Long range campaign #4 – 28th of August to 5th of September 2023

This year, our lives have changed a lot. After the pandemic, with Ana Maria’s bespoke travel agency growing again in a hopeful positive way, we made a very important decision at the beginning of the year.

The circumstances were conducive to a radical change in my career. Already very tired of the oil & gas sector, and specially of having to work for third parties, which was sometimes quite ungrateful, we made the decision that I should leave the sector to dedicate ourselves completely to the travel agency together.

No sooner said than done! Since the very beginning of the year 2023, we’re both officially working in Ana Maria’s project: XO Experience.

With the joy and novelty of working for yourself, and learning day by day from Ana Maria’s vaste knowledge – she has more than 15 years of expertise now with the agency! – the time was approaching to prepare another great trip to Grindelwald with the 3-Wheeler!

This year the event’s days are Thursday 31st of August, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of September.

After some chats and conversations with the usual members of our squadron, the situation this year will differ from the previous ones.

First of all, Steve will not come to Grindelwald. His main business needs too much attention this summer and he sadly decides to withdraw from this year’s Jungfrau-Treffen adventure.

Chas, on his side, has family invited home just these last days of August and beginning of September. He really wants to come to Switzerland, but the picture is not clear yet.

Charles’ scenario is unfortunate: his 3-Wheeler suffered an engine breakdown. A serious one! The fact is that it seems to be a high cost repair; and, if done, won’t be achieved before the dates of Grindelwald. The sadest part is that finding a spare part is mission impossible. We all know the situation about our S&S X-Wedge engines, which production was discontinued and the lack of spares is a raw reality. He might decide not to repair the 3-Wheeler.

Mario also finds complicated this year to drive from Erfurt to Montignac-de-Lauzun to join the squadron for take off from Soutwest France, as he usually does. Because he hasn’t so many days available this year. And he tells us he will drive direct from Erfurt to Switzerland.

Rob may not join us with his Catherham neither. He can drive for a few days but just after the dates of the Jungfrau-Treffen.

It seems that this year there are too many casualties in the squadron to drive together from Montignac-de-Lauzun to Switzerland. So, we’ll make it easy and drive with the Morgan on the trailer from Madrid to Grindelwald, doing just one overnight on the way and join all our friends there. It’s simpler, and more convenient for us too, because we know we’ll be very busy at work these dates.

But first things first: last year we had a very bad experience with a tyre of the trailer suddenly blowing while driving on the motorway. After a simple investigation, the reason was very clear: the trailer is fantastic, but without us realizing it, they slipped us some very poor-quality Chinese tyres. And after many hours of driving, despite having very few kilometers, one of the tyres could not hold the combination of heat and pressure, and burst, causing us the consequent scare.

Last year one of the tyres blew up on the motorway. Not a good experience…

It’s a fact that the tyres we have on our trailer are unusual. Their dimensions are 195/55 R10C (98). A very small rim diameter. It’s very difficult to find tyres for trailers with these measures. But after some days doing deep research on the internet and asking specialists, the conclusions take us to buy the following ones: Maxxis Trailermaxx.

These are Korean tyres, special for caravans and trailers, extremely robust (10 layers!) and very good quality compound and design. Not cheap – 70 € each – but clearly top quality and reliable.

Brand new high quality tyres: Maxxis Trailermaxx.

When we got them mounted, I asked the tyre shop to balance all the wheels. Most of these small diameter wheels mounted on trailers are not balanced, but we want them to be. Balancing them is really cheap and we’ll have for sure a much smoother ride.

We also do very deep research and discuss on a few trailers’ forums about the pressure we should inflate them to. As we have a two-axle trailer and it’s below 1,5 tons when loaded, the specialists on these forums told us to put a pressure just below 4 barg. In fact, 3,5 barg or 3,7 barg seem the most reasonable pressure after some debate.

This is much less than the original advise I got from the trailer manufacturer. He told me to put 5,5 barg on the Chinese tyres! But they had a much softer sidewall and weaker general construction. A real timebomb as we sadly suffered.

We’ll see how the trailer goes with these new tyres and at 3,7 barg…

As the days of the trip approach, the described scenario regarding our squadron members is confirmed. So, we’ll drive with the trailer all the way from Madrid to Grindelwald as expected, and we decide it’s time to book our lodging. Where shall we stop on our way to Switzerland? We look for a point a little bit closer to Switzerland than just midway. We believe it’s better to drive a longer distance the first day, that we’re fresher, and have a shorter and more relaxed second day.

We also purchase the Swiss Vignette to be allowed to drive on the Swiss motorways. This year it’s an easy task, because the Swiss government allows you to buy it online now! So much easier! We buy three Vignettes, one for each vehicle (which includes the trailer). Now we can drive into Switzerland with total peace of mind.

Regarding the route, we have two choices to get to Switzerland. We choose to drive up straight North and cross to France from the Basque Country. The roads and the traffic shall be better than driving North-East through Catalonia. And there is no difference in driving time and distance, making our choice easier.

Investigating about cozy and original boutique hotels on the way, we find a superb spot in a village called Varetz. It’s the Castel Novel. A super nice looking typical French chateau, with apparently a nice restaurant. And, very important for us, very close to the main motorway and with a large parking where we can leave the Land Rover with the trailer safe at night.

The Castel Novel looks great on the web!

We’ll see if it’s as nice as it looks on the web!

And about the lodging in Grindelwald, we’re clearly too late to get a nice deal at the Bernerhof Hotel. The prices they announce per night are way higher than what we paid last years! But for obvious reasons: we booked the hotel many months in advance the previous years, and this time we’re just a week to go!

Looking for something reasonable, we find a surprisingly well-located apartment in the center of Grindelwald. On the main street! Just few meters away from the Bernerhof and the Kreutz & Post. It looks really nice on the web, and with a huge space of 84 m2 it’s cheaper than staying at the Bernerhof!

And the appartment too! We really hope reality matches the pictures on the web!

