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Old 09-07-2009, 05:23 AM   #16
Steelybeast OP
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Wednesday

We were up earlier than usual this morning and ready to head out on todays route towards Luzern, Interlaken, then over to Bern and back up.

As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed a few drops of oil under the bike. At first, I thought maybe an AMF-Vintage Harley might have been previoulsy marking it's spot there before us, as this was a Honda, built by what I am sure was direct descendents of Soichiro Honda himself. They don't leak oil.

Hmmmm, oil in the sight glass was OK and not much had dripped down, so just keep an eye on it today and be sure it does not get worse. I wiped it off the engine so I could possibly determine where it was leaking during the day.



So off we go to see the southwest area from Zurich. We had some low hanging clouds today which added some depth to the photos.













What is dis in a small town?







The beautiful scenery goes on and on around every curve and across each mountain.



I believe they are wating for this rock to grow some more over this road, so they can built another tunnel.







I believe this is a tourist boat. If we had the time, this might have been worth it to have rode on it.





Great leisurely riding along the mountains and water before getting to the passes around Andermatt later on in the week.

I believe this is Thun with a castle up on the hill.







Another thing we noticed after a while was you did not see bill boards all over the roads & highways, advertising the next great Stucky's ahead They seem to want to keep the natural beauty as much as they can, and not clutter it up.

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 07:06 AM   #17
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Wednesday #2

After returning back to the hotel, I notice the oil leak is a little worse as it had streaked all down the right side of the engine and back towards the rear wheel & exhaust. After more research, I could see if was an O-ring leaking where the temperature or oil pressure sensor was screwed into the block. I tried to tighten it some more, but it was not going to move. It was too late to take it back and see about getting it fixed or swapped for another bike and we were heading to Andermatt in the morning for two days. Since the oil was still between the lines in the sight glass, I was not real concerned and decided to just pick up a cheap quart/liter of oil and throw it in the trunk, just in case. Did we mention things are expensive in Switzerland?

So off to the local gas station to get oil as I had no idea where a automobile parts store might be.

I went inside and ask the attendant if they had motor oil and she pointed me to the man over in the corner of the store. I went over and explained what I needed and the rest went something like this:

Him: Ahhhh yes, (in his German accent) we have some in the back, please, please, follow me this way....
Me:

We go to a back room where there is a Swiss guard standing at a locked door. They converse between each other, open the door and motion for me to come inside. There, in this secured room, is a a glass display case, with several bottles of oil locked inside. He punches in the security code which releases the electronic lock and allows him to slide open the case. He carefully removes the first bottle and lays it on top of a black velvet pad, for me to look at. I believe he may have offered me one of those jeweler's eye pieces, to get a closer look, but maybe not.

Him: This is our very finest product available, 100% synthetic, 2009 vintage. You can take this with you today for only 32CHF.

Me:

Him: Oh, I can see you appear to be an astute buyer but can also appreciate a good value from time to time.
Me: Thinking - yup, that's me alright, a tight ass.......

So, he places it back in the case and removes another bottle. (I believe there was a small sign that said they were only allowed to remove one bottle at a time to show, due to insurance reasons). It is a different vintage, BP 10W40 mineral oil.

Him: This can be yours today for only 16CHF.



I am thinking, I only wanted a quart of oil, not an oil change with filter, tire rotation and free touchless car wash.

Ok, so maybe I might have embelished a little - but that really was the cost. So with a quart of BP 10W40 securely locked in the trunk, we were heading back to the hotel for


----------------

I am adding this as note so years from now when we read this again, we will remember it since we did not have a picture. It is still etched in my cranium though, like it was just last week. Somewhere as we were coming back on A1 or maybe it A3, I looked up as we went under a bridge and there was a military tank sitting on the bridge with it's turret turn towards traffic. I am not sure what it was doing there, but commented they take speeding seriously here I wished I had turned around and went back, just to get a picture of it.

Ok, on with next segment as we head towards Andermatt on Thursday morning.

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:23 AM   #18
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Thursday

We were up as usual this morning, anticipating the next two days around Andermatt & riding some more passes down there. A few extra shots of espresso, pack an overnight night, and off we go.

The plan was to ride to the Hotel Aurora in Andermatt to check in, then off to the Gotthard pass before dinner.



Some scenery along the way to Andermatt.











Just looks like an awesome area to live. At the base of the mountains and with a lake too.



Yes. up on a hill above everything else around.





Following & passing other oncoming riders with the same thoughts in mind for today.



The abundance of flower boxes was still being seen everywhere we went.





Just miles & miles of incredible scenery and good roads.





As you are riding along these areas, enjoying the scenery, you realize some areas look familiar, even though this is your first time here. One can only think this area could be used for photo opportunites in Swiss travel magazines and brochures.



We roll on into Andermatt and stop at the Hotel Aurora to strecth and drop off the items from the trunk. It was a typical motel for the area, clean & with a restaurant. It had two twin beds that folded up into the wall. It was not our first choice when we booked it 6 months ago and the other 2-3 that were recommended from inmates were already full. So for 190CHF, we spent the night here which included a light breakfast.





