Really, other than a feeling of disbelief that we actually completed the
journey, all that was left to do was strip and wash the bikes. They collected so much salt that even my new-ish steed was looking the worse for wear.
I had replaced as many of the stock fittings with stainless steel and titanium nuts and bolts but it was clear after the Elefant that I had missed
out a lot - BMW really would show us more courtesy in being loyal customers of theirs if they used higher quality fittings on their otherwise
Pretty Damn Good machines. Oh well, now's my chance to do it properly.
Stripped and cleaned (800x514, 170KB) - 5 February 2004
Wiring web (800x722, 199KB) - 5 February 2004
In the end, it took me a week to strip it down, wash all the salt off,
double-check the electrics and rebuild it. Although I did install an alarm
while I had it in bits (I can do electrics without too many problems and even basic mechanics is fine (hey, it's just meccano for grown-ups) but the
internals of an engine are a real mystery to me - what IS TDC and why is it so important?)
As for battle damage, I soon repaired the panniers with some new pop-rivets and the few minor scrapes on the crash bars were touched up with a quick
splash of black hammerite. Sorted!
So, will I do it again? Umm, ask me in a few months! I am considering doing the Pinguinos, which is a Rally occurring in Spain and is roughly equivalent
to the Elefant.
I certainly don't want to 'fess up to being too old for this sort of thing. We'll see.
Touratech front view (600x800, 190KB) - 13 March 2004
Touratech'd bike (800x600, 191KB) - 13 March 2004
Current cockpit view (600x800, 176KB) - 13 March 2004
Otherwise known as "things I'd wish I'd known before I set off" - in no particular order…
There's no need to bring much by way of cooking equipment - there's plenty of Imbiss around selling hot grub. I took an expensive MSR
Dragonfly camping stove which I really didn't need.
Unless of course you're coming as part of a group and want to have a camp fire meal (I do think a hog roast is a bit OTT tho' - possibly a bit
of jealousy creeping in there!)
But a means of making a hot drink is useful. I'm dead proud of my Kelly Kettle.
Try and pin down exactly where the Elefant is being held - we had no need to go to Thurmansbang - all we needed to do was head
straight for Solla.
The Elefantentreffen venue does change occasionally. Keep on eye on the BVDM website.
You don't need snow chains. Unless you really want to. Knobbly tyres are good so long as they can take the autobahn distances.
The cold isn't so bad so long as you're warm of a night. A good tent, sleeping bag and foam mat are good ideas. Straw can be bought
on-site (at extortionate prices) but is very good laid under the ground sheet of the tent) I also got a goretex bivvy bag off of e-bay. Excellent.
Don't even think about travelling alone - not just safety and support but anyway, where's the fun in travelling alone?
Plan your route well in advance. Time spent on this is NOT wasted.
And then don't get too hung up on following the exact route or the timing - keep your options open by being flexible.
You can arrive a day or two early… in fact, if you can, do so. In fact, if you can, you MUST do this.
Travelling on Sundays is bliss in Germany and France - no lorries are allowed on the roads.
Waving some sort of a flag on site is mandatory. Everyone wants to know what every other flag is. Good way to get talking to people.
We travelled to the Elefant in two and a bit days - this really didn't give us enough time - we were forced to use Autobahns all the way and
still had no spare time for contingency. Try to factor in at least an extra day and then you can come "off-piste" and visit interesting places en