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Friday, November 25, 2011

All good things come to an end.

It is now time to say farewell to our friends Udo and Dagmar, but only for 3 months as they will be visiting us on their holiday to Australia in Feb/Mar 2012.  As our holidays are coming to an end and I had a few bits to sort out at the Honda dealer in Remscheid.

Bush walking Gernam style!!

the view.

Seat with the view.

Visit to a histroic housing museum.
Historic 1600's house.

We cruised down the hill and on to an Autobahn towards Koln, an easy 60kms or so. Our next stop was with Gerd and Elke whom we had met through Werner and Claudia in Australia in early 2010. They were on a twelve month tour in that Great Southern Land (Australia). We were again treated as honored guests, which was just fantastic.  Elke took us for a tour of Koln, which included an ancient Roman archeological dig of the Roman Garrisons Principal Building, also a detailed inspection of the sewer this building used!! I could not help but visualise the Monty Python’s movie ‘The life of Brian’ where the groups of resistance fighters are coming out of the sewers and drains to attack the Romans!

Roman ruins under the Koln city.

Christmas market setup is well under way.

All too soon it was time to head to our final destination, back to Werner’s parent’s home in Remscheid. We took only small ‘B’ roads for this last day of our 2011 tour on the road. We had more fine weather for our last day (this means no rain, but cold and foggy in spots). The 40kms ticked over all too quickly, and it was over. We had ridden just under 16,000kms (15,977kms) since we arrived. Only managed to wear out one set of tyres!! At 5.8L (average) per 100, it works out at approx. 924L of fuel consumed (rough guess of 924x1.68=1552.32Euro worth).

The XRV is IMHO (in my honored opinion) a great touring bike. Not the best two up for sure, a bit tight it’s true (what bike is, with camping and extended touring gear loaded). But were and still are happy with the choice we made. Hoping to import it back into Oz, will see how this goes…

Replacing the bent steel cowling support.

Anyhow I had ordered a replacement Cowl support, and fitted this over the next few days. We also did some ‘day’ rides about the area.  Juergen and Petra took us to a local museum in Remscheid.

Yes it is bent, and expensive.

Röntgen X-ray Museum in Remscheid-Lennep.

Röntgen X-ray Museum in Remscheid-Lennep.

Highest railway bridge in Germany.

But we cannot thank Renate and Wilhem enough for the way they accommodated us.

We still could only muster a few words in German, but we were definitely getting better at listening in German. They were also poor with English, but this did not matter too much in the end, as the ‘Google’ Web translator & German/English translator books were put to good use by both parties.

And after 5 days stay, it was time to say “Auf Wiedersehen” and we were getting dropped off at the train station. Helped with getting our luggage down to the platform, assisted with getting on the right train to the airport in Dusseldorf. Our last train trip without problems, and we arrived with plenty of time, and were very happy to get our 3 bags checked through for the trip home. I was hoping BA would accept my Qantas Business club bag limit, they did.

Deb did some needle craft to give as a gift.

Our Germany Mum and Dad.

View from the the train, off the highest bridge in Germany.

Shake rattle and roll, in the train ...

Originally our flights back for the reverse of our arrival (or so I thought). On closer inspection, we found we would fly Dusseldorf – London (Heathrow) – Singapore (Changi) – Melbourne (Tullamarine), overnight stop over, the Melbourne – Alice Springs. Our flights to Melbourne are now complete, with only a few thousand Kms to fly back home in the morning, and we trip will be over.

We have both very much enjoyed our extended vacation. It was great fun to be traveling two up together, like a couple of kids again. Camping and picking destinations as we liked. Almost every goal I had planned we did. Only thing I was not so happy was the prang in Spain, not a good thing, but I guess even this has a part in our memories of the trip now.  We’ll be back sometime, ready for some more touring …

The End.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Back to Germany.