The choice is clear. We don’t know if the apartment is as nice as it looks on the Internet, but it’s worth a try. We’ll discover the reality soon.

Day 1 – August the 28th: Madrid to Varetz

Take-off day! Yesterday we packed everything and checked the tyres’ pressure of the trailer and the Land Rover. And got both tanks – the Land Rover’s and the Morgan’s – full of fresh gasoline.

We just need to move the trailer and connect it to the Land Rover, start the biturbo petrol L6, and hit the road!

Our route today will cover a little bit more than 55% of the total route to Grindelwald.

872km – 8h50min

We take the A-1 motorway and pass by Burgos, Vitoria, then the Spanish French border at Irun, keep driving North on the A63 to Bordeaux, and then go East on the A89 to Varetz.

It’s a Monday, and there is little traffic on the motorway. The Land Rover pampers us with a super comfortable ride, and a surprising low fuel consumption for the size and weight of the convoy. Less than 13 l/100km (22 miles per gallon)! Not bad at all for a huge 2,4 tons 4×4 with a 400 hp petrol engine, pulling a 1,3 tons trailer!

But the most important thing today is the feeling of the trailer. So much better! With the new tyres, balanced, and turning at lower pressure, the convoy feels much more stable. The trailer doesn’t bounce as it did with the previous tyres. It’s a huge improvement. For sure the lower pressure is key. But also driving a trailer with high quality tyres gives us peace of mind. We wouldn’t repeat this long trip with the previous Chinese cheap tyres!

We arrive to Varetz at the planned time and park the convoy in a spacious area.

Nice looking chateau!

The chateau looks marvelous. And when we check in and get to our room, we can’t be happier. It’s super spacious and cozy. Really worth the price we’re paying! Just 85 € the night.

And a cozy spacious room! Excellent!

We learn a little bit more about this castle and its history. It’s a 13th century castle, surrounded by a dense forest, with just 26 rooms. And while dining, we’re amazed by the excellent cuisine. Delicious dinner! We will stop here again on our way back. For sure!

Tired but happy, we go to bed after dining. We have another long driving day ahead tomorrow!

Day 2 – August the 29th: Varetz to Grindelwald

We slept like logs! This place is so quiet and peaceful!

We enjoy a fast breakfast and get on the road as soon as possible, because today we need to be at Grindelwald before 17:00 to get the keys of the apartment, and to get directions of where to park the vehicles.

748km – 7h45min

We keep driving on the A89 to Lyon and pass by this busy town at lunch time. Best time of the day to avoid traffic! Then it’s on the A40 and A42 to get to the Swiss border at Geneva.

Because we’re driving a big car with a trailer, we decide to follow the most reasonable route to Grindelwald, which is using the motorways to Bern and then to Thun and Interlaken. Fast and easy!

On our way, Laurens and Rineke send us some concerning pictures of the top of the Männlichen: it’s totally covered in snow!

OMG! The Männlichen covered in snow!

But the weather forecast for the next days is way better. It says it will be sunny. The weather in the Alps is so unpredictable… We hope this year will be sunny during the driving days!

We arrive to Grindelwald at 16:15. Perfect timing! We head directly to the apartment’s rental office to get the keys and know about the parking facilities.

The apartment is just above the rental office, on the main street and few meters away from the supermarket and the main hotels where most of our friends stay. Such a nice centric place!

We have an inside parking place for the Morgan, so it will sleep warm and dry all nights. Just at the entrance of the building’s garage we have the second spot, this one for the Land Rover. The only one that is far away – just a 5 minutes’ drive – is the one for the trailer. It’s by the central offices of the rental company, perfectly safe and it makes sense to leave the trailer there, as we’re not supposed to use it for many days.

On the way back to the apartment we stop by a very nice shop we saw on our way to park the trailer. It’s called Molkerei Gertsch, and they sell cheese and many other local artisan products.

The Molkerei Gertsch. Full of delicacies!

We can’t resist and buy a lot of local cheese and cold meats! They look delicious, and we’ll savor them these days at the apartment, paired with nice beers and wine.

MMmmmm…. drooling already…

After this shopping, we drive back to the apartment and finish settling in comfortably. The apartment is great! As nice as in the pictures! It’s huge for the two of us, and very clean, nicely equipped, and comfortable! What a nice surprise.

The XO Experience portable office!

We use the dining table to deploy our “portable office”. This is something we can’t do in a hotel. We love having so much space. The decision to rent this apartment is a complete success. We will definitely think twice about staying at the Bernerhof hotel next time we’ll come to Grindelwald.

In less than one hour we’re totally installed and working in the apartment with all the vehicles properly parked and secured.

Today is Tuesday. Most of the 3-Wheelers will arrive tomorrow. And they’re already on their way to Grindelwald. We get many pictures on the WhatsApp chat of our bellowed colleagues and friends in route to join us here!

Chas is leaving Montignac-de-Lauzun! With Back Adder this year!

We’re glad to see so many people posting their pictures in the chat! It seems that this year the ambience will be great again!

And here’s the UK gang with Chris upfront! About to cross the Channel.

We work for a few hours and then head out for dinner. We end up enjoying a pizza at Da Salvi.

Dinning at Da Salvi is no mistake!

This is the restaurant were last year Laurens and Rineke organized the farewell dinner. We really liked it, and its cuisine is as good as usual tonight.

Nice pepperoni pizza and weissbier.

After a simple dinner and a local beer, it’s time to go to sleep!

Day 3 – August the 30th: enjoying Brienz and the welcome dinner

We wake up in a sunny day! Just few white clouds here and there. Good news: it seems that the weather forecast was right. At least for today!

Beautiful sunny day!

We see in the chat a lot more messages and pictures. Many are on their way here. It seems that this year it’s going to be a huge gathering of Morgan 3-Wheelers!

Pilots on their way to the Grindelwald Headquarters!

Craig is coming from the UK with a group of nine 3-Wheelers. Mario just took-off from Erfurt, and many others are on their way too. It’s happy to see so many people driving towards Grindelwald this year.

