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A sunday run in the Vogese

Article about: Have not been around for a while, but promise to be back more in future. here is a little something from the beginning of last year. Hope you enjoy- Ahhh Springtime! Everything is green and

  1. #1

    Default A sunday run in the Vogese

    Have not been around for a while, but promise to be back more in future.
    here is a little something from the beginning of last year.
    Hope you enjoy-

    Ahhh Springtime! Everything is green and lush and flowery, the air is fresh and the world is reborn, the thoughts of young men turn to the willowy freshness of young women, mine however were trying to ignore a sore back.
    I had spent Saturday on the banks of the Rhine in Basel with my feet in the water doing the dirty old man thing watching the bikini-clad chicks flout their stuff.
    Laying on the hard ground had done my back in.
    Time to grab the bike go for a ride and get some other thoughts in my head, by now the beemer has 230.000 Klicks on the clock and after last winter she is has accumulated quite a bit of patina, the gaskets in the front fork are banjaxed and she is leaking oil allover the front brakes, the good thing is that they no longer squeak, the exhaust has a hole somewhere, the brake-pads are down and I think she needs a new cable on the clutch.
    Spares have been ordered from BMW but delivery is not for another three weeks.
    Oh poop!
    Silly me, I always thought I lived in Europe and not Outer Mongolia.

    But I have never been one to waste a perfectly good riding day, so come eight we bubbled (rather loudly) onto the motorway heading north.
    I did not have any plan and just followed the front wheel, it asked me if I wanted a coffee, I said "yes" and we set course for Colmar just over the border in France.
    In my minds eye I saw myself sitting at an outside table in the main square with a coffee a basket of Croissants whilst reading the International herald tribune to the sound of a motorbike leaning at a jaunty angle on it´s side stand, ticking gently as it cooled down.
    Just how bohemian is that?

    Nice pictures indeed, and on the side of the cathedral is a top-notch medieval WTF

    And we think today´s priests are weird

    Colmar is a wonderful medieval town but there is the worm in this otherwise quaint half timbered apple. The first thing that I saw was a tourist carrier in the shape of a choo-choo train, a fat Germany guy wearing shorts and a (very) loud unbuttoned shirt, he was trying to talk to the driver, "Parleez voo Deutsch?" at the same time complaining to his wife that nobody speaks the Deutsch.
    I cringed into my coffee wishing the bugger would go away and stop ruining my morning.
    Too late.
    Finishing my coffee I grabbed the bike and bubbled off following a sign that proclaimed Touts directions, or "that a way"
    A bit later I saw a sign for the Wine road, I turned right and went to the Vogese mountains.

    On the way up, following the wine road.

    Getting there

    Yeh! At the top

    Looking over the rhine valley, bad tongues will say that the fault-line is France´s way of getting away from Germany.

    Everybody knows the black forest, the cuckoo clocks and the Dirndl local clothing with the three red pompoms on the hat, Grimm´s fairytales and all that guff.
    If you think that the Rhine valley is actually a fault line in the earths crust, to the east is the black forrest and over the plane of the valley to the west is the mirror image of the Vogese mountains.
    A mirror image but without the tacky tourist tat, empty open long winding roads, through leafy forrest, this is BMW LT country.

    I love to drive slowly down roads like this, so slow in fact that the bugs get time to veer out of my path. I killed the engine and coasted down in silence, the closest to flying that you will ever get.
    I headed to the Ballon d´ Alsace, a 1171 meters or 3.842 ft high mountain, the highest in the area.
    Up until now I have lived in the eastern part of CH, with all the pointy bits just a half hours ride away there, people have a somewhat robust idea of hight, so I tend to regard anything under 1000 meters as a speedbump.
    Slammer´s alpine motto: "I get my kicks above the tree-line sunshine!"
    The Vogese are different I must admit, but every bit as enjoyable to ride as the switchbacks and hairbends of the high passes.
    The ballon d´ Alsace offers a 360° view of central Europe, the air was clear and I could see the Alps in the distance and the valleys and fields below. Every meter traveled was enjoyable.
    I flashed past a stone.
    Something had caught the corner of my eye, a few hundred meters on I stopped and turned back.
    It was a memorial stone..
    ..On the 2nd of December 1944 a Halifax bomber took off from Skipton, she dropped her load south of Essen, most likely the aircraft was hit by FLAK, unable to keep hight she crashed killing all but one of the crew, who later died of his injuries.
    Things like this stele make me realize that people like the owners of the names on the stone created a world where my wonderful children, British-German, maybe the best of both worlds, can exist in peace.
    Somebody cares enough to put fresh flowers down by the stone, it faces the Rhine valley over one thousand meters below.

    No words.

    I rode on, somehow I must have gotten a draft around my visor because my eyes had gotten moist, the sky seemed more intensive blue, the grass greener, the air clearer.
    Surely there where giants in them days.

  2. #2

    Default Re: A sunday run in the Vogese

    Really nice to see the memorial! Skipton-on-Swale is just up the road from me.Sadly it is now a pig farm !

    A bit of info on 433 squadron:

    Motto: "Qui s'y frotte s'y pique" ("Who opposes it gets hurt").
    Badge: In front of a hurt a porcupine.This squadron was adopted by the Porcupine District of Northern Ontario. The hurt, or blue disc, symbolises the "hurt" done to the enemy and the sky through which the unit operated. The motto refers to the squadron and its nickname.
    Authority: King George VI, December 1945.

    No. 433 Squadron was formed as a heavy-bomber unit of No. 6 (RCAF) Group at Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire, on 25th September 1943, but did not begin operations until January 1944. It was to be based at Skipton-on-Swale throughout its wartime existence of nearly two years. The squadron operated with Halifax IIIs until mid-January 1945, and then wound up its operations against the enemy on Lancasters. It flew 2,316 operational sorties on 155 bombing and 54 mining operations and lost 38 aircraft. It won 146 decorations comprising 1 BEM, 132 DFCs, 2 bars to DFCs, 9 DFMs, 1 Purple Heart (US) and 1 Air Medal (US).

    Bomber Command WWII Bases:
    Formed 25.9.43 as No. 433 (Bomber) Squadron at:

    ■Skipton-on-Swale, Yorks : Sep 1943 onwards
    Bomber Command WWII Aircraft:

    ■Handley Page Halifax B.III : Nov 1943-Feb 1945
    ■Avro Lancaster B.I : Jan 1945 onwards
    Code Letters:

    First Operational Mission in WWII:

    ■2nd/3rd January 1944 : 3 Halifaxes laid mines in Frisian Islands area
    First Bombing Mission in WWII:

    ■18/19th January 1944 : 6 Halifaxes bombed Berlin (primary target) and
    another - one of two early returning aircraft - bombed Kiel instead.
    Last Operational Mission in WWII:

    ■25th April 1945 : 10 Lancasters bombed gun batteries on island of
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  3. #3

    Default Re: A sunday run in the Vogese

    Here's the full story of Halifax MZ 807 "Corkscrew Charlie", her crew, and the ultimate fate of both on 2/3 December 1944.....

    ww2 RCAF Cook Crew- their story

    Blue skies lads.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #4

    Default Re: A sunday run in the Vogese

    Good info Ned

    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  5. #5

    Default Re: A sunday run in the Vogese

    God! They were so Fugging young:-(

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