Author Topic: To the Harz and back.......  (Read 3717 times)

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  • Offline Hartley   england

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    Offline Hartley

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    To the Harz and back.......
    on: Jun 14, 2017, 12.00 am
    Jun 14, 2017, 12.00 am
    This years trip was a jaunt over to the Harz mountains in Germany, for those that don’t know this is an area covering what was the East/West border of the  “Old Germany”, about 50km south of Hanover.

    Unlike the last couple of years there’d be a fair sized group for this one, 7 Bikes in total. Carl and his son Robert on an FJR, Kev n Clare on a GSA, Mike on a Blackbird, Carl 2 on a GS, Guy on a Guzzi Stelvio. Steve and Sheryl on a R1200R BMW and Paula and myself on the CT DCT.

    With people coming from all over, Manchester, Retford, Grantham, Brighton and Steve and Sheryl in Holland we decided the whole group would meet up the other side of the water in our hotel in Eindhoven.

    Saturday,
    We set of in sunshine, Carl and Robert had ridden down to Northampton Friday to ride with us to the tunnel.



    Bikes all clean and polished they weren’t to stay that long for long, the weather Gods had decided that a big rain cloud would also accompany us for the ride south. Needless to say by the time we got to the tunnel the bikes were filthy.  When booking the train we allow for worst case but try to arrive around 1 to 2 hours earlier as they normally get you on the next available crossing. Unfortunately this time there were delays and we were set to cross an hour later than our booked time.  After a quick lunch we decided to try and wing it, plead ignorance and head to the train. It worked and we ended up crossing pretty much at our originally booked time.



    That was us, Carl and Robert across. Guy had got an earlier crossing but Mike, Kev n Clare and Carl 2 were stationary on the A1 after a car accident.
    We arrived at our hotel in Eindhoven about 5pm, 5 minutes behind Guy, with Steve and Sheryl from Holland already showered and changed and ready to hit the bar. We stayed at a Campernile as it was close to our route and I have to say these places are great value with excellent bars and restaurants. We ate at one in Ghent a few years ago and the food was good there too.



    The A1 gang didn’t arrive til about 10, they’d had a very long day with a curled up motorway services sandwich for dinner.


    Sunday,
    We left Eindhoven as it started to rain and after the loudest clap of thunder I’ve ever heard.



     There isn’t really a good route to the Harz without going a very long way round so the run from the tunnel to the mountains is pretty much motorway all the way.  However, id found a route that left the motorway about 2 hrs along that made the ride a lot better, sun also came out.



    As Ive said elsewhere, we stayed at the Biker Harmonie Hotel once before and we were greeted by Peter and Corinna like old friends.



    After a shower it was time for a few cold ones and dinner at a restaurant Peter had booked for us in advance.  (A common theme which I will explain later)



    Monday,
    After a chilled breakfast we decided to take a ride to the Kyffhäuser Monument.

    Brief stop at Torfhaus, in the distance you can see an old cold war listening station on what was the other side of the fence.



    The Kyffhauser Monument  also known as the Barbarossa Monument or the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument and is the third-largest monument in Germany. We’d been up to it before so didn’t actually take the walk up to it this time but It’s well worth a visit if you’ve not seen it.


    This is Kyffhauser from a previous trip.

    The road up to it is also quite special, something like 30 hairpins in 4 miles or whatever. Unfortunately we got stuck behind a motorhome on the way up, all clear on the way down though… The evening was spent in a local Yugoslavian restaurant, great again.



    Tuesday,
    There’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for many years and though not local to the Harz its doable in a day so, todays destination was Colditz. Kev had done a little research and discovered there was a guided tour at 1.00pm so to ensure we made it we would have to take the main roads to do the 150 miles to get there in time. We arrived about 12.00 but the guide told us that we’d be better taking the 2 oclock 2 hr tour as we’d see a lot more.  This would mean getting back late and we’d have to bin the scenic route I had planned but it was too good an opportunity to miss.   The tour was brilliant, tales of the history of the castle and what life was like as a “guest”. All the different tunnels and brilliant and bonkers ideas for escape. Finishing with visit to the glider loft to see a replica of the one that was being built when the prisoners were liberated. I’ve been told by so many people that it isn’t worth visiting Colditz, well, I have to disagree, we all thought it was brilliant.







