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Topic: Back to the Alps, no Edleweiss!  (Read 11596 times)

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RBEmerson
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« on: March 12, 2017, 03:48:39 pm »

I'm going back to the Alps in July. The plane tickets are booked, the rooms are booked, the bike is booked, and the routes are laid out. There is no tour company involved in this trip.

The dates: leave 29 June, return 17 July (house is alarmed, police respond quickly even to false alarms, backup friend has a concealed carry permit).  :p

The plane part is simple: Lufthansa - Philadelphia-Frankfurt-Philadelphia. BTDT doin' it again. We like Lufthansa's cabin service, we don't like their seat pitch or having to pay a IMHO through the nose price for civilized seating. Four-wheel transportation by Hertz.

Rooms are more complex. We have family (in-laws to me) west of Frankfurt. That's the "hotel" prior to and after The Trip. The trip is actually two trips: 1) Wife and brother and sister and 2) me, me, and nobody but me. Group 1 won't be riding and they want to see something of Lake Garda. Group 2 rides and isn't big on Italian lakes unless they're in high mountain passes. Our paths will cross (Scharnitz AT, near Bozen/Bolzano IT, and Lofer AT). More later. As much as possible, with one exception, the idea is to find good value-for-money accommodations that aren't "vacation fun factories".

The bike is a BMW K1600GT, rented from Bike & Travel Services in Munich.

The overall route is a counter-clockwise loop with stops in Andermatt CH (AKA Switzerland), Prutz AT, Collalbo IT, Lofer AT. The basic intent is "bagging passes".

Expanded comments follow.  :) (in other posts)

- - - - -

Place names: I'll be in German-speaking Switzerland, no big surprises there. Austria is counted as German-speaking. Things get strange in Italy. The northernmost part is called Alto Adige but is also known as Süd Tirol or Southern Tyrol. That's heavily (60%) German-speaking. (Please refer to my history lesson in last summer's RR about my tour with Edelweiss, or see Wikipedia, or don't.) Parts of the Dolomites are in another state: Veneto, where Italian dominates. Sorta.

To keep everybody confused, I'll use, where possible, German/Italian names. For example: Bozen/Bolzano. Look up whatever name you want. Or don't.  ;)

Abbreviations and conversions: CH = Switzerland (Cantons Helvetia) , AT = Austria, DEU = Germany  ChF =  Swiss (Ch) Franc - Switzerland isn't part of the EU  
km/h=kilometer/hour   1 mph = 1.6 km/h, 1 km/h = 0.6 mph - 60 mph = 100 km/h. Figuring, over larger distances, distance in km is roughly one and a half times a distance in miles and distance in miles is roughly half a distance in km will get you by.

No degrees centigrade, promise.

At the moment 1€ = $1.05 and 1 ChF = $0.99. Who knows where all of this will be four months from now.  :headscratch:

One last addition: I keep referring to the Edelweiss tour. Here's a link to it: Film at 11!  The photos have disappeared (might be my doing, might be the Russians)
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 05:31:55 pm by RBEmerson » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 04:36:05 pm »

The accommodations part of the trip is fairly simple, but, of course, the devil is in the details.

The bike will be picked up in Munich, so we'll drive there from the Wiesbaden area, put up for the night in what seems to be a decent place if you're passing through an area. The price for four for a night isn't too bad. On 2 July. On 10 July, it's 60€ more.  Headscratch

Scharnitz AT is just over the DEU/AT border from Mittenwald, a terminally cute tourist town, but still one worth seeing for the frescoes on the house, the usual wood carvings, and, if you're in the market, very good violins. Well, they carve the pieces, don't they?  Wink
We'll be close enough to do the tourist thing for and after dinner.  Thumbsup

Andermatt CH accommodations are a small pension (almost B&B) with breakfast included. It's out of the heart of Andermatt, on the road going east from Furkapass.  Thumbsup

Prutz AT accommodations aren't my first pick, but it still works for me. It's Hotel Post (well, la de da) in the heart of the (smallish) town.

The next stop was a place where I had lunch on the Edelweiss tour - Ansitz Kematen. The nearest town is Collalo and that's roughly northeast of Bozen/Bolzano, a small city.

The Ansitz (roughly "place on a hill") is definitely pointed towards the chici-mici (schiky micky - a German depreciating term for the chicque): hotel, restaurant, and chapel for weddings. But I had a thoroughly good time there and need to go back for a "was it really as good as I thought" visit. Sharing a night there with Chris was/is high on my list. B-i-l & s-i-l can cope as they see fit.  Razz

Ansitz Kematen is on the edge of the Dolomites.
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps/20160706131434.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps/20160706154724.jpg

The main building, a very converted barn, has fascinating details. Why one cross beam ends in a hand holding a rake escapes me. I expect to have the answer before we leave...
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps/20160706133009.jpg

Lofer is on the route because we need a place to reconnect before returning the bike. The rental is a week rental with the return time matching the departure time. The last night out needs to be fairly close to Munich. Lofer fits that bill. And we'll be staying where Roland (b-i-l) stays for his winter ski trips. The emails we've received sound like we're almost old, long lost friends. Cool!

The big challenge with accommodations is finding available rooms that are comfortable, in a "user friendly" location, and aren't expensive for a double and two singles (Chris and me, b-i-l, s-i-l) or a double and single (Chris and s-i-l, b-i-l) and my single somewhere else. Many Europeans book next year's trip anywhere forward from a year before, leaving folks who're just getting their act together to scramble for rooms.

