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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saturday 04/07/09, bike loaded and set to go with a new set of Michelin Anakees we set off from Lossiemouth, Morayshire. Fiona and myself on the Mighty Varadero, 09 with 3100 miles on the clock and Andy on his 1999 Fireblade.
Two days to travel south to the Eurotunnel, stopping in Kendal overnight. Monday we stopped at Koblenz in Germany, a lovely historic city.



Tuesday down the Rhine, a lovely road with many sights. Down to Geneva on Wednesday then on to Annecy on Thursday, we had a paddle in the lake, I personally love Annecy.
Val D’Isere on Friday, we took the ski lift to the top of the mountain, breathtaking! Then on to the Col de Iseran and the Col de Mont Cenise to Bardonecchia on Saturday






I had a run up the mountain on Saturday evening after setting up camp at Bokki camping, still very expensive but I’ll not do without a toilet and shower! The site was pretty much full of Stella bashers so plenty of people to talk to on the night before. The road closed sign at the bottom of the track was a bit worrying but on closer inspection the A4 sheet stuck on the corner shows it was open for the Stella! It’s still pretty rock strewn and hard going on the mighty Vara, a bit rough for sports bikes but adventure bikes and even naked bikes would manage fine.



Base camp was as busy as ever, there were also another three sites along the river being used by Stella bashers so the rally is certainly alive and well!



Sunday was an early start, up with the others at around 06.00, showered, shaved and off we set to the station café for breakfast. Base camp was a hive of activity but the road was pretty quiet really, I overtook one bike on the way up and none on the way down, a vast change from past years! The track was busy both ways but not with the volume of cars etc from past yrs. I stopped a couple of times for pics but otherwise straight up, stopped by snow a fair bit short of the top, pick up medal then head back down.



The Varadero performed perfectly, the linked ABS was no problem on the mountain and apart from clearance issues on the twisties (scraped a luggage box!) I cannot fault the Honda.



For those who say “it’s too easy now” tell that to the guy in Bokki camping with around £200 of damage to his Honda hornet which he dropped twice. Remember the original idea of the Stella was “any motorcycle with a competent rider can make it”. Of course it’s easy on a crosser or heavy modified bike, but that’s not what it’s about really.



The highlights of the trip for me would be Koblenz at night, what a wondrous city, the Rhine valley, Annecy, especially du Lac. Italian ice cream! The Stella, of course! The roads from Annecy onwards to Bardonecchia and back are 2nd to none in my eyes, sights, twisties and smooth tar, gorgeous!



While at Bokki camping I chatted with the owner of a KTM 950 adv who was in the next tent to me, it only turned out to be Bob, the owner of this site;
http://www.stella-alpina.fsnet.co.uk/

and his daughter! Bobs tales of the Stella on his old Triumph were what spurred me on to come along to Bardonecchia in the first place so a personal inspiration of mine. A nice genuine guy and a pleasure to meet him and chat, he also invited me to return and take part in the 3 day safari which follows the Stella next year!.

Monday and it’s over the Col de Montegenevre to Briancon then over the Col de Galibier, the Col de Frene and Col de Leschaux and back to Annecy, up the road through France and home. Stop overs at Dole, Reims and Calais, lovely cities with character and worth a look around.
While lost in Reims looking for a campsite a Vstrom rider pulled up beside me and asked if he could help, Patrick Lippens then led us to a lovely site in Epernay, home of champagne! He stayed and shared a bottle of the local delicacy while we had an interesting conversation, considering my lack of French and his lack of English! Thank you very much yet again, merci beaucoup Patrick, not only for helping and the champagne but for restoring my faith in mankind!
Two more days up through the UK and home Saturday afternoon in pouring rain!
Four days rain out of fifteen, not bad odds!

To round it up then, yes the Stella is alive and kicking and whether you want to take the easy way up on a crosser or struggle with an adventure bike it’s your choice! There’s the campsite at Bokki, or the hotels of Bardonecchia if you prefer more comfort than base camp. Would I go back? DAMNED RIGHT!

