Monthly Archives: September 2018

Headed to HU Italia

A quick flight from Iceland to Frankfurt and we were at Stefan’s to pick up our bike.

What do you say, Stefan? NO CLUTCH!!!!

No worries. A leak in the slave cylinder resulted in the fluid draining out and no pressure. A quick replacement and brake line flush, followed by an oil change, and we were ready to go.

A few other riders were also getting their own bikes ready to ride. That night we all went out to eat and to drink a few beers while telling traveler stories.

A couple German riders, Frank and Klaus, that we had met on the road were home and came over to say hi. We have met them on two and three continents, respectively. It was great seeing them and getting to spend some time with them in Heidelberg.

 

We left the following morning and headed to France, bypassing the expense of riding through Switzerland. In the mountains it was cold but we found great campsites and fantastic roads to ride.

The next day we stopped for the night at an AirBNB. They were travelers that are still in the midst of their RTW trip in a custom-built fire truck and are home recharging and saving again. We had a fun night talking about where we have been and where we all wanted to go. They even had a yurt in their backyard for guests to stay in that had come back with them from Mongolia, even the door.

Based on their recommendations we detoured to a site that was amazing, Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace. This man spent 30 years of his life building this amazingly hideous palace. One day in 1879 while out walking, he tripped on a stone that had an inspiring shape to it. While out on his daily 20 mile route through very rough terrain he would empty his wheelbarrow of mail and fill it on the return trip with rocks. Quite a labour of love, or just crazy?

That night we stopped in to see Ted Simon. He rode a motorcycle around the world in 1973 he rode his 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 , “Jupiter”, RTW over four years and returned to write “Jupiter’s Travels”.  He has written many books including another about his second RTW trip 25 years later, “Return to Jupiter”. Many adventure seeking motorcycle travelers, including myself, throughout the world look up to him and consider him their inspiration for adventure motorcycling and international travel. img_20180907_202223832408845126.jpg

He has now moved from California to the south of France and has his home there. It is also a writer retreat and backed by the Friends of Aspiran. We feel very fortunate to be able to call Ted a friend and enjoyed our night out on the town at his favorite restaurant in the village, just around the corner. His journalistic nature and questions always have a way of making you look just a little deeper for your answer.

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From Ted’s we cut across southern France and into Italy and stopped for an espresso in the port city of Genoa.  We also wanted to see Florence while we riding around Tuscany. We found a great AirBNB with a super great couple on the bus route about an hour outside of the city. The next day we rode the bus and train into the city and did the Hop-on/hop-off bus tour and it was great. Those tours are always an inexpensive way to see big cities.  We next hit Pisa and did the leaning tower thing then headed to HU Italia.

Camping along the Mediterranean

Genoa

Florence

Pisa

We finally made it to the HU Travellers meeting Italy, held in the Tuscany region. The meeting was held in a fantastic area with the roads all around some of the best we have ever ridden, ALL directions. The facilities were once the home of a monastery and was now a beautiful equestrian center. The meeting was very well run and the hosts did a great job for their first meeting.

We met many fellow travelers and made some bonds with people who I hope will last many years and through many meetings on the road.

On to Greece…

Cheers,

2WANDRRs

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel, 2WANDRRs, adventure travel, Europe, France, Horizons Unlimited, Italy, Ted Simon, VStrom | Leave a comment

Iceland

Iceland. The land of fire and ice. It didn’t disappoint.

Also the land of wind, cold and rain. And waterfalls.

We landed in Iceland on a four day layover, courtesy of Iceland Air. On our way to Germany to pick up our bike for a couple month ride we decided to stop in Iceland and drive the ring road, the Golden Circle. This road, which is mostly paved or smooth gravel, is where you can drive a normal rental vehicle. Any of the interior road require a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle for the difficult, rocky roads and river crossings. Since we had our camping and cooking kit along we decided to rent a small van and camp around the island and mostly cook for ourselves to see how much money we could save over what the horror stories are.

Arriving in Iceland at 0430 we went directly to the rental agency and picked up our van. We were out of the airport and past Reykjavik before the sun had been up an hour.

Headed north, our destination for the day was Dynjandi waterfalls on the north side of the island. Stopping at as many waterfalls and sights as we could get to we ended up on dirt roads as we rode to coastline on the way north. The track is built so at times you are directly above the edge of the water, sometimes as much as 100 meters below you, without a guard rail. It’s usually not too bad unless you have a Mario barreling at you way too fast, at times taking up most of your portion of the road also.

Dynjandi waterfalls are a tourist destination and we could see why once we were there. The falls are multi-tiered and cascade down to the fjord from the main falls at the top of the cliff. The main falls are like a multitude of chandeliers as they mix together during to the upper pools. Absolutely beautiful.

We back tracked about 30 kms to a campground on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Choosing a great pitch overlooking the bay we quickly set up camp before walking to the cliffs and a hidden hot springs tucked romantically into the rocks. A young couple from Israel shared the water and views with us. The night temperatures got down to 3°C, from a high of 7 degrees. It was windy and misty all night leaving to a very chilly night and morning packing up camp.

The Golden Road runs around the perimeter of Iceland. The interior road, or F roads, are off limits to small rental vehicles because of the rocky terrain and multiple water crossings.

Driving to the geothermal area of Myvatn we don’t the night in the view of several volcanoes. There is a blue springs there also. And like the more famous Blue Lagoon, it is very expensive and very crowded. We choose instead on old hot springs that the locals have been using for many years, the Secret Lagoon. It was less than 100 kms from Reykjavik, inexpensive and not crowded at all.

The day before we got to the springs, and back to Reykjavik, we stopped at Glacier Lagoon, at the base of the largest icefields and glacier in Europe, the Vatnajökull National Park. This icefield covers sq meters.

As the icebergs calve off the glacier they melt in the lagoon to a size that allows them to float down the river, under the bridge and out to sea. The icebergs colors varied from white to blue to dirty. The dirty ones were from high winds blowing sand from the black sand “Diamond Beach” on to the ice. It was an amazing sight to be so close to so many enormous chunks of ice.

We went to Iceland on a layover to Europe flying on Iceland Air. The stopover was free for up to seven days. Our van rental cost US$340, food $85 (we brought some food with us and split one $25 meal of not so good fish and chips), $160 lodging (1 hostel night before leaving), fuel (US$1.60/l), and extras (about $100). It is possible to see Island, the land of fire and ice, inexpensively. You just have to plan ahead.

On to Germany.

Cheers,

2WANDRRs

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel | Leave a comment

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