The hunt for Luigi and Jean-Pierre

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Bommes, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    My first post on ADV right smack bang in the middle of Ride reports, and my Adventure bike is..a Vespa. :nod

    Some extra info: I am Dutch, living and working in Italy for 4 months this summer, together with my wife
    while writing this I sadly have returned to my humble home in the Netherlands.
    But still I have this story to tell about my ride, which started off as a 4 day trip up and into the Alpes on the Italian/French border.

    Day 1:
    Strapped all my gear on to the Vespa and let it roll.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I prepared no route, just loaded the GPX from the Ligurische grenskamstrasse Nord in to my tomtom and klicked on “drive to start”.

    The roads I love, narrow, messy but with a good view.
    [​IMG]

    I tried to get on the Ligurische Grenskamstrasse but the last village I needed to get through turned out to be completely blocked off due to a earthquake.
    Monesi
    https://goo.gl/maps/k1YT6xmDVp62

    I did try to get passed the roadblocks and doing so drove my Vespa to a complete halt in knee high grass where I hit beercase sized bolders.

    I had to get all my gear off the Vespa, and for half an hour, in the burning sun in a completely deserted field next to a ghost town I was pulling and pushing my Vespa trying to get it free.
    Totally drowned in sweat I finnaly manage to turn the Vespa around and got ouit of that field.
    I so did think I was stuck there needing to phone for help..

    After a lot if detours and with just 3 bars of fuel left I found an entrance to the Ligurische grenskamstrasse, although it was all ready 4 pm.
    [​IMG]

    After just 20minutes the gravel won
    [​IMG]

    Exhaust bracket broke of, and I was completely knackered from pulling my Vespa out of that field and the hours driving.
    [​IMG]

    Roadside fix and back to where I came from.
    Ligurische Grenskamstrasse 1 : Vespa 0

    Down from the hills back to the civilization looking for a campsite.
    Finally after another good hours riding I found a Scooter workshop in Ventimiglia.
    [​IMG]

    This dude spend 20 minutes fixing a new bracket, drilling and grinding a piece of left over metal.
    When asking for het bill he refused to name a price, so I gave him some money as a tip.
    And back into the sadle, looking for a campsite @ the coast.

    For anyone who knows the Italian coast....
    CHAOS, total chaos.

    After one day alone inside my helmet on mostly deserted back-roads I couldn't handle that much people and movement around me.
    So hitting het tomtom to come up with a campsite in somewhere in the back country, I found one a good hours drive away.
    I just topped off the tank, ate a few mints and it was only 6:30 pm so that extra hour was no problem.
    Full WOT to Sospel in France.
    What a roads, extreem sticky black top, it sure was some excellent driving to end the day.

    First campsite: Closed

    And @ the second campsite the fatigue hits.
    Vespa on the side stand, I get off walk 2 paces and my beloved Vespa tips over on the tarmac
    [​IMG]
    Yes the cowls are metal.. Scratches to the bare metal and a huge dent.

    [​IMG]
    And the rearbrakelever, luckily it didn't brake off.
    I did cry, really... yeas I am man enough to admit that.

    But I still had a camp to setup, get something to eat and and and so back in the saddle and on the road again.
    Campsite number 3 was open.
    [​IMG]

    Set up my tent and back to Sospel for some food.
    [​IMG]

    Those beers went right in, I know I was on the bike but I needed some comfort, and besides that is was Heineken..
    Where I come form they don't call that beer.
    #1
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  2. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Day two with the right start

    [​IMG]


    Yesterday I arrived @ this campsite just North of Sospel (France) close to 7:30 pm, the office was closed then.
    This morning I got woken by 3 ducks that live in the ecological water treatment thing..
    Right time for action, no shower, well there are but they work with coins, and you can only get them with Jean-Pierre @ the office when that is open.
    But being in France, the times the office is open, from 9 till 10 am and 6 til 7 pm
    I don't like to hang around, so some breakfast, put the gear on the bike and ik was 8:30 am

    [​IMG]
    Bye bye, not going to hang around waiting for Jean-Pierre.

    In the tomtom, Colle du Tende, 2 years ago the famous south side with it's 20 gravel hairpins was closed. I was wondering if it was opened this year.
    But first the roads around Sospel, wow they are cool.
    [​IMG]


    Bumpy roads but at least they are with out holes and cracks, nice turns and corners and a great view.
    [​IMG]

    I got my fun back in riding and didn't even think about the dent in the side of my Vespa.
    I did notice the exhaust shaking around.
    Also the gasket was blown because it made more noise then normal and the carbonfiber straps didn't grip onto the muffler firm enough.
    Mufflers have the habit of getting very hot so while riding around I tried to figure out how to solve this.
    First I thought I needed to search for an old tire or piece off rubber, but then I thought canvas.. a seat belt.
    There are a lot of left alone cars on the side of the roads in France and indeed a few twisty's later there was this field with a few cars and some other trash.
    Somewhere in between there was this old Renault Espace with a piece of seat belt tied to the front tow hook.
    I cut it off and took it and a few miles down the road it was time for roadside fix number 2.
    [​IMG]

    Removed the complete exhaust, darn that thing is hot after a few hours riding.
    Replaced the gasket, anyone who owns a Vespa like this has a spare gasket with them.
    And I made a seat belt lining inside the carbonfiber braces that hold the muffler.
    A seat belt liner, that all ready sounded ace so it could not go wrong. I felt solid as a house so no worry's there.
    Oh on a side note, when you exhibit half your camp gear on the side of the road and you are clearly fixing something..No one stops for you...

    Next stop the trafic light @ Colle du Tende.

    [​IMG]

    8 minutes waiting and just act like a sheep staring around @ the other bikes and riders, nodding and being ignored because Vespa.
    @ the green light I was the 3th to go, 2 hairpins later the dude on the big GS behind me had to let go.
    To bad the entrance to the 20 gravel hairpins was completely blocked.
    So through the tunnel again, always a special experience.
    In front of me the Harley from the picture above, like he stole that bike, what a noise and speed.
    Behind him some sort of Suzuki naked-bike, also very fast but silent. Then me and far far behind us that dude on his GSA and the rest.
    This tunnel is to dark to actually see something, the road is Italian, lot's of cracks and holes, lots of puddles with water and the total tunnel is like 3 meters wide.
    With just over 120km/h on the clock.. wow just like “need for speed” back in the old days.

    On the other side I thought about going up the Colle du Tende, but the gravel road yesterday had thought me that the Vespa was not the right kit for that.
    Also there where a lot of clouds up there and I was there 2 years ago.

    Cuneo on the tomtom, get some shopping done, eat some luch and lets see if I can reach Col de Angel via all sorts of back roads.

    [​IMG]

    Again excellent steering, good views that make me stop all the time to make pictures.

    2 turn's later:
    [​IMG]

    Yep a real Guzzi, I didn't know those excisted. Thing was still in use for all sorts of work.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway I always wonder, seeing these houses up high in the mountains what they do there.
    Het is very beautiful but a great part of the year it's cold and there is to much snow to do something.
    It's a very long drive down the hills to a factory, so what to do besides trying to keep old scrap running and looking @ your wife from time to time.


    [​IMG]

    Up top no tree's, there was some snow and ice left.

    [​IMG]

    Finaly up on the top the road was blocked
    [​IMG]

    That is even to much for snow tire's, not even to mention my Pirelli Diablo's
    Off course the shot every one makes up top:

    [​IMG]


    Smile @ the phone:
    [​IMG]


    And back down the same side I came up, back to Cuneo, the only way to reach the other side was up the other valley.
    [​IMG]


    By the time I made it back to one of the little village's near Cuneo, same village I had lunch a few hours ago, I was a bit knackered.
    Espresso and time to make some plans.
    Googlemaps told me that Colle de Angel still was closed due to snow, and the same went for Colle du Bonette and all those high ones in the French Alpes.
    Okay, back to the slightly lower Ligurian back country.
    It was all ready 4 pm, so right through Cuneo to a campsite I also went to 2 years ago with our campervan.


