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on2wheels52 11-24-2011 08:15 AM

3 Strangers Meet for a 10 Day Ride in the Alps
A little background
In '08, with no foreign language ability, I managed to make a solo ride around parts of southern Germany and much of Austria.
Early this year I had put in a request and had it approved by my wife to plan another trip to the Alps in September 2012. I was hoping that
would be long enough to corral another rider (ideally one with at least had german in high school) to take the same trip.
Then I see this posted in Trip Planing on ADV in late May this year:

Alps in September, 10 Days Many Passes - Still Need a Few Brave Souls
I am leading a trip to the Alps to ride a bunch of the historic passes between Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria.
Still looking for a few buddies to come along.
Very similar to the Edelweiss rides, but more flexibility, more riding, a bit less sightseeing. This is for serious riders - we'll be doing
a lot of switchbacks, much better than the "tail of the dragon" or any other curvy road this side of the pond. We'll rent bikes in
Heidelberg and pick biker-friendly hotels. Good food too. In the post-season there are plenty of affordable rooms and few tourists,
and the weather is usually stable.
Dates: 10 riding days, September 12 to 21, 2011 (still a bit flexible)
PM me for details

We emailed and phoned (even made my first Skype call).
I discover he is a native german but has been working in the US as a mining engineer for many years. Has a couple of bikes. Has
european maps in his GPS. He said there wouldn't be any more than six in the group, would be to tough to manage any more.

Cathy gives me the ok (and yes, I had to give up going in '12)
We will be renting our bikes from Stefan Knopf in Heidelberg, a few hours further from the Alps than Munich (where I started last time)
but Jürgen had rented from him before and spoke highly of his services. Stefan has a B&B at his site which saves a lot of logistical
problems for a rider's first and last day in Germany. Having been there, I can also speak highly of the experience. In my part of the
country, Stefan would be known as a "stand-up" kind of guy.

Jürgen knew two other potential riders that might sign on, but they weren't able to commit. A few week before we were to leave, Marc
from NC (as fate would have it, we all own GS's) expressed an intrest in going. I shared a few communications with him. He had
hitch-hiked across europe in the '70's and had been back several times since. Hadn't ridden in the Alps though. He was a bit leery of
what kind of trip he might be getting into but decided to come anyway.

We all agreed that if the 'chemistry' between us didn't work out we could all find our way around on our own.
I was the only one who brought along some maps

No, I didn't bring ALL of these but I had a pretty good stack (and aquired some more there)

Time to go
Cathy was kind enough to drive me to Springfield MO for my flight to Chicago.
My flight is three up from the bottom

Perhaps I should introduce my carry on luggage

I had been watching the dollar/euro/chf (swiss franc) exchange ratio for some time. While I was waiting for my flight out of O'Hare I
studied this kiosk for a while but never did totally make sense out of it. I just went with what I had.

No jetway for me in Frankfurt

I soon located the shuttle that would take me to Heidelberg.
I may not have known it at the time, but through this gate lies motorcycle nirvana

Rooms on the left, the shop (and also Stefan's home) on the right

A place for maintaince

I would have an '05 GS

Marc and Jürgen loading up

We walked around the city for a while, then got some rest for for the ride.

hoser54 11-24-2011 08:20 AM

Sounds like a great ride!! Subscribed:1drink

on2wheels52 11-24-2011 10:39 AM

Day One
Stefan has breakfast ready shortly after 7, we soon figure how to operate his espresso machine. By 9 we are heading south on Autobahn A3.
70 km brings us near Buhl, where we exit for what Jürgen calls Schwartzwaldstrasse.

Stopped for lunch in Schluch-see

Nobody had the chicken

We crossed the Rhine river into Switzerland at Waldshut. The 100 km from there to Schattdorf are much busier, involving some stop-and-go
traffic and almost always we are among other vehicles. But it was still an entertaining ride.
We had a garage to park the bikes for our first two nights in Switzerland at Berg-Gasthaus Haldi.

It would have been a long walk up there

But they had thoughtfully provided an easier way up

And here we are in the Alps

l-r, Jürgen, myself, Marc
We didn't expect much from the musicians on the courtyard

So I was suprised when I heard these two guys warming up on the other side of the building

They were there to play for a group of agents who were having a banquet at the place.
It's all about harmony


Haroon 11-24-2011 01:16 PM

Jim- Nice to hear about another super ride in the Alps from one of my Alps guru:D
I am tuned in.

