Alps 2013

This report won't be as wordy as some of my past ones - I didn't keep my usual journal while on the trip. Fortunately Peter came through with some great notes to help jog my memory.

We began this ride a little earlier in the season than usual because I had some work obligations that couldn't be changed. That decision turned out to have a big impact on our choice of routes as we went along.

As much as I love the Dolomites (and I LOVE the Dolomites), we all definitely wanted to cover new ground on this trip. We narrowed it down to the Pyrenees in eastern Spain or the southern Alps in France, with France eventually being the winner. It turned out to be much more expensive to rent in France than we'd seen on previous trips, which is how we ended up going back to Moto Maier in Landshut, Germany for our bikes. This was also going to be a little longer of a trip, 12 rental days instead of 10, which affected the price even more.

Once we had Moto Maier chosen the next decision was what bikes to rent. Dave went the easy route and opted for a repeat with his Honda CBF1000F. I had rented the TDM900 last time and loved it, but wanted to try something different - and something not available in the States. Having ridden the Honda VFR1200 at Americade and fallen in love with the motor I had no trouble choosing the VFR1200X Crosstourer. Same motor (with mods) but much more upright ergos than the VFR1200 sounded like a perfect bike. Peter had the FJR1300 last trip and also went with a Crosstourer this time. Another tempting option was the Super Tenere, but after a couple of dealer test rides I found the bike adequate, but not really exciting in any way.

On the previous 2 Alps trips I took on the bulk of the route planning - it's something I love doing, so I had no problem with it. For this trip we decided to do things differently and have each of us be responsible for different sections of the trip. With the exception of a couple days in Andermatt we'd be covering nearly all new ground. Dave took on the task of getting us from the bike rental dealer in Landshut into France over the course of 3 days. Peter was "assigned' France, and since I was familiar with Andermatt I took that section and the quick return to Landshut. While there was some back-and-forth with route sharing my basic incination was to let Dave and Peter have complete free reign over their sections. Pick some nice roads boys, and I'll follow along.

Let's begin.