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western alps - or how to visit a turtle farm in south france

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by franken, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Hi all,
    just back from a 20 day tour through the alps to south france and back.

    Let me show you how it was and how we visited a turtle farm in Gonfaron (south france).

    Day 1.
    lazy start, we decided not to go to south france in a one day rush - just go in small steps. So we moved to Plansee and into Lech-valley. Wanted to pass Hantenjoch, but road was closed by police - 2 bikers crashed and get killed. So had to go on along the lech and then to Reschenpass. Start to look for a place to sleep there, but all was fully booked incl. campings. Found the last free space in a hotel in Suisse just behind the border.

    Pics.

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    at the end of Lech-valley

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    the most photographed church at Reschen-pass

    Day 2:

    After Tinas breakfast i got mine - 500m behind the hotel the road up to Umbrail-pass started - and after some more curves we've been up at Stelvio (Stilfser Joch). (as many others also) - we went down to Bormio and did Paso di Gavia as next step.
    On to Edolo and did Passo di Aprica to reach Bernina Passroad. Davos to Maloja and down to Chiavenna to find a place for the night.

    Pics.

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    quite crowded at top of Stelvio

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    down to Bormio

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    look down

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    22 of .... :evil

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    How to go through a curve

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    Top of Gavia

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    down the Gavia

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    center of Edolo

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    Top of Bernina

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    St. Moritz

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    Waterfalls near Chiavenna

    Day 3:

    First pass in the Morning - Passo Spluga which leads you direct to Passo del san Bernardino - down to Belinzona and then the long way up - not to take Gotthard, just to take Nufenen (Passo d. Novena). At last down to Brig on a Camping.

    Pics.

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    at passo Spluga

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    lake near the top

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    Tina waiting to go on

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    down to Bernardino

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    again with a lake

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    sometimes you find strange things on passroads

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    top of Nufenen - also a lake

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    view from Nufenen to Rhone valley

    Next days we spent near Brig to change rear-tire and visit some very beautyful places. Let me show you.

    [​IMG]

    Center of Zermatt

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    So you cant do this by bike - we took the train up to the Gornergrat -- and this is like it looks then

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    Matterhorn - or Toblerone hill :D - most photographed in Europe (maybe).

    [​IMG]

    Monte Rosa

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    Ice World

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    ice climbing at his best

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    Glacier

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    huge and fantastic (but melting a lot)

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    Tina enjoys (the silence?) the view

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    Rescue dogs - first aid bottle at the right place

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    Men at work - swiss style

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    ADV-Rider Salut

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    more impressions

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    dinner with this view - simply great

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    nature

    So we went down with one of the last trains - next day to Saas Fee valley

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    Saas Fee

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    typical town

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    on the way up to Weisboden

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    first off-road part in our travel - we didn't reach the top - we went down to visit Aletsch-glacier

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    UNESCO world heritage - melting glacier, still very impressive

    [​IMG]

    Overview

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    Tourist work

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    Tina looks for Turtles??? :evil

    tbc...

    ...........................................................

    So - enough for the start - will go on with the story the next days. Hope you enjoy the story so far. Still a 120 pics to come.

    CU soon
    #1
  2. vander

    vander full-time dreamer

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,002
    Location:
    Barcelona
    These are the places I went skiing with the school, Saas and Fiescheralp :clap (Loved the views from the Eggishorn).

    I'm a HUGE fan of turtles, I'm waiting to see that farm as I fed my +100 years old turtle :norton Could be a nice visit next spring.

    I don`t know how much south in France this farm is, but near Cadaques here in Catalonia there`s another farm of endangered Mediterranean Turtles Testudo Hermanni.
    #2
  3. DRglidarn

    DRglidarn Panzer pilot

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    679
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    Beautiful views! Makes me wanna go on a continental trip again :ricky
    #3
  4. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    619
    Location:
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/ Bangalore, INDIA
    The magical word ALPS always stops me on my tracks.
    Thanks for the wonderful photos. You seemed to have a great time.
    #4
  5. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,400
    Location:
    N.California
    Beautiful pictures!!!
    Can't wait to see the turtles!
    #5
  6. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,206
    Location:
    Stuck somewhere in motorcycle Purgatory
    Amazing photographs!!! :clap
    #6
  7. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Hi all

    let's go on with the story. First think today - should give you an overview where we where. So let's put in a map of the area (A mapsource screenshot)

    [​IMG]

    If you ask me for the traks - feel free to do so -- the zipped gpx has 2 mb - the orginal 21 mb - wuff, what a big track. But also could sent you parts of it. I'll have it day by day on my sd-card.

    Enough talking - back to the ride. So we left Zermat and went on the Rhone-valley. Passed the big dog pass (big San Bernhard) and reached Italy. So we went to the italian site of Mont Blanc. So we call him Monte Bianco. :-)

    Pics.

