The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Riding in Bavaria

Good evening from rainy Bavaria.

I told you in my last blog about leaving Salzberg, Austria, and riding over the high pass through the Tyrol Alps on my way back to Italy. I decided to go on into Slovenia since I was right next door to it anyway. You will remember that it was a communist country, a part of Yugoslavia, just 25 years ago or so.  I expected it to be run down with old cars on the streets and no food on the store shelves.  It was not that way at all. People were hard at work; stores were packed with customers; factories were humming.  However, it is very, very boring. Most of it is flat and hot. The north is green and wooded and hilly though. I like the north.

I am sorry, but I did not take a single picture of Slovenia. There just was nothing to see. I am glad I made the trip, but I would not recommend going there on vacation. I can report, though, that the prices are very cheap.

I did have an interesting place to camp in the wooded north of Slovenia. It was the way I think camping should be -- in the woods with nobody around. There was only me and a young couple down the way in another tent. It wasn't all that great, though, because the shower was outside from a garden hose.  Brrr!

I rode across the mountains of south Austria and back to Salzberg.

And from Salzburg I rode the 10 miles or so to Bavaria. I wanted to go to Hitler's home at Obersalzberg by Berchtesgaden. He lived there for many years, but it is all gone now. The American's blew it all up. The only thing left is the bunkers under the ground.

This is a machine gun nest guarding the entry into the bunkers. The machine gun is gone now, obviously. But look at the little window on the right. That is what the gunner was to shoot through.

And this is what he saw. He was to shoot any enemy coming down those steps.  When I looked through this window I said to myself, "I know this already". This is from the WWII game Call of Duty that my buddy Chuck go me started playing.

The museum where Hitler's house once stood was very interesting.  The people back then were in love with him, at least at the start.  They would even pick up and save the gravel he walked on. They came by the hundreds each day hoping to see him.  I guess he was quite the charismatic guy. Too bad his policies were so misguided and evil.

This was his view of Berchtesgaden.

And way up above him, high on the mountain, they built him the famous "Eagle's Nest" as a present.

He only went there a couple of times. I think he didn't much like heights.

Time to camp for the night. And, as seems to be the pattern over the last two weeks, it started pouring rain about 6:00.

Are you familiar with the churches in Bavaria (and Eastern Europe). The steeple has an "onion dome" on it.

They are often very ornate inside. It is called the Rococo style.

The last king of Bavaria was Ludwig II. There is a lot to learn about that guy. He certainly led a privileged life. I wanted to go see one of his three castles, Herrenchiemsee. He built it in the middle of Chiemsee Lake.

Ho hum. Another ferry ride. I thought I was all done with them.  Odysseus has to stay behind this time.

Dandy little shack isn't it? Perfect for a weekend get-away.

No pictures allowed inside. They will break your arm!

Ha. I know how to get one off the internet.

                                File:Spiegelgalerie Herrenchiemsee.jpg

Another castle Ludwig built was Neuschwanstein.  He used to look at that mountain top from his family home when he was just a kid and dream of building a little place of his own up there.  Here it is. I took this picture from the terrace of his daddy's house where Ludwig grew up.

I have been in Neuschwanstein before so I didn't much want to see it again. Good thing. Look at this line. And this was just the line to get in line. It was 3:00 in the afternoon. No way was I getting tickets for today.

I did want to see the family home though. I hear it is much nicer inside than Neuschwanstein.  For one thing, it was an actual home. Neuschwanstein is mostly just a set for an opera.

It is August and all Europe is on vacation. I guess that explains the long lines. It also explains why campgrounds are suddenly so packed. I had to go to three of them last night before I found one that had the tiny bit of room my tent requires. And, of course, it rained again. That is okay because I stay dry, but I sure hate spending an hour in the morning drying my tent's rainfly.

I drove across the top of Lake Constance today, and by chance found the town where they built and housed the big zeppelins back in the day. It was a nice museum, but it did not lend itself too well for pictures.  I did take a picture of the lounge on the ship. Amazing.

Here is one of the engines that pushed the zeppelin along at about 70 miles an hour. That was a lot faster than an ocean liner could do. Sixteen cylinders. Wow!

So much for old things. How about a new thing? Do you suppose this two seater is the wave of the future?

