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Old 08-02-2011, 11:12 PM   #4
ScorpioVI OP
Some people juggle geese.
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
Oddometer: 490
Part of my trip planning was reading through this book.

It was hard to get an idea of just how big the rides were though, because the maps in the book weren't in a constant scale. It was also pretty sparse on directions, luckily Armen brought his GPS along and we got along pretty good. I never did any concrete route-planning though. I'd get routes and ideas from the book but I'd cut them up and piece them together to suit our needs, I don't think we ever completed a single loop the the author recommended. I also never planned the routes more than a day or two in advance, and we'd usually hash out the day's route on the breakfast table, based on where we needed to be that day, how much time we had, and how crappy the weather looked.

The weather wasn't cooperating with us. June through September were supposed to be perfect riding months for the Alps. Instead they had an unseasonably hot April and May, and an unseasonably cold July. Where the weather should've been warm, 30C-40C (86F-104F) we got 1.5C-26C (34.7F-78.8F). I packed for warm weather, leaving my cold liners behind. Mistake! Most mornings were nice and sunny but often the afternoon brought rain showers. Cold and wet in high altitude means freezing one's ass off. Nothing we couldn't deal with, but I certainly appreciated the F650GS' grip heaters.

Speed, Roads, Drivers
I loved the roads in Switzerland. For the most part they were very well maintained. Speed limits were 50kph (31mph) in the towns, 80kph (50mph) on the highways, and 120kph (75mph) on the autostradas. Drivers were very disciplined and either drove at the limit (or just above) and it was very easy to pass with the lack of solid white lines (double yellows). We're going at a pretty leisurely pace for the most part. Rarely where we ever in a hurry to get somewhere. The idea was to get where we're going, bikes (and 1000 Euro deposit) and body intact, and if we have fun along the way the job is done. We had a lot of fun along the way.

I take most of my photos on the fly. I have a small Kodak point-and-shoot that I dangle from a carabiner on my Camelbak and slip into my jacket pocket. I take it out, turn it on, snap a couple of shots, put it back. In a pinch I'll just drop it and let it dangle while I make a grab for the bar. Rarely are my shots composed, so don't expect perfect shots. I have a GoPro mounted on top of my helmet. I turn it on when the road looks interesting. Otherwise it stays off.
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