And more getting ready or on their way here!

Meanwhile, Ana Maria and I decide to leave the “office” and enjoy a little bit the area. We’ve been here driving our 3-Wheeler for the past three years, and really wanted to stay a little bit more to enjoy the nature and activities you can do in this alpine area.

We drive to Brienz, to enjoy a fabulous train ride we always wanted to do: the Brienz Rothorn Bahn. This is an amazing journey from the side of the lake, in Brienz at 566 m altitude, up to the Brienzer Rothorn peak at 2.350 m altitude.

The profile of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn.

The upper station is at 2.244 m, meaning that we will climb 1.678 m in just 7,6 km! An average slope of 225‰, 6 tunnels and 20 galleries. And all this in a beautiful train pushed by an old steam locomotive!

Locomotive no# 12. What a beauty!

The Rothorn Bahn Company owns 11 steam locomotives, some manufactured back in 1891! And 3 diesel ones. This is a real jewel. Both the track and the locomotives are a masterpiece of engineering. Absolutely worth the ride!

We love steam trains!

We enjoy so much this superb railway. And as we’re climbing the views over Brienz and its lake are simply stunning.

Best possible views, in and out…

It’s getting cooler as we go up. But we were wise and took our thick coats. That’s what you must do if you’re climbing to a 2.350 m high alpine peak in an open train car! Even if it’s summertime! But some of the other passengers haven’t realized that.

In our space in the car, we are eight people. And amongst them there is an Indian couple with their kid. Father and son wear the appropriate thick jackets, but the mother doesn’t. She is super fashion dressed, like ready for the red carpet, but clearly too light for the occasion. And she bothers everyone taking hundreds of pictures with a super long selfie stick with ridiculous poses and faces.

Doesn’t she know she can shorten it, so she doesn’t have to put her phone under our noses and wave the stick like a saber? I keep my grumpy mood for myself, seeing how the husband suffers with the situation, begging our pardon on many occasions…

The landscape is getting more and more beautiful. The turquoise waters of the Brienzersee disappear as we enter a dense forest and keep climbing between the rocky peaks and tunnels.

Stunning views over the Brienzersee.

Midway, we stop to refill the locomotive with water. We cross other trains coming downhill. We really love the experience. We believe it’s a must do if you’re staying a few days in this area of Interlaken.

Watering the locomotives.

As we climb it gets colder, with many snow patches here and there and freezing temperatures, and the landscape gets more dramatic. There is not a dense forest anymore as we gain altitude, and we progress under beautiful rocky peaks and narrow valleys, sometimes totally wrapped into the clouds.

It’s a magical railway.

It’s getting really cold now, and the Indian woman starts shaking and complaining. Her husband smiles at her and, in English so everyone could understand, he tells her “If you had listened to me when I warned you it will be really cold up here and didn’t dress like a silly teenager to look great for your Instagram pictures, you wouldn’t be freezing now. So, please, stop complaining and annoying everyone with your whining”. What a burn! But we just couldn’t avoid smiling…

Plenty of snow at the top!

When we get to the top, we do a kick visit to the restaurant and café and head immediately down to catch the next return train. Some people stay up here for lunch, but we decide it’s better to come back with the next train, and grab something down in Brienz and walk the village.

The best way to describe this beautiful experience in the Brienz Rothorn Bahn is with the following short video. We hope you enjoy it!

Once we’re back down in Brienz, we do a lovely walk along the shore of the lake and have a very nice lunch at a terrace by the water.

Lake shore at Brienz.

If you ever have the occasion to do the Rothorn Bahn as we did, save some time to walk the village too! It’s a short walk: it doesn’t take us more than half an hour.

Walking in Brienz.
Brienz. Worth a visit.

We decide to come back to Grindelwald, because we have some work to finish, and we want to be free for the time our friends will arrive.

After working a couple of hours, I cross the street to the local Coop supermarket before they close. We need some food and basics for our breakfasts and buy important groceries such as beer and cold meats to properly keep the apartment comfortable.

See the second floor balcony on the left? This is our huge terrace!

The afternoon is sunny, and we see some 3-Wheelers arriving from our balcony. It’s fun to see that other pilots are already enjoying the sun and beers just across our street!

A picture with everything: beer, sunny weather, a 3-Wheeler and our balcony just in front. Perfect scenario!

As soon as we finish our tasks, it’s time to go to the Kreuz & Post to join our friends and enjoy a fresh beer before the welcome dinner. It’s so nice to see so many familiar faces again!

A little after we finish our beers, we go upstairs to the main dining room, where everything is ready for the welcome dinner.

Ready for dinner at the Kreutz & Post.

This year it seems that Laurens and Rineke are going to break last year’s record of attendants! We’re counting approximately fifty 3-Wheelers already in Grindelwald! And they expect to be fifty-four or maybe more on Saturday! That’s an amazing number!

And it is irrefutable proof of the excellent work that Laurens and Rineke have done all these years for all of us. A very well-deserved reward for so much effort and dedication, and attention to detail. The organization has always been impeccable. All of us here have nothing but words of gratitude towards this wonderful couple.

We enjoy a very nice dinner, we catch up with friends, and get ready for tomorrow’s drive. It seems that the weather will be very good. Let’s cross fingers and see tomorrow morning!

After the mandatory glasses of beer and wines, we go back to the apartment to rest and recharge our energies for tomorrow.

Day 4 – August the 31st: first day of the Jungfrau-Treffen

First time in the morning, Grindelwald is still quiet and waking up under a sunny sky. There are just a few light white clouds covering the peaks around the valley.

Early morning at Grindelwald.

The departure for this first driving day is scheduled at 10:30. But the 3-Wheelers are arriving earlier, awaking the town with the deep roar of the big V-Twins.

Gathering at the main parking.

The town’s central parking lot is slowly filling up with Morgans. Greetings, hugs, and more and more familiar faces and friends who arrive with their wonderful machines.

