Author Topic: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back  (Read 485 times)

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MrKiwi

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MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« on: July 11, 2017, 02:17:56 »


After returning from VIM19 I went for a solo ride to Stelvio Pass.

I had a day to wash my gear, clean the bike and resolve an issue with the GPS.  The first two were straight forward. The bike went to Bernard's local bike shop and they diagnosed a fault with a fuse. We had checked all the fuses on the VIM 19 trip but not the one in-line on the wire form the GPS to the battery. A new cylindrical fuse was fitted but this didn't solve the problem so we swapped to a different fuse solution, the same as the other fuses on the bike.

A pleasant surprise was the bike shop also cleaned my bike. Wonderful.

With this all sorted I packed up and got an early night.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 00:37:42 by MrKiwi »
MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 02:39:01 »
Wednesday 21 June - Veendam to Wolfsburg, Germany.

The first part of the trip was related to my work. I headed to Wolfsburg so I could visit the VW manufacturing plant. I left around 8:00am and meandered off towards Germany. I set the GPS to economy route with no motorways. The plan was to head to Wolfsburg via Toneburg.

The weather was fine with mild temperatures in the morning climbing to hot in the afternoon.

Pictures from the day below:


A nice clean bike as I head out of the Netherlands- wouldn't stay this way for long.


Back into Germany


I stopped to take pictures of buildings that were of interest to me


And of the German countryside


My mobile kitchen came in handy  ;D


One of the features of this trip is I was following the route the GPS decided for me. generally I had no idea where I was, what sights there were to see and what the roads would be like. This for me was fun.  It was all new, I was by myself in a country I did not know that well and I had a sense of adventure. Occasionally I would ride past something, stop, turn around and go back and take a closer look. This abbey was an example. I rode past it and then realised there was more to see than the passing glimpse I caught of it.  Turned out to be quite impressive.








MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 02:44:40 »
I made it to Toneburg and had a cool beer before heading north east to Wolfsburg.





And to finish off day one, a short video of me at one of the stops along the way opining about the difference between group and solo riding.


https://mrkiwi.smugmug.com/DWC/Europe-2017/Solo-Ride-Europe-2017-Videos/n-Sw83dM/i-zDbtGmk/A

MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 02:59:20 »
Thursday 22 June - VW Factory Tour then a short ride to Bad Grund, Harz.

The VW factory in Wolfsburg is the largest vehicle manufacturing plant in Europe. It operates 24 hours a day Monday to Friday, producing 3600 vehicles a day from four production lines, about one every 18 seconds. It employs 70,000 people and is also the headquarters of the VW group, so includes their head office, R&D and other associated services. Being so large it has its own fire brigade, hospital, butchers, etc within it.

Given I was here primarily on holiday and I broke that for this one morning of work, that is all I am going to say about the VW factory.




The hotel work put me in for the night. Slightly better standard than I have been accustomed to on this trip, but also pricey!  Notwithstanding, the WiFi in the hotel was hopeless.


With work out of the way by midday, I departed for Bad Grund. The temperature was going upwards so I was glad to finally get out of the city, but not before I slowly cooked in my gear stuck in traffic due to extensive road works.

As I rode towards Bad Grund I looked in my mirrors and saw dark clouds behine me. I was keen to outrun the thunder storms which I managed to do. They finally caught up with me in the evening, but not before I had was safely inside my nights accommodation.


I stopped along the way to buy some water to pour down my jacket as a way to cool off.


As I neared Bad Grund I finally started to se some proper hills. So far on this trip I'm not sure I had got much above 700 m in elevation. It was nice to see the hills



The storm caught me up as I sat under a veranda drinking cool German beer





MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 03:02:31 »
And to finish off day two - a short video of riding up towards Bad Grund


MrKiwi
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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 02:30:50 »
Friday 22 June to Sunday 25 June - Bad Grund to Olching Munich.

I left Bad Grund early and headed to Schweitenkirchen for the night. I wanted to visit the Africa Queens shop to discuss an auxiliary fuel tank for my Africa Twin. By this stage of the trip I had decided my GPS needed a name. It could not be 'She who must be obeyed' as that belongs to MrsKiwi. In the end I settled for 'The Mistress'. There is some logic for this name in that with The Mistress I was quite happy to follow her directions  VCIF_a_008 VCIF_a055 .

