Alps 2011 – SKCC Possee on Tour!
Well I’m back, and what an incredible awe inspiring trip we’ve had, absolutely amazing and something I would recommend others to get out and do – incredible.
Some of the Posse are still out there and I’ll explain why later, but heres my report….
Day 1 –
Healthcheck – My cold was starting to come out, big sore throat – not good
So the alarm went at 2 something in the morning and I made my way to meet Kenton and Bryan at Heathfield, both were in position and ready to go so we drove to Dover to pick up with Paul, Linda and Rob, also joining us was Rob’s friends Steve and Lee in their white Porsche.
Full of excitement we caught the ferry and a few hours later we were in France heading towards the Motorail station some 190 miles away. Unfortunately on route Rob found himself towards the back of the group and ran out of petrol, luckily Steve had his phone switched on and a rescue mission was put into action.
Now the train was a bit of a shock, all 6 of us (1 of them Linda) were herded into a very small cabin and told this was our accommodation, we weren’t impressed as clearly there was no space and with Paul and my farting problems it was always going to be a struggle – anyway a quick bribe later and we managed to persuade the porter into letting us have 2 extra couchette’s.
Day 2 – Monaco – Oh my god !!
Healthcheck – Cold is really streaming, using lots of tissues!
We arrive in Allesandria in 34 degrees, a quick car check after unloading from the train and were off, as were driving through the Italian countryside I cant help thinking in disbelief that Im finally here – this really is the stuff of dreams, the roads are already amazing as we head down to Monaco, once were off the main drag we all started to speed up and looking around all I could see were smiles.
Monaco was amazing, we drove the circuit a number of times (Rob was leading and he kept making Satnav mistakes which took us through the ‘tunnel’ a number of times!!) and then onto the campsite for the night.
Day 3 – Lake Como
Healthcheck – Nose no longer running, just an annoying cough
The countryside from Monaco up to Lake Como is stunning, we started the day doing the twistys at a good paste, they just went on and on and on until we suddenly found the road blocked, apparently a biker was down and it was serious, lots of emergency vehicles were flying up the hill and also the air rescue helicopter, we never heard exactly what happened but I assume he didn’t make it – it was a bit of a wakeup call for all of us to be a bit careful.
After lunch Rob had the first ‘car problem’ with a broken alternator bracket, we found a local garage who welded it all up and we were back on the road.
Day 4 – The Alps, stage 1
Healthcheck – Cold completely dried up and gone
Incredible, still in the upper 80’s, T shirts on, driving in full blat mode and snow all around us!!, our first taster of an Alps Pass was the Sustan Pass (or something like that) and OMG it was incredible, clearly this is where all the best tarmac is in the world.
I had done 5 stages for the 3 days we were to be in the Alps, no campsites had been planned and the plan was to drive till we were knackered and stop, we loaded stage 2 and decided to camp in a small village called Innertkirchin
Day 5 – The Alps
Healthcheck – all ok
Leaving the campsite we were right on the Passes, no time to warm up properly as our first Pass was the Grimsel Pass, twist after twist after twist, then we recreated the Sean Connery scene as we descended the FurkaPass, a coffee stop at the bottom then we climbed the FurkaPass, then my favourite of all the Nefenen Pass – for me the best one of the whole trip, it just went on and on and the scenery incredible. Stage 3 was loaded and the knackered meter was reading high so we found another campsite to spend the night
Day 6 – The Alps and the first rain
Healthcheck – Rob and Kenton are complaining of sore throats
The landscape today was slightly different, it seemed more ‘moon like’, I was quite excited because today we were going to do the Stelvio, I cant remember the name of the first pass but the second was the Bormio and again it was just an incredible descent, in the village of Bormio the blatiquette rules failed and me, Kenton, Paul and Linda lost the rest of the group, we headed into the town for petrol whilst the others thought we had headed back up the pass, Once we had filled with petrol it started to rain, a lot, thunder, lightning the lot, turning round to find the others we found them half way up the Bormio in a warm cafe where we all took shelter as the rain and mist took hold, an hour later we were off – still raining – and hitting the Stelvio, which was the biggest disappointment ever, the road was crap – potholes filled with temporary tarmac and every biker in the world making it a very slow descent, the rain didn’t help and to be honest I was glad I was at the bottom.
Now we had a problem, the others that hadn’t been at Bormio had hardly any fuel, I was with Bryan he was running on fumes but a couple of Satnav moments meant he found himself alone and he’s car conked out, luckily Paul wasn’t far behind and a can was emptied into the tank.
The next breakdown was on my car – in the middle of an overtake my clutch cable broke, a quick temporary repair in the layby and we were off again.
Day 7 – There’s a pikey in the camp!
Healthcheck – Steve and Lee are also getting runny noses
Thursday saw us heading North of the Alps, still the roads incredible and still the smiles on the faces were telling the story, the weather had turned though and we had a mixture of rain and sun which is a real nightmare trying to work out what to wear.
At the campsite at Tubingen we befriended a drunk German and bantered with him in his broken English about how much of a better nation we are, he looked at Rob and asked “Vy are vou so brown?” to which we said he was an illegal immigrant from Romania, our friend said “Ah, vy see, vou mean he is a gypsy?” – So Rob is now known as the Posse Pikey !
Day 8 – Decisions and separations and things go a bit wrong!
Healthcheck – Kenton has lost his voice, Rob, steve and Lee are streaming with cold
The roads were levelling and people were getting tired, in the Swiss national park we paid a Toll and drove, in my opinion, the best road in the world (I’ll find out the name of it later), me and Kenton blatted the 22km of smooth twisty tarmac that I felt surpassed the Nurbergring adventure a year ago, after that though the roads became a bit more sedate.
We’d made the decision to change the routes slightly, instead of staying at the Ring we were going to go straight to Spa and then try to get home Saturday, that meant missing out an ITN and shooting 160km’s up the motorway to make up some time.
40 miles from the end point me and Rob were together on the Mway, we decide to pull into a layby for a quick rest and as we do Rob drives over a bit of metal that completely slices the tyre in half, parking up quickly we both run to the side of the motorway to flag Paul who is the only one with a spare wheel, 5 minutes later we see him approaching and frantically waved at him to stop but although he saw us he was in the fast lane and kept going.
45 minutes later we managed to call Kenton who had just arrived at the ring with Paul, clearly a strategy was needed and we needed to get Paul’s wheel back to us, decisions were made for Kenton, Steve and Lee to head back to us leaving Paul, Linda and Kenton at the Ring (which explains Marks Ring shot), by the time the wheel arrived it was getting late and hammering down with rain, we made the decision to do a couple of hours driving towards Calaise and spend the night whilst the other group headed to Spa.
As we got closer to Calais the temptation to just keep going got greater – and so we did, as we arrived Kenton’s car was clearly not happy as it had been burning oil all the trip, a check on the dipstick and there was none in it, the bottom end knocking badly I gave him a spare litre I had to get him home.
As the ferry arrived in Dover Rob’s car wouldn’t start, completely broken down, Kenton left and I said I would stay with Rob until he knew what was going to happen and then I would go the same route as K to make sure he hadn’t stopped anywhere. Rob had no choice but call the recovery – unbelievable, 1900 miles and it breaks on the ferry!!
I eventually got home and so did Kenton in the early hours of this morning – at least I have the weekend to recover
Summary – From my perspective, an incredible journey, absolutely unbelievable, 6 cars built in sheds and nothing major (until back at Dover), if your reading this and you get the chance then do it – I will hold these memories for the rest of my life.
Hopefully the others will arrive home safely today