My wife Erika and I wanted to make a roadtrip this summer. A good friend
of us, Paul, also wanted to come with us so the three of us made our bikes
ready for a long trip.
Erika was riding her red BMW R60/5, Paul was riding his Honda CB550/four
and I have my black BMW R90/6. All our bikes had panniers so we had no
problem stowing away all we needed on the bikes.
Friday, July 23, 1982
At four o'clock in the afternoon, Paul, Erika and I started our trip to the
South. From The Hague, we rode to Eindhoven and filled our tanks. Then we went
further South, into Limburg.
At Maasricht Airport, near Beek, we stopped for dinner and while we were there
a group of Swedish bikers on beautiful choppers arrived at the restaurant.
At the parking of the restaurant
Nice Swedish Harley chopper
They were all covered in dust. These are not showbikes but bikes that are
really used to ride!
After dinner we continued into Belgium, past Spa and over the racingcircuit
of Franchorchamps (and of course, Paul and I had to try how it feels to
ride fast on a circuit ).
Past Malmédy we went to St.Vith when we saw a very bad looking Honda on the
side of the road. It was CB500, bored to 550cc and mounted in a CB550 frame.
The Belgian owner had been riding 170 km/h from Antwerp to here and the oil
was leaking from his engine. There was no oil left in the engine so he had a
Fortunately for him, Paul and I both had a liter of motoroil so we gave him
one and a half liter.
With fresh oil in his engine he tried to start but he could not kickstart
his bike. I was used to a big single (the SR500) so I kickstarted his
bike for him and we continued our trip.
At half past nine we decided to call it a day and found camping "Waldesruh"
in Recht in Belgium. We got a nice spot for our tents. Then we found out we
left our flashlight at home.... We pitched our tents and Erika made soup by
the light of our bikes headlights and then we went into our sleepingbags for
Our camp on camping Waldesruh
Saturday, July 24, 1982
We had a good night sleep except for the annoying stinging little flies that
tried to eat us.
At half past nine we got up, had breakfast and loaded our tents and other
luggage on the bikes. At eleven o'clock in the morning, we were "on the road
again". Via a winding gorgeous threelane road, we entered Luxembourg and drove
to the capital, Luxembourg.
Just before the city Luxembourg we stopped to fill our tanks again. My BMW
R90/6 had done twentytwo kilometer per liter. Not bad at all !
In the city Luxembourg, we found the freeway to Thionville in France.
At a gasstation at the border between Luxembourg and France, we changed some
money. The banks are closed on Saturday and we did need money.
In Thionville, we bought some French fries and we did some shopping at a
very big supermarket (they even sold guns and pistols there !).
When we left the campsite, it was cold and cloudy but now the sun was shining
so we tied our jackeds on the luggage racks of the bikes and enjoyed the nice
I thought that the freeway to Metz was a tollroad (it is not) so we took the
Route National (N-route) to Metz. The plan was to go in the direction of
Geneva in Switzerland. From Metz we got back on the freeway, to Nancy.
Unfortunately the weather got bad and it started to rain.
From Nancy we go to Epinal, on the Route National again and we fill our tanks
at a gasstation with a BMW crankcase in the window. In the shop we see a lot
of old Norton leaflets. I asked the attendant if he rides a Norton and he does.
It is to bad that my French is almost as bad as his Dutch so there the
The R90/6 had done twentytwo kilometer on a liter, the R60/5 twenty kilometer
and the CB550 nineteen kilometer.
Our original plan was to find a campsite but the weather is getting worse so
we rather spend the night in a hotel or motel. The problem was that we had
no creditcards and not enough French money to pay for a hotel. Then we thought
of a solution. We drove to the border with Germany to change our Dutch
guilders for german marks at the border and look for a hotel in Germany.
Well, it was not our lucky day. The exchange office at the border was closed.....
Fortunately I had fourty German mark that I had got with my birthday so at a
Autobahn Restaurant we bought Jägerschnitzel, French fries and coffee.
After this meal, we felt a lot better and we decided to ride to Basel in
Switzerland. We hoped to be able to change our money at the Swiss border.
Switzerland is the land of banks so that should be no problem.......it was, the
exchange office at the Swiss border was closed too and in the pouring rain we
ride into the city center of Basel. We check the exchange office at the central
station but that is also closed. We are getting a little desperate now......
When we saw a police station we went inside and asked the officer if it was
possible for us to sleep in the police jail for a night until we could change
money for a hotel. We couild not but the office knew an exchange office on the
autobahn that was open and gave us directions. A few minutes later we leave
the exchange office with Swiss money and finaly we could start looking for a
In the pouring rain we check a few hotels but they are all much to expensive for
us but after a long search we finaly find a hotel in Liestal. It is Hotel Engel,
a hotel that Paul visited with his parents, some time ago.
A postcard of the hotel in Liestal
We forgot to prepare our Bellstaf motorcycle suits before we left so we were
wet to the skin. After we checked in at the hotel and had put our luggage in
our rooms, it was time for a hot shower and dry clothes. Then, at half past
eleven, we had a coffee in the bar of the hotel. That coffee tasted good !!!
Sunday, July 25, 1982
It was still raining when we woke up at nine in the morning. We had a good
breakfast in the hotel and left in the direction of Sion. Paul his parents
had rented a holidayhome in Arbaz and he wanted to visit them.
Erika looking at the rain on the hotelroom window
From Liestal we got on the autobahn in the direction of Bern. on the autobahn
to Bern, we ride past a very serious accident. A car came from our side of the
freeway, through the guardrail over the opposite lane and landed upside down
on the roadside. behind that several cars had collided in a huge pile-up.
Past Bern, we left the autobahn and rode in the direction of Vevey on Lake
Geneva. At a gasstation we changed our wet clothes and under our Bellstaf jackeds,
we weared plastic garbage bags to keep us dry. It looked silly and people at the
gasstation may have thought we were crazy but it kept us dry.
A little dryer, we moved on towards Martigny. At an Autobahn Restaurant near
martigny, we have a delicious spaghetti lunch. When we go to the bathroom, we
notice the hot-air hand dryers. A perfect way to get our boots and gloves dry
so the next half hour we spend in the bathroom, almost overheating the hand
After lunch we continued in the direction of Sion in the Rhone valley. Paul is
leading because he has been here before. From Sion we got on the North slope of
the Rhone valley, to Arbaz. In the holidayhome of Paul his parents, we had
dinner with them and them we left through the Rhone valley to the South slope,
to a small mountain village Arolla, 2000 meter high in the mountains.
A brother of Paul and his wife are camping there and we pitch our tent on the
same small campingsite.
Our tent, high in the mountains of Switzerland
From Sion, it is about fourty kilometers riding on winding narrow mountainroads
to Arolla. It is at the end of a sidevalley of the Rhone valley.