We got underway as soon as we got off the ferry. It was about 19:00 as we pulled onto the motorway (Autovia in Spain) and powered up to cruising speed (110kph). We rode for about 2 hours before picking a hotel and getting food and accommodation easily sorted out.

The next day I wanted to find a bike shop (probably and Honda shop) to buy new front and rear sprockets and a new chain. As it was getting that seized up look and as it tuned on the front counter shaft it was making that “I’m a bit tired” sound as it was forced about. I also wanted an engine oil change done too.
We go going by 09:00am and we heading for a GPS location sourced from the Spanish Honda web site. Alias when we arrived the shop had closed up (ceased to trade). So we road about and found two motorbike politiza working at a round-about. And asked then if they could help.  We got the local Honda Car shop address and we off to seek more help from them. In the end we had a smaller garage mechanic help me do the oil change. And we were close to getting the drive chain and sprockets sorted, but missed out on the front sprocket.

So off to Valencia  as this was the biggest town and in the direction (north) we were traveling in.

Unfortunately in a small town while passing through were had a traffic accident. We were following a car in a 30kph zone. On approaching an intersection the car moved to the right (ie side of the road) and slowed (no brake lights). It seemed to me was stopping of about to turn right. As I started to move around him, he turned left (no indication) across the front of the bike, knocking the front wheel to the left, and the bike and us were spilled to the right on the ground. Yes 1st time while riding a motorbike I had my bike hit a car. 

One bent Honda

The Culprit's car.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To the Gib, and then Africa.

We took some narrow roads on leaving the Sierra Navarda and made our way to Gibralter.  We were hoping to find a hotel on the rock, as we had only budgeted a short time here due to the expensive costs.  We stayed at the Bristol Hotel, it was old but okay for our stay.  The afternoon we arrived we quickly changed and headed off for the cable car to take us up to the top of the Rock.  The views were magnificent, although the weather was a little over cast, unfortunately we could not see the African Coastline of Morocco as it was too hazy.

Rock Ape...
View looking North from the Cable car Kiosk and viewing area.

Mum and Bub.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spain here we come...

On leaving Andorra La Vella

Quite steep climbs through the hills, possibly 15 degrees some of them.

We met a young biking couple on one of our stops, they were on a holiday from England.  Whilst sitting talking to these guys, we were amazed at the amount of bikes riding through the hills.  Steve reckons there were at least 100 – 150 bikers, we watched them ride by as the billy boiled!  Thank God we were off the road at that time, as it would be ugly them overtaking us on the corners.

Before we departed Andorra, we took advantage of the close proximity of a very old (1000 + year old) early Christian Church.  It had been constructed using ancient or even older Roman Temple ruins…early recycling at its best.

29th September 2011

Talk about WIND blown, we were nearly blown off the hill at a camping park in Bilao…Not much sleep was had that night, Steve was up & down like a yo-yo.  The tent was flapping like a flag in the wind.  He was out there in the middle of the night hammering in extra pegs into the ground with my boot!  After that we had a more peaceful sleep.  At this camp site whilst I was in the shower (trying to turn the hot water on).  Just as Steve started to get into his shower, a Spanish lady saw him and she showed him where the newer showers were which had hot water.  So here I was, just about frost bitten, with towel wrapped around me heading off down stairs to the other bathroom.  OMG what a sight!!

With there getting to be limited time with our journey & such a long way to travel instead of touring the coast of Spain, we changed course and headed inland to Madrid. We over nighted at a motel just about 140 km’s out of Madrid.  The room was clean enough, but we didn’t want to be eating pre-packaged food.  Another plus was that we were also able to wash our clothes in the bath tub and get them dried with a good old ‘Ashley’ clothes line strung from shower rose across to the entrance of the room.  That night we had already decided we wouldn’t eat there and found a very nice restaurant down the road.  We had a delicious piece of steak and we shared a shoulder blade of lamb, mmmm.

Meeting Kara and Jesus there old sons soccer game, an 'Away game'.

