I will also ride on to Stuttgart after the tour
|Intermediate Location||–||AMG Factory|
|Ending Location||–||Stuttgart, Germany|
|Miles Driven Today||–||133 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||2049 Miles|
|New Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany|
With the heat, and the pace that I’ve been keeping up, combined with my intention to get more sleep tonight, I would say that I hit a home run. I probably got at least 8 hours of sleep last night, and I feel pretty refreshed this morning.
To get some breakfast, I made a quick 2 block walk into a cafe. They don’t really do eggs in Europe, so I opted for a Salami and Cheese sandwich, coffee, and orange drink, which was sold as juice, but turned out to be soda.
This was, by no means, a great breakfast, but it sufficed, and it was a way to get this old body started, and running.
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture…
Helmet Charging issues
You’ll recall that en-route to Berlin, the battery in my helmet ran dry, and I was forced to take steps to get it recharged, and operational. I did not know what caused the issue, but I would be on the lookout for similar problems.
And so, imagine my surprise when I came back to the Air BnB, and noticed that the light was still red, and the helmet did not seem to be charging. At the time, I was charging the helmet from a USB port on my PC. But, at 3 AM, I woke up, and made a change, installing a new power adapter into the wall, and charging the helmet from the wall.
So, at about 6:00 AM, when I looked at the helmet again, I noticed that the charge indicator had gone from red to Blue, indicating a full charge. So, I have not figured out the root cause, but I’ve got my suspicions.
I packed the bike, and headed to the Nuremburg documentation center at about 10:00 AM, which is just about on schedule, as I had planned on arriving at 10 AM.
A tour of the Documentation center
The documentation center is about a 10 minute drive, but I’m afraid that I never got there. First of all, there were a number of road closures, which caused a great deal of confusion and reroutes, but in addition, I missed a couple of turns because I could not properly read the signs, and made a few errors.
So, I spent 30 minutes, trying to get to a spot which is only 10 minutes away, and I was in danger of running out of time. I wanted to spend 2 hours at the Documentation center, but now, I would be able to spend only 1 hour, and I still needed to stop for gas. So, with the intensity of the heat, I decided that I’d forgo the Documentation center, and travel directly to AMG. So, I stopped for gas.
So, maybe I’ll get some gas
I was able to quickly find an Esso/Mobil gas station, and I pulled up the pump. I removed my helmet, gloves, glasses, and then pulled the tank bag off of the bike, exposing the gas tank fill hole. Using the same method I’ve used each and every day, I tried to open the filler hole, and it would not open. I tried several times, using a variety of methods, but nothing worked. I was stuck at a gas station, with a range of about 110 miles, but unable to add any more gas to the bike.
So, I needed some help, and I called the local BMW dealer. They referred me to BMW Mobile, whom I then called, and was very pleased to see that BMW offers a mobile service, to help stranded motorists. After a 5 minute phone call, 5 minutes of “research”, I was told that a technician would come to my location, and that he’d call me in about 2 minutes.
Let’s go to the video, to see exactly what happened next…
I knew I’d need to wait 30 minutes for the tech to arrive, so I wanted a drink to cool me down. I found Iced Tea, in several flavors, including peach, so I purchase a 1/2 gallon of Iced Tea, and it was delicious. But, I still needed to wait for the tech to show up.
Once the bike problem had been resolved, I headed out towards AMG. Along the way, temperatures hit 102 degrees F, and in my black, Klim monkey suit, I was just about on fire. My face was burning, and my body was super-heated, and I could feel it. I really needed to cool down, and I was looking forward to arriving at AMG.
I arrived at the AMG factory about 1 hour ahead of schedule. I took some selfies, and watched in amazement as several different groups of visitors stopped and commented on my bike. Some of them noticed the South Carolina plate, and they asked if I drove all the way to Germany. Of course, I said yes, but that i had a little help from West-jet.
I was escorted to the VIP lounge, where i consumed several liters of fluid, and began to cool down a bit.
Above: A video taken from the visitor center
Above: A video taken from the VIP lounge
I was really excited about being able to take the tour, and take some fantastic pictures of the engines being built, but very quickly, Gerhard made it clear that pictures are not allowed, nor are videos. So, I listened intently, and enjoyed the tour.
