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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 12:27 AM   #101
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A fellow Ducatisti (Seppo) over on ADVrider hit me up a while back and let me know he had a bed for my head and roads for my bike if/when I made it to Austria. All the pics above were taken on the way to his place--a 3.5 hour ride (on backroads) ended up taking almost 9. Why?

The SIM card I got in Italy worked fine until about an hour into my ride. If anyone tells you SIM cards are easy in Europe they're either lying or very, very lucky (only one I've purchased worked through several countries). The procedure is--get into a country, try to find an actual SIM card and then try to activate it in German, Italian, French, etc...then just TRY and keep it working. 1 gig of data has never pulled more than 300 megs....and once 1 gig of data only got me 10 megs. 35 Euros for 1 day of cell service.

Anyhow, I busted out my Garmin and plugged in my spare battery, as the fucker works for about 20-40 minutes before dying. It took me to literally the middle of nowhere. I'd find Seppo's address, it'd tell me it was about 60km away, then when I'd hit "GO" it'd route me to the middle of a road about 2km away. It did this over and over again. I should have just smashed it with a hammer, but I didn't have one....so I ended up heading to a town to find a new SIM card. That wasted an hour, but led me to a post office that had 'em. By the time I arrived, they'd already closed. A super-sweet girl who absolutely lit up when I told her I'd quit my job to travel around the world knew of a Post office that closed at six....made it there, also just after the workers had locked and vacated the premises.

Anyhow, it was a day of frustration and difficulty, punctuated by some of the most gloriously cinematic landscapes I'd ever seen. Twice in my life I've been in a location so unreal that I couldn't help but feeling deep in my bones that 'this cannot possibly exist.' Once was in Bora Bora, the second was Austria. My memory has since confirmed the unreal nature of the landscape, as Austria has been stored in that portion of the brain devoted to memories of things that never actually happened (dreams, movies, video games).

Finally made it to Seppo's place close to 9 hours after I'd first suited up. Long, long day. Least it didn't rain.

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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 12:30 AM   #102
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It's a strange thing, being on the road all day, lost or weary or just plain disoriented--and then finding oneself in a strangers house entirely welcome and comfortable.

Mr. Seppo had a few friends over to celebrate a rather specific occasion in their past. Even though I was crashing their party--and sort of forcing them to be polite enough to all speak in English--they welcomed me as if I was one of them. My Coast to Coast ride reset my estimation of how surprisingly thoughtful and accommodating even total strangers can be, but it was quite something else to be on the other side of the globe in the basement of a house built in 1740 (and rebuilt during both world wars), with a group of Austrian friends who, well, were becoming my new friends.



I'm quite fascinated by how, despite growing up in completely different countries, we shared a remarkably similar perspective on the world. Different experiences, similar results, as if an inevitable, civilized default was unavoidable.

Having moved around so much my life it was hard to grasp what it'd be like living in a house and farming land that your ancestors lived in (and farmed) for nearly 300 years.





So clean, logical and neat!


Ah yes, it turns out that their dad is the Mayor of their town. Strange world this is, or so it is to me.

The next day we go for a ride....
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 12:45 AM   #103
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Apparently Austria has an agreement with Tahiti that allows the importation of crystal-clear water. Seriously--who would expect this in Austria?







Seppo and I rode over to a fellow Ducatista's house where we met up with a few other people. Normally I am not fond of group rides, which typically become a huge ego-fest until someone crashes. But this is Austria and these were Austrians. Restrained, calculated, precise. Meaning I was the only idiot in the group this day.

We stopped in one of Austria's National Parks for some lunch.





It was the first time I'd ever had Wiener Schnitzel. And it was the first real meal I'd eaten in probably 3....It was around this time I noticed that even some of the worst of Austria looks like some of the better parts of Yosemite. If you're Austrian, under no circumstances should you visit any of the National Parks in the US (except Death Valley) unless you simply miss the scenery of home and like to drive at 4mph.






One thing I noticed at lunch: everyone finishes EVERYTHING on their plate. I just left sauce, but they seem to have managed how to eat sauce with a fork much better than I could ever hope to.

Then it was onto dessert, which I skipped. They said they wanted ice cream, so I expected "cones." Ha. Austria takes ice cream far more seriously than we do in the US!



And even with talk of vomiting, everyone (except the smart guy who knew when to quit) finished everything. Front row seat at a dessert eating competition! No idea how they could ride afterwards. Ride we did, though (video soon).



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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 12:48 AM   #104
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Sound quality sucks. Don't blame me. Blame GoPro
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 12:58 AM   #105
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My apologies for any errors of this post in advance. I'm late to get my ass out on the road and this sort of evolved into something I couldn't have anticipated when I began. No time to edit for errors or issues:

Still hard for me to fathom what it would be like to wake up and walk outside and see the same scene (roughly) that, for over 250 years, your direct ascendents saw every morning they woke:



I used to look out the leaded windows of my house in the Bay Area and think, wow, these windows were 50 years old when WWII was raging on....I'm not metaphysical or anything, but I am sort of obsessively fascinated with specific moments in time that can still be seen hundreds or thousands of years later. Blows to the skull of King Richard III, ancient grafitti, sketches by da Vinci or individual brush strokes on a van Gogh....frozen moments in time. Scenes like the one above are in another category of the same taxonomy of 'time travel' that we can experience in the present. An enduring moment of temporal sublimity etched onto the surface of time by effort or merely presence, revealed by nothing more than simply by being present. It was at this moment, taking the picture above, that, though I'm traveling in Europe in 2014, I'm also witness to a vast history of the world. Rome, Milan, Florence--all these offer quite colossal glimpses into the history of civilization, but it was here in Austria on the property of a very cool dude I met here on ADV that triggered a realization of something vaster, deeper, and more fulfilling than anything I'd seen before. For two days I'd spent time with the descendants of those who'd survived both World Wars, brutal winters, life without electricity or plumbing or penicillin or combustion engines. The simple, pastoral landscape that presented itself to me had been witnessed to all of it, never to be revealed again. But it's there, locked in some spatial symmetry with time. What I could see--and not just imagine--was that I, too, was now part of that history--if only for a moment. And perhaps more importantly, I realized the most fascinating products of history that we can interact with, the end result of both entropy and evolution, the living descendants of it all....that's you and me, boys. We are the products of all the biological evolution and history that this planet stores as secrets, some of which can be uncovered, others only to be imagined.

