H2G2 Whisky appreciation Society?
Posted Sep 22, 2003
Whisky, that delightful pale-wheat-to-dark-mahogany-but-mostly-amber drink that originates from the Caledonian regions (with some not quite undrinkable varieties from other places on the planet) has really been on my mind a lot lately.
I like to have a nightcap or a pre-prandial dram from time to time, and the stock in my liqour cabinet presently counts 16 whiskies, whereof there is 1 blended Scotch (relegated to making 'Irish' Coffee and cooking, 2 blended (of which one is a very, very good one (the other is a Tullamore Dew)) blended Irish, 2 bourbon, and 11 Single malts, two of those are single cask.
This Summer was (in part) spent in Scotland, in a week I managed to taste 23 malts and a 32-year-old Single Grain.
I am slowly getting ready to start nosing and noting when enjoying whisk(e)y, but how many around here are into this pleasant pass-time? Is there an organized group already, hiding in a comfy corner of the Guide?
Latest reply: Sep 22, 2003
A bit about motorbikes again
Posted Nov 5, 2002
It has been a while since last entry, so here is a new bit.
It is long and only about motorbikes and was originally posted on www.bmwrt.com in August:
The SS1000 I wanted to do last week (in early August), going to Meriden to meet our UK friends didn't materialize. (and for those who don't know what a SS1000 is, check out www.ironbutt.com )
This past week gave me two days off work, so I decided to spend Friday on the bike and give it a try. Weather was a lot nicer, sunshine and calm winds forecast (and indeed recieved) for the whole weekend. started planning, talked to a friend in Denmark to whom I had sent some CD's whereof one was wrong, so we had to exchange that anyhow. The trip to Aarhus, Denmark, is just under 1000kms, and I usually do it in somewhere between 10 and 12 hours.
With the route planned, witness forms and other doucuments printed and dinner arranged at the turn-around point I was ready Friday morning. My wife signed the 'Start of Ride' form at 7:45 and went off to work as I went to the garage. Strapped on the tankbag and the bike was checked, so I got on, key in, ignition on, sidestand up, fast idle and press the start button: "Kr................."
ALL juice disappeared from the bike, even the clock was out!
I got off, put it on the centerstand, opened the fuse box, all were good, checked all fuses and relays were seated properly. Once again I tried to start it, electric curcuit powered up as supposed to, but as soon as I hit the starter it went down again.
For some reason I checked the sidestand, and it seemed that the sidestand switch was a key element and at the same time I realized I had forgotten the CD for my friend. I went upstairs, got out the Haynes' manual, fired up the PC and went here (www.bmwrt.com forum, brilliant source for solving technical and other problems related to the BMW R1100RT) and searched for anything on sidestand switches, seems they do go bad from time to time.
Down again, armed with a can of WD40, a good dose of that and tried to fire the bike. This time it worked, and even the deploying and folding of the sidestand didn't interfere with the electric curcuit anymore.
Of course, I now think that 'Sleipner' has a mind of his own and wanted to tell me not to forget that CD, didn't have a problem on the whole ride after I put it in my pocket.
An hour late I rolled out of the garage, down to the Q8 station for gas and a reciept and at 9:00am I was on the road.
The first fuelstop was just over 300 kms away, bits on Autobahn and bits on single lane highway, not too much traffic and had a little fun with a VW Scirocco that wanted badly to pass me and a lot of cars and trucks in front. No room for that until we came to a stretch of Autobahn and he opened up. Probably was a bit surprised as I followed and for 25kms I stayed right behind him at 200-220 indicated, pretty sure he was flat out just as I was.
The first indications of a troublesome day came a bit before my first stop. STAU, the most dreaded German word, means traffic jam. I came op to a jam, lane-split for a while until I found an exit with a detour number and followed this detour around the problem. It was of course slower than Autobahn speeds but at least I made progress. Got on the Autobahn just before the rest and gas area at Licthendorf a bit North of Cologne. The next bit to Wildeshausen was fairly uneventful, some traffic, the occassional bunching up and slowing down of traffic, but still maintained an average of 100kph.
