Ch Ch Changes (with apologies to David Bowie)

Adventure, Europe, Motorbikes, Personal, photography, Poetry, travel, United Kingdom

Changes are afoot

ch ch changes

Turn and face the strange

ch ch changes

Don’t want to be a richer man

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Just gonna be a different man

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Time may change me

But I cant trace time  (lyrics from David Bowie – Changes )

So changes are the theme of my life at the moment

I have 12 working days left till retirement from full time work.

By mid June I will be back in the UK on the Mighty Breva for chapter 3 of my Moto Guzzi European Adventure

This time

Tracing my Celtic heritage and Celtic history in Wales, Cornwall, Galicia, Brittany and Ireland.

Riding the Haute Pyrenees/Altos Pireneos

becoming more adventurer and less piecemeal

more spontaneous and less planned

more in the moment.

There is a strange mixture of excitement and trepidation coursing through me

from the anticipation

of the

ch ch changes

in front of me

 

 

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For the long riders

Adventure, Australia, NSW, Poetry, travel

This one of for the long riders

The 1,000k in a day riders

The numb in the bum still going riders

For the north south riders

The east west riders

This is an unapologetic piece about long distance motorcycle riding.

Australia is a country for the long riders

Curly twisty roads

Straight roads stretching to the horizon

traffic sparse on the secondary highways and byways

With the beating heart of the Mighty Breva eating up the distance

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On the Black Stump Way mid west NSW

One of my favourites long rides in from Melbourne to the Northern NSW Coast

Its just on 1500 km from Melbourne Victoria to Coffs Harbour in NSW.

It combines open agricultural land

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Cotton fields on the Black Stump Way

Fields of cotton, wheat and other broad acre crops.

Past cattle grazing

 

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Cattle grazing roadside

Little towns with quirky sculpture

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Horse Sculpture at the old trough in Urana NSW

 

Scooting along the gentle curves on the mountain foothills

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Bylong way midwest NSW

And then over the mountains

with their deep gorges

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and along the Waterfall Way

so aptly named

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Ebor Falls

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Dangar Falls

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Running right beside the road

Till the mountains meet the sea

At Coffs Harbour.

A special treat of a long ride in spring is seeing a new born calf being encouraged by its mother to take the first tentative steps

 

Addendum:

I need to add 1500 km in a day is beyond this piecemeal adventurer these days.  But Australia is a good place for eating up long miles.  On my most recent trip north I covered around 950km in the first day from Melbourne to Coolah at the start of the Black Stump Way.  That allowed a more leisurely 500 ks the second day – and stopping for photos and sightseeing which I can share.  I try to keep to the back roads which makes disctance eating harder but travelling for more enjoyable.

In the more closely settled countries of Western Europe off the highways 5-600k is a big day on the road

 

The Dordogne – Last Stop in Europe 2017

Adventure, Europe, France, history, Motorbikes, photography, travel

The Dordogne Riders had lured me to the Vezere Valley

St Leon sur Vezere a beautiful Village in the Dordogne Region of Southern France

 

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St Leon sur Vezere

Camped on the edge of the river

 

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St Leon sur Vezere Municipal Camp site

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Amongst significant historic and prehistoric sites

The Grote de Rouffignac

Maison Forte de Reignac

 

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Maison Forte de Reignac

and Chateau de Losse

 

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The Chateau

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The Mighty Breva 11

But southern France is also about the beautiful villages

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The continuation of the wonderful biker culture that exists in Europe. *

With the Dordogne bikers and friends

And of course in France food

A delicious lunch

And

* I was amazed that after 3 months covering 16,000km in 9 countries I was not pulled over once by the police. Three weeks back in Australia I was pulled over for a licence check while not breaking any law. It was motorcycle awareness (HARASSMENT) month.

Stelvio

Adventure, Europe, Italy, Motorbikes, photography, travel

A carnival atop the Stelvio Pass

Its the big daddy of the Alps

Stelvio

2760 metres high

From Lake Como four passes to reach the top

Maloja pass through to Saint Moritz

Then climb the Ofen Pass

View from the Ofen Pass

And onto Santa Maria at the foot of Stelvio

Hotel Stelvio in Santa Maria

Then the climb on the Umblia pass

View from cafe on the Umblia pass

Bikes and cars making the climb

Higher and higher

Till the top

Looking down the valley

Across at the glacier

Standing atop the Stelvio Pass

Lago di Como (Lario) 

Europe, Italy, Motorbikes, photography, travel

The brochure called it the lake of dreams.

View over Lake Como from the Somana galleries above Mandello De Lario

But it’s a lake of life and vitality.

From the tourist towns like Bellagio

Bellagio from Lake Como

The narrow streets of the villages full of smells of fine food, chatter and laughter

Village steps

And beautiful villages that held forged dreams that became Italian classics.

View of Mandello de Lario

Like Carlo Guzzi’s dream for an industry for his village

So if Lake Como is a village of dreams it’s also the essence of Italian love and lust for live, beauty and exuberance.

Village lights and moon over Lake Como


The piecemealadventurer Mandello de Lario where dreams do come true.