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    again these big dogs with rescue packs - at the place they come from.

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    Monte Bianco - italian view

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    At Courmayeur you can enter 2 valley's - so you are very close to the montain. This is Val Ferrer - other is Val Veny

    [​IMG]

    This is the little brother of the big San Bernard

    We went on to Briancon our next Base-camp though Roselend, Col de la Madeleine, Croix de Fer and Col du Lautaret.

    Pics.

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    top col - very nice to ride

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    when going down - beautyful blue lake

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    Pic nic near the lake

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    up the Madeleine

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    left into cellar, right to the rooms :evil

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    if you have no space for a banana in your tankbag - do it like we did

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    at Croix de Fer

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    behind the last village

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    way down - and a .... yes - a lake

    So we spent some nights at a camping in Briancon. So let's see what we did during these days.

    Pics.

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    first work after breakfast - Izoard

    [​IMG]


    way down - then left to Italy

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    Col Angel - a bit cloudy

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    cheese and ham into bread

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    begin (or end) of Valle Vareita off-road track

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    no good sight

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    we went back after some km - didn't make sence - couldn't see much

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    only sometimes a little hole

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    track between easy and a bit difficult

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    back to base-camp - Col Angel down

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    next day - off road - some of you might know this curve well ...

    [​IMG]

    we will reach 3000m at the end. You know the waterfall?

    [​IMG]

    half the way up to ....

    [​IMG]

    Stella Alpina is hold here

    [​IMG]


    View down from ...

    [​IMG]

    pnte. Sommeiller. :D

    Note - in this area more and more roads are closed for riding. Sommeiller is also closed on weekends. Ask the locals if it is possible to go - otherwise you might loos a lot of money if you get catched by police.

    [​IMG]

    Tina on the way (in)to the lake

    [​IMG]

    The way down

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    easy - a bit difficult only at the top and if you have snow

    [​IMG]

    others on the way up

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    closer

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    after Sommeiller we did Colle delle Finestre. Assietta was closed

    [​IMG]

    big fort in the valley

    We left Briancon and visited parc national des Ecrins

    [​IMG]

    dead end road

    [​IMG]

    to see this glacier

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    next Col du Vars - first rain in the valley - the second catched us

    We escaped over Col de Larche to Italy - no rain there

    [​IMG]

    Down Coll de Larche

    [​IMG]

    passed a town with big walls

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    Col de Tende - next day -- if you don't take the tunnel.

    [​IMG]

    Fort with cloud - begin (or end) of Ligurische Grenzkammstraße - off-road track.

    [​IMG]

    at the fort (not Ford)

    [​IMG]

    entrance

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    another cloud shows up

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    often taken pic - upper part of way down

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    Tina, the bike and ...

    [​IMG]

    details of the way down

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    lower part - paved - 20 something hairpins :1drink

    [​IMG]

    resting in Tende

    [​IMG]

    the city of Tende

    [​IMG]

    refilling

    [​IMG]

    Strange thing at next pass road -- a grill????

    [​IMG]

    Going to Col de Turini

    [​IMG]

    Ralley Monte Carlo. - Col de Turini -

    So - this for today -- 68 pics and of course Turtles to come. Think will make it tomorrow.
    (Question -- are the pics too dark?? if yes i will correct them next days)

    have fun

    Andreas + Bettina
    #7
  8. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    So - last night i worked a bit on the pics -- just adjusted the Histogram to have a korrekt light.

    Now lets go on with the story and closer to the turtles. :-). Next Base-Camp was Grasse. (the capital of parfume). See what we did.

    Pics.

    [​IMG]

    First day we went to Grand Canyon du Verdun. One of the top targets in the area.

    [​IMG]

    One viewpoint

    [​IMG]

    the view - to the river

    [​IMG]

    near the end of the canyon. ( :evil a lake)

    [​IMG]

    Verdun river

    [​IMG]

    way down to the lake, nice weekend house

    [​IMG]

    a bit crowded (yet they don't know what heavy rain will come in 30 min)

    [​IMG]

    change of departement

    We wanted to go back on the other side of the canyon, but heavy rain moved in - so we escaped south.

    [​IMG]

    passed villages like this one.

    [​IMG]

    Our Basecamp was at the route Napoleon (as you can see on the wall of that Building)

    [​IMG]

    South france decoration - always impressive

    Next day we went to the TURTLES!!!! :clap
    Took the highway from Cannes until Le Luc. 10 km to go to Gonfaron after 3 more km we reached the "Le Village des tortues".

    If you are interested you may find more info here ... http://www.villagetortues.com/ (sorry found only a page in french).

    In this project they try to rescue the local turtles like the project in Spain and Corse.

