The second last day was all about returning north. Time was up. Wanted to be back home and have a couple of days rest before returning to work.
North through Germany
Initially I’d decided to avoid the Autobahn as much as possible on this adventure. But returning north was about saving some time for the last leg. Wanted to ride small-ways return through Sweden, going north towards and into Norway.
Leaving the hotel outside Mönchengladbach it was pretty much straight onto the Autobahn.
Unlike last year however, I decided to stay at lower speeds. While it was tempting to blaze on, it is not very economical. The Autobahn eats tires for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. Fuel consumption goes up significantly. In 2016 my rear tire basically was worn out from the journey down and up combined. And I used quite a bit of fuel, even if the R1200RT was pretty economical.
So I stayed in the 115-125km/h range for the most of the time. And I made swift (enoughy) progress, only stopping a few time over the course of the next nearly 850+ kilometers.
Meeting people & extraordinary bikes
Even if Autobahn is almost like riding in a tunnel, with few stops, bikers are bikers, wherever you are. That I am not a stranger to pick up a dialogue doesn’t lessen the likelihood of ending up with some interactions. Even while riding on the German highways.
On first stop I met a nice Dutch couple in their early 50s. Who, free of family commitments, kids and duties, like me had taken up motorcycle riding again.
They landed with quite a piece of machinery. In Norway you don’t see many of the Yamaha V-MAX1800. Theirs was completely rebuilt, and we don’t talk cheap. Definitely a machine more suited for highway riding than mine.
Dutch are usually easy to talk to, this nice couple was no exception. While we chatted, a Dane on a Harley Davidson glid up behind me. Then after a few minutes rest they all took off with me right behind.
I never saw the dutch couple again, guess they took off in another direction. The HD guy I passed not long after takeoff, he’d stopped roadside. Neither probably would have enjoyed the 200 odd kilometers I did, in one go. As for the VMAX, not even sure the petrol tank is big enough for 200 kilometers straight 🙂
A little south of Hamburg I had to make a pit stop. Parked right next to a group of bikers. One definitely with a machine that fit well in the rat bike class.
The seat on that thing wasn’t exactly my gig, or preference for sitting comfort. Rather the (stark) opposite!
Shortly after landed, they took off, quite a sight really. Square tires isn’t good for riding stability or maneuverability. The guy up front, who probably was their leader, had a car tire on his bike.
I would not have liked to ride with that thing, but well, people are different. This is a good thing!
Ferry to Denmark & over to Sweden
So now it was non-stop to Puttgarten Fehman, which is where you catch the ferry over to Denmark. This is the more western option as opposed to the one I used on the way down. Both takes approx. 45 minutes from one country to the other.
Arriving shortly before the ferry set sail (good timing!) I was the only motorcycle on this particular trip. A bit unexpected in late July.
Landed in Denmark I stayed on freeways. It was getting early evening, wanted to reach at least the southern part of Sweden not too late. 30 minutes later I noticed two riders parked alongside the freeway. Made a stop to check that all was ok.
Turned out to be a nice couple of riders. The guy had gotten a flat tire, all had gone well, it detected it without any drama involved. They were in contact with someone to help them, so I took off.
The rest of the stretch went quickly, rode up to Helsingborg, found a good hotel and stayed there for the night. No parking for motorcycles but the hotel clerk let me park right next to the main entrance.
Annoying theft & through Sweden
Coming out of the hotel in the morning i saw someone had nicked my sleeping bag. I’d not bothered to unstrap it, believing it would be safe on the bike. Receptionists could easily see the bike through the window. Apparently they either didn’t care or weren’t very observant.
At this point I had traveled across 11 countries, left the bike parked outdoors, sometimes even more exposed. I’d not always bothered to unstrap the sleeping bag. Kinda typical it got nicked when I was almost home. The most annoying part wasn’t the sleeping bag, it was cheap. The waterproof sack however, was much more valuable to me.
Well, stuff can always be replaced.
Leaving fairly early in the morning I had some time on my hands, time enough to avoid too much freeway riding. it didn’t take long before I was on smallways.
Soon after I managed to find some really small roads, first with tarmac…
… then vanished on gravel deeper into the Swedish country side. This is one thing I like a lot about Sweden, there are a vast number of optional routes for those of us who’d like to stay off pavement.
The course set brought me through nice farming and forestry landscape, past a farm with lots of Alpaca’s gracing on a field. Curious & cute animals. Well, curious to a certain point. Once decided I wasn’t posing any threat most of them seemed to forget about me and the motorcycle.
I kept on in a north to northwest direction, avoiding bigger roads as much as i could. But getting closer to the border to Norway I made some exceptions. Along one of these exceptions I met a group of nice riders. They were underway from Denmark and Germany, to a gathering in Sweden.
Back in the old country
Getting closer to Norway I ended up riding some of the same roads as when starting the journey. The last leg went relatively fast.
Ah yeah worth mentioning: some of the districts in Sweden close to the Norwegian borders might, just might, be susceptible to police speed controls during summer. Often where you expect it the least, lots of speedsters about might be one reason.
While approaching the border a car coming in the other direction flashed with lights. Instantly knew he signaled there was something, probably a police/speed control up a head. So switched cruise control on, max 2-3 kilometers above speed limit (normally doesn’t stir up any actions by the law) .
Coming around a corner I observed a white Volvo in-between some trees. Strange choice of color. As I passed they moved, and followed me for a kilometer. Then vanished. Which proves to show, if you’re on small ways, mind your riding/driving.
Late evening I parked the bike home. The adventure was over, 6273 kilometers riding in 15,5 days. New record for me!
The BMW R1200GS Adventure was absolutely and totally perfect for this kind of adventure. Without a doubt the best motorcycle I have ever owned. Perfect for all kinds of adventures.
If you like versatility, and something that work under almost any conditions, well meet the Swiss Army Knife of Motorcycles. The most sold Adventure motorcycle of all (GS/GS Adventure combined). And you don’t need the latest model, people travel the world, ride across Australia, Asia, Africa or the Americas with older models than mine.
So here we are, finally, at the end. 15 blog parts have been published. I chose to split them up this way to make the material more digestible, and leave more room for pictures. All of which can be clicked to expand up to 2048 pixels wide edits. Or the size of your browser window.
- Travel time: 15 days and some hours
- Rode through 11 Countries and umpteen cities and villages
- Did 6273 kilometers or 3898 miles
- Mostly on smaller roads, some freeways on transport legs
- Encountered a few heavy, but limited showers (unlike last year)
- Met or ran into a lot of interesting people, in all countries
- fFel richer, in life, in experiences, and sights seen
By the way, here’s the first blog post.
So, what about 2018? Already in the “planning stage”. Have a few ideas, no, have many ideas. Who knows, might ditch either, saddle up and leave!
Time will indeed show! Thanks for reading!