Today we planned to simply drive as far as we could in the hope of clearing the alps during a window of relatively good weather - you see we don't have snow chains for our trucks and hence we did not want to be in the alps during a storm. So we headed out towards Verona along the A4 and then north along the A22 towards the Brenna Pass and Austria.
Approaching Austria we started thinking about whether we needed to get, and if so how to get, a vignette. This is a sticker that goes on a car windshield to say that the vehicle has paid a road tax or toll. While I drove Nina researched the question in various caravaning/motorhoming guide books we are carrying.
What we discovered from those books (and iPhone internet) is that in Austria all vehicles under 3,500KG gross weight must display a vignette, but vehicles (including motorhomes) over 3,500kg must get a thing called a Go box. The Go box allows roadside sensors to track the number of km driven and charge the vehicle owner/driver a toll based on the number of km driven. The charge rate depends on a number of things but primarily emissions category and number of axles. For our vehicle the charge is 0.21 Euros per kilometer.
So to cut a long story short we found a gas station just before the border that could sell us a Go Box, (5 Euros for the box) and take a cash deposit against the charges we would incurr. Thus equipped, we set off into Austria.
One of the things we had observed in Italy and it was even more strictly followed in Austria was the driving behaviour of large trucks. On 4 lane roads they drive only in the curb side lane, never entering the center high speed lanes, and they stick scrupulously to a 80kmh speed limit. The result of this is, we observed long lines of semi-trailers motoring down the highway like a train. On 6 lane roads the trucks may use the outside two lanes and hence on such roads we sometimes saw trucks overtaking trucks.
Once into Austria we bypassed a number of motorway service areas in the hope of getting to a lower altitude. We eventually stopped about 40km from Innesbruck at a place with a large parking area, large restaurant, and gas station. As the night progressed we were joined by 20 or 30 trucks.