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Old 09-12-2012, 09:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercury264 View Post


(Not the snow bit )
LOL
No shit.

So the question for to mow becomes return to Galibier and continue grande route des Alpes or replan? I think we may go defeat Galibier! Tomorrow we will see. Tonight we have salad , quiche and homemade sausage to warm our bellies. And wine of course! Bon nuit!

And the gear will be dry by morning

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:56 PM   #17
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  • Nizza, tomorrow, 24C in the afternoon.
  • Alba, Saturday, sunny, 22C! MAke sure you try something with truffles! Alba is known to be the place where the best truffles come from.
  • La Spezia, Tuscany, Sunday 26C

In short: Freezing and wet socks is history for the next few days now!

Thake care, post pics and have fun!

When was it again that you'll be back in Zrich?
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:09 PM   #18
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Know that a little snow would only scare me lol, you guys must be having a blast!
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:35 PM   #19
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The weather is much improved. Went thru Monte Carlo yesterday. Pretty cool to see where thur hold the race!
Off to Alba and points east and south today. Zurich return Thursday night, fly home Friday morning.



Dinner in Sospel.
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #20
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Happy birthday bro !! Have a good one.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by 907Duc View Post
Happy birthday bro !! Have a good one.
Cheers! Fantastic trip so far. Tons of pictures and video. Currently in Schilpario having a glass of excellent Amarone and planning the Alps passes for tomorrow.
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:17 PM   #22
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OK we're back!
let the trip reporting commence

Michelle works pretty damn hard... (although as Kevin may tell you everyone works harder than me...)
But one nice perk of all that hard work is US Airways treats her pretty good. So it was the Envoy lounge at Philadelphia International for us again this year.



I think the girl is pretty excited for a holiday (please see previous reference to hard work!)



Swiss Rail to Aarau, not too bad for a night in coach



safe arrival at Moto Mader. Tommy grabbed us from the train & had the bikes all ready to go. F 800 R for Michelle in "arrest me" red, and an all black F 800 GS for me.



With a bit of jet lag to deal with, the plan was to take it easy and head south-west towards France. We opted to stay off the autobahn and banged along down the secondary highway.





A stop for a bit of lunch including frites and mayo (I'm actually getting a taste for it..) and a check of the map.



and then off into the mountains



cool waterfalls.... we'd see more too!



camera girl on the fly



first pass: Forclaz





looks like buddy laid a trail of diesel to catch out unwary motorcyclists....



Michelle spies a Multistrada




bienvenue France!



on towards Chamonix.. getting a bit grey



afterfinding a lovely little hotel: Hotel du Clocher, and getting cleaned up, we go for a walk around the downtown. Lovely little village! Must be a mad house during ski season.....



time for a spot of dinner... it's starting to rain pretty hard now, so sitting and eating seems a very good thing to do:



soup course: lovely!



salad with cheese & egg! I am going to really like France!



main course



absolutely stuffed we make our way back to the hotel.. the rain has stopped, but tomorrow's forecast isn't looking great, Oh well, we're on holiday!

the trip so far:



275 km behind us!
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:29 AM   #23
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p.s. my dog works harder than you dood
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:05 AM   #24
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Day 02

We had a plan.... we were going to hit some of the cols that we have seen on Le Tour. They are all here, the hard passes that guys on bicycles go up and down during the summer. What could be better?



316 km of of fantastic mountains... very twisty, very technical. Col du Petit St-Bernard, Col de l`Iseran, Col du Mont Cenis, Col du Telegraphe, and Col du Gabilier. If you've ever watched Le Tour, even the names conjure up images of steep climbs & hair-raising descents.... perfect!

except....



So when we got up in the morning & looked outside, we figured it was time for a modification. You have to understand that even though Michelle & I have a "plan", it isn't written in stone. We have places we think we'd like to ride, and a rough route, but no where we have to be, and no schedule to keep. Freestyle.