Chris is the "travel agent". She's used Trivago, which usually leads to Bookings.com, backed with TripAdvisor (and other) reviews. In some cases we've emailed to see if maybe a place we like has what amounts to walk-in rooms. Nope. The good news is there still some options, but they're going like snow in July.
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 05:25:47 pm »

"Why a K1600GT?!???" I've heard that more than once. Oh my yes I have... Rolleyes

See my RR about Edelweiss and the Alps. I liked the '15 "wethead" R1200RT's handling and ride, I hated the gear box (clunk, balky, just a PITA). The motor got all miserable below 3000, was very nice and torquey above that (hoisted the front tire more than once - none by intention). But it was buzzy and/or rumbly at any speed above an idle. About the only time it became acceptable was on a stretch of autobahn. (OTOH, I had an '09 RT loaner I could have been talked into buying - go figure). So, no RT for me!

A strong contingent pressed the idea of a GS or dual sport bike. I get the reasoning. I've had BMW 650 and 800 loaners (oddly, the 800 single cylinder was smoother than the RT boxer). I have zero time on a 1200GS, but I do see why it's a reasonable choice. But... I'm not up for what amounts to a naked bike. Didn't like it with the 650 and 800, and that was in dry, warm conditions. Cold rain? NFW. Next question.

I looked, albeit not too hard, for a Concours, FJR, ST1300, or whatever is competitive in the Triumph line. No luck. Which brought me to the K1600GT. I ride a K1200RS - four cylinders, six cylinders? What's a pair of cylinders among friends? The K1600GT is heavy. There's a reason why the new B model has a backup gear on the starter motor. But once out of the garage or parking lot, this bike gets light in a hurry. It has some usable protection from stuff (air, rain, rocks, etc.) flying at me.

I've logged something like 500 miles on K1600 loaners. I think I have some sense of how the bike behaves, and I've tried it back to back with the RT. The K1600 handles, IMHO, better than the RT, who isn't all that bad in hairpins.

Of course, I could hit the first set of serious "kehren" (German word for hairpins that literally "return" on themselves) and have my head handed to me. There simply is nothing like them anywhere near where I ride. The roads over some of the Blue Mountains ridges have some u-turns than demand respect, but the radius is nothing like "the real deal".
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 09:30:26 pm »

Routing... All of this assumes that the weather isn't screwing me over. What follows are screen shots from Base Camp. Base Camp's zoom is ridiculously granular. Meh... life happens.
 
Here's the over itinerary from Munich and back. Total distance 2115 km (12670 mi)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2019_57_42-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png

Day 1: Munich to Scharnitz AT - 170km (100 mi).
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_00_16-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
The overall route is through southern Bavaria. Along the way I'll pass through Gräfelfing, a Munich suburb. The school I attended had a partnership with the Gymnasium (roughly "high school"). My father administer the partnership and visited the school in 1957. I went with him and sat in on a class. I wonder what it looks like now?

I tweaked the route pass Ammersee (Lake Ammer), which the River Ammer feeds. The next stop is the WiesKirche, a small but magnificent example of Bavarian Baroque churches.  The name translates as "meadow church" and that's part of what makes this church special; it sits alone, almost in the middle of a meadow. There's something about that which lit my lights when I saw it five years ago.

The next point of interest is Oberammergau or "Upper Ammer Valley" near the head of the River Ammer Oberammergau is the site of the once every 10 years "Passion Play" staged by the residents in gratitude for being spared by the plague. The deal with  God was an annual performance in gratitude but the agreement seems to have been renegotiated. The performances are a Big Deal NTL.

From there the route passes through Garmisch-Partenkirchen (BMW's BMW Days are the following weekend - snap, missed that) and Mittenwald before ending just across the Austrian border.
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 09:36:37 pm »

Day 2: Scharnitz to Andermatt - 345 km (210 mi)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_02_42-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
Much of this route is about making miles on the Austrian and Swiss autobahn (toll stickers manditory). At the start, though, I back up into Germany to get to the head of the Leutasch Valley. I saw some of this last summer, and I'd like to see more. This is mostly flat-land cruising.

After that, I'll head west, rolling St. Anton am Arlberg, a now posh ski resort which was our introduction to what little European skiing we've done. At the time, we were there between major holidays. It was literally ski down, ride up, wash, rinse, repeat on glorious slopes under bright blue skies. Now (sigh...) the glitterati have moved in. NTL, I'll drive down "Main St." to see if I recognize any part of it.

After that, more autobahn, not bothering with Arlbergpass - too much traffic for any enjoyment. The border in Feldkirch is really with Lichtenstein, but the Swiss run the border - passport, bitte.
After running through lovely downtown Lichtenstein (actually there are towns and even a couple of cities), the next next big thing is the southern shore of the Zürichersee or Lake Zurich, good sized lake with some good-sized sail boats on it. Woohoo.

After that, it's time for some real-deal passes: Satteleggpass and Ibergereggpass (the guessing is "egg" is a corruption of "eck" or corner). While neither is that high, and at least the Satteleggpass road is through trees, it has some hairpins and, from what I saw in videos, some good vistas at top. Ibergereggpass is shrouded in mystery (no videos).  

After that comes Schwyz (as in Switzerland), and the FourwaldstÄttersee. This is where Switzerland's story begins. The lake (see = lake - pronounced say) is actually an arm of Luzernersee or Lake Lucerne. The name translates as "Four forest cantons (states)". These are the original cantons that are the kernel around which the country formed : Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Lucerne (a city).

