MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:03 pm

Now it came time to prepare for my ride into Germany.

But first, to ensure I was well and truly in tune with the theme for this trip, I needed to relax for a day and enjoy the ambiance, good wine and yet more food. As the evening sets in, Bernard's back yard is a haven to sit back and chill out. We started early and went long into the night.

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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:53 pm

OK, this year's trip.

So having ridden Red in 2016, I quickly learned that an old bike, while full of character, has a few drawbacks, none of which can't be solved by throwing money at them. Money, yes that's the problem. After doing some calculations I soon estimated that by using my bike instead of hiring the bike I had a fair bit to play with and still come out on the right side of the ledger.

So, while phase one improvements done at the time I bought the bike made it road worthy I needed a set of phase two improvements to make it ride worthy. Those I listed above, being new suspension, LED's, a refurbished seat, raised handle bars, new (hard) panniers and a GPS wired in. Getting ahead of myself a little here, but these improvements made a HUGE difference to the bike, more than I anticipated. It was worth every cent I spent.

My 2017 trip to Europe consisted of two parts. Part one was a four and half week ride with four Dutch friends from Veendam to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Gotland and Faro Islands, back to Sweden, night ferry to Finland, Russia (St Petersburg), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and back to the Netherlands.

Part two was a shorter 10 day solo ride bring Veendam to Germany, Austria, Italy, up through Stelvio Pass and across Switzerland, through the Black Forest in Germany and then a day blasting the autobahns back to the Netherlands.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:12 pm

Like all good trips away from home, getting ready for this year's ride required a little bit of effort.

Booking flights and getting to the Netherlands was easy.

After last year's ride I left my helmet, a pair of gloves and a pair of boots up there. That rationalized a little bit some of the gear I needed to take up with me this year. No boots and no helmet makes a big difference in carting gear to and from an overseas destination. The next choice came down to whether or not to take my leather jacket or my synthetic jacket. The leather one is more comfortable but in the end I took my synthetic one as it was a better all round option weather wise. I didn't take my leather pants, sticking with riding jeans instead. The important stuff was the wet weather gear to throw over these which I needed, especially on the last day of the ride. Clothes were more straight forward, I had the luxury of taking five sets of underwear, woolen undergarments and t-shirts. I used two zip up cardigans, one woolen, one poly prop, to layer up or down. I long ago stop using the winter layer of my bike jackets, preferring to use instead clothes that can double for wear under the jacket and for wearing at night when not on the bike. I used one pair of three season gloves and eventually bought a pair of lightweight riding gloves over there. Great gloves too, use them a lot now. One pair of shoes, two pairs of longs for evening wear. I could have gone lighter but with two 39 L side panniers this gear easily fitted with room to spare.

The bike has a small 20 L top box, and in this went one pair of walking shoes, one extra layer of clothing for under the jacket and all my electronic gear. I did not be run with a tank bag this year.

I fitted a new GPS to Red, a TomTom Rider 450. We can't get the 450 model in NZ, only the 400 which has NZ and Australian maps only. The 450 is worldwide. Since TomTom is a Dutch company, buying the 450 in the Netherlands is cheaper than buying it here. I ended up purchasing two wiring looms, one the second for my Africa Twin. I also took my old HTC phone without a SIM card as a back up GPS. I have Sygic GPS running on this and reloaded maps of the countries I was visiting via WiFi.

All of the countries I visited except for Russia are part of the EU. Riding from country to country is easy, no border checks. All I need is my passport, an international driver's licence and my NZ licence. Getting an international driver's licence is easy peasy from the Automobile Association, you just need a passport size photo and a little bit of cash. Takes about ten minutes.

Travel insurance is more problematic. Most travel insurance will not cover you if you are riding a motorbike above 250cc. Fortunately the company I use does, but sadly they changed their policy recently so next time I will need to find a new travel insurance provider. I managed to buy my travel insurance for this year ahead of the policy change.