We set of in a cold drizzle, and I apologize in advance for the lack of pics from day 02. It was just so crappy and cold that we just wanted to make some tracks south. We opted for a route more along the valley out of Chamonix towards Albertville, avoiding a couple of the climbs early. Our hope was the weather would improve. We stopped in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne for lunch & warmed up a bit. The waitress asked which way we were headed, and when we told her, she said the Col du Gabilier was ferme. Bummer..... after lunch we decided to have a look up that road, and the sign told us OPEN! Cool! So up over Col du Telegraphe we went. yes, it was chilly, but not bad. Bit of drizzle... but we're troopers

Onwards & upwards to Col du Gabilier. We saw signs urging "Thomas" onwards (we guessed Tommy Volker, French cyclist & extraordinary climber), and we pressed on too. It was getting quite cold now. BMW thoughtfully intergrates a temperature gauge on the display.. that flashes when the temp gets down around 3 C. Our displays had been flashing a long time, and were showing about -0.5 C or so with the drizzle turning to slight ice pellets. Onwards & upwards...

At the top of the Col there's a tunnel through to the other side. We went through with frozen fingers crossed and were greeted by..... snow. Quite a lot of it in fact. We stopped, Michelle popped in some chemical hand warmers so she could feel her fingers, and decided the Col had won this time.
We headed back down, and based on altitude & weather reports, decided to head more for Turin in Italy. I managed to find a tunnel that would take us through the mountain.. but they wanted something like 28 each in toll ONE WAY!

non, merci.....

We turned around and got back on the valley road. We rode for a while & decided that since tomorrow was supposed to be a nicer day anyway, we may as well stop for the night. We spotted a sign off the D 1006 into Bramans saying there was a hotel, so into town we went. We found the very charming Hotel les Glaciers in the center of town. They had rooms, and they would be serving dinner.... SWEET!

The view from our terrace:



already brightening



A couple from Germany showed up shortly after us... also looking a bit road weary



I didn't understand the conversation they had, but basically it went like:
him "I'll go see if they have a room"
her: "sound of teeth chattering"
him: "seems a bit expensive"
her: "we'll take it"

When we got our stuff up to the room, they even had the heat on! Double bonus.



Gear was dry by the A.M.

more route re-planning:



Yes Kevin.. I use paper maps to supplement the GPS

And supplies....



They had a fixed menu dinner on offer that night.
Quiche & salad to start



A home made sausage & potato dish for the main, and a choice of dolce to finish.



All accompanied by an excellent French red.

After a dinner like that, and a good night's sleep, day 03 could be nothing but fantastic right?

So in the end, instead of 316 km of mountain climbing, we did about 230 km of valleys (but we did do half the Col du Gabilier, so that should count for something).

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Old 09-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #25
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good report, more work than I could do, though I'm sure I still work harder than Kevin's dog even if I do happen to have today off LOL. Looking fwd to rest of journey.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:48 PM   #26
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Day 03

The day dawns dry, if not exactly warm.... we have a lovely French breakfast that consists mainly of croissants & bread, with very strong coffee & steamed milk.

getting the bikes out of the hotel garage and packed up



au revoir les Glaciers, you were a nice warm port in our storm



We head for the Col du Mont Cenis to get into Italy. According to wikipedia we are not the first to come up with this idea:
Quote:
Being a pass in the Alps, the Mont Cenis was used in several notable incidents in history. One example is the descent of Constantine I to Italy, to fight against Maxentius. It was the principal route for crossing the Alps between France and Italy until the 19th century. It was also used as the main passage by which Charlemagne crossed with his army to invade Lombardy in 773.
Well that's OK, we figure it's a good idea anyway. Invasion of Italy underway!

At the top it is a bit foggy, and still chilly



but we are in high spirits when we see the sun shining brightly in Italy



Remember the handy thermometer I mentioned? What will those crafty Germans think of next?



After a good stretch of the legs we strike out for Italy. The water in the reservoir looks very cold!



Quite a dam!



Ever downwards off the mountains into Italy



This girl on a red BMW was always in my mirrors...



As we headed south in the lovely sunshine, we had the mountains on our right to keep us company



As we go further south towards Cuneo, we decided to see if Monte Carlo was within range for the day. It was somewhere we both wanted to see, from an F-1 point of view, if for no other reason... The GPS said it was easily doable, so we angled south-west into the hills around Parc National de Mercantour

Roads cut through steep gashes in the rock



We reached the top of the Col de Brouis in pretty short order. Lovely road with nice sweeping bends. did I mention no snow plus a large helping of sunshine?