At Wildeshausen the gas attendant told people that 20kms ahead, the A1 was completely blocked and we had to take a detour via Delmenhorst and around Bremen. This turned out to be very accurate, I got to the 'stau' and lane-split up to the exit where all three lanes had to merge into one and go on to the single lane road leading through Adelheide and into Delmenhorst. No room for passing, opposite traffic and in 2 hours I progressed about 15kms. It was warm, 30deg. C, and 9 bars on the oil temp. Finally got to wider roads and a ring-road North of Bremen, oil temp dropped quickly and I found my way to the A1 again, though not the one they announced on the radio as that was where everybody else were going, leading to more 'stau'.
After Hamburg, with more slow moving 'stau' at the Elb-tunnel, I got to the 3rd stop at Hüttener Berge. 263kms in 4 hours! That is only 65kph average, about 40mph. Not good. At least the traffic North of Hamburg soon dissipated and I was able to make the 56 kms to the Danish border at speeds of 180 to 200, and in Denmark, where the Motorway speed limit is a miserable 110kph I continued at 130 to 150 at times.
The sun was setting and a beautiful light was cast over the Danish landscape that I know so well, over Aarhus a hot air balloon was floating and I was feeling a lot better than I did around Bremen. Even my butt was feeling better as the temperature had dropped.
I refueled in Aarhus and arrived at my friends place at 9:00pm, some 4 hours after my original plan, 3 hours later than planned with a 9am departure. Half the trip had eaten 12 of 24 hours, but I was confident that traffic at night time would be more favourable.
I had some leftovers, nice chicken cooked with a lot of lemon and a good potato salad, and we talked for a bit.
At 10:30 I was back on the bike, found the E45 motorway that would take me all the way to Hamburg where the A1 would see me almost the rest of the way home. Still kept it under 150 in Denmark, but once in Germany I opened somewhat and throughout the night I was able to go at 160 to 190. Quite fun to blow by a policecar that goes about 100 behind a truck while you are doing 180. That's 112mph, and it is legal.
The weather was still very nice and starry, even saw a shooting star, the temperature stayed nice all the way to Koblenz where it got just slightly chilly, but not really cold.
I made the same pit stops as on the outbound leg plus an extra at Cologne to make sure I had plenty fuel to get all the way home. I did have a 5 liter canister in the one side case, but did not want to use it unless absolutely necessary.
At two of the fuel stops I also took a power nap of 10 - 15 minutes and the night and Autobahn quickly disappeared under the wheels.
At Cologne I decided to go via Koblenz and Trier to stay on the Autobahn instead of retracing the previous mornings ride through the Eiffel mountains (they are more hills that mountains but I digress) and even if it was a bit longer I think the time was about the same.
Just outside Trier I felt that I was getting very sleepy and decide to pull over, had only about 80 kms home. As I found a rest area and pulled into the slipway I had one of those microsleeps that are so damned nasty and dangerous. You fall asleep for just a fraction of a second and wake up with a jerk and have no idea how long you slept. That gets the adrenalin pumping, that is for sure.
I got off the bike an found a bench, fell asleep for about 10 minutes and was feeling a lot better after that.
Back on the bike, the sun was now rising, over Trier two hot air balloons were floating in the sunshine and the remaining ride was a breeze. I got to the Q8 station where I had started 22H27M earlier and got my gas and end-reciept.
The Route66 mapping software says I did 2006kms, 1250miles, the odometer says 2079, very close to my previous observation of about 3percent error on the instrument.
Home at 7:30, a quick shower and then off to bed.
Was it worth it? Yes, it sure was, it was tough, especially with all the 'stau', should I do it again, I would plan the ride on a Sunday in either Spring or Autumn where holiday traffic is light and the trucks are not allowed on the German roads. Now I just need to send in all the reciepts and witness forms and I will get the certificate and the license plate frame and I will feel it was justified doing this crazy stunt.
Of course the next ride will be a BunBurner, only about 400km more than the ride I just finished and with an additional 12 hours to do it, should be a piece of cake
Latest reply: Nov 5, 2002
Weather adjuster wanted
Posted Nov 7, 2000
Arrived in Luxembourg on Sunday, weather is not as nice as it was in Florida.
We enjoyed 8 days of absolutely wonderful weather, nice sunrises every morning followed by a dip in the pool (at least Herdis went swinning every day).
