The Roadtrip in full video:
The speed demon in us needs to be occasionally tamed. There is some beautiful curiosity about pushing the gas pedal all the way to see what the car can actually do. Constricted by the speed limits in 99% of the world we never get to let it go, never get to just let loose and drive as fast as you want,.
We humans, we are unknowingly addicted to emotion, search for the next emotion that gives us butterflies in the stomach, and makes us feel again like a kid on a roller coaster.
Autobahn is such a place that gives butterflies.
This trip was in the making for the whole spring, but because it was surprisingly hard to collect a good set of friends (everyone is busy with life) to go on the trip, the trip was postponed from summer to autumn- specifically early November, the last moment before winter sets in. The weather in November is unpredictable, sunlight is down and rain is up. Obviously the Autobahn requires dry asphalt and no traffic. We made the plan to arrive in Germany and then just map out where the sun shines and there is no traffic and just head that direction, no other plan than chasing the sun. One one of the days the whole Germany was forecast to be rainy so we drove to Amsterdam to wait out the rain, where it was sunny… and as Germany started clearing up, we headed right back to Germany.
This is our full route, as tracked by GPS systems in the cars.
The GPS system is designed for fleet management and considers everything over 200km/h as an error, hence we had a significant distance that is not reported by GPS where we stayed above 200km/h.
Filling up in Riga, Latvia before leaving to Klaipeda, Lithuania.
The M5 has stickers inspired by Alex Roy’s Team Polizei 144.
The stickers were added for a photoshoot. Also, I figured it would be fun to go with the stickers on the Autobahn, chase the M6 with the M5 and confuse everyone. The POLIZEI, text original livery on Alex Roy’s M5, on the side of car, was replaced with INTERCEPTOR because it is not too smart to have POLIZEI written on the side of the car in Germany.
The DFDS ferry sucks, especially for a vacation trip. The accommodations are Ok, the rooms are Ok, there are only few amenities… but what is expected on a transport ship? What made the ferry suck was the other travelers: only miserable truckers, all of them. Swollen faces and beer bellies from plenty of drinking, and they continued to drink all night. I wonder how they get off the ship in Kiel without getting arrested. It appears pretty certain that the German Polizei does not do breathalyzer tests on the sea faring truckers as they leave the ship. I would suggest Stena Lines or other shipping line.
Fuel. First stop of many. The cars consume fuel at a significant rate during high speed runs. The M6 has a smaller tank and higher fuel consumption than the M5. It really showed because M6 ran out of fuel just as M5’s fuel tank went just below half tank. M5 ended up waiting for M6 quite a bit.
Make sure you have everything with you when entering the Autobahn. Everything costs a lot more at the Autobahn fuel stations, also the fuel stations on Autobahn are not accessible from side roads.
The bottle of windshield washer fluid cost 25 Euro!
We AirBnB’d with some hosts that were brand new, so it was kind of sketchy but after hassle of them picking up phone and accommodating us, we woke up in the morning and realized that we are staying right next to a castle.
We really never have a plan where will end up or where to stay at night, we figure it out towards the evening. This night it turns out it was impossible to get a booking on AirBNB and once we gave up on AirBNB, then also the last hotels (in rural Europe) were closed. AirBNB banned my host right after I had booked and then it was too late to book another one, they obviously would not tell me, but after 3 hours on the phone with them I had figured it all out. AirBNB banned him for offering to circumvent AirBNB fees in his profile or some sketchy thing like that, because of this AirBNB bann move we ended without a place to sleep.
We ended up sleeping in our cars outside the hotel that we had reservations at but clerk had gone home at 23:00 when reservation on Booking.com said midnight. They were all apologetic in the morning as they discovered us leaving and offered us free breakfast.
Amsterdam. Parking is about $100/night in the parking structures around Amsterdam centrum. The GoogleMaps reviews of parking structures are full of bad reviews where people say their cars have been broken into. We got lucky after 2 hours of searching for decent street parking, found a place in upscale area right in front of hotel that has reception clerk 24/7 and has low day rate of 35 Euros per day, per car.
We left Amsterdam since the rain was coming to Amsterdam and head for the Nurburgring. We knew that the possibility of rain is huge on the Nurburgring, but we knew also that tomorrow is the last day of the season and we can’t go there the day after tomorrow, we decided to go and risk it with the rain.
Leaving the Nurburgring.
It was rainy. Nurburgring was having a classic race in the morning and the track would only open after 2:30pm for an hour or so, before season close. We decided against waiting to get a lap or two in before they close, if they even stay open at all due to weather.. So we got back on the Autobahn and drove away from the rain and headed to Munich, where it was forecast to be sunny.