    On my way to the campsite I stopped @ a local motorshop, mission: new brakelever.
    Turned out to be a Honda only dealership, with just old Africa twins.
    They gave me directions to a shop in Cuneo that sure could help me.
    That turned out to be a official Piaggio dealer, with tray's full off cards with lists in which corridor and which level the parts where.
    New lever, exhaust gasket and a new set off rear breakpads, a friendly handshake and a buon viaggio.
    Finaly I could head to the campsite.

    [​IMG]
    Fix number 3, it still is an Italian bike..they keep you busy.

    [​IMG]

    On the way to the lever, the screen, the tomtom, the mirrors and the front side headlight panel have to go.
    But there is result

    [​IMG]


    Time to hit the showers and some food.
    Yes pizza again, this time with a bottle of wine, the campsite was within walking distance

    [​IMG]

    Again a very good day, rode 210 km's, no route or plan upfront. I kinda like this way of traveling.
    #2
    klaviator, Heatery, 125uCrazy and 2 others like this.
  3. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Day 3.

    Not level camping pitches..??
    With my campervan I just drive the ting on some leveler wedges, that's not possible with my tent. Or I didn't pack a big enough wedge..
    Tonight I woke up multiple times besides my air-matras, I finally found my rest but to be brutally woken by 34 roosters that went totally nuts @ 4:30 this morning.

    I fell back to sleep and got up round 7:30 am, made some coffee and made pre made the ride report for day 2. Glad we got this opne Europ data bundle thing, no more roaming fee's and it also makes those lousy Wifi camping hotspots obsolete.
    By the time I got fully packed and was ready to leave it turned 10 am, late start to day.
    First off to the village, bread, water and a good cup of espresso.
    I noticed right away there was something wrong with the rear-brake, just touching it would almost catapult me over the front bars.
    So
    [​IMG]
    I thought let's bless the Vespa for a good ride this day and working brakes.
    Unfortunately, 3 blocks down the road and I had to open up the throttle even more to just keep her moving. Also the front-brake went crazy, just touching it would make the Vespa do a Stoppie.

    [​IMG]
    Road side fix nr. 3...
    There was smoke coming out of the rear-brake, clearly something got stuck there.

    [​IMG]

    When installing the new brake-lever it kinda “felt different. Luckily I didn't trow the old one away.
    So again all my gear had to come off, the tools are stored under the seat.
    Take apart the whole front again, new brakelever of, next to the old one and yes that looked different.
    Then the penny dropped..
    My Vespa has ABS, and a combined brakesystem. Hard braking on the rearbrake makes the front also brake through the ABS pump.
    So when the rear-brake lever doesn't completely free the brake-pump (don't know the English for that one) and the pressure isn't released completely the whole system just “pumps” more pressure through the abs pump.
    So back on with the old lever

    [​IMG]
    Drove round the block and all was back to ok.
    Back on with all my gear, but by now it was 11:30 am.
    Crazy way to start this day, so off the the Colle du Tende, that was close by. And maybe I could find my way up the Ligurische grenskamstrasse.

    [​IMG]
    This one was even higher up the hills than the previous one, so closer to the lord, maybe this blessing will help for a good days riding. Or what is left of it.

    But the riding felt like a wet paper.. well a whole paper route to be honest. I didn't feel right, the slightly burned rear-brake didn't really help. Going downhill with a automatic does mean a lot of extra braking, a not 100% rear-brake is no good for the well being.

    Okay just steer and let's see how I feel @ the pass, and before I know it I was back @ that traffic light again.
    [​IMG]
    On my way up there was this sporty driver in this undefined family saloon car who clearly had the need for speed.
    We where going uphill so that half brake thing in the back didn't bother me.
    With a fully loaded Vespa with just 23Bhp you got to pick your playmates carefully to not be completely whipped off the road.
    This family saloon I could handle..

    The traffic light @ the tunnel wrote 17 minutes waiting time, glad it wasn't 30 degrees C up there, even though it was long wait made worse because I had to pee.. very badly.
    When the light went green a couple off Swiss riders flew of to the tunnel entrance to turn into sheep once inside..
    The day before I whizzed through this tunnel with way over 100km/h so I over took them, with those traffic lights I was sure there was no upcoming traffic..

    Going downhill 1 of the Swiss overtook me right away, the other 3 stayed behind me.
    I totally forgot about my rear brake issue, the weight of all the gear helped out and the sun was shining on this side of the pass.
    It was a nice couple off minutes tearing up the road, until I got served my piece of cake on brutal power from the Swiss guys. Full throttle they flew by me. Although that was on the strait..:p

    I got hungry, the gastank was almost empty and due to the Swiss power showoff my good humor left the building.

    [​IMG]
    Just passed the border back in Italy, plastic chairs and tables, DIY terrace with a few sheets off plastic and 4 Italian riders who arrived at the same time I did to have lunch.
    That could only be good, locals, pasta's, water, a glass off wine, some ice for desert and a new plan.

    [​IMG]

    My wife called me while I was having lunch, she didn't feel all that well, I had it for this trip. So back “home”, avoid freeways, a few point on the route and the rest off my day would be filled.
    The lunch worked wonders, I felt better, my belly and the gastank where full, helmet and some music on.. time for som WOT over these hills.

    [​IMG]
    Tomtom says 90km/u, I am not really a wuss but 90 is in no way possible. The road is just 1,5 Vespa wide, filled with holes, patches and all sort off wear and tear.

    The other side off this hill clearly was a bit richer
    [​IMG]
    Just when I passed the driveway of some really fancy Agriturismo the road got way better.
    Think someone is friends with the mayor here.

    [​IMG]
    Cooked my head and mind..

    The next pass had a sign @ the entrance, saying it was closed, I went over it on my way out so I just pushed on .
    [​IMG]
    Even higher, so must be better I would say.

    [​IMG]
    My face clearly “lightens up”.

    See view and Ventimiglia
    [​IMG]

    Nice road, bit messy, so not for the racers, but with a nice all-road bike or Vespa it's a lot of fun.
    The SP17 in Ligurië, Italy
    On my way down I got flagged to the side by a group of Italian riders, asking if the pass was open.
    Yes it was, a bit of gravel here and there but doable.
    Very nice those 5 words Italian I try to speak, where I came from, where I was heading, just a bit off social chit chat. That I can manage.

    [​IMG]
    Enough twisty's and curves, no need to go the real high mountains for that. But enough miles to go so no hanging around

    [​IMG]
    If your traveling solo and you like to share your trip you gotta stop a lot to take pictures.

    [​IMG]
    A blanket made out of tree's, this is for sure a spot not to have mechanical issues..NO cellular connection, and a lot of miles from the nearest village/people.

    One more stop to take in some fuel, and a nice piece of riding with a BMW r1100 in my rear view mirror. If the twisty's are tight enough, and the one trailing along is no Rossi wannabe I can keep up perfectly and even manage to keep ahead.

    Eventually it was 6:30 pm when I rode up the drive way of our temporarily adres.
    www.brusagio.com (not to spam, it's all in Dutch so no one will understand)
    This one had better times
    [​IMG]

    It was very nice and fun short trip.
    No planning, the roads, the time, and my ideas have made the days and the route.
    Traveling solo makes for easy coverstation, not that I walk up to every one, but most people ask you where your from, where your heading.
    With my wife we had Italian lessons for 2 years, I sure am not a language wonderboy, and the lessons + the homework regularly caused big discussions in our house..
    But some of the Italian stuck with me, enough to get by, I could even tell where we worked, what we did, how long we where staying in Italy.

    This region is a real recommendation, lot's of small villages, nice low passes that are free of snow and stuff early in the season.
    For the first time I have the Vespa she gave me some troubles. Nothing that I couldn't fix and luckily I tossed in a 17 spanner just before I left.

