Greg & Michelle's Euro Tour v.2 the 2012 edition

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by g®eg, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    Tage,

    i have concluded you do not need a camera... your words capture much better pictures :clap bravo!

    .. our plan now is to have Amarone in its proper setting. I see this will require Tuscany, as it seems to be part of the magic.
    #41
  2. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    Day 08... back into the Alps!

    we decide to leave Schilpario via the valley road south, rather than up and over Vivione first thing in the morning. Funny enough even though it adds about 50 km to our distance, it is actually quicker. :thumb

    We are headed past Lago di Poschiavo on a beautiful morning. Even stopping for roadworks isn't a drama.

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    We climb the Bernina Pass back into Switzerland & stop for some snapshots

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    our local fish-wrapper has a section called "we're read all over" so we do a shot for them as well.

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    time for a coffee

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    and dolce!

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    down off Bernina and heading west

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    through the region of Silvaplana (much nicer w/o the snow we had last year)

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    the mountains never seem to get closer

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    I could live there

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    up the Splugen.. the girl is still in my wake

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    nearing the top

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    the cause of all the poop in the road....

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    view back

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    the local scene

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    you think this guy parked his Guzzi there on purpose? :D

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    looks like a happening area for all sorts of sports.. skiing, mountain bikes, hiking, etc

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    Almost time to roll out

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    Just 5 more minutes in the sun

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    down the other side... it's a cornering dreamland

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    with some straights

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    and fast sweepers too... all as smooth as a billiard table for the most part.

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    cows watch on.. they seemed nonplussed by my mad skillz... :rofl

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    on to San Bernadino!

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    the top!

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    happy girl

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    bet that's cold!

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    loads of these around

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    looking back to bikes

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    hikers paradise... 13 HOURS hike? bloody hell! it does show a martini glass though...

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    one more for the local paper....

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    now at this point its gotten cloudier, and noticeably colder... we roll down into the valley and near Bellizona Nord we swing north towards the ST Gotthard Pass. By the time we reach Biasca its time to call it quits. We stop at Hotel Della Posta and grab a room for the night. We are back in Switzerland of course, so what was €60 - €70 in Italy & France is now back to CHF 145. *sigh*

    the day in maps:

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    we have covered about 330 km for the day with four really good Alps passes under our belt. Time for a good night's sleep!
    #42
  3. CBejbl

    CBejbl Long timer

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    :thumb
    #43
  4. DrydenRider

    DrydenRider Sun Seeker

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    A trip I want to do one day with my wife. Like how you are adjusting and going with the flow. Our way to travel also.

    In for the duration
    #44
  5. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    yup gotta be freestyle :thumb
    thanks for coming along

    on to day 09 (Wednesday September 19th)

    The weather report for the day called for showers but as we looked outside it seemed the road was merely damp, there was no rain falling & it even seemed to be clearing.... cool :clap

    our idea is to head up the St. Gotthard Pass and then down into Andermatt. Since that isn't very far we can do a loop over the Furka, and either the Grimsel and Susten, or the other way over the Nufenen.

    We gas up & head up the valley from Biasca towards Airolo. We take the old pass (the one w/ the cobblestones)... very different. I think we are both happy it isn't raining, but it really isn't that bad.

    Looking back down on Airolo

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    Michelle after the "tremolo"

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    I told her the old joke about two women on bicycles riding through Rome....

    she laughed anyway.. not sure why she puts up with me.

    The climb is pretty "all inclusive". In other words you have a lot to pay attention to, and the wind was whipping up, so I appologize for the lack of snaps going up. When we got to the top we were in the clouds. It was a lot to see my hand in front of my face, and of course the rain was back. Bugger! Well, no traffic so we tip-toed down the other side and into Andermatt.

    By now it is only maybe 11:00 or so. We decide to stop at Andermatt, maybe get a room, and see what the rest of the day holds. The Aurora seems like the right place. We have stayed here before.

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    Nice rooms / checking the maps and deciding what do do after lunch

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    WE decide that it seems to be clearing & we came to ride so.... off we go up the Furka. On the way up solid fog / cloud & chilly. On the other side we are greeted by:

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    sunshine!

    all that rain from earlier on its way to the sea

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    down the other side

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    and into the valley. the Grimsel pass climbs the mountain on the far right.

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    bike drying time

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    last time we were here we didn't stop, we kept on to Andermatt. This time we have loads of time, so we get touristy. for CHF 17 each we can go out & look at the glacier.. sounds good.

    the "free" view

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    it is amazing to think that 125 years ago the glacier looked more like this:

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    the view back to the car park

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    the paid view

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    the source of the Rhone River

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    path building technique mirrors the roads in the mountains.