We spent a good deal of time observing how AMG builds the new 2.0 litre turbo-charged motors. The entire process is automated, to the greatest extent possible, while still building the engines by hand. it takes about 2 1/2 hours to build one of these motors, and it travels through about 16 different stations, with a robot following close behind, the entire time. The robot always has the next parts, at the ready, and by using proximity sensors, and an internal GPS ring, as the robots move, and the engine cart moves with them, each of the tools on the car changes, so that it is setup for the station in question.
The V8 motors are built using a much more manual process, which still relies on signing papers, and completing certain steps, as each station is cleared.
The tour was great, and I learned quite a bit about AMG technology. I can’t wait to get my new car…
Above: Gerry/Gerhard gives us the lowdown on AMG
Gerhard was a good tour guide, and he’s been at AMG for quite a while, seemingly knowing any and all of the technicians on the line.
AMG’s attention to detail
Everywhere you look, you see AMG’s attention to detail, in full view. Each tour is given to you, and only you, by a Brand Expert, who is passionate, and knowledgeable. And so, it should not have been a surprise to learn that in honor of my visit to the factory, the AMG management team raised the American Flag, showing respect to me, as a visitor, and recognizing that the US market represents over 40% of AMG sales.
Thanks to Mercedes Benz (Pineville)
Several times, I’ve mentioned that the AMG tour is very private, and exclusive. To be clear, I tried to book the factory tour by myself, and was told that only owners of AMG cars are allowed on this exclusive tour. For this little obstacle, I turned to the MB dealership in Pineville, NC for help.
Eduardo Prego is my sales guy, and he and the Sales Manager, Walter Hidalgo worked with the AMG tour manager to get AMG to make an exception for me. It seems that since I had put a down-payment on a car, and ordered it for delivery in November, I should be granted an exception, and I was.
Without these two, working as my advocate, I would not have been able to take part in this tour, and would have missed out on a truly great motorcar experience.
Arriving at Air BnB
Finally, with my tour of the AMG factory complete, it was time to travel the 15 miles to Stuttgart, and arrive at the Air BnB I’ve chosen for my next 3 days.
The hosts, Alexandra and Chris were very inviting, and are excellent hosts, offering help and suggestions for me, for dinner, museum tours, etc. However, as it seems to be the case across Germany, there is some construction involved in my arrival at the BnB.
It seems that street construction has caused the road to their house to be blocked, or almost blocked, but it will be a challenge to park in their driveway, as my bike is wider than Alexandra expected, and the gap is narrower than expected.
I wanted to get this post created, and to make it visible, so I will render and insert the video of the final ascent to the BnB, later this afternoon.
What will tomorrow bring?
We expect the heatwave to break this evening, due to rain and storms in the area. The Mercedes Benz museum is about 1.5 miles from the Air BnB, while the Porsche museum is about 7 miles away. So, I think I’ll visit the Mercedes Benz museum tomorrow, and perhaps Porsche on Sunday. Also, we must consider that qualifying for the German F1 Grand Prix is today, and it seems to me that I need to find an awesome place, from which to watch the race.
The team and driver that I support in F1 is Mercedes/Petronas, and Lewis Hamilton, so it seems that there is little risk that I’ll end up rooting for the wrong team, but you never know. Sebastian Vettel is German, but he drives for Ferrari, and has not been showing good form, causing many Germans to become disillusioned with him.
Loving your tour. Stay hydrated.
It seems that as I try so very hard to anticipate every problem, and solve the in advance, I’m thwarted by the things that I could not have imagined. I think this situation is called a failure of imagination, right?
Greetings Cliff – we are all happy to find your nearly daily installments to the blog – you are so dedicated! Thank you.
I have rarely seen you wearing a hat – even a bucket hat would pack somewhere! Soak them in water and keep cool(er).
BTW – NICE color on that AMG !
Hey Larry, you’ve always been a hat guy, wearing a number of different, stylish hats during the things that we’ve done together over the years, but me, I’ve never liked the way that hats feel, or look on me. But, as an homage to you, and the really cool hat that you bought for me as an Xmas gift years ago, I’ve purchased two, lightweight ball caps, which I’ve worn a couple of times so far, and I promise you, I will wear again.
Great to hear from you. Pay attention to today’s post, it’s got something just for you…
Oh, it seems you like the color of the AMG, perhaps because it’s almost the same color as your car? Hmmmmmmm. Very predictable.