Or, maybe not the Red Bull Ring
|Brno, Czech Republic
|Miles Driven Today
|Total Trip Mileage
|Countries visited Today
|Countries visited on trip
|US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia
An early start?
Well, I had the best intentions of getting up, getting showered, packed and hitting the road by 8AM, but I found that numerous other bikers were having breakfast, and leaving at about the same time that I had planned on. And so, I ended up talking with them, and after a while, I decided that I’d need to get a video of these guys from the UK, who had spent the weekend in Brno, at the MotoGP race, and were now making their way into Poland, and eventually back to the UK, over the course of a week.
As we were just finished talking, a group of 4 Italians came up, and we started talking. Now, the Italians did not speak English as well as the guys from Great Britain (go figure), and it became apparent quickly that I needed to also take a video of these four Motorcycle enthusiasts and riders from Italy.
With all of the interviews behind me, it was time to hit the road. You’ll recall that on my way into Brno, I was forced to reroute numerous times, due to the construction in the downtown areas. Well, today was no exception, and I had a few reroutes, but eventually found myself on a main artery, headed out of town, towards the Austrian border, which was supposed to be about 48 miles away.
The GPS was having a little trouble this morning
I want to be very careful, and not blame the GPS for what happened. In all honesty, it is very likely that the underlying data, contained within the map of Austria, which I had downloaded, was likely the root cause, but I simply don’t have the time to troubleshoot it, so I’ll just move on, and tell the story.
You see, I’ve carefully planned each leg of the journey, knowing exactly how many miles, and what route each day will take. But, when I was planning these routes, I found that in some cases, I could select two points, and tell the GPS to route between then, and voila, a route was created, and it was perfect. In other cases, I’d select two points, and the computer would be unable to route between these two places, simply drawing a straight line between them. And so, when that happened, I’d try a bunch of tricks, and eventually, I’d get the route to work out. And, by “work out”, I mean that the route would follow the established roadways, and not simply draw a straight line between them.
But, for the situations where I had trouble getting the computer to create the route correctly, I might need to insert a number of way-points, which I might call Austria 01 – Austria 09, for example. When it becomes necessary to insert these way-points or shaping points, its an indication of the bigger problem that I eluded to before.
Looking back, I recall that I had a problem like this with Austria and the Czech Republic, and as a result, I had to add intermediate way-points, in order to get the computer to create the route. And so, these tricks usually work pretty well, as long as you stick to the route, and the way-points. But, as fate would have it, about 15 miles from the Austrian border, while still in the Czech Republic, I was once again facing one of those funky detour signs, which are not very helpful, and which are not very informative. In either case, as a result of having to let the GPS figure out a way around the detour, everything went to hell in a hand-basket.
From the point, about 30 miles into my trip, the GPS was no longer able to locate itself on the map, name the highways correctly, or give me an indication of which way to go. So, I used instincts, and logic to keep going South, South-East. I rode for about 60 miles like this, and then decided to stop for lunch, and try to fix the problem.
I tried, and tried, and could not come up with a way to solve the problem, so I decided I’d see if my iPhone had any better luck. So, I opened the AirBnB app, located today’s reservation, and asked for directions. It worked, and I was able to confirm that I had about another 110 miles or so until I would arrive at the Air BnB. But, there was one more problem.
The problem is that I don’t really have a mount for the iPhone on the bike. So, I had to lay the iPhone inside my tank bag, and ride along the highway, about once each minuted, I’d unzip the top of the tank bag, take a quick look at the iPhone, confirm that I’m roughly on track, compare the directions from the iPhone, with the map that was beginning to properly locate itself, and then zip up the tank bag, put both hands back on the bars, and repeat the process in another minute or so.
This is tough when riding on rural roads, but just try to do this while riding along a 4 lane highway, through a big city like Vienna. It was a mother Fu@%er, to say the least. I tried not to get tense, but I have to tell you, doing all of these tactical tasks, while focusing on the riding, through a big city put me at the limit. I don’t think I had any more of my mental acuity to apply to anything, so I’m glad that nothing new came up.
Finally, at around 1:00 PM, the GPS found its footing again, and I was able to confirm that I was about 90 miles from the BnB, and in my confirmation email, I had let the hosts know that I’d arrive by 3:00 PM. With all of the narrow, winding roads, and numerous tunnels in the Northern Alps, it was going to be pretty tough to get there on time, but I was a gonna give it hell.
