Funny and scary anecdotes of my motorcycle trips

Nevada   Yellowstone   Eastern Europe   Adriatic Sea   Southwestern USA   Iceland    Sweden and Finland   Norway   Ireland



Mina, Nevada


Motorcycle trip through California and Nevada in 2012

Beginning of September 2012 we rode from Oregon to California where we visited friends. Then on to Nevada, from where we had wanted to headed back to Oregon. We had perfect weather on our trip through California and the first part of Nevada. One day we had planned to get to Tonopah in Nevada in the evening. We were about one hour ride away from reaching Tonopah when a black wall appeared in front of us, a bad thunderstorm. We stopped to see if the storm with heavy rain and lots of lightning would pass. That was not the case, and because of all the lightning we didn't want to ride on through the wide open plains and be the highest points on the bikes. Looking at the map we saw that the closest town away from the storm was about 60 miles north, so on to Mina, NV. By the time we got there it was already dark, and we noticed that this town hadn't much to offer, a bar and several nailed shut houses. We went into the bar to ask for a possible camping site. The bar was run down and there were guys playing poker at a tabel, one of them had an eye patch. The bartender said that there was no camping site near by and offered us to camp on his stage outside or to sleep on the floor of his trailer. When we declined both, he said we could put up our tent in the park across the street. We had a look at the park, it was a small gravel patch with a few trees and two grills, right next to the highway. In lieu of other options we set up camp in the "City Park" and listened to semi truck passing all night long. Next morning we packed up, quite tired, and continued to Tonopah.





Motorcycle trip to Yellowstone in 2011

Mid June 2011 we rode from Oregon to Yellowstone. It was nice weather and sometimes quite hot. Of course we had read that Yellowstone is rather high, and that there had been a lot of snow in the past winter. We had also heard that there should be some rest snow left, which was hard to believe while riding in temperatures of more than 30C (90F) on our way there, but whatever. When we arrived at the camp site we were a little shocked, not only did my GPS show an altitude of over 2600m (8600 feet), but they had just cleared some more camping spots, the snow was in parts still more than 1m high. They gave us a talk to absolutely use the bear boxes, which turned out to be hidden somewhere under the snow. The camping spot they gave us was a nearly 2m (9 feet) high wall of snow and the road in front of it. We looked for a better available spot and demanded to change spots, which was granted. The new spot was still only a cleared, paved parking spot, but at least we were off the road. We borrowed a shovel from a neighbor and started to look for our camping table and fire pit. After a few "exploratory holes" we found them and began with the excavation, shoveling snow in June is something different. The first two nights were cold but not too bad, during the third night it snowed and the temperatures dropped far below freezing, so we were happy to move on the next day. It was a cold, but interesting experience to tent camp in the snow, especially in mid June.





Bulgarien Motorcycle trip through Eastern Europe in 2008

Cyrillic letters are used in Bulgaria, Macedonia and in the Serbian part of Bosnia. It not only makes reading traffic signs a challenge, but also makes reading a restaurant menu impossible, especially in the countryside, where English or German doesn't help.  In Shumen in Bulgaria we found then a restaurant where we could at least somewhat communicate with the waiter. We ordered what he recommended, chicken in tomato sauce, it tasted great. Since it was so good we had the waiter write the name of the dish down in cyrilic and used it to order in other restaurants.







Motorcycle trip around the Adriatic Sea in 2006

In the morning I crossed the border from Greece to Albania. Then, at around noon, I stopped at this tiny restaurant in southern Albania for lunch. The cook, which was also the waiter, brought me a hand written menu, which of course I couldn't read. After a short language tangle (me in German and English, he in Albanian and something else) we noticed that we couldn't find a common language. Then the cook took me into the kitchen and opened all pots. Everything looked good and smelled good too, but I still didn't really know what everything was. So the cook pointed to one pot and said "Baaah", then pointed to another one and said "Mooo". Then we both had a good laugh, and I ordered the "Mooo" with rice -- it was really good!