From there it's almost straight to Andermatt, passing Teufelsbrücke (Devils Bridge). I'll let Google tell the story:
Quote from: Google
According to the legend, it was so hard to build a bridge here that a desperate Swiss herdsman wished the devil would make a bridge. The devil appeared and offered to build the bridge on the condition that the soul of the first to cross would be given to him. After the bridge was built, the villagers outsmarted the devil by sending a goat across the bridge. Angered by the trick, the devil picked up a large stone in order to smash the bridge to pieces. On his way to the bridge the devil met an old woman wearing a cross, which scared the devil causing him to drop the stone and flee.
Sounds good, anyway.

My route passes through the town and west to Hospental, a small town on the Furkapass road, and Pension Egg (that word again...).
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 11:00:54 pm »

Day 3: Andermatt Loop - 220 km (130 mi)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_03_58-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
Pass hunting!

Tremolo ("shaker"!), the cobblestone-paved old route up to St. Gotthard Pass. Unless it's raining(!!), I'm told, reliably, it's a bumpy ride, but the traction is better than one might think. I hope so! After that, Naufenenpass, Furkapass, Andermatt, Teufelsbrücke (going north this time), Sustenpass, Grimselpass, and Furkapass (again - ho hum), then home to Pension Egg.

Most of these passes can be seen in Alexander Thiessen's videos on YouTube. Check them out.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 11:24:52 pm »

Day 4: Andermatt to Prutz - 280 km (170 mi)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_06_37-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
On the way out of Andermatt I pick up yet another pass, Oberalppass. Otherwise this route repeats about half of the route to Andermatt from Scharnitz, although I used Kurviger.de to find a somewhat curvy route where possible. The big change is back in Austria, at a city called Bludenz. Instead of following the autobahn past St. Anton am Arlberg, the route splits of to the southeast and the Silvretta Hochstrasse (Silvretta High Road). But back to "Stanton"'s name. The "am Arlberg" part means the St. Anton (or Anthony) on the Arlberg Alps (am = an dem or on the (dem being a bit of grammatic confusion, on the article "der" or masculine "the", for foreigners). There are two other St. Antons in the same area: St. Anton am Vorarlbeg (on the Arlberg foothils) and im Montafon (in Montafon, a town and small region). St. Anton's name does appear elsewhere, too (surprise!).

Silvretta Hochstrasse is the bowed bit of road with the funny bump at the turn north. This is a truely high road, much of it above tree line (above here trees can't grow). Talk about wild country... Along the way are dams and reservoirs. Austria gets almost all of its electricity from hydroelectric plants. Rain and snow fall into reservoirs in the mountains, gravity send the water downhill, where turbines take advantage of that, and the light in my room goes on when I flip the switch. Austria has a nuclear plant which has basically been scraped as a bad idea. Why mess with it when there are all those lakes? There's a quick little detour to check out one of many Alpine glaciers. Or what's left of them. They're literally melting away, and it's not because the Austrians use a lot of ice in their drinks...  Mad2

The road comes out at Landeck, passed two days earlier, rushing west to Andermatt. This time I'll turn south for the town of Prutz, and Hotel Post. It's in the middle of town, a bit too posh for my taste, but when all the bookings for the smaller places are gone, ya takes what ya can gets...
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 11:57:29 pm »

Day 5 - The Prutz Loop - 320 km (19n mi)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_08_28-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
Pass hunting, but for the biggest game: Stilfser Joch/Passo Dello Stelvio. I completely psyched myself about this one, and I'm at all happy with the ride up. This is one I mean to sort out. The last time around, we did a couple of tune-up passes the day before (Jaufenpass and Timmelsjoch), but I didn't get what I needed to do to get it right. If I don't have my s*** in one sock this time...  Sad
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Stelvio-Orig.gifCredit: Foto-Stelvio
Better than a poke in the eye, I guess.

(Small rant time: there's a right way and a wrong way to do the kehren - the "returns on itself" hairpins. Most videos show the rider diving into the turn and trying to take the racer's line, clipping the apex of the turn. It does not work. The road simply isn't wide enough, even when taking up the entire road, which is a bad idea. For right turns, get out to the center line, delay the entry slightly past where the turn starts, and then turn in tighter the road turns. At the end you'll stay in your lane, you'll have the option to widen the turn to avoid the bicycle on the right shoulder, and you'll have a look into the turn as you change direction. Going left is much easier - go to the right (out)side of the road, delay the turn again, and then ride around the curve like you're on rails. A touch of throttle coming out of either turn will make it sooooo fine. Watch the videos. Riders cross the road, almost kiss walls, and almost get nailed by cars, bikes, buses, campers, and bicycles - ugly! OK, all better now)

After getting to the circus at the top of the pass, it's time to head back down.
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps/DSCF2197.jpg

The road down the western flank goes to Bormio (AFAIK no common German name). There's a turn towards the Engadin region of Switzerland. While it's considered a part of German-speaking Switzerland, over 30,000 residents speak Romansh, a language tied closer to Latin. It's somewhat its own place within Switzerland, down to having a very friendly tax situation. Anyway, the entrance is marked by Umbrailpass/Passo Umbrail.  That's followed by Santa Maria Val Müstair and then Ofen or Fuorn Pass (two names, same pass). The loop continues west to Albulapass and then turns north towards Davos (home of the World Economic Forum - wowsers). We've skiied there with Swiss friends. It has its good points, but the bad part is you have to take a bus to get from one part of the area to another, skiing from here to there just doesn't work. BTDT - yawn.