The evenings accomodations.




The streets of Andermatt were cobblestone. In one travel video we seen, they said they put the two solid paths in the middle for motorcycles & bicycles to use.



Now we are all checked into the hotel, unloaded the trunk, stretched a little, and ready to head out to see some more passes that the area is famous for.



The road of anticipation........



As we are riding along, I am still thinking about the areas that must have been used for travel information brochures, especially after just riding through Andermatt. I noticed up ahead, something that was going on along side of the road. People were all gathered around what appeared to be a camera crew or maybe a photo shoot as I could see those reflective mirror boards they use to get the right light. As we get closer, this appears to be the case. Even closer I see they are taking pictures with the mountains in the background and there, is Whitney Toyloy, Miss Switzerland 2009 standing there in her bikini with the ribbon going across her chest. I am thinking, with this picture, I will be on the front page of ADV rider, with all the other famous rider pictures.

So with the flip of the wrist, and a quick camera shot, we had our picture.

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.
..

well, almost as someone else decided to make an surprise appearance...

.
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.
.
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.
.



Oh well, maybe next time.........

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelybeast
...and decided to just pick up a cheap quart/liter of oil and throw it in the trunk, just in case. Did we mention things are expensive in Switzerland?
It's not just Switzerland. I'm dreading the next oil change on the GSX (5.5 liters of oil + filter) in Germany


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelybeast
Wow! They've made a lot of progress on that building on the left since late July!

As a side note - the gas station at the Aurora is the same one that Connery dropped the girl off at in "Goldfinger".

Keep it coming - I want to go back NOW!!!
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MichaelJ screwed with this post 09-07-2009 at 08:44 AM
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:01 AM   #20
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Thursday #2

The first shot as we approach one of the many tunnels along the way.



Riding through the tunnel, we ge a quick shot of this pass below. We had not planned on riding that pass as we did not know what it was when planning, but of course we had too on the way back.













A little detour along the way complete with a cascading waterfall coming down the mountain.



There was not a lot of good areas to stop an take pictures along this pass as we would have liked, but I can tell the riding was excellent. When we were able to stop, you could hear all the sport bike riders with their bikes wound up to high RPM's rolling thru the roads.

We once again came back across this pass and calling out to us to ride it.



Oh Yeah! It was not in the original route plan, but a must do. This road winds its way down to Airolo if we recall correctly and was used as an old mail hauling road before the more modern Gotthard pass was built. If that is not correct Cooltours can clarify for me as he was telling us about it later.



This pass is not a paved road, but cobblestone. It is a different texture to ride on and there were no knee-puck-dragging sport bike riders on it.











No safety guard rails on this pass, just markers to remind you how close you are getting to riding-on-the-edge.



The pilots view.





As we mention earlier, we had the GPS on tacking our routes for the trip and giving directions along the way, talking into the intercomm. On sections of road like this, with so many switch backs, it must think you are turning. All the way down it would tell us every few minutes, "in 100 meters, turn left onto pass", Then "in 100 meters, turn right onto pass". Repeating itself over & over again. It was annoying, yet somewhat funny at the same time. How many place can you confuse a GPS like that

A waterfall along the way down and you can see the long tunnel a the top from where the other pictures were taken.



That was another excellent ride as there are so many. After that, back to the hotel for the evening to polish off a bowl of spaghetti bolognese as tomorrow would bring another good day.

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:14 AM   #21
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Friday

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we were packed up and ready to go. The weather had cooled off over night and you could see your breath in the air. Perfect weather for riding in the Alps. Today we would ride the Furka & Susten passes, then on back to Zurich we turn in the bike tomorrow.



More scenery leading up to the passes, just outside of Andermatt.








So here we go













So many opportunites, and so little time......








IS-16 makes an attempt once again to be seen.....



This appeared to be another glacier fed lake up in the mountains in which a couple of dams were built. The water was white instead of the bright green we had seen in the lower elevations, so assume it had a lot of run off from the mountains still mixed in it.



I am sure at his point, some people are saying "I know where this is at".







We were not sure if these two dams were created to generate power or just to regulate the flow of water into the valley's below.



Some dam art work.







Obligatory, bike-with-the-mountain scene.





Me on the trusty CBF1000.



A melting glacier at the top.







Triple tunnels.





Plenty of clear streams in this part with all the melting snow & glaciers.






This is the biggest glacier we seen on the trip or was at least able to get this close too.














From here the days ride was finishing up and time to head back to Zurich. We had already made plans to drop off the bike and meet up with two other inmates on Saturday, Cooltours who lives in Zurich and Two who was going to ride 2 hours from Bern, for coffee.

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:47 AM   #22
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Saturday

So Saturday brought us to the close of one of the best vacations we have ever taken. A couple more days down around Andermatt would have been a plus as we knew this would be the best riding area of the trip. We are still glad we road the other areas though the first time over.

To bring up the tripple digit speed limit signs again as yes, we knew they were KPH and not MPH. But the other thing I started wondering about was true too, which is different than the USA.

