Birthday surprise on our way home

Episode 21 of our European Overland trip 2020

For those who prefer the vlog, it’s – almost – at the bottom… 😉

We’ve come tot he last episode of our European roadtrip 2020. After getting some nice airtime in Meduno with our flying buddies Hans and Christine, with whom we’ve met for the fourth time this roadtrip – it even started and finished with them – we move north. It’s just 3 more weeks before my appointment with the orthopead so it’s time to go. The weather is also not helping and we leave Meduno while it’s raining cats and dogs. And then after a little while it even starts to snow!

On the other side of the pass the sun comes out again in Bruneck. It’s just a great day for a birthday flight, but then it turns out that all the skilifts have stopped working during the week only last weekend! Well, then we go for a nice walk in the forest.

We want to take the Brenner Pass into Austria, but just before we reach the highway and the toll booth, the engine loses power. This has been happening for the past 2 years on and off again. We’ve had it checked at least 3 times at the garage and components changed. Every time it seemed that it was solved again… until it would just come back at, for us, a random moment. Koos takes out the little computer that can be connected to the boardcomputer and the problem seems to be a malfunctioning air mass sensor. We stop at the nearest garage but the mechanic tells us to go to Bolzano. We call them and explain the problem and they order a new air mass sensor and we have an appointment for the next day. After a nice birthday dinner we spend the night on a parking lot. Not the most romantic place but as we plan to get to Bolzano (luckily all the way downhill) before the garage opens, it’s the best option.

It’s a huge garage/workshop and the people are helpful but very busy with lot’s of trucks and buses. The air mass sensor finally arrives somewhere in the afternoon but by then the mechanic has already found out what the true problem is. There is a crack in the intake manifold which causes a the presure difference which the air mass sensor noticed. So we almost blamed the messenger 😉 Now we have to wait for this part to arrive… the next day.

With the engine not working and our house in the workshop we explain that we have a bit of a problem. Luckily they are willing to let us sleep in the courtyard behind the gate. A great sollution but in case of an emergency we will be locked in…

Spending another day in the waiting room working on our next vlog isn’t very appealing so we decide to take the bikes into town. From the highway Bolzano doesn’t look interesting at all. But the city center is actually very pretty with beautiful buildings, nice shops and a pleasant walking area. The city accommodates bikes very well and we tour around.

We also visit the museum of Otzi the iceman. The oldest European mummy found on a mountain in the Otztal on the border with Austria. In the museum the life and brutal murder of our friend Otzi is explained very well and in an intertaining way. The reconstruction of his body by two Dutch is impressive. Otzi’s body and belongings are displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.

The much longed for part arrives in the afternoon and after a testride – just before closing time – we make our way to the amazing Timmelsjoch pass. The Timmelsjoch (Italian: Passo del Rombo) is a 2474 meter high mountain pass on the border between the Austrian Tyrol and the Italian South Tyrol. The pass is closed for the winter and when it’s open traffic is not allowed between 8 pm and 7 am. We make it to the top just in time and park for the night behind the closed restaurant and make pizza in our Dutch oven. So it’s a quiet but cold night for us with minus 11 degrees.

Like horses that smell the stable we make our way back north. We enjoy autumn forests near Stuttgart and visit a castle in the fog.

On the banks of the Mosel we extend our trip with a couple of days and a nice bike ride through the vineyards. In the Eifel we pick up some new equipment for the truck at a friends place.

And then… after 4,5 months we’re back home!

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