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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 17, 2021.
Enjoying the report and pics !!!! Keep it coming
Thanks for taking us along and posting your travels and adventures Joris!
So glad you managed to salvage some hardware and memories from that little 250, Joris! (and my sticker, of course!) Its great to see you giving new life to these discarded little bikes and sharing the adventures with us. Keep up the good work, as always!
Utrecht? Isn't that where Noraly Schoenmaker is from? I spent a year (1984) in Bremerhaven, but I was in the employ of Uncle Sam, so I didn't get to explore very much. I sure wanted to though. The weather on the coast of the North Sea was almost always bad. Cold and wet, is what I remember. Still, I left before I wanted to.
Great RR, and I admire your wrenching skills.
Most excellent trip. That bike is pretty identical to one I bought new back in about 81.
I had a '78 400 version, same motor, it just grew a bit over the years. It was a fun bike. I loved it. This is me giving my young nephew a ride about 1980 or so....
Thanks for sharing, Joris, all super interesting!
Apologies for leaving y'all hanging for too long! Was a bit busy with moving, dragging furniture around an such. Sold the KLR last as well last week, the more I dove into it the more it became apparent that it needed a lot of work to straighten it out (for one worn out camshafts, broken timingbelt that someone had bodged).
Where were we..
After a chill day on the French mediterranean coast it was time to jump back on the bike, time to make my way north again. The trip would only be two weeks, so this was the halfway point. So many brilliant roads to choose between, doesn't really matter which one you take as they're all good! Via the smaller roads through the Parc naturel regional de la Sainte-Baume I made my way to another massive gorge.
Following the D71 east from Aiguines, you'll be on the right side of the road with the Gorges du Verdon on your left so the view will be obstructed by those little stone walls. Fortunately the French have incorporated many little spots to pull over and to have a peek down into the canyon.
A few narrow tunnels, with a view!
Ever since we visited the Gorges du Verdon back when I was still a little boy, I've remembered this one bridge where people were bungee jumping off, Pont d'Artuby. Since then I've always wanted to go back there and jump off it myself.. But after all those years, when I finally stood there.. I thought it would be nice to not experience it alone, so after watching for half an hour or so I decided to save it for another time.
Leaving the massive ravine behind, jumped on the D90 heading for Castellane and along Lac de Castillon.
Close to Colmar I pulled over to have lunch along the river, it's the same river that runs through the Gorge, the Verdon. I found the water a bit chilly so enjoyed my sandwich in the sun, other people were braver and went for a soak.
Just can't believe how many great roads there are in France, this was another great one. Col d'Allos between Colmars and Barcelonnette.
Coming down from the pass into Barcelonnette I had done enough riding for the day, and since there were plenty of campsites there I picked a cheap one named Camping du Plan. Pitched the tent and walked into town, turned out there was some sort of Mexican festival going on. Looking into it a bit more it seems they have this festival every year, Fêtes Latino-Mexicaines de Barcelonnette. This year (2021) it kicks off on the 6th of August and ends on the 15th, if anyone fancies a go. Unfortunately I got there on the last day, so missed out on all the fun.. They however had a fridge stocked with Mexican beers, so I got myself a couple of those to remind me of my favorite country.
There even was a Mexican restaurant selling all sorts of tasty dishes, I asked for a table but he was booked out for the evening he said. So went for a take-away pizza instead. And as always it's not all sunshine and rainbows, had to wait for an hour in the rain for my pizza to get finished. With said pizza in hand quickly ran back to the campsite to get out of the rain and enjoy the pizza with a Tecate Rojo.
Another day in the Alps, another couple of mountain passes. This one would be even better though, for a few years I wanted to ride the 'infamous' Col de Parpaillon, with it's dark and ice-covered tunnel at the very top.
