Alps 2013 Part 1 Switzerland

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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:53 am

With a week to go to the start of our trip the list of jobs to do wasn’t getting any shorter, time to get organised me thinks.
Bike docs, insurance, European Health cards, driving licence, travel insurance, new tyres, bike serviced ............ the list seemed endless but all was ok.
Just need to:-
book the tunnel, £40 each way-sorted
get some Euro breakdown cover, £27-sorted
test pack the new Ortlieb bags-perfect (thanks Martin :clap: :handgestures-thumbup: )
and sort out the accommodation :lol:
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Saturday morning finally arrived with that wonderful excited tingling in my joints that comes with a road trip and after pushing the prepacked, fully fuelled behemoth out of the garage we were on our way, jeez this bike is overloaded. Making good time I decided to refill just before Folkstone ready for a clean get away the other side, today was not a sightseeing tour but all about covering ground. As we entered the terminal an hour early the speedo rolled over to 34,000 miles and I give the bike a congratulatory pat on the tank whilst muttering “come on girl don’t let me down”.
What am I doing :? ?
It’s a machine, it doesn’t have feelings :think: .
Certainly when I bought it 5 years ago it was just a tool for a job but looking back at our previous adventures aboard the ugly duckling always brings a smile to my face and part of me would like to see a grey haired Tonibe wheeling her out the garage and heading off in to the sunrise in 10 or 15 years time-OMG! I think I’m in love :oops: .

Getting an earlier crossing (at no extra cost) made up for the lost hour moving into European time so I thought we could take some ‘N’ roads instead of the peage but after 30 tortuous miles I realised the bike was too heavy for all those traffic lights and roundabouts so headed for the wallet emptying toll roads. In reality it was about £20 in total before turning off South of Riems towards Bar-le-Duc area for an overnight stop. We switched on the sat nav and found an Ibis Hotel en route which turned out to be very underwhelming as did the Buffalo Grill steak, infact the best thing about this place was having to converse with the locals in ‘Franglais’ again, something I’m really enjoying the more I do it.

Today’s mission accomplished we head off for bed as the sun sets on a steady 480 mile day Image
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Last edited by Tonibe63 on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby skunkyd » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:22 am

That's a bigger tent than I ever imagined going on a bike. Looking forward to the rest of your report Tony. :handgestures-thumbup:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:03 am

Sunday
7am and my alarm ends a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast in the sun was nice and after reloading all the gear back on the bike we say goodbye to the waiter, a happy chap who was eager to improve his English and after just a 10 minute conversation had my respect. A warm handshake sets us on our way with positive feelings for the day ahead.
After a few hours of heading southeast we get to the Swiss/French border just North of Lausanne and are casually waved through by the Guards who are more interested in vehicles able to carry cheap French meat and other goods to avoid the extortionate Swiss prices.
As we were only in Switzerland for 3 or 4 days I decided not to get a Vignette Sticker (£40ish) for using the Swiss motorways and just use normal roads, this worked out great for all of an hour before we hit Lausanne and it’s adjoining suburbs around the Lake which as the midday temperature was hitting 34 degrees became almost unbearable. I was feeling like a boil in the bag ready meal as the tall buildings stopped the airflow and every traffic light for 10 miles turned red as we approached. Finally we got off the main road and on towards our destination.
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The only route from here was to take in our first pass of the trip but it was tighter than I expected and laden with traffic which made progress very slow, this pushed me in to overtakes I wouldn’t have normally done but needs must and I pressed on for what seemed like hours. As we rounded a tight bend we were greeted with a familiar sight in the Alps, paramedics on our side of the road, a smashed up bike leant against the armco and rescue workers with ropes shouting down in to the deep ravine on the outside of the bend. Reality strikes home as I get a sickening feeling in my stomach, I best heed that vivid warning :think: .
The lack of food and water since breakfast hit home as we refuelled about 5pm with still maybe another 150 miles of absolute torture to go. I was shocked as I thought about just camping in a field somewhere and how I just didn’t want to swing my leg over the bike again-EVER.
A 10 minute sit on the garage forecourt drinking water and eating chocolate somehow brought us back from brink of Ebaying the bike and I gathered up the energy to push on.
“Ohh great now it’s f*kin raining”.
The signs for Interlaken came in to view an hour later as the heavens well and truely turned the hose on and I got a severe case of the f*ckits, I was passed caring. Risking a mega fine if caught I pulled on to the Motorway and just kept up with traffic for another hour of white water riding before eventually getting to Grindelwald just as it stopped raining.

At last the mountain view from the campsite
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We were too late for food but by 9.30pm we had set up camp and were on a 2nd beer at the outside bar which thankfully just knocked us out for our first night camping.
That was my worst day ever on a bike and seriously had me doubting the whole trip.

365 miles of hell
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Last edited by Tonibe63 on Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby PaulG » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:13 am

Enjoyed that Tony looking forward to reading the rest :D
Of all the things i have lost i miss my mind the most.
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Postby bmk » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:25 am

That's Switzerland, you can find yourself doing a lot of miles but not getting very far forward. I've usually found after an hour or two, I need to get onto a motorway to get some miles knocked off.

Looking forward to the rest Tony. :handgestures-thumbup:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:49 am

Monday
Noises outside the tent woke me up about 9am which apart from a couple of times during the night (air bed too hard) meant we got a good 10 hours much needed sleep=result. Returning from a good shower with fresh coffee I woke Louise and then whilst she got sorted I rode the mile or so to the local supermarket in shorts and T shirt, returning with supplies yum yum.
One of our main reasons for coming back to Switzerland was to do the Jungfrau Top of Europe trip http://www.jungfrau.ch/en/tourism/ . Some research had shown that you could book in advance at a discount but if the weather is bad then you cannot see anything.
Today the weather was good so we decided to just go for it despite the £120 each ticket price, after all we may not be back here again and that’s what creditcards are for.

