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2020 - Last Opportunity Roadtrip


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12 hours ago, johndglynn said:

My last three times into Switzerland I have sailed in and out, not even got a carnet. Luck of the draw!

So true. The truck taking the 2.0L Cup cars to Monza was sitting in a 10 mile queue to get into Dover for two days. Arrived yesterday at 5pm.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.kentonline.co.uk/dover/news/amp/live-stack-back-after-counter-terror-operation-233845/

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In all it’s glory.    So what was the driving like?  The B 500 south of Baden Baden is unique. It’s so smooth and wide and perfect. I had a couple of sharpish overtakes to get clear raid

So.    Off I went at o dark 30 this morning. Feels weird to be on the road and not in a Porsche. But, the CSL at 4000rpm cruise sounds exactly like Daisy from inside. Who knew. Not at other rpm

Foscagno is good: Fluela is better IMO. What is it with you and border crossings? Must be the accent or summink? Last time I did Livigno into Switzerland the guard looked in the 911 and said “no 

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You lot must be getting bored of me saying this but another awesome day. Switzerland just turned it on again and rain only at the very end of the day. My kind of roads and traffic not too dreadful given it was a sunny Saturday. 
 

It did start out looking grim at 0800 in St Moritz. It was a lot darker than the photo suggests. But the Julier Pass beckoned - it was about 5 mins from the hotel. 
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But another 5 mins later, 2000m altitude and thru the clouds and that was that. Basically sunny all day. Bit chilly but it warmed up. 
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the Julier Pass (that I forgot in yesterday’s post) was perfect. Few cars, tons of overtaking spots, wide, sighted, smooth And flowing. Should have had the camera on...

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In quick succession was Albula and Flüelapass. Both good but starting to get busier and I got stuck at times. But that is ok - there is no prize for “winning”. I think i am getting older and slower in my driving, at least I so far as I can happily sit in traffic and not have to overtake everything. Right now. 
 

And I think that given that traffic is a reality everywhere, the roads I like most are ones that have enough overtaking places. 
 

Some pics 

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It also appeared to be the day that cows are moved from the high pastures, so there was a lot of this. 
 

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Next up was the Klausenpass. I don’t recall it being quite so bumpy. The approaches on both sides are fine, but my word it’s rough. And very narrow. Still, good fun though. I actually got fairly decent runs up and down so no complaints, just had to dial it right back to stay out of trouble. Photos are a bit random looking at something tall and spiked and then looking back up at the pass from the far side. 
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And these are the approach to Klausenpass 

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Like I said, the bottom bits are pretty good. 
 

Then it was on to Andermatt and up and over the oberalp Pass to my hotel in Sedrun. It started raining so everything was circumspect but this is another good pass worth a visit. It has a mix of flowing approach and just a few tight hairpins at the top to keep you on your toes. I followed a local guy on a Harley who has totally on it overtaking sport bikes. Rain is a great leveller. 

Tomorrow is a big day. I do Oberalp again and then 4 passes round Andermatt. Actually 5 including Gotthard and Grimsel twice, so 6. Anyway it’s weather dependent as I can make it much more simple if needs be. Feels like an early start as it might stay dry until about 2pm. Fingers crossed. 

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1 hour ago, Richard Bernau said:

Tomorrow is a big day. I do Oberalp again and then 4 passes round Andermatt. Actually 5 including Gotthard and Grimsel twice, so 6.

Lap of the gods then :signs118:

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22 hours ago, Dr Rock said:

Lap of the gods then :signs118:

It was indeed. Though more a figure 6 than a lap. I don’t know why but I remembered these roads as narrower where it only the Furka that is narrow. So surprise on the upside. And the weather held. 
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I started early - on the road 0800 and fully fuelled up. Sunrise was 0710, but this was good as the sun was behind me.  Mostly. Sun in your eyes is one problem this time of year. I was straight into the Oberalp and with fluids, tyres and brakes nicely warm up the Susten. Outstanding roads to start the day on. Basically no traffic. And I had to stop myself redlining 3rd up the Susten. It’s go straight to jail territory in Switzerland I imagine. After Susten, you go straight into the gentle then steep climb up Grimsel. And it was time for espresso at the top. 
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Car is really dirty for the Swiss. But onwards. Down from Grimsel - you don’t go far and you are back uphill for Furka. This is maybe the most common photo spot people use looking at where you are going to go. 
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And then, it does get narrow, so you dial it right back and cruise down to Andermatt. Careful on the long straight at the bottom as it feels like speed trap. Then it’s up again on the Gotthard. Some road works at the moment so it’s punctuated, but still empty. I hit the top of Gotthard at 1030. Careful not to get lost at Airolo as it about the most confusing roads on the planet, but follow the Nufenen signs and you avoid a massive detour into Italy. Looking back up-

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Gotthard is a building site ATM. They are putting huge wind turbines up on top. Makes sense I guess. Not pretty. 
 

More in a bit- soup is here. 

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An excellent day - got to watch out for 1st gen Ford Mustangs on the Furka into Andermatt...

I remember going up the Susten this time of the year and being plagued by bikers....:angry:

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So that was 5 passes by 1030 and I thought well, it’s Sunday it will be busy, so let’s chill out and see what happens. 
 