Ridestrong 11-24-2011 02:28 PM

I'm goin' on this ride too! Subscribed!

on2wheels52 11-25-2011 03:47 PM

Day 2
If I had any jet lag I lost it in Heidelberg. I was up by 6.
Their pasture looked pretty lush for september

A tidy henhouse

He seemed to be the head chicken

They all had bells

Sunrise on Shattdorf and Urner See

The place looked like it had been there a while

We didn't get a card key


RevBill 11-25-2011 04:18 PM

.. as green as the grass in those shots ..
... awesome .. hope you don't mind if I tag along ..

JurgenB 11-25-2011 06:19 PM

you're doing a wonderful job! Great photo documentation. One of these days, we'll have to do it again and ride the other 1000 or so passes we missed on this ride....

axelwik 11-25-2011 06:40 PM


Originally Posted by on2wheels52 (Post 17381596)
Day 2
If I had any jet lag I lost it in Heidelberg. I was up by 6.
Their pasture looked pretty lush for september

A tidy henhouse

He seemed to be the head chicken

They all had bells

Sunrise on Shattdorf and Urner See

The place looke like it had been there a while

We didn't get a card key


I thought that picture of the city down below looked familiar. I have an uncle that lives in Shattdorf.

on2wheels52 11-26-2011 02:37 PM

Day 2 Continued

Breakfast at 7 again, then off to ride "Around Andermat", a six pass loop and ending back at the hotel.
I meant to take a photo of the sign indicating the way Susten Pass in Wassen. No billboard type affair, it was about like the street
signs in my subdivision. It wasn't hard to find though (especially when you're following someone who knows where they're going),
there weren't many crossroads in the town.
The agenda for the day: Susten, Grimsel, Furka, Gotthard, Lukmanier and Oberalp passes.

I have to remind myself that mountain passes aren't all big dramatic affairs like this one (in Colorado)

Sometimes the road just kind of flattens out

There were a couple of times I had to turn around after I went by the pass sign or when I saw Marc and Jürgen parked.
But of course the road to the passes was great.

We came a cross a nice pair of Triumphs

A small galcier

When you're on the road you never know what the restrooms will be like

I don't normally see many (any) Aston Martin's in my part of Arkansas

It was the time of year when the cattle are moved down from their summer pastures. Not a big deal in some places

Some places it is

Cow bells as big as a 5 gallon bucket

It clouded up as we returned, but didn't look like rain

Meat and potatoes for supper


on2wheels52 11-27-2011 09:13 AM

Day 3

Jürgen's original plan was to head southwest to the French part of the Alps. But the weather forcast showed that rain storms would
be developing in that area and we would likely be caught up in them when we headed back east. Perhaps I will make it there on
another trip I thought, as my map of France went to the bottom of the stack.
With our schedule so flexible, we had no reservations to cancel. Over breakfast we looked at a map and plotted our route for the day.

No school bus for these kids, we wondered if they knew how lucky they were

Some of the older kids rode the scooters to the tram station

Bidding farewell to our host, she was a sweetie. Jürgen had stayed there before; I'm sure Marc or I would never have
found such a great place to stay on our own.


on2wheels52 11-27-2011 11:40 AM

Day 3

Fom Jürgen, "Starting from Schattdorf, we ran back up Oberalp and Lukmanier passes to Biasca, then on to Bellinzona.
From there, north across San Bernardino into Splügen, back South across Splügen pass, through Italy for a short bit, then into
Chiavenna and across Maloja Pass into St. Moritz. Staying at Hotel Palü in Pontresina."

We stopped for a while there, Marc and Jürgen had a bite

We dropped down to Italy

They must have had some good memories of Americans


on2wheels52 11-27-2011 02:06 PM

Day 3

Given the palm tree, perhaps we weren't in one of the higher elevation areas of the Alps at this point

Somewhere on the road

I recognized the tram car in St. Moritz from one of the Bond movies.
It wasn't far from there to Pontresina
The nicest hotel in town, but not ours

We did take in the lobby though
The one we had was fine, a bit souless perhaps. It was pretty new

I had a nice view

We saw these signs in Switzerland

I may not have the best translation, but in effect the girl is saying that she will use the crosswalk and that she expects you to stop for her
(and come to a complete stop)

A lady was taking a photo of this in Pontresina, I figuried I might as well also


GB 11-27-2011 02:30 PM

Great ride :thumb


sloater 11-27-2011 08:43 PM

Great photography :clap

Have a great ride!!!

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