     Was it worth the ride back, I’m not so sure…

    As we left Colditz is was starting to rain, nothing serious but a few drops, though it was very hot.  As we pulled away after a fuel stop I could see the sky in the distance was looking very angry.  As we rode on it started to rain heavier and heavier with the side wind increasing into a full blown storm, thunder, lighting, hail, the works.  So much in fact that the motorway became like a river, visibility down to about 20 feet. I was leading and decided to stay behind a truck and follow his tail lights, I couldn’t see any of the guys behind us. It just got worse and worse, we were probably down to about 15mph the bike was all over the place, water inches deep.  I do not mind admitting, this is the most scared ive ever been. I genuinely thought there was no way we’re not coming off the bike soon. I considered pulling off onto the hard shoulder but the visibility was so low and with so much water about I thought the risk of getting hit by something was to great, it was just too dangerous and there was no bridges to for shelter. Eventually we came to a junction off the motorway so I decided to get off the motorway and try to find somewhere safe to stop.  We were then riding head on in to the wind and rain, it was relentless. I have never experienced weather like this. As we rode on we came to an industrial estate managed to find a unit with a canopy at the front so we parked under there a waited for the storm to pass. It wasn’t until this point I could check to see if we were all still together. Thankfully everyone was ok.



    I said we wouldn’t be leaving until everyone was happy to carry on. We’re all experienced riders and were pretty shaken by the experience. It probably took the best part of an hour until things had calmed down enough to carry on. Less than a mile further along the motorway, on the opposite carriageway there was a truck on its side, its loads scattered across a field.  We got back to the hotel about 8.30 all ready for a drink and the local butcher’s speciality Goulash which Peter had arranged, after a good tea and a whole bottle of red to myself it was time for bed.

    Wednesday,
    After the previous days adventures we opted for a bit of a lay in and a more chilled day. Some of the group who’d not visited the area before wanted to see the Mittelbau Dora concentration Camp, a very moving and thought provoking place. Steve Sheryl , Paula and myself opted to take a ride out to a couple of castles and the Rappbodetalsperre dam.










    Yet again Peter and Corrina had sorted our dinner venue and transport. Tonights dining experience would be at a place called XXXL.









    No idea what the name referes too :084:

    Back at the hotel more beer, Steve on the Guitar and a jolly good sing along. The atmoshere at this hotel is second to none.

    Thursday,
    Last full day in the Harz. It was a beautiful morning so I got up early and went for a spin on my own before breakfast.



    Later some of us headed off to Stolberg for a look around. Some opted for a day off the bike before the long ride back towards the tunnel the following day.
    Mike visited a transport museum.
    For a final night Peter and Corrina laid on a fantastic BBQ at the hotel.

    Friday,
    As I said, there really isn’t a good way to get to the Harz, which in turn means there isn’t a good way back either. It was always going to be a long slog. Kev n Clare, Mike and Carl 2 were Stopping at Ypres for the night on the way back so left a little earlier than the rest of us.  Guy, Carl, Robert, Paula and myself were booked into a hotel in Aaltar , Steve and Sheryl would be heading North at Eindhoven and home.
    It was just a 365 mile motorway slog, but as last time, very hot a with the road around Antwerp a nightmare. (I’m determined to find a way to avoid that place next time.) I love riding a bike but sometimes you can’t help but feel glad to get off it. Few beers and a Pizza and it was time to hit the hay.



    Saturday.
    Blast to the tunnel across the water, or rather under it and head for home……..

