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Grand Alps Tour, CGA1601

Saturday, September 3, 2016 | Angela | Europe

Well... it seems we have a serious case of Alps addiction going on with the two boys from Pennsylvania
After our rainy finish of the Grand Alps Tour yesterday, the sun was out again in the morning. Right from the tour start on it was Bob's desire to ride the Alpine Coaster in Mieders, near Innsbruck. Having been a little disappointed by the bad weather yesterday, he was all the more excited to add this ride down the hill today - and so we went.
Incredible views from the top of the mountain
Gene was reeeeallly shooting down the mountain
If you wait a little bit, Bob will be shooting right out underneath this bridge. Especially on his second run...
There he comes...
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13. Kaprun back to Seefeld

Unfortunately, today will be the last riding day of our wonderful tour.
We were all ready to leave...
... but we were given an appropriate start. The hotel's owner was very enthusiastic to prepare a real racing start for us. Thumbs up! What a great start into the day!
Well, if you are travelling with a mountain goat, you should better be prepared for high altitudes
Bob and Gene were well prepared and briefed...
... but were still amazed on how high the High Alpine Road in the Ziller Valley would take them. Most impressive image was for them to see the local bus has made it up here, too
After our coffee break up there, rain has caught up with us. So, we took a leisurely ride back down into the valley and back to Seefeld

12. Klobenstein to Kaprun (Austria)

Staller Sattel at the northern edge of the Dolomites gave us a nice start into the day. This little goat path has a traffic light to rule the vehicles going up and down. We arrived just at the right time.
With a nice view back over the Antholz valley, the top of the pass represents the border between Italy and Austria.
A great place to have a relaxing rest.
Clearly, the Großglockner High Alpine Road was today's highlight. We spent a couple of hours on this beautiful pass, first going to the "Pasterze", the glacier at the end of the little side road.
Unbelievable... Had we been riding here millions of years ago, we would have been travelling all day long on a glacier without even having touched 50% of it (Klobenstein, where we started in the morning is south-west). Look at the little circle to get an idea of what is left of the once so humongous glacier.
Amazing views over the Großglockner road from the Edelweissspitze, the highest point on this pass to be reached by vehicle.
Our hotel in Kaprun is a very special one. It is the hotel owner's passion to collect vintage cars and motorcycles. He has an incredibly huge showroom in his basement and you're easily blown away by what you will find down there
Bob and Gene planned to have a beer at the bar. But when I asked the lady at the bar, she said that she hasn't seen any of them...
... I had a good guess where they could have gone...
The car collection in the basement was just too big to only spend a few minutes there

11. Restday in Klobenstein

The weather forecast for our rest day's ride in the Dolomites was not too positive. But, in fact, we managed to ride around the rain all day and even had some sunshine in-between
For our collection of passes we could add 10 more from this region today.
Passo Duran is one of the passes in the eastern-most region of the Dolomites. You'll find not as many motorcyclists here as in the more popular areas of the Sella-Ronda.
We enjoyed the quietness to the fullest and celebrated it with an unconventional Edelweiss picnic
This tour normally has the support van with all the picnic equipment coming along. We decided, we didn't want to do without the lunch in nature's restaurant and packed all the food on the bikes.
Hey guys, this was awesome!
On top of Passo Duran
We have a little quiz for you:
Which sticker at this door, do you think is the best...?
... we give you a little hint
Our "language prof" Bob interpretes the sign for us:
" Don't" hesitate, come for a ride in the Dolomites
Passo Fedaia with the Marmolada mountain chain was another spectacular vista and ride today
The ride up to Klobenstein leads us through the vineyards again. The harvesting of the grapes will soon take place
The son of the hotel's owner did not want to miss seeing who we were but was too shy to come closer

10. Livigno to Klobenstein

Start flags in Livigno this morning
We were early birds which awarded us with beautiful vistas and almost empty roads on the way to our today's riding highlights
On the way out north of Livigno there is a 3 km long, small one-way tunnel ruled by traffic lights. Quite a unique experience.
And here it is...