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    getting nearer

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    more of the crazy little rock piles we have seen. I used to think they were something from native American culture like totems to ancestors, but I guess they are a global thing.

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    heading down

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    we couldn't quite figure out the "tent" at a distance, but upon reaching the glacier we realize it's a tunnel. the Swiss are BIG on tunnels!

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    fluorescent light

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    strike a pose

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    heading back up. the rocks are all rubbed as smooth as glass.

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    searching for a piece of Switzerland to bring home

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    taking in the view

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    so, what do you think? keep riding?

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    OK, but lets get some water for the road

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    Down the valley we turn south and head for the Nufenen Pass. It is chilly, but the sun is out, and life is grand.

    Top of the Nufenen

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    Back side of Nufenen

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    It seems they decided to try a "slab" approach to paving on the back side of the Nufenen. I have to say I wasn't a fan. the expansion cracks are regularly right where I placed my front wheel in corners... I modified my lines, and all was fine.

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    Getting ready to keep cracking on

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    we end up back in Airolo and take the "other" bit of the St Gotthard avoiding the cobbles this time. the wind is really whipping up now, so it is full concentration. I figure that's OK though, the wind will have driven the cloud off. Wrong.. this is why I am not a weatherman.... Same zero visibility descent into Andermatt. *sigh*

    That's OK though. We put the bikes away, get cleaned up, and head over to Restaurant Hotel / Drei Könige und Post.
    it's hunting season so hunters specials are on the menu :dg

    what a great day.

    the day in maps

    part one, the trip to Andermatt

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    part two, up to see the glacier

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    part three, the loop over the Nufenen and back over the St Gotthard

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    tomorrow is our last day :cry

    thanks for reading
    #45
  6. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    all good things must come to an end.
    Day 10... the last day

    :cry

    Looking out the hotel window we see a clear sky, it is going to be a lovely day!

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    There's a lot of drama below though. The local farmers have driven a heard of cows into a little roped off area next to the car park. We can't quite figure this out, as everyone is just standing around.

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    As we are leaving it becomes clear. A cow hauling truck arrives and the cows are getting transported.

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    We set off for the Furka and do the climb in brilliant sunshine (versus the pea-soup fog of the day before).

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    the views are breath-taking (and the snow is new)

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    We don't bother stopping at the top of the Furka, we were just there. Instead we press on to the Grimsel where we do stop to check out the "sculpture".

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    They have a murmeltier park across the road. Turns out there are just groundhogs.... I wonder if they predict the spring like the ones in North America?

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    They seem to fancy carrots

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    The view back towards Gletsch

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    Time to keep cracking on north

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    Did I mention it was a perfect day?

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    Tearing-ass through the Swiss countryside. The pictures don't do it justice.

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    Just another snap of Michelle & "her" F 800 R (I think it's love)

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    After the Garmin sent us up a goat trail we found ourselves on this pass. It was the last stage of the 2012 Tour de Suisse if memory is correct.

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    It is noteworthy that unlike France & Italy where big bike races have gone through, there are no names etc painted on the road leading up here. Everything is "neat & tidy", properly Swiss :thumb

    I saw a lot of these when I was in England, but haven't seen as many here (probably common, but I haven't been in the right places). They keep cows & other livestock from wandering down the road. Elegant in their simplicity.

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    Last gas before Moto Mader

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    Bikes are safe & sound

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    After the bikes get checked back in, Kurt Mader (the Mader in Moto Mader) drives us back over to the train station. Now we wait.

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    Kind of tired out. That deflated feeling of knowing the real world isn't that far away...

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    But there is a bright side. Remember early on I mentioned how hard Michelle works, but there are perks? Hotel Renaissance Zurich awaits!

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    Sweet!!!

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    So we get checked in, showered up, and head downstairs for dinner & drinks.

    The last day of riding in maps:

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    Not bad really.. a few passes, some fantastic countryside, and a way we have never been before heading to Aarau.

    144 km to finish it up. / about 2500 km total for 10 days of riding.

