Baltic Sea Tour with the R 1200 GS
We had a plan: We simply wanted to head north, to Germany’s northernmost point and then discover the landscape and people of that area. After we found out that the northernmost point in Germany is located on the island of Sylt, we simply scratched that destination. We definitely did not care to go to Sylt.
OK, how about the easternmost point, that is probably also quite picturesque. Görlitz, well, not really. We’d love to have a little bit of the sea included. We thought about it some more and then filed that plan away as well. Meanwhile it did not really matter – we just wanted to get away!
Finally, we simply took off from the Contidrom near Jeversen, close to the city of Celle.
Is it possible, it occurred to me all of a sudden, to simply do a “wheelie” with the GS – contrary to the opinion of some members of the Boxer forum? I just gave it a try, got up from the seat, stood nicely relaxed behind the high handle bar, pushed once or twice with my feet on the foot pegs, briefly throttled the gas and cranked it up again, pulled on the handle bar and, voila, the bike stood beautifully in the air pushing its 21 inch front wheel through the wind as once the Titanic drove its prow through the stormy sea. You would not expect this capability from the GS at first glance.
Was this only a dream? You don’t do that – especially not on public roads, never! And absolutely not in front of children...
Having come to appreciate the touring qualities of the large high-torque Boxer on the stretch from Jeversen to our first stop, the bay of Neustadt, we continued over small rural roads to a beautiful estate in Altenkrempe – absolutely picturesque.
We came upon a small patch of a private forest and after the owner’s verbal consent, the woods soon seemed to swallow the GS as if in a jungle.
Fascinated by the area we developed a new plan for our trip. We would not just go north or east but simply travel from north to east, along the coast, around the bay of Lubeck and then we would probably stumble upon Poland at some time.
Both of us, Carmen and I, had never explored the beautiful stretch of coast along the Baltic Sea.
Mile after mile, our intention to travel from the North Sea shore, all the way to the lake area of the Stettiner Haff, was confirmed. Although room and board could not easily be found close to the sea, we always came upon nice lodging a few miles inland.
We just drifted along, did not pack a navigator but simply an old worn out map of moderate scale. Then, for example, we suddenly stood in front of a sign with the name "Benzin".
This was actually the name of a small town, which really existed... and then I noticed the large tractor in a neighboring field. I felt like playing in it and got the permission of the tractor owner. I crisscrossed the field to my heart's desire, until the forest finally stopped us. I think I never rode that fast in on open terrain. My thanks to the tractor rider! And the GS behaved very well!
The farmer, not caring about fast bikes and fly by wire, simply put his two horses in front of the old iron plough to plough his field. He told us about the time of socialism and how little had actually changed for him. He didn't really care who was governing the country, whether Mrs. Merkel, Mr. Honecker or Mr. Schröder. It always boiled down to the same thing for him.
Then we met a man with his Kramer tractor, a small construction trailer behind, who was allowed to drive at full throttle through almost all of Germany. He came from the island of Rügen and was on his slow way back to Obersdorf, almost down in Austria.
Or there were three brothers who somewhere in the Rostock area operated a nostalgic patch of open air museum with adjacent junk yard and integrated chicken and lost animal’s farm.
There was a table at the entry of the property with a plate on it and each visitor was expected to put two Euros entrance money on it. As soon as the place with its collection of implements from the former East German era had been explored, the two Euro coins seemed to have magically vanished from the plate. Walking across the junk yard, the eye of the beholder cannot take in the flood of impressions and images noted there. Much of what has been mentally recorded clashes vehemently with the environmentally concerned part of the brain. When I questioned the youngest brother regarding environmental protection, he insisted that they were frequently inspected and everything was always in order. He was ready to explain that almost all of the vehicles on exhibit are in riding condition and even demonstrated it impressively.
Our trip continued via Fischland and Zingst to Barth.
There we came upon an extraordinary hotel in the harbor area. A very tall old granary had been converted into a hotel a few years ago. This house with its special ambience impressed us and is worth mentioning here. We briefly stopped in Stralsund, compared the bike to a wale skeleton and explored Rügen. Very beautiful passageways impressed us. As we stopped in a pub in Anklam, we overheard a conversation from the neighboring table. The people talked about a strange collection of houses, way out in the country, and a lake where a concert had been given the evening before. They talked about happy people and happy pigs. That intrigued us and we decided to go there. The name of the village was Wangelkow and no paved road led to it. The route there and back was one of the most beautiful "roads" traveled on our trip.
Nature lovers, blessed with many kids, spent their vacation here. Nature can be enjoyed, far from civilization, for 7 € per person per day. Groceries and food come from the farm store. The entire region toward the northeast, between Greifswald and Anklam and adjacent to Usedom National Park radiated a peacefulness we had seldom felt before. We rode on the GS two-up, and with a consumption of 4.8 liters, it also seemed to have enjoyed the tranquility.
From Wolgast we rode along the small coastal strip via Heringsdorf to Poland, circled around the Stettiner Haff and returned through Stettin via the border corridor to Ueckermünde and Anklam. This section of the tour alone provided enough interesting impressions and moments for a three day tour. We will simply have to return some day because we ran out of time.
Our way back, we roughly followed an imagined line from Anklam through the Müritz National Park, via Wittstock to Perleberg where the unsteady behavior of the GS slowly began to concern me. The rear tire was clearly loosing air. Just outside Wittenberge, during a very long stop at a red light at a construction zone, I turned around and sat on top of the tank to relieve pressure from quickly deteriorating rear wheel. At this point I put the hammer down, so as not to loose any more time. I finally reached an inviting petrol station to at least refill the tire with air. The Yamaha dealer nearby was recommended to me for repairs. A giant wrought horseshoe nail had penetrated the tire. A matching new tire was not in stock, the time was Friday evening at 6 o’clock and we did not want to spend the weekend in Perleberg. However, the responsible employee emphatically refused making the repair with a plug. I then explained to him that during my three year's experience during races on the Isle of Man not everything is completely reliable either, and that we as race riders are not accountable to someone else for our actions while we are racing at 300 km/h through villages. This finally impressed the colleague of the employee and his female boss. The team now agreed, the boss had to be fetched. Being a man of action, he inspected the damage and asked me to promise him to drive very carefully along the remaining stretch back the campground near the Contidrom.
I did not have to pay anything, did not receive an invoice, but was simply offered help to get underway again. Even more, they recommended a much more scenic version to our tour. We rode from Perleburg via Lenzen to Dömith, all the way along the Elbe river. The next surprise waited for us in Dömitz, because another former granary had been converted into a hotel and restaurant, similar to the one in Barth. The breakfast parlor was on the top story with a beautiful view across the Elbe river; the restaurant with the beach bar was located all the way on the bottom floor. In between where the floors with the guest rooms.
Next morning we casually continued our tour, after having inspected the tire pressure, via Uelzen back to the Contidrom, our starting point. Our rear tire, matching the name of the locale, was a Continental as always and had precisely kept the pressure of 2.7 bar, as Thomas confirmed to the shop manager at Wunderlich, When he replaced the tire the following Tuesday.
The next tour should actually take us to the southernmost point in Germany, but let's see where we end up.