As you can tell, I have fewer motorcycle pictures. The scenery has not been all that interesting, and the roads are pretty straight. In fact, I have been buzzing along at 70 miles an hour on the autobahns. That sounds fast, until another motorcycle or car goes shooting buy at well over 100 miles an hour.  Zoooooom!

I am almost back at my starting point in Heidelberg. Only about 50 miles to go. So, this will probably be my last blog because I fly home in just a few more days. I am anxious to see my family and to take care of things back home.

I hope to start on the Trans-America Trail sometime in the Autumn and will probably blog about that. I will come back to Heidelberg to start another trip next Spring.

I hope you will drop back by then. Thanks for coming along with me by reading my blog.


Thursday, August 1, 2013


I left the River Rhine on Sunday and rode east around the southern side of Lake Constance. It is pretty there, but I was glad it was a Sunday, otherwise I think the traffic through large cities would have been terrible.

 I wanted to ride into Innsbruck, which I did, and look around some. It is a nice town, but towns are towns, so I will not bore you with pictures of it.

I was even more interested in going to Salzburg. In case you don't know, Salzburg is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities on Earth.  I spent several days there just exploring and being a tourist like thousands of other who flood into town each day. I don't think you would be very interested in the pictures I took of churches, cemeteries, castles, stores and streets. Two things are the main draw there: Mozart, their favorite son, and The Sound of Music which was filmed there. You will remember that it is the story of the Trapp family, and at the end of the movie they flee to Switzerland. The movie gives the impression that Switzerland is just over the mountain. That is not true at all.  It is a long way from Salzburg to Switzerland (At least two days of hard riding for me on Odysseus.)

Here is something you might be interested in. Look at this campground. My tent is the one on the left, closest to the camera.  I met some very nice people here, but can you imagine camping so close together. Nobody in the United States would want to do that.

After playing tourist, I was more than ready to get away from people creations and back up to God's creations.  I had some great passes through the Austrian (Tyrolean) Alps picked out to ride.

Austria charges to ride its passes. About 23 Euros for a motorcycle, depending on the pass. I did not mind paying though. The roads are great, and someone has to pay the fees to keep them maintained: might as well be the people who ride them. I looked at it like paying the fee to ride through a National Park back home.

The mountains are like a wall, and the only way through is up and over.

The road starts climbing, and just keeps going up and up. It is cool (and a little chilly as well).I had a good picnic lunch here -- fruit salad and salami.

Quite a view looking back at the road I came up.  Some people will go to any heights to find a good picnic site.

There are some nice lakes up there. There were even people swimming. Brrrrr!

Mo-o--o-o-ve over people. I was here first.

Lady --You udderly fascinate me. Can you tell me how I can get some nifty tattoos like yours?

Quit horsing around cow. Can't you see the motorcycles are riding here?

I think I have been riding around by myself too long when I start telling such bad jokes.

Except for cows, horses and sheep, the wildlife is pretty well gone from these mountains.  Pity.

It sure is pretty up there though.

Hundreds of motorcycle riders up there, and most were Harleys. I asked the motorcycle riders, and they said that BMW motorcycles are far more popular in Europe. I sure could not tell it. I did see some VStroms like mine as well, but they are not nearly as common.

The views just kept getting better.

These pictures are actually from several rides I did through the Austrian Alps. There are a lot of glaciers in the southern Alps as well.

I was riding along in a valley between the mountains when this helicopter landed on the road. It stopped all the traffic.

He had flown in to pick up a member of this family who had suffered a heart attack.

Motorcycle riders always skip to the front of the line (I guess car drivers don't mind -- I think I would.)

I have not seen a machine like this in years. The guy said he got it from California. I found out it has three times the power mine has. He said it handles the mountain roads really well, but it looks unstable as can be to me.

Bye helicopter. I hope your passenger is okay.

All of this riding has left me down in Southern Austria. I am not sure where I will go from here. There is still a lot of Austria to see, but I am thinking of going down to Serbia. It is just over the next range of mountains, the Dolomites, and is not far away. I guess I will decide in the morning at breakfast.

I have nine days before I need to be back in Heidelberg to get my bike ready for storage. I fly home in 12 more days..

More later,