Motorcycle trip through the Southwester USA in 2005

I had shipped my motorcycle from Germany to Los Angeles for a 6-week motorcycle trip through the western states. After about a week, in mid May, I was in Las Vegas in Nevada at 100F. It wasn't only hot, but I was also stuck in traffic for hours in the city. I realized that the oil temperature of the air cooled engine rose further and further. I switched the engine off whenever I wasn't moving to prevent further overheating. This didn't entirely work, because of the constant starting of the engine the battery got weak. When I finally came to a side street with less traffic and turned off there the oil temperature was at an estimated 160C/320F (the display ends at 140C/184F and there is a red line at 120C/248F). Now you ask why I didn't stop earlier. Unfortunately this was not possible due to very high side walks, or even fenced in side walks, and stopping on the side of a four lane road is just not an option. After I stopped in the side street and waited for the engine to cool off, I took side streets out of the city. Two days later I was just before Flagstaff in Arizona when I heard the worst noise from the engine that I have ever heard. About 20 km later I was in the town and quickly found a Honda dealership, which was even open on that Sunday. Since the Honda NX650 Dominator was sold in the USA for only two years in the 80th nobody had ever seen such a bike, until a older mechanic came. He knew the bike and after diagnosing a cracked cylinder head he also knew where to get a new one by expedited mail. Three days later I was on the road again, Thank you very much! The awful noise was actually caused by a valve seat slipping out in the cracked cylinder head, and then by the valve pushing it back in.








Motorcycle trip to Iceland in 2002

While I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Iceland it started to rain (well, it happens). So, I stopped to put on my rain gear. Since I can't reach my wallet in the one piece rain suit and I needed gas soon, I took the wallet out of my pants to place it in my small handle bar bag. After about one hour of riding it stopped raining, so I stopped again to take of my rain gear. I nearly got a heart attack when I realized that my wallet wasn't in the handle bar bag. I had put it on the luggage roll while I put on the rain gear to put it in the bag later, which I obviously had forgotten to do. I searched in panic in every possible and impossible place on the bike, the luggage, and my clothes, but my wallet wasn't there. The wallet had to have fallen down while I was riding, and it contained all my cash, my credit cards, my ID card, and my drivers license! After I yelled "Shit!" several times I got back on the bike and rode the same way back, this time in first gear with my eyes pinned to the dirt road and its banks. When I came close to the area where I had put on the rain gear I had nearly given up on finding my wallet. But I decide to ride up and down the road until I would run out of gas, and then camp there until the next person would come by. Then suddenly I noticed a flat, square stone in the mud. I stopped and lifted it up - and it really was my wallet! Never before or since have I performed such a happy dance, and I'm glad nobody was around to film it.










Motorcycle trip to Sweden and Finland in 2002

My motorcycle trip in May was planned to go from Germany trough Sweden up past the arctic circle and then trough Finland back home. In Sweden the weather was perfect, even just before the arctic circle it was still 15C/60F. Then the weather changed over night and suddenly it was rainy with high temperatures of 2C/35F. This wasn't pleasant, but I was prepared for this kind of weather, so I rode on further north. Two days later, I had just crossed the border to Finland, when it got even colder. The high temperature was now far below freezing and it snowed sometime heavily. After just one hour of riding I was so cold that I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. So, I decided to head south as quickly as possible, but after three hours I just couldn't go any further. Then I noticed a sign for a camping cabin and decided to take it whatever the price might be. It turned out to be a real luxury cabin, which I got (probably because of pity) for a acceptable price. The cabin didn't only have heating, but also a sauna! I fired up the sauna and got in until I came back to an acceptable body temperature. Then I went to bed and slept for nearly 12 hours. The next two days I rode further south like on the run, and stayed in warm hotels at night. Finally the temperatures became a little warmer and I could continue my way home a little more relaxed.





Norwegen, Nordkap



Motorcycle trip to the North Cape in Norway in 2001

On the way to the North Cape in Norway I decided on short notice to take the ferry from Bodo to the Lofoten. It turns out the ferry runs only twice a week and of course not the day I was there. But by chance a old mail ship of the Hurtigruten was there and ready to depart in a few minutes. So I hurried to find out where to buy a ticket, and if they take motorcycle at all. They take motorcycles and even cars as long as there is space on deck. When I asked where I should ride the bike on board they just pointed to the crane on deck. The captain came down to inspect the bike for damages and noted a few scratches. After unloading at the Lofoten he inspected the bike again, and I signed that they didn't damage my motorcycle. The normal ferry is a little cheaper, but I didn't want to wait for days, and the show with the crane was worth the price.








Motorcycle trip to Ireland in 2001

My Ireland trip was the first big trip with my new luggage. I liked the large bag, because one could unzip and then flip down two small side bag to reduce the width of the bike. With a second zipper one could take off the side bags. I had identified this as a possible problem and sewed the second zipper shut, so that it wouldn't open while riding. On the quite bad roads in Ireland and especially on the passes one of the zippers must have opened anyway and I lost one of the side bags. When I notice the missing bag I turned around and searched for it, but I couldn't find it. I hadn't only lost the side bag, but also a pullover, a jeans, and my rain suit. Surprisingly it didn't rain on the entire rest of the trip, until I nearly reached the ferry in England. I was quite lucky under the circumstances.

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