This year’s tour was rather short, about 3 weeks. The name of the tour was a play on the title of the Hobbit movie: “An Unexpected Journey”, but since I was less surprised than Bilbo that my journey happened it was “A Very Expected Journey”.
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This journey started with temperamental weather, changing from cold to warm and then back to cold again followed by a beautiful crisp evening. I rode N 211 for most of the time, it is a beautiful road and it had hardly any traffic at all. Apparently, the night before there had been a hailstorm in Solsona, I’m glad I missed it. In fact, I was very lucky because I had just missed some very heavy rain as well. In the mountains you have to be prepared for anything!
I rode across the Alps and into France via Bourge Madam, the same way I entered Spain some years ago, when I brought the Ducati down, so there was a sudden pang of nostalgia.
I rode onwards through the Rhone Alps following the scenic route all the way into Switzerland and enjoying myself tremendously riding past Chamonix to Matigny and onwards. Surprisingly enough, the roads got better on the Swiss side and the petrol cheaper.
I rode the Mosses mountain pass and arrived at Guyeres in time for lunch. The plan was to eat at the HR Giger bar but the bar, I must say, was more for enjoying the ambience than eating so after a coffee I went to the museum. I’m happy to have seen the museum but the alien designs are among the least weird that Giger has done and somehow I lost my appetite in there.
It was fantastic arriving at the campsite. I had my friends waiting for me, fetching me beer and helping me to set up the tent, all in good time for the welcome dinner. The following day we went riding, a little leisurely ride in the surroundings. It was so enjoyable to ride last and just follow my friends, I haven’t done that since last year and I miss it. Riding alone can get lonely. The weather was perfect and the roads and views were great. Switzerland is a beautiful country!
The WIMA Rally was situated in the area of Val-de-Travers, in the French speaking part of Switzerland and our camp was on the sports ground in the village of Couvet.
We had lovely weather, better than I could imagine after last year’s nightmare ride in the cold and rainy Susten pass. For a couple of nights I did sleep with woollen socks and thermal underwear, but it was still fine. And if it gets chilly in the evening you can always warm up with a hot foot-bath as these ladies did.
It is a shame that I forgot to take a picture of my tent, it was probably the smallest one. I was lucky with neighbours though, they were beter equipped and could provide shelter for both sun and rain as well as cooking equipment. We prepared most of our meals ourselves, which was nice and saved lots of money. The only thing I remembered to bring was my spork, originally intended to eat beans from the can.
One of my favourite parts of the WIMA rally is the parade, everyone gets their bikes ready with flags and other national accessories and we go for a short ride together.
At the end of the parade we got fruit and buns and I spent some time admiring the other members’ bikes.
Lack of height has never been my problem. This Japanese lady amazed us all with her skills balancing the, for her, too tall bike. But no need to worry, she is a rider-instructor.
Apart from riding, there are always plenty of social events taking place at a WIMA rally. Although I seem not to have snapped any photos of fun & games I did capture the food which was absolutely outstanding and both nutritious & delicious!
The rally is over, time to go. After a WIMA Rally it is nice to get some rest so I stopped by at La Grand Chaume for a recovery before continuing the ride down to Madrid. The return was very hot so it was a clever thing to do. Besides, I love this place.
I kept soaking my jacket in water to keep cool, in addition, I had to use both Coca-Cola and dextrosol to keep up the concentration, but nevermind, it was a beautiful ride. The landscape was changing as I rode south, some bits were on quite a high altitude, it was green fields that later changed for more brown fields and later forest. I passed many pretty villages so if I ever move to France I have plenty of places to choose from. I stayed the night in a hostel up in the mountains, a lovely place next to a castle. It had a bar where the locals got together for a beer in the evening or a coffee in the morning, which gave it a nice atmosphere. I was able to park my bike on the castle grounds to keep it out of sight, the owner of the hostel insisted. Very nice of her, not that I can understand what could happen in this tiny village that can’t in Madrid 🙂 Nevertheless, I always appreciate the concern about my bike.
I returned to Spain via Andorra trying to repeat last year’s great shopping success – which completely failed. Well, I never was one for shopping.