Roads to Lago di Como

Adventure, Austria, Europe, Italy, Motorbikes, photography

I want to thank the countries of Europe for boring tunnels and building motorways so there is less traffic on the beautiful mountain passes.

The piecemealadventurer atop Stelvio Pass

Riding the passes of Austria, Switzerland, and Italy to Lake Como was sublime.

Emerging from a congested Fern Pass and then onto Reschen Pass the traffic eased, the pace quickened and the dance of a motorbike carving the curves of a mountain road took form.

Lake Reschen at the top of the Pass

Looking down Reschen Pass the road in the gallery clinging to the cliff face

The old fort that guarded the Austrian Emporer (a Habsburg) from the unruly Italians

The Reschen Pass links straight to the bottom pass of the Stelvio. On a run through to Bormio.

The Umbrail Pass is just below Stelvio and with the weather closing in Stelvio was for another day.

On Umbrail Pass

With Bormio the objective before too much rain fell.

Rain over Bormio

From Bormio to Lake Como there is a tunnel or Passo Gavia. One on the highest roads in the Alps.

War memorial Passo Gavia

Atop Passo Gavia

The last miles to Lake Como is small villages that link together as one and tunnels. Pushing hard to get to the booked room before dark. The GPS suddenly announced that in 500 metres I would reach my destination. In the middle of the tunnel! I was 100 or so metres below there I was to stay. A lesson in making sure I enter a detailed and accurate address lol.

The Bergennen at Seebodenalp

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, photography, Switzerland, travel

Program for the historic meet

The Bergennen or hill climb race at Seebodenalp is a 500 metre climb over a 5 km track.

The top of the track providing views over Kussnacht am Rigi.

It was an event for historic bikes and some cars

Endurance racing Laverda

Studibaker hill climber from yesteryear

The pits were perched atop the track

With some lovingly restored bikes.

And sidecars

A different day at the races!

Great adventurers and a taste of Norway 

Adventure, Europe, history, Motorbikes, Norway, photography, travel

Borders I’ve never seen one but I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.

This quote from Thor Hyerdadahls captures a vision of adventure and cultural interaction.

The Kon Tiki

To see see the Kon Tiki to know the strength of that quest bought tears to my eyes.

Fram, Kon Tiki and Rah form part of the maritime history at Bigdoy in Oslo.

Thor Hyerdadahl and polar Explorer Rould Amundsen were adventures after the highest order.

The Norwegian team led by Amundsen that were first to the South Pole

The ship Fram a wooden ship designed by the great Colin Archer that still holds the record the furthest north and south of any ship.

Fram

These are names that have fed my love of maritime adventure.

For as it is said about the Norwegian sailor.

If there is a boat that floats he will be the first one there.

The Norwegian prowess at sea has existed for centuries. The Vikings emblamatic of their skill and exploration.

As these Viking burial ships show.

Viking burial ships

A day at the Norwegian maritime museums is a wonderful insight into a rich maritime history.

My taste of Norway took me north past Trondheim and its fjord.

And to the very steep fjords on the west coast

And its glacier covered mountains

But a summer full of rain in the high northern latitudes was too much for this bloke from the driest continent on the planet.

So it was a taste of Norway till maybe another time.

Some nights I just pinch myself – a photo montage 

Adventure, Denmark, Europe, Germany, Motorbikes, Netherlands, Norway, photography, travel

It was just six months ago that I placed an advertisement on the Moto Guzzi Club of Great Britain asking if people would help me buy a Moto Guzzi in the UK to tour the UK and Europe.

Six months later I’m sitting at my campsite at Kunzelsau in southern Germany half way through my tour to Europe.

I pinch myself again.

My last post summarised the tour of the northern mainland of Great Britain.

The European part of the journey started with catching the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

Then to the new TLM premises in Nijmegen, the Netherlands to get a couple of issues I had with the bike sorted out

A quick dash across the German border heading north

To Hirtshals, at the top of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark a ferry and fishing village and a crossroads for bike travellers

A ferry port for those going to northern Scandinavia

For me I was seeking a taste of Norway

I say a taste because Norway may be revisited. I think Scotland and Norway in one trip was too much high northern latitudes weather for a fellow from the driest of continents.

A dash to Rodby, Denmark thought torrential rain to catch the ferry to Germany

Where it’s warmer and drier.

Yes sometimes I pinch myself to check it’s not a dream.

I’m halfway through this tour and the Alps only 300km south.

Pinch pinch

Touring Northern UK on the mighty Breva II – a picture narrative 

Adventure, England, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Went to England but not London

Went to Scotland but not Edinburgh

Didn’t do Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds

Touring a motorbike is on a different path

With strange admirers along the way

Crossing the Burway on the Welsh/English border

Started in Stoke

Made it to the top

Coast to coast

From Newcastle in the east

To Skye in the west

Past castles grand

And those that bare the scars of Britain’s violent history.

Sinclair Castle

In search of monsters real or legend

In the highlands

Fortingall Hotel Central Highlands

View from the Burway

And in the low

Smoo cave on the North Coast 500

Went to England and didn’t do London

In Scotland missed Edinburgh

But saw a bit.

Mighty Breva II loaded and ready for the European adventure to come