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Thread: Alps 09 in pics

  1. #1
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    Alps 09 in pics

    Here's how it went for me,not sure if this is a ride report or a guide in pics,I'll make it up as I add the pics and see what happens......................

    Wednesday, Day minus 1 (cos the trip proper starts in 2 days) 160 miles
    I meet up with Gerry and head for Portsmouth for the over night crossing to Caen,this puts us in France at 6.30am,an ideal early start for the 500 mile-ish ride to Vevey for the start of the tour on Friday.
    We meet up with Lee and Richard at the port and are to share a 4 berth cabin on the overnight crossing.
    Gerry and I get a fish & chip supper near HMS Warrior;


    Thursday,Day zero 500 miles
    Full tanks and empty bladders and we're off,our route is an almost perfect straight diagonal line from Caen to Vevey,taking in a variety of road types from Peage and dual carriageway to single track rural country roads through villages and farmland, Peage (motorway) were a necessary evil to cover the distance in the time we had,we stop at a delightful establishment for coffee and croissants-really soaking up the culture now


    Gerry finds his ancestral home......


    We stop and take the odd pic or two....


    We arrive at Vevey, a little tired and not a little late,there's just time to check into the Hotel,get a shower and jump in a taxi for a buffet at Magnum's house overlooking lake Geneva
    It's been a baptism of fire for Lee in our group as the furthest he had ever rode a bike in 1 day prior to this trip was 160 miles

    Friday. Day 1 230 miles
    This is where it gets tougher,we did so many excellent passes and Alpine roads over the coming week I know I'll have trouble remembering them all so cut me a little slack and feel free to fill in the gaps.............
    Cookie and Angie take break and enjoy the views...

    Another view from the same spot..........



    The route takes in the Grand St. Bernard pass and to coin a phrase by Cookie the "Garmin starburst effect" is much in evidence as despite many GPS users having the same route installed a starburst effect could often be seen at road junctions and roundabouts

    We stopped here for a coffee in the shadow of Mont Blanc........


    We pressed on and found a great place for a lunch stop,we ate al fresco on a terrace overlooking a lake,the weather gods were smiling on us,or maybe Magnum had booked the weather
    The view from our lunch stop.......


    First and only mechanical malady of the trip,1200 FPC failure,part of the group had already left unaware of the problem,those that remained rallied round,found a spare and we were on our way in 20 mins

    Cookie and Leman (Richard) Mr Fixits,did I spell that right............


    Just like the council workers where I live,2 men to do the job and half a dozen to watch how it's done,take piccies and make sarcastic remarks



    Mutant canines on the petit St Bernard pass..........


    The overnight stop is at Verbier,the Tour de France passed through a couple of months earlier,we find this on a wall to commemorate the Tour......it's rather eyecatching and very lifelike.


    The group has split into smaller groups during the day,I find myself arriving later than most and have time for a "splash 'n dash" before joining the others for a meal,a few drinks and some banter.

    Saturday. Day 2. 153 miles
    We're heading for Zermatt,there are just 3 bikes in our group as wew are among the last to leave the Hotel,myself Gerry and Redpadraig (Patrick and wife Anne),the "starburst effect" is very much in evidence again-even though there are only 3 bikes each rider wants to go a different way we wonder at the views......pass through vineyards and orchards-and back again.........


    Soon we're back on track and heading for the Dixcence Dam, the hairpins to the car park are impossibly steep-as is the wall of the dam when we complete the climb




    We arrive at the top,it's not hard to find where the rest of the group are parked so we park up and find that they have already been up to the dam in the cable car,had a coffee and are ready to leave.............a theme is developing here,perhaps we're riding too slowly or stopping for too many pics



    We stop for lunch,and very nice it was too


    Gerry and I get the cable car to the top of the dam,apparently you can see mont blanc from here............
    It's true-you can-it's to my right shrouded in cloud



    Stunning views from the top.......



    We maintain a brisk pace all afternoon,we're determined not to be last to arrive at the Hotel-again.......but we still stop for some pics,at one stop we find Lee ( leel600 ) who has picked up a passenger
    It seemed to be alive-if a little subdued..........


    we were heading for Tasch railway station where the bikes would spend the night,we were getting the train to Zermatt,some 10 miles away, a place where motorized vehicles are not allowed..........
    Unloading at Tasche station...


    We were greeted at Zermatt station by an electric taxi and transported to our Hotel in the shadow of the Matterhorn.........


    Another great night of beer,bollox and great food ensued
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  2. #2
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    Where was I?

    Day 3. 173 miles
    We take the train back to Tasch station and reload the bikes and take to the roads,the group leaves as one,we are heading for Belinzona in Italy and take in several passes today,among them Nufenen Pass,St Gotthard pass,Oberalp pass and Lukmanier pass,some of them very tight and all very twisty and strewn with hairpin bends
    View from the St Gotthard pass......


    Parked at a view point on the Oberalp pass.....

    The view from the top........


    Gerry and I stop briefly for a coffee........


    We are a small group today comprising myself,Gerry and Cookie & Angie,we meet up with Patrick & Anne during the day for a lunch stop at a biker friendly cafe........


