Monday, July 30, 2007

Pictures from the meet.

Dear reader!
The ACTUAL blog ended in the previous transmission.
This one only contains images from the yearly Nimbus meet in Denmark.
If you like the little chubby Danish Nimbus bike and want to see more of it and its riders, please be my guest. If you are more interesting of what went on during the Euronimbus endevour, fast forward to the next section.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Going to the meet and the ride home. (July 26-29)

This is the the last written entry. It covers the last days of the trip (July 26-July 29). There is an extra entry after this one and it only contains images from the meet, to give you a feel for how it was there.

In the morning, I found Lars-Inge and Miles at the ferry station. We also meet a few Nimbus riders from the south of Denmark, near the German border who figured that it would be smarter to go via Sassnitz than to go all the way up to Copenhagen and Scania first. The boat was a chug-along diesel and it took a few hours of boredom, but eventually we reached Bornholm and steered our way to the meet.

The meet was held in old army barracks that, today, serves as training and recovery facilities for the Danish Afghanistan forces. The whole camp was fairly dated and consisted of several wooden buildings. We opted to sleep in tents (of course) but some choose to live in the actual barracks, regardless of the scorn they got from us (only a damsel would live in a hotel, and likewise smart-Alec comments). For me it was good to meet all the friends and old acquaintances from the Danish Nimbus community. Lars-Inge and Miles were new to this and they went around, slightly dazed, at the sight of all these little Danish machines and their owners.

The tent city was surrounding a dirt track that, in turn, surrounded a soccer field. You were NOT allowed to ride on the dirt track OR the soccer field. There was supposed to be a 9 feet open space surrounding every tent. Showers could not be taken before 08:30 AM, no revving of engines after 02:00 AM and no littering. O-o-o, you're in the army – now.... So we did not ride on the soccer field, we reved our engines to 01:45, only rode a LITTLE on the dirt track, put our tents up with a 6 feet distance (tops) and hid our empty beer cans under the sides of the other guys tent. After all, we ARE bikers, right? But maybe not THAT hard core. The motto of the Nimbus biker is, of course: Born to be Mild... So...

The military camp commandant held a small speech about the camp, its history and some about the bikes (that he probably googled up). There was a detail about the camp that was pretty funny though. It was said that the population of the island of Bornholm were happy to get the camp (it was erected directly after WW-II) since it brought many good things to the island. Among other things it brought a thousand young men and this was great for bringing new blood to the island to counter the potential problem of inbreeding. That remark all threw us back a little.. Did the islanders have high hopes about US too? But no, the time was to short and the program schedule to tight. Probably not.

We went on two joint rides, one on Friday and one on Saturday. The meet was relatively normal in size (500 some participants and around 250 motorcycles) It IS amazing to ride with so many others on a brand that is so small outside Denmark. These motorcycles are so old and each of them has been in operation for so long and has so many stories around them so it is easy to be philosophical and even emotional during these rides. The Saturday ride went to a natural historical museum that described the forming of the island of Bornholm and the Sunday ride went to a living museum covering the middle ages. The Sunday tour had a little twist that I never had seen being done before. At one stage of the tour, we went down into what turned out to be a cul-de-sac at the coast. You went down a little winding road, turned around and met every other bike that was on the tour. The bikes were almost dancing along the twist and turns, in and out between the houses by the shore. It was magical.

My Copenhagen buddy Kim Scholer popped up with his amazing grey bobber Nimbus and Miles could have a little ride on it. Miles was all smiles when he came back. The bobber is a very pretty piece of design and unique on the meet (as is Kim, of course, but all who knows him are aware of that).

The Swedish contingent hit a new record when it came to participation (11 persons) and we formed our own little tent section at one end of the field. We strutted up and down and behaved Swedishly and highly exotic.

All of a sudden two beat up Norwegian motorcycles rolled in at the camp site. It was the bikes of the team that went to Singapore last year. Two Norwegian guys (Tormod and the Polar Bear) bought two Nimbii basket cases, built them up and went on an, hitherto unheard of, tour from Norway to Singapore through (among others) the Baltics, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. Now that is a trip that makes our little adventure pale into a walk in the park. They do have a blog that describes most of the trip Only Tormod could make it to the meet and the other bike was ridden by one of his friends, but it was a great honor to meet this intrepid adventurer again. See more about their stunning trip at: Alas, the entire trip has not been entered yet due to technical difficulties, but the part that is in there goes all the way to India, so it is well worth to check it up.

Eventually it was time for the Saturday night Nimbus fiesta, held in the gymnasium of the camp. I had recieved a price for doing the Nimbus community the most service during 2006 and I was handing it on to a worthy successor. And who would be more worthy than John of JC Nimbus who had helped all non Danish Nimbusist so much. So John it was. We stumbled into bed the last night and the following day was the final ride home.

When waking up the next day, people had already begun to leave and we packed our things, said good bye to our friends and set out for the ferry. I stopped by an Internet cafe to do the two transcripts from Munchen and Sassnitz and went down the ferry, waiting in line with some other Nimbus riders and a WHOLE lot of cars. We were going with the Catamaran and when that thing turned up, it was HUGE, evil looking and noisy. You expected Dart Wader to be the driver of it. We rode on board with a certain hesitation and our ride casted off. The boat soon got up to full power and charged out over the sea at an amazing speed. The bad news for me, since I suffer from motion sickness, was that the waves were coming towards it at an angle and the whole boat rocked and swayed wildly. I placed myself at a box on the aft deck and watched the horizon intensely together with other miserably sea sick persons and although the ride was very swift, it sure as nothing was NOT smooth. Just before we entered port, the speaker announced that the ferry company were real glad to have us on board and would be happy to see us again real soon, the sadists.

