When Dreams Come True
by Stan Thibaut
†††† Day four would lead us through the Dolomites. We would ride through orchards in the morning and continue into the high mountains with rough cliffs and steep walls for the rest of the way.† I might mention the roads in Italy seemed much narrower in many places.† Passo Di Giovo was an example of narrow roads with scenic drop offs on the right side of the road.† We went through several more passes, including Falzaregopass.† We stopped for a drink, a pin, the water closet and a look at the many coo coo clocks they had for sale.† Again the scenery was beautiful and we thought about riding the ski lift to the top of the peak, but that will have to be another time.† We needed to be at Hohlenstein, Durren See, for a picnic lunch.
†††† This time the Edelweiss van and trailer were on a straight road with no trees close to it.† There was a mountain covered with glaciers to the south and it made quite a picture standing with the lake in the foreground.† We headed through a couple more passes en route to our destination for the evening at Strassen Village, back into Austria.† We had a nice dinner sharing the daysí adventures, good bier and I took a 2.7 km round trip walk up to a lighted church on the hill, then back to the hotel.†
†††† Friday would be a "rest day." NOT!† It was a day that had no pre-planned route. You were on your own. You could stay around the hotel, or you could go for whatever length ride you wanted to do. I came to ride, so it was back to the Dolomites for about an eight hour ride.† I mentioned earlier the signage was poor at times.† Well we ended up going in a big circle at one point, because a turn we should have taken was clearly marked and I was passing some trucks when we went flying by the turn.† We stopped for lunch, we didn't speak Italian and they didn't speak English, but we had a very good lasagna meal.
†††† We found some roads that rivaled del Stelvio. Maybe not as steep and maybe not as many hairpins, but very challenging.† I did a lot of work on that rest day and I wouldn't have wanted to have missed any of those roads. I truly believe you could ride there for weeks and be on new, twisty roads constantly.† It was back to Strassen Village, the only time we stayed anywhere for two evenings on the motorcycle ride. Another filling dinner, swapping stories and just enjoying everyone's company.
†††† The next day would be back to Munchen, but there was still some awesome scenery and great roads to ride. Saturday was "just another day in this motorcycle paradise." We would head to Grossglockner, the highest peak in this part of Europe and the longest glacier.† That was secondary, because the roads were one curve after another with waterfalls and drop offs at every curve.† Grossglockner was one way in and the same way out.† Axel had told us he has only seen the peak twice in the eleven years he had been guiding tours and the forecast indicated we might see it today.†
†††† The forecast was right! We rode into the area and the peak was clear.† Again the road ended here, but there was a three story parking garage, naturally I went to the top floor, as it was out in the open.† You had a clear view of the beautiful glacier and the peak.† As we walked and looked at the scenery, the clouds moved in to cover the peak.† We had been fortunate to have arrived when we did to see and take pictures of this high peak.† If you could toboggan the glacier it would be one heck of a ride.
†††† Then it was on to Edelweiss Spitze.† It was a peak in the middle of glacier covered peaks.† Again a restaurant and snack shop with hundreds of bicyclists and motorcyclists having ridden to the top.† Again one way in and the same way out.† This road was cobble stone with a fairly steep incline.† The road definitely kept your attention. As we rode to the top, Martin, the other guide and his little ducklings, rode down the mountain. Had something to drink, took some pictures, then on the road again.
†††† Tight turns back down the mountain, then nice sweepers around the next few mountains.† Being able to pass whenever you felt it was safe sure made it easy to ride by the cages, including motor homes, when they got in the way.†† Now we would focus on heading back to Munchen.†
†††† Just west of the town of Reit i.w., we saw a cafe and decided to stop for something to drink.† Upon walking through the front door, we found a long glass display counter full of desserts.† We had to partake of some sweets along with something to drink.† As I sat on the patio, looking out passed the trees, I realized you could see across an open field, then onto the mountains in the background.† It was worth a picture. You could sit there all day and take in the beautiful, relaxing scene.† Needless to say, that picture is still clearly in my mind's eye.† I flash back to it often, because it was one of the few times I just sat, relaxed and took in the landscape in front of me.†
†††† En route to head into Deutschland through Miesbach, we found some more curvy roads, then onto E52, a portion of the Autobahn.† Well, I cranked it up, passing a row of cars, leveling off at about 180 kph, which is a little over 100 mph.† While doing so, I passed a Porsche, I think it was a 911.† Well, it must have tightened his jaw, because as soon as I moved to the right, he flew by me and continued to pull away. Rough estimate was 140 to 150.† I told Patti I must have pissed him off when I passed him.† She said "Well you were going pretty darn fast."† I reminded her I told her before we ever went, that when I was riding on the Autobahn and there was no speed limit, I would have to move right along and I didn't want to hear any complaining. The bike would have gone faster, but I didn't need to go any faster at that point.† Have to say it was fun, but not as much fun as the curves in the mountains.†
†††† We landed back at the start hotel in Sauerlach, Germany to turn in the bikes and get together for final dinner. We received our ride T-Shirts, drank some bier, ate some more good food and told some good stories about our adventures.† Most everyone else was flying back to the States the next day, but we were going to pick up our rental car for another week of sightseeing.† On the way to the airport, the Edelweiss van blew the entire tread off the left rear tire.† The sidewalls were still neatly attached to the rim.† We got the tire changed and made it to the airport for the guys who were catching flights.
†††† The second week for us included a trip to BMWAG Corporate Headquarters building and a visit to the temporary sight of the BMW Museum.† The new BMW World is under construction.† We visited King Ludwig's third castle at Chiemsee on an island there.† Then we drove to Innsbrook to visit Swarovski's Crystal Gallery and Museum and down into northern Italy.† We stopped in the BMW Motorcycle Shop, Motos Obertor, in Chur, Switzerland, for T-Shirts and then onto spend the last night on the road at the ski lodge hotel in Warth, Austria with the cowbell symphony.† Upon returning to Munchen, we visited the BMW Motorrad Zentrum, the huge new BMW Motorcycle dealer.†
†††† I flew back to the States and Patti flew to Dubai for a couple of days, prior to returning to Kabul, Afghanistan.† Stan Thibaut