I set The Mistress to most economical route and no motorways. The day started out cool and I meandered along German country roads and rode through small towns. But this day turned out to be a real challenge for The Mistress. That challenge was road works. Whole sections of roads were closed and I had no idea where I was. Not understanding German very well I found it difficult to figure where the road diversions were. In the end I would ignore The Mistress and back track or ride in a different direction until The Mistress took me on a different route rather than taking me back to the road closure.

As the day wore on temperatures began to rise. This combined with road closures and a lot of slow trucks on the back roads meant I was making slow progress. By 2:00pm I was still not half way to my destination so I key in fastest route and hit the autobahn. But I managed to hit end of day commute rush hour traffic and the going was quite slow for a while. But I got to my accommodation for the night around 6pm. It was a long day but I had seen a bit of country side.


The accommodation was a bit unusual for me. The building was new but no staff were were present. It was kind of like a hostel. They had texted me a number to get into the building and my room. I saw no one else there all night, it seemed like i had the place to myself.

The following morning (Saturday) I rode the remaining 7 km to the Africa Queens shop and discussed their work on an auxiliary fuel tank for the new Africa Twin. For several reasons this turned out to not be the solution I was looking for. I'm setting my AT up for two up riding, the bike is a perfect size for this as the seat length easily accommodates two people. But the AT rear suspension is a bit soft. I'm having the rear suspension replaced and I've also replaced the OEM rear rack with an ATO stainless steel rack for the USA. The Africa Queens solution won't work with the ATO rack. I was glad I visited the shop, I had a long and helpful discussion with the owner. He was quite interested in my Transalp and the modifications I have made to it.

So with that discussion over I headed to Olching to visit a friend from my university and mountaineering days. I stayed with my friend until Mid afternoon Sunday and then headed to Austria.

Some pics of the ride down and also a day spent at Olympic Park where we attended a couple of events.























MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 02:32:42 »
MrKiwi
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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 07:45:07 »

Sunday 24 June - Olching to Zams, Austria
A short ride to Zams. The weather was overcast but warm.



A great view from the Hotel



A large dinner - much larger than I thought it would be  :o



That schnitzel took some eating, almost didn't manage to finish it off  ;D . I had an early night to be ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a big day....



Monday 26 June - Bucket List Day.

This is what the trip all came down to, riding Stelvio Pass.  The days route was to head to Trafoi, as recommended by zebulon, and ride up Stelvio Pass. From there I would head to head to Santa Maria and then across Switzerland to Konolfingen. As inmate from Advrider.com has sent me a PM and invited me to stay with him if I was going his way. It turned out I was, so I took him up on the offer.

However, the day didn't go as planned. The weather forecast had been rain. Thankfully the day dawned clear,  anice blue sky with no clouds and no wind. My spirits lifted. The Mistress played up though. I headed to Trafoi only to discover the GPS was taking me elsewhere. For some reason it was having real problems with the route I had keyed in. So it was backs to basics. Load in one way point at a time!

O got to Trafoi and then switched on my GoPro. I recorded the entire trip up. But as I later discovered the GoPro stops at 3.2 GB file size and then starts a new file. I have, now that I am home, managed in YouTube to stitch the two videos together.

Once I got to the top of Stelvio I headed down the other ride thinking I was heading for Santa Maria. I knew something was wrong when I got to Bormio  :o ;D ;D . Oh well nothing for it I'll just head back up again  ;D . This time I hit the right turnoff and headed to Santa Maria.

A little further on I had my first introduction to a car train. This was a completely new experience for me. A bit of fun too. Then some long tunnels. I rode through more tunnels in Switzerland than the rest of the trip put together.

As the day progressed the temperature into the high 30's. By mid afternoon it was obvious I still had a long way to go so I gave in and paid a small fortune for an annual vignette so I could ride the motorways, a vignette that I would only use for the afternoon. Yeah the Swiss - they know how to suck money out of you  :o .

I eventually got to Peter's place, where we went for a swim in a local river to cool off and freshen up. It was really nice meeting him face to face and their hospitality was awesome. The international riding community is great.

Some pictures of the day.

A perfect start to the day



The alps coming into view



Stelvio Pass






And here's me thinking I am heading to Santa Maria  VCIF_a_008
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 07:52:27 by MrKiwi »
MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 07:55:35 »
And now for the video of my ride up the pass from Trafoi to the top...