I rode like the wind… Well, not exactly, but I did ride with a singular purpose. Well, not exactly. I rode with a purpose, but still had to stop and refresh fluids, and discharge any fluids which had built up along the most recent segment.
And so, in the end, I pulled up into this very small rural community, and passed a guy riding a bike with shorts that say “I love Pu$$y”. I wasn’t sure what to make of a statement like that, on someone’s riding shorts. Nevertheless, I passed him, and headed to the BnB. but, within 30 seconds, I came to the point where the GPS had said that I had arrived, but there were three houses, and I was not sure which one was the right one. So, I stopped the bike in the road, and as I was opening the Air BnB app, to compare my sightings, with the picture, the cyclist rode up to me, and offered to help. I mentioned Air BnB, and he said “What’s that”. In any case, he was a really nice guy, and while we were talking, he said “Hey, look, I think that this woman knows you”. Of course, he was talking about Stephanie, who had heard my bike, and had come out to greet me.
The Air BnB
And so, Stephanie guided me back to her house (51 feet away) and offered to let me park the bike in the Garage. I started to roll down the driveway, in to the Garage and she said “Stop, Stop”. She asked if I was sure that the bike would fit, and I assured her that I’d have no problem, and I slid the bike into the garage, like a key into a lock.
First impressions of the Air BnB
I got a quick tour of my flat, and remounted the bike, and headed to the store, for some dinner supplies, beer, and something for breakfast tomorrow.
After taking a quick shower, I finally had a chance to take in the Air BnB. You’ll recall that I was supposed to visit the Red Bull Ring today, but since I was late, perpetually late it seems, and since the BnB and my hosts were really awesome, I decided that if I was to visit the Red Bull Ring, it would need to be tomorrow. But, I wanted to make a little report for everyone.
Interview with my hosts
I grabbed a delicious beer, infused with lemon, and sat down on my very own outdoor garden. I was taking it all in, and then I called up to Stephanie and asked if she’d like to share a beer. She agreed, and while enjoying a couple of beers, we talked about travel, the world, and other things.
After a while, Reinhard joined us, and I found the two of them, so grounded, so worldly, and so refreshing, I figured… Time for another interview.
Reinhard mentioned that today, is their 30th wedding anniversary, so he broke out the Schnapps that he created with walnuts, Christmas spices, and other secret ingredients, and we have a few nips.
What a wonderful evening, but at this point, I needed to get to my computer, and start blogging, or you’d not know of a word of any of this.
A little bit about Red Bull
You’ll notice that I did not make it to the Red Bull Ring today. Sorry, I’d like to go, but there won’t be time tomorrow, and after seeing many race tracks, and car manufacturers, I’m certainly not pining for more pavement. But, along the way today, a funny thing happened.
I think that we can all agree that Red Bull is a marketing juggernaut. These guys sell one product, but with all of the Global branding in motorsports, and frankly, just about any kind of sport, the brand of Red Bull is everywhere. You may not know but Red Bull is an Austrian product, manufactured right here in Austria. And so, as I’m riding along the highway, taking my occasional breaks to refresh fluids, and get something cold, I’ve always been able to consider choosing a Red Bull energy drink, or a competing product from Monster Energy Drinks. Valentino Rossi is sponsored by Monster, and the KTM team, is sponsored by Red Bull.
So, on the highways of Europe, I’ve always had the choice, and I’ve always chosen the comparable product from Monster. But, here in Austria, these Red Bull guys must have a sort of extortion racket, because there is not a can of Monster Energy drink located anywhere within the country borders of Austria. All of the cans of Monster Energy Drink seem to have been banished, and sent packing. So, Red Bull is everywhere, and Monster is nowhere.
And so, on my last stop before the BnB, I decided to buy a Red Bull. They now come in new flavors. Can you believe that the flavors are called, White and Black? I mean, come on guys, these are colors, not flavors. I mean, Orange and Lemon are unique, in that they are colors, and also flavors, but White and Black are not flavors. Please, get with the program.
What will tomorrow bring?
Tomorrow is going to be a tricky day. I’ve got about 240 mile ride to Balzano Italy, where I’ll be riding through at least 2 mountain passes. My research on Balzano shows that it has two castles, an Archeology museum, and a cool cable car, which might be fun to enjoy. So, it looks like I’ll have too much to do, and not enough time to do it. So, I suspect that I’ll try to visit at least one castle for a drive by, and then the cable car. The question is whether or not I’ll go to the Air BnB, drop the bike and walk to these places, or try to do them on the bike. I guess, you’ll just have to wait and see what decisions I make, and why…