... the famous pass we have been training very hard for the past 9 riding days
Passo dello Stelvio with its 48 hairpins on one side and the 39 on the other side! Yeeehaaa
Bob and Gene were told about Bruno's popular sausage stand already back home. So a stop here was mandatory
Great stuff the sauerkraut & sausage bun
And here are some pictures to proof that there are some other people out there, too in Europe
I, however, don't have a clue who these people are...
Now, this is really on top of Stelvio ...
... with a view over the whole pass road...
... and down again on the other side.
The other highlight, and all the more beautiful pass of the day was Passo Gavia
On the way to Bozen and Klobenstein we were passing by countless apple orchards and vineyards

9. Lugano to Livigno (Italy)

The grass is always greener on the other side so we took the ferry boat over Lake Como to find out if the other lake shore really was
Both, Gene and Bob found a ferry ride was cool
Special lunch in the greens with the special dish of the region - Pizzoccheri, buckwheat pasta with cheese and cabbage
A couple of times during the day we were crossing back and fourth between Italy and Switzerland. This one is on top of Swiss Bernina pass
And back again into Italy towards Livigno where we will stay overnight
Still nice weather on top of Forcola di Livigno...
... but only a couple of hundred meters later it started raining. The exceptionally warm weather of the past days needed to be cooled down with this heavy shower.
After dinner we changed the scene. Bob and Gene will stay here skiing Livigno is a popular place to do so.

8. Aosta to Lugano (Switzerland)

No matter which direction you want to leave the Aosta valley, you need to squeeze through a bottle neck at either end.
We were passing by the fortress of Bard on our ride towards the east.
Shortly before the Aosta valley opens up into the large and very flat Po area, we turned left uphill and were not be seen again until lunch time.
We were hiding away in the hilly area around Biella where you will find some very nice and picturesque roads through Italian residencial areas. The nice thing about it, you're wondering? There is almost nobody else around on these twisties and there are no traffic lights, which turned our rides into a very flowing one. This is also the reason why we have no pictures... we simply couldn't stop If you want to know what it is like whirling around there, you will need to come over yourselves and do the tour
Quite hungry after the morning ride, we stopped for a bite to eat in this nice little pearched restaurant in Verallo

7. Briançon to Aosta (Italy)

Unfortunately, we have to leave Briançon again today. We were having a great time here.
From now on our tour continues eastwards.
Crossing back and forth between France and Italy today, we will enjoy even more fantastic rides
The little Italian town of Susa invites us for a first Italian Espresso
Col de Mont Cenis
Bonnevalle sur Arc is a truly authentic little village right at the foothills of Col de l'Iseran. Each house, no matter if old or modern, is completely made out of stone that people "harvest" from the mountains around.
Col de l'Iseran in France is the highest paved pass in the Alps (2777 m/9110 ft)and just a pure pleasure to ride on. The landscape, the mountains, the colours... simply everything around you triggers your senses so that you are happy to stop and just take it in...
We are all busy collecting pass stickers - everyone in his/her own way
On the other side of the mountain, we found the famous ski resort of Val d'Isère.
Next on the list was Col du Petit Saint Bernard, half French, half Italian, and offering amazing views over almost 4.000 m/13,000 ft high mountains
No worries, Bob is not tired...
... he is just trying out if this comfortable bench is worth being reproduced back home

6. Restday in Briançon

The sun is out in this part of France, and so are we. We are exploring some neat little backroads on the way south.
There is always time for a little "petrol talk"
Challenging but unbeatably beautiful was Col de Pontis
In the end the view was the award
On Col de Vars the little refuge served as a welcome rest stop
Attention! The 'Route des Grandes Alpes' can make you "hooked"
No surprise it does, with all this beautiful and constantly changing landscape. Rugged mountains change with impressive gorges or roads meandering along green hills.
Most impressive of all is Col d'Izoard
Can you spot Gene and Bob?
What a fantastic road! You can't resist riding it twice
A little walk through the medieval and fortified town of Briançon rounds up an amazing rest day.

5. Les Houches to Briançon

This morning on Col de Saisier...
...as well as on our way to Col de la Madelaine, France surprises us with some spectacular roads
Hm... I guess Bob has other ideas cocerning the colour of this flag
Yep, for our tour this one fits better into the picture
So this is what a REAL Hamburger with REAL french fries looks like. Yummy!
Completely different to Col de la Madelaine, Col de Galibier, sure enough is as spectacular
Shade was what we were looking for during our breaks. It got up to 33,5°C/92°F today
Question at the side on top of Col de Galibier: "How many more of these passes do we need to do?" ...
Answer (looking at the panoramic view around the corner): "How many do you want?"

