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Around the Pyrenees


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#1 teerex51

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:46 AM

In a few weeks from now we'll start on our major road trip this year. We've planned this since the inception of our Italian Forum last year and it looks like it'll be a winner.

The Pyrenees mountain range is the natural boundary separating SW France from the Iberian peninsula. It's a beautiful scenery with lots of twisty roads and relatively little traffic.

Because we only have 8 days, we plan on arriving in Spain by ship from the Italian port of Genoa. We've booked accommodation on a large cruise-ferry and we'll sure enjoy the 20 hour boat ride to Southern Spain.



From Barcelona (our port of disembarkation) we'll head NW in the direction of the mountain range (on the map it virtually coincides with the yellow national border between Spain and France).



(please disregard the numbers on the map)

We will then follow the foothills of the Pyrenees reaching the famous Spanish city of Pamplona. (That's where they let the bulls run free through the citry streets... ohmy.gif ). From there we'll reach the Atlantic coast and cross into France, heading for the resort town of Biarritz, near Bayonne.

From Biarritz, we'll head on down the other side of the mountain range (this time favoring higher elevations) and we'll leave the main roads for the twisties, following the contours of the Pyrenees Eastern reaches.



These roads rank among the best mountain routes in Europe, without the heavy traffic you are bound to encounter when riding the Dolomites or the Swiss Alps.



We'll then head SE to the Mediterranean shore and the beautiful Camargue coastal flats, to head inland again and hit the Rhone River valley and the historical city of Orange.



From Orange, our itinerary will take us due east to the city of Toulon and the famed Cote d'Azur, with its red-rock formations and beautiful roads. The plan is to avoid riding there on a weekend, since these heavenly roads turn into hell overnight.



Our hometown, Milan, is only a few hundred kilometers away and we have a choice between following the coast to the Italian border (see map) or heading North from Cannes, while still in the heart of the Cote d'Azur, and hitting the majestic Alpine passes that separate Italy from France, which lie roughly 60 miles SW of the city of Turin.



This is an open invitation for some of you guys to join us. We're leaving on June 30 and returning on July 8.
You might want to join a group of FJR riders who know their way around Europe... wink.gif . If you end up renting another type of bike (typically a Beemer) you're still welcome. We'll just have to wait for you...


Stef
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#2 wheatonFJR

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 07:08 AM

WOW! What a trip.

I gather you (& your FJR) are all healed up now and wifey is feeling okay...

Maybe someday for our wedding anniversary we will be heading to Europe & taking you up on your tourmaster capabilities... smile.gif

#3 teerex51

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:02 AM

QUOTE(wheatonFJR @ May 2 2006, 11:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
WOW! What a trip.

I gather you (& your FJR) are all healed up now and wifey is feeling okay...

Maybe someday for our wedding anniversary we will be heading to Europe & taking you up on your tourmaster capabilities... smile.gif


We'll be ready by the time the ship sails biggrin.gif I'm driving my cage already. Bike'll follow reeeeal soon.

As for your Europe trip just give us a few weeks' notice and you're on!

Stef

PS: Well done, bro. You picked up Larry's signature. You da man cool.gif
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#4 twowheelnut

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:25 AM

You Bastard! angry.gif







Have fun! wink.gif
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#5 donaldb

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:16 AM

DA-UM I'm envious! You guys have a blast and ride safe!
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#6 Rentaroo

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 03:43 PM

Aaaaggghhhhh......my FJR will not arrive in Italy until mid July (along with all my other "household" goodies)......and I have to visit Germany for some training and such, creating a double-whammy against making this ride...

Well....there is always next year!

#7 SkooterG

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 04:51 PM

Oh Stef, you baaaastard!

My god, that looks just heavenly, the trip of a lifetime. I WILL do something like that someday. Really wish I could join you this time.

Glad to hear you are healing up. Have a GREAT trip!
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#8 bikerjazz

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 05:04 PM

looks like a simply outstanding trip. cool.gif

#9 orestes

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 10:28 PM

Stef

Looks a good trip and I'm sure you'll have lots of fun. The D918 SE from St Jean de Luz is a great road and takes you over some of the high passes used by the Tour de France. I would be very tempted to join you but I'll be leading a party to the Austrian Tirol that week and staying in Landeck. I have several routes planned into Italy, one over the Stelvio to Bormio then onto the Mortorolo and Gavia. Another will be over the Timmelsjoch towards Merano and Bolzano. I'll also be heading to the French Alps and the Gorge du Verdon in September, maybe we can meet up one day then.

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#10 teerex51

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 10:00 AM

Thanks for your comments folks. Anytime you're planning to be in this neck of the woods, get in touch and we'll get together.

Rentaroo, don't worry...we'll have some good outings planned for September. We might re-do our Swiss Pass Special (BTW, I've just returned from this 2-day rollercoaster all around Central Switzerland).



This here is Albula Pass (North of St.Moritz), elevation 2300 meters, at about 4PM yesterday June 10.

And there's always next year as you said...

Stef
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#11 kaitsdad

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 11:17 AM

Darnit !!!

I have GOT to hit the lotto !!!! blink.gif


Nice trip Stef, glad to hear you're up and about, and close to saddling up again !!

Wish I was there. Enjoy your trip !!

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#12 Groo

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 11:22 AM

Quite the vacation Stef... I'm envious, with only the promise of my sojourn to Reno through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada for WFO to keep me from diving into depression... wink.gif

This time, keep the shiny side up... and have a great trip!
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#13 Mike-H

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 03:50 PM

Have a great time Stef....& stay safe....(& yes I am envious).... biggrin.gif

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#14 GunMD

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 04:26 PM

That's it. Italians are officially banned from posting pictures on the grounds that they make the rest of us really jealous.


Stef, I gotta figure out how to visit your part of the globe.

#15 teerex51

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:05 PM

OK, we're back! biggrin.gif

Left on June 30th as planned and sailed on the overnite ferry to Barcelona, Spain.

We rode on to the Basque city of Pamplona and visited the Hoz de Arbayun, Spain's answer to the Grand Canyon.



We then started to climb the Spanish side of the mighty Pyrenees.


At 6,000 ft elevation the clouds came and went, mostly below us...



but in a few moments we were in them and visibility was virtually zero..



A long way down twisty roads (mostly bad on the French side angry.gif ) we wound up in the magic medieval city of Carcassonne, like a Camelot movie set...



And on we rode, through the lavender fields of French Provence



all the way to the blue waters of the Med and to an almost forgotten memorial dry.gif .



US troops landed at Le Dramont on Aug 15, 1944 with a view to relieving pressure from the US, Canadian and British armies that had landed in Normandy on June 06. Their campaign, however, was pretty uneventful and sometime described as a wine-tasting tour of France. ohmy.gif

This Higgins boat (an LCI) sits in a parking lot on the Dramont Bay near Cannes and in the summer it's almost hidden by the number of cars and minivans parked there by vacationers.



Well, Chris and Teerex say goodbye now. Time to unpack and run the washing machine... rolleyes.gif

Stef
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#16 Rogue

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:28 PM

Nice pics and great to see you two back up and in the saddle! yahoo.gif
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#17 twowheelnut

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:32 PM

+1!
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#18 Groo

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 01:56 PM

Looks like a fun trip Steph... Hey! The Spanish Grand Canyon has trees! Ours is mostly rock... laugh.gif
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#19 Bike Effects

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 07:12 PM

Thanks for the pics, Stef. Glad you had a safe trip.

#20 zorkler

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:46 PM

Great to see the 2 of you up and at it again !!!!!! .
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