Thursday, September 8, 2011

the end of the road

lunch at Lake Misurina, Italy on 9-3-11

Since we returned to Lenggriss in the middle of the afternoon, I used this opportunity to go for a run on the wonderful paths around this beautiful Bavarian town. I shared a gravel path along the Isar River with folks on bicycles, young mothers pushing baby carriages, and elderly women out for a stroll. All of us notice how active Europeans are, since every day we saw people hiking in the mountains, riding bicycles up the mountain passes, and walking along the paths that seem to exist everywhere.
By the time I returned from the run and showered, members of the tour group started to filter into the restaurant in our hotel, ready for a last night of German beer and reliving the trip with friends. Peter downloaded video from his helmet camera, giving us the opportunity to see the trip from his viewpoint. Jon shared hilarious video of some of us dancing at the Fest in Arabba, Italy on Saturday night. Mike showed several clips of my video today, getting cheers from the group as we watched Martin, Barb and Jay, and Ben and Michelle pass busses and trucks on the mountain roads. Collectively we’ve taken well over 2000 pictures and hours of video, and plan to post everything to the Web so we can all share in the memories. Stay tuned for our video posted to this blog, since Mike will put that together once we get back home.

Nockalmstrasse, Austria
At dinner we shared stories of the trip, congratulations on refining driving skills, cheers for the pillion riders for our contributions to the tour, thanks to the tour guides for their knowledge and planning, and of course email addresses so we can stay in touch. I heard talk of some of the group signing up for the ROADRunner Magazine tour in Peru next year, tentative plans for a group trip in Alaska, and offers of places to stay and friends to ride with all over North America.

Mangartstrasse, Slovenia

I stayed up later than usual because I couldn’t bear to miss out on any of the stories or the fun. It’s difficult to bring the last night of the trip to an end. We rode through amazing scenery on fabulous roads in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland. We sampled local foods, experienced a community festival, pushed our limits on challenging routes, waved at the locals as we passed through their beautiful towns, enjoyed rest breaks on tops of mountains and in cobblestoned squares centuries old, learned about Munich and Salzburg on informative walking tours, and made new and lasting friends.

leaving Salzburg, Austria
I’ve never ridden with more than 2 other people at one time, and during this trip learned to enjoy being part of a chain of motorcycles. We looked out for each other, shared gear, offered tie-down cords and stow-away bags when needed, pointed out the best views, and told stories about the ride. Along the way we became friends in a way that can only happen when you’re together every day for 12 days sharing a common passion and new experiences. Everyone came for the riding, and left appreciating the entire experience. The trip may be over, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop smiling reliving the memories.
Florian and Sarah:  Hochtennjoch, Austria

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