We encountered an Audi A8 wide-body on the way to Munich. The car was from Romania. The guy was the most aggressive driver we came across on the Autobahn during the whole trip. The car was a diesel and did not really stand its ground against the M5 or M6 over 250kmh. After 1 hour of runs, the Audi driver pulled over at the same fuel station we pulled in to (due to G-Power running out of fuel again). The Audi driver asked how many HP the M5 has. I told him 400HP and he replied that the Audi has 500HP but the M5 is faster. I believe the diesel part is what was slowing the Audi down. The G-Power got an engine fault (that neesd the car to restart in order to remove) mid-way on this run of this fuel tank and was limited to 250kmh until fuel station, and could not really show the Audi who up…
The M Power room was void of E34 M5 and E39 M5. I was really looking forward seeing these two in pristine condition. When I realized they don’t have a single E34 M5 or E39 M5 at the museum I became disappointed and put a 1 star rating on the museum on GoogleMaps. I rather see a warehouse full of entire BMW production line than some select fancy rooms and stuff, where a lot of machines I wanna see are missing.
It is quite amazing to see these old machines in pristine condition. To see an old 3-series how it was, when it was brand new. Surprising was most of the cars at the museum had plenty of miles on them, they were never set aside for museum purposes, but most likely later re-acquired from private market for museum purposes.
BMW M5: The Complete Story. That’s my book!.. That’s what I said anyway. I told everyone to hold because I need to find my car and started flipping through the pages. I was joking with them, but then it became true. My car was in the book. The pictures from years ago that I took and uploaded to Wikimedia were published in the book.
After visiting the BMW Museum and now on the road for a week, we initially had a plan to drive to Italy and then Santorini. Italy had had torrential rains for a month and no sign of letting go, so we decided against trying to cross the Alps while it is snowing and Italy looking increasingly like a disaster zone. This is where we decided to head back to Latvia.
At this time I was actually getting tired of driving on the Autobahn. It is exhausting to drive over 250kmh, the amount of concentration required wears one out fast. Anita was just sleeping in the passenger seat at times, at 250kmh. The brakes on the car were with US Spec standard rotors, that are not of the floating-type design. They had begun warping toward the end of the trip, due to uneven heating (delta) on the brake rotor center cone/dome and the rotor itself and heat expansions doing its job.
The speedometer was also shot. It broke in Munich. I was getting no speedometer and after inspection the conclusion was that the rear left drive axle’s boot/cover had started to come loose at the seam and spilled grease everywhere in the wheel hub with centrifugal force, clogging the speed sensor. Numerous attempts were made to try to clean the speed sensor but it only worked for couple km and then failed again. When using a high pressure washer and hitting the speed sensor, we got it to work for 100km or so.. Then fail again due to the grease getting everywhere.
Numerous attempts were made to clear the speed sensor from grease from rear axle. This time by removing the rear wheel and spraying brake cleaner to unclog it. The service shop across the street were idiots and would not lend me the jack stand for 10eur for 10 min. I had to use the BMW road-side jack stand, which worked fine.
After days on the Autobahn and high speed driving I had actually gotten a little tired from unlimited speed and just wanted to relax and sit on Instagram for a change. A funny feeling, because I never thought I would get enough of the Autobahn, and that I will want to just go fast forever, but such is not the case in life. One actually gets tired of it eventually. I remember a M5Board member from Germany once saying “high speed driving gets boring” and I could not believe him. Now I know what he meant by that. I was finally full of the emotion “driving really fast”, ready to go home and relax for the winter.
The speedo was broken so I plugged in Bluetooth OBDII reader and setup the Torque App on phone to be a speedo and tacho HUD. Torque App has bunch of settings to work as a HUD, mirroring the image so it would look correct on the windshield and hiding all the Android icons, etc. The HUD speedo data is sourced from GPS speed instead of speed sensor and Tacho is sourced from OBDII link.
The M5 and the M6 were both driving behind a semi truck in the darkness of 4AM in Lithuanian nowhere, when a dead deer suddenly appeared behind the center of rear end of the semi truck and before the M6 had a chance to react, the M6 ran over the dead deer. The M6 has specially designed kevlar undercarriage panels, same form as regular but really durable. The M6 jumped on the deer and crushed it some more. Then came the M5 right in the heels and splattered it all over as well. There was no damage to the cars surprisingly, but the M6 front wheels were all red with blood splatter and the M5 had the whole undercarriage in red. I had to take the car to a specific shot that washes the undercarriage. The car was smelling like BBQ for the rest of the trip to Riga and then started smelling burnt as the meat was roasting on the exhaust pipes. Footage of the deer incident can be found in the 20 min YouTube video posted at end of this post.