Turning back east, there's the last pass for the day, Flüelapass. Time to beat feet back to Prutz.
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 12:42:45 am »

Day 6 - Prutz to Klobenstein/Collalbo - 335 km (200 miles)
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_12_02-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
This will be on a Saturday at the top of tourist season (the real rush comes in August). So it goes...

The first stop is the long side road to Kauentalergletcher or the Kauern Valley Glacier. Moving east to the Ötztal valley (home of Ötzi, the stone age hunter found by hikers on the Ötztalergletcher or Ötztal glacier), the next side road is to the glacier. At 2830 m, (9197 ft) t's the highest paved road in Austria and the third highest paved road in Europe. Stilfser Joch, by comparison, is about 100 m (~300 ft) lower.

The road continues through the valley and comes to the toll booth for the Timmelsjoch/Passo del Rombo. This is one of the tune-up passes mentioned earlier. The road leads to St. Leonhard in Passeier in tedesco/San Leonardo In Passiria. This is the home of Andreas "Sandwirt" Hofer, who fought for Austrian independence from the Bavarian forces, part of Napoleon's army. He lost both the fight and his life. A wirt is an innkeeper and his father kept the Sandhof Inn, which passed to Andreas, who was nicknamed the "innkeeper". I've had lunch at the Sandhof (same place - it's still there), and hope to this time.

Heading east, the route comes to Jaufenpass/Passo Giovo and on towards the south end of Brennerpass. IMHO Brennerpass is about the armpit of passes. It's a notch in the Alps where all the traffic coming from the north and going towards Milan, etc. passes through. There's an autobahn (autostrada) A22 as wells the usual road, a trans-shipment yard where trucks are loaded onto or off of railroad cars, the usual trucker bars and a titty bar, along with a huge outlet mall on an island between the north and southbound road lanes. Picturesque it's not.

I laid the route to stay just south of there, turning south at Sterzing/Vipiteno. This town goes back to Roman times, as a stop on a road to Augsburg. After Sterzing, it's time to down a twisty road south to Klobenstein/ Collalbo and Ansitz Kematen. And Chris & Co.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2017, 03:03:57 am »

So tell me... is this a report of a ride already taken? Or a report of a planned ride? Because at this point, the only difference is the absence of any weather- or bike- related mishaps  Headscratch
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2017, 06:35:09 am »


  Headscratch


Why the head scratch?

It's going to be (is) a "Ride Report of Epic Proportions'!!!  Thumbsup

Scheech DD, get with the program already.  Razz
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2017, 10:12:36 am »

At this point, the RR is "coming attractions".

I posted things to date in part because I think there may be some information of value for anyone thinking about a trip this year. Short version: If you're just starting to plan a trip for this summer, you've left it too late.

The routes are up as much for, I hope, entertainment as much as anything. Again, for anyone planning a trip, maybe they'll find something of use.

I plan to update the RR on (rare, I suspect) occasion as things develop. Given how this trip started and where it is now, John Lennon's "Life is what happens while you're making other plans" has been all too amply demonstrated. Oh yes it has...  Rolleyes
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2017, 10:28:39 am »

The wife and I rode the old Gotthard Pass Road, the cobblestone one you reference, this past July.
We found it quite enjoyable and a pleasant change  from the endless switchbacks of the pass's.
I did have to blow the horn a number of times to get the damned cows off the road though...Smile
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2017, 11:12:04 am »

RB. Clearly for you "trip planning is the foreplay of travel".  Bigsmile

 Rolleyes  I hope I just made that up  Lol  

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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2017, 11:14:55 am »

Day 7 - Klobenstein/Collalbo to Lofer - 315 km (190 mi):
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_14_12-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png

This, I'm fairly certain. will be a challenging ride. The distance is somewhat deceptive.

First, this is a bit of a fortuitous route. The original plan had been to treat the trips to the glaciers as a loop, out and back, from Prutz. Instead, it became a, in relative terms, direct ride to Ansitz Kematen. This change accommodated Chris' contingent, gives us a chance to meet up (always good!), and to share a stay at what I hope will be something of a romantic stop (awwwww...).

When I started to lay out the route to Lofer, I found that it was easy to shift the initial route to include part of the Dolomites, go through Cortina D'Ampezzo (chici-micki ski resort), and ultimately the Grossglockner Panoramastrasse. After the trip was shortened to a week, I dropped the Dolomite and Grossglockner from my plans. Opening the "glacier loop" to a trip from Prutz to Ansitz Kematen put at least some time in the Dolomites and Grossglockner back in the plans. Yea!  Thumbsup

The Dolomites seem to have a reputation of "you've seen the rest, now see the best". Certainly the mountains are, from pictures, distinctively different than further west. This is a feature of the geology of the Alps. Simply put, the Alps represent the "wrinkles" of the tectonic plate carrying Italy colliding with the plate carrying Europe. The strike is oblique; the Alps at the western end are significantly older than the eastern end. The Dolomites are the "new" end of the wrinkles. That's the good news. The bad news is, from the videos I've seen, the area is close to mobbed once summer starts. Early July is at the front of the season, but I'm not sure about what I'll find.

Leaving the main Dolomite region, I'll get to try the Pustertaler Höhenstrasse (on the west to east stretch from Dobbiaco IT to Lienz AT - look for the three blue flags at the east end). It's supposed to be a great place to look south towards the Dolomites. And then comes Grossglockner...

This is another "name" feature, much like "Stelvio!". It's something of a demanding road, but the scenery is supposed to be breathtaking. I guess I get to confirm that. I hope.