So for others from the USA who are traveling there, it's good to know this.

There is an assumed speed limit on the roads and you are suppose to know them. The speed limit signs are more for telling you the exception to the assumed speed limit. If it's 100KPH on this highway, you probably will only see a sign when it goes below that, such as through a town where it's 50kph. Then you will another sigh with black slashes through it, to let you know it's the end of the 50kph and to resume the normal assumed speed.

The first few days, we were not sure what the slashed speed limit signs were for and looked them one day on the WEB and it made sense. Up to that point, when we seen a sign, we just stayed at that speed limit until we seen another. I started wondering about this theory as we were being passed at higher speeds out on the open road. Different than here in the USA where there are signs to always tells you the limit. At least maybe the Swiss police won't mail me a Kodak moment in a few weeks for speeding

Of course, the first riding day up in Germany, we get on an autobahn and see 130kph. Yippee, roll the throttle as that was the fastest we had seen so far. I am still thinking, 80mph is not that fast in Germany as I had heard about these speed limit-less roads. We did not ride very long on that road and back to the side steets into the Black Forest.

So after meeting up for coffee with Cooltours & Two, I was telling him about the speed limits we seen in Germany being 130 and had not seen any signs higher than that.

He then explain that sign was meant as a caution in that area, and to slow down to 130 in that area. Yes, I missed my chance to really open it up on a German autobahn. Maybe next time.

We meet Cooltours at El Greco in Zurich and a short time later, Two came up on his Beemer. We talked for a couple of hours about riding & the trip. It was a good ending to a vacation as the time was upon us to head back to the hotel as we still had one more day to just wander around Zurich before flying back to Atlanta.

From left to right is Two, Cooltours, Mr. & Mrs. Steelybeast, enjoying some caffeine induced drink.



After typing up this ride report, I have a real apreciation for all the inmates who take time to post one or several. It does take a lot of time to put one together.

Ride safe & often fellow inmates.

David & Ellen
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:39 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelybeast

Him: Ahhhh yes, (in his German accent) we have some in the back, please, please, follow me this way....
Me:

We go to a back room where there is a Swiss guard standing at a locked door. They converse between each other, open the door and motion for me to come inside. There, in this secured room, is a a glass display case, with several bottles of oil locked inside. He punches in the security code which releases the electronic lock and allows him to slide open the case. He carefully removes the first bottle and lays it on top of a black velvet pad, for me to look at. I believe he may have offered me one of those jeweler's eye pieces, to get a closer look, but maybe not.
Now that's a funny scene Well said. Give them mohawks and football pads and it could be from Mad Max.
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Old 09-07-2009, 02:00 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelybeast
This road winds its way down to Airolo if we recall correctly and was used as an old mail hauling road before the more modern Gotthard pass was built. If that is not correct Cooltours can clarify for me as he was telling us about it later.

Cooltours wouldn't lie (Hi, Rene)
That was THE road over the St. Gotthard Pass prior to the "New" road that you took at first. Lotsa fun - it's called "La Tremola", from the name of the valley that it drops into.

Did you go through the museum at the top of the pass?
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:07 PM   #25
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Scenery overload! I'm so jealous.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:07 PM   #26
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Did you go through the museum at the top of the pass?
We didn't see a museum at the top, but I do recall the area you are talking about. There was a small intersection there in what looked like possibly a small village or maybe just a few shops, and a lot of riders were stopped taking pictures of their bikes in the square.
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Old 09-08-2009, 07:28 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Steelybeast
We didn't see a museum at the top, but I do recall the area you are talking about. There was a small intersection there in what looked like possibly a small village or maybe just a few shops, and a lot of riders were stopped taking pictures of their bikes in the square.
It's on the floor above what appears to be a gift shop across from the monument to the first flight over the Alps. If you get back there, it's worth a visit - lots of history of the area in a small space.

You've really got me itching to go back, and I've only been home for about 6 weeks since the last trip.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:05 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by MichaelJ
it's called "La Tremola"
Michael is very much a "walking ezyclopedia", this mate knows allmost everything;-)

Sorry, Wikipedia doesn't offer too much in english langueage about the road, but here's a pic from 1928 from "la Tremola". Yes, there still are people prefering to ride across the mountains in none-motorised vehicles: Reisepost

Here's a pic of the lake Kloentalersee, the one behind Pragelpass! On of my favorit spots in the country:


Yes, you are absolutely right; It's almost impossible to transport the feeling you have in landscape (mountains same as deserts, city's or beaches) via pictures and words. Well, nowadays you still have to GO and SEE by yourself to get the real taste.

Thanks for the great report Ellen & David! Lots of time and work involved here and lots of very nice pictures! :-)
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:13 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Steelybeast





I know what everyone is thinking now. Why are we riding up someone's driveway to their house? But this is no driveway, this a road for two lane traffic, be it motorcycles, cars, or trucks

David & Ellen
Or all toghether somethimes....
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:41 PM   #30
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Great holiday...and beautiful pics. I am sorry that you did not have those additional days.
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