Another magic day
The beautiful blue sky was still with us but this time it was already a gorgeous 20o by 9am.
I set off due north towards Altdorf as there's a few things I need to tick off my list today.
JH recommends just jumping on the National motorway for 25kms and as I was riding down the lovely backroads, through stunning gorges and lovely little villages I began to doubt JH's intelligence.
Then I hit the industrial areas and the 50k zones and the roadworks and knew why he suggests the National motorway. He also mentions a little known pass which has no road signs and is barely marked on maps. I went to the Tourist Office but the lady there had never heard of it - but she doesn't ride a motorcycle.
Once again, JH is very good with the "secret" locations but fails miserably when it comes to real detail. He describes the route anti-clockwise so that the turnoff is marked from Glarus. I was doing it clockwise and there is no clue in his book where the road begins.
I knew I needed to be somewhere near Schwyz and that would allow me to visit Moto-Centre and test ride the new BMW 650 scooter. Unfortunately I was a week too early and they hadn't taken delivery. Damn.
Next stop was the Victorinox factory where they make the iconic Swiss Army Knife. What a shame you can't tour the factory, but they do have a marvellous showroom with every possible combination knife for sale. I resisted purchasing the traditional multi-purpose knife as I inherited one from my mum and I really don't need another horse-shoe gouge but I did get a few of my favourite paring knives for 1.50Fr each (they cost nearly $10 each in Australia). Boring, I know but I can't squeeze any more souvenirs in my luggage.
After lunch I found a newsagents and snuck a look at a very detailed road map. The town I needed to head for was actually well sign-posted all around Schwyz and why JH doesn't mention it in his book is beyond me.
So - when doing the Pragelpass from Schwyz, head to Muotathal. Simple.
There are no signs to Pragelpass until you about to go up the pass - and then the sign says "Forbidden on Weekends" - another little gem that JH fails to pass on. Luckily for me it is Tuesday.
And make sure you do it clockwise as the first 5km are straight up and I would hate to be coming down these roads on scooter brakes. The road itself is both divine and horrible. It is a totally gorgeous one-lane forest track with unbelievable views. As it is not well known, there are hardly any vehicles on it - mostly motorcyclists in-the-know.
Across the top is fairly flat and cows have right-of-way. Then it slowly drops down to the lake and the views are so wonderfully spectacular that you find yourself riding like a drunk, weaving all over the road whilst simultaneously trying to look over your shoulder. The traffic starts to get heavier around the lake as it is more well-known than the pass.
At the end of the lake there are two routes into Glarus. One is the major road along the valley floor and the other is a 30k zone farm track up the mountain with cobbled sections. Guess which road I took?
Turning right at Glarus leads up the valley on the other side of the Pragel mountain ridge. It goes for ages through little villages and then climbs spectacularly through a series of hairpins that marks the beginning of Klausenpass.
This is another one of my favourite roads that has a little bit of everything. Just when you think you have reached the top and the valley opens out into a wide plain - with hundreds and hundreds of cows and cow pies to avoid - it begins to climb again through another series of hairpins. On the south side of the pass, the road just clings to the side of the mountain with the valley far far below - and only a psychological safety barrier.
Another excellent day!
And I came home on the motorway.