More and more 3-Wheelers invading the parking.

Around 10:00 the parking lot is bustling with 3-Wheelers, drivers and curious onlookers who come to see this magnificent spectacle. This year is simply spectacular. We counted more than fifty cars. Awesome!

What a sunny morning!

The sun begins to shine brightly above the imposing mountains, and the morning gradually warms up. It’s wonderful to see so many friends and 3-Wheeler enthusiasts together again. We share anecdotes, catch up with other’s and enjoy our common love for these very special machines.

Apart the newbies, there are novelties amongst our friends. Pedro Freitas got brand new and shining G56 exhausts, that Craig brought from the UK in the M3W Services support van, and that he kindly installed yesterday late in the afternoon on Pedro’s black machine.

Great ideas! But what a sauna under this sun! LOL!

Pedro has just handed out a bunch of trays that many of the attendees had ordered from him this year. The trays he designed, and 3D printed, for the 3-Wheeler’s center console. They are really practical, and it is not surprising that they are so successful.

And since he never stops inventing and innovating, he has brought the first prototype of a total rain cover that he has manufactured. A very interesting idea: it’s like a tonneau cover, with the necessary opening for the head, similar to the waterproof skirts used on whitewater kayaks.

The truth is that it is very fun to see him stuck in the 3-Wheeler with the protector on. Black car and black hermetic rain cover: with today’s sun, his cockpit may be like a sauna with this on! Surely when he finishes perfecting it, it will be another bestseller. To us at least it seems like an excellent idea.

During this warm gathering, Laurens and Rineke provide us with the classic instructions for these days. The routes are very similar to the ones we’ve done the years before. And we’re really happy with it! Because they’re stunning beautiful scenic roads, and very fun to drive.

The morning route will take us from Interlaken to Habkern, and then through beautiful alpine roads to Beatenberg, Sigriswil, Schwanden, Meiersmaad, Horrenbach, Eriz, Schallenberg and with a nice stop at the Gasthof Siehen for lunch.

Morning route in turquoise.

This yearly meeting is precisely about this: camaraderie and driving on the most beautiful roads of the Bernese Alps.

The peaks are now totally clear. We have an amazing view of the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau, and a fantastic shining sun on the top of them.

Getting ready for take off!

It seems that we’ll have a wonderful weather today!

Ladies and gentlemen, please get into your cockpit and start the engine!

Few do some last-minute adjustments to their little rockets, and all pilots get ready to fire the engines.

Laurens gets on his beautiful Gulf Edition 3-wheeler and gives the long-awaited signal. Every time we start the engines in Grindelwald it is a spectacle, because with so many of these rare cars, the sound of the V-Twins invades the entire valley. But this year it’s even more surprising: we are more than fifty 3-wheeled vehicles!

We progress down the valley towards Interlaken.

Ana Maria and I are driving just two cars behind Laurens, who leads this enormous squadron up the hills.

Then, as we climb towards Beatenberg, Laurens unexpectedly slows down. His engine has suddenly stopped. The entire squadron stands on the side of the road.

The first thing we all think is that one of the classic breakdowns has occurred, such as the fuel pump or the timing belt. But that’s not it, since his fuel pump can be heard humming when he turns on the ignition, and the engine seems to turn with the starter motor when he tries to start it again.

A few minutes later Craig arrives with the M3W Services support van. Nobody sees clearly what is happening. It seems that there is no spark to the spark plugs.

In order not to have so many cars stopped badly on the edge of this road and bothering the traffic, we decide to continue forward until we find a more suitable place to stop and wait. Craig stays there with a few people helping him, trying to fix Laurens’ car.

Ana Maria and I are now in the lead, although we do not have a GPS with the route. And the road quickly becomes very narrow, and we can’t stop without creating a real blockage. We decide keep driving, hoping to be on the right path. We manage to follow the correct route with the whole gang following us.

But as soon as we find a Y on the road where we can safely stop, we pull aside and let the next car, equipped with a GPS with the route loaded, take us from here. It’s a nice occasion to film the Morgans passing by on this beautiful tiny alpine road.

We can see Laurens passing by driving Rineke’s 3-Wheeler. We imagine they swapped cars so Laurens can stay with the squadron and retake the lead as soon as the road conditions allow him to. Meanwhile, Rineke may be with Craig and the few others trying to solve Lauren’s car breakdown. We hope that Craig will do his magic again and solve it soon.

We wait some minutes after filming most of the pilots, just in case there is any other car or group that is still behind. Because we counted less 3-Wheelers than they should be. Probably the missing ones are those who stayed with Rineke and Craig while he tries to fix Laurens’ car.

So, Ana Maria and I need to catch up with the squadron as soon as possible, trying not to do a wrong turn. The gap between us is a little larger than desired. We don’t see them. But we drive fast enough following our intuition on the right roads, and we soon catch up.

The roads we’re taking along this section are the classic beauties of the low Bernese Alps. Dense forests, suddenly opening to bright green prairies, wood houses with their balconies full of flowers, and absolutely no traffic but the 3-Wheelers. Simply fantastic.

These beautiful Swiss roads…

The squadron makes a stop in a safe large area, so Laurens can retake the lead. We stop for a few minutes so he can call Craig and get news about his car.

Short stop.

Solved! Apparently, a loose electric contact. Sounds easy, but unless you’re a real specialist as Craig, the electric gremlins are sometimes very hard to find!

Green alpine sceneries.

With the good news, we return to the road and soon descend a little from the hills towards the lake, and the road surprises us with tunnels dug into huge rocks and a sudden opening with views over the lake. These roads are truly dreamlike!

After a few excellent kilometers enjoying driving, we see that one of the pilots stops on the side of the road. He signs for the others to continue, and they do. It seems that nothing serious is happening, but just in case Ana Maria and I, who are at the back of the convoy, stop to see if he needs a hand. We don’t like to leave anyone alone, even if he says he doesn’t need help.