    I had a blast, didn't speak to Jean-Pierre because he was to lazy to open up his shop.
    Luigi I talked to in a small village, he turned out to be a butcher and with his long fingernails and hands covered in meat stuff he gave me my change from his register. With my 5 wordt Italian I could have a nice social talk with him.
    That for me was one of the nicest moments of this trip.
    #3
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  4. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    This was a 3 day trip I took in the Piemonte region in Italy and also a little in the south of France near Nice.
    It was the end of may so as pictures showed there was still some snow up on the higher passes, and north sides of the mountains.
    Down in the valley's the temperature easily reached over the 30 degrees Celcius.

    Later in the season I took another trip, there was no snow then and I will add a ride report in this thread also.
    That was a 6 day trip, again with my Vespa and camp gear.

    Hope you liked my report so far, the next will contain a bit more "adventure" and off-roading so it's even better suited for these forums.:D
    #4
  5. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,427
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    :lurk
    #5
  6. 125uCrazy

    125uCrazy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    Good Ol' London Town
    Great RR & choice of wheels. Thanks for sharing
    #6
  7. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Before we head back to the Netherlands I made just one more trip into and over the Alpes.
    I promised my wife not to go off-road and to be careful, and while I was on route my mother send me a text message adding to that not to go over the speed limit to much.
    A few of those promises I failed to keep.. :evil

    This time I made route, Get into France quickly, drive the Route du Grandes Alpes heading North, go in to Switzerland for a small round, back over a few pass (what's multiple for 1 pass..??) into Italy the Aosta valey. Over the Alpes again into France and back south over the same Route du Grandes Alpes for a short stretch into Italy again near Cuneo and 1 one line back home. 5 days is the plan, and something like 350 km's a day.

    Sunday morning, day 1: Leaving camp, shortest route to Col di Tenda, avoid freeways.
    When leaving it was almost 30 degrees Celsius (at 9:30 am) but the more I get to see the mountains the lower the temperature and the clouds :(

    Fuel stop 1, 100 odd km's on the clock, while leaving the tank was all ready well on it way and the light was al ready on for a few km's although not long enough to get scary.
    [​IMG]

    Getting fuel in the Vespa is always a “task” on it's own with my Vespa due to my luggage system.
    De fuel cap is under the seat, and on that seat is my tent, sleeping bag, air mattress and a small stool. Tot get some fuel all off that has to come off.

    [​IMG]
    And usually after being on the road a few days there is always extra stuff forming a pile/stack back there. Bread, sweaters, towels that need to dry, cleaning cloth, etc, etc.

    Eventual the rain starts, and that was a while ago so there is foam splashing all over the Italian roads. I am sliding and skidding over the countless roundabouts.
    I am taking things easy, going almost foot down up the hairpins towards Col di Tenda.

    [​IMG]

    Like clockwork, when ever I get here I have to wait. I think the maximim time is 20 minutes before the lights go green again, so the 6 minutes I have to wait this round aren't that bad.
    Unfortunately most of those times I get here I have to pee, now is no exception. Bu with this line of waiting people/crowd and just 4 minutes remaining I am holding my breath and pee..(struggling)
    The ride through this tunnel is always a happening, but today it looks and feels different.
    Not because I have to pee, but the road seems to be dry and it looks like there is more light in the tunnel.

    On the other side off the tunnel the rain has stopped, the road still is wet though and the majority off the bikes is going down with both feet on the ground.
    I my self am not really that happy with wet roads, especially with just 12 inch wheels and a front tire that is starting to become a bit worn out. So I am keeping my calm and the throttle almost closed.
    But after a few kilometers the road starts to dry up and I can put down the full 23Bhp and tear up this road..

    [​IMG]

    Time for something to eat, we had some good pasta left from yesterdays diner so I took a full portion of that with me. Good power and comfort food.

    [​IMG]
    I keep heading south down the road, until I reach the exit towards Sospel.
    During my last trip I drove this road in the other direction, but coming from this side this is also a great road. Good tarmac with lots off grip and I also prefer to ride uphill. So time to tear up this road, the hair still have to come off this new back tire. A Metzler feelfree (what a name..)

    [​IMG]

    In Sospel I stop for a nice and cold Cola Bommes style. Stop, order, empty the glass in one go, pay the check, go to the toilet and with in 5 minutes I am back in the saddle.

    De first pass heading north out of Sospel is Colle de Turini. One of my favorites, well the road wasnt all that good 4 years ago when I last was here but it turned out even worse since.
    I'm bouncing up the pass while the temperature rises to a tropical 37 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). Time to take of this totally black Macna coat with almost no venting options, time to go Italian style.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The temperature even get's up a bit higher and for a few minutes I see the 38 Celsius on the dash.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The next pass on the route is du Bonette, through Isola I am heading uphill. There is a lot of traffic on the road, I have to overtake one after the other SUV, not to speak about those stupid camper vans/rv's :p

    [​IMG]


    Who ever has been here know's these ruin, which there are renovating now, I wonder what they are turning it into.. maybe some sort of awful tourist trap

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Just warm enough for a t-shirt, yep I gotta live up to the scooter prejudice, the flipflops are in the buddyseat.

    Up the top/pass
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    After the last few bites of pasta I race down the north side.
    Just after the pass there is this left over Fort/ruin and I make a little detour going rouid it.
    The first few meters gravel on this trip :) (not counting the driveway when I left)

    [​IMG]

    In the valley I arrived @ Jausiers and I drive up to campsite Le Planet and I the luck is with me. The last pitch...!
    Okay right in the sun, no shade but I still have 2 cold beers with me in my little thermo bag (yep still a Dutchy bringing my own) and my air mattress can double as a sun-blocker.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Diner, yes I am on the road solo, so that will be 5 days pizza. Just like before I was married

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    The view from my tent is kinda cool with the setting sun.

    [​IMG]


    The list:
    Left @ 9:15 am from Spigno Monferrato (Italy) and arrived @ 5:30 pm in Juassiers (France) just in time for the potatoes..
    2 fuel stops
    Total distance 378 km (234 mile)
    Pass: Col di Tenda, Turini, and the Bonette
    Max temp: 38 degrees Celsius
    Minimum temp: 12 on top of the Bonette
    Smiles per gallon: 8 out of 10
    #7
  8. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Doppo giorno, day 2
    The real test for my Vespa: Le Parpallion, but first breakfast and packing my gear.

    You can walk strait into the village from the campsite, and that being a French village there is always a bakery close by. 5 minutes later the coffee is brewing and I am putting some Nutella on my first French bread this trip.
    [​IMG]
    It's a chilling 10 degrees this morning so my shorts and t-shirt are quickly traded in for a sweater and my biker jeans.

    Everything strapped to my bike and ready to go...only to find out after the first pass that I left my towel on the fence at the campsite.
    I honestly considered to head back of the pass to get my towel back.. I was very attached to it..
    [​IMG]

    The Vespa is full of fuel so after just a few stops for some pictures I turn left into the little street that heads to Col du Parpallion.
    [​IMG]
    For those not know to this region:
    http://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/france/225-col-du-parpaillon-france.html

    And of course the first selfie this day
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    Alright, a picture with my Vespa in front of this sign, I could just turn around now
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    Forgetful as I am it took 5 minutes on the gravel road for me to remember to let some air out of my tires. Like pro Paris – Dakar driver I am letting off the air until I can push a big dent in to the tires.

    [​IMG]
    That makes a huge difference, the bouncing is gone, the Vespa trails better. Okay still no 21 inch front wheel but this will have to do.

    [​IMG]
    Vespa on a bridge, nothing more to say.

    There a pieces that ask a lot from the Vespa, but all in all it's doable. When I keep the speed low and the handlebars not to tight. Both the fans are making overtime though, but they seem to be efficient because the temperature gauge is not showing any movement. Unlike my luggage which I had to strap back on.
    [​IMG]

    Mandatory selfie
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    I don't know how to get this embedded..?? Suggestions are welcome

    It got a bit worse, but nothing even a Toyota Yaris would not get up to ;)
    [​IMG]

    Finally the Vespa and me get up to the entrance of the tunnel
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    After a bit of drawing time, doing another pee I dive into the dark tunnel.
    I have read a lot about it so I was kinda dreading it a bit.
    [​IMG]

    I think Asito (dutch cleaning company) just passed through, it looked like new inside there.
    The people at the Liefkeshoektunnel near Antwerp can take a lesson in this.
    I also thought the tunnel to be much longer, and for sure I didn't expected to see the light on the other side right after you drive into it.

