Covered Bridges and another Mountain


The day started with breakfast at the Seerausch Hotel in Beckenreid. It was the first hotel where they had a full buffet including eggs. So good but the view of Lake Luzerne was better.

Breakfast overlooking the beautiful lake

The Panoramic Alpine Route 4 would quickly take a lakefront road. There standing in the grass close to the lake was a topless woman talking to another woman. She was probably getting ready to catch some rays. I wanted to stop there for a photo of the lake but that would have been creepy in any language. So I went about 500 meters farther.

Lake Luzerne

The water of the lake is clear. The morning was perfect, about 68° (20° C).

Lake Luzerne

I would follow the Blue Route 4 signs where I could find them and rely on my Garmin as a backup. And I would need them.

Engelberger, Swizterland

A real surprise was coming to a covered bridge. I couldn’t tell when it was built…

Engelberger, Switzerland

…but it sure had sweet decking (floor).

Buochs Airport, Switzerland

The first direction decision came at a culvert. There was a sign and I thought I followed it correctly but it took me in this 100-meter loop under the road I was just on.

Buochs Airport, Switzerland

I didn’t mind it one bit because it gave me a unique view of the mountains.

Stansstad, Switzerland

I got off course a bit in the little town of Stansstad. I did a two-block loop, looked closer at the signs, compared to Garmin, corrected it then kept going.

This was 10 meters from the turn for Route 4 at Lake Luzerne but sure is pretty (Hergiswil, Switzerland)

I crossed a bridge then followed Rte 4 on a lake road to Alpnachstad.

Stansstad, Switzerland

I followed the road next to the lake. There was a “sidewalk” which was really a boardwalk.

The Pilatus-Bahn cog railway

I was expecting about a 30 km (19 mile) easy cruising ride this morning and that is what I got. Cobbles. But for a short ride.

Saren, Switzerland

The town of Saren is beautiful. In the center was freshwater, which I would need. And the fad of 2017, Fidget Spinners, is global.

Wilen (Sarnen), Switzerland

On my way out I entered a forested area then crossed what appeared to be a stream project. Had I looked to the right, and maybe I did, I would have seen what I was in store for.

Along the lake, I was back on a highway. Some roads have bike lanes which is really one meter to the right. The lines presumably make the drivers aware that we are there.

Giswil, Switzerland

At Giswil I came to a second covered bridge. It’s not quite Bedford Co., Pa., but I was a happy camper. Or rider. I love my covered bridges.

Giswil, Switzerland

Leaving Giswil, I uncharacteristically made a good biking decision. I stopped for a photo then jumped in behind two riders who looked like they were riding the Alpine route.

Giswil. Route 9 goes left and up; Route 4 continues straight. I made the wrong turn.

Ahead I could see a road climbing, steeply, to the left. I knew I had a left turn coming up. They turned and the one guy turned back. I passed him and started climbing. It was steep.

Giswil, Switzerland

I checked Garmin and it said I was “Off Course.” Well, sometimes one can be 10 meters off and it says I’m off so I was going to ignore it. I started climbing higher and could see I was going away from the route I mapped.

Giswil, Switzerland

The two men had stopped already and I asked (MAJOR LANGUAGE BARRIER – not sure they were German-speaking) if this was Route 4 (I held up four fingers). They said it was.

Giswil, Switzerland – Be careful reading the signs

I thought back to the turn. There was a sign but I didn’t look. The thought of going back down those steep 400 meters to check the sign then climb it again disturbed me but not more than taking the wrong route. I grabbed a quick photo and went back down.

Bike Route 4

I was glad I checked. I was right. Rte 4 continued straight for another 400 meters before turning onto Panorama Strasse.

Hey, that looks like my RAV4

This road was mostly a one-lane road. Two cars could not pass. But there were some sections every 400-500 meters or so where a car could pull over to let one pass in the opposite direction.

Giswil, Switzerland

I looked up and figured I would pass by every house on the mountain. I was right.

Giswil, Switzerland

There was room for a car and a bike but only inches between a bus (city) and this bike. Thank you bus.

Giswil, Switzerland

I was sweating profusely. On the lower slopes were simply farms and no trees. I was exposed to the blazing sun.

Giswil, Switzerland

The climb was 11.8 kilometers (7.3 miles). Much of the way the grind was 8-9%.

Looking back to the washed-out stream I had crossed – Giswil, Switzerland

In my mind, I had calculated the climb to be 11 kilometers but as I watched Garmin I had a math error. I was off by one kilometer. It’s tough when you think you’re at the summit but you’re not.

Giswil, Switzerland

Somewhere, and I have no idea where the open section gave way to woods. It was a welcome relief from the sun.

Giswil, Switzerland

In the wooded section, the Garmin showed higher gradients. It was registering 11-12% and even up to 18% (which I know it wasn’t – my body knows 18%). It wasn’t that steep. Long, yes. Steep, no.

Actually a 7-8% upgrade here – Giswil, Switzerland

Unlike Klausen Pass yesterday, where I was passed by 203 motorbikes, today I would be passed by 13 and only one “was in a hurry.”

Giswil, Switzerland

I went long stretches not hearing anything but birds of the forest and the occasional cowbell.

Giswil, Switzerland. So glad to find this water.

The higher I went the more cows I heard. I crossed a cattle guard and was in an open graze cattle area.

On this corner was an air sock and this guy sitting with his toy. He showed no interest in interacting with me even as I stopped and took an obvious photo. Giswil, Switzerland

I went through those two bottles and saw a water fountain. I stopped and filled up. Very cold water. They would last me another 2-3 kilometers.

Giswil, Switzerland

I came upon perhaps 40 school kids on a hike. For a while they seemed to be walking at the same pace I was climbing. But I soon passed them. A couple of kids tried to run alongside me but they didn’t last long although I thought they may beat me to the summit. They didn’t.

Giswil, Switzerland

What I thought was the summit was still 1200 meters from the top. A man sat there with his toy airplane. There was a windsock attached to a pole and he brought along his own windsock. I thought about asking him to take a photo of me climbing but he had no interest in even making eye contact.

Giswil, Switzerland

The views on the descent weren’t nearly as breathtaking as those on the ascent. Or maybe I simply had more time to take them in on the climb.

The gondola at Sörenberg

Right before Sörenberg I stopped at a cable tram. Interesting, but I didn’t know where it went. Although I would find out later.

Sörenberg, Switzerland

Going through Sörenberg I saw some young ladies in front of a school for Hospitality Management.

Sörenberg, Switzerland

I stopped and asked if they spoke English (the sign was in English). They all did. Four young women from Vietnam. I also asked if I should go to Vietnam for bike riding and they laughed and said “Oh no.” I had read that Vietnam is a great destination for cycling this I found their response interesting.

Directions to Hotel Rischli , Sörenberg, Switzerland

I checked into the Hotel Rischli and the desk clerk offered me a discount card for the tram. As she was showing me the brochure it also included a cog railway. Then I realized this approach was the backside of the mountain that I had traveled three years ago. Had I spent my money to see the views from “up there” I certainly would have been surprised. And maybe pissed to learn I could have ridden for free.

Dinner at Hotel Rischli, Sörenberg, Switzerland

Dinner was out on the patio. I wanted to order Rösti although at the time I did not know the name. I settled for a Pork Cordon Bleu dish which is what I had yesterday in Beckenreid. It was delicious but at 35 CHF a bit pricey for this traveler.

Cyclist refilling bottle in Sarnen

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