Well, I’m back home, time for conclusions.
But first, two photos from the penultimate day in the Alps:
There were more imposing mountains and wide sweeping roads on that day, it ended in Bourg-en-Bresse, which is often my first or last stopover going into or coming from France. Then Karlsruhe, then home, didn’t photograph that much on the last two days.
A technical aside for those interested in photography, too: I took my Nikon D800, a Nikkor f/4.0 18-35 mm G ED wide-angle zoom and the fabulous AF DC Nikkor f/2.0 105 mm. That last one has “defocus control” and produces bokeh sans pareil. The gear sat well-cushioned in a little Crumpler bag inside my tank bag so I could get to it even without dismounting. I can see through the viewfinder with my helmet on and the camera in landscape orientation, in portrait orientation, I use Live View. The panos were done in that last mentioned orientation, the camera being on slow motor drive, ISO constant at 200, manual mode, exposure set as a compromise for the sweep. I did all post-production at the evening in the hotel room on my pink (!) MacBook, stitched the panos using the free, open-source Hugin plugin, the results and the other camera RAWs go into Aperture, effects added courtesy of Google’s Nik Collection.
So, what does a tour like this do to you?
Well, my waistline has gone down a bit but I’ve gained two pounds, so I must have gotten stronger. I wish…
It changes your perspective, you see things through a different lens (and I don’t mean the lenses mentioned above). They say travel opens the mind, but I think it rearranges priorities. Grand vistas, exhaustion, perseverance and lots of time for contemplation will do that to you.
The motorbike appears in a different light, too. I cherish my BMW R 1200 GS Adventure but at some time along the way, you become less precious about it. A functioning motorbike becomes more of an ideal worth aspiring to than a state. Some compromises are good enough, like that tyre, and you gain peace of mind. But if I were to venture further (Africa beckons!), I’d do it on a simpler, older version of my bike, perhaps an air-cooled R 1150 GS. More hands-on, less gremlins.