Friday was time for landing on our feet and find out about the immidiate surroundings, Jim took us to a Cuban diner for lunch.
In St. Petersburg there was a 'Fiery Foods Festival' over the weekend, so Sunday we went to see what that was all about. There were plenty of vendors selling an amazing amount of hot sauces and barbecue sauces and salsas and spice mixes and it was good. Well, most of it. Some were boring and some were not to our taste, but we did end up buying 7 sauces, a jalapeno mustard and a datil sass.
One of the sauces I tasted was scoring 160.000 Scovilles (For example, the average Scoville rating for TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce is 3,750, but the actual range is from 2,500 - 5,000) and I got a very diminutive drop on the end of a toothpick and it was still enough to give a burning sensation in my mouth and a very red colour to my face. I bought a bottle of 'Vicious Viper', 120.000 Scoville, that should quiet most of the people claiming they can't get it hot enough. You can also go for extract sauces, more like pure capsaicin, ranging from 750.000 to 1.000.000 Scovilles, but there is no real taste left at that point.
Monday we flew in Jim's Mooney to Jacksonville, we found Sargent without any problems and had a nice chat with the guy there and settled on a modification of the bike seats. They could even finish the seats and ship them to St. Pete before we left on Saturday.
Tuesday was Halloween, 'The Garden' had a party with live music and light and smoke, but unfortunately, many people turned up without costume and the atmosphere was not really halloweeny, so we finished our drinks and went to 'Budious Maximus' instead. There the mood was indeed festive, the music was '80's and dancing was daring and inventive. One girl was dressed in plastic bubble-wrap, a very interinsting costume, to say the least.
Mr and Mrs Morse have built a museum for their collection of Salvador Dali paintings, it is in St. Petersburg and is a wonderful collection that really changed my view on Dali to the better. He was a versatile painter, technically really good and we got to see works from he was 10 and until he stopped painting. I do recommend a visit to this place if you get the chance.
Thursday was roller coaster day. Busch Gardens have 5 nice coasters and two water rides, all were tested, and to my utter delight I found that my childhood fears for coaster were gone. Completely. Two of the coasters were ridden twice, the big one, 'Kumba', has 7 loops and is just over 100' high. That dwarves anything I ever tried in Denmark. And I was grinning all the way around. I really understand why some people go coaster chasing, seeking out the best rides all over the US.
Busch Gardens also have a very nice zoo. A large area is laid out as an African Savanna where the Antelope, Zebra and Giraffe roam freely and all can be seen from a train that runs around the park.
And a real treat was driving around in Jim's '91 Mitsubishi Eclipse 4wd, modified with turbo and other nice gadgets, putting out 400BHP and capable of 180Mph and 0-60Mph in around 4.5 seconds. That is quite nifty for a four seat car. I had to learn to drive a 'real' car, it had to be driven hard and with determination.
So, as you have probably gathered, we had loads of fun and really enjoyed ourselves, even if Florida is a strange place with terrible roadsurface and it's share of crime and violence. Phil, a friend of Jim's, living in an apartment in Jim's house, was mugged on a stretch less than 2 miles from a local bar and home. 4 kids came out from a house, dumped him off his bike and kicked him and stole his money. That saddens me, and of course Phil was sort of miffed as well.
Latest reply: Nov 7, 2000
Posted Oct 25, 2000
This post has been removed.
Latest reply: Oct 25, 2000
Hello, are you trying to talk to me??
Posted Oct 16, 2000
The ringing in my ears is only slowly subsiding.
Friday night we attended the Deep Purple / Romanian Philharmonic Orchestra concert on Place Guillaume in Luxembourg City.
The music was good (most of it) but very, VERY, loud. At times the the sound system was on overload, especially during the songs by Ronnie James Dio.
It was strange to see this kind of music performed by men of such advanced age, I mean, their birth-certificates date from 1940 - 45! You don't really expect to see a 60 year old screaming his head off like that.
Some of the music was accompanied by a fountain and light show, that was really entertaining.
And of course, the finale was by far the best: Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple, backed by a Philharmonic Orchestra and 10,000 on the chorus.
Latest reply: Oct 16, 2000