    [​IMG]

    Silence and emptiness
    [​IMG]

    Well not completely silent on this side, a few 100 meters outside the tunnel there is a Shepard with his stock of cows on the side of the hill. Bells making lot's of noise.

    [​IMG]

    Going down with no real motorbreak can be quite the challenge, and is for sure terror for the small disc brakes. Also one pound to much pressure into the brakes and the Vespa will tip over, not even the ABS can prevent that.
    Luckily I got state of the art water cooling..
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Back on the tar the Vespa steers like a wet towel which reminds me I let of most of the air.
    Time to put some pressure back in, and while I am off the bike make my self some coffee and a little piece of bread.
    According to the pressure gauge on my foot pump there was 12 psi (0,8 bar) left in them. Good to make a reminder for the next time I go off road.

    [​IMG]

    Next up is a connecting route towards la Izoard, while going down(hill) the temperature goes the opposite, it keeps rising. So I continu in my kevlar t-shirt.. always handy to keep one of those within reach.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    During this stretch I stop for a piece of bread and some time out the saddle, but as usual I just sit down on a bench.. so no “healing” my sore bones there.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For those who ever been here a very know site on the way to the top of the Izoard
    [​IMG]

    And all the way @ the top, between the GS's and Dutch folk with way to big belly's inside to bright t-shirts
    [​IMG]

    What follows is the downhill into the hot hell called Briancon, I juist keep trolling along, I don't feel like the mayhem down there and in one go I race up the Galibier.
    [​IMG]

    No rest for me and the Vespa, stil a lot of kilometers to go today, so get off, make a picture, get on and off I go again.
    On the way down the Galibier I take one more selfie, okay I did make tons more but I will tone down on posting them here
    [​IMG]


    Next on the route is Col du Télégraphe, I don't think you can get down the Galibier without passing over the Telegraphe. It doesn't feel like a pass but anyway I follow the good example and make a picture with my Vespa and the pass sign
    [​IMG]

    I tumble down the Telegraphe, well actualy I go WOT trying to keep up with a local dude on a BMW 1200 RT.
    I follow the D1006 parallel to the freeway a good piece towards the East. Right through Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis where the road number changes back to D902 on it's way to Bonneval-sur-Arc.
    The road ahead is empty.
    [​IMG]

    Nice little village to see, but for me a bit to much theme park like.
    [​IMG]

    Here there is some piece and quiet left.
    [​IMG]

    Up here it's total high season madness
    [​IMG]

    Cool look thru over Val-d'Isere thowards the Lac du Chevril.
    [​IMG]

    In Val-d'Isere I fill up the Vespa with 98 ron and buy by self an apple, a can off cola and a banana.
    Power food for the biker.
    Heading out the village I hook on to a group of Spanish, 5 riders on GS's, they are peddling along slowly. Way to much traffic inside the village.
    Finally we overtake some cars and camper vans but they still keep the pace down and being the last trailing along I feel like this is way to slow for me.
    Just after Lac du Chevril a Frenchy joins in behind me on a Ducati racer.
    He quickly get's bored and over takes them all.
    Helped by the downhill road and there for some extra horsepower I tag along with him.
    Together we tear down the hill towards Bour-Saint-Maurice.
    I see him looking in his mirrors, only to imagine he's a bit surprised this fully loaded Vespa is trailing along.
    In my mirrors I see 2 of the Spanish dudes trying to catch up with us. So with the 4 off us it's food pegs down on the road going downhill.

    [​IMG]

    In Bour-Saint-Maurice I find the Super-U and buy my self a USB cable to charge my battery pack and a towel :)
    I cross the street to the campsite, called Huttopia, are they for real with that name..??
    I was here last year with my wife and our camper van, then there was room to spare, now I got the last pitch.
    I set camp on something that looks like a safari theme park.

    [​IMG]

    I open a nice cold white beer
    [​IMG]

    And again I go out for diner and eat a pizza in some little bar in the village.
    9:30 pm I hit the bed and my lights go out.

    Again a list
    Left around 8:30 am this morning from Jausiers to arrive at 6:00 pm on the campsite in Bour-Saint-Maurice.
    1 full up
    Total distance: 305 km
    Passes/Cols: Parpallion, Izoard, Lautaret, Galibier, Telegraphe, Iseran
    Temperatures: Forgot
    Smiles per galon: 9 out of 10.
    #8
    Andsetinn, Heatery and 125uCrazy like this.
  9. Heatery

    Heatery Worry free by mile 3.

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    Mobile, Alabama
    Great ride. Great pics. Even the selfies. Keep them coming.
    #9
  10. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Sorry for the delay in the reports in this thread, (been) having some personal issues so not feeling like writing up this report.
    Today I found a bit of time and the will to spend some time on the writing.

    There are more day to follow, but again no promise to when they do follow.

    Terzo Giorno, wel actualy I am still in France so according to google it has to be:
    troisième jour, and For every one across the big pond: The third day

    I wake up with the sound of rain, it's some where around 6:30 am so no need to get up.
    Bread is only available from 8:00 @ the campsite restaurant. 7:30 and the rain stops, so time to get up, pack my gear and get some breakfast.

    [​IMG]

    Yesterday evening while I was out for diner some German bloke on a NC750 arrived and pitched his tent next to me, when I zip open my tent this morning he is wiping the water of his tent with one of those uber expensive survival towel thing.
    5 minutes later the rain starts again.. can't help smiling..

    When the rain stops again (10 minutes later) I pack my stuf and head for the campingsite reception, there are some picknick benches there with large parasols, so they provide a nice dry place to fix my self some breakfast.
    I brew some coffee, put some Nutella on my croissant and try to swallow half a French bread.
    Round 9 I leave the campsite, heading for Cormet de Roselend, it's still dry but it looks grey.

    [​IMG]

    Up top it's quiet, 2 camper vans and a couple of cars, Not one BMW GS in site today.
    I put the Vespa right in front of the sign and make some pictures while in the corner of my eyes this huge grey cloud rolls into the parkinglot.

    [​IMG]
    The temperature drops immediately, when I left it was like 15 Celsius, but now it goes under the 10 mark. I also put on my rain pants, mostly due to the cold because it's still dry.

    [​IMG]

    On the Nord side I decent and luckily it's still dry, the clouds also get a little less low.
    At least the weather makes for a stunning view over Lac de Roselend.
    [​IMG]

    After like 10 minutes I get some what's-app, my wife, “are you still alive?”
    So I make a
    [​IMG]
    And send her that, and yes I am a bit cold.

    I decent even more towards Beaufort, and while doing so it starts to rain, so when I see a small tunnel I stop there. 2 cyclists also came up with that idea..
    I stay @ a save distance, man with shaved legs and skinny shorts cannot be up to any good.

    After 5 minutes the heavy rain turns into a drizzle so I head down further towards the village.
    There I get another croissant and a nice espresso, find a supermarket and buy my self 2 cans of cold beer, a coca cola, a pack of biscuits, a banana and an apple.
    The banana, the apple and the Cola I eat right away, the cans of cold beer I put in my little cooling bag. The stash for tonight when I arrive @ the campsite.
    In the meanwhile it stopped raining but the sky's in the direction Ia m heading don't hold much of a promise for better weather.

    [​IMG]

    Even though I get up the bike and follow my journey, I am sticking to the Route des Grandes Alpes in the direction of Les Saisies, and while doing the light rain that had returned stops. In return the heavy stuf comes down again.My summer gloves with all those little air vents are the first to give in.
    The riding is okay, just taking it easy and the Vespa handles wel, but I am getting more soaked by the minute and my Macna coat is not sold a a waterproof one.