    More fun in the twisties followed.......


    Before we arrived at Belinzona,parking was a little tight............but we managed to get all the bikes in the Hotel grounds before heading toward the old town where a wine and food festival was taking place

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  3. #3
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    Great pics , and good write up

    Only question , whats is the "Garmin starburst effect"?




    a pic of what digger06 had in his visor (Romanian refugee) on our way back from Bulgaria last year.

    i think it was in between Hungry and Austria he found it and had to pull over very fast
    Name:  IMAG0309.jpg
Views: 3484
Size:  93.0 KB



    ugg

  4. #4
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    Day 4 156 miles
    We are again taking in several passes today en route to St Moritz, among them; San Bernardino Pass, Splugen Pass, Maloja Pass, Julier Pass, Albula Pass,more twisties-it's a tough life
    Cookie & Angie.......


    San Bernadino pass was fantastic-if a little damp underfoot-or under tyre.....


    The views and the scenery were stunning,the only problem seems to be that the roads are so demanding and enjoyable to ride that you don't always "see" the views or by the time you spot a photo opportunity it's often too late.............what can you do but enjoy the ride and take pics where and when you can


    The tight and twisty Albula pass certainly can focus the mind in places,this cantilever section looks a little flimsy from a distance but you don't notice it when you pass over it..........


    Unless you suffer from vertigo


    By his own admission Lee set a "plodding" pace and yet often turned up at a rest/photo stop barely 5 minutes after us where we had been "pressing on"



    Not exactly the physique of a GSer.........


    We arrived in St Moritz and the view from the bacony wasn't too bad..........


    The room wasn't too shabby either.....

    But was one of,if not the most expensive of the trip,a spot of "early doors" ensued followed by an excellent meal and the group ganied another participant as Swiss Rob had joined us for the remainder of the tour
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  5. #5
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    Excellent pictures, thanks. Puts me in mind of our own recent Dolomites trip, where we only really became aware of the beauty of our surroundings when we viewed the photo's afterwards. You sort of 'get lost'in it at the time.

  6. #6
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    cracking pics and ride report ,, any chance of the gps file for my first solo euro excursion next year ???

  7. #7
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    Great report and pics Steve

    Hurry up and post the rest

  8. #8
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    Looks brill steve very envious !!

  9. #9
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    Where was I?

    Day 5 183miles
    We're leaving the smell of cash and St Moritz behind and are heading to Nauders in Austria today,on the way we will ride several passes again,among them; Bernina Pass, Eira Pass, Foscagno Pass, Aprica Pass, Gavia Pass, Stelvio Pass, Reschen Pass
    There is some low cloud and the roads are damp as we leave St Moritz,the forecast is supposed to be "changeable", in the mountains? no shit!


    High on the Aprica pass we experience sleet or was it snow either way it's decidedly chilly and the cold wind and sleet makes taking pictures a rare occurence.........





    Each pass presents a sign and a new sticker posting opportunity.........as I have many event stickers left over-and a few to advertise my site it seems to be the "done thing"......... so I do



    With several passes under our belt our little group is making good progress as we head for the Aprica pass,if memory serves me correctly this is where we met Lee who tagged on for some company,the Aprica is a very tight and twisty pass,we passed through several tunnels and avalanche shelters which protect the road from the obvious falling rocks,many of the tunnels were unlit,some had corners inside and some were poorly maintained and badly surfaced......some featured all of the above, great fun

    The Stelvio pass beckoned,according to Top Gear it's the best driving road............................big pause.................."in the wurrrlld",it's a great road and it's a must do if you're in the area but best driving road in the world? I don't think so,Clarkson and co should have spent a while longer in the Alps
    Gerry was keen to get the Stelvio and greet his old friend at the top who serves Alsation burgers and bratwurst in a bun
    Following another GPS starburst moment in Bormio we were on our way,as we climbed the cloud came down to meet us,the views from the top can be stunning,this is a typical image looking down at the hairpins........

    Sadly the above pic was taken by me 4 years ago

    Today the views were like this.....


    While Gerry satisfied his hunger on god knows what in a bun I trawled the "tat" err souvenir shops in a bid to curry favour with 'Er indoors by adding to her fridge magnet collection,I was spoilt for choice

    With space running out I left our mark on the sign............if you need a clue it's in the "o" in Dello




    As we tackled the descent the weather became clearer......I think this is cookie & Angie but it could easily be Patrick & Anne


    The weather closed in again as we tackled the Reschen pass and we pressed on for the Hotel,through the lovely wide sweeping bends at Malles Venosta,past the lake with the spire at Curon Venosta and onto the Hotel Hochland in Nauders,this was a great value Hotel and featured free use of the "wellness centre",a soak in the hot tub followed by a sauna and a dip in the pool was just what the doctor ordered more beer and talking bollox followed a great meal.
    Tomorrow we tackle The Stelvio pass again (well half of it ) and then head off road for a few kms along a graded gravel road,sounds like fun
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  10. #10
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    Excellent, Steve!

