Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

The Beer Run [part 1] [long]

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by FormerUser1, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Some quick-snack joint/ servo along the Autobahn, pointing towards the mountains of Southern Germany….The little 50cc Honda (ST50/ Dax) was GLOWING…and so was I.

    Glowing with fear of those overtaking trucks that is, spending most of my day in the emergency/ repair lane at a top-speed of 70kmh…. when lucky… and things were pointing downhill with the wind in my back.
    Even cars gave the little Honda major wobbles as they zipped past at 3-times my speed and more…the heavy backpack was digging into my shoulders and I had only 250km down out of my 450km target for the day. Day 2 at that…
    Getting into the hills and mountains also meant that the going would be even slower.
    About another 5 hrs. at least…but I’d be off the ‘bahn’ soon and onto country roads.

    The main entertainment was the constant dodging of chunky rubber-bits, broken glass and the occasional car-battery littering the emergency lane, great slalom-fun on one of those all-too-few downhill runs, head-down, arse-up with the backpack-hump weaving violently up top, trying to tear me off the tiny bike.

    The meager high school-student finances had stretched to a second hand thermos filled with petrol, strapped to the bottom triple clamp, as an “emergency ration”, to make it off the ‘bahn’ and into the next tiny village, should I run dry.
    Somehow the rubber O-ring that I bought as “ guaranteed-petrol-proof “at an auto-store turned out not so resistant, perhaps the plastic-cap of the thermos was slowly melting away…there was a constant whiff of petrol-fumes from the front-end.

    The long summer-days of 1971, and my restricted license (restricted to un-restricted-50cc bikes, min. age 16) gave me the first decent smell of freedom, as did the little Honda.

    Another pull-over and check by the “track-marshals” (cops), pulling me over for going too slow…the usual “ whadda ya doing on the bahn ?” answered by the show of rego-papers, showing the little Honda as “top-speed 65kmh” and therefore bahn-legal…

    A Dutch and Danish truck, racing the clock and each other on a downhill stretch had given me a mighty draft, but also major turbulences, creating a near-50meter ‘skid-and-bounce’ along the Armco…the boys were in a hurry to pick-up produce in Italy and Spain. One of the few times the speedo-needle slipped off the dial…

    Mountains in the distance grew closer; their forever-snow-clad-tops gleaming like beacons. The smells of earth and freshly slashed paddocks…the origin of “making hay while the sun shines”…the picturesque little villages with their onion-domed churches…the ‘fragrance’ of cow-shit spread on the fields…the heavy backpack cramping neck and shoulders into a solid brick.
    One of the 3 press-studs holding the bubble-visor had come loose, slopping around in its fixing-hole of the el-cheapo Nolan open-face “icecream-bucket”, adding to the noise of the tiny 4-stroke screaming its guts out…

    Time for another break, fuel-up and a quick call home which was overdue by a few hours…
    Mum and Dad hadn’t been too happy about my trip south, but both of them working and with 6-weeks of school holidays on the cards, they’d booked me into a 3-week youth-camp in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the 1936 Olympic town at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, about 900km from home.

    The town sits in a virtual bowl, surrounded by mountains, with 4 major, but narrow valleys for access, winding roads paralleled by creeks and rivers.
    Grown naturally, its vibrant tourist-trade is fairly hidden, the old Bavarian houses of whitewashed stonewalls topped by dark timbers and deeply overhanging roofs, timber-verandahs of massive, carved timber beams covered by avalanches of geraniums… with the stark, dark mountains close by.

    The hostel was up some narrow side-valley, a noisy, white-foaming small river rushing past the front door. Built against the steep hillside, it’s a triple-story out front, single-story at the back. A short walk past the local guesthouse/ pub/ local watering hole to one of the famous bakeries and further into town…or via another narrow footpath to the base-station of the chair lift.

    Catching up with the rest of the group that’d come via coach that afternoon called for the occupation of the beer-garden of the nearby pub…stein-lifting and Bavarian-style finger-pulling across tables to establish the ranking order of this year’s group.

    Under-aged drinking? Where? Who? The publican didn’t give a hoot, nor anyone else…
    Glorious summer days blurred into each other, hiking, swimming, watching the local Ice hockey-team at training…an old 5-chamber (3 of them leaking) air-mattress providing great fun while drifting 10km downstream in the icy local river, bouncing between boulders…the walk home finally getting rid of the blue skin colour,.. the freshly acquired battle scars and bruises took somewhat longer.

    Walks along the bare ridges above the tree-line, watching dairy cows graze their summer-paddocks, turning into one of the numerous hay-sheds for some drinks, those places mostly another source of income for the local farmer who’d added a wobbly timber deck and some chairs for the tourists to spent a few dollars in drinks and hot soups.
    Fantastic views across fog-filled valleys, only the mountain peaks sticking out above the cotton-wool blanket, bathed in bright sunlight from deep-blue skies.

    Doing kitchen-duty one night (and scamming some of the next-days-deserts) I was last at the beer garden, the publican taking me aside…

    “Listen…seen you on that little bike a few times…my nephew broke his arm this morning and I’m waiting for the early beer-delivery ….would you take up some crates of beer, drinks and other stuff up the mountain tomorrow morning?
    You know the place…past that knoll from the chair-lift top-station, round trip takes about an hour and a half…”

    “huh?? Wooot…carry the stuff up there?”