    In the unsightly Le Planay I stop @ a bus stop to shelter from the rain in the little wooden shed.
    Now my sweater and trousers are still dry so better stop while I am still ahead.
    I manage to stay in that stupid shed for half an hour, although I had to get out 2 times to pee.
    The weather is starting to do my head in.
    [​IMG]
    My planned route would press on towards Flumer, through Chamonic in the direction of Martigny in Switzerland. My plan was to go over the Grand san Bernardo pas back into Italy and find a campsite somewhere in the Aosta valley.
    But with this rain, the forecasts and my not so waterproof gear I decide to head back south.
    Through what's-app with my wife I find out that tomorrow the weather down south is clearing and sun and higher temperatures are predicted.
    So I get back in the saddle, put on my soaking wet gloves and turn the Vespa around in the direction I came from.

    Back in Beaufort I park the Vespa in the middle of the towns market square, which has some sort wooden roof, I make my self some bread and drink another Cola.

    [​IMG]

    I see 2 Belgium bikes, which I also saw the day before @ the Telegraphe pas. Didn't speak to them back then but when the rides arrive 5 minutes later I start a little conversation. I am curious where they are heading and what places they all ready visited.
    We exchange some story's, I trow in some Belgium words and 5 minutes later they get on their bikes and drive into the rain.
    I stay a bit longer under this shelter, but I know @ some point I also have to get back into the bad weather.

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime I made my self a plan, I head back to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, where there was a Intersport, buy my self a raincoat big enough to fit over my protective coat. I hope I make it there just before this coat gives in to the rain, now it's still dry (ish) on the inside.
    And when I can find them I also am buying a set of waterproof gloves, to replace my vented summer sponges.

    [​IMG]

    By the time I arrive (back) in Bour-Saint-Maurice, my coat also gave in, and my sweater underneath has also become wet, also my rain pants showed some leaking and there for my privates are now soaking wet. My fingers hurt due to the cold and water and my shoes are starting to show their age as wel, the goretex in them is long gone.

    I put the Vespa on her center stand right in front of the Super-U underneath the stores extended roof.
    And dripping with water I head into the Intersport which turned out to be right next door.
    I try to find a suited raincoat, but I can only find those poncho things and some sort of xxxl thing with extra room for a backpack.
    My luck I find the only English speaking store clerk in the whole of France, who also turns out to be a biker. In his best English he tells me they have a better option which is also cheaper and he trails me along across the store. There I find a big rack full off raincoats and pants, he pulls out a XXL coat and tells me to try it on.
    The fit is perfect, even over my bikers coat so I buy it, also I get my self some sort of rain guard spray to put on my coat and shoes when they are dry again. (if they ever will be)
    While heading back to the Vespa I see

    [​IMG]

    When I go inside it turns out there is just 1 waiting in front of me (like 8 minutes wait according to the timer).
    I take of all that is wet, pull out all the protection that is inside my coat and wait patiently.
    In the meantime I read the label inside my coat, telling me not to tumble dry the thing.
    So together with my summer gloves/sponges, my sweater I put the lot inside the dryer, select the double extra hot program and hit start.
    After a good 15 minutes the sweater and coat come out dry, the gloves are stil damp.
    But with this dry set of clothes, my new raincoat my humor is back on the good side again and I am up for some more riding. I want to get away from this crawling heap of humans, cars and rain.
    Once outside I see a DIY shop so I walk in and buy my self a pair of smurf blue rubber gloves, like those guys @ oil plants wear.
    So now I can follow my way with dry hands, and my summer gloves just fit right over the rubber ones, safety first.

    I punch Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis in my Tomtom and get back on the Vespa, there is not much fuel left in the tank but I take the gamble, think I will make it to Val-d'Isere.
    In the meanwhile the rain is so heavy that am not taking any more pictures, firstly because I am not even thinking about it, but the rubber/summer glove/sponge thing on my hands is not really touch screen friendly.

    In Val-d'Isere I fill up the tank with 98 ron, and stray of my normal shopping routine, the Banana, the Coca Cola are the same, but this time I get my self a Nuts..


    When I push on towards the Colle de Iseran I'm starting to question the sanity of this ride and even more this route...
    The rain, the clouds, the very high pas and the chance of a thunderstorm..
    Turning around is no option, val-d'isere... that's a place I not even going to to die, so staying there for the night is not even by far an option.
    So I go for it, on the way to the top I see 2 lighting flashes in the corners of my eyes, the thunder doesn't top the noise the wind and the Vespa makes. So no way to calculate how far the storm is.
    Even though I automatically bend over forward and tuck behind the wind screen, hoping not to get hit by lighting.
    @ the peak of the pas I am above the lower clouds, but still it's raining, so without stopping am descending on the south side towards Boneval-sur-arc.

    [​IMG]

    I slide right into this empty party tent thing, and have to pee so badly I just walk into one of it's corners and …
    I take of my helmet and make the decision, find a hotelroom.
    For a moment I considered pitching my tent here inside this party tent thing and hope they will not send me away.
    But all my gear is totally wet, so I am not going to suffer the night alone in my mini tent with all my wet gear on the far end of my bed.
    On google I search for a biker friendly hotel, so there will be a change I can park the Vespa inside a garage, to let things dry out a bit.
    My tomtom is totally drowned, so much for spending 350 euro's on a waterproof biker navi that turns out to be a sponge. I see the resemblance to my gloves.

    I find my self a hotel in Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis, get back in the saddle and drive the last stretch through the rain.
    It's turns out the hotel is ran by Polish immigrants, and for a brief moment I am expecting one of those black leather couches in my room and a camcorder on a tripod..
    The Vespa can sleep inside their garage a short walk from the hotel.

    The room is very small, and it contains one of the all in one bathrooms, like you find on a ferryboat. The toilet is very strange, like a aircraft one, it makes a hell of a noise when flushing.
    But then again, 48 euro's for the room, and 79 euro's including diner and breakfast..
    But no black couch to be found anywhere.....

    [​IMG]

    The diner is very good, salade starter, a good pasta with stew, I say no to the cheese plate to receive some tiramisu as a Dolce. De half liter beers are very good and I am starting to dry and get warm again.
    It seems there a likje 5 towels in my small room, so both my drenched shoos get stuffed with one, and I also put one inside my helmet.
    I open one more beer in my room, and spend my time surfing the internet, looking for that black leather couch.

    Another day tomorrow, I am totally wrecked, but on the other hand it was a fantastic day.
    This is what make these trips into great memory's, pushing on while you shouldn't have. Staying in the saddle a few hours to long, ending up in bed with your whole body hurting.
    Today's notes:
    Left Bour-Saint-Maurice around 9 this morning, arrived in Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis @ 7 pm in hotel La Vieille Poste.
    Total distance covered 220 km, 1 fuel stop
    14 selfies made.

    And in front of the hotel there was this beauty:
    [​IMG]
    #10
    B10Dave and Andsetinn like this.
  11. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Day 4, vroooaaaarrr

    After rain there is sunshine, same goes for this morning, there are some clouds left on the mountains around Laslebourh Mont Cenis but during my breakfast I see the sun peeking through.
    [​IMG]

    I swallow my breakfast almost with out chewing, and I notice that the Polish waitress is still wearing (or again) the same dress and still ignores me completely.

    I retrieve my Vespa from the garage, put it infront of the hotel, and start to put my luggage back on.
    [​IMG]

    For a brief moment I have the false hope I can use my Tomtom
    [​IMG]

    1 day of rain seems to be the headshot for this thing, they sure know how to make quality systems @ Tomtom.
    So what’s left is a route I know, track the same way back down south.
    [​IMG]

    The little engine still purrs perfectly, but the rear brake starts to act up, that allready was the case during the last few kilometers yeasterday.
    It feels like the brake pads are completely glazed, there is not much bite left in them.
    Only when braking hard the front brake kicks in. (Combined brake system on my Vespa so that is normal).
    In the next village I pull over, rip the lugguage of, make my self a good cup of coffee and start wrenching.

