Moto GP starts tomorrow – I can’t wait
|Travel From||–||Znojmo, Czech Republic|
|Intermediate Location||–||Slovakia for lunch|
|Ending Location||–||Brno, Czech Republic|
|Miles Driven Today||–||228 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||2948 Miles|
|New Countries visited Today||–||Slovakia|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia|
This morning, I managed a relatively slothenly 8:00 AM start. I simply wanted to get to the hotel in Brno by a reasonable time, so that I could figure out how to get to the track in the morning, relax, have a beer, and do a little Blogging. So, 8:00 AM was perfect.
Finding Breakfast on the back-roads of Czech Republic
Leaving the Pension, I immediately left the world of main roads behind me, and began traveling on some of the most beautiful motorcycle roads I’ve ridden on. But, while the roads might be beautiful for riding, they do not regularly come across fantastic breakfast establishments. So, after about 30 minutes, I decided to stop and get whatever I could find. So, I visited a Co-Op, which seems to be the name for small market in the middle of nowhere.
Breakfast was slim pickings, so I bought a few things, and threw together a meal.
Considering that the Czech Republic has it’s own currency, and I have not committed the exchange rate to memory yet, I have no idea how much this breakfast cost me, but it’s likely that it was about $5 USD, but I’m not quite sure.
The Slovakian border
I’ve crossed a number of borders so far, but we can’t count the US/Canada border, because of the huge formality and protocol, and the UK was a traditional entry via customs and immigation at Gatwick, and getting off the ferry in Amsterdam was simple as getting my passport stamped. The Dutch / German border was simply a sign on the highway, and the German / Austrian border was hidden from me, due to the fog.
And so, the Czech / Slovakian border was the first real border that I would be crossing. This is especially important because Czechoslovakia was an Iron Curtain country, so the security from years ago should have been very formal, and very rigid. I did not expect this rigidity to still exist, as both the Czech Republic and Slovakia are now in the EU, but they’ve chosen two slightly different paths, and they display their heritage differently as well.
All that said, I was really excited to see one of these border outposts, on the edge of the curtain. So, as I approached, I started to take some video, and I also took selfie of me, at the border.
Roads in Slovakia beautiful, narrow, unpredictable
So, here’s the deal. Slovakia most definitely has some nice, rural roads, which are great to ride a motorcycle on. But, as Robert mentioned the other day, the Slovaks don’t mind at all if they consider a cow track to be an actual road. So, several times I was routed down very, very, very rural roads, but they only lasted for a mile or two, sometimes as long as 5 miles, but no longer.
Riding in Slovakia, you have to re calibrate your sensibilities about using a GPS. For example, when the GPS tells you that the name of a particular road is called “Track”, then you should be very suspicious, and expect dirt, rural, marginal roads. But, in Slovakia, I guess they simply name a number of their roads as “Track”. LOL
On the route to Brno from Trencin, Slovakia, at least 6 times, the GPS routed me on to a road called “Track”. I found myself getting used to it, where as in the past I would have avoided it at all costs, now, I avoided it at some costs.
About 50% of the time, when the GPS directed me to a track, I took it, and it was perfectly acceptable. About 40% of the time, it routed me onto a road that was marginal, but quickly became a real road again. But, about 10% of the time, I could just tell that the road in question needed to be avoided, so I skipped them. To make this judgement, I would zoom the GPS out, and then back in, comparing the general direction, and looking for alternate roads that the GPS would find. This approach worked great, and I continued to navigate, and ride towards Brno.
The Trencin Castle
Given that I bailed out on the Eagle’s Nest, I’m conscious of the fact that if I have a plant to visit a place, I better have a damn good explanation for not going there. So, here goes.
I arrived in Trencin, and saw the castle from below. It’s a beautiful, and impressive thing, which looked like it would make a great picture. So, I set the GPS to navigate to the top, and proceeded. I made a left turn into a cobblestone area, and was told by my friendly GPS to turn left again, and ride up a very narrow road, where the castle would presumably be at the top. I stopped at the bottom of this road and pondered it for a minute. I concluded that the Slovaks don’t want me riding up that hill. The road was very narrow, it was cobblestone, and it was connected to the square, yet another place that I was pretty sure I was not supposed to ride.