The route then passes through Zell am See, a well known resort area on... wait for it... here it comes... almost here... and... Zellersee (The Zell Lake). Lofer's just north of there. As I said earlier, it's a place Roland (b-i-l) knows well. That makes it "old home day" at least.
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2017, 11:22:26 am »


RB. Clearly for you "trip planning is the foreplay of travel".  Bigsmile

 Rolleyes  I hope I just made that up  Lol  


Borrowing from the Monty Python routine, with Oscar Wilde on about someone else's "bon mot": OW:I wish I'd said that. James Mcneil Whistler:You will, Oscar, you will - (um er yes well....)
You will, Bubba, you will...
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2017, 11:34:56 am »

Day 8 - Lofer to Munich -215 km (130 mi):
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps%202017/Maps/2017-03-12%2020_16_13-Garmin%20BaseCamp.png
Sigh... party over. BTS gets their bike back. However, not content to just hop on the autobahn and beat feet back to the barn, I've ...um... sweetened the route up a bit.

Using Kurviger.de' routing, I've found some twisty bits west to the German border. From there, it's autobahn time to Munich. But I found an interesting detour through Schwabing, the "bohemian" (artsy-fartsy) part of the city. I've heard about it but never been there. I mean to check that box.  Bigsmile

And that's the show. We'll spend a day or two in Munich. Margit (s-i-l) hasn't been there. Chris and I went there for our honeymoon (awwww...) and about five years ago for our [/mumble]th anniversary. It should be fun to see it with someone else's perspective.
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2017, 11:48:06 am »

So... 2115 km (1270 mi) in eight days. A bunch of passes, alpine roads, and sightseeing... it's going to be a busy week. Most routes have some bail-out points if time gets short. In some cases, though, the mountains get in the way, making for looping "detours". If the weather turns against me... I'll have to play that as it comes. Having fixed reservations limits my options. Meh... life happens.

I picked the K1600 because I really don't want to feel as though I'm pointing myself into a fire hose, as I would on a naked bike, having to run down an autobahn. Being able to shift the throttle to rain mode will be welcome, of course.

Gear... Last summer I wore my winter gear, anticipating bitter cold in the passes, and early spring conditions in the valleys. Silly me. This time I'll wear my summer, mesh, gear. With, of course, the wind and insulated layers. And the rain gear can add wind protection beyond what the liners give.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u188/RBEmerson/Alps/20160705112949.jpg

It should be an interesting few days...
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2017, 04:47:02 am »


RB. Clearly for you "trip planning is the foreplay of travel".  Bigsmile



rofl
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2017, 09:27:23 am »

Well, two thoughts on this business of "over-planning"

I believe strongly in "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." OK, obviously some people work differently - no blame attaches. After a lot of time in boats, including roughly four (accumulated time) years of living aboard while doing what amounts to 3000+ mile trips, I've learned that planning often stands between a difficult time and almost literally time on the edge. Which, when the nearest land is two miles away. Straight down. is not a good place to be. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

I've quoted John Lennon more than once: "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." Add this quote from German General  Helmuth von Moltke: "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." Any of a number of things can make all of what I laid out go down the dumper. And something will at least make a try at it.

Heck, I laid out a two week tour which failed its first contact with reality. But I was able to use much of that work to produce what's laid out above. Chris and I quickly found out that even simple pensions are rapidly booking solid for the summer. If we hadn't booked accommodations in advance, we'd probably spend a lot of time, that could otherwise be spent doing the fun stuff, trying to find a place to spend a night or two.

Without a doubt, having booked accommodations, they become "must reach" locations, reducing flexibility. Meh. At least at the end of slogging somewhere, I know I'll have a place to come in out the whatever.

Foreplay? Of course. Some people ...um... get off on cruising maps and atlases. Setting up some degree of separation from unpleasant surprises? Yew betcha!  Smile
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2017, 03:24:12 pm »

Life happens... We just found out my brother-in-law's summer vacation schedule has changed. While it doesn't directly affect my riding plans, the Munich tourist plan is in some jeopardy and/or his time in Lofer, where he knows his way around, is toast. Life happens...  Bigsmile
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2017, 03:32:05 pm »

Kein Edelweiss !! Mein Gott ... Da Muss Sein Edelweiss !!



 Bigsmile
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« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2017, 07:48:51 pm »

 

You're almost as bad as Gene... Razz
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2017, 02:41:52 am »

I showed this thread to Dan and he said "After putting that much planning into a trip, I wouldn't want to go"

To each his own , of course. But we prefer to leave home with only a vague idea of a direction and what points of interest may be nearby. And because we prefer to travel where the crowds aren't, lodging is rarely an issue  Yawn   Smile
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2017, 11:55:12 am »

I have done minute detail trip planning and I have just winged it. In the end, I am somewhere in the middle and do like to learn lots about where I am going and what there is to see and do.

RB, all kidding aside, I look forward to your report and pictures.   Thumbsdown
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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2017, 12:01:30 pm »

"To each their own" said the old lady as she kissed her cow.  Lol

Keep in mind, too, the bike is a fixed 7 day rental with no meaningful slack (except 0.82€/km for anything over 2100 km for the week), that this is two concurrent trips (mine and Chris & Co.), with part of the game plan including some common time. Toss in the "snow in July" nature of accommodations and there it is. Definitely not "And Then Came Bronson", as I initially wanted on the two week version, but there it is.  Smile

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« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2017, 12:14:18 pm »

As I said to Mrs. Dante's Dame, I haven't started rolling and things have begun to change on their own.

