Riding the Alps on the Transalp summer 2007.

Riding and chatting

A week that didn't fully live up to the expectations, the weather being the main negative factor. I started out on thursday 28/6 at noon. Up to Maastricht motorways only, just to get some distance behind me. From there on I took small roads to Withem, where I took a picture of the bike and the Gerardus chapel in order to pick up points for the landmarkrally. Then into Belgium, crossing the Haute Fagnes and looking for the Rheinardstein castle in Robbertville, where I took another LMR picture. Finally to the campsite in Spa. Clouds were coming in but it was still dry. Had a (big) chicken dinner and a few beers, went to bed early.

Chateau Rheinardstein, Robbertville

Friday 29/6. Morning up early. Landmark day. Visited several spots in Belgium and Luxembourg, riding small roads whenever possible. Some drops of rain now and then. Back at the campsite at four, ready to go for a pre-dinner walk. A few minutes after I left I heard a big single approaching, it turned out to be Bart on his DR. After he set up camp we went for a short walk together. Back in the camp the rain started, we had some beers and waited for the others to arrive. Peter and Conny arrived late (and wet) and joined us for dinner. They decided to rent a caravan for the night as the rain just kept on coming.

Saturday 30/6. Up at 7. Loaded the bike and went for coffee to the caravan of P and C. Symon had notified us that he'd arrive at 9, so we had all the time in the world. Bought breakfast at the campsite shop, the rain had stopped so we ate outside. Symon finally arrived so on our way south. We all visited the landmarks I had planned to photograph, some of them (Col du Hundsruck, Grand Ballon) right on the route. Nice winding roads! The weather was OK-ish until late in the afternoon, but at the ferme Robert in Switzerland the weather got worse. So I decided to skip the rest of the LMR search and head for the campsite at Fresse. We didn't make that so we settled for a campsite closer by. We had to consult several locals before finding one at 21.30. Peculiar dinner (small fishes and french fries) at the nearby restaurant which was situated at a lakeside.

Sunday 1/7. The rest of the saturday ride plus a part of the sunday ride. We passed the Fresse campsite at noon, so we were behind schedule! We decided to take some major roads to make up for that, the consequence being that we had to ride through Geneva city. We ended in St.Jean-de-Sixt where Peter and Conny settled for a hotel. The rest made camp in the rain. Later Peter came over to bring us pizza's and Symon managed to get us a bottle of white wine.

Peter and Conny enjoying the Vanoise region

Monday 2/7. A nice ride in the Vosges which ended in Pralognan la Vanoise. On arriving I had very wet feet as I had chosen to wear my old boots. We had dinner at the campsite restaurant where a dutch/chinese man took care of the entertainment.

Riding the Assieta Kamstrasse

Tuesday 3/7. Assieta kamstrasse day. We did this last year, but to Peter and Conny this was a new track. All went smooth, though Symon was disappointed/annoyed that I didn't want to do a downhill track with him. I just didn't want to take any risks as my main holiday was still to come. It rained when we returned to camp.

Late drinks at Barcelonette

Wednesday 4/7. Everthing I had was wet now, and even the tent was leaking. I considered returning home, but the others convinced me there was sunshine yet to come. So we decided to ride to Barcelonette. Symon and I teamed up to take the Col du Galibier and the Col de la Madeleine. Indeed the rain had stopped, it was snowing now! Some downhill parts were very treacherous but we managed to keep the rubber side down. We all met up again at the Barcelonette campsite, wandered thru town and had a OK dinner. By now the sun was shining.

On our way to the real bad part...

This starts to look like the real thing.

Thursday 5/7. Sun still shining. We left for St. Martin Vesubiť. From there we rode the Ligurian 'grenzkammstrasse', very tough for man and machine. Large rocks all over the path, it was a miracle that nobody crashed and all parts were still on the bikes at the end of the ride. We decided that if these were the roughest paths France had to offer, we would do all others with luggage next time. The ride back to camp was in the dark; as usual I didn't see a thing so was glad Bart and Symon took turns riding front. Lots of curves from the N204 to camp!

View on Lake Como on my way to Menaggio.

Friday 6/7. I had decided to score the Italian landmarks for the landmark rally, so I left the others early in the morning. Riding Italy was beautiful in this weather. I stopped for coffee in a nice village and slowly toured the rest of the day to make pictures of Piani-Resinelli village and the Menaggio ferry. These 2 pictures were worth a lot in the LMR. I carried on to the Gothard pass and found a campsite at Andermatt. Some beers in the village and a chat with 2 American guys on mc holidays as well.

Saturday 7/7. A long ride from Andermatt to Thionville where I would meet up with the others again. On arrival Bart called me and asked me to do the evening shopping. I had an awful time locating the supermarket, calculating what I'd need for a 5 person dinner and finally finding everything in this big store. As it turned out all Bart had wanted me to buy was beer and wine. What a waste of time. After I had cooled down mentally Bart and I went into town to get some beers.

Sunday 8/7. Last day. Uneventful sunny ride home. 4653 kilometers this week on a wonderful motorcycle.

This is why we ride !