Fri Aug 17 2007: Shipping the Bikes Home from Munich

We have to drop the bikes off at the Cargo Terminal at Munich Airport today. I'm not looking forward to doing this. Even though we're not leaving Munich for a couple more days, having our babies wrapped up in a cargo warehouse brings about a sense of finality to our motorcycle trip. It's a quick 20-minute ride north of the city on the Autobahn, and both Neda and I are feeling those last-ride blues. Which actually, we shouldn't have, but more about that later.

We were expecting the worst with the Cargo folks at Munich, given the experience we had at Gatwick Cargo in London. I had reserved the whole day to wait and jump through whatever hoops the cargo/customs folks had to throw at us. It started off badly, when the cargo office wanted us to pay them €300, which they wanted in cash, not credit card. So I had to ride around looking for a bank machine in the airport area, and then came back. We got sent down to the loading dock of the warehouse, and faced our next problem, which was entirely of our doing. A couple of days ago, entering Germany, we had filled our gas tanks up to the brim, as was our customary habit. However, right after doing so, I made a mental note that we had to drain our tanks by doing some mileage before we shipped the bikes out, as the cargo folks wanted no gas in the motorcycle for shipping. But since we've been taking the subway for the last two days, both of us had over half a tank of gas left, which was unacceptable to the shippers.

In the cargo warehouse. We realize here that we have to burn over half a tank of gas.

So 1/2 a tank of gas, no siphoning equipment, the Autobahn awaiting us, the only question is where could we go? I estimated we had a 75 km range to burn off 150 kms (1/2 tank) worth of fuel. One place stood out on my GPS. Ingolstadt. Wasn't Audi based out of there? And I remembered reading they had a great automotive museum as well. So our last ride got extended just a little bit longer. We made sure to try to stay above 150 km/h on the Autobahn to decrease our fuel-effiency. There's something perverse about trying to burn off $2.00CDN/litre gas just for the sake of it. When we reached Ingolstadt, we immediately noticed more Audis on the road. Not just a few more. Lots of them! Just as BMW owns Munich, Audi owns Ingolstadt. Kind of a consolation prize - who's really heard of Ingolstadt, right? But Audi has one hell of a great Automotive museum, and a cool Movenpick restaurant in the lobby as well! :) I've heard Volkswagen has a great museum as well in Wolfburg, and BMW must be feeling the heat, because in the last couple of years, they've been building a huge structure that will house a pretty awesome museum. But, true to the luck we've been having with timing, the BMW Welt (as they call the structure) is only opening in late October.

Audi Forum in Ingolstadt, 75 kms away from Munich. And us all decked out in Bavarian Motorrad gear...

Compare: the Audi museum above and the BMW shed, er museum below.
The Bavaria boys need to play some serious catch-up. That's the idea behind the BMW Welt (see above)

Did you know Audi used to make motorcycles? Actually, it was a company called DKW that
merged with Audi in 1932. They continued to manufacture motorcycles until after WWII

Halfway back to the airport, we hit the reserve levels of our tank and the miles-to-go counter starts ticking down rapidly. We slow to a sedate 120 km/h for fear that we'll run out of gas, and I pull into the cargo warehouse with 36 kms left in the tank. Calculated it perfectly! The cargo guys were really nice and everything from that point on went smoothly. We met a guy who just flew his BMW motorcycle in from Vancouver. He was nine months into a tour that just included riding from the southern tip of South America all the way to Alaska. As we waved goodbye to our motorcycles, our minds were abuzz with the logistics of doing such a trip ourselves.

The train ride back to Munich had us discussing what it would take to do a motorcycle tour for over year, possibly two, that would take us around Europe (properly this time), Eastern-Europe, Africa and Asia, and even back to the Americas (south and central). It probably won't happen for a few years, but I think we're both committed to this idea. Last year, after riding to California and back, the seeds were planted for this Europe trip. Now, at the end of this trip, we've got to up the stakes again. "Ride The World", indeed!

Back in Munich for dinner. So my veggie diet didn't last long. Here I am with typical Bavarian fare:
a plate of four different bratwurst, laced with slices of bacon, on a bed of sauerkraut and mashed potatoes! YUM!

Germans don't eat as late at the Italians and Spaniards do. We close the place at 10PM...

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