SKCC Does the Alps…….again…….
SKCC To the Alps via Munich and Nice…
For the past 2 years Tony B has planned and led trips to the Alps and the Pyrennes, each trip has been epic in it;s own way – Alps 1 for being the first, Pyrennes for having being able to build on the first years knowledge and then this year – the Alps Revisited. What made this one different from a planning perspective was the use of a car transporter to save 2 days+ worth of driving – an idea that worked out very neatly.
Having organized a fair few trips and events myself i know the amount of effort that goes into such an expedition, along with the pressure of feeling that you’ve got to get it right for all concerned. What follows is a brief write up by Tony himself, which hopefully will give a flavour of their fun……i’m sure the others on the trip will want to pubicly say a resounding ‘Thanks’ to Tony for the days of planning that went into this……
so i hand you over to ‘Tony B’.
Well, wow, what can I say – what a trip, what great company, what great roads and what a great giggle along the way, out of all the Euro trips ive done (this now being the 3rd) I think this one has to be the best, mainly because of the sheer hardcore factor of “being on it” for 8 solid days, ok, here we go, the official report.
Day 1 – Munich to Zell Am See
Arriving at Munich in heat and sunshine, this really is the way to do it – a short flight from Gatwick to see the cars waiting for us on the transporter, what a way to do things!!, everyone was full of anticipation and Lee quietly turned to me and confessed to being very nervous about the whole thing, i must admit to being a tad worried about Lee in the mountains after he had backed off on the UK road trip but If I was to give an award to the person who enhanced his driving skills the most over the week it has to go to him, by the end of the trip he was driving with much better smoothness, maybe because of the banter that kinda found its way towards him all the time!
The traffic from Munich wasnt great, we knocked of the first 50 miles or so down the motorway before we came accross a big traffic jam and decided to go off route to lunch, at lunch it became apparent that Ash had a big problem as his engine was knocking badly, after a brief stop at a garage to check for parts for Ash’s car we cracked on to the castle where we had the 2nd breakdown, this time Crunchies fuel pipe union had split which we repaired with a bit of HP hosing.
Camping in the tents that night at Zell Am See and a very good BBQ by a lake, almost a perfect start but Ash’s car was a big worry.
Day 2 – Zell Am See to Haiming – via the Grossglockner Alpine pass
Chris L had bought a copy of EVO at Gatwick which contained a write up of the “best road in the world”, the Grossglockner, so he was looking forward to this as much as me, the rain from Friday PM had dried up and we hit the roads a little later than we wanted because Ash and Chris R didnt want to get out of the tent they were sharing (young love or something!!), the road was fantastic, sharp hairpins and sweeping curves, then onto the Stallar Sattel where we drove through a gorge cut into the snow, surreal blatting on dry raods with 15 foot snow walls either side (wait for the video).
At the foot of the Stallar Kenton did a “Paul”, this time with a Lambo where the pair of them flew past traffic and bends for about 15miles with me close behind, I think the Lambo owner was really peed off he couldnt shake him off.
We arrived at the campsite with everyone commenting how fantastic the day had been, but we had heard that Chris R had broke his prop shaft just after lunch and had been recovered to a garage.
Day 3 – Haiming to Bormio
Chris R had arrived by taxi in the early hours and he and Ash had decided to stay at the campsite till Monday to try and fix Ash’s car and get back to see if they can fix Chris’s, of course that didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted as reality struck and ultimately Chris trip was over and the pair of them limped to Nice in Ash’s for the rest of the holiday.
We on the other hand hit the roads to the 2nd Castle where I think the sticker wars began, the challeng of the trip became who could get the most stickers (you want to see my car at the moment!!), then we hit the mountain roads, OMG!!, one particular road I was blatting so fast, overtaing everything in my way when we suddenly past a group of police that had been watching everything accross the valley, as we past they looked at me and just gave a nod of approval – fantastic!.
