Touring the passes over the national holiday

Tomorrow I finally have 2 days of time and the weather is supposed to be nice.


So I decided to combine 2 hobbies of mine: Astrophotography and touring this beautiful country.  I will ride to Grimselpass (not the straight way: Klausenpass and Sustenpass are on the way, if you are willing to waste some time) and stay the night there, to stargaze and shoot some milkyway pictures if the sky is clear enough.

 

 

 

Next day, it goes back home, riding down Grimselpass, then over Furkapass, Overalppass and Chur back home. Today I spend 4 hours on my Thruxton and took 3 other passes here in the closer area. Yes, Switzerland has its disadvantages in terms of police controls etc, but man is that country beautiful.

 

 

Sustenpass, another pass around the block

The Sustenpass is the number one rated motorcycle pass (by a popular German motorcycle magazine, (MotorradOnline) in Switzerland.

Going there again, from my new home, takes a good hour to the start of the pass. Around 10km before the pass start, I have a short pitstop, at a Gasstation/Fastfood chain, which accidentally is the same stop I made the last time before I went up the Klaussenpass.

I realised then, that I could create a very nice day tour, by first riding the Sustenpass, then making a pause and continuing over the Klaussenpass towards my home, or the other way round.

Sustenpass is all that a biker could ask for. Great road conditions, nice, sporty curves and really great views in between.

Klausenpass

The Klausenpass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klausen_Pass) is one of the few higher altitude passes that is open already in May, and it is close by. It takes a bit over an hour with normal traffic to get to the start of the pass, but, if you are like me and have your navigation system (iPhone 7) in some pouch on top of your tank bag, it can get to too hot – it was 28 degrees today. So it shuts off, which I did not see, as it was so bright and hot, and I rode for 30 minutes in the wrong direction.

Beautiful area though.

And then it can take another 30 minutes to get through a “technical inspection” by our local friendly police officers. That totally did not happen to me, that would have been to hot standing there at a bus stop in the sun, while he was asking stuff like: “Do you have the paper work for your exhaust….hmm… is the cat still in there?”…

Anyhow, once I arrived I had a quick break at the Burger King at the last roundabout (coming from Altdorf), and then I was off for 46km of pass driving.

In an article on motorradonline they rank the 10 most beautiful pass roads here in Switzerland, and Klausenpass is on number 6. Wow. I have not seen the other 5 yet, but I can not wait.

Overall, this is a 3-4 hour tour from my home, and as most of the other higher passes are closer to the south border, this is probably one I will visit rather frequently. I can not believe I live that close to so much beauty.

 

From Fes to Marrakech

2 days later, at 9:30 am, I am leaving Fes, departing with the same constant drizzle as the day I arrived.

I am on the way to the N8, the main road to Marrakech. Temperature is a good 9 degrees. Unfortunately, the road is going up into the mountains. After 20 km it becomes colder, and further south you can see the snow on the hilltops.

Just be careful, turn on the heated grips, and continue. But it’s getting colder and colder. After 70km I am in Taounza, stand at a road barrier, in a line with cars and busses and wait for something. I do not know what, the barrier is just closed. It starts to snow, and not just a little bit…

Suddenly, a snowplow comes up from behind me,  the barrier goes up and I follow the plow for a few hundred meters. But the snowfall is getting worse, the road continues upwards. The busses that were waiting with me get turned around by the police, as the pass is deemed not passable for them.

I stop at 1650m altitude and look for an alternative. My boots are slipping badly on the wet snow and I am amazed how well the TKC70 are able to deal with the road condition. I turn the bike around, get a few calls and a single applause at the barrier (hey, the German did finally understand us…), and drive slowly, very slowly, through the snowstorm over the R707 to Meknes on the A2.

As soon as I am under 1400m, after a good 20km, the snowfall is replaced by drizzle, it is 4 degrees – I would never have thought that I would be so happy that it is raining.

At the first freeway I fill up, drink a coffee, meet a coach bus and another car, all of which I have seen before, as they were turned around at the barrier.

 

This was unfortunate, as the landscape, when I was able to see it through the snow storm, looked very nice. The rest of the trip was easier, and uneventful. Partially scenic, very attractive, seemingly endless green hills on the way to the east, behind Casablanca. It got constantly warmer until I arrived at the parking lot at around 6pm in Marrakech.