Archive for April, 2014

The Poe Valley view from a castle wall

The Poe Valley view from a castle wall

Castle in the Dolimites

a ruined Castle in the Dolimites coming from Austria to Italy through the POE Valley

a ruined Castle in the Dolimites
Northern Italian city where Dave Hand and I stayed

Northern Italian city where Dave Hand and I stayed

It is one thing to enjoy the summer on the farm, cutting the brush, mowing lawns, fixing the cars and bikes. making stone walls and spending general farm work as is done every year. Some times it become a Little like ” I did That” . New times should be had, so…….

Along came a email one day, that advertized a trip to Europe, Turkey, Istanbul. by way of Bucharest, Romania.

the rental, from Russ in Canada, located in Heidelberg without the bags and trunk

2004 BMW R1150R

The trip is sponsored by a European tour group, Adriatic Moto Tours. The tour begins in Bucharest, Romania, travels through the Transylvania Alps, goes east to the estuary of the Danube , south to Istanbul where we cross the Bosporus into Asia, down the coast of Turkey than back across to Gaillipoli. The tour  up 16 days later at the same location in Bucharest, also called the Paris of the east.

I will be making the trip with a friend of mine from Pennsylvania named Bill Shelly. Both of us have gone on trips overseas before on motorcycles and are looking forward to it. So, her goes nothing and another trip to good old Europe. I have made about 10 thrips to Europe and of that about 6 to 8 were on motorcycles, Spain, England, Germany Croatia. Etc

I let my friend from Daytona know about the trip and that I was going early to Europe and had secured a rental bike through a person that had advertized his GS for sale (Airhead Dakar). After contacting the person for the bike, (I was going to buy it and than ship it back after use to USA and Pennsylvania). We made all of the arrangements, than nothing was heard from the person. After about three week, I started to search for another bike in Europe and contacted Stefan Knopf of Knopf Tours in Heidelberg Germany. Stefan K was the one who made arrangement to ship the 1930 R-11 over from Italy. He had plenty of bikes to rent.

Well, it sure turns out that I have some luck once in a while, I found another person who had a bike a Sefan’s place in Heidelberg and would rent me the bike for  a month so I could not only go on the tour but also spend time floating and touring Europe with Dave from Daytona Beach.

Here is the rough (easily altered and will be ) Itinerary

1. pick up bikes on the 29th May

2. Drive through Black Forest (Swartzwald) to Italy, cross into Turin (Turino) and interview the people who restored the R-11 BMW

3.  Or in place of (2) go to Brunnau, Germany to see my Cousin Hannalore Winter and see das alt Gasthause (Der Golden Krone). Which in the 1870’s was owned by my great grandfather.image002 See the post card from 1904 Gasthaus is lower right.

4. Go back cross the Alps to visit with my Accountant from Scranton Mick B, who has a place in Florence.

5. On to Venice? or south.

6. Go to Dubrovnik? on the coast of Croatia, South into Greece and than I Head and separate from Dave and head to Bucharest to begin the 16 day tour into Transylvania, the delta of the Danube, Blacks sea and than cross into Istanbul. After completion of the tour, I return to Heidelberg and fly back to NYC.

I hope everything goes well, I have bought health insurance, emergency evacuation and will get car insurance as well.

Back from the trip with more information and pictures July 4th 2014. In good Health and spirits

  1. On the alps snow in June
On the alps snow in June
In Florence, the Ponte Vechio
In Florence, the Ponte Vechio

IN Florence

Picture in Florence in front of the marble church

I was able to get lodging in Florence from a friend who has an apartment so I stayed three days. I was able to meet some interesting Italians and enjoy their outlook on life style and living. While there I was able to explore in depth all that Florence had to offer.

The DeMedici Palace in Florence

The palace of the DeMedic’s  a tremendous edifice and structure dating from the 12th century.


A lot of tourists were everywhere, I had the    opportunity of seeing some bad karma being practiced against tourists, where they were overcharged and taken advantage of. I also purchased two tires for the motorcycle. The price was not cheap but not high., I had to wait a few days for the tires to come in from Milan. It was a good thing I put on the tires, later on the trip on a rain and diesel fuel covered mountain pass in Bulgaria, they saved me from having an accident


After the 3 days in Florence, I traveled east to the coast of Italy to the big ferry boat port of Ancona, Italy.  Quite a city, with it medieval area, fort and churches. This city was a fresh breath of air from Florence where the numbe rof tourists overwhelmed the  bathroom facilities to the extent of smelling bad and quite sickening in the main tourist locations.

Other motorcyclist from all over Europe lined up for boarding

Other motorcyclist from all over Europe lined up for boarding

ON board the huge fery in port

ON board the huge ferry in port


It was about 3-4 hours from Florence, since I found out that the ferry left in the evening at 6 PM, I wandered around the port city for a while and than returned to the port area. I secured passage to Slit in Croatia and got a overnight cabin, the price was reasonable when compared to traveling over the top of Italy and than heading down to Bucharest.



