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Thread: Planning a trip to Europe...

  1. #16
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnert View Post
    Accomodation need to clean, not 4-5 star.
    Most of them are.

    For example, here is a place I stayed in while in the Dolomites...Hotel Kronblick.

    Not bad for about US$64 per person which includes a big breakfast and full course dinner...


    I've stayed in many just or nearly as nice that were cheaper. A room with breakfast per person ran me between €20 and €33 last summer; with dinner up to €44 per person.

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    The staying put in one location for a couple of days or more is the way to go. It enables you to explore the area as already mentioned. BTW, I've never booked any accomodations ahead of time. I travel in June so room availability is never a problem. Maybe others can chime in as to room availability in late July to the end of August which is when most of Europe goes on vacation.

    From time to time, I might daisy chain my stops on a daily basis, but I usually stop by mid afternoon, drop my luggage off in my room, take a break and then go for another late afternoon ride into the early evening. Europeans usually have dinner much later, especially in Italy where you shouldn't expect to get served till 19:30 hours.

    Microsoft AutoRoute is worth it for the ~$40. As for planning, I do mine the night before over dinner by browsing over my map.

    Tip: having toured my first 10 years on an old R65 with narrow European bars and the last 4 years on a GS, I can highly recommend any dual sport for Alps touring. You want an upright seating position with wide handlbars.
    Last edited by GlobalRider; 12-05-2008 at 01:00 AM.

  2. #17
    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    Court Fisher, Global Rider Alex and John Hermann: Great Europe BMW M/C Ride Resources

    You can't do better than Court, Alex and John for planning your M/C trip to Europe.

    I also use www.alpineroads.com for lots of my planning and "biker" hotel referrals.

    I loved your M/C pictures of the Pyrenees DarrylRi, makes me really miss Andorra!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q8bV5Q8Lew Here's our Magnificent 7 video!
    Don Stanley; aka Chuy Medina "El Burrito Ballerina"
    BMWMOA #24810; www.azbeemers.org/forum #89

  3. #18
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm sold. I'll plan the trip myself. My wife will really like the idea of two night mimimuns in hotels, and, to be honest, so will I. I live in northern Virginia and our weekend trips to West Virginia are like that.
    Next step. Where should I start from? I was leaning towards Munich because it's an easy place to get into or out of. And, where should I rent a a bike from? I'm a fan of the bigger K1200GT mainly because two up, I pack a heavy load. I'm a healthy 260 lbs, but fortunately the bride is "normal" size.
    You guys are great, this is super advice!

  4. #19
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnert View Post
    I'm a fan of the bigger K1200GT mainly because two up, I pack a heavy load. I'm a healthy 260 lbs, but fortunately the bride is "normal" size.
    You guys are great, this is super advice!
    K12GT is doable, but if you plan on doing the fun roads, it will be a lot of work. I would not recommend it.

    To be honest, stick with the boxers, R12RT if you MUST have the plastic or R12GS if you want the best tool for the riding over there. Most of the roads make the twistyist stuff in VA, WV and NC look like a 4 lane highway.

  5. #20
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    Good luck on the trip, you will have fun. Can't give advice on routes as my riding in Europe was pretty much local commutes when I lived there, but in the general planning arena...

    I wouldn't worry too much about language. A phrase book is a good idea but you will probably find that you will get along quite well in english. Small towns or needs larger than finding a hotel, buying gas, or other general tour type needs may require some knowledge of the language but usually not a big problem. I lived in southern Spain for many years and got along well with high school spanish. My wife knew about 5 words and had no problems. If you do find you need help look for a younger person, most European kids learn english in school and most are very happy to help and practice their english.

    In Spain look into a stay in a "Parador" (spainparador.com). They are government owned hotels throughout the country that are generally based in a historic building, often in small, historically significant towns. Not always cheap but generally 3-4 star and the staff are trained in the history of the area so they can be a great source for local exploring. The wife and I used to take weekend trips when we lived there and often stayed in them when we decided on some high style. Many of the ones in southern Spain were in old Moorish castles and treated us like the lords of the manor.

  6. #21
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    While it's true that a big bike is more work on the small roads, it's not like it's going to kill you. And if you're doing your own tour, you need some carrying capacity. It's also the case that up in the mountains the weather is completely unpredictable, so having some protection is not at all a bad idea.

    Get a bike you are comfortable with. If it's the same as what you ride at home, you will feel more at ease on it. But if your current bike tires you out on steep and twisty roads, maybe you should look for something lighter, with more leverage at the bars. Just use common sense.

    In another current thread about travelling in New Zealand, I haven't mentioned that I had heard the roads there could be a bit "dirty". (Except for encountering a road crew that was laying fresh chip seal, that turned out not to be true.) So, I rented an R80GS Basic (the last edition of the airhead GS). I spent the whole trip chasing my friends on an R11RT, and eventually wore a hole in my right glove from holding the throttle to the stop. I should have gotten something with a bit more oomph, I suppose.

