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Short Way Down

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Short way down (Day 3) We were all woken to a beautiful blistering hot day in the South of the Mosel; Keith, Mel, Heinz, Walt and myself. Sat nav was inputted by Keith, "which way are we travelling?" I asked. "If we cut through Austria rather than Switzerland we should make Italy by the evening, steady plod, what do you think?" Keith answered. "Sounds good", I said. Although this was Keith's dream trip, there had always been a bit of rivalry between us. This went back 20 years or more when we all bought our first superbikes and he hated being overtook. I would always throw the gauntlet down and he would always take up the challenge. I can smile and frown to some of the challenges but it was always good competitiveness. So a route was set, he just wanted confirmation that we all agreed, knowing that the others are sometimes just happy to go with the flow and tolerate Keith's whims. Therefore, panniers re-packed and tents folded away, we set off. The summer heat wasn't to last for long. We made it to the Austrian border only to be caught in torrential rain. The nearest lay-by was spotted and like a pit stop, one after each other, we all leaned right then left, stopped and quickly dismounted. Undoing panniers and searching for the waterproofs, in a time any pit-stop crew would be proud of we were soon looking like the Michelin men from the old TV tyre adverts. ...read more.


"What a stretch, pass that menu Dave" Heinz said. "Right what's traditional" I said. Looking through the menu I decided to have a schnitzel, more German than Austrian but at least it wasn't a burger the others chose. The food was good, washed down with some piping hot coffee we all started to feel relaxed and glad of the comfort zone we had found. "How about we either stay here or find somewhere else, a hotel, to hang the leathers up and dry off, then start the day again tomorrow", Heinz said. This view was shared by Walt but what about the schedule, although no hotel or pre-determined route had been planned, Keith did have a schedule he wanted to ride through the tunnel in Monte-Carlo on day 5. He wanted to admire and dream of owning one of the most expensive yachts. He did get a boat, eventually, but without the Monte-Carlo price tag. "Let's set off, it's only 2 o'clock. If we get into Italy the weather would surely be better and we'll dry off on route". I said. "I agree, what do you think Mel?" Keith said. Mel agreed too. "Lets have some photo's, have you seen the view out there", Heinz said. The view indeed was spectacular; we must have been some 2000 meters up the mountain looking down into a valley of lush forest with a green and blue tranquil lake. ...read more.


It was now around 7.30pm, with no hotel booked and feeling a little tired it was time to find somewhere for the night. We arrived at Trento in Italy and parked up just before the toll booth. Digging deep into the panniers we brought out our maps. The sat nav had gone about 100 miles earlier, no matter how many bags Keith put over it the weather had won It was a car nav that had being adapted to fit his bike. Who would have thought in July, in Europe, we would have to endure the torrential rain through Austria. (Above, Keith, Walt, Mel & Heinz). Trento was decided for the night's crash out and we soon found a hotel that would accommodate not just us but the bikes too. The owner of the hotel offered us his garage to park the bikes. Two rooms shared between the five of us were very adequate if only there was enough room for Mel to hang out all his wet clothes. The torrential rain we uncounted in Austria took its toll on his luggage; he believed what it said on the label 'waterproof'. I'm pleased I lined mine with garden refuse sacks first. After 5 showers, between us, clean clothes and a little 'Issey Miyake' it was down to the town for some authentic Italian food and wine. A good night mixing with the locals and sharing memories of the day's trip. ...read more.

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