Euro Road Trip Report 1

Back in the UK with a lot of stats under tyre rubber. 2,500 miles driving across England, France and Italy. Over 11,500m climbing and 19,000m descent on the bike and a successful completion of the Haute Route by bike with extra days riding in Engleberg in central Switzerland and Lans in the French Vercors thrown in too. I don’t really think cruising around the dusty and sandy shores of Lake Como really counts as riding, but Jed and I found time for that too.

Crossing the river from Engleberg

The Engleberg shots are up here. It was a bit strange to go back to a place where I had ridden before and discover that the trails had been completely destroyed. The river that runs down the mountain from the resort runs through a very narrow glacial valley and clearly over the last few years has been carrying so much water and load that it has reshaped the immediate riparian area, resulting in a situation where the trail that used to run parallel to the river has been destroyed in places and replaced by a massive boulder and debris field. In other spots it was precariously narrow or undercut. There was a bit of scrambling up and down the valley because we weren’t going to ride the road…

The driving was surprisingly good. We were treated to spectacular lightning storms and torrential rain in the early hours as we blazed a trail across France, but by the time we reached Luzern the temperature was in the mid thirties and there wasn’t a hint of rain. That night there was another terrific storm, but again the rain only started the following day after we had finished a ride up in the mountains above Engleberg and were back at the car down the valley.

Driving also led to an interesting conversation with my insurance company. I really don’t understand why they will cover a named driver on my policy to drive in Europe’s EU countries but not in Switzerland. Governments and Millionaires across the world entrust the Swiss with their money through exclusive bank accounts, but a Uk company can’t apply general common sense when it comes to cover. That just seems wrong. Any way more reports from the trip soon….

From: Kate
Subject: Why we forward Jokes

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the
sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.

“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveler asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me!” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog.

“There should be a bowl by the pump.”

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

“What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.

“This is Heaven,” he answered.

“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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