    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
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  7. #22
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnert View Post
    I'm a fan of the bigger K1200GT mainly because two up, I pack a heavy load. I'm a healthy 260 lbs, but fortunately the bride is "normal" size.
    Your K1200 GT and other BMWs all have the same payload give or take, so it shouldn't matter.

    I wouldn't want too much of a faired motorcycle because if you go in June, July or August, you'll cook behind the fairing. Riding the twisties, you won't even be close to sitting at a steady 60 mph to keep cool. The very odd short burts of cool air at the mountain passes aren't an issue.

    Why not go and try on a few models at your local dealer; maybe even go for a test ride on some.

    You'll be dealing with over a thousand hairpins a day just going up & down passes and riding back roads (hard on the arms braking for every single one of them). On Passo dello Stelvio there are almost 90 hairpins alone.

    This is a narrow road where oncoming cars have to slow to a crawl just to clear mirrors. Imagine the inside turn going up the pass and you can't swing wide because a car happens to be right in the hairpin. And this photo can't even start to show the grade. Just something to think about.



    Darryl's R80 GS Basic had a mere 50 hp and understandably couldn't keep up with much bigger K or oilheads....no comparsion to an R1200 GS at 100 hp.

  8. #23
    franze
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    Swiss rentals

    I had friends visit and both had good experiences with Moto Mader, near Zurich

    http://www.moto-mader.ch/frameset_main.htm


    and Inter Moto near Lausanne

    http://www.inter-motos.ch/Presentation/


    Although the websites are in German and French, you can send them an email and they'll reply in English.

    I rode solo on an R1100RT and packed as light as possible. The only time that bike felt too heavy was on the Passo de Stelvio. The only time I felt too hot was the frontage road at St. Tropez. Could have been the secenery.........better stay away from the Meditteranean on your honeymoon

    have fun!!!!!!!!!

  9. #24
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    I sent a few emails to the rental companies. I'm understand the comments about down sizing from the GT to an RT or GS. I rode a 2005 RT until this past spring when a bearing went out in the transmission. The RT was still under warranty with 29k on it, but I did an impulse buy and drove home on a new GT. I've put 14k on the GT so far which includes 5 days at Fontana Village (Deal Gaps). My wife (it's a southern thing to refer to her as my "bride") and I road the Gap 4-6 times a day. So I know what you mean by tiring on the arms..etc. But my wife is very comfortable on the GT and didn't care for riding on the RT...it's a dilemma. I'll take the latest advise and start demoing a bikes with her this spring.
    With the reduced cost of planning my own trip, we'll probably be able to make it in July 2010 vice 2011.
    Thanks again.

  10. #25
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnert View Post
    ........My wife (it's a southern thing to refer to her as my "bride") and I road the Gap 4-6 times a day. So I know what you mean by tiring on the arms..etc. ..........
    Be advised that the gap is NO comparison to the European roads, the gap flows, people can ride it at average speeds of 60 MPH or better.

    Not so in Europe many roads you will not get to 3rd gear, even if you were riding "spirited".

    A true switchback, which does not exist in the US, is like riding into your garage, doing a U-turn and riding back out, and like GR said, add a 20% grade to the mix.

    Believe me the Bride will not have time to think about comfort, she will be overwhelmed with the scenery and culture, and experiance.

    Yes a GT is doable, but not really made for that type of riding, kind of like taking a speed boat, for a fishing trip on a trout stream.

  11. #26
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    If you are going to Munich, BMW has a travel Point there, access them through the BMW factory store http://www.bmw-motorrad-muenchen.de

    I have rented from these guys http://www.motorrad-kmaier.de They are closest to the airport.

    I haven't rented from these guys but meet them and they are very personable and accommodating. http://www.tommy-wagner.com Ask for Rainer, he speaks pretty good English.

  12. #27
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Check out Steve Farson's The Alps - Five Days to Explore - Images / Videos.

    The videos links are within the tour report.


    Also go to YouTube and search for Alps motorcycle videos.

    Its hard to find quality videos on YouTube...but here is one of them...



    And others...

    Passo San Boldo,

    Sottoguda Gorge Road,

    Passo Manghen - from the Pass heading north,

    Passo Manghen - from the south to the Pass - part 1,

    Passo Manghen - from the south to the Pass - part 2,

    Passo Manghen - from the south to the Pass - part 3

    Spl??gen Pass taken from a boring car, but it is all I could find. The pic I posted was taken at the 4'10" mark in that video. I have my own full length video of it, but never got around to editing and uploading it to YouTube.


    And in the end, absolutely none of these videos do any of those roads justice...they're lame compared to being there.

  13. #28
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Here is some video I shot 10 years ago in the Dolomites:









    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  14. #29
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    Simply fantastic!! I only WISH I could ride like that............ & What fantastic roads. Thanks for the experience. In all my travels to Germany & Austria, I never experienced roads like that. Thank you, very much!!

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