Day 6 - Bregenz (Austria) to Maîche (Ardèche, France)

Through Switzerland and the Jura - 259 miles

With a little bit of chutzpah I make it through the Swiss border, without a passport. I was going to go all around through Baden Württenberg, but what the heck, the nice motorcyclists I talked to yesterday told me they went through without their passports checked -- why not me?

The German-speaking side of Switzerland is quaint and a lot like Tyrol/Bavaria: postcard-type villages in remote valleys.

The French side is a lot more, er... like France. That is, downtrodden with thugs crossing the streets. In fact, the transition could not be any more brutal. After crossing one cute little village with its wooden frames, painted windows and flowery gardens, I cross a hill and am greeted by a message in French only, with a graffiti on top stating "La minorité ingrate" (the ungrateful minority). From then on, buildings are boring concrete blocks, and there isn't this constant desire to make everything picture-perfect. Obviously, the guys on the other side of the hill agree with me.

After six days filled with wonderful encounters with fellow bikers, I stop at a nice campsite in the Jura mountains. There are five German bikers. After nasty encounters with French cars crossing the border (they were driving like bats out of hell), I'm glad that I will share the campsite with bikers, German no less. Such nice people, the German.

However, a quick conversation with them makes me realize that they are not interested in talking, making friends or anything. They have about 30 24-oz cans of cheap French beer and about 5 bottles of cheap French wine. I see that they have a personal way of enjoying life. At 10:00 they are still talking loud and they can be heard from hundreds of yards away. Grrr.