    Mission:
    Get the rearwheel loose, so I can pull it away far enough to remove the brakecalliper.
    After 15 minutes the realwheel is loose, but… there is not enough room to remove the calliper.
    Okay, time to retighten everything and think this over.

    All back in one piece, gear back on, ABS relay removed (so when I really pull the rearbrake the front does not bite a piece out of the disk and slings me over the handle bars).
    Time to make some more kilometers, maybe the sollution comes to me.
    Yes, after a few minutes driving and sometimes a bit more force on the rearbrake it starts to show it’s normal “brakeforce” again. That means the pads are okay, there has to be something else.
    The brake leaver pops in my mind (Vespa, no clutch so left hand lever is the rear brake) , lot’s of rain, no grease left. Maybe there is friction against the brakepump.
    Stopped at a builders shop, got my self a little can of spray grease and made a big fat mess.
    And gues what.. it works again. ABS relay back in place and my Italian beuaty stops like it’s supposed to be.
    So pressing on, back up the Telegraphe, stopping up top for a picture.

    [​IMG]

    Bloody rv in front…

    [​IMG]

    Back in the saddle after that picture, main goal today is Jausiers, back to camping Le Planet so tommorow I can reach “home” in a one day drive via Cuneo.
    The sun is back full force, so get what you can..
    Yesterday I found out why the fields are this green here

    [​IMG]

    Green is…
    I head up the Galibier.

    [​IMG]

    And offcourse I make a selfie.
    In the corner of my eyes I see I familuar face, a former college togheter with his wife with one of those dammed campervans.. (My wife and I also have campervan, so…)
    We chat a bit, you here, wow nice, Ciao, bye and see you later.

    While bussy talking there is this huge Harley with dutch plates parking right next to my Vespa.
    I make some pictures of the view and al of a sudden the Harley rider starts talking to me.
    Same question I always get:
    All the way here on that thing..?? Pointing @ my Vespa.
    So I point @ his Harley and repat his question.
    That evens things out, we chat some more. He got totaly wasted by the rain the day before, just like me. But like a real Harley rider he chickened out and stopped in a Hotel round midday.
    He was heading in the same direction as me, going south, and his goal that day was Nice, @ the coast. Even I thought that was a bit optimistic.

    [​IMG]

    Enough time out the saddle, I ride on, down the south side and somewhere between the pass and Briancon I overtake that old college in his campervan. Hammering down the horn and the trohttle
    And I did it in style, in a no overtaking zone, over a double line, just before a corner..
    Seriously I am living in Italy way to long..

    [​IMG]

    Briancon, time for something to eat, seeing all that delecious I walk out the shop with a piece of french bread…
    As fast as I can I flee the scene. It;s even more crowded that 2 days ago, I zip past most traffic jams and weave through the cars.
    Long live my little Vespa.

    On the way up the Izoard I stop for my lunch and a drink.
    [​IMG]

    French bread and Nutella

    [​IMG]

    There is a a lot of traffic on the way up, and there are lot’s of cars and stuff to overtake on my way.
    With just 22Bhp and something like 250kg (including me) that can be a pain in the ass.
    And while bussy doing so the spare fuel light pops on, my Tomtom is still out of use so I can only wait for a fuelstation.

    [​IMG]

    I roll down the south side and keep the speed @ max 80km/h to save some fuel.
    The last bar on the fuel guage also left the scene, really empty is what it says.
    In Guillestre I finnaly find a pump and in goes something like 8 liters, according to the manual that is like more than the max.

    [​IMG]

    With fuel to spare I blast up the col de Vars, a nice change of pace, not that high but very good roads, nice corners so a blast to ride.

    [​IMG]

    Long open corners, and a gew short turns. Up goes the speed and I search my playlist for “rage against the machine” .
    Full throttle for a few miles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yes, again a selffie

    [​IMG]

    On the south side I keep riding until I reach Jausiers, what is not even that far away it seems.
    While I turn up onto the driveway of the campsite the owner walks up to me.
    No more room, complet.

    What to do, it’s not that late, 4 pm, and I got energy left for some more riding.
    My Tomtom is still asleep and the mobile internet acts like it’s on stike.
    I think I can recal some campsites just over the col de Bonette right before Isola.

    [​IMG]

    Cooling down.. and the Vespa wont start..
    takes me 2 minutes to figure out I hit th killswitch with my knee..

    [​IMG]

    Well know terrain, I make fewer stops for pictures.

    [​IMG]

    A bit befroe Isola I see a campsite, but the village they are looks like a deserted town.
    I pull over on the side of the road, drink something, and let it water off again…
    Time to rethink my options.

    I feel like heading back to Italy, through Isola there seems to be a pas heading towards Cuneo.
    In that area I know a good campsite with a few good restaurants nearby.
    I google the campsite and call them, with my best Italian chitchat I ask if there is pitch free for me and my little tent.
    Luckelly there is, I eat some more cookies and get back on.
    The Tomtom seems to be in a good mood, I can just type in the campsite and hit drive.
    6:30 pm is the arrival time, so again full throtlle.

    [​IMG]

    What comes next is one of the best passes I have seen this whole trip.
    From Isola to Isola 2000 and then back down to Vinadio in Italy.

    img]http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748843-800-x-1067px-IMG_20170809_165254.jpg[/img]

    The tar on the road, the turns, the views.. to drewl..
    I think I found my new favorite, and with that I pushed off col de Turini out of first place.

    [​IMG]

    Col de la Lombarde, what a ride, I can only suggest to not miss this one when your in this region.

    [​IMG]

    [URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748844-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_170835.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748844-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_170835.jpg[/img[/URL]

    [img][URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748845-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_165419.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748845-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_165419.jpg[/img[/URL]

    On the northside I turn onto a bigger local road right behind a Itallian dude on a big BMW GSA fully kitted out with all options.

    He ignores the max speed and any non ovetaking signs, so I act like I am crazy and follow his lead.

    He has way more power but I am not giving up, with the max local speed being 70 he maxes out @ 100km/h, that I can reach easely with my Vespa so I can keep up just fine.

    6:30 pm right on the clock I drive up on to the campsite, Il Melo in Peveragno. Togheter with the last pas a good place to go to when your in this region and looking for a campsite.

    I set camp on the not really that level pitches.

    [img][URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748846-800-x-1067px-IMG_20170809_184941.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502748846-800-x-1067px-IMG_20170809_184941.jpg[/img[/URL]

    I call my wife and she suggest I extend my trip with one more day.
    So all of a sudden this was not the last day on the road, and I can make a nice route for tommorow.
    With a busted Tomtom…:(

    you only had one job:

    [img][URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749186-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_193335.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749186-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_193335.jpg[/img[/URL]

    I walk to my favorite place to eat, order a pizza (again) and end this dinner with a very good desert.

    [img][URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749187-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_205148.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749187-800-x-600px-IMG_20170809_205148.jpg[/img[/URL]

    On my way back the bottle of Arneis starts to hit me but I manage to make a picture

    [img][URL='http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749185-800-x-1067px-IMG_20170809_210606.jpg%5B/img']http://www.camperzone.nl/gky_uploads/2017/08/1502749185-800-x-1067px-IMG_20170809_210606.jpg[/img[/URL]

    Tommorow another day riding, in my head there is a plan forming. I am close to Col di Tenda and I think I’m finnaly going to take my chance.


    Today:
    Left Lansleboutgh Mont Cenis
    350 km total, 1 fuel stopping
    Left 8:30 am and arrived 6:30 pm
    Passes: Telegraphe, Galibier, Izoard, Bonnete and the Lombarde.
    #11
  12. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Day 5, the extra day also the “ultimo giorno” before I head back for “house”.

    Woke up fresh and fruity

    [​IMG]

    Back on the Vespa with all that gear

    [​IMG]

    Into the little village for the bakery and “alimentari” to fix my self a nice breakfast.

    [​IMG]

    I put the Vespa on the centerstand right in the middle of the little village’s square, eat some bread with nutella but also with some Prosciutto crudo. After that I brush my theet using the little fountain.