We got our Nimbii on terra firma and set out on the last ride. It was good to see the familiar landscape and the ride was nice and uneventful with the exception of a little rain shower that we just hit the tail of. Soon we were close to Harlosa, where we had set out from and I called home to announce our arrival. The ones we left behind came out to greet us and we had our pictures taken as we rode up. That concluded our journey and this blog (with the exception of the picture gallery of the Nimbus meet) and the last three images shows us riding off to adventure at the beginning of the tour, coming back from it and waving bye bye to you, our faithful readers.

To sum it all up: What are you waiting for? Adventure does not come to you. You have to go out and seek it. And if you do, why not go on the little chubby Danish Nimbus? You know, you can always make it go.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rotten rides and lovely camp.

The train to Berlin rattled all night. It shook, vibrated, squeaked and slammed. No sleep for the weary. Bikes were unloaded for what proved to be our worst day yet. The ride to Sassnitz and the ferry to Bornholm. Miles begun this days little amusements by absolutely refuse to go one meter on the Autobahn. This triggered Lars-Inge to use his borrowed GPS to get us from the western suburbs of Berlin to the northern ones. This took us about an hour and a half. THEN.... We ran into a road block. Apparently the German police, or other authority, had stumbled on an American quarter ton air bomb from the second world war. Somebody had (and very wisely so) decided that US bombs are not something you play with, even after 60 years in the ground, so a HUGE area was blocked. Just were we intended to ride after the Berlin/GPS-ordeal. The world is a zero sum game, but since somebody else OBVIOUSLY always wins, you always lose. We had to make a detour. Then Lars-Inge did not realize that the detour had a detour. So we got lost again. Detour is UMLEITUNG in German and is symbolized by the letter U, a directional arrow all mounted to a yellow sign. Inspired by an enthusiastic greyed lady who claimed that Lowenburg (a town on the illusive route 96, which we were supposed to take) was ZAT WAY <-, while we were going ZE ODDER WAY ->, I overtook Lars-Inge and begun to actually read what the road signs said. And, you know, road signs can be quite informative.

Finally we were (more or less) on ROUTE 96. Directed towards (in a vague kinda way) towards Sassnitz and the ferry out of Germany. This very much sounds like a cheap Hollywood production, but it is not. It is a dead serious, real life, blood and gut, honor and boy scouts, thing. The ferry leaves tomorrow at noon, may we be on it or not. So, the tarmac was continued to be consumed by our wheels and the sleepless night on the train begun to show more and more. I have dozed off several times and when I woke up by the WHAM from the slip stream of a passing truck, I sobered up quite a bit. We all did and pulled over at an ARAL gas station, filled up and took a power nap. I must have looked quite ridiculous on top of the box on my sidecar, hands inside my pants, so that they were kept in place and did not fell down, my Nimbus cap over my eyes and my head resting on my rolled up gloves. Lars-Inge and Miles slept in the grass behind the car wash. We soon got up and started to roll again, since we found out that we could not find the Espresso coffee powder anywhere. Miles had suggested that we should have an Espresso to ensure that we stayed well away from the realms of Morpheus. But not so. The power nap had made its thing, though, and there were no more near death encounters.

Eventually we came pretty close to Sassnitz. So close that the concept of setting up camp became a reality more than a futile desire. So, we begun to look for a camp. And, as usual, the locals had very vague ideas of where to find one. Or, in deed, it seemed, what a camp really was. We rode back, forth, here, there but nowhere did we find a place to set up our tents. There WAS a notion about the illusive camp in the national park, vaguely to the north west of Sassnitz, but nobody really could say where it was. Or if it, in deed, existed at all. Miles gave up first and said that he thought that everything we had done so far was pretty silly, that he wanted to get a room, regardless where, and that he would, hopefully, meet us at the ferry tomorrow.

Lars-Inge immediately interjected that he had seen a motel, no less. I threw up my hands in disgust at this point and demanded the ferry tickets for me and Nimmer, my tent and then set out in pursuit of the mystical camp in the national park. I am happy to say that I did not do the bad choice. The camp is situated in a towering beech tree forest. The camp it self is pretty hidden, which means that people must be on a mission to find it. You pay a minimal fee and you can set up camp wherever you like. Your neighbors are ALL very interesting, which goes without saying since they actually FOUND the camp, and you can exhale and converse the VERY fit elderly man in the tent next to you and find out that he takes natural photos with a vintage camera of leather, brass, wood and precision ground lenses that he built himself. Or the family to the left who have come down from the middle of Sweden to this very place all for the magic of it all. Across are happy Germans who, perhaps, had a beer or two to many to drink, but they really like my motorcycle and went over the top when I fired it up for demonstration purposes. And everywhere are happy kids flying kites, playing catch or admiring the wonders of the beech tree forest. This was also a treasure to find. I will make a land mark in my trusty Magellan so that I know that I can find it again, should the occasion occur. A blackbird is upset a distance away, the low murmuring voices among my fellow campers gently fills the evening air, my organic wine is almost consumed and I am going to shut down for tonight. Do I want to swap for a motel? Naw... Not very likely...

Tomorrow we are going to the Nimbus meet in Bornholm. The entire meet will been compressed and condensed into one transmission, but with pretty many images.
It might be worth waiting for...