It’s Hans Rohrmuller. He lost one of the two bolts holding the front plate. This one then dropped to the floor on the missing bolt’s side, and he unfortunately scratched and bended it. Nothing serious. We check if we can help and stay with him chatting while he removes the plate. Exactly four minutes later we’re ready to hit the road again. We ask him to take the lead as he has a GPS with the route uploaded.

Four or five minutes may sound a little time gap, but the squadron shall be far away from us now. Meaning we have a clear road ahead. Then we have a real good surprise: Hans pushes the “Super Pursuit Mode” button on his rocket and speeds with great precision and optimum use of the engine and gearbox.

Hans’s 3-Wheeler may not be the Knitt 2000 Industries, but it flies like it!

Just as we like it! What a fantastic ride! We’re enjoying every corner of the road, with the massive V-Twins permanently roaring between 4000 and 5000 rpms.

But we’re not too far from the Gasthof Siehen, the restaurant where we’ll have lunch. So, unfortunately, this lovely moment ends relatively quick. But we loved it! Hans is clearly a very skilled driver who knows the limits of his 3-Wheeler. It’s been a real pleasure to follow him!

The parking of the Gasthof Siehen is full of 3-Wheelers. It’s a beautiful sight.

At the Gasthof Siehen.

The best news is that, a few minutes after Hans and us arrive, being the last of the squadron, Rineke makes her appearance with Laurens’ 3-Wheeler. It’s running smooth and clean! Problem fixed!

Laurens’s 3-Wheeler purring like new!

Craig parks the M3W Services van and is cheered by the crowd. It’s such a relief to count on him assisting us!

We really like this place. The food is nice and in good quantity. But as usual the best is the camaraderie. The ambience is always fantastic on every Jungfrau-Treffen we have assisted to.

We finish lunch and get ready to continue our journey. The route back to Grindelwald will take us through Röthenbach, Jassbach-Kreuzweg, Thun, then along the shore of the Thunersee to end up as usual in Interlaken and up to Grindelwald.

Afternoon route in purple.

Now with the squadron complete again, we all jump into our cockpits and start the engines.

The Speedy Marmots enjoying life!

With care, all the Morgans exit the parking and get ready for the afternoon drive of the day. We progress smoothly towards Thun.

Back to the green!

The downhill to this town is beautiful, with the lake on the background. But once we touch town, we go uphill again to avoid driving the busy streets in town.

The views from the upper skirts of the hills, above the lake, are really nice, but we find some traffic passing through the villages. However, it’s worthy to drive up here, as between the villages the road sometimes crosses a dense forest with sharp turns, suddenly you find yourself driving under huge rocky walls, and just after you’re rolling in the middle of a green grass valley. The change of scenery is dramatic and magical.

Such a beautiful road!

The beauty of the nature here in the Swiss Alps is truly amazing.

Lovely Swiss countryside.

We know very few places as beautiful as this area to enjoy the 3-Wheeler.

Who wouldn’t have fun driving on these roads?

We finally take the end of the road just by the lake, to get to Interlaken. This section is also stunning, with the road literally a meter away from the water. We drive along the lake shore for many kilometers.

By the Thunersee.

It’s an easy road, but we must drive slowly and carefully, not only because of the speed limit, but because being flat and next to the lake, there are many cyclists, families enjoying by the water, people walking their dogs, garage exits, traffic lights… We need to pay close attention in this section to avoid an unnecessary risk situation.

But then the road climbs uphill again, to progress by rocky cliffs and tunnels. Still over the water, but there is no more pedestrian lanes and it’s hilly enough to discourage many cyclists.

Faster section as the road climbs the cliffs.

So, we can drive faster again, and reach Interlaken in a blink of an eye. From there, getting to Grindelwald takes us approximately 20 minutes. It’s been a fantastic day! And the weather was very nice: sunny in the morning, and partially cloudy in the afternoon but without rain.

The first thing we do arriving to Grindelwald is refueling. This year, the Shell petrol station has changed of ownership and it’s no more a Shell, but a Migrol. And unfortunately, they don’t sell the nice 100 octane gasoline that Shell does. That’s why we saw so many pilots stopping at the Shell in Wilderswil!

Filling with 100 octane juice.
Queuing at the Shell petrol station.

We have no other choice but to fill the tank with 98 octane gasoline. We know it will run well, but these days, at these altitudes we’ll be driving, we would prefer to get the nice Shell 100 octane golden fluid!

But on our way back to Grindelwald, something happened that needs to be mentioned. Have you seen the new lilac Morgan Super 3 in the previous pictures and videos? It’s Peter Lawrence and Shiley’s new toy. They drove from the UK in it, as part of the group that Craig, from M3W Services, is leading.

Pete, standing by his lilac brand new Super 3.

Well, let us explain what happened with this vehicle: its rear hub’s bearings collapsed during the afternoon drive, provoking a total rear wheel blockage. We’re talking about a major problem! And it happened the first day! Peter and Shirley are devastated. Everyone is very sad about what just happened.

But M3W Services is here! And Craig has plenty of tools and spares in the van! But does he have a rear hub bearing for a new Super 3? Of course he doesn’t… The bad news is that this is a major breakdown, and there is no spare on hand. Under normal circumstances, this bad news would mean to call the road assistance and bring the car back to the UK on a flatbed truck. This is the only choice they have now. So, they call the road assistance and take the Super 3 to a garage in Thun, the largest city around. The Super 3 will sleep there waiting for an international hauling company to ship it to the UK.

This rear hub bearing failure is a known problem on the first units of the Super 3, and Morgan Motor Company knows it. Maybe they should have recalled immediately all first new Super 3’s to fix this, instead of waiting for the problem arise? But this is not such bad news. It has a positive side! Because, as they know it may happen sooner or later, Morgan Motor Company has sent some spares to their official dealers across Europe. Craig is phoning like crazy, and they even talk directly to Massimo Fumarola, the current CEO of Morgan Motor Company, trying to save Peter and Shirley’s situation. And… jackpot! It happens that Morgan Geneva has a spare!