Thanks for the good words, Bubba. I promise I won't write any late-night, near incoherent posts as I did last year. And, if the camera, etc. works as it has to date, I'll have tons of video to choose from when I get back and can edit it down to a 90 second summary.  Lol
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« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2017, 12:40:25 pm »


RB, all kidding aside, I look forward to your report and pictures.   Thumbsdown


Quoted so I can tease you for your thumb choice  
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2017, 10:18:00 am »

I wondered about that, too. Maybe it's  Thumbsdown if I don't contribute anything new?  Lol
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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2017, 10:34:47 am »




Quoted so I can tease you for your thumb choice  


I have big fingers. IPad. Them icons is too close together!  Embarassment

For the record. Folks who post trip reports always get a  Thumbsup
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2017, 02:11:01 pm »

I've done Andermatt passes a couple times.  If you have any flexibility, I would HIGHLY recommend Klausen pass, about an hour north of Andermatt (starts around the town of Altdorf).  One of the highlights of our last trip.

The east and west sides of the pass have very different feel.



The West side is very narrow and a lot of it is on a ledge with huge dropoffs.



The East side is a more typical Swiss pass with perfect hairpins and billiard-ball smooth pavement.
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2017, 11:01:39 pm »

Klausenpass is on my secondary list, unfortunately. Given the time available, and a circuit probably already overloaded, it gets a "next time". But thanks for the pointer!  Bigok
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« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2017, 12:36:09 am »

Having said the above, I remembered I'd laid out an additional day trip route out Andermatt that had Pragelpass, Klausenpass, Ibergereggpass and Satteleggpass in it. With a small bit of tweaking, I can have all four on the way to Andermatt. The big gotcha is that excursion adds 100 km to the trip. That, per se, isn't a bad thing, except I'm on a near fixed distance cap of 2450 km. The test will be how I'm doing for time/wx by the time I leave Ibergereggpass. (Will someone please explain why distance caps are so prevalent/needed for bike rentals???)
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« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2017, 07:45:50 am »

Will someone please explain why distance caps are so prevalent/needed for bike rentals???

Wife and I are doing a 17 day, ~4000 km trip in Italy in mid-June (low average km / day, as wife wants to base in Bologna area for a few days and do day trips). I received quotes from several rental agencies - most of them had 3 options: pay per mile, rent with a cap, or rent with unlimited miles. In each case, the breakeven point for all 3 options was 5000 km, so we're choosing the pay per km option. YMMV - you've certainly done this a lot more than we have (this will be our first trip out of North America - ride report to follow).
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« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2017, 09:03:29 am »

Congratulations on making the trip! I'll be interested to hear how you're doing getting ready for the trip. If I can fill any blanks, let me know. And, of course, there are folks here who know a lot more than I do.

BTS want 0.82€ per km or about $3500 (assuming 1€ = $1.05).  EEK!

What are you renting, where are you getting it, and (if you don't mind) how much?


Admin Note: I think Mrs. Dante's Dame will shortly be moving this thread to the Euro group.

Note: corrected to replace E with €
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« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2017, 09:15:28 am »


... (Will someone please explain why distance caps are so prevalent/needed for bike rentals???)


All our rentals have been unlimited kms - maybe because we rented in groups of 3-4 bikes Shrug
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« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2017, 02:09:10 pm »

I...um... labored with BTS on the subject. My primary argument was that weekender got more per diem km's (350) than a week long rental (300 km), and that I felt penalized for that. And of course I mentioned Hertz et al. Not impressed. Shrug

Unfortunately, they basically have me by the short and curlies, with few options given my circumstances.  
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« Reply #37 on: March 18, 2017, 04:44:06 pm »


(Will someone please explain why distance caps are so prevalent/needed for bike rentals???)

You don't get rich renting bikes. It's not like renting cars. The cost per km is high, bikes are often abused and insurance is very expensive. And the renting season is short.
My friend, that rents us bikes in Europe, really makes a profit when he resells the bikes after three years.

Unlimited km on one bike for a single day isn't a problem. You can only ride so many km per day in the mountains.
Let's say you add an extra 1000 km to the bike after one week and multiply that by ten bikes.
That's 1000 km x .82€ x 10 bikes or 8200€ per week. Maybe their cost is a less but still, it's a lot of money!
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« Reply #38 on: March 18, 2017, 05:01:12 pm »

I guess, relative to Hertz, Sixt, et al., economies of scale do enter into it. OTOH, I know of a tour operator who has some sort of deal where BMW "loans" (I'm sure it's not 100% no cost) bikes to the operator and gets them back. Because the tour I was asking about was over BMW Days, certain models were "no way - can't get 'em". So assume these bikes are in the BMW demo/perks collection.  Agreed that floor-planning, for example, an HD bagger doesn't come cheap.
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« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2017, 10:29:47 am »


Kein Edelweiss !! Mein Gott ... Da Muss Sein Edelweiss !!

[/video cut out with a vengeance!]

 Bigsmile


Curse ya, Bubba!! That damn video would not come off autoplay and became a song I couldn't get out of my  head. Twofinger
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« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2017, 01:40:05 pm »

Having rattled on about the K1600, I checked, first hand, whether my Garmin 660 is "plug&play" in a K1600. It is. Installing any GPS in the panel mount is... so... what? BMW. Raise the windscreen, push a button on the dash next to the [=6=] thingie, watch a "cartridge carrier" rise majestically (not just pop!s up) from behind the dash, and remove the [=6=] panel. The 660 goes in the plug/carrier bit, push the 660 back into the carrier, and voila!. Sooooo BMW...