    PICS

    [​IMG]

    Lets go - it'S ouvert :1drink

    [​IMG]

    Entree (and overview)

    [​IMG]

    Locals (fence is to protect visitors from the beasts)

    [​IMG]

    resting (btw. it was very hot this day, round 38° C)

    [​IMG]

    dangerous

    Ok - just a short impression - but this is a bike-forum -- so let's go on with the riding. (lets say if i get a 15 requests for more turtle pics - i'll post some more -- actual count = 2).

    So we didn't take the highway back - we went down to the coast.

    [​IMG]

    St. Maxime beach - on the other side - St. Tropez

    [​IMG]

    we followed the coast a while - then away into the hills

    [​IMG]

    In the area between Grasse - Nice - Toulon - Aix - Digne you will find beautyful curvy roads - a lot of fun to ride there.

    Next day - smal tour only (planned).

    [​IMG]

    round Grasse - but after this pic i destroyed my objective - tankbag crashed down

    [​IMG]

    so we had to move to Cannes - buy a new objective to go on with photos - first pic with new EF 50 1:1,8

    [​IMG]

    from Cannes up to Grasse we found this Castle

    [​IMG]

    view in the hills

    So time to go back - but not fast -- still some more to see

    [​IMG]

    more Canyons (between Grasse and Roquesteron)

    [​IMG]

    cool road

    [​IMG]

    Next UNESCO stop - Entevaux

    [​IMG]

    impressiv

    [​IMG]

    love this style

    [​IMG]

    only allowed transportation vehicel in the city :D

    [​IMG]

    local prison

    [​IMG]

    a bit outside we saw this

    [​IMG]

    on the way to Col de la Bonette

    [​IMG]

    nice roof

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    la Bonette - close to the top (Europes highest legal pass road - you reach 2800 m).

    [​IMG]

    view near the top

    We spent the night at Barcelonette (not Barcelona) - next day we moved to Grenoble area.

    [​IMG]

    Behind Gap

    [​IMG]

    When we reached the mountains near Grenoble we found this

    [​IMG]

    and saw 30 of them.


    [​IMG]

    After the pass - some valley's and this

    [​IMG]

    In WW II the french resistance was based here - you can find many places in this area and learn about this time.

    [​IMG]

    next great view.

    [​IMG]

    Highlight - Col de la Machine and Combe Laval

    [​IMG]

    incredible road with fantastic views. (so you don't need the highest mountains for highlights).

    [​IMG]

    Sunset at our camping in Royans

    Next day i wanted to go direction Annecy, but the rain forced us to go to west, back to the higher "Cols". We did Col du Lautaret for a second time, didn't go to Briancon - made Galibier (2616 m) and Col du mt. Cenis - down to Susa and then visit friends in Turino.

    Pics.

    [​IMG]

    La Meije

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    short break

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    view dirc. Briancon from Galibier

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    parts of the road - from top

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    uff

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    a lake :evil - Mt. Cenis at the top

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    bike also wants to have a look

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    Col de Lis - near Torino

    Our friends came back from Honeymoon just the night before, so we had a cool dinner - next day we started for the finals steps - First highlith - the road between Biella and Lago di Orta - Simplon pass - one more night near Brig and then Grimsel - Susten and Klausenpass. At Susten first heavy rain catched us. Next at lake Konstanz - last step in dark and rain - german highway to Munich and back home.

    last set of pics so far

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    italian roads can be crowded

    [​IMG]

    near Lago di Orta

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    Top of Simplon pass

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    Swiss style - near our last guesthouse

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    View to Furka - we went left to Grimsel

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    Top of Grimsel

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    Tina loves cheese

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    down the Grimsel

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    small extra tour - near "Kleine Scheidegg" (Eiger, Jungfrau, Mönch) - very small road up from Meiringen

    [​IMG]

    to see this

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    rain at Susten

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    begin of Klausen pass - Wilhelm Tell Museum and statue

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    rain made a break - clouds still impressiv

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    typical house in the area

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    Klausen - last view we had - a view km later we could see only next 20 m

    [​IMG]

    at lake Konstanz (swiss side) - the heavy rain which catched us 20 min later

    OK - so that it was -- hope you enjoyed this report.
    Comments, critics and Turtle-pics-request :wink: are welcome.

    if you have questions about this tour - feel free to ask.

    have fun

    Bettina + Andreas
    #8
  9. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    A small addition

    highest points in the alps to ride (legal) - Top 10 of top 100

    1 - Colle Sommeiller - Italy - 3050 m -- Gravel - done
    2 - La Colletta - Italy - 2830 m - Valle Vareita - Gravel
    3 - Ötztaler Glestscherstraße - Austria - 2803 m - done
    4 - Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi - Italy - 2802 m - Gravel
    5 - La Bonette - France - 2802 m - done
    6 - Col d' Iseran - France - 2770 m - done
    7 - Weißer Boden - Swiss - 2768 m - Gravel - done half
    8 - Stilfser Joch - Italy - 2757 m - done
    9 - Kaunertaler Gletscherstaße - Austria - 2750 m - done
    10 - Colle dell' Agnello - Italy - 2746 m - done

    have fun
    Andreas
    #9
  10. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,493
    Location:
    New Hampshah
    Wunderbar! Vielen Dank! :clap