Immediately Craig, Massimo and Andy Blackwell of MMC, and Morgan Geneva coordinate an urgent shipping of the part to the garage in Thun, where the lilac Super 3 is supposed to sleep, waiting for tomorrow to be towed back to the UK. Thun is 190km from Geneva, and 50km away from Grindelwald. We have no idea if the spare will make it before they close the garage. And if it does, will Craig be able to fix the problem with the tools he has in the M3W Services van? Sadly, all the odds are against Peter and Shirley…

The squadron keeps driving towards Grindelwald. It’s around 18:45 when we park the 3-Wheeler in the garage. It’s so comfortable to have a parking inside the building! The car sleeps warm and dry. And we have direct access from the parking to the apartment, with no need to get outside of the building.

We work for a very short time, because we are supposed to leave immediately for dinner. Again, this year we’ll climb to the Grosse Scheidegg pass, and have a typical Swiss fondue at the restaurant Schreckfeld.

This is one of our favorite roads around Grindelwald. It’s not a public road, but Laurens and Rineke have the appropriate contacts, so they allow us to use it this evening.

On the Grosse Scheidegg pass.

The landscape is amazing, and it gets more and more dramatic as we climb the mountain. Today we have quite a clear view over the valley, and we stop here and there to enjoy the views and take some very good pictures.

As we do these stops here and there, the squadron elongates, and somehow a group of drivers at the back gets disconnected and confused at a crossroads, missing the right path to the restaurant.

Few roads make us smile like this!

We keep driving towards the restaurant Schreckfeld. Some parts are a dirt road, but in very good conditions. As we drive carefully and not too fast, all the 3-Wheelers progress smoothly to the end of the road.

Such an amazing little road.

This is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque routes in the entire Jungfrau-Treffen. And we love doing it year after year. And knowing that a super nice dinner awaits us at the top, it’s truly a dream trip with the Morgan!

Enjoying the drive.

There are very few houses on the way up. Mostly farmers. And many come out to their door to cheer the squadron as we pass by. Their cows are curious too, and don’t seem disturbed by the pops and bangs of our exhausts.

The views at the top are fantastic today. It’s so clear we can admire Grindelwald in the valley and the peaks in front of us: the Mättenberg, the Wetterhorn, Mittelhorn and Rosenhorn, the higher Bärglistock… really stunning views!

Blessed to be here, admiring these mountains.

Little by little, those who got lost minutes before, arrive to the restaurant. The improvised parking gets busy, with 3-Wheelers moving up and down trying to park properly and aligned.

Best background of the day.

At this point in today’s post, we want to make a break to pay tribute to a great colleague, as passionate as anyone about the 3-Wheelers, and an unconditional attendee of the Jungfrau-Treffen.

René Bouvard, with his unmistakable mustache and white beard, was an endearing person. One of those people that we were always happy to see year after year, behind the wheel of his beautiful dark green 3-Wheeler Brooklands Edition.

Unfortunately, two months before the dates on which we are writing this post, René passed away on January 9th 2024, at 64 years of age.

May this post serve as a tribute and memory to René. Rest in peace my friend, and may you continue to enjoy behind the wheel of your 3-Wheeler on these beautiful roads of the Bernese Alps in heaven.

René Bouvard, happy behind the wheel of his beautiful dark green Brooklands Edition.
Always with us, in our memories.

It doesn’t take too long before the last pilots arrive and park properly.

The “lost childs” finally get here.

After the mandatory pictures and chats, we enter the restaurant and enjoy a fabulous classic fondue dinner.

After the delicious dinner and plenty of beers, it’s time to hit the road back to Grindelwald.

It’s pretty cold outside now. Normal, since we are almost 2.000 m above sea level in the middle of the Alps.

Time to drive back to Grindelwald.

But with our thick coats, gloves, the fleece blanket and of course the heated seats, the descent is much faster and pleasant than you may think.

In approximately half an hour we’re back on the good tarmac streets of upper Grindelwald, and a few minutes later we’re rolling into the garage.

What an excellent first day! Time to go to bed!

But hey! This is not sleeping time for everyone! There’s a hero still working this late at night. The spare part for Peter and Shirley’s back wheel bearing arrived late to Thun: at 22:00! But it arrived! Before that, Craig was wise and asked the garage if they could leave the Super 3 outside, and if they don’t mind he works on it in their outer parking space, after they close. Deal done! So, Craig is working in the dark, with just a headlamp, and the tools he has in the M3W Services van. Removing the rear wheel of a Super 3, and replacing the rear hub is a humongous job! Just imagine doing this at night, alone, with the car in a dark parking on the floor (not car lift of course), few tools… Craig’s heroic effort brings him the reward he deserves: the Super 3 is fixed and ready to run!

Super Craig! Savior of 3-Wheelers! Master of the Wrenches! King of the Lithium Batteries!

It’s very late in the night. Around 4 AM, the Super 3 is back in Grindelwald.

Having a skilled and enthusiast mechanic amongst us proves to be such a bless! Craig is truly a “guardian angel” for all of us!

Day 5 – September the 1st: second day of the Jungfrau-Treffen

Today’s departure is scheduled for 10:00. As usual we gather at the parking at least half an hour earlier. We’re again around fifty 3-Wheelers. What an amazing number!

Another sunny day!

More drivers arrived today, and amongst them there a new Super 3. A very nice looking white one with black upholstery. Now Peter and Shirley’s lilac Super 3 won’t be alone!

Nice looking Super 3!

The best news is that the sun is shining as we never saw in Grindelwald. This is an incredible sunny summer day! Just have a look at the pictures and notice the beautiful blue skies in the background!

The route today is taking us to the Schwartzsee. We’ll pass through Leissigen, Aeschi, Spiez, Wimmis, Blumenstein, Wattenwil, Riggisberg and Sangerboden.

Morning route in turquoise.

These are known roads, but they’re so beautiful and fun to drive that we’re all happy to drive on them again this year.