The road up was really pretty, near the top there were some bigger boulders kicking you around a bit, I guess bald street tires certainly didn't help. I was mostly worried for the oilpan though, putting a rock through it would be bad.. but no rocks made their way inside the engine and soon I was at the tunnel. To demonstrate that it is in fact quite an easy route there was also a couple with a Moto Guzzi rig, quite a nice build!
It was indeed dark, wet and cold inside the tunnel.
Other side, two Swiss guys on Himalayan and a XT600 I believe.
And the Guzzi of course!
Back down the other side.
Not done with mountain passes for the day I went back over the Col de Vars and crossed into Italy. I had downloaded a bit of the Italian TET (Trans Euro Trail) and wanted to give it a go. Turned out that most of the part I did was tarred road, which was fine too as it probably were the smallest and most narrow roads you'd find.
Cozy campsite next to Lago di Castello, haha..
I'd lined up another day filled with many passes to entertain me, isn't that what motorcycles are made for? Google maps annoyingly wouldn't let me route over Colle dell'Agnello which is closed in wintertime (just build-in a checkbox asshats).. So this one pic is from Kurviger.
Wonderful weather to head up the first pass of the day, the Colle dell'Agnello.
Not much later, back in France, another pass. Col d'Izoard. Heading up the pass you ride through about two miles of desert-like mountains, the Casse Deserte. Barren slopes and limestone rockformations, famous in the Tour de France and worth a stop!
Turning right at Briancon I dipped back into Italy for a short while. I paused for a bit, thinking about riding up the Col de Sommeiller but decided against it and rode on to Susa and then up the Col du Mont Cenis to get back into France. It's not that there was a shortage of mountain passes on the route
After crossing back into France the only logical route was over Col de l'Iseran. With 2770 meter (9000ft) one of the highest passes in France, and when the weather is good it's absolutly brilliant! In the past I've also had rain, and that makes for quite a miserable experience. This time though it was overcast but dry, so I wasn't complaining.
The part from the pass down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice was absolutely stunning! Super green, and the the sun and the clouds made the light just perfect!
I was due for another day off the bike after a few days of great riding, so picked a small campsite near Chamonix named Camping Bornand. Pitched the tent, took a shower, cooked some food and enjoyed a nice Belgian sour.
That one campsite I mentioned was I think 30 euro's for a night, which many times is the standard price for 2 persons + tent + vehicle. So it's a bit steep if it's just you and your small tent using only 10% of the pitch.. Most local, less popular, campsites like the Municipal campsites in France are between 5-15 euro.
Any particular reason you liked Amsterdam Den..?
That would've been great! That's the thing with doing these rr's afterwards, only then you find out you've missed all the cool stuff.. Another time indeed, would be great to hear some local knowledge :)
This summer is taking forever to get going, plus we've only just been released from lockdown.. So I'm getting anxious to go somewhere after all these months inside...
Thanks Kelly! I've still got one sticker left from the three you gave me -sent to Darren -, one on my old helmet left in Chile, one on the fairing that's now on the wall. That last one is probably going on something soon!
You're correct, Noraly lives (or lived, I'm not sure she's still living here) maybe a few minutes away. I always recognized the streets in those intro videos. Funny thing is that we're both from the same city but only met on the other side of the world in Uyuni Bolivia.
Love seeing those old photos! Weird isn't it.. those bikes haven't aged much in 30/40 years and still look beautiful today but us riders on the other hand.. Well I wasn't even around 30 years ago haha
Thanks again for sharing this beautiful part of the world.
Worth the wait, c'est magnifique!!
"Any particular reason you liked Amsterdam Den..? "
Well since l was only a teenager, the red light district, the narrow stairs in a house going up to make a score after sampling some on the hooka and the big park downtown where you could light up with no hassles, oh ya and the blonde haired local gals...
Sure you haven't been pondering "What if?" again?
Love your ride report. I also remember some parts of France from when I was young and went camping with my parents. I almost drowned in the Sorgue when I was about 4 years old, when I fell into it.