2015 Friedrichschafen Trip - Brad Baum's Blog
Americans Brad and Sherry Baum and Don and Lynda Sanders, from California and North Carolina respectively, joined the Register trip from England to Friedrichshafen in Germany from 11 - 17 June 2015.
You can read below Brad's daily blogs sent from the road.
12 June – From Domaine de Barive
We had a beautiful drive on Thursday, our first day! The first hour or so away from the Chateau Barive was over narrow farm roads with good pavement, past rolling crop fields, going south of Sainte Preuve toward the A26, north of Reims. Red poppies grew along the edge of the road in spots, and a blue and a yellow Giulia Spider filled my windscreen. Sherry was beaming next to me, listening to her iPod, pointing out small animals, and waving at our Alfa driving friends. Jackie turned around in her seat to take pictures at one point, and we thought of Rod Mossop doing the same a few years back in the French Alps.
After a couple hours of busy motorway, we drove more small roads through forest covered hills. From that point on the temperatures were short sleeve warm all the way to the hotel in Bad Herrenalb in Sud Schwarzwald.
13 June – Mercedes Museum and Scharzwald
The Mercedes Museum is just what you would expect from Mercedes. It was a very special to have our Alfas park at the museum entrance in a wide pedestrian apron. The history of the motorcar from its very beginning (with the Merc point of view), products in non -passenger car applications, common autos, and of course, the silver arrows, and recent GP cars are all there with the best presentation, and detailed information. Easily my favorite was the pre 60's race car collection. All the racers produced prior to the tragic Le Mans accident are beautifully detailed engineering works. They appear robust, and still light, not at all my long held perception of Mercedes.
After a few hours at Mercedes, the drive south to Friedrichshafen was work at first. Open roads were only a couple of kilometers between villages it seemed for over an hour. After that, at most, 10 km between development, or towns, but the roads started to sweep left and right just matched to a Giulia's handling and light steering. The farm and forest scenery was all you could ask for.
14 June – Klassikwald Bodensee
This weekend was my second visit to Klassikweld Bodensee. Obviously, I like it. I like it a lot. Today, I even like it more than the Monterey Classic week.
First, the distances are short. I watched race cars standing ten feet from the edge of the circuit, studying various race lines and braking points, watching great passing and tactics. Without moving position, then I watched a B24 in polished aluminum, and the only flying P38 I've ever seen taxi past for demonstration flights. Three minutes walk and you're among a vast assortment of collector cars, or you can buy a beer and food. The venue is also just a few minutes from our hotel, which is near shops, great dining, the Bodensee lake shore, and the Graf Zeppelin museum; all are minutes walk. Also, everything is much cheaper than the Monterey peninsula.
But, most of all this event has the motor vehicles that I crave to see. MV Agusta had an impressive presence among a few hundred great old motorcycles. Affectionados of many European makes had club stands, as well as the spectator car park, restored caravans, wooden boats, and several great old airplanes. For any Motörhead, nothing's been left out!
15 June – Friedrichschafen to Besancon
Leaving Friedrichshafen in gentle rain, I looked forward to the short drive along the lake shore to the ferry boat landing at Meersburg. The reality was a closed motorway diverted all traffic through small town roads and we only traveled at walking speed, with a delay of well over an hour. Then in Switzerland, motorway travel was quick enough, but not too interesting until, after a few hours drive, the exit near Oensingen toward Naturepark Thai. This new small road became more interesting mile by mile and at the French border we stopped for coffee in a beautiful setting at the small village of Goumois.
From there to Besancon we drove the best small driving roads and scenery you could hope for, all the way to Hotel Le Sauvage in Besancon. Set in a beautiful medieval village, the River le Doubs flows around the old town on three sides. The old citadel is prominent above our room window. Besancon and Goumois are places I'm going to return to!
16 June – Besancon to Chateau Thierry
Sometimes driving on a Register tour, I'm reminded of the film sequence from The Italian Job, where Mini Coopers are rushing through narrow streets in Torino. That was the feeling when leaving the beautiful Hotel Le Sauvage in old Besancon. Its great fun to quickly travel narrow, or one way medieval roads round the old buildings with the hood down, listening to echoing Alfa engines and waving at enthusiastic spectators. It feels like we're hooning through an otherwise peaceful place, and if in modern cars a reprimand or worse would be issued by locals.
Leaving Besancon, the route was perfect Giulietta driving roads for many hours. More sweeping corners on two lane roads through beautiful farmland, with a lot of river and canal crossings. Deciding a picnic stop by a rivers edge would be nice, finding a spot was easy. By early afternoon, I thought I've never had a more perfect drive in a sports car.
17 June – Mezey Moulin to Calais
Hotel Moulin-Babet in Mezy Moulin is a simple and pleasant accommodation in a beautiful setting. This would be my last chance, after breakfast, to inspect Frank Van Der Vecht's beautifully restored 57 Spider. My own 57 Spider came to me partially disassembled, and missing a few critical small items. Frank's help this morning filled all my gaps, in knowledge as well as parts inventory!
After a few pleasant miles on small roads, then the A4, we're on the A26 motorway to the Eurotunnel. I've driven this stretch of A26 more than half a dozen times. Low stress motorway lets your mind wonder. For me, that means pondering place names along the way. St Quentin is a milestone town along Hwy 1 in Baja California. I always contrast that dry simple desert town to the lush productive farm land around this French St Quentin.
Then Arras, it's been more than twenty years since I read Saint-Exupery's account of a recon flight to Arras. As I pass by, I wish I could recall more of the story. Someday, I will take the off ramp to N17 and visit the grass airfield there. I've always received warm welcomes when visiting small airfields anywhere in the world. Then Blockhaus Epperlecques has a large road sign on the A26. Thanks to Richard Hampton, I know exactly what's at this historic WWII landmark. Not that long now, until signs for the Eurotunnel entrance. The very best sport touring I can imagine is the motoring I've done with the Giulietta Register over the past ten years. It's great to have terrific friends who share my passion for these wonderful cars.