We leave Grindelwald at the scheduled time, with the now classic expectation of passers-by and curious people.

Leaving Grindenwald.

The weather this morning is truly spectacular. Not a single cloud is seen. I hope this sun shines on us all day.

Not a single cloud at sight!

Yesterday we proved that being a lot of cars is not a problem while in traffic. No one got lost, but in the evening climbing the Grosse Scheidegg pass to the restaurant. And because we stopped a lot to take pictures here and there.

But when we’re on public roads, we keep together, and the drive is smooth and peaceful. We’re surprised by that. We suspected it would be difficult to get everyone together, but yesterday proved us wrong. Let’s see how we do today!

The huge squadron progresses without trouble this morning. Being a lot of vehicles, from time-to-time Laurens, who’s leading the swarm, stops to make sure we’re still all together. These are great photo opportunities as we get very close to each other during these short stops!

Huge squadron!

The fact that there is almost no traffic on these roads, makes the driving very easy. And it’s not complicated to stick together. We can even drive very fast in some sections, without any risk.

Didier and Caroline: always happy people!

Everyone is enjoying this beautiful day. And the landscape of this part of the alps, above Thun, is so Swiss and peaceful!

Blue skies, intense green grass, deep red 3-Wheeler…

We finally approach the Schwartzsee. The views of the mountains while we reach the high point before the descent are probably the best part of the day.

As in previous years, we stop for lunch at the Schwartzseestärn. The parking is big, but not for more than fifty 3-Wheelers! Will everyone fit in?

We must park as close as possible to each other to make room for everyone. It doesn’t take too long to have all vehicles parked, and we stay outside a little time to enjoy the sun and stretch our legs before lunch.

Alignement almost perfect… LOL!
Crowded parking.

The Schwartzseestärn is a nice posh restaurant by the little lake. Very nice cuisine. We have an excellent meal. And this year they accept credit cards! What a novelty! We brought cash thinking we’ll have to pay that way, but this year it happens they have improved their service accepting foreign credit cards.

There is something with the water they give you in this restaurant. We don’t know if it is brand-name bottled water or if it is tap water that is served to us in elegant bottles, but the fact is that it is incredibly diuretic.

Since this is the third year we’re having lunch here, we no longer fall into the trap of drinking too much water. We still remember the anguish we went through the first year, when our bladder almost exploded, and we had to beg for a private bathroom in a workshop in Thun so as not to wet ourselves.

Therefore, we carefully dose the water we drink and go to the bathroom as many times as possible and especially just before going out.

It’s time to get back to the Morgans for the afternoon route. With full bellies, we sit comfortably in the cockpits and fire the engines. More beautiful alpine roads await us!

We’ll come back to Grindelwald from the Schwartzsee via Pfaffeien, Zumholz. Guggisberg, Riffenmatt, Gurnigel, Wattenwil, Thierachern, Amsoldingen and of course the inevitable Interlaken.

Afternoon route in purple.

We elegantly align on the road along the Schwartzsee shore, waiting for Laurens to take the lead.

The weather is still amazing. Not a single cloud in the intense blue skies! Quite unusual in the Alps. And the best is that the temperature is mild. Even a little bit fresh. Something that you really appreciate when you’re driving an open Morgan 3-Wheeler under the sun.

Dreamlike roads.

We keep driving on beautiful, isolated roads, with little traffic. Sometimes it takes even fifteen or twenty minutes to see another car.

And fun hairpins.

Nice curves, some hairpins, and all surrounded by green prairies and dense forests. Such a nice scenario.

We progress quite fast until we start the approach to the Thunersee, where we must stop from time to time because of some road works.

Road works ahead!

As in previous years, we find out that the Swiss do a lot of road works during the summer months. It totally makes sense, as it’s obviously the best time to repair these small roads, that might have been damaged during winter with the snow and daily freezing temperatures.

Waiting for the green light.

We keep driving towards the shores of the lake, still on small local roads. It’s surprising to see how disciplined we are, keeping the squadron compact all together. No breakdowns nor other kind of issues today. Excellent day!

Everybody is enjoying this fantastic sunny day.

Pedro and Victoria. A lovely couple!

As we arrive close to Thun, where we’ll take the fast road along the lake’s shore towards Interlaken.

But before that, our keen eye detects some pilots stopping here and there, detaching from the group. Ah! Ah! They had too much water at the Schwartzseenstärn! We pity them, as we know the feeling…

And another one down, victim of the diuretic waters of the Schwartzseestärn… LOL!

Once we reach the outskirts of Thun and get on the fast road to Interlaken, we all know the way back and we get a little bit disorganized. There is no need to stay together anymore, as the route is almost finished. That’s why some pilots speed up. Probably to get to the Shell petrol station first, to avoid queuing, or maybe because they’re in a hurry to find a bathroom because of the diuretic water! Who knows…

Give me some octanes!

After the mandatory petrol station stop, we park the car in the garage and go upstairs to check on the emails and do a little bit of work. But just a little bit, because we’re meeting again in the main central parking at 18:00.

As every year, we’ll drive up to the Männlichen and have dinner there. We all remember the picture that Laurens and Rineke sent us three days ago! With the entrance of the Berghauss Männlichen – the restaurant – totally covered in snow! We hope that with these last three sunny days, the situation has changed. They say it’s totally clear now, and sunny, but it’s at 2.222 m altitude in the Alps, so quite unpredictable.

We climb the mountain using the very twisted maintenance road, leaving Grindelwald behind, getting smaller and smaller down in the valley.

As we progress, the weather is still amazing. We can see the peaks around us, which is quite unusual this time of the day.

From time to time, we pass through light clouds. Literally getting into them.

Coming out of the clouds.

And when we get out of the fog, we see again the blue sky and the peaks. That’s a nice experience.

Hello ladies! Can you please tell us if we’re in the right direction?
Wow! No clouds up here!

As we approach the Männlichen, the scenery with the white snowed peaks in the background is stunning. What a view!