Otherwise, there's nothing of any importance going on. I'd hoped for a demo ride on a K1600 at the dealer's "ride a demo" weekend. No K1600's to demo - all stock is committed (saw one new one leave). The '17's haven't shown up for dealers, however the BMW inventory is thinning out. "Sometime next month..." Sounds like Air Canada's promise about "Fly Your Bike"...  Rolleyes
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« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2017, 10:59:52 am »

Looking at your maps, you are missing some really great roads.

For example, you are taking the B100 from Lienz towards the Italian border.

Just 2 kms out of Lienz, there is the Pustertaler Höhenstrasse that parallels the B100 high above the valley.

It beats the hell out of the boring B100 (unless you're in a rush), but great roads have less traffic, are slower going, narrow and offer spectacular views.

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Lienz,+Austria/46.7583646,12.528095/@46.7928693,12.6122308,13.75z/data=!4m29!4m28!1m25!1m1!1s0x47775df33af9ab35:0xabab5e14dd85353b!2m2!1d12.76272!2d46.82769!3m4!1m2!1d12.6800436!2d46.7984391!3s0x4777611767d4ab23:0x20c03cb6eab323e3!3m4!1m2!1d12.6089052!2d46.7843209!3s0x47776249bf174dc5:0x9069cfc518337b13!3m4!1m2!1d12.5773924!2d46.7978636!3s0x47776302fbf9a4b7:0x880095c57955453d!3m4!1m2!1d12.5452804!2d46.767479!3s0x477762a33703562d:0x9f9205e7a33c2133!1m0!3e0

Are you going over the Sölk Pass in Austria. I have another great road for you.
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« Reply #42 on: March 29, 2017, 11:17:02 pm »

Pustertaler Hohenstrasse is very much on my list, with staying on B100 only if I'm really pressed for time. Sölk Pass will have to wait for another trip. But, hey, thanks for the suggestions!
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« Reply #43 on: April 23, 2017, 06:30:34 pm »

To date, everything remains as listed earlier.

Air Canada finally came up with their charges for this summer. With a 2 1/2 - 3 week trip, "Fly Your Bike" remains a huge win.  

One small gear change: the mesh gear is for sale here because I've moved to an Aerostich Roadcrafter. Temperatures, later in the coming week, should get into the 80's. That will be a good test for the lower Italian valleys, where temps in the 80's are the norm.

Going with the Roadcrafter, now that I finally learned how to use Nikwax properly, means leaving the rain suit home, which means slightly less weight in the bags. (Although I doubt very much it will need it, I'll probably re-coat the suit "just 'cause ya never knows...") OTOH, I might just bring along my bike cover - less volume, more weight, I suspect. Or not. It's not my bike, after all...
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« Reply #44 on: April 23, 2017, 06:54:16 pm »

I've moved to an Aerostich Roadcrafter.


And after 24 years and two Roadcrafter suits (that were treated annually before my tours) where I always had to cart my rain suit along, I've gone to a Klim Latitude suit last year. I never needed my rain suit, even in the heaviest of rain and we got our share last summer in Europe.
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« Reply #45 on: April 24, 2017, 09:29:42 am »

Good point, Klim gear seems to be an increasingly common choice for the "not just a ride around the block" folks.
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« Reply #46 on: April 24, 2017, 09:55:03 am »


Good point, Klim gear seems to be an increasingly common choice for the "not just a ride around the block" folks.


Well after one season so far, I have to say my Klim gear meets and exceeds my tough expectations. But like anything, I expect it to perform equally well for many years, so I cannot comment on it long term yet.

I can comment on my Held Satu Gore-Tex gloves that have gone through 3 seasons so far and they still keep my hands dry in the heaviest of rain. I wear them over the cuffs of my Klim jacket.
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« Reply #47 on: April 25, 2017, 08:52:37 am »

At $160 from Revzilla, they'd better keep your hands dry.
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« Reply #48 on: April 25, 2017, 10:52:07 am »


At $160 from Revzilla, they'd better keep your hands dry.


RB, get them in Germany while you are there.

I got my Held gloves from Bikerland in Bad Kreuznach, 5 kms off the A61. I stopped by their shop, but their web-site does not show a location anymore...on-line only???
N49° 51.710' E7° 54.268'
https://www.biker-land.de/index.php?language=en

Also Tom's Motorrad Shop in Weinheim, 5 km off the A5.
N49° 33.387' E8° 39.322'
https://toms-motorradshop.de/index.html

And Seiboth in Laundau in der Pfalz.
N49° 11.444' E8° 07.723'
http://www.seiboth-mb.de/motorradbekleidung/ueber-uns.html
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« Reply #49 on: April 25, 2017, 11:00:23 pm »

Thanks - I have a set of BMW Atlantis gloves picked up at a dealer "silly low prices, today only" event.
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« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2017, 03:50:03 pm »

Since you will be in the vicinity (of the Furka pass) you have to do Tremola.  Very nice but not for racing.  And try to approach Stelvio from the Swiss side via the Umbrial pass.  It is very nice and takes you right to the top.  From there you can do Stelvio down and up from both sides and return via the Umbrail.  Then you have done everything up and down, which is a nice bonus, weather permitting.