    Your photography is wonderful. Which lens did you break?
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    68,962
    We always enjoy your awesome ride reports and superb pics!! :clap

    Any news on your DVD?
    #11
  12. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    @ Pack Mule: broke my Canon EF 24 - 105 mm 1:4 L IS USM when my tankbag fall of - placed him at the seat and was looking to something differend for a moment. Lens was always on the body - now i think the new "50" will be always on the body (much smaller - looks like it will survive a small fall like this was).
    Canon will tell me next week if they can fix it and how much it will cost.

    The other lens i use is a Canon EF 100 - 400mm 1:4,5-5.6 L IS USM (so not the very best ones - but good ones). Cam is a Canon EOS 5 D.

    @ Gadget Boy: a DVD - maybe a good idea. Get Lightroom2 this week - now been sorting all my pics the next days (weeks).
    #12
  13. Anticus

    Anticus Tax Slave

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    BTW the Atlantic and the Smokies, NC
    :clap Thanks for sharing the incredible pics and your adventure. Looking forward to more.
    #13
  14. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,400
    Location:
    N.California
    One of the best reports.
    Great pics, again :D
    #14
  15. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,493
    Location:
    New Hampshah

    That's a real bummer about your lens. Hopefully they'll be able to repair it. :waysad I've got that 50 and it's a gem. :thumb Did you have anything wider than 24 in your arsenal? Some of those vistas would be stunning wide-wide-wide (well, they're stunning anyway, but you know what I mean).
    #15
  16. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Theese 2 (with the 50 now 3) is all i have - (also no more space for more in the tankbag).
    The lens broke where it is designed to break - it was still connected with the body, but only the first ring - the rest is hold by 4 small screws - and was layin away from the body. (so you could see the electronic device). At the fist look it seems to be a good change to fix it (but might be expensive).

    During winter i will search for a "much" better solution to pack all on the bike. My shop told me about a good solution - will check this the next weeks. (and may tell you all).

    regards
    Andreas
    #16
  17. skamikazee

    skamikazee Noviço

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    245
    Location:
    Portugal, Lisbon
    Bautifull
    Been on some of those places a couple of times, and seeing those amazing pictures is just like if i was back there.


    What's your opinion on your Oregon GPS, do you have any problems with the screen brightness, and how acurate would you say it is in terms of on-road navigation?
    I was looking for a GPS to use mostly off-road, and the oregon seems to be what i was looking for, just had my doubts of how well would it work while on road trip.


    Great report, i'll be watching for your name on new ridereport threads!

    Cheers :freaky
    #17
  18. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    427
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Screen brightness is not the best - sometimes very difficult to see. (most germans use 278 (276)C because of this).
    But i realy like my small Oregon, because i can take it realy fast away into my Jaket when i leave the bike.
    Navigation is quite good - i use a mix of CityNav 2010, Worlmap (on SD) and the pre-installt Euro-Topo-map. So i have a 3-D picture of Europe. Direction instructions (like "go left on xy-street" are sometimes nearly not readable - so i helped my self with "Distance to next.." Field. You also need to have an attention if you use "shortest way" or "shortes Time" -- shortes way sometimes uses strange ways (specialy in cities).

    Can store other tracks on SD and navigate to them (so loded a track of Sommeiler from internet and navigate to the startpoint of the track - very helpful if you don't know which small road in the valley is the correct one).
    Also very helpful have been POI - Collections with bike friendly hotels and Campings. -- had an Quest 1 before - so for me improvement was great.

    hope this helps a bit.

    regards
    Andreas
    #18
  19. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,784
    Location:
    Yunanistan (Stans baby!)
    Something must be done with the RRs forum... Beautiful reports can get buried so quickly and not-so-frequent visitors can miss them. :deal

    Good thing I was feeling lazy and decided to go back 3 pages today and found this!

    Andreas thank you for this wonderful report, I still believe the Alps are the most fantastic moto destination in Europe. I can't have enough of this blessed region!

    I'm planning on riding the west part next May (west of Bolzano). I'll pm you for some details because you planned a very impressive route!

    Thank you again and ride safe! :clap
    #19
  20. carmima

    carmima All Orange :-)

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,957
    Location:
    Northern Rivers, NSW
    Thanks Franken...great report and stunning pics. I love the alps and the roads are always fun :thumb
    #20