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Old 08-13-2010, 04:29 AM   #1
longtallsally OP
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Sally & msbianca do 5 passes in a day in the Swiss Alps

(It was actually supposed to be 6, but I of course missed a turn...)

So I have been quite lacking since we moved to Germany in keeping up and keeping everyone here up to date. Well, to be quite frank, I barely ride here as it is not as appealing as I'd hoped. I planned on a long and glorious documentary on all the 2 wheeled adventures I'd planned on here, but I totally lost my appetite when I started to realize just how much of a hamster cage Europe really is. I could go into a long diatribe on the misgivings of overpopulated and under-adventurous Europe, but that is not why I am doing this little report and certainly nothing any of the inmates want to see.

This is only my second "real" ride since moving here 8 months ago. I tried for Stelvio a couple months ago, but it was still closed (figures, it opened the next day).

Anyway, I decided since I'm stuck here, I may as well see a few things that are mildly interesting. Also, due to the ridiculous amount of people & traffic, the only time it is even worth considering heading to the Alps is in the middle of the week, so I planned a quick ride down into Switzerland and check things out. Enough babbling...

Getting ready to rock from our humble abode outside Stuttgart.



Hollywood is not very happy with us for leaving.



Right after we got across a little one lane bridge to get into Switzerland. It was kinda neat as you really felt like you were in a different country. Switzerland truly has a different feel than Germany, Austria, Spain, or France (the only countries I've been to so far since getting here).



Something you will notice is that msbianca is on the back of the pig and not getting off when we stopped. She tore her achilles a couple months ago and is still recovering a bit so getting on and off the bike a lot is still a bit difficult for her.

This is just across a bridge going over a lake that began our first ascent into the foothills.





The next big lake. This one was really a sight to behold. Interestingly, all the views start to become sensory overload and you just accept that you are in the midst of some of the most amazing beauty on the planet.



They literally either carved the road out, or built up rocks to create it all throughout the day. We probably went through over 1000 tunnels (no I'm exaggerating). The lake is just to our right and this is a 2 way road.





I'll throw in some random shots that look mildly interesting...





We always do a self portrait at some point on our rides.



Pass number 1; Klausen.



Nice cruise up.





Not too shabby a view for our first stop.



Yummy shweinsteak.



Cool old plane that made me think of Indiana Jones as it flew overhead sounding like it was about to stall, gasping for air.



On our descent this is what everything looked like. I started thinking about how hard it would be to mow all those lawns, then I remembered that there were cows everywhere. While we were eating lunch, we couldn't see them, but there were thousands of bells clanging all around us. The whole country of Switzerland smells like manure too, which was kinda funny.



We ate lunch next to a couple older guys who were really cool and gave the story on the bells for the cows and how big and elaborate the bells were for bragging rights for local farmers. And one of the guys was an Alpine guide who had been doing it for over 50 years! They kept commenting on how big I was (and probably thinking what a good pack mule I'd be).

We got used to signs like this. I have NEVER seen so much construction in MY LIFE! This coming from someone from Ohio originally where it is so bad there, they have songs about "orange barrels".



Also, Switzerland is just plain annoying to go through in anywhere even remotely populated. 4 cars, red light. 4 cars, red light... It took us a half hour to get through a couple small villages due to traffic. Again,

And thus another gripe about the mass populace of Europe. Sure the Alps are stupefying in their beauty, but we had to ride 6 hours and under 200 miles to get even where we started the ascent to the first pass. This includes about 50 miles of speed free zones on the autobahn. Just not worth the effort to me. But whatever, more to come shortly...
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:41 AM   #2
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After making it through another bout of construction, we went through a few cool switchbacks that were actually cobblestone. I can't think it would be much fun if they are wet.





Cool bridge for the train.



I was rather amazed to see a 340 Duster here. Dunno if it was real, and a straight line fast 'merican car was certainly out of place...





Starting the next climb.









Dam!



Goat herding with the pig. No shepherd or anything, and they knew just where they were going. Very cool to watch.





Pass number 2.





