That old bugbear, the weather, kicked in again and caused a rethink of the weekend plans. The South of France and the Route Napoleon had been beckoning, but the forecast was poor. The alternatives were Auvergne and Alsace, but the latter looked more promising, but only if we went on a Thursday/Friday and not the weekend.
We’ve been to Alsace a couple of times before, but on the Blackbird, this would be the first time on the GT. This time we specifically wanted to ride through the vineyards and the Wine route there.
To get a good start we took the Swiss motorway to Neuchatel and then headed cross country past the Vue des Apes (a great trip on its own) and through the Gorges du Doubs, before crossing the border at this lovely river crossing at Biaufond
Upwards and through the forest gave us these fantastic views
Onward to Charquement and then to Maiche where we decided to stop for a lunch break, Parking outside a bar with seats outside on the pavement I realised it was the exact same place we had stopped at on our previous trip, but last time we approached it from the other direction!
A couple of guys were sat at the bar and seemed very interested in the bike. One came over and explained he had the same model but couldn’t get hold of the tank bag, and would I mind if he took a picture? No problem. I showed him the pockets and how it expanded. Realising the bar had no food I asked where we could eat, and he showed us to a shop round the corner, and then bought us a drink as thanks for showing him the bag, nice guy!
Here’s a desert I couldn’t resist. Chocolate outer with apricot inner, lovely
Onwards cross country to St Hippolyte and Pont de Roide, before a quick nip up the motorway past the PSA plant to Belfort, where we got completely lost round the town centre, before finally finding a route out to Giromagny and the Ballon d’Alsace. There are several Ballons, this one is at 1247m, and we planned to do some more tomorrow.
En route we stopped at the Barrage d’ Alfeld
On the way on from the dam we passed a couple of Austrian bikers, one on a custom bike with ultra wide bars and a feet forward riding position, and his girlfriend riding a Fazer? behind. A little further up we ran into these road hazards wandering aimlessly down the pass!
At the summit we stopped for a cup of tea and piece of pie, and enjoyed the sun and tranquillity that a weekday brings to such places. There were several groups of bikers around, mostly German, French, and the odd few from Luxembourg which is quite close by.
Beautiful views on descent
Amazing storybook house
After descending we decided to head to the furthest northern point of Obernai where we intended to start the Wine Route the next day. Obernai seemed a great little town but all the hotels seemed to be in the town centre. The Zumo showed some hotels outside the centre, including the wonderfully named Chateau du Hell, but we eventually arrived at the Domaine du Moulins at Ottrott at around 18.35 after having been in the saddle since 9.15am that morning.
There is a wall somewhere behind that foliage!
The innkeeper offered to allow me to park the bike in his secure garage, thanks!, and we checked in, showered, changed, and enjoyed an evening meal before turning in for the night, reflecting on the days 454kms.
Breakfast, packed, and out by 9.30am, amazing, we never manage earlier than 10.00am most times!, and with a tourist map of the wine route, we set off back towards Obernai, where I have never seen a graveyard so full of flowers, it seemed as if every grave had blooms on it.
This region is amazing, all the villages are beautiful, houses are varied in style, colour, design, but always with flowers. We saw blue, yellow, green, violet and purple houses, quite bizarre outside of this region, but perfectly normal and quaint here.
The Wine route meanders through one picture postcard village after another.
Check the carving on this house
And outside another house