4. Andermatt to Les Houches (France)

We are leaving Andermatt this morning with memories of amazing rides in the Swiss Alps. It was simply impressive
We turned our coffee break into a Swiss chocolate tasting break
On the way out of Interlaken, all of a sudden, it seems, some of the most impressive Swiss mountains showed up: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau - all covered up in snow
Our next stop was in the city of Thun.
The town's land mark is the combined water lock and bridge, completely made out of wood.
Bob and Gene crossing the bridge
One of the locks...
...which are driven by a remote controlled mechanism
Thun is a lovely place, perfect for sitting alongside the river, watching the world walking by while having a lunch snack
There you go, the bikes and the road have us back
It seems there are endless mountains in Switzerland, in fact, the country is covered with mountain ranges from it's centre to the very south
Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau from a different angle
Gene had been in Gstaad many years ago and it brought back good memories. But he also was impressed how the village has changed
More alpine views over Col de Pillon and Col de la Croix
The award for an awesome riding day was the delcious ice cream on top of Col de Forclaz.
In Les Houches near Chamonix, our destination for tonight, was waiting for us with a wonderful surprise. Nick was on tour with me in Andalusia last year, and has done quite a number of other tours with Edelweiss already. We all had a fabulous dinner together and were chatting away
Thanks for passing by, Nick. It was great seeing you again - until we meet again, some time, some where on the planet
Sunset over Mont Blanc

3. Restday in Andermatt

At the beginning of the tour I was asked where this statue with the horse, the man, and the "ugly" woman was...
We found it this morning on Gotthard Pass. The equestrian statue, however, is supposed to represent Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov (1730-1800), a Russian military leader and national hero. He fought successful battles against the French in Italy and on the Gotthardpass
And here is the proof that we've all been up there to find out for you, Lenny
The old Gotthard pass is probably one of the most fascinating roads of the Swiss Alps. Not many people choose to ride/drive it as it is all made of cobble stone an the new, faster pass road has been built next to it.
Next on the spin was Nufenen pass with its gorgeous view on top. We extensively enjoyed it during our coffee stop.
Grimselpass and Furkapass with a stop at the Rhone glacier were the last two pearls on the chain of Swiss passes for today.

2. Galtür to Andermatt (Switzerland)

First thing in the morning after breakfast was the challenge of the Silvretta High Alpine Road, which starts right outside Galtür.
Robert and Gene at the Silvretta glacier lake
The "Schattenburg" (literally: shaddow castle) overlooking the city of Feldkirch served as our morning coffee stop.
Since the time construction has started in the year 1230, the castle has been used for many purposes: From a home for the families of various princes and reeves who ruled this area in the past, to even a prison or a military place. Lucky for us, today the city of Feldkirch has installed a museum and a restaurant.
Lots of details to discover for the woodworker and the historian. We had a hard time getting Rob out of the museum again
The castle's courtyard
Following the road through Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries in Europe, we found ourselves a cosy and remote place to enjoy our picnic lunch. An interesting combination that we've got here: 2 Americans an 1 German were having a feast with Austrian delicacies in a quiet corner in Switzerland
Yummy, yummy, and what a nice place
The little after-lunch-rain shower was not keeping us from travelling over Klausenpass...
...and then into Andermatt, our destination for the next two nights

1. Seefeld to Galtür (Austria)

This year the Grand Alps Tour is something unique. After the same tour that took place in June this year, we now turned this one into a ride-4-fun tour. What a great time will be ahead of us! 3 riders will be cruising 2 weeks with their motorcycles on the fantastic roads of the Alps. 

Our rides will take us from Austria into Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Italy.

