Midnight Trucking

DSC07115When I finished my Celtic Tour, there was still a big list of tasks waiting for me. First up was delivering the motorcycles from the tour to various new destinations. I’d be driving the trusty Edelweiss Iveco Daily van I got so used to, just this time with a massive trailer attached to the back and all the extra difficulties that entails.

I drove up and down to Edinburgh from Birmingham, around 1000km, in two separate half days. I purposely avoided the main motorway heading up, crossing into Scotland at a suitably impressive border crossing. 5 motorcycles were left in Edinburgh for the next tour guide to use, and I turned back to collect the remaining Triumph Tigers for their Journey back home to Austria. On the way back I passed under the 1980’s faded glory of the Lancaster services for what must have been the 10th time this trip, but I’m not sure if that’s an achievement to be proud of…

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On the ferry from Dover to Calais, a dream of mine came true. As my 15-meter long carriage required a true, blue, freight drivers ticket, I was admitted into the Road Kings Lounge. This is something I had always wondered about when I regularly made this crossing years ago with my motorcycle. At the Road Kings club, I was entitled to some free greasy grub. Non-vegetarian unfortunately.

I spent one night at home, and one night at fellow tour guide Danilo’s house, eventually reaching the edge of the Alps from the Allgau, passing into Tirol. After 5 days of thundering over the highways, capped at 90 km/h and taking mandatory breaks every 4.5 hours, it was nice to have the end in sight. I’d actually gotten so bored of listening to my music, I resorted to listening to historically themed podcasts to pass the time.

My welcome in Mieming was different from the previous times. This time, I’d actually completed my first tours, and I could tell I wasn’t being seen as a complete beginner anymore. Once there, I was put to work on a myriad of tasks; loading and unloading motorcycles, transport and recovery, and washing bikes. I got a little Honda to zip around Mieming on from the hotel to work (a company motorcycle, how cool is that), and generally had a great time in the sweltering Austrian summer. After 4 days I then flew back home.

I then spent a week, with some help, to prepare my own van for the upcoming roadtrip. The van was still filled with cabinets preventing the loading of precious cargo such as my motorcycle, had a flat battery, and could do with a few comforts for longer trips. Being back in Belgium, with some rest, was nice, and despite having done it so many times leaving feels like a bit of a step to take. My motorcycle loaded, I set off for Denmark, and then Sweden.

DSC07163Since I never like rushing, especially after some of the mad dashes I did in Australia, I like to take an interesting break if they appear. So when I saw Landschaftspark Duisburg appear on signs, a kind of bizarre abandoned steel-mill turned recreation park I’d been to before many years ago, I knew it was time for another visit. I have too many pictures for this post, so I’ll do one on it in the future. Meanwhile you can admire how nicely my van fit into the surroundings at the parking lot there.

DSC07200After sleeping in the back of the van for a night, I crossed into Denmark on the Putgarden – Rodby ferry. Luckily we’d removed some stuff on the roof rack, or I would not have fit into the boat. I’d be relegated to the truck drivers ferry instead in that case, but perhaps that would not be so bad if they have an exclusive lounge…

In Copenhagen I visited Christiania, a bizarre hippie/squatter/alternative neighbourhood that features an open-air cannabis marketplace, where gangsters in balaclavas, caps and sunglasses, sitting in stalls with names like “King Hassan” and “Kashmir Paradise” try to draw your interest to their mind-expanding wares.

Once I was done with some work in Copenhagen and Malmo, I picked up Theo, a young French guy who was riding along to Stockholm with me, to split fuel costs. We got along really well and I stopped at some nice places I knew from my time here before, like Sweden’s best known ruin (where I also stopped with this motorcycle in a van about a year ago), or the Skansundet Ferry I used to take so often with friends on my motorcycle.

Once in Stockholm, I met up with some old friends and was generally amazed at how at home I felt again (maybe too much even) being back there. But the main goal was to prepare and load up motorcycles for our highlight of July; a mammoth offroad trip from the northernmost areas of Sweden, back down to Stockholm. Timmy and Christian, my two most offroad-hungry motorcycle buddies, are coming along on this trip. Me and Christian take the bikes up to Lulea, and Timmy flies in by Wednesday when we really get started.

DSC07233So, for a change, I’ve been on the road again today, eating the miles in a van, with two-wheelers in the back. The Swedish summer landscape is at least more interesting to see than mainland Europe, and with only 600 or so kilometres to go tomorrow, it’ll be a breeze compared to previous endeavors. I’m already looking forward to riding through the forest on two wheels in a few days!

(and just to summarize this post, I did Scotland – England – Belgium – Germany – Austria + Italy – Belgium – Germany – Denmark – Sweden in the past 3 weeks!)

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