The train journey climbs up the foot of the mountains for half an hour or so before going in to the mountain itself.
Every 20 minutes or so there are stations inside the mountain and viewing platforms
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The higher we got the more dramatic the glacier and snow became

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Until finally we arrived at the top after about 90 minutes.
This place was used in one of the James Bond films.
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The views were amazing
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Down in to the Ice Palace which inside the Glacier
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Yes I had forgotten my normal glasses
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Outside on to a small plateau with just a loose wooden pole and a rope to stop you slithering over the edge
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I’m not a fan of the Americanism ‘Awesome’ but this place really was
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As we left around 3pm the cloud was coming in and by the time we got down the webcams showed the top to now be in cloud
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Having not eaten since the morning the supplies back at the campsite were fantastic, if somewhat expensive and the beer even better.
Around 9pm the thunderstorms had moved in and we were treated to a fantastic lightening display before retreating to bed.
A much needed day off the bike and a once in a lifetime trip.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Tuesday.

Again another great night’s sleep and today ride was the other reason we came back to Switzerland, to visit the little road off the Susten Pass that goes up to the glacier.

Nice warm and dry start to the day riding around the top of Lake Brienz
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On to the Susten Pass which is my favourite
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Coffee stop where the little road starts and goes off to the top right of the pic
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And it doesn’t disappoint when we get there
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The road goes to the right of the lake
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From there we rode on to the St.Gotthard Pass which is much wider with longer 60 to 70mph sweeping bends, my new favourite Pass.
Short vid (turn the sound down cus the wind noise is deafening and I can't sort any music out at the minute)
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Still snow around but not cold
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An older cobbled road down from the top which was quaint but very bumpy
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View overlooking Aisolo from a coffee stop where we met a retired Belgian couple in their late 50’s on a 6 week tour in a camper
Another fantastic road
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Then on to the Nufenen Pass and the Grimsel Pass.

Look at the ice leaking through the Dam wall
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It’s been a cold winter and very late to thaw with some fantastic ice formations
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As we head out the Northern end of the Grimsel the rain starts to bucket down so it’s on with the waterproofs and another risky white water ride along the Motorway.
Stopping at the local supermarket we picked up supplies and head straight for the campsite Barbeque hut, we were f’kin drenched. Did I mention how expensive Switzerland is, £23 for some salad, rice, chicken and pork steaks.

After gate crashing a French families cooking we took over and got it smoking
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An hour or so later, the rain had stopped and the scenery improved
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Another great day covering about 165 miles of the most fantastic roads
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Last edited by Tonibe63 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:46 pm

Wednesday

Another quality sleep and over a coffee and pain chocolate we decide to move on today having covered all we wanted to do in Switzerland and the tent was dry.
An hour or so to pack up the camp and by 10am we are on the road having settled the £112 for 3 nights campsite fee, did I mention that Switzerland is f’kin expensive :eek: .

Out past Lake Thun on the Motorway :augie
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Heading South via the mountain train from Kandersteg to Kippel
The Checz couple in front spoke no English but within 5 minutes we were having a laugh whilst pawing over maps, exchanging sweets and comparing crash bar damage. International biking is very friendly affair.
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Struggling to get my leg over
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Out the other side
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Ice in the Lake on the Gr St.Bernard
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Some great Architecture around Aosta
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Late afternoon and the storm clouds are gathering up ahead but we managed to ride some fantastic bends coming into Bourg St.Maurice before the rain hit.
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A great 200 miles today
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When it hit us the rain turned the road into a river along with a fearsome thunderstorm.
Louise spotted an Auburge at the side of the road and although dripping wet they welcomed us in with no problems.
Just about to get in the shower and a lightning bolt came down just behind the building and took out the power in the village, thankfully the shower was gravity fed so no problems but unless the power was restored dinner was off, we’d not eaten since breakfast and were starving.
An hour later the power came back on and so was dinner although with a delay.

The view from our balcony looking over the town after the storm
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Down in the bar a group of 5 French had arrived from the BMW Garmisch event heading back home to Bar-le-Duc, the place we stopped in France on the way down. These guys had done some serious riding including Australia and South America. They spoke very little English but we managed to communicate ok and had a fantastic 3 hours eating and drinking with them, we even got an invite to stop over at their homes on our way home.

The Frenchies leaving the next morning
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Louise on the balcony
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Another great days travelling 8-) .
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:00 pm

End of the starter.
There could be a delay on the main course
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Postby bmk » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:04 pm

Tonibe63 wrote:End of the starter.
There could be a delay on the main course


What, :shock: with my appetite just whetted. :D
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Postby skunkyd » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:40 pm

Simply brilliant :handgestures-thumbup: keep it coming!
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Postby malcolm penny » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:04 pm

great ride report :greetings-clappingyellow:
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Postby Noel » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:00 pm

Great report Tony nice warm up for the next one!

malcolm penny wrote:great ride report :greetings-clappingyellow:

You need to get out there and see some of the world!!!
Please Mr Yamaha may I have one of your Super Tens, Thanks Malcolm.
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Postby malcolm penny » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:07 pm

is there blasting to be done out there ?
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Postby skunkyd » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:01 pm

Some great photos there Tony :clap:
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