So, I deferred on the ascent to the castle, and rode into the square. Riding a great big BMW into a square, lined with cafes, pedestrians and biycles takes a bit of nerve, but since I was already there, I figured, what the hell. Ride into the square, park the bike and grab lunch.
VIDEO OF ARRIVAL AT THE SQUARE
Cafe on the square
Sturvo Square is in the center of Trencin, and it is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or a drink at lunchtime, or even in the evening.
I parked the bike, and enjoyed a nice lunch, in the square, in Trencin, in Slovakia. What could be better than that.
Getting to Brno – The Twisties…
Prior to this trip, and during the planning stage, I knew that I would go to Slovakia for lunch, so I searched Google for “Awesome motorcycle roads in Czech Republic”. I found a number of roads, near Slovaka, and I combined them into a route, which is the route that I rode today.
I’ve compiled some of this video into a single clip, to give you an idea of what the roads were like. Oh, I’ve been honing my video editing skills, and while I still suck, I’m applying more treatments, and in this case, I cut out all of the BS, used transitions between each segment, lowered the bike’s audio level, and added music. Special thanks to my buddy Frank who got me a copy of Adobe Elements 18, which is a pretty spectacular video editing program. Let me know what you think of “my technique”
Arriving at the eFi Palace Hotel
As I approached Brno, and was riding through downtown, I came upon another one of those annoying detours. And, once again, the description was in German, but this time, it’s not my fault, really.
After trying three different methods to get around the obstacle, I found a volunteer who wanted to help. I gave him the address, and we brought it up on Google Maps so that he could show me. In the end, he threw his hands in the air, and admitted that he did not know how to get around the obstacle, it was too complicated, and there was too much construction. So, I let the GPS reroute me, after telling it that I had a detour.
I was able to get to within about 300 yards of the hotel, but just couldn’t get there. So, for just one more time, I found another volunteer. But this guy was really on the ball, and he had an excellent plan for me. He gave me the directions, and sent me on my way. But, even with such an excellent plan, I came upon the construction, and again had to make a decision.
Pay close attention to the point where I ignore the red/white posts, go around the right side, and start riding alongside where all of the rail line construction is happening. Eventually, I turn on to Bratislavská , and begin searching for building numbers. Oh, it also needs to be said the my hotel is number 234, and also number 52. They apparently changed the number scheme, and now, I have to figure it out.
Revisiting Munich to discuss tire pressure
Sometimes, you feel like an idiot, and sometimes its even deserved. That is the case with tire pressure, and my bike. With the different altitudes that the bike has been at, the tire pressure tends to change, and you need to keep on top of it, if you want the bike to handle properly. So, every couple of days, based on where I’ve ridden from, and to, I’ll adjust the tire pressure. The 2015 R1200 GS Adventure has an optimal tire pressure of 36 PSI front, and 42 PSI rear.
While in Munich, on my way downtown for some sightseeing, I noticed a small motorcycle shop. So, I pulled up, and asked them if they would put some air in my tires. I told them I wanted 36 front, and 42 rear. They looked at me like I had 3 heads, and asked again. I repeated my 36/42 spiel, and even offered to bet a Euro on the fact that I had it right. So, they said “Shatza”, and put the air into the tires.
I started riding, and my TPMS system immediately told me that I now had 49 PSI in the front, and 59 PSI in the back. So, I let out a little air, and the bike settled into the proper pressure once again. But, the incident got me thinking… How is it that a mechanic would put so much pressure in my tires, when I had been very specific. And so, as it turns out, and much to my chagrin, in the US, we measure tire pressure in Pounds per square inch (PSI), while in Europe, they’ve settled on using Bar, which is a consistent metering value.
So, to all of you out there, reading this blog, how many of you knew this?
What will tomorrow bring?
Tomorrow will be the first of three days of MotoGP, at the track on the outskirts of Brno. I expect to take the shuttle bus to the track, but to get to the shuttle, I need to walk to the rail line, take it several stops to the end, and then transfer to the X400 bus, which will take me to the track. Arghhh, this certainly adds more adventure to my already adventurous adventure.