Somewhere in Austria to Lake Garda
Saturday 5th September 1998
We woke to the lovely sound of .. rain! We hastily got dressed and went down for a very good breakfast of cheese and salami, whilst keeping a very close eye on the weather situation. By the time we were packed and ready to go, the slight drizzle had turned into a torrential downpour. We suited in up in full anti-rain gear and braced ourselves for the journey. Our plan was to avoid the Austrian motorways and enjoy the twisty Alpine roads. The main route over the Brenner Pass was very busy with lots of road works, and once again we were faced with the prospect of weaving in and out of traffic with the added problem of poor visibility and slippery roads.
To top it off, the heavily laden ‘bike developed a terrifying tendency to go into “tankslappers“ on the entry into corners. We were making terrible time in torrential rain and a grave depression started to sink in.
We squelched to a halt around lunchtime in a small Italian village café just across the border to dry off and warm up. By this time Paula was getting increasingly upset and miserable and the death like stares she was giving me through her steamed up visor were boring laser like holes through the back of my head.
Once we had stopped, we realised just how absolutely soaked to the skin we all were. Our gloves and boots were completely sodden and our trousers were waterlogged. I tried my best to pacify Paula with the prospect of lunch and a steaming mug of hot chocolate, but not even that could lift her out of her depression - and the rain continued to stream down the windows.
When we were ready to brave the elements once more, we decided that the best plan of action was to continue our journey on the motorway due to the weather and the tankslapping antics of my ‘bike. The motorway was reduced to a grey tunnel of road spray and again we were forced to take an early exit because of stationary queues of traffic. We stopped to fill-up at a small Petrol station, and even the petrol pump automated machine was a having a rough day because it spat out my 10 Millie note into a large puddle. That definitely was the lowest part of the trip.
Once we had passed the traffic queue’s, we rejoined the motorway and very suddenly the rain stopped and the hot sun came out!! Hurrah!! Our spirits soared with the temperature and we all felt elated. By this time we were getting close to Lake Garda so we stopped off at a service station to wring out our gloves and boots and check the map. The wind was quite strong, so Jurgen took off his socks and attached them to his wing-mirrors so they would dry out a little! We must have looked a sight to the bone-dry Italian car-drivers! When Sigi took off her boots and tipped them upside down, a whole torrent of water poured out of them! And Paula’s hands were black from because of the dye from her leather gloves.
An hour’s easy ride in fine weather saw us pulling up at our Camp-Site “Bella Italia” in Peschiera and once we had signed in, we persuaded the Rep to sort Sigi and Jurgen out with a caravan for two nights (100,000 Lire). Originally they had planned to get a hotel close by, but they were now so hungry and tired from the day’s activities, that they didn’t feel like going out and looking for somewhere else to stay.
Instead of being able to park our bikes outside the tent, we were told by Campsite officials that we were not allowed to bring the bikes on-site. (even though car drivers were allowed to have their vehicles next to theirs) and that they had to be left at the entrance to the camp site. We had to get a trolley, pile all our gear on top of it and then wheel it round to our tent. After voicing our disgust at the stupid rule of no motorbikes, we got changed and had a well deserved pizza in the campsite restaurant. When you are worn out from a hard days ride, there’s nothing better than a good meal with friends, plenty of fine beer and to watch the sun sink down into the lake.