Enjoy your trip.
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« Reply #51 on: May 11, 2017, 05:35:21 pm »

Tremola is very much on my list. Day #3 is my wander around Andermatt day. (#1 Munich-Mittenwald, #2 Mittenwald-Andermatt) The passes on the list are Tremola/St. Gotthard, Nufenpass, Furkapass, Sustenpass, Grimselpass, and Furkapass again. It's not a long list, but the route's about 120-130 miles. Again not a lot, until you dial in an average speed of around 30, or roughly fours of travel time. Toss in a coffee break or two, lunch, time to stop and smell the roses edelweiss and it's a comfortable day. Day #2 is about a 200 mile day; not too surprisingly, I found some good roads (Leutach area in Austria, for example) and a pair of passes (Sattelegg and Ibergeregg) as well as good stops along the way. It'll be a full day, so a "slow" day afterwards won't hurt.

It gets busy after that, going to Landeck, AT, which means sprinting through Liechtenstein again, but at least there's Oberalppass and Silvetta Panoramastrasse along the way. The next day includes Stilfser Joch/Stelvio, unfortunately on a Friday. Once again Bormio will have to get by without my visit; I'll break off and head back into Engadin to add Umbrail, Ofen, Albula, Flüelapässe to my collection. That's another 200 mile day with a bunch of passes; looong day. I won't be surprised if I'll need headlights for the last stretch of road (no passes).

The passes around Andermatt will be new, ditto for Albulapass and Flüelapass. Not that I have the roads for the other passes memorized. ;)
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« Reply #52 on: August 04, 2017, 08:57:09 pm »

OK, BTDT

Straight up: the K1600GT is a bad choice for a pass hunter. There's no bottom end, even in 1st. Some of the hairpins were ...um... not without pucker factor as I wondered if the motor would stall (didn't happen - whew!). Away from that, the bike was "all that". See my first video for a sample of that.

My Garmin 660 screwed me over more than once, including missing the ascent on La Tremola. I did catch the descent, though.


Albula, Flüelapässe didn't happen - not enough time.

Stilfserjoch/Stelvio was not a lot of fun. Too much traffic, the camper from hell (wish it would go back there), and the insane took the shine off the climb. And the KGT's low/no torque didn't help.


The glacier roads were more interesting than I expected. Silvretta was underwhelming and cursed with an "old timer" rally descending... in the middle of the road.  Mad2

The big disappointment, though, were the Dolomite passes. The scenery is amazing. The shapes of the peaks is fantastic. But the passes are little more than huge parking lots for ski areas on summer break. Cortina d'Ampezzo had IMHO almost no charm or call to look around further. One more large Italian town - ho hum.

The weather was on the warm to hot side but dry during the day. Except for the trip towards Grossglöckner. A rather nasty storm developed behind me and looked to be headed my way. Turning north, to follow the pass/panorama road, seemed to get me out of the direct path, but looking over my left (SW) shoulder wasn't encouraging. I didn't stop anywhere near as long as I wanted to.

Rather than write a long and tedious RR, here's the first of the videos from the trip. It's a short chunk of the ride to Andermatt, but gives a sense of the Tyrolean "outback". The rest of that ride was autobahn, following the effin' GPS to back roads that the people who live on them don't even know, and standing in traffic near Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge - well named because the construction created the traffic jam from hell). Unfortunately, the camera quit before I got to Sattelegg and Ibergeregg passes, but they were twisty rides in woods and fields, with no view at the top. Anyway, here's the Leutasch valley. Don't let the slow opening fool you. There's a spot where I almost didn't go any further. Permanently. And there's an amusing phone call later on.


(Updated to the 4K version)
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« Reply #53 on: August 06, 2017, 02:32:56 pm »

The big disappointment, though, were the Dolomite passes. The scenery is amazing. The shapes of the peaks is fantastic. But the passes are little more than huge parking lots for ski areas on summer break.


Headscratch

Well it is where most people stop and take in the scenery from the highest point in the road, and for that, you need parking lots.

Plus you have a rifugio/restaurant to take a break and have something to eat and drink.

All those cars and tour buses parked along the side of the road with people walking on the road to the pass would have us cursing.

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« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2018, 10:05:27 am »

Passo di Valparola (at about 10:00) was worth the stop. Passo di Falzarego (at 14:30) at least had a view around it. Tre Croci and a couple of others I rode through... not so much.



The VW Eurovan "turtle top" in the video still shows up after Falzarego. Check out the ground clearance as it goes into the parking lot. The sudden stop, with the back of the van in the road, didn't make my day. But, to be fair, I guess I'd get excited too, listening for the sound of an expensive scraping noise under my van.
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« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2018, 10:21:41 am »

This is an entrance to the Dolomites, coming from Bozen/Bolzano to the west of the Dolomite area. Passo di Gardena and Passo di Valparola were the last "real" passes for that day's ride. Until I got to the Grossglockner panorama road.

I finally got rid of the demonic little blue Fiat (6:00) just in time to find three bicycle people stretched across the road. Traffic for the day was like that.  Rolleyes

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« Reply #56 on: December 25, 2018, 04:52:29 am »

Morning from Sicily "RB"
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« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2019, 12:25:56 pm »

Boungiorno back atcha.
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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2019, 01:08:37 pm »

LOL...Greetings once again. Yes I've landed in Sicily for the next few years so here I am again ready for European travels. Sorry for the delay but I found some of your videos on YouTube so I stayed LOL

How you doing?
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« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2019, 08:13:19 pm »

Sicily

Time to air dry your clothes outside after you wash them  Bigsmile

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« Reply #60 on: May 27, 2019, 07:04:46 am »

HAHA...Yes there are lots of cloths lines here LOL.
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