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European Alps - The big loop

Introduction:

It all started with the book „Traumreisen in den Alpen“ (Dreamtravels in the Alps), the route described there just wouldn’t let me stop dreaming of riding that Alpine loop.
3 other friends started to apply “pressure” as they grew sick of talking about it and the start was set finally set for the 18 July 2000.
Bike packed and ready to go by the previous evening, the meet-up was organized for 9am the next morning. Lothar had realized the worn rear tyre on the K1100LT (owner: Dietmar) ... so our first “stop” was the local Sonthofen Tyre-Dealer who luckily came good on the spot ... fresh rubber for the LT and finally we’re ready to go.

The description of the route follows to large part of the route depicted in the book.

1. day:

On a roughly eastern tack it’s through Margarethen, Beilenberg and Altstädten to Fischen and across the Riedbergpass (1420 m).
Past Hittisau, Großdorf and Schwarzenberg towards the Hochtannberg-Pass. Connesseurs turn left at Bezau to Reuthe, Bizau and Schnepfau

In Au it’s off to Damüls and across the Furkajoch (1761m) to Rankweil.

Crossing into Switzerland, Meiningen isn’t far....Altstätten the next target.
All of a sudden Dietmar is missing....returning a short stretch shows that the Bimmer had made itself known with a horrible racket from the rear end...and something serious had given up the ghost. Why the hell is it always the Bimmers on our rides?
Nothing for it but to call for help, the ADAC-AutoClub points us towards a dealer in St, Gallen, 25km away.
Dietmar climbs back on and nurses the bike into town...by now the shaft-drive seal has packed up as well, the whole rear is coated in oil.

The diagnosis is a busted rear wheel bearing and there’s no way to have that fixed on the spot. How Dietmar got the bike to St. Gallen is still baffling.
Leaving him behind, we organize the meet-up for the following night in Lungern (at Lake Lungern)...if the BM is a goer by then.

Lothar, Werner and I keep going through Teufen to Appenzell and Urnäsch.
Across the Schwägalp (1278m) (at Säntis Mountain) and on to Wattwil. The Rickenpass (794m) is a small hop, Kaltbrunn and Siebnen follow...., then the twisties across the Sattelegg (1190m).
Ending the day at Lake Sihi , we’re pitching the tent.
Setting it up in the backyard before the trip, it had looked fine to accomodate the 3 of us...hmmmmthe damn thing seemed to have shrunk in the meantime....no way to cover all 3 of us and all of our gear...Lothar decides to leave his stuff outside, praying for a dry night.

1. day routing:

2. day:

Along the shores of Lake Sihl it’s off to Oberiberg und zum Ibergeregg (1406m).
A left-turn in Schwyz stes up a little „Extra“: the road through the Muota Valley and via the Pragelpass (1550m) to Lake Klöntaler. A beautiful stretch of road, and very little known which is closed off on weekends due to being very narrow...there’s very little space for 2 cars at once.
After the Cappuccino-break it’s past Glarus and across the Klausenpass (1948m) to Altdorf. An absolut MUST-DO while in the area is the spectacular lap of Sustenpass (2224m), Grimselpass (2165m) and Furkapass (2431m), no surprise, that this was next on the list for us. Andermatt back to Altdorf...then followed by a leisurly cruise around Lake Vierwaldstätter-See.
Via Brunnen, Vitznau, Weggis, Küssnacht and Meggen to Luzern. Along the way, Werner’s starter motor started to play up...a problem that was onmly finally fixed upon our return to Sonthofen.
Traffic in Luzern proved dense and hectic, time to move on.
Via Horw, Hergiswil and Alpnach to Sarnen on the shores of Lake Sarnen, a short hop to Lake Lungern, luckily meeting up with Dietmar again, the BMW fixed and ready to rock again.
He’d already pitched the tent...and as agreed, a bit out of the way, being the Kingsize-snorer that he is J. At least he makes more than up for it by being the best chef around and even carries ample provisions on the BMW.
Wursts and hams, honey, jam, garlic-sauce, coffee...hell, even herbs and spices of all sorts, this is a travelling kitchen. And it doesn’t stop there...add to that pots, pans and all sorts of utensils...really goes without saying, doesn’t it?
Just the honey had decided to go “‚walkabouts“, coating the floor of the pannier in sticky goo... The camp also turned out to be cheapest of the whole trip....as the place was „closed“ on Wednesday and the reception opens at 9am in the morning, we finished up staying the night for nix.

2. day routing:

3. day:

First up, the Brünigpass (1008m) to Brienz on Lake Brienz. Passing a workshop along the way, Werner ducked in to find a possible fix for the starter motor problems, but it turned out that they only dealt with small bikes like Mofas and Mopeds.
But we follwed the recommendation of the owner to check with the Honda dealer in Hofstetten. The place was a bit hard to find but things were done very professionally and methodically. Despite all the checks, the actual problem in the alternator wasn’t found, though...Interlaken was next, for a left-turn into the heart of the Bernese Highlands and Grindelwald.
What a place...standing below the Eiger North-Face one realizes how HUGE and intimidating it really is and it’s easy to understand the „fatal“-attraction of this wall-of-rock to climbers from all around the globe.
Through town and uphill, until the road is closed off, but the Upper and Lower Grindelwald Glaciers are magnificent and shouldn’t be missed.
Back down the valley to Lauterbrunnen and the famous Staubbach-Waterfalls – then to the end of the Trog-Valley to Stechelberg, the start of the Schilthorn Cablecar.
No way we’d miss the ‚Rotating Restaurant“ up top, the focal place of the James Bond 007-thriller „ In Her Majesty’s Secret Service !

Back to Interlaken and up the small road towards Beatenberg. Turning off along the way to Habkern, the road seemingly ends....BUT....for the one goin the know, there’s a little toll-road to Beatenberg, followed by yet another tiny toll-road to Sigriswil , just above Lake Thun, a highly-recommendable backroad-alternative.
To top it off, the views onto the lake and into the glacier-topped Bernese peaks are magnificent: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau nearly close enough to touch.

From Thun via Spiez into the Simmen Valley....Erlenbach, Zweisimmen,Saanenmöser (1279m) to Saanen. Turning left, the small road leads through Gstaad and Gsteig to the Col du Pillon (1546m). Across the top is Les Diableres the well-known winter resort. Another left turn across the Col de la Croix (1778m) leads to Villar-sur-Ollon.

Letting the bikes roll downhill we turned onto the small camp area, our target for the day. Brilliant roads, brilliant scenery and brilliant weather to boot...

3. day routing:

Get out on page 2 of the report


Unterkunftsempfehlung:
Hotel Schwarzer Adler (Tannheim)

Italien: Hotel Cristallo (Levico Terme)