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Thread: Last Ride- Eastern Europe

  1. #16
    franze
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    Last Ride, Eastern Europe

    When I had checked into the hotel, I asked the clerk if he had the weather report for Tuesday. He pulled a sheet from his desk, looked at it, grimaced, and then gave me a thumbs down. When I went to bed it was raining. My plan was that if the weather in the Dolomites was bad, I'd either go north, back into Austria or south to the flat plains of central Italy.

    Le Jour le plus long

    I woke up on the "Longest Day" around 7:15. I had really slept well, I looked out my hotel window and saw the the streets were wet, but it wasn't raining. I went down to breakfast ( which is usually included with your room) and had a bowl of fruit and a cup of coffee. I was on the saddle at 8:00 and decided that as long as it wasn't raining, I"d try to ride as many passes as I could. My goal would be to spend Tuesday night in Davos, Switzerland. I could be home by noon on Wednesday which would make my family happy.

    I wanted to at least see the Passo di Stelvio and to do that I had to go up the Passo di Falzarego.



    Here I am at the summit. Earlier in the report there was a picture taken here but it wasn't pointed at the signs, it was pointed at the KTM bikes in front of the restaurant at the top. From here I went to the Passo di Pordoi. The sun was out, and there was no traffic. Lots of clouds, but not too many grey ones





    OK, here's something for you guys and gals coming over here to ride to think about. This is a picture of an inside radius turn. There is half as much asphalt for you to use on the inside turns, which typically, is every other corner. The best technique, IMO, is to pick your line, and right before you get to the corner, take a quick look back over your shoulder up the hill to see what's coming. Now remember this particular corner, it is very typical of most of the Swiss passes and most every one I've been on, except one.



    The first two passes went well, and the weather showed improvement. This is heading down towards Bolzano.
















    A few of you may know where I am from this picture



    This is the east side of the Passo di Stelvio. I believe the MOA Euro tour will be coming from the other direction, from CH.

    Now check out the severity of these switchbacks. Look at the inside lane on the downhill corner. See how the guardrail goes right to the inside of the turn. Look at the change in elevation. You can't see squat on what's coming because the elevation change is so great. I think of the 20 inside radius corners I took, 17 of them were completely awkward. For the first time, the heavily loaded RT was NOT the best bike to have. For me, what I figured out near the end, was that the set up before the turn is critical. You can see the lane prior to the apex of the corner so you need to swing out, if there's room, and then take the corner as tight as you can and then open up if there's no oncoming traffic.



    try not to be distracted by the scenery.





    Remember there's always somebody doing something more impressive and worthwhile than what you're doing. This is one of about 5 guys, all older than me, riding up the pass.





    These are my lost cousins.......... I hope




    Here's the top half, where it really starts getting tight LOL and there's a lot more road debris from melting snow, rain, etc.

    Last edited by franze; 06-06-2008 at 06:37 PM.

  2. #17
    franze
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    Last Ride, Eastern Europe

    Le Jour le plus long, part deu

    Here's the image from the top, looking back down into the valley.







    My turn off into Switzerland, Passo Umbrail.









    Looking towards Ofenpass







    Last edited by franze; 06-06-2008 at 06:40 PM.

  3. #18
    franze
    Guest

    Last Ride, Eastern Europe

    Le Jour le plus long, part trois

    Fluelapass heading towards Davos, Switzerland.







    Davos, Switzerland. Probably much better pictures to be taken, but I was in a race with the weather.



    I was on a four lane highway when I passed this field of flowers. Just beautiful. I rode 5 minutes and then said, "Screw it, I need to go back and take a picture" Well I took four and can't decide which one I like the best. I love them all! They look like Van Gogh paintings to me.









    Next up, Oberal Pass which drops you into Andermat.



    This is fugly weather to be riding passes in the alps.







    Andermat, Switzerland. Cutest damn town ya ever did see. Once again, these pix don't do this town justice. My bad!





    Last edited by franze; 06-10-2008 at 06:04 AM.

  4. #19
    franze
    Guest

    Last Ride, Eastern Europe

    Le Jour le plus long, part quatre
    I was feeling pretty good and to my delight, the Furka and Grimsel passes were open. I found out later, they had opened on the weekend. For the first time, I realized that I could do a ride that was somewhat exceptional. From the Dolomites, to my house, all on major passes, all in the same day.





    bedrock polished by a receding glacier







    It started raining pretty hard around Interlaaken, but I wanted to go all the way. It would be the ride of rides. A fitting end to my last ride on the Pig. I hadn't planned on riding this much in the rain, and my jacket was soaked, the original rain insert, doing nothing for the forearms. My last pass of the day.



    I'm looking a bit frayed here...........



    Backside of the Jaunpass, direction Bulle.



    Coming on to Lake Geneve around Montreux. Still 100km from home.



    So, I have this tradition of ending every ride at the same spot on the Lake in Nyon, the closest lake town to my village. As I was getting off the autoroute in the Nyon exit, I was cramping in my legs. I knew I'd be sorry if I didn't stick to the program, so I went down to the lake to take the last picture of me on my beloved Pig.