In 10 or 20 or 100 years, when every last one of us is fertilizing genetically modified dandelions, someone else will looking back at our lives, our land, our motorcycles, our bones and whatever marks, scars or indentations we left on this planet and wonder what it was like to live in 2014, what it was like to ride a motorcycle that made noise and ran on combustion, what it was like to live in a world without DARPA police forces who will execute on the spot anyone who failed to recycle a soylent green wrapper, what it was like to live RIGHT NOW. I imagine they'd give anything to travel back in time, just as most of us would, even if it was only for a moment.

The revelation?

We can. Remnants and revenants of the past saturate the entire world, be it the pigeon in the parking lot that descended from dinosaurs or the mouse in your hand that evolved from a WWII-Era radar display system. The past is very much alive. But even more revealing is that we are living in time that anyone from the past or from the future would most likely trade a handsome sum for--and I do mean RIGHT NOW. This moment. This day that we think of as just another day is groin-grabbingly transcendent when viewed from the past or future. But instead of needing to deal with all the troubles of time-travel (flux capacitors, waking up in your teenage-mom's bed in your underwear), you just have to grab your groin.

The present can be encountered with the same sort of 'surpassing the range of ordinary experience that would occur if we could witness the summer solstice in 899 BC; that the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Indian Ocean or the rain forests in Borneo can be experienced in much the same state as it existed 20,000 years ago (despite what the green boys and girls tell us). Simply walking out the door and up the nearest mountain, or booking a flight to Paris to see the Louvre, or riding your bike to the nearest coast are all, in a very real way, a trip back in time.

This sublunary world of ours (or for that matter, this solar system, galaxy or universe of ours) doesn't only desire travelers just as the advancement of civilization doesn't merely require curious witnesses, erudite historians or carbon-neutral manufacturing lobbyists. Actions perpetuate history and shape the future of our civilization, our world, all the people in it and all the people who WILL be in it. And this enthusiastic, malleable world of ours is waiting for you to gash its surface, to change, even if ever-so-slightly, its course of evolution. Now--and for the rest of your time on earth--your consciousness should quietly demand something of itself be embedded onto the surface of time, for all the future to see.
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 01:04 AM   #106
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Next stop: Vienna.
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 11:08 AM   #107
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Such a great story, adventure, and life changing experience. If only more of us (me) had the courage to follow in your tire tracks. it has been said that with the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. you my friend took a mustard seed of courage, curiosity, and determination and rather than move the mountains, you are blazing a trail across all of them.. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this adventure with all of us! I am more jealous than words can say... rubber side down..
Bret with ABS :-)
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 03:39 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by AntiHero View Post
The SIM card I got in Italy worked fine until about an hour into my ride. If anyone tells you SIM cards are easy in Europe they're either lying or very, very lucky (only one I've purchased worked through several countries). The procedure is--get into a country, try to find an actual SIM card and then try to activate it in German, Italian, French, etc...then just TRY and keep it working.
You were making it too easy when you were describing your plan about SIMs in EU, but I did not want to break the bad news for you
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 01:23 AM   #109
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Headed to Vienna for a day and a night. I was close, so wtf. Didn't have a garage to park my bike in. But it was a good neighborhood and Austria seemed like one of the safest and most civilized countries I've ever set foot in.




No sooner than I parked, though, a Russian dude in a Russian Tuxedo pulls up in a lowered black Mercedes and takes an interest....just what I needed to put my mind at ease. A quick google search revealed that, due to its proximity to Eastern Europe, bike theft is fairly rampant. Crossed fingers and went for a walk.

I immediately just did not like Vienna. People just seemed exceptionally judgmental and uptight, as this sign enigmatically demonstrates:



This one was just kind of creepy, as if a man was forcing the possessed girl from the Exorcist for a walk (right before she kills him with a falling bicycle).



Stoplights were red for way, way too long (yet no one except me jaywalked), the food was terrible and Mozart had given up all interest in Piano concerts to compete in online Angry Birds tournaments.



The architecture, though....not so bad:





I suppose I was just in a foul mood. There's a freedom that comes from lonely stretches of asphalt surrounded by verdant and cerulean expanse. Sometimes cities can feel free and alive, but I don't know...it just felt dead, a corpse with its eyes open, staring right at me.

And then I saw a Wien Wiener / aka Vienna Sausage dog. Poor thing, but if that little bastard can be happy with toes for legs, what the fuck reason did I have to complain about.



I think if I was ever dictator, I'd mandate that every Dachshund had to wear a cape. Dachshund's wearing capes would surely make the world a happier place.
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Last edited by AntiHero; Oct 3rd 2014 at 01:27 AM.
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 01:28 AM   #110
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But it seemed that the Viennese were too preoccupied with wearing costumes themselves. Not just any kind of costumes, but creepy, The Shining-esque ones.



For all the up-tightness, they sure seemed to have quite a fetish for animated sex. Anyone who thinks that's a stretch of the imagination just needs to observe the paranoid--but strangely aroused--look on Superman's face while a pantsless Darth Vader begins polishing his light saber from behind.

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