Just before the ascent to the Stelvio I had a major breakdown when my oil sensor contraption snapped off and shed about 2ltrs of oil all over by car, thankfully it hit the exhaust and started smoking which alerted me to the problem, the “adaptor” had snapped in the block so Kenton towed me to a nearby campsite where we stayed and got a local garage to mend it in the morning.
Day 4 Bormio to Airolo
Car fixed, the Stelvio beckoned, and this time we managed to get the webcam piccy (cheers Mark), after the Stelvio we went down the Bormio pass and started the ITN we were meant to start if I hadnt had the breakdown the previous night, this meant we had to go up the Bormio pass again but at the top we realised the Umbrail pass was closed – so, and we really didnt mind, we had to drive down the Bormio yet again and find another way round.
Lunch was at Davos and shortly after leaving Crunchie had a clutch failure which unfortunately put him out, we cracked on after spending a bit of time making sure Paul was ok and about 30 miles from the end I had a complete failure of the electrical system which turned out to be the small “Sierra” connector behind the ignition barrel, that fixed and getting late me and K did the Ober pass and lightning speeds, probably the fastest and most enjoyable road of the whole trip to get to the hotel!
Day 5 -Airolo to Airolo
Crunchi Paul and Crunchie Alex, along with Mattijs rotated the co pilot roles in mine, Kentons and Chris L’s cars today, the Furka was the first pass – it was closed but we went round the route Baree and hit the top where we couldnt get down the Grimsell because that really was covered in snow, so we did a U turn and tried the Sustan, which was also closed, we aborted the trip to the Eiger as we just couldnt get west so re did the Ober and stopped at a resteraunt where we met a gorgeous Swiss/dutch waitress with huge boobs that we all fantasised about driving over !!!
Back at the hotel a p!ssed up Paul told us the 1st and 2nd best jokes in the world!! (ill save those for another day)
Day 6 – Airolo to Aosta
A quieter day in terms of mountain roads but some real beautiful twisty stuff with exotic plats all in flower along the route, Lee at this stage was our spearhead and clearing the roads as we came along behind. We bet up with Bob at the lunch stop and the evening banter was directed at Paul tonight with most of us agreeing that the Westy was probably faster now it was back on the transporter than when Paul was actually behind the wheel, we also agreed that the FW of FW400 didnt actually stand or feather weight!!
Day 7 Aosta to Vinadio
Fantastic Cols!!, scorchio weather, tea shirts, shorts, driving great roads with snow all around, how can it get better!!, unfortunatley for me the hot weather started my serious overheating problems, the car basically gave up at one point as it got just too hot and as a result I get the award for the most “unreliable” car of the trip (permanent breakdowns dont count).
About 20 miles (and 25 minutes) from the campsite K, Chris L, Bob and me hit a closed Col due to snow, we put the roadblock in the Satnav and it changed to 133 miles and just short of 5 hours, Lee and Paul were already at the campsite so we made some phone calls and decided to camp 50 miles into Fridays route, which was still 2 and a half hours more for us, and 1 and a half more for Lee and Paul.
Day 8 – Vinadio to Nice via Monaco.
Interesting start to the day, the nice lady that owned the campsite (who wasnt really a great looker) wanted a piccy of the cars as we left, I leapt out of mine and told her to get in so I could take a piccy of her in my car, as she sank into my driver seat her leg got caught outside and she ended up falling in the car with her legs wide open, and yes youve geussed it she wasnt wearing any underwear, she had the hairiest fanny Ive seen for years, infact it looked like Lees head down there – poor lady!
I limped my car mostly today because of the overheating problems, at lunch we met back up with Ash and Chris R, we then trundled off to Monaco before finishing at Nice where we said our farewells to Bob and put the 5 cars left back on the transporter before flying home.
What a trip, what an adventure, Im absolutely exhausted but ecstatic that the trip was accomplished, my trip counter read 1700 miles in total.