by Sandy (Coyote)
In September 2000 my husband and myself took a motorcycle riding tour of
France, Switzerland and Italy. On our arrival in Nice, France we had a
few hours to get settled into our rooms and meet some of the other
riders. Then after a great French lunch, we headed out to pick up our
bikes. I thought I was to be riding behind my husband on a Road King.
When we arrived at the bike pick-up to my surprise there was a 2000 H-D
Deuce waiting for me. My husband knew how bad I really wanted to do this
ride on my own bike, and had surprised me with the Deuce. We rode the
bikes on the streets just outside of town and then back into town to the
hotel as a test of our riding skills. Everyone passed and were ready to
get the trip started.
Our second day of riding, we followed our guide through the streets of
Nice along the French Riviera. Yes the gals do go topless there. The men
had a hard time keeping their eyes on the road on that part of the ride.
The roads took us into Monte Carlo, there we visited the Queens Palace
of Monaco and the church were the Queen is buried. There were casino's
everywhere and large yachts in the harbor. For lunch we sat in a street
side cafe much like the ones you see in the movies. We then rode in the
hills around the cities back into Nice for a great dinner and a good
nights sleep before starting for the Alps the next day.
We started each day with a 7:30 breakfast, 8:30 briefing of the days
ride and would leave by 9:30 not to arrive at the next nights hotel
until 6:30 - 7:00. Our meals were all great then we would start the next
day the same. This third day of riding we left Nice behind us and headed
for the mountains. Some of the cities we visit in route are Grasse (most
of the French perfumes are made here), Castellane, Comps S Artuby, Pont
DE Soleils and ending our day in Digne Les Bains for a nights stay. The
highlight of the day was a 60 mile ride around the Grand Canyon du
Verdon. It's much smaller than our Grand Canyon, but has more than 500
turns and a great deal more greenery. Another highlight was our lunch.
Part of this tour included a caravan of vehicles that followed us. One
was a bus for those who tired of bike riding and wished to be driven
instead. No one in our group took them up on this, we all rode the
entire trip. The other two vehicles were a van with two extra bikes in
case of problems with someone's ride, or if someone chose to be driven.
Then there was the chuck wagon with it's own five star chef. He cooked
us a lunch that we hadn't expected. We had grilled Chicken, Salmon, two
pasta's, two different types of salad, breads, cheese's, gourmet cookies
and candies. A great meal to be having roadside, with the best scenery
you could imagine!
The fourth day was long but filled with lost of beautiful country side
and roads that allowed us to travel more swiftly. We traveled through
the cities of Sisteron, Gap, Grenoble, Geneve and Annecy. These routes
are filled with history, they are the roads that Napoleon had traveled.
The city of Sisteron is a medieval city and some of the streets in Gap
date back to around 14BC. We all remember what happened in Grenoble. In
Annecy we spent two nights with a day of rest. But did we rest?
O.K. I know you all are hungry for more, so here goes!
The fourth day was suppose to be our rest day, although most of us
didn't choose to rest. Annecy was a beautiful city, our hotel set right
on a glass like lake with parks all around it. The Country side in that
area was just as beautiful. I didn't tell you earlier, but about half
the riders on this trip were riding BMW RT's and LT's. Us Harley riders
had been giving them a bit of a hard time, since most of these same
riders had Harley's back home. So on our rest day they wanted to switch
bikes with us and give the Harley's a try. We agreed, so today we took
out the BMW's. My husband took the LT and I took one of the RT's. Felt
strange at first, riding position was unlike what I was use to. All in
all they are great riding bikes and we would have to agree that these
bikes were probably more suited for the riding we were doing here in the
Alps. Being Harley riders heart and soul, we are glad we did this trip
at least this one time on a Harley. On our days ride we saw lots of
beautiful country side and small farms just on the outskirts of the
city. Much like the North GA mountains, just chalet type housing. The
ride around the lake near the hotel was just as beautiful but a bit more
On our fifth day we left Annecy and headed out for Zermont, Switzerland.
The cities we visit today are Chamonix, travel through the Rhone Valley
into Tasch and then into Zermont. In the ski resort of Chamonix we can
see the enormous dome of Mont Blanc, of which the expensive ink pen gets
it's name. As we pass through the Rhone Valley the high mountains around
the valley are dotted with chalets and old style farm houses. Almost
every chalet has window boxes filled with bright colored flowers. A very
pretty site. Then we arrive in Tasch were we leave our bikes parked in a
secure garage for the night. We take an electric vehicle into Zermont,
no gasoline vehicles are allowed in this ski resort. From our hotel room
here we can see the spectacular Matterhorn. The sights today are too
many to describe. One sight that comes to mine was while traveling from
Annecy into Chamonix on the autobahn (much the same as our freeways here
in the states, in looks and speed) as we were making this big sweeping
curve and rounded it, there was the most incredible site right in front
of us. Beautiful tall green mountains capped off with pure white snow!
We would have needed a helmet cam to capture this wonderful view. As it
is, it will have to remain in our memories.
Our sixth and last day of riding, we leave Zermont and head out for
Lugano. Today our cities include Simplon and the Simplon Pass into
Milano, Italy. The mountain riding is still fabulous and we have lunch
in a great little Italian restaurant by the shore of Lake Lago Maggiore.
Our ride then takes us out by the shores of the lake back into
Switzerland and on to Lugano. Here we are to spend one last light before
flying on to Zurich for our trip home. This was truly one trip we
weren't ready to end, but we all must come home sometime!
Should any of you wish to take a trip like this contact Edelweiss Bike
Travel. Or check out their web site at
do tours here in the US and World wide.
Be careful out there and ride safe.
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