    So that's it. At least 10 major alps passes, all in the same day. One coke to drink, no food except that bowl of fruit in the morning. Water every now and then. I got home at 20:15, 3354 km. So, now the bike is for sale. I'm not riding it anymore. I could never have a better day on it than the day I had. But if you are ever riding along the Lake route from Geneve to Lausanne, stop in at the small town on the lake called Nyon. Go down to the water, if you see a red R1100RT parked there, look close. I will always be part of that bike, and it will always be part of me.





    Last edited by franze; 06-10-2008 at 06:04 AM.

  5. #20
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Fantastic report and photos. Looks like you had a great trip. I imaging you'll miss riding those roads.

    Are you coming back to the US and where are you going to land?
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  6. #21
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by terham View Post
    Fantastic report and photos. Looks like you had a great trip. I imaging you'll miss riding those roads.

    Are you coming back to the US and where are you going to land?
    Thanks Terrance. I'll miss parts of it, that's for sure but there's lots of good riding in North America. The adventure is the guy on the bike, not the bike. We have a house in Roseville, which is about 20 miles east of Sacramento.

  7. #22
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Simply awesome - many thanks for the great read!
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  8. #23
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    Wow. What a great ride report. Photo's were simply amazing. A dream ride for sure. Thanks for taking us along.
    I am so impressed.

  9. #24
    franze
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    thanks

    Ted and Womanridge. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my report.

  10. #25
    DarthWader
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    Franze, you definitely have an eye for beauty. Your pictures are fantastic. I especially like the one following the picture depicting the severity of the switchbacks on Passo di Stelvio. I will also be riding an RT when I'm there the second week in July so I'm having second thoughts about that Pass.

    Jim Wagner

  11. #26
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking us along. Your report is an inspiration. Must try the same thing in this area - 4 mountain ranges in ??? days. Adirondacks, Catskills, Green, Berkshires. Not as tall but still having significant twisties.

    Thanks again for raising the bar and inspiring the rest of us.

  12. #27
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by motomanjim View Post
    Franze, you definitely have an eye for beauty. Your pictures are fantastic. I especially like the one following the picture depicting the severity of the switchbacks on Passo di Stelvio. I will also be riding an RT when I'm there the second week in July so I'm having second thoughts about that Pass.

    Jim Wagner

    I say DEFINITELY do that pass. I always thought it was easier going downhill, than uphill, so if you can choose, go from Switzerland to Italy. The scenery is really spectacular. If you are coming from the Cortina d'Ampezzo area, there are plenty of passes around there to get warmed up on. The Passo di Stelvio is so tight, that NOBODY really goes that fast on it so, as they say, take it easy and you'll be fine.
    Last edited by franze; 06-10-2008 at 03:00 PM.

  13. #28
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    Thanks for taking us along. Your report is an inspiration. Must try the same thing in this area - 4 mountain ranges in ??? days. Adirondacks, Catskills, Green, Berkshires. Not as tall but still having significant twisties.

    Thanks again for raising the bar and inspiring the rest of us.
    Hi Paul, thanks for the kind words. I actually would prefer the scenery of the mountains in your areas as I prefer "the woods"........ much better smells. Those "above the tree line" routes are sparse, that's why catching that marmot out in the open was a real bonus, they're pretty skittish.

    I hope you do this New England mountain ride and post a report...... maybe I'll look for my next mount in that area and do a fly and ride

    thanks again,

    Paul Franze

  14. #29
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Thumbs up

    Very nice ride report!!
    Great photos and story. Being from Europe and having lived in Italy, I spent many vacations in the same area's you rode around in. Thanks for reviving my memories!!
    Stelvio is almost the holy grail of riding/driving in the Alps, and I remember my dad driving his Alfa Romeo like a race driver over that pass. Back in the late 60's there was hardly any traffic, guardrails didn't exist and the tarmac was wanting at best..... My mom wasn't too pleased flying around all those passes there but we survived..

  15. #30
    franze
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by riderR1150GSAdv View Post
    Very nice ride report!!
    Great photos and story. Being from Europe and having lived in Italy, I spent many vacations in the same area's you rode around in. Thanks for reviving my memories!!
    Stelvio is almost the holy grail of riding/driving in the Alps, and I remember my dad driving his Alfa Romeo like a race driver over that pass. Back in the late 60's there was hardly any traffic, guardrails didn't exist and the tarmac was wanting at best..... My mom wasn't too pleased flying around all those passes there but we survived..
    Oscar,

    I can picture it. Dad all suntan wearing some RayBan Wayfarers. . .One hand on the wheel, other hand never leaves the gear shift. Mom with a scarf on her head, big hollywood sunglasses, Both hands holding on to whatever that car has for passengers to hold on to, swearing in "tongues". You in the back, laughing and hoping your Dad keeps going faster. Oh no seatbelts, no head rests........the good ol' days.

    thanks for leaving a comment, I appreciate that.

    Paul

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