On the way down we came up on this guy. I don't know if you can see the speedo, but we're at 40mph and by the time we went by him he was at 60mph and just sitting there like this.



And most of the reason I don't really care for Europe. STAUS! These folks were sitting here- and would be- for hours. When we got to the front, there was no reason at all. They were very kind and let us lane split on by. We went for about 3km and then turned off for the next passes.





Starting the climb up.



And this is just what all the roads look like.













This started reminding me of home a bit.



Kinda fresh water. I think this is where our water comes from in Stuttgart- might actually be from the Austrian Alps, but what's the difference?



Typical switchback that actually overlaps itself. Kinda nuts as there were literally hundreds and hundreds of them throughout the day.



This hotel was very Scooby Doo spooky. It looked all run down, but I think is still in use.



Pass number 3.



Some of the elusive clanging creatures of the Alps.



Another one you say? Oh all right.





I bet there is a bit of snow up there in the winter time.





Yep, just came down this.



This is what it looks like as you start to go up.





Pass number 4.





At this point we're running really slim on time and daylight and need to start to head home. So here is number 5:



We went up and down that pass totally in the dark. It certainly justified the HID low beam and all the other auxiliary lights. In Europe they do a great job of saving electricity and turning off all the lights in the evening.

We also appreciated the altitude helping with fuel economy as there aren't many in the way of gas stations and more or less coasted down the last one.

We also didn't have a choice but to go over the last one and then another 100km on 2 lane roads after the skies opened up. We got rained on really bad the whole way home in the dark.

So that's it. Was it worth it? Sure, I guess, since we live here. Would I fly to Europe specifically to do this ride? I dunno, I guess it didn't really light my fire any more than riding in the Sierra- and I actually like it better there since there aren't NEAR as many people. Can you tell I'm sick of people and civilization? Hope you guys like this despite my whining.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:48 AM   #3
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Beautiful pics! What brings you to Germany?
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:37 PM   #4
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Beautiful pics! What brings you to Germany?
My wife works for the US gubment.
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:33 AM   #5
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Well, if you think Europe is overpopulated dont plan on landing in the UK!

What month did you do your trip, because to be fair during the school summer holidays you will find lots of people/traffic in most popular area's in whatever country in Europe that you travel.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:53 AM   #6
longtallsally OP
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Originally Posted by Ross1969
Well, if you think Europe is overpopulated dont plan on landing in the UK!

What month did you do your trip, because to be fair during the school summer holidays you will find lots of people/traffic in most popular area's in whatever country in Europe that you travel.
Just did the ride on Wednesday. We got here in January. Traffic has changed very little regardless of the "holiday" month.

"oh but you should ride the black forest..." BTDT. Ooooh, 5-10 turns and a town. "Oh but the Alps are amazing..." BTDT. Ooooh, ride 6 hours in nothing but boring autobahn traffic for 30 minutes of fun.

Don't mean to beat the place up, but it is not my style and I can't wait to get back to CA. There are many things I really like about Europe, but riding is not one of them. Bottom line is that I got pretty darn spoiled living in the land of fruits and nuts.
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:17 PM   #7
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Nice looking ride!!

We just went through Glacier NP a couple of weeks ago, and the similarities in topography are pretty cool, right down to the waterfalls. Holly rode her Ninja 250 the whole way-3,545 miles.

Looking forward to maybe seeing you guys at WARP next year......
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
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Cool pics!
Thanks for sharing.

You are right, we are kind of spoiled here.
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Old 08-15-2010, 07:10 AM   #9
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Nice looking ride!!

We just went through Glacier NP a couple of weeks ago, and the similarities in topography are pretty cool, right down to the waterfalls. Holly rode her Ninja 250 the whole way-3,545 miles.

Looking forward to maybe seeing you guys at WARP next year......
We both agreed that it is not an option, we WILL be there!

And kudos to Holly on the little bike for the ride! Believe it or not I've not done Glacier, but plan on it and am glad to know it is another place that is very similar. It is looking more and more like Africa will be the only truly riding we get to do while over here...

Thanks for the kind words everyone! Makes me homesick, but nice to know it will still be there along with the great friends when we get back!
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