We started our engines in Seefeld this morning and already had a great first riding day. In the morning we went over the Kühtai. And as the name already says, we were almost destined to encounter some cows on the road up there. Despite the rain in the afternoon we enjoyed the climb up to the Hahntennjoch and later to Lech, Warth, and Zürs before we ended up in the Moto-Hotel in Galtür


Oh, and here is an insider for Lenny, who I hope will read this: Robert and Gene say hello to you. We were already exchanging memories of your beautiful eyes (on your helmet) and also I was asked to let you know that already the first set of shoulder poking was involved

Everything is prepared for the arrival of Robert and Gene from Pensylvania
The Dorfstadel up on the Kühtai is one of the places in Austria where you will find the delicious Apfelstrudel
Of course Gene and Robert didn't get around trying the Apfelstrudel
Well, this is the way people looked like a couple of decades back.
Great views from the terrace over the natural water power supply plant.
Obviously there are no cows allowed in the Dorfstadel...
... but don't worry, you will find them shortly after on the road
The Lech valley is famous for their wood carving. And as Robert is a wood worker himself, it was no question that we had to stop and at least do some window shopping.
Luckily the owner was around and opened up for us.
For Robert it was like further education
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 15:05

Hi everybody,

It looks great. What an amazing experience.

That Grand Alps Tour is awesome.

I have the best memories from this Tour that I did the last year and Algela was also there.

Best Regards,

PD: Angela, was für tolle Bilder habt ihr gemacht. Die beste Errinerungen bleiben immer im Kopf.
Schöne Grüsse.

Angela de Haan
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 09:45

Hello Pablo,

What a great pleasure reading your comment

I have also only good memories of last year's tour and quite a couple of times I remember you flying over the passes with your Suzuki

Being on the bike every day as a tour guide makes all the difference, though. I am sure you would have great fun being here with us.

Have a sunny day and greetings to Columbia
Lanny Liggett
Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 00:48

The whole country and all the roads look deserted, you three must be the only ones out there. Last year there were crouds every where.
Frank & Debbie Neely
Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 23:10

I think travel to Germany, etc. was a bit scary for people this year .......... too many folks crossing the borders. Perhaps tourism is down this year which makes it perfect for your motorcycle ride. ENJOY!
Angela de Haan
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 10:07

Hi Frank,

You are right, we are indeed riding on some empty roads
I was looking for the right word to describe this truly lucky state of travelling and I was asking Gene and Bob to help me with the appropriate english word...
...simultaneously and without hesitation they answered: "therapy"

As far as facts are concerned I can add that holidays in most parts of Germany are over now, the high season for riding is about to end for this summer, and the locals are at work during the week
This is great !!!
Angela de Haan
Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 19:17

I guess you've scared them all away last year, Lanny, by looking at them simultaneously from the front and the rear
It is too sad, that I don't have my laptop with me. I would have posted a picture of your helmet


Bob mihalics
Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 06:13

Hi Lanny,
Good catch, Angela has arranged that there be no other vehicles on our tour,
This is a trip or a lifetime,"part one".
Frank & Debbie Neely
Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 23:10

"Part One" . . . . . very interesting.
Viktoria Neuner
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 09:46

Nick, I love the pic of the four of you
Nick Lassman
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 14:52

It was lovely to meet up with Angie again especially on a warm, clear evening in my home village. We last saw each other in Havana earlier on on the year. Great to meet Bob and Gene and see the fabulous route they were taking across the Alps. Shame they weren't staying longer as it would have been a privilege to show them more of the beautiful Chamonix Valley. Come to think of it - I wouldn't mind going on this tour. Sign me up, Vicky!!
Dave Lewis
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 02:15

Hello Bob!
Looks absolutely amazing. I couldn't imagine all the switchbacks and views! Enjoy enjoy! And ride safe!
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 01:51

Gene, you look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, too much strudel and beer or just the cold?
Eva Köfler
Monday, August 22, 2016 at 22:10

Hey angela

Who inspired you to those amazing selfie pictures

Have fun

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 at 07:33

Hi Eva

I happened to meet the selfie queen the other day...

Viktoria Neuner
Monday, August 22, 2016 at 08:56

Hi Bob, hi Gene,
happy to see you are having a wonderful time
Enjoy the Alps! Vicky
Frank and Debbie Neely
Monday, August 22, 2016 at 01:55

Hi Bob and Gene:

Enjoy -- can't wait to see all your photos when you return!
Bruce White
Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 23:01

Hi Angelia and Lenny,

Good too hear you are both on tour again, enjoy the alps. I am currently on Brewiers and Castles Tour (day 4) also having a cracking time. I too was only talking about Lennys helmet (eyes) yesterday.

Saturday, August 20, 2016 at 23:26

Hi Bruce,
Have a beer tomorrow evening to cheer with us from the distance
Great rides for you


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