It is about 24 minutes long -


If you want to only see the top section of the ride watch this one, about 6 minutes -
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 04:28:45 by MrKiwi »
MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2017, 08:16:33 »
More pics of the day...

Heading the right way this time






More passes



Looking back the way I had come from



Heading across Switzerland (I like derelict buildings)






Lake Walensee



Heading down into Nafels



After a blast along the motorways I reached Konolfingen, and the nights accommodation. Peter owns three old Africa Twins. Great bikes.






MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 01:15:36 »
Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 June

On the Tuesday, Peter rode with me to just short of the Swiss/German border. I then rode through the Black Forest to Dobel for the night. Wednesday dawned wet and I was tired. There was no other solution than set the Mistress to fastest route which had me on the autobahn network for 500km of the 598 km trip. It rained all but about 100 km of the ride.

But back to Tuesday. The previous night Peter used a program on his PC to develop a twisty route out of Switzerland and we saved it as a GPX file and loaded it into my TomTom 450 as a track. It was nice knowing how to load GPX files, up to this point i had never done it.

Tuesday dawned damp and cloudy but the day got clearer and warmer as it worn on. The ride out of Swizterland, crossing the Rhine into Germany was fabulous. The route took us through narrow back country lanes, a touch of gravel here and there and through lots of hamlets.

Once in Germany the first part of the Black Forest was quite nice. However, as the day wore on I began to feel quite flat. Suddenly all I wanted to do was get back, in my mind the trip was now over, I had completed all that I had set out to do and there was nothing left to do on this trip. The twisty ride through the Black Forest continued until evening but I hardly noticed it.

Wednesday I felt no better. It took me an hour to do 40 kilometers to get onto the autobahn and then five hours to do the next 550km.


Photos of the day (none for the last day other than cleaning up the bike, then me!)






When I started to realise the trip was over, I needed some comfort food  ;D



« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 03:49:48 by MrKiwi »
MrKiwi
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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2017, 03:56:39 »
Thursday 29 June - clean up and pack up

First the bike - she cleans up well


Then me, I don't clean quite so well  :o


Then enjoy a lovely evening meal care of Bernard's great cooking skills


And lastly, after nearly six weeks time to go back home


And when I got home the first thing I did was get a decent flat while coffee - now I knew I was home



MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 04:00:20 »
But before I sign off one last video. This is early on in my ride through the Black Forest, I enjoyed this short section of twisty highway.


https://mrkiwi.smugmug.com/DWC/Europe-2017/Solo-Ride-Europe-2017-Videos/n-Sw83dM/i-prCfGck/A



MrKiwi
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MrKiwi

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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 04:27:24 »
So that's it, two ride reports, six weeks of traveling and about 9,000 kms traveled.

The trip was enjoyable with only a few days not quite what I was looking for, but overall a blast. The solo ride was a lot of fun, but the down side to traveling alone is your evenings can be a bit dull  ;D .

I got to go to and see a lot of places I would not had gone for if it were not for the input of my four Dutch friends for the first ride.

Highlights for me were:
  • VIM 19, had a lot of fun, especially riding with Jyrays and Bogdan on the gravel
  • Riding up to the lake district in Finland and playing on some forestry roads, although not enough it was fun
  • The night staying in cabins in Sweden on the way up to VIM.
  • St Petersburg
  • The really rough roads on the way out of Russia
  • The even more rough roads in Poland - the new suspension of Red meant I could have a heap of fun on the rough roads
  • Catching up with my mate in Olching
  • Meeting up with Peter in Switzerland...
AND

The big highlight was the perfect day I had riding up Stelvio Pass. I have wanted to do this ride for as long as I have owned motorbikes so to finally ride it was extremely rewarding.

A special thanks to Bernard (Two Plugs) for being Red's manager and helping me with a tonne of organizing stuff. When he comes to NZ my AT is waiting there for him to use.

Red will be coming home, I'm working on the logistics of that task at the moment.

Cheers all, been a blast. Sadly I will not make VIM next year or the year after that. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

MrKiwi over and out
MrKiwi
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Re: MrKiwi's Ride to Stelvio Pass and Back
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2017, 11:16:48 »
You are welcome David, although you did not really reach the lake district and our 350.000 km of gravel roads...

https://goo.gl/maps/rsH3SZL8Fbx

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