    Now all we have to do is get up in time tomorrow for our flight & everything is golden.
    #46
  7. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

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    Great report!!
    :clap

    Ah, the bittersweetness of the last day.......
    #47
  8. John Nash

    John Nash Bluenoser

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    Great RR and video..thanks for sharing it with us! I was in that area in May 2001 doing a trip with a good friend who was stationed in Germany.I was on a his 1984 K100 & Jeff a 1996 K1100RS.We did 12 countries in 8 days.Your vacation / RR makes me want to go back. I rode a 800GS yesterday and liked it..smaller than my 1150GS enough power and more nimble.Your fortunate to have a lady in your life who enjoys your passion..I'm envious! Thanks again.
    #48
  9. malloy

    malloy Been here awhile

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    WONDERFUL:clap:clap. Thanks for sharing a great ride.
    #49
  10. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    yeah..... more bitter than sweet

    John... ya gotta go back! and write a nice trip report.
    thanks for following along

    my pleasure / thanks for taking the time to read it.
    #50
  11. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    so now it is time to go home to the real world (or at least to the reality that pays for trips like this).

    we opt for the shuttle to the airport (we had braved the tram from Zurich main station on the way to the hotel).

    CHF 30 for two coffees and two croissants... ah welcome to the airport prices!

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    ready to go home? "do you want the truth or a cleverly crafted reply?"

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    coach bulkhead... so we have a bit of legroom

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    au revoir / ciao / auf wiedersehen Alps!

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    the debrief / conclusions.

    Michelle loved the F 800 R as much as last year, so that's a big win. I enjoyed riding the F 800 GS a lot more than the R 1200 R I had last year. The baby GS had huge bags, got good gas mileage, and when the road got a bit bumpy (which is rare) the ride was smooth. The seat however is a bit of a plank. I don't recall the R 1200 R's seat being so uncomfortable. That's a very small niggle though. Overall it is a very nice bike! :thumb It comes with the BMW socket next to the key, and I had purchased a 3BR BMW socket to USB plug from RocketMoto. This worked perfectly for charging up anything USB and also was where I plugged in the GPS. Nice bit of kit.

    Renting from Moto Mader is such an easy process. They picked us up from the train, bikes ready to go, and a place to store the stuff we didn't need (duffel bags & fly home clothes, etc). Rental worked out to about $160 / day / bike. We spent about €25 / day each for gas, and hotel (when not in Switzerland) was running about €70 / night for two (or €35 each if you want to look at it that way). We ate quite well, so maybe another €25-30 each / night for dinner.

    I'd say if you budgeted between €200 abd €250 / day you'd have a really nice tour!

    The Garmin Nuvi 550 works perfectly well in Europe & makes navigation a bit easier. Pre-planning and loading the GPS with some good roads & waypoints certainly helps but isn't necessary.

    Our SENA bluetooth communications are really nice as well. They worked flawlessly in the mountains and were invaluable in urban navigation.

    A lot of people look at tour companies, and have a great time... I don't have a problem with that at all, except I can't bring myself to spend the money. :D My mates will all tell you I am frugal.... I'll leave it at that!

    If this report inspires you to do your own Euro Tour then I think that's great. If there's anything you would like to know, routes, GPS files, etc, please feel free to shoot me a mail. I'd be happy to help.

    Thanks for reading.

    one more thing I forgot.....
    if I have a regret about this trip it's that I wanted to get to the area of Pisa & meet TageSK, the inmate here responsible for a lot of the very cool back-roads we traveled in Italy. But, that is OK, that just means that we will have to try again. On my to-do list is a lunch in his garden. So roll on 2013.
    #51
  12. WitchCityBallabio

    WitchCityBallabio Guzzi weirdo

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    Great ride report!

    Where next? :D
    #52
  13. Mercury264

    Mercury264 Once you go Triple...

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    :clap

    Look up 'Frugal' in the dictionary...it will say "See g®eg" :D
    #53
  14. FrankoQ

    FrankoQ Been here awhile

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    Fantastic trip!
    Yes, I'm inspired to take such journey. :)
    #54
  15. dartfrog

    dartfrog SFC USAR (R)

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    Beautiful report and photos. When the dirt people talk about global warming I will show them your photos of snow in Sept.
    Glad you got home safe and before it got too dark :D
    #55
  16. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    :rofl

    thanks Chas!
    happy almost your birthday & thanks for reading
    #56
  17. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    Very nice. It is quite possible that we did literally cross paths somewhere.

    I enjoyed your report.

    .
    #57
  18. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

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    thanks! I am enjoying yours too! you took some really nice pics considering you just used a phone. I'm impressed.
    #58
  19. 907Duc

    907Duc ducatisti

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    nice trip bro, Sandy read over my shoulder too LOL
    #59
  20. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    Thank you, Sir, for those kind words; I sincerely hope to be able to wield my wine cellar to show my gratitude.

    [TaSK]
    #60