    “Naw, got that old NSU in the lean-to next to the chook-shed, we’ll pack her up and off you go….drinks are on me and if the tucker’s a bit skinny for you at the hostel, my wife’ll look after you, just let her know….make it 5.30 then , orrite?

    A liter-stein of the foamy stuff and a skinny white arm holding a plate with a giant-sized hotdog sealed the deal !! Easy choice for a 16 year old…

    Awake at 4am, sobered up and fidgety, I let last night pass by once more, slowly realizing that there’s no road from this side of the mountain, only walking tracks.
    Sure, I know them well, but there’s no way anyone could get a bike up those tracks, ….and decidedly NOT with a load of beer, lemonade (all in glass-bottles and timber-crates) and what-ever-else.

    There’s a wet puddle of petrol near the chook-pen when I show up 20 mins early.
    A nasty looking, ancient NSU250 stands closeby, tank cap still open after the hand-filling out of an old, former heating-oil tank.
    Filthy, rusty…horribly banged up…. the rear rubber-Denfeld seat is missing and replaced with homemade carry-frames held by struts, chains and rope.
    2 crates of beer are already strapped in place…as, magically, a plate of bacon and eggs with fresh bread rolls appears, passed across the counter by the same, skinny white arm as the hotdog the night before.
    As I sweep the crumbs into a heap for a last mouthful, the publican comes in, huffing and sweating, with a friendly: “Mornin’, she’s ready for you “

    We walk around the bike…no number plate. “Don’t need one where you’re going…”
    Ahhh, shit ! I knew it…my knees are buckling at the thought, this can’t be true !!!
    He wants me to go up the ….Hell NOOO !!!
    4 crates of beer, 2 crates of lemonade, all of it in liter-bottles stacked and strapped to the bike with leather belts, and a loose backpack jammed with tins and packets of all sorts, sitting on a rickety table next to the bike.
    I won’t make it out the garden-gate on that shitheap !!?

    “They know you’re coming up, if you’re not there by 6.30, they’ll come down the trail looking for you…”
    I don’t fuggen believe it, this will end in tears 50 meters into the game!

    I get onto that single, heart-shaped rubber-seat and turn the plastic-blobbed key in that old, cobwebbed bakelite-headlight.
    Jesus, did she just blink at me? There was SOMETHING !!
    She roars into life on the 2.kick, the air instantly filled with a thick, chewy blue haze.

    The first of the 4 gears is a bit crunchy, then we’re off….veeeeery slowly wobbling towards the gate, both feet just above the ground, skimming along…
    She handles like, like…nothing I’ve ever ridden in my short motorcycling life!!
    Instead of going right towards town, it’s left up the narrow road, across that roaring, foaming river, onto dirt. Off the choke and into 2nd…we’re rolling now.
    The first tentative pull on the brakes, the rear pushrod style operated drum gets snagged on one of the rack-welds…and doesn’t wanna let go completely.

    Bewdy, that’ll make for some excitement later on….
    I ram my heel underneath and it comes loose.
    There’s the sign to the walking track, pointing up the hill on the left.
    This is the easy part, the community having decided to make it a bit easier on the tourists and put some resources into a 3ft wide formed path, covered with compacted gravel.
    The 2-stroke twin pulls nicely, what a bike compared to my tiny 50, yeeha !!
    Light-headed, I wind it on and we start climbing.
    Buildings disappear below, blue skies are coming closer, scattered trees give some depth to the picture. As the whole of Garmisch-Partenkirchen becomes visible, the firm gravel vanishes, the path shrinks to 2ft of firm clay.
    Those drainage-channels formed by thin timber poles laid diagonally across the track are a real pain, the glass bottles clink away frantically on the back, each time the clutch gets a hammering, dragging on the repeated uphill starts.
    The views are breathtaking…..but the early euphoria ends with a mighty BANG at the sight of the kink in the track where it narrows again, the mountainside steepens drastically, and the track shrinks narrower once more.

    I’m in way over my head, this is NUTS !
    If I could turn the bike around, I’d go back right now!!
    I KNOW that trying would have the whole applecart crash down the mountain…. and possibly end up in the pub’s beer garden waaaayyy below.
    The right-hand bottom crate grazes the steep bank on the right, then we’re in a tiny side valley with a bit more space….and a 6ft wide creek-crossing over wet, smooth fist-sized rocks, and some dark mud up the other side.
    No way I can get off the bike and wade through it first to find the best track through…this is a one-shot-only affair.
    The trickles of sweat become rivers running down my arms and chest.
  2. very nice, you got more?
  3. This keeps up we're going to have to inaugurate a Netrider Literature Award as well as the others. fabulous stuff!
    Ok, over to Andrew for his effort to weasel out of being in Wollongong and not trying to visit, on his marathon ride home!!
    Seconds out, bell is ringing!!!
  4. There's a motherload waiting to be wrtten out...
    Will try to get onto part 2 soonest.. :)
  5. cool, always love reading a travel story, you must have a few hundred stories waiting for print by now
  6. I'm going to get into trouble for staring at the same window all day at work for sure :p Great Story!!!