Traveling by train from Innsbruck to Berlin, I am compelled to think back with pleasure on 4 days in Austria that changed the map of the world - at least a bit for me. Edelweiss Bike Travel inspired me with a four day training in being a motorcycle guide. It is simply great to be new at something again that is so close to what I have been loving for over 40 years - traveling by motorcycle.
Like being a kid at 57, being one of the "young" new guys in the team is pretty cool. We disassembled brand new bikes, test-rode them through the alps and put them through the tasks of a rigorous braking test. We practice CPR (just in case one of those stunning alpine views along the way should take one's breath away). We took part in a competition of cullinary skills in preparing picknics for guests and we studied the EBT bible for running safe but exciting tours. We practiced whupping a BMW 1200 GS into the back of an Iveco van, and best of all...
We (the rookies) got to hear stories from all the old Chatterhands of their various and glorious travels: like the army collonel who was wearing only chaps and jeans as they approached an ominous stomhead hovering over the Gotthard pass. Knowing that a stop to change into rain-gear was an imminent necessity, the guide crised and cruised while keeping a lookout for a waystop where 12 bikes could park while avoiding being trampled by aproaching vehicles that came puffing up the grade to cross the top of the world. With rain in sight ahead, they stopped. The guide went back to the collonel and asked if he wanted to dress for the rain. The collonel swung a leg over his sattle, looked at the guide with a stern admonishing grin and said "that was your last damned chance buddy." The collonel dressed and they were off. The rain came.
The day ended with a whiskey and cigar and a good story for the archives. In just three weeks my first tour beginns with Edelweiss, and I can't wait. Maybe one of you out there is in my group. Or we see us down the road with a high-five and a grin. I'll be looking forward... and probably in my mirror as well.
Signing off.... Pazlo on the road