    [​IMG]

    The spare fuel light had alrready popped on yesterday, so somewhere near Col di Tenda I put in some fuel.
    The tunnel.. after 4 visits this year alone I have seen that, time for a bit of off-roading.
    In my tomtom there was still this 34 kilometer long GPX track of the Ligurian grenzkammstraße and somehow the tomtom woke up brightly this mornig so I can load the track.
    So
    [​IMG]

    After 30 minutes black top roads right after Limone Piemonte I make a right turn heading for Limonetto and after a few very small twisty’s I make a left op top of the Col di Tenda onto the gravel road.
    After a few 100 meters I stop to deflate my tires a bit, only to stop again after a few 100 meters more. Put back in some air, I let out way to much, the Vespa was all over the place.

    [​IMG]

    A sign telling me in German the name of the route, while being in Italy and also I have to pay toll ??
    Where may that be I wonder, somewhere in a box or something??
    I see non of that, so after my tires are on the correct pressure I push on heading uphill.

    [​IMG]

    These views, I just keep stopping to make more pictures.

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    This way I aint getting nowhere.

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    A few gravel hairpins later the tol story unfolds, there is a little toll boot and a barrier.
    10 euro’s for a motorbike or bicycle and 15 for a car, and the last passing up till 6 pm.
    Oh yeah, this last piece of adventure left here is totaly regulated.. :(

    [​IMG]

    A bit further up hill there is a pasthrough where some hiking trails start, it gives a view onto France.
    Becuase I am with the Vespa I made the picture looking into Italy.. :)

    [​IMG]

    There are some difficult sections in the route, mostly becuase of the small wheel size on the Vespa, but it doesn’t get to exciting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The tomtom trows his towel back into the ring, and covers it’s map in a internal cloud of mist…
    Luckely there is not much to choose, just one trail.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mandatory sanitary stop, there are some quads passing from the oppesite direction and we all give eachother the tumbs up.
    Other than that there is not much traffic on this route, just infront of me there was this German dude on a V-strom and behind me there was BMW X5 also heading uphill.
    I overtoke the German dude on his V-strom while he was bussy making pictures somewhere, the X5 had long been gone.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Vespa is holding up perfectly, all looks okay and still in it’s place and stil properly tightend. Also the tire presure just onder 1 bar seems spot on and even makes it possible to increase the speed on some sections.

    [​IMG]

    But the views, the nature, the mountains.. it’s so stunning I keep making more pictures.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the background way down in the valley there is Rifugo Don Barbera, where I saw some signs with a “no motorbike” zone so I just passed that one.

    Eventualy I keep going downhill, and the scenery changes, more trees, woods and I make a stop for a bit of bread and a drink.
    Ther Vespa is collecting her portion off dust on these gravel trails.
    [​IMG]

    I try to make some moving images


    Now there are more bikes on the trail, GSA, Africatwins and some light enduro stuff, not a single Vespa… Strange.. :p

    2 turns downhill there is a toll boot again, I have to stop and show them my receipt to prove I payed @ the entrance. I was following to a Swiss and a German guy on their BMW’s, they take a left @ the toll boot. I exchange some thoughts on the upcomeing route with one of the guys @ the toll boot. My tomtom tells me to follow the trail for 8 more kilometers.
    They tell me that is no problem for me and my bike and @ that distance there will be a tarmac road heading down into the cival world..

    After that 8 kilometers, which I found more challenging than the previous 26km’s, lot’s of big boulders, gravel and stuff which made the speed very low. I see a village down in the valley

    [​IMG]

    It’s the closed off village which made me turn around early June, it was the roadblock which made me not reeach the route I am on now.

    2 turns later
    [​IMG]

    A 2 way choice,, downhill to San Bernardo, or uphill to Mone Saccarello.
    The first option is the first to go, so maybe uphill and back down on the other side in te France.

    The path uphill looks very steep and challenging, there is a little car coming down blowing off steam, overheated and turned back down. I also don’t feel like France/French people so I decide to track back the way I came. So back the same 34 km’s to Col di Tenda.

    This way round I don’t stop that often to make pictures so between me turning around and the Refugi I only made one picture
    [​IMG]

    When I drive near the Refugi I see a few motorbikes and I get the no motorbike signs. Tehy are intended for the small hiking trails going downhill towards the Refugi.
    To get there with a bike or car there is a big gravel road going down.

    [​IMG]

    I sit my self down and order a drink, the people on the terrace all knod @ me very friendly and I hear them talking abouth my Vespa.
    When I am ready to leave and getting back into the saddle there is this French guy with a big ass Jeep walking up to me, and he makes some pictures of me and my Vespa..

    [​IMG]

    I find a sign with a pass name on it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A bit more downhill the end of the skilift and next to it the toll boot where I payed my toll heading up.
    Oh when I turned around and had to pas that toll boot @ the otherside they let me pas without paying. They where smiling @ me very friendly, talking abouth my Piaggio/Vespa.

    [​IMG]

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    Finally I reach the Fort from where this route sort of starts.
    This time I ride up to it and like many I take some pictures here.

    [​IMG]

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    While I was turning around on the other side there where these 2 German’s on Husqvrana's that just got on the route before me. The first 5 minutes I followed them, but I had to stop to pee so they where gone.
    Half way they stopped for a smoke so I overtook them then.
    Now we are @ the fort @ almost the same time.
    They get of their bikes and also take some pictures, while getting back on one of them tumbles right of the otherside of his bike which drops on top of him.
    Luckily he was not harmed in any way besides his ego. We talk abit abouth the route and falling down.
    Mostly on days like these the routes it self go perfectly, but @ the end of the day, when your getting tired… you seem to fall off very easy.

    [​IMG]

    Back on the tarmac I put some pressure back into my tires, and hit campsite Il Melo on my tomtom.
    After some more twisty’s it’s somewhere round 4 pm when I ride past the campsite.
    That’s a bit early so I decide to extend this day’s ride with the 2,5 hour drive “home”.

    My tomtom seems to be back in shape a bit, I tap in the route and after some stretching I get back in the saddle.
    After 1 hour driving on a stait road like somesort of zombie I am feeling bumbed, and I am running out of gas.
    I find a fuel station, eat an apple, drink a can of Cola and change my plan once again.
    Driving back home like this, like a zombie on these stupd strait roads is not the way I want to end my trip.
    I hit “navigate back to recent” in the tomtom and select campsite Il Melo and let it make up a twisty route.

    What follows are some decent fun roads, in some very nice surroundings.
    [​IMG]

    This is a little piece of the Piemonte I want to comeback in the future.
    Just past 7 pm I pull up onto the campsite, I get a handshake, the electronic key for the showers and a big smile coming from the nice lady behind the counter. Yes I did return..:)

    Once again I have my diner in my favorite restaurant, this time I order a salade and a pasta dish. Oh and botle of a nice white Arneis, last evening..

    On my way back tot the campsite the sky’s turn pich dark and some big white clouds form up there.
    Lot’s of lighting not far away making those clouds light up every few seconds.

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    The rain doesn’t come and not much later I fall fast asleep in my little tent.


    Today left peveragno and returned. Left the campsite somewhere round 8:30 am to return @ 7 pm.
    I drove a piece of the Ligurian grenzkammstraße, 34 km and 34 back again + somewhere round 160km on the tarmac.
    No real passes today, and 2 tank stops.
    Smiles per Gallon, 10 out of 10, I have been wanting to do this route for so long..
    #12
  13. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Ooh something extra I got a few weeks later after I registered @ the Trans European Trail facebook site and made my welcome post

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    That where the german folks I met in the Fort, the one that fell of his bike while climbing back on.

    Hahah
    The picture with that:
    [​IMG]

    Thats my Vespa in the background..:)

    I have one of those but with them in the background:
    [​IMG]
    #13
    Andsetinn likes this.
  14. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,789
    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    What a great read!

    Thanks for documenting this so well, and sharing.