Special thanks to;
Andy for putting up with Fiona and myself camping for two weeks!
Annette for the Eurotunnel info.
Bob, a god among the Stella bashers!
Patrick for French assistance!
Mario for organising the best rally in the world!
The five English riders I joined up the mountain on Sunday, no names were exchanged but kudos to the Monster rider who made it even if his Ducati was running poorly, condolences to the Hornet rider who dropped it twice! (P.S. that guy with the BMW wasn’t Ewan McGregor!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Annette, yes was a great trip, as all good adventures are! The weather made it even better!
Nick, I've found I can stand on my crash bars on the Vara so no need for the cruiser pegs this time round! Hope you're feeling better by the day mate.
My main point was to provide up to date information for all to see regarding the Stella, and as you can see, it's still alive and kicking!
 

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Hey Jim,

Stonking report, well done that man :thumbup::thumbup:


Wonder if your old machine will ever grace the hills of the Stella ;);)

You never know :thumbup:, maybe after Morroco next year :cool::cool::happy3:
 

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great report Jim.. the Stella is a must do.. I must do it again :) ... did the Blade make it.. it look well loaded up fair play :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the responses!

No Ray, Andy didn't want to risk it on the Blade, there was a lot of debris on the road and the amount of dust you couldn't see it half the time!

It's a few yrs since a contingent from the XRV forum went along to the Stella, I didn't notice any other bike apart from mine sporting XRV.org.uk stickers. :(

I'd consider going along next year if others were going along? We'll see! :thumbup:
 

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It's a few yrs since a contingent from the XRV forum went along to the Stella, I didn't notice any other bike apart from mine sporting XRV.org.uk stickers. :(

I'd consider going along next year if others were going along? We'll see! :thumbup:

mmmm got me thinking now:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, we were supposed to meet up at the Stella in 2006 Raymo, but you lost your phone if I remember right? :thumbup: Ha ha! Seems like a lifetime ago mate.
You never know, maybe next year? Plenty of time to plan any way. I love the Stella, brilliant roads, weather's usually nice. Downside is the travelling down. I usually get the ferry from Newcastle as it cuts out two days motorways but the prices this year were terrible. Two days to get to the Tunnel, and crossing France on the way home was quite a drag but worth it? Yes!
 

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Well, we were supposed to meet up at the Stella in 2006 Raymo, but you lost your phone if I remember right? :thumbup: Ha ha! Seems like a lifetime ago mate.
You never know, maybe next year? Plenty of time to plan any way. I love the Stella, brilliant roads, weather's usually nice. Downside is the travelling down. I usually get the ferry from Newcastle as it cuts out two days motorways but the prices this year were terrible. Two days to get to the Tunnel, and crossing France on the way home was quite a drag but worth it? Yes!
Hmmm you could have stopped over somewhere close to the Tunnel:rolleyes::rolleyes:;):D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know Vader, but the crossing was at 18.00 so worked in stopping in the lakes on Saturday night and on to Folkstone on Sunday.
I did remember your offer of somewhere to stop Sir, but I did have another bike with me and didn't want to impose.
Next time perhaps? Never mind mate, we'll see you soon enough, the National's just round the corner! :thumbup:
 

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hi jim
yup eventfull..god was that 2006!! well need to sort something:D

went via Hull last time.. its tyre squaring miles to get down there and then back:happy3:
 

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Hill Rider
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I fink I might like to visit this little hill road you keep rambling on about :rolleyes:

And there me thinking you went all that way to romance Fiona & partake of fine wines and sublime food :D

Nice write up by the way :thumbup:

See you soon.

Steve T

:cool:

PS - while you were away sunning yerselves, I became @less :(
 

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I really enjoyed reading that, thanks. It's nice to see a Varadero being used "properly"! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thankd DW, personally I prefer this one from the Col de Galibier;



the glacier in the backdrop is breathtaking! Not to say the waterfalls on the Col de Sommellier isn't a damned good pic! Both worthy of the calendar!
I've full size images I can e-mail if anyone does want them for the calendar?
 
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