Looking over the other side it seems like more of the same good stuff



We reach the Cote d'Azur in no time at all





We rode along the top of the cliff over Monaco and then looped down into the city. I have a video, but in essence it is pretty crowded & pretty slow moving traffic... It was also getting just a tad warm in riding gear.

GoPro



Into the tunnel (from F1 fame) the wrong way though.





Out the other side trying to figure how to get out of town



The water really is that color....



So, after being stuck in the stop & go along the shore we bail out and head north away from the sea. We manage to go back over the Col de brouis (not a bad thing as it was a nice ride), and find our way into the town of Sospel. We grab a hotel get cleaned up, and set off in search of food.

Sospel's old stone bridge



Better picture here via the web: LINK

We settle on Le Picoun, order some wine & food... and reflect on our day





329 km give-or-take for the day. We seem to be able to hammer along in the valleys without any drama. Not a lot of climbs, but plenty of cool memories. Tomorrow: more Italy!
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:44 PM   #27
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Day 04

Much of the suggestion for roads and routes for day 04 comes from inmate Tagesk.



As I mentioned earlier his "riding in Tuscany" thread here on ADV is to Italy as john Hermann's book is to the Alps. A first rate source of information

Morning in Sospel. Bikes out of the garage & packed up.



We had checked the map the night before & compared it to where we thought we might be, and where we wanted to be... We aimed for the town (city?) of Alba. That way we would intersect the route Tagesk had suggested.

Sun's up and we're rollin'



European mountain towns are always lovely (my opinion)



The original guard rail? Tree lined streets.



The girl is on fire this morning.. leading the charge.



Leaving the flat lands the country gets a bit more rolling. We can see mountains in the distance, and that makes us smile. This is wine country (well the whole country seems to be wine country).



Michelle realizes that we are going to pass near to the town of Barolo. This seems to make her very happy.. I can hear it in her voice through the com set. Now... I like a nice glass of wine as much as the next person, but Michelle knows her wine! So she gave me the run-down on the wines etc as we got closer to the town.

wiki says:
Quote:
Barolo is a red Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines. The zone of production extends into the communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba and parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Novello, Roddi, Verduno, all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba. Only vineyards planted in primarily calcareous-clay soils in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered suitable for Barolo production. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature. When subjected to aging of at least five years before release, the wine can be labeled a Riserva..
hmm... sounds good to me
Funny enough it was right on our route! Perfect. Tage was reading my mind? hmmm

I'm happy to stop & have a look around...



Michelle determining how many bottle my BMW topcase will hold....



One of the tasting houses



So many choices.... so little room



We decided on a couple of bottle (for medicinal purposes) and tossed them in the top box as we went for a wander around town.

I should have brought a bottle of this back for Kevin.... no not Che Guevara



Narrow streets



The corkscrew museum! who knew?



headed out of town again on the road to Alba



Now alba seemed a bit busy.. a lot of hustle & bustle, and while I am sure we could have found a good restaurant & had a lovely lunch, we decided to press on a bit. Instead we stopped in Spigno Monferrato.

We found a small place where the waiter read us what they had for primo, etc and we ordered up. Fantastic beef carpaccio to start followed by gnochi, and then dolche with cappuccino and truffles.
I probably should have combed my hair when I took my helmet off.... and shaved... oh well. Holiday.



well fed and ready to ... nap



The next little bit is just still pictures courtesy of the GoPro set to capture every 60 seconds. So 2 minutes equals a trip into and through the Parco Nat. Capanne Di Marcarolo. Fantastic roads!



When we got to the junction of SP 165 and SP 166 to go down to Voltaggio, the road was closed. It was getting late, we needed gas, so we looped back around ending up back in Ovada.



We walked up to the old town and had a nice dinner with mixed seafood & grilled prawns, and then back to the hotel.

Time to crack a bottle of Barolo? Hmm.. maybe not.. it's been a long day.



The trip so far:



About 310 km on the day, so great roads, a huge plus rolling in to Barolo for a couple bottles of wine, and the ride through the park was fantastic. We really love Italia!
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:20 AM   #28
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Awesome dood...

I'd have taken the wine BTW
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:05 AM   #29
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I just realized.... we were in Monaco 30 years to the day that Princess Grace died....



If I would have realized at the time, we would have swung past Cap d'Ail and snapped a picture, and said a prayer.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:56 AM   #30
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Great report. Looks like a very fun holiday.
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