    Bravo to you and the highly capable Wasp!!:thumb:thumb
    #14
    Bommes likes this.
  15. Bommes

    Bommes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Thanks for the positive feedback.. :thumb
    I didn't kept a diary, but seem to be having good memory, unlike my wife thinks of me.


    What was left was just 1 day, the way back “home”

    Not really an adventure on it's own but I think it's always good to make a complete report and for my self it's nice to relive this trip while writing.

    Today is no different than the others, woke up early, the clouds that came in last night kept their rain inside until 5 am this night/morning. Then it all came out, including big thunder bangs, and huge drops.
    My little tent is a bit small for me and I am not even that tall but to avoid my head and feet touching the cloth and it starts to leak I had to sleep the rest of the night in fetus position...
    Rond 7 am I woke up again, spend some time on the interwebs and fell asleep a few more times but round 8 I want to get out.

    This campsite (Il Melo in Peveragno) looks like it's been taking over by Dutch people, everywhere I look there are Teva sandals with white socks..
    [​IMG]
    Oh and ofcourse those stupidly overpriced “de waard” tents with the little luggage trailers they put behind their opel Safira or Renault Senic..

    Getting into my ritual again, get out of bed, clothes on, make my self some esperesso.
    I had a white roll left over from yesterday, like everyday I put some Nutella on it while I drink my coffee, and in the meanwhile I put all my gear back on the Vespa.
    Today it doesn't mather in wich order I put it on, there are just a few hours of riding left, there is plenty of gas in the Vespa so no need for a fuel stop.
    So as long as my wallet is somewhere on top it's all good.

    Round 9:30 am I leave the campsite, and the mist in my Tomtom has left enough so I can punch in “home” and select twisty route.

    [​IMG]

    On the road for a good 15 minutes the tomtom sends me onto the first gravel paved road.

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    On it's won not really a bad thing, this track is doable.
    The view looks like my home country, waking up in between those tents and now these clouds.

    The gravel trail flows along and I keep the pase up, after a fel twists I ride though a few farms grouped together. I avoid running over a few chickens and just in time I close the throttle becuase I just zipped by a “privato” sign with a big not really friendly looking farmer 1 meter behind that sign.
    He could do with a make over and a good shower..wow..

    I hear him shout and pointing @ the “privato” sign, in all myu inocence I point @ my tomtom and try to explain that this device tells me I need to be here and go over this trail.
    He looks like he never seen an LCD screen before so I try a different angle.
    I point in the direction I want to go and shout out a village name I know is somewhere in that direction.
    His face clears, tells me the right way to pronounce the village name and strart givbing me directions via another small sand trail that makes a left hand turn right before his privato sign.
    After that he completes his directions by discribing the next 10km I have to go.. :O

    I knod friendly, trow in a Si, si si now and then and decide to stop this and say Ciao, start my Vespa and turn around.
    The pointed out trail it is.:)

    [​IMG]

    If only I listen to him better.. after 5km's, with some strecthes of tarmac, a few left and right turns there is this white fence wire crossing the trail from left to right with behind that a bunch of cows.
    Off in the distance I see the tarmac road I need to go to, but unfortunately the tomtom has come to a complete fogged up stop again.
    So finding an alternative route is no option, but that is not really a problem, once I get back to the tarmac I can find my way round this region by now.

    I turn the Vespa an this trail, make a first left and on the red sand trail I notice a little stream of water running down on the left track.
    That word: “red” infront of sand should have made the alarm bells go off.
    Sand is not red, clay is.
    Sand with water is doable, a stream of water on top of clay...

    [​IMG]

    Not... :eek: I was going walking pace, but through the water stream and thought I want to get out of this stream.
    So I tryed to steer a bit to the right and before I noticed the Vespa went from underneath me and I got trown of on the right side.
    Foot stuck under 200kg Vespa and gear and that stream of water almost through my helmet..
    and a very slippery surface made it a smal fight to get from underneath that Vespa.
    Next trying to get the Vespa upright again turned out to be a trick on it's own, the tires had no grip @ al so lifting the Vespa made it slide away again.
    But finally I got it back on its wheels again, get the muck off my clothes, which seems useless with wet clay.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like there is not that much damage, soft clay and low speeds.
    So get back on, start it and with both feet on the ground/clay carefully trailing along.
    To bad this trail comes to a dead end 500 meters later, again fence wire, near a farm.
    So turning around again, back over that clay.
    Meanwhile telling the tomtom the truth, and my self I head back the way I came to get off the bike on the first piece of tarmac I get onto.

    Stamping my feet to get rid of the clay and trying to straighten my handlebars.
    The fall had caused them to be way off, now is straightening them quit easy due to the simple construction used by Vespa. Put the wheel against a fence or little wall, hit the bar end and ready.
    Just like when I was a kid with my BMX after I got off that thing with out stopping first for the tenth time and it made it's own corners..

    [​IMG]

    Guessing I general direction to ride to and ignoring the tomtom.
    Finally I see some town names that I knew, and I made a turn onto the road I came down starting this week.
    I felt my appetite caling out for some food and I knew there was this little bar a few km's down the road. Where I saw bikes earlyer.
    Once there I stopped, got a good espresso, and a croissant with some marmalade inside, used my hand and feet to talk to some locals to get back into the saddle after 15 minutes.

    What was left was 1 hour down the provincial road with some nice twisties and some stretches where the speed can be increased. I drove this strech many times now so no need to think abouth a route.
    Through Ciaro Montenotte where it always seems to be a rush hour and without good overtaking options. Narrow road and the Italians driving in their cages are not really the most alert drivers.
    So taking it easy, no need to crash in the last 20 km's

    [​IMG]

    Finally, 11:45 am I take a turn onto the driveway belonging to our work adres for this summer.
    Gravel again..
    And the timing is perfect, right before lunch.

    Today's list:
    9:30 am I left Peveragno, to arrive just before noon in Spigno Monferrato.
    The odo shows 110km's today, no fuel stop, 1 time getting of without stopping (falling), 1 croissant. And a few espresso's
    Smile per gallon: 7 out of 10.

    What's left is the total trip list.
    1590 km total route.
    With 120km off-road.
    7 fuel stops
    Mountain passes: see the ride report above :)
    Smile per gallon: 10 out of 10.

    What a cool/nice trip it was, 6 days riding, I am so glad I taken the time to do this, and thinking of it my wife suggested it to me.
    Now we are in this region se said, in a few weeks we will be back in the Netherlands, the flat lands..
    Take a trip into the mountians, just be sure you return in one piece Friday.
    Those where the exact words she told me, well in Dutch but you lot get the point.

    My Vespa, I think it come to no suprise, I totaly love this thing... so I put it up for sale.. :)

    No I am not getting a GS or any other boring allroad thing.
    Those are made for what I do with my bike so I am not going that easy path.

    With this trip I put the odo on 30125 km, I bought her with just 6500 back in 2013.
    Just short of 5000 a year, mostly summer kilometers, in the south of Europ and also most with my wife on the duo seat. Oh and most of the time with 35 degrees Celsius on the dail.
    So she certainly didn't had a boring life and I didnt; go easy on her most of that time.
    Everyhing is still kind of in working order, but I think it's time for a newer model, a 300cc version with fewer miles on the clock.
    Yes I will regret letting her go.
    I am not materialistic, not by far, but I do get attached to “things”, I bond with them, talk to them. These kind of trips help lot's with that bonding.
    #15
    B10Dave likes this.
  16. Tarka

    Tarka Strangely strange. Oddly normal.

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,870
    Location:
    Across the pond.
    Brilliant !
    I really enjoyed reading that and looking at your great photos brought back some fond memories because I've ridden a lot of the roads and passes you visited,although it was on a BMW R1100GS and not a Vespa.
    I'd love to repeat the experience on one of my own Vespas but mine are 2 stroke PXs and even with their big bore kits they'd be struggling!
    Great to read about another wine loving,Vespa riding daily pizza eater. :D
    #16
    Bommes likes this.