May 10, 2015
The websites all said that Sustenpass was still closed, and the live webcam pretty much proved it, but hey! It was a beautiful day and we wanted to go for a ride. We decided to check it out for ourselves.
We beelined it on the motorway for the first forty minutes before taking a more leisurely route through the Berner Oberland. Panaramastrasse was my first goal. It is a low-elevation pass that I knew to be open and a good stretch to warm up on.
Wood industry in the countryside
An exceptionally nice farm
There was something going on in the area, as I’ve never seen so many classic Volkswagens in one place since I moved to Switzerland. And what we saw today were some fine examples from this manufacturer.
VW Bus, known as a “Bully” in Germany
Other classic cars were out as well
The village of Schüpfheim is the start of Panoramastrasse. The road starts out with a bang, crossing a quaint bridge and then hugging the side of a steep ravine. After that introduction the road straightened out slightly and meandered through some small villages and the now empty ski resorts.
The view at the top of Panoramastrasse earned its name well. Because it was still early in the day we had the place to ourselves.
View from Panoramastrasse viewpoint
Sursee in the distance
Coming down the other side of Panoramastrasse
Now that we had completed our first pass it was time to find out if the websites were accurate about Sustenpass. I assumed that it would be closed but there is a such a long approach to the pass itself, I knew that we’d have plenty of time before it came to an end.
But first, the journey to Meiringen!
Working our way up the valley to Meiringen
The sign in Meiringen repeated the warning that Sustenpass (and Grimselpass) was closed. We forged ahead, looking forward to see what the “end of the road” looked like. Or if there really was an “end of the road”!
We passed two open gates and but just past the hairpin in front of the Steingletscher the final gate was closed. The area was full of cars that belonged to the backcountry skiers that slid their way down the old snow covered slopes. But up by the gate there was no one. We parked our bikes and sat for a moment, enjoying the beauty of the day.
Our goal was complete. It was time to go home but not entirely the way we came. The population had woken up and the roads were a lot busier with other people out for their own Sunday drives. Fortunately for us, we still had to retrace our steps down Sustenpass…
Unique view of one of Susten’s switchbacks
One of many stone arch bridges
Dan bringing up the rear
Because we wouldn’t be taking Panoramastrasse for the return, we had to find an alternative route. It had to be something direct, yet not 100% motorway. I compromised and figured that we’d enjoy the banks of the Breinzersee. This took us through unfamiliar territory, but we still saw some familiar faces: more Volkswagens!
And then, of course, the glacier-melt blue water of the Breinzersee.
The town of Interlaken
Once we reached Interlaken it was just motorway and traffic for the rest of the way home. We had spent six hours on the bikes and covered around 400km. It was a good re-introduction to summer riding.