Lovely green soccer field.

The next day we left at around 11:00 am and headed to Madrid, we had been very lucky as our friends Ray and Beth were able to do some Facebooking with Beth’s sister Kara, who lives in Madrid with her husband and two boys.  We were able to stay at their home for 3 nights.  What a relief to be off the bike!  Kara & Jesus have been excellent hosts.  They even took us on two guided tours of Madrid City.  We saw some of the night life in action!  In the town there are many ‘uninvited guests’ who try to earn a living by selling bags, belts and other things on the street corner.  They have all their wares laid out on a sheet with each corner tied with a piece of string, ready to pull up fast if they catch the eye of the Policia.  We saw these guys in action, one minute they were selling stuff, next minute we see them with a sheet over their shoulder and running frantically down the street with Policia in tow!  Something like a bat out of hell!


We left Madrid by 10:00 am this morning…What a sight we would have looked.  Check out the photo..too hard to describe.  We had many looks from the Policia, but they didn’t bother pulling us over, I guess they must be use to bikers carrying spare tyres around on their bikes!! & of course their other luggage.

The XRV extra wide vesion

Only have to carry these about 400-500kms, and I plan to fit them before we get to Gibraltar.

Cordoba, Mezquita Catedral de Cordoba.

The shade was welcome in Cordoba as the temp .s 37'c in the sun.

This evening after many tries of looking for a camp site we finally arrived about 50 kms out of Malaga.  It was a long tiring day & time to stop.  We booked the room, then Steve got to work and started swapping the new tyres onto the bike.  Amazing what you can do with a bit of liquid soap and a lot of elbow grease.

Swapping the tyres was now a priority for us, as we plan to stay in Gibraltar and doing the tyre swap on that Rock I figure would/could be a bit more difficult. And we use up the last bit of the old tyres on the motorway, where carrying them was not too hard to do.

Well short one this time, We hope to be in Gibraltar tomorrow night. Then the day after into Morocco.

Stephen and Deb.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To the Prynees

So we  spent some time updating our Blog, up loading (3 attempts)  the Alp D’Huez video. And generally enjoying a free camp site of the quality that Fredric and his wife had ‘loaned’ us Fantastic. And we hope we can repay their generosity  if they ever decide to ‘tour Oz’.

So we got way bang on 11:00am, I had given the GPS a simple instruction. Andora’s capital city. And it was on the case no problems today.  But as I have said some days the Motorway is the ticket. And it would be for 80% of today. The last 20% were into the Foot hill and beyond to the western Pyrenees. I (we ?) had another great day blasting through (gott’a remember it’s a Xvr750 weighing about 550Kgs) so blasting is not quite correct…) into turns and up the seemingly never ending climbs.
Getting our 1st break sorted out (12:30)

Motorway is close by

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



We left our Hotel near Venice at about 09:00, and wobbled our way onto the Autostrada hoping we could work out how to use the ticketing and payment systems for the toll, hopefully improving after our trip into Venice!!  I had the GPS try and route us quite a long distance, but once into the GPS it came up with “Not Enough Memory to compute Route” messages.   We’d seen these a few times and I figured that with all the data present in these ‘ Europe Map Set’ this model GPS is too small to ‘plot’ Aussie size routes (distance wise). So we just set the GPS to compass mode, and we were on one of Italy’s busiest  Autostraders so it was easy to point us to the west. It only got a bit trickier when passing over/around/through a city. But the basic ‘Head West Young(Old) Man idea worked.

With that it put distance between Venice and ourselves nicely  ”thank-you-very-much”! We did decide to get onto the Autostrader and ‘tour’ Northern country Italy and rode through fields of corn and other crops I did not quite know. Saw grape vines and fields with harvesters working. We stopped in a small village at a pub.  After the normal bumbling along for language we got our foccacia (which was yum) and Deb finely got milk for her black tea…