toward Berlin. Nice rolling hills and fall colors to keep me warm in the wet. I camped that night near the Seeburger See. 8 Euro to pitch a tent. The lady at the office did not speak any English, and my German is very lacking. Into the sleeping bag once it got dark. It rained off and on all night but I slept very well.

Me, Harry and Wolfgang

Wolfgang and his Ariel

Sidevalve motor

the OHC topend 

You can get propane or natural gas for your car in Germany

Trees growing out of smoke stacks.

I got rained on but Katriana didn't. 

9.27.2012 Seeburger See (camplingplatz) to Berlin 418 km

I was trying to ask the lady at the front desk where I could get coffee and she pointed me toward a cafe. I was breaking down my tent and she came over with a cup of coffee for me. It is times like this you wish you knew more of the language then just "danke". This is the trouble with traveling to so many countries. It is not possible to learn every language. The ride took me through farm fields and forest on the way to Berlin. At one point I found myself in the middle of a large windfarm. In the US, the largest turbine we installed was 3 MW. A few of the turbines at this windfarm were 6 MW. I have never seen one this large in person. Enercon, the manufacturer, can't bring this turbine to the US because there are patents that will not allow them to.. (cough GE cough). Getting close to Berlin I find my self in the town of Tangermünde. It has a very old city center that is surrounded by walls. My plan was to stay at the Odyssey Globetrotter hostel because they have a safe place to part the moto but they were booked full. The next closest hostel was the Pegasus Hostel. They let me bring my motorcycle into the courtyard and lock it to a bike rack.

Breakfast :)

6 MW turbine





A wooden moto. Think the seat would be comfortable?

9.28.2012 Berlin

I did not see much of Berlin this day. I did get a haircut and try to get caught up on the journal. In the evening I went to Alexanderplatz to drink some beer in the beer tents. It was great fun and I met people from all over the world. Including a Kiwi girl who said she had been in Myanmar earlier in the year. So apparently they have opened their borders? This is good news. She offered me a ticket to Radiohead the next night. I had every intention of going to the concert but, I could not find a place to stay in Berlin the next night. With the Radiohead concert and the Berlin marathon on a Saturday.

Some new German friends. They were training to become police officers... Well not at that exact moment. Then we were drinking Vodka. 

9.29.2012 Berlin to Braunsdorf 125 km

Picked up a new SIM card for the phone and got a hold of my friend Sanja who lives in Berlin. She wanted to show me Spinnerbrücke. It is one of the largest biker bars in Berlin. This place was pretty cool. There were every type of bike there. Everyone got along. The MN licence plate got some attention. They had some great sausage and potato salad for lunch then back on the road toward Poland. When it was starting to get dark, I was trying to find a place to sleep. Every hotel was booked. I pulled in to the small town of Braunsdorf because my GPS showed a hotel there. It turned out is was a hostel and all but one room were rented by a group of families. The 3rd of October is a national "get together" holiday in Germany. So every year, these families pick a different hostel and have a reunion. They welcomed me to the party and made me eat and drink with them. They also had an interesting game which involved a pretzel stick propping your mouth open and you have to try to talk "My sister had a child" "oh really, what is her name?" "Her name is _____" You then had to try to guess the name they were trying to say. It was entertaining to say the least. The night ended with a campfire under the (almost) full moon. I told them they should not be so nice to me because I will show up at their reunion the next year.

Sanja and I at Spinnerbrücke

Sausage and Potato salad for lunch


Some sort of 2 stroker Yamaha I haven't seen before. 

The families that adopted me for the night.


Sophie my translator for the night

9.30.2012 Bransdorf to Bad Saarow 55km

While looking over my bike in the morning I notice it is very low on oil so I add what I have for spare. This isn't enough. In Fürstenwald, I gas up and find some 15 W50. I add some to the KTM but don't feel right about traveling with it. There is a KTM shop in town so I go find it. Its closed on a Sunday but there is a guy there and he says I can change my oil in the morning. Perfect.

About 20 km south there is a hostel on a lake. The sun is shining so I figure I could soak up a few last rays of summer. The hostel is full but I meet a family close by who lets me camp in their yard. Marco and Anja are building a garage on thier property with recycled bricks from and old military building. He said they were taking it down and he asked if they could have some. A few cases of beer later and they had almost as many old stones as they needed to complete the garage. Anja is the one who does the mason work and Marco helps out. They have A 1937 DKW 200. Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer combined to be the Auto Union AG and later just Audi. Hence the 4 rings.  You should have seen the smile on my face after taking this around the block. I have never had to shift with my right hand on the tank. Later in the afternoon they took me hunting for mushrooms in the woods. Hanna the little girl finds about 3 or 4 times what I do. The poisonous mushrooms are easy to spot because they are colorful. The ones you can eat get are like camo in the leaves. That night we saute the mushrooms with garlic and onions and have a feast on the grill with some of their friends. They tell me what it was like to live in eastern Germany under communism. The first thing Marco did when the wall fell was go to West Berlin and buy a jar of Nutella. He ate the whole thing with a spoon. It was a brisk night but I slept well.