    Hanging on every word!

    I'm filling up..!

    More!

  11. #11
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    Day 6 147 miles
    I should add that the mileages are approximate and don't allow for multiple laps of roundabouts/u-turns and re-tracing the route when lost best to add 50 miles then..................after tackling the Reschen pass we head for the Stelvio pass again,the climb up the hairpins is interrupted by roadworks,there is a fine drizzle of rain but compared to the previous day the pass is almost deserted and free of traffic,I pause at the bottom for a pic of this unusual artwork.........


    At the top the fog is thick,the cafe's are closed and the fridge magnet/sticker vendors are nowhere to be seen,we descend through the thick fog and pick up the graded gravel track that forms part of the (I think) Umbrail pass, more spectacular scenery....more cowpats on every other apex and even the weather is with us
    We're heading for Arosa and take in the fabulous Offen pass and Fluela pass,I really enjoyed the tarmac on these passes,the views were,needless to say,outstanding.................




    We stopped for a coffee and to add (or in some cases remove) a layer and admire the wood carvings.....


    Patrick & Anne strike a pose at a rest stop.............


    As we neared our hotel stop for the night in Arosa I spotted these beasts standing guard...........


    They looked very convincing from a distance,made from untreated flat steel and of welded construction these figures lined the road for a mile or two...........



    The following pics are taken during and after the meal at the Hotel Seehof in Arosa..........

    Dom explains the finer workings of his weapon of choice to Anne.....















    It's the craic and the company as much as the roads and the scenery that made the trip so memorable
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  12. #12
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    Day 7 149 miles

    Today we're heading for Grindelwald,we're taking in the Oberalp Pass, Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass for me one of the best day's riding of the trip
    We are blessed again by the weather gods and set off,I decide I'm going to forego a cafe lunch and have an impromptu picnic en-route as and when the mood takes me so I stock up on ham,cheese,bread rolls,some fruit and mineral water,I've bought enough to feed an army so who ever is with me can join in-within reason
    The Oberalp is first and having stocked up on provisions I find Cookie & Angie,Patrick & Anne and Gerry stopped for a coffee in a little Romantsch town cafe.............

    Fancy a coffee-I'm paying


    In the shadow of the giant sausage............




    Furkapass is next and is a fantastic mix of sweeping bends and hairpins and fabulous views,at the sign the obligatory sticker placing ceremony takes place............






    The Furka pass continues............sweeping constant radius bends,smooth as a baby's bum tarmac and occasionally no Armco or guard rail-just to stop you falling asleep



    From here it's on to the Grimsell pass,it would be rude not to stop here and get a pic or two........




    At 2500 metres I wonder how long it will be before these roads are closed due to snowfall......


    I'm alone now and enjoying my own space and pace, the water in the lakes and rivers in the Alps have turquoise hue to them and I wonder what mineral gives them that particular shade...........this is something else altogether though,I'm guessing this particular cloudy grey colour is the result of mining but for what?


    I don't wonder for too long as the bends demand total concentration,it's great fun and I notice Patrick parked up with a camera pointed my way as I flash past
    I'm feeling a little peckish now,my GPS tells me I have little more than an hour until I reach the hotel,regardless I stop at a disuse3d bridge on what I assume is part of the old road that runs parallel with the one I am on, I try to park the bike where others might see it so they can join me for lunch.........


    I set out the provisions and enjoy a lunch al fresco,2 0r 3 bikes flash past,give a toot and a thumbs up (which I return) and their engine sounds fade into the distance,dinner for one then...........


    The views are rubbish but I'm prepared to suffer.......in almost perfect silence




    I continue my solo ride and arrive in Grindelwald in good time,the mighty Eiger stands over the town,as with most mountains it appears at first to be a little camera shy



    The outskirts of the town is littered with the now familiar,Swiss chocolate box houses............


    I find our hotel and check in..............


    As this is the last night the whole group will sit down together for an evening meal something a little special is called for....................over a beer it is decided we are having a "Mongolian buffet" meal,nobody is entirely sure what that entails,some of us recall Timolgra's thread and wonder how we might deal with rampant,vodka fuelled,homosexual Russian truck drivers...........
    We needn't have worried,we are invited to fill a bowl with food,choose spices and pick one of half a dozen different types of cooking oil and hand the plate to our chef,we chose from this little lot............


    Stan Laurel making his choices..................


    Give your plate to the chef............


    And it returns looking like this...................mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Repeat as many times as you can

    More pics from the evening meal..............




    To coin a phrase by Kev...........care in the community is not what it was


    The cast


    Tomorrow,a trip up the Eiger,return trip to Vevey,pack up and head for home
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 wheel humvee View Post
    The cast
    Is that uncle Albert 3rd from right?

    Adie

  14. #14
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    A great read, Steve, thanks!

    M

  15. #15
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    Fantastic report Steve

    Superb mixture of factual, funny and artistic pics. Brings it all back

    Trying to work out what can be done next year to equal this

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirky1298 View Post
    cracking pics and ride report ,, any chance of the gps file for my first solo euro excursion next year ???
    PM me your email address

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