Ok, Now I was closer to the unknown. I landed in a country that had recently been at war with it neighbors, Croatia

.The Croation Coast, SPLIT

 Approaching The Croatian Coast, SPLIT is in the background, a very pretty city

It was all very strange, I had been to Croatia and Bosnia before, with a tour group of 12 people. Again this tour was with the Adriatic Moto tours located in Slovenia. That tour was a lot of good motorcycle riding and sight seeing. With that group, we had visited Sarajevo in Bosnia and spent some time exploring the City. Sarajevo was infamous for the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand and his wife Sophia by a Serbian. That led to the war of 1914-1918 and the loss of 20,000,00 dead.

Map of Bosnia, I landed in Split (not shown) and went north east to Banja Luka

Bosnia was a interesting country, the roads were very good but narrow. The Bosnia war had ended 15 years earlier and there was little indication of damage that had been done to the cities and the countryside. Every once in a while, at the roadside. a sign was a reminder, “Actung Minen” The travel from Split, Croatia was exciting, as I got lost a few times.  The two GPS units that I carried could not agree and some roads had changed. So when I finally got to the check point or boarder crossing from Croatia to Bosnia, it was late in the afternoon. Crossing from Croatia to Bosnia was unusual, the guards were flummoxed to find an American on a Canadian registered motorcycle by myself. They were full of polite questions and admiration. After a 30 minute delay, they allowed me to pass on to the Croation side where , under the stern faces of the boarder guards I was allowed to  continue my journey.

Later, as I continued to cross boarders, the looking at the passport and the insurance papers became routine as the previous countries stamps in the book helped. If it was good enough for them, it is OK with me. Since I was not a member of the European Union, I could not just drive through like other members of the EU.

floating restaurant in Banja Luka. This was the site of horrific flooding a few weeks earlier that ruined much  of the Balkens

floating restaurant in Banja Luka. This was the site of horrific flooding a few weeks earlier that ruined much of the Balkans


In Banja Luka, a dinner with new friends

In Banja Luka, a dinner with new friends


the happy couple arrive

the happy couple arrive in the carriage

A wedding in Banja Luka

A wedding in Banja Luka, Bosnia.


19667 912 and a 68 R60

19667 912 and a 68 R60

What am I tired of collecting British sport cars,? Where am I going? do I really need more stuff? Is the Man Cave full up? Am I getting old like the rolling stuff and just have forgotten how to relax? Is there this compulsion to save the things from the past, rebuild for future profit? Or am I doing it to keep busy? Well, atl east with bikes, they are interesting and sometimes difficult to ride  and it is fun to see and feel first hand just how far the evolution of the motorcycle has gone forward.(They really don’t take up much space as well). But, Just when I thought I was cured of this affliction and away from the mechanical steeds,I was shaken, stirred and consumed. I was weak and vulnerable, I was fast approaching over 70 years,  I had some excess cash,  my feet hurt and I need S.O. G. O T. Pot.   THAN, I was struck once more, like a mighty sword from above, THOR had me in his sights, HIS HAMMER was an Earle’s fork. Being struck does mean only visually and  over the head. But enough of the whys, the bearer of the Earles fork was ahead, an R60/2 1967. Below the story begins It was a sunny and balmy day, I and my friend,  Joe B, a fellow native northeast PA person,. and I traveled to Eustis,  Florida during the March 2014 Bike Week in Daytona Beach. It was a lucky and unlucky chance visit. The God’s of thrift, and beauty, combined with the sins of gluttony and greed,  forced me to make a commitment to a R60/2. that had rolled off a trailer and being the last day of the flea market, the owner,  Doug Phillips, who had this bike as a first bike and was used as a daily driver in Michigan. For over 14 years.  Doug, drove this bike to jobs and fun places. So when I looked at the 88,000 miles, I was not concerned as bike are made to be ridden, especially the R60. Doug informed me that he had replaced pistons with .020 over and new rings. Other work had been done on the electrical, engine valves as well as gasket work on the push rod tubes. He said that he has maintained it quite well over the 14 years he had continuously driven the R60 and it was in good shape. It was a little dirty with some minor surface rust but that was to be expected. Everything was original. After a brief drive with the r 60 over the Eustis Fairgrounds, with  little dips, some gravel and pavement, it was affection at first sitting. The unique Earle’s front fork gave a stable and solid ride with no indications of problems in the handling. It started easily with a brief down stroke on the starter lever after a tickling of the carburetor bowls. Later I was to find out that it can be temperamental and that starting is a “Leaned Process”. Next thing I new, a price was established, a down payment was made and a pickup arranged. But at the AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America show at Silver Sands area near the Cabbage Patch on Tomoka Road. South Daytona area). The recently acquired R-11 was shown and received a wonderful award of 96.5 points out of a possible 100. What a delight.