Anja and Hanna


Notice the smile. 

We rallied this little Opel back into the woods to pic shrooms. 

Some of the mushrooms

9.31.2012 Bad Saarow Germany to Szamotuły Poland 291 km

Early to rise. Breakfast then up the road to the Fürstenwald KTM shop http://www.bahros-bike-bude.de/. They let me put the bike on a stand and let me change the oil. They mechanics are very interested in the setup I have. I get a new chain as a spare and it all costs way less then it should. I give them most of my remaining Euros and head toward Poland. People in Poland drive crazy. If the speed limit was 80, i was doing 110 and getting passed like I was standing still. They don't move over either, just enough to clear their mirror on your bars as they fly by. When in Poland, you will get used to using your mirrors. That night I stay in a hostel in Szamotuły. No one there speaks English. They write down that it is 20 złoty per night. I have about 15 złoty and 25 euro. With the use of Google Translate, we come to the conclusion that in the morning, I will go to a bank and get enough money.

Thanks guys! http://www.bahros-bike-bude.de/

The best bug I have seen in a while. 

Just into Poland. Before the EU I am sure this was used as a checkpoint or something.

Spider web crap that got tangled in everything. 

10.1.2012 Szamotuły Poland to Wroclaw (Chopper Hostel) 235 km

I found an ATM to get some cash but it isn't working. My bank has not unlocked Poland yet. So, I exchange 25 euro for almost 100 złoty and go back to the Hostel. When I get to the hostel, the price has gone up to 40 złoty. I try to argue for a minute but then realize that it is still only about $14 so I just pay it and leave. Now I have about 75 złoty, some blutwarst from Germany, some butter from France and a few rolls from a local bakery. I have about enough fuel for 150 km and a reservation in Wroclaw that evening at the Chopper Hostel. It seems we make adventure when things get routine. In the afternoon, my bank finally sends me an email that they have unlocked polska. I get to the Hostel in the evening and they let me put the moto in the reception area. They keep insisting I need to use a ramp to get up the step. Its only 9" so whats the big deal. In the bar, drinks and food is cheap. 14 złoty for a beer and traditional polish soup (divide by 3 for $). The room is 60 złoty and is a few short blocks from the main square. I was in a 2 bed room, and I thought I was alone until about 11 at night when a polish guy comes into the room. He speaks English and is traveling toward Germany to go to the big bike show in Berlin. We have some drinks and walk about the square. It is no problem to walk in the streets with beer in Poland.


3 zt for 4 dark rolls. 

Chuck Norris is on everything in this bank. It was explained to me that in the advert, he is the
"guardian angel" of the bank. I see a lot of famous actors in adds on TV and print over here. George Clooney is HUGE in France.

Polish kids LOVE candy. 

Every town seems to have a shrine to Marry. 

This guy was going 30 kph. Everyone else is doing 120 or so. He doesn't care.

Katriana got to sleep inside. 

Chopper bar/hostel in Wroclaw. They let me park her inside for the night :D

Chopper bar/hostel in Wroclaw

Chopper bar/hostel in Wroclaw

Chopper bar/hostel in Wroclaw

Wroclaw Square

Wroclaw Square

Wroclaw Square

 10.2.2012 Wroclaw Poland to Nova Paka Czech Republic 260 km

This was one of the best days of riding I have had in a while. The sun is out, the leaves are bright colors of orange and red. Even the people seem to be nicer to me. At a gas station, at least 5 or 6 older people read my licence plate and in a perfect MN accent say "Minnesoooota". They want to hear about my trip. Some speak English and some translate for the other people. My plan was to go over the moutians into the Czech Republic on gravel roads I found on google the night before. When I got there, it was a national park. No motos allowed. So I continued west to the main crossing. The last meal I have in Poland is Kielbasa.. the only Polish word I know. Once into the Czech republic, the road winds along a river in the mountains. The leaves are amazing. When the sun gets low, the temperature drops fast. It realy is time to go south. The GPS is giving me trouble and keeps turning off anytime I try to look at the map. Somehow, I find my way to my relatives house. They feed me breaded fried pork chop with salad and bread for dinner. Its amazing.

Ms. Poland

Train to heaven

This guy was stoked about my trip. 

Railroads are electric. 

In every town, the church is usually the tallest building.

Great roads. 

My last meal in Poland. Kielbasa. This cost me the equivalent of $4. 

New Polish friends

The road I wanted to take. It would have taken me over the top of the mountains but unfortunately, No motos :(

This little dude threw pine cones at me after I snapped the pic. haha. 

I think it is just rocks on the left but it looks like an old structure. 

KTM Orange is Fall Camo

I might be a bit excited to be here. 

Photo opp while waiting 


Coolest Police car ever? Yes. 

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