The most challenging bit of organization for this trip was getting into Russia. This required time and a number of approvals. The visa application took about four weeks to complete, and you can't start it until 3 months out from entry into Russia. For this I needed a valid passport (which in NZ you must give them for the visa application as they stick to inside your passport), a completed application form and supporting information. The supporting information is a full itinerary of your trip from leaving NZ to coming back. This can be challenging as for me, a part of the trip would not be decided until two thirds of the way through the time I have up there. But the Russian Embassy seemed happy that I just provided a broad outline of my possible intentions for that bit of the time I am away, the critical bit are the dates I intend to be in Russia. More importantly, the visa application is made much easier if you get an invite to Russia. The easiest way to get an invite is to prebook and prepay for accommodation. The trick here is prepaying for accommodation is non-refundable. So if your visa application is turned down you are out of money! Once the accommodation is booked and paid for, the accommodation owner sends you a certificate to confirm your stay and invitation.

And then there is the motorbike!

While it is my bike, technically I don't own it. My mate Bernard had the bike registered in his name as I can't road register the bike in the Netherlands as I am not resident there. The bike was also insured in his name and I was a named rider. For the trip we needed a copy of the ownership papers, copies of certificate of full insurance for the bike and for me I needed Bernard to formally (officially) authorize me to use the bike. This was prepared by a public notary appostillized by a court. The cost of obtaining the formal approval to use the bike was not that significant but it was another pre-trip expense and another bit of the exercise to get into Russia.

So some time to plan the itinerary and lots of time to get the Russian approvals.

EDIT:- if I had chosen to hire a bike the insurance and papers for Russia would have been taken care of by the hire agreement. But the cost of hire for six weeks versus the learnings from doing the preparation yourself didn't stack up.
Last edited by MrKiwi on Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:47 pm

Getting to the Netherlands

At the Auckland international airport after a few hectic weeks at work, I was ready to fly off and beyond
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The flight to Amsterdam is in two segments, and I flew with Singapore airlines. The first leg, Auckland to Singapore was about 11 hours and then I had a 5 hour stop over. The second leg was 13 hours and then I caught the train, another two hours, from Amsterdam north to Assen, just short of Veendam, where Bernard met me and took me back to his place. 31 hours from Auckland to Veendam, I needed some refreshments...

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Tired but happy to be there
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Bernard bought out some fine food too
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His neighbors, who I had met last time, came across to say hi and also cook some trout on the smoker. They bought the smoker with them.
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Trout ready to go in after soaking in a marinade solution
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Cooking
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The finished product
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Oops, no let me get that right, the finished product - mmmmm
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I was feeling right at home. A great way to get the holiday into the right mood.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby insomnia » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:37 pm

great thread thanks for sharing . I am looking forward to more posts .
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby LadyDraco » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:10 pm

Awesome .... MK..



Also that smoked trout :drool
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Life is what you make of it .
If it don't fit make alterations .
Just because the road is rocky doesn't mean your spirits should get rocky, too.{Crazy Cora}
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:18 pm

I will write some more, just a crazy time of year at the moment work wise...
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:14 pm

OK time to write some more.

So the time had come to depart - four bikes, five people. Day to into Germany.

Getting ready to leave, feeling excited that this day had finally arrived
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Today's destination was Oldenburg, Germany, staying at the hotel Teichwiesenhof. Along the way was a ferry crossing
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Line up of bikes
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The Hotel
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We had a good night. The hotel was quiet, the food nice and breakfast large
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:49 pm

Monday 29 May.

Rode from Holstein, Oldenburg in Germany to Glemmingebro, Sweden through Denmark.

The route took us on back roads, motorways, ferry and of course over the famous Oresund bridge. The day started with an awesome breakfast at the hotel. Ended up being exceptional value as they also allowed us to pack a picnic lunch.

The night's accommodation at the end of day two was at best eccentric and quaint, but they did give us a good breakfast. However, dinner was a short walk to the only place you could buy food, a Chinese takeaway. I came all this way from NZ to eat chicken fried rice, a dish I often cook back at home!

Personally I was having a a better day than day one, I was not feeling the best on day one, a combination of jet lag, poor sleep and hot temperatures having come from 4 degrees C to over 30 degrees C.