    This was the second time we’ve visited the Harz and the trip felt different this time as the group was different. We tended to ride the same roads quite a lot but mainly due to the places people wanted to visit all being in the same area. There is a lot to offer as regards sightseeing but for me the big plus for the area are the roads. It’s not like the Alps for scenery but if you like to ride your bike for the sake of it, it’s brilliant. The tarmac is generally very good with everything from tight twisty hairpins to long straight and fast gentle curves. Through forests and wide open landscapes.  For a week away on the bike where you want a base rather than moving on everyday it’s hard to beat. I’d also say it’s a lot more affordable than some of the trips we’ve done.  The Hotel in the Harz does a 5 night package that’s 265 Euros for a double room including breakfast. The bar is brilliant, well stocked and you’ll not get ripped off.  As Ive said in the post, Peter had ideas for our evening meals when we arrived and we said we’d go with his suggestion.  Not one of our group had any complaints and everywhere we ate was very excellent and great value. That said if you wanted to do your own thing, that wouldn’t be a problem either.




    So how did the bike perform? 
    This is my second CT, the first being a manual, whos first trip was to this very place.
    As with the first one, I think the Harz is made for the CT, it just seems to suit the bike perfectly. The big Honda easily eats the miles getting there, cruising at the limit and carrying all our gear with ease. My last CT gave me the best MPG ever on the way back at 55.2 MPG, the new one managed 55.1.  As a lot of the roads are smooth and fast and flowing to can really get the most from the engine without highlighting the occasionally harsh suspension. I’m loving the DCT ‘box, the more I ride it the better I think it is. That said on the tight twisty hairpins down from Kyffhauser I’d left it in S and was manually changing down using engine breaking and I found it would change back up when I didn’t want it too.  In retrospect id have been better having it in manual mode so it’s more a case of me learning how to get the best from it rather than a problem with the bike to be honest.
    One other thing was the handbrake which I’ve probably used 2 or 3 times. I stopped for a pic on the morning I went out on my own to find it wouldn’t stop the bike from rolling back on a slope, I adjusted it at the bar end as it would be needed for the tunnel crossing but it’s now on the full extent of the adjustment  so needs to be adjusted properly. Something the book says is a dealer job.
    Overall though the CT was great.

    Ive got a few videos i took which im editing at the mo so will post those later.



  • Offline Yasko   england

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    Offline Yasko

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #1 on: Jun 14, 2017, 06.23 am
    Jun 14, 2017, 06.23 am
     :047: Very enjoyable read and excellent photos, thanks for sharing. Sensible riding in that awful weather and pleased after all the problems you had getting the new CT how well it rode. Ride safe.
    Bill

  • Offline slomogadgie   scotland

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    Offline slomogadgie

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #2 on: Jun 14, 2017, 07.22 am
    Jun 14, 2017, 07.22 am
    Nice one matey
    What do you mean it's raining....get ootside and ride the thing.

  • Offline whitegloss

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    Offline whitegloss

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #3 on: Jun 14, 2017, 09.19 am
    Jun 14, 2017, 09.19 am
    Good read

  • Offline Hartley   england

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    Offline Hartley

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #4 on: Jun 14, 2017, 10.05 am
    Jun 14, 2017, 10.05 am
    The mileage for the trip was 1930 miles, returned with 5300 on the bike since March, well that's blown the PCP limit out of the water  :008:


  • Offline Fatsam47

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #5 on: Jun 14, 2017, 02.47 pm
    Jun 14, 2017, 02.47 pm
    Excellent write up Paul. The rain storm didn't sound like fun but the trip looked great.  :152:

  • Offline Fatsam47

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    Offline Fatsam47

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #6 on: Jun 14, 2017, 03.04 pm
    Jun 14, 2017, 03.04 pm
    Oh, and on the parking brake this thread looks useful. https://www.crosstourer.com/index.php/topic,5127.msg51404.html#msg51404

    I've been looking myself as, yet again, I've ridden off with the brake on and it needs adjusting for upcoming ferry.  :001:

  • Offline Dave56   gb

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    Offline Dave56

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    Re: To the Harz and back.......
    Reply #7 on: Jun 14, 2017, 07.55 pm
    Jun 14, 2017, 07.55 pm
     :047: Great write up and pictures Paul, really enjoyed the read and as for that storm it sounded both biblical and terrifying.
    Look forward to the vids mate.  :028:
    "The more the miles, the bigger the smiles"

     



    arab-exile