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I was expecting to see Julie Andrews singing around any of these bends as the Alps were really Sound of Music green. “Typical” shot of the road and Alps, this one in the Swiss Alps.  We were extremely lucky weather wise as we skirted rain every day only getting caught once in the Italian Alps.

Riding through the Alps is a primal draw for most motorcyclists.   We’ve spent our entire lives looking at pictures of soaring peaks with roads winding up there sides, each with captions like the World’s Best Motorcycle Road!  It’s a motorcyclist’s dream to ride the Alps.  Well, it’s no longer a dream for me as we’ve spent the last several days riding through the Italian, French, Swiss, German, and Lichtenstein (yes, even tiny Lichtenstein has Alps).  It’s been terrific.  For me.  For Karen, a little less so.

Lets just say that Karen doesn’t lie in bed at night dreaming of riding the Alps.  Old charming medieval cities?  √  Cozy cute cafes to have a pop? √  Little streets crammed with interesting shops? √  Soaring motorcycle roads over the tops of mountains with lots of death-defying curves?  Not so much.

Hence about 2 1/2 days into our scheduled 10 day Alps tour de force motorcycle ride my intercom crackles, “I never want to see another f__king swiss chalet!”  This could be a problem given I think we’re just getting into our “stride” and I know we’re going to see a lot more Swiss Chalets before we’re finished:)  Time for a little route rethinking.

For those of you keeping track, we were last on the French Riviera, in the seaside town of Menton, which is a short drive in your Ferrari north of Monaco on the Italian border.  We headed due north into the Italian Alps for a day, then swerved west and then north back into the French Alps for a day or so.  Then due east again into and through much of the Swiss Alps, then north through Lichtenstein and north west through the center of Switzerland.  We left Switzerland through its north border with Germany, enjoyed a brief spurt up one of the Deutschland’s Autobahns (using only the middle lane at a mere 93mph).  We are now nestled in the French town of Strasbourg, rethinking our route and doing some much needed wash.

Our choices are four fold:  (1) Continue toward the Chunnel at a snail’s pace, then head toward the ferry to the Isle of Mann to catch the TT race;  (2) Vere sharply north through Luxemborg and to Amsterdam for a couple of days, then to the Chunnel, etc.;  (3) Haul ass to the Chunnel and then spend 3-4 days in the South of England; and (4) Vere sharply left, go to Paris and hang for a couple of days before going to the Chunnel, etc.

I’ll let you know what happens next time.

None of this is to take away from a great couple of days.  Highlights include

  • More great roads, mountains, and (yes those f__king) swiss chalets than you could wish for.  Just like British Columbia, Peru and Alaska; beautiful scenery becomes the norm…
  • We spend two days in the town of Annecy in the French Alps, which rivals Brugge for beauty and charm.  Like Brugge, we find the bars and scenes that present a less-than-normal-tourist experience:)
  • We– KR, me and NVII — take a train for the first time with no problems through the part of the Alps that are still closed due to snow.
  • The Germans know how to build highways and they like to drive fast.  93 mph doesn’t allow you in the left lane.  Always drive with one eye on the rear view mirror.
  • We’ve seen a ton of bikes on the road, but can’t seem to connect with any of them.  They come in all shapes and sizes, but 1200GSs are the most common.
  • Bike-wise, NVII has run like a champ.  Not a single problem.  Put on a new rear tire in Annesy and waited less than an hour to get it done.

Life is good.  Here’s what it looked like in pictures.

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All layers are in force as we get ready to go into the Swiss (higher up) Alps

 

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On the road

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Despite what you might be thinking, its not all stress and adventure.  Here KR takes a nap on the bike.

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Alps and more

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This shot is in the Swiss part of the Alps at about 6000 ft, which was the highest we got.  Yes, it was nippy.

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Midway in the afternoon we start to think about where to go/stay for the night.  A couple of pops, reading guide books, looking at maps and doing route calculations on the Garmin are the tools at hand.

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Road hazards of a different kind;  getting peed on by a passing cow:)

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We take the train through a very long tunnel to avoid a closed pass

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Successfully got NVII off the train.  Not as easy as you might think.

 

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VII as Dressing Room Table.  KR applies makeup from her cosmetics drawer, NVII’s back box.

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One of many many many many church steeples we see throughout Europe

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I had to put in an old door shot

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Reward after a long day is getting a pop at a local bar and catching up on email

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Does he look familiar?  Reminded us of Lotus, a great dog of ours.  We vow to get another Westie soon.

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Night shot of Annecy, one of many many many charming little old towns we ride through and/or stay in.

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Annecy looking toward the lake

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The world’s hardest to find hotel in Annecy.  Garmin couldn’t find it.  We had to walk the neighborhood to find the place.

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The lake. How could I be happier?

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Every town has its vagabonds.  This young crew traveler with their pets.

 

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More potential art for Corona Adobe.  You’ll have to ask KR what she has about decorative skulls.

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Things pick up in Annecy as we come across a really good rock & roll band.  French band plays nothing but American R&R hits to loud applause

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Another route planning session.  Looking at the map and Miguel says “its a looonnng, looonnng, looong road!”  We’re all laughing despite none of us speaking the other’s language.

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Route comes into focus with a glass of wine and a plate of crustaceans.  Maps help too.

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In a more sober state, route planning continues

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Beauty shot!  Now Voyager II stands ready early one morning in Bad Ragaz. Hey, if you don’t like bikes get your own blog:))

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France KR and I head out looking for dinner in Strasbourg, France. KR has pleaded that we spend Two Whole Nights here:)

 

 

11 replies
  1. Doug Morris says:

    Nice photos, looks like you had a good time. When I was stationed in West Berlin in the 60s we weren’t allowed to ride our bikes through East Germany to get to The Zone. The only way was on the military duty trains; American, British and French. The Brit train was the worst getting the bike on and off. There was no siding at the level of the car so we had to recruit help to either lift or lower the bike on and off. Hope your ordeal was better than that. Cheers

  2. Peter Paccone says:

    Ah, entering some country now that I do know something about. Remember where I was born? And where I have lived now and then? What a great time of the year to be traveling there.

  3. Sindhu & Greg says:

    I would do the Amsterdam route!
    Glad to see your appreciation of urban centers and fantastic vistas!

  4. Debbie says:

    I’m with KR, take me to interesting villages/towns and stop so we can shop:) and ….check out the history of the area.
    I went via the train system from Spain through France to Switzerland many moons ago…..it’s breathingtakingly beautiful in all directions with, yes, many Swiss Chalets in route…I loved the cows with cowbells on as they wandered about the lush green countryside and never ran into one in a village that peed as I went by :-))
    So enjoy your BLOG and keeping up with you.
    Hugs and love,
    Debbie……well, the tall man too !

  5. Peter and Aneth says:

    We are charmed by the tales of your great new tour of the Europa. Make us want follow your lead next year. Continue to enjoy your wonderful trip and keep us in the loop. Love and good luck.
    Peter and Aneth

  6. Debra says:

    Hi Fred & Karen,

    Looks like an amazing trip! How do you bring your dog via motorcycle?!!!

    Love from your niece,

    Debra

  7. Judi says:

    When you are ready….send me a couple of your favorite photos (no people please) and I will paint them for you.

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