But day two was fun. New territory, good roads, the bike riding well and lots of new sights.

Stop for lunch
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Local farm in Sweden
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:56 pm

Some pictures from day two of the trip

Ferry crossing from Denmark to Sweden
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The night's accommodation
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The dead centre of town (see what I did there :lol8 ), just next door to the accommodation.
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This on one of the stones in the wall surrounding the cemetery. I have no idea what it says (probably saying keep @DrLewall as far away as possible from here :Augie )
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An early start to the night's festivities
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Just hitting our stride
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:02 pm

May 30 - Glemmingebro to Hultsfred Sweden.

The quaint, but cheap, hotel served us a great breakfast.
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And the bikes were waiting for us to pack up and ride.
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Looking out the window it was another heavily overcast day with the threat of rain.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:05 pm

The first order of the day was a side trip to see the Ales Stenar stones.
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The stones could be found near a small port, about 10 km from the town to the coast.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:14 pm

As we departed the site, it started to lightly rain, but the first order of the day was to find a petrol station, Red had been running on reserve for a little while. Red's fuel economy is not bad considering she has to carry my hulk plus gear, averaging around 21 km/L (around 50 miles per USA gallon). I put on my wet weather gear and we ride off.

The moment I put on my wet weather gear it stops raining!

The day's ride is a combination of back roads with limited motorway runs. However, we did spend a long stretch on the main road. We stopped at a cafe for lunch and then headed off again in light rain which soon stopped.
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After an hour we stopped for a short break at a derelict petrol station, a police car had been following up for about 20 kms and we decided to let him get well ahead of us!
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Back on the road again the next stop was for an ice cream and to buy some supplies for tonight's accommodation, cabins in the Swedish woods.
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More riding and soon enough we were near our night's destination. At this point we knew this could take a little bit of looking as the address we were given would not load into the GPS and nor could we find it on google maps. However, some friendly locals showed us the way. We had some language difficulties, so they said follow us in the car and they took us a couple of kms to the start of the road we need to head down.

A short gravel ride and we found what we were looking for.
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Our accommodation was three separate small cabins. Red looks right at home.
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Soon we began the task of settling in and preparing for a BBQ dinner. @Two Plugs was dispatched to the local store to buy BBQ supplies. Soon he was back, it was beginning to look good.
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For a campsite in the woods this place so far has by far the best Wi Fi of the trip so far. We were the only ones at the campground so the local Wi Fi network was not overloaded. I spent some time updating my trip report in AdvRider.com that evening.
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Mense enjoying a pre-dinner drink
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby Camp Director » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:39 pm

Wow, what a great trip! Thanks for sharing. :thumb
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:49 pm

Camp Director wrote:Wow, what a great trip! Thanks for sharing. :thumb

just getting started. lots more to come
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby campfire » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:01 pm

PLease! Keep the reports coming along.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby LadyDraco » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:35 am

:Clap
TISE.... Image
Life is what you make of it .
If it don't fit make alterations .
Just because the road is rocky doesn't mean your spirits should get rocky, too.{Crazy Cora}
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:29 pm

May 31 - Sweden to Sweden :lol8 Hultsfred to Sodertalje, Sweden. Sodertalje is close to where we catch the ferry the next day to Gotland Island and Faro.

Breakfast was provided at the campground by the staff. Lovely pine building.

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First stop was the Gota Kanal to look at the locks. (see that sexy red bike :letsfide )
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:32 pm

The riding today was on main roads, quite a bit of traffic and trucks. The threat of rain materialised and passing trucks in the rain became a bit of a visibility mission.

after about 100kms we stopped for a coffee break following which the heavens opened up for a short while. Out with the rain gear.
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Re: MrKiwi's rambunctious ramblings

Postby MrKiwi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:35 pm

The next planned stop was to visit Gripsholms Slott, a castle on a lake. From there it was a short ride to our nights accommodation. Take out meals were consumed but the temperature was chilly so we beat a retreat inside.
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I have quite a few pics of this castle :lol8 . The sequence is taken walking up to and through the gates. This gives a better appreciation of the size of the building.
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