I stopped for another wee bottom of the Nufenen, changed camera battery and took off. Got another good run. Nufenen is like a starter pass - a bit bumpy but it’s really easy driving without anything really challenging. Still good fun. 
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And wow do you get good views. Have I said that already?  Just a few times. 
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You descend to the base of the Furka and Grimsel. I was going to do the Grimsel again now but in reverse. It had started to get busy and I saw some of the same cars doing the circuit the other way round now. 
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that’s looking up to Grimsel. And then I was at the top again. 
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2 minutes ago, Dr Rock said:

An excellent day - got to watch out for 1st gen Ford Mustangs on the Furka into Andermatt...

I remember going up the Susten this time of the year and being plagued by bikers....:angry:

Yeah, it was wall to wall. There are certain types. Switzerland seems to breed thousands of the ones that think they are extras in Sons of Anarchy. What is that all about @heckschleuderer?  You could barely park at the summits there were so many of them. Wall to wall mullets, moustaches and ugly wives. Each to their own obviously. Then there are the heroes. These are ex forces, proudly wearing their “Army - retired” jackets on Dakar bikes with panniers about as wide as a small car and they think they own the road. They simply can’t comprehend that a grey 3 series can out accelerate them. And out grip them. And there are the same looking guys that want you to think they ex forces. But they are shorter, fatter and have their wives in tow. All sub-normal. 
 

And finally - getting to the point - there are the organ donors on litre sport bikes getting their knee down.  Because...

 

I had a great drive over Grimsel and down a fair way following just such a dude. I waived him past as I was in traffic and then managed to catch him and follow for quite a bit matching overtakes and picking up grip and early drive from corners to offset the power to weight deficit. Mucho fun and NSFW speeds. Still, nobody in hospital, so all good. He lost me eventually as other bikes pulled in for him and not for me. Only so much you can do. 

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SCHNITZEL ME UP BIG BOY!!

😀

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By 1230 I had 7 passes under the belt and well and truly resigned to traffic. I was making my way north and away from the high alps. I took the Alpine Panorama Straße. And it was panoramic. And very narrow. The passing bays every few hundred metres were the give away. For maybe 15 km. maybe more. 

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But is was pretty.  That parked pic was BTW my lunch stop.  It’s nuts, a snack bar and water rations.  Saving time here means I hit the hotel at about 1530 and can enjoy a beer, check messages and have a swim and sauna.  
 

And that was largely that  I meandered north for a bit, some motorway and some interminable towns, until I hit the border  same crossing as with Felix last year going the other way.  Then 30km of the B500 and I was at my hotel.  And the rain started.  But just a shower.

 

Where am I tonight?  With my people in Bernau im Schwarzwald.

 

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Just a final little update on the journey. Monday was a relaxed start, some country roads round the Schwarzwald, a little B500, some autobahn and crossing to France near Strasbourg.  Then just cruise home. Another exceptional day with the weather - 28C in France. 
 

Had a little play with an M2C in the morning and had some Young French guys filming me on the motorway in the afternoon. Good to see some car enthusiasts still around. 
 

Probably get some wrap up thoughts posted at some point.

Morning - 

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I liked this route as as way to get to the alps or back from the alps.  It uses this road and is very quiet with little traffic  

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Weather in Andermatt now!

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Just read from start to finish, thanks for taking the trouble to post. A great trip and one I hope to do one day. I had planned to take a similar trip to celebrate my 50th down to Maranello in my 308GT4 I'm restoring but that date has been and gone with the car still a shell in metal in the corner of the workshop! Perhaps the 964 would be a more suitable candidate for the trip. Here's to the return of "normal" times when we can make these trips again.

Best wishes for your move back to NZ

 

Cheers

Jon

 

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Best moment - On day 2 coming towards me was an ancient Panda 4x4 with a huge dude crammed into the drivers seat.  With him in it, I reckon it had a permanent 15 degree list, but he was also taking a RH turn, so he looked like he was cornering it on the door handle.  Despite all that, he had the presence of mind to hang a whole, huge arm out the window to give me the full thumbs up as I went the other way.  I appreciate this man's effort and style.

It was a moment that I knew @World Citizen would be particularly proud of.

These trips create memories.  Not everyone will agree and its not like Europe is outer Mongolia, but strange things happen on these trips.  The culture is different, things get done different ways, language is always a challenge for us anglo saxons, but this is the point, these interactions and frictions create indelible memories.  So, summer is gone and snow is falling, that just means the next opportunity is a winter trip...   or plan that summer trip...

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5 hours ago, Richard Bernau said:

Best moment - On day 2 coming towards me was ... a huge dude crammed into the drivers seat. 

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Heh heh. Everyday is a new day and anything can happen - drive over a rock, fuel pump goes kaputt, power slide a hairpin, road closed due to who-knows-what etc.

Good to read your adventure RB :signs118:

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20 hours ago, Ian Comerford said:

Thanks RB and on that least point, it’s in hand.  The good thing about a plan is that if something causes postponement you can always lift it and put it somewhere else in the calendar!

Good man!  If it wasn't obvious, I will unfortunately be in NZ next summer, so I will be watching with interest so I can live the road trip vicariously. 

At some point I will try to distill down a few things that went well (most of it) and a couple of things I would change doing it again.

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