Look at this frame!

But is there snow at the Männlichen, where we heading to? Not at all! Every year we’ve come here, there was something special about the light and the scenery, but we never could see the peaks around here because they’re usually covered by clouds.

But look at the skies up here today! It’s, by far, the clearest and sunnier day for us here!

Perfect parking spot.

Just compare the two next pictures! The first one was sent by Laurens and Rineke three days ago. Only three days ago!

Up here, three days ago.
And today.

Here is the best example of how erratic and unpredictable the weather is in this area of the Bernese Alps!

We park the Morgans here and there, and we all wander around taking amazing pictures. It’s quite an exceptional day up here. We don’t think we’ll have another day like this at the Männlichen!

Nice dinner, nice company. We can’t ask for a better experience up here! And after we finish dinner and get out to reach the cars, the night is also beautiful.

Last minutes of light over the Alps.
And what a beautiful night!

Despite the night is clear, it’s cold up here. Thick coats on and ready to go!

Little by little we start our engines and roil downhill back to Grindelwald. It’s beautiful to see at night this small maintenance road, twisted downwards to the valley, full of the light spots of our 3-Wheelers, as if it were a Christmas garland.

Once we get to the apartment, we quickly go to bed. It’s time to dream about tomorrow! It’s supposed to be the great day, with even more attendants and driving on the best mountain passes of the area!

Day 6 – September the 2nd: third day of the Jungfrau-Treffen

Today is Saturday, and traditionally the busiest day of the Jungfrau-Treffen. Busy in many aspects. We normally have more drivers joining the squadron. Precisely because it’s Saturday and today more people can join because it’s the weekend.

But on the other hand, and because the exact same reason, the roads are busier too. Much more cyclists, motorcycles, and of course cars.

At this morning gathering at the parking, we can count fifty-four 3-Wheelers! Incredible number. It’s going to be another great day. And we have again an incredible sunny day!

A other super sunny morning!

It’s 10:00. Let’s go and hit the road! The route this morning is taking us to Brienz, then we’ll climb the Brünigpass, and take towards Meiringen, Innertkirchen and reach the Sustenpass, then Wassen, Andermatt and end the morning drive with the Oberalppass.

We’re driving from Grindelwald towards Interlaken. We haven’t reach Wilderswil, and Christophe Molina is driving his Super Dry Edition three Morgans ahead of us. We’re driving at 80 or 90 km/h when his Morgan cap flies off his head! No chance he brakes and stops. We’re driving too fast. The two cars behind him just run over the cap, That’s still rolling on the tarmac when we’re about to run over it too.

80 km/h… target acquired… predicting the rolling movement of the cap on the tarmac… steering with high precision to have the cap passing exactly between the inner side of my front left wheel and the side of the 3-Wheeler, considering the exhaust… lean my body and drop my hand being careful not to scratch it over the tarmac, but low enough to grab the cap, and…. Swooossh!!! GOT IT!

Christophe’s cap.

Ana María stares at me first in disbelief, and then in amazement when I pass her the cap. She can’t believe I caught it. Oh yeah! Speedy Marmots driving precision! We just ruled the road here!

We keep driving for many kilometers towards Brienz, and pass town, climbing up the Brünigpass. As there is traffic, and the squadron separates at a busy crossroad, we do a very short stop a little further to make sure everyone is on the right path.

I take my chance and to Christophe’s car and give him his cap. He stares at me surprised. He can’t believe I recovered his cap on the run! He’s the lucky man of the day!

We drive a beautiful section of the road below huge rocks and tunnels.

Driving below these huge rocky parts of the road is sometimes scary, but we have faith in the Swiss engineers… LOL!

We continue climbing towards the Sustenpass. Good weather, good asphalt and a twisty road that is fun to drive.

Today the scenery is even more impressive.

After we start the first curves of the Sustenpass, suddenly we drive slowly. Very slowly. What’s happening? Well, it happens that a tourist with a rented Mercedes van is ahead of the pack at the speed of a snail.

In general, people are very polite, and when they see us in their rearview mirror driving much faster, they usually move out of the way as soon as they have the chance to let us pass. And although if you drive a car, it is not mandatory to stop on the shoulder to let other faster vehicles pass (which is mandatory if you drive a truck, bus or vehicle with a trailer, at least in Spain), it is a common rule of courtesy and very much appreciated.

But this man doesn’t seem to understand it that way. And despite the signals that Laurens and closest cars are giving him, and some rude signs from motorcyclist that pass him, he continues climbing the mountain pass at less than 30 km/h, creating a real traffic jam behind him.

Frustrated, we’re forced to leave more space and drive as slow as him. But the annoying part is that he speeds in the straight parts of the road, where it’s precisely the best and only parts we can pass him. But as we say, he takes the corners at 30 km/h and suddenly speeds a lot when it’s straight. Laurens becomes desperate and overtakes him as soon as he can and stays in front of him giving him signs to move aside and let pass the vehicles behind him. Although he does not seem to understand and, in the end, when the road gets wide enough, Laurens forces him to stop in the middle of the road.

Laurens gets out and walks to his window to explain that he should be courteous and move aside to let the other vehicles behind him pass if he is driving so extremely slowly. The guy seems like a new or very inexperienced driver. Or maybe he is just a little dumb behind the wheel. While he listens to Laurens with a stunned face, the squadron takes the opportunity to overtake him and resume the appropriate rhythm for the road.

Before reaching the top, we make a long stop on the side of the road, in a nice large area where we don’t bother traffic. Apparently one car is having electric problems. It’s Frank who noticed something is wrong with his electrics. We wait for Craig to arrive with the M3W Services van and check the problem. May it be a rectifier? Or is it the battery that just died?

Technical stop.

While they check, we enjoy the nice weather and the scenery. Nice chats and a lot of fun.

That’s a bunch of 3-Wheelers!

At the sight of so many 3-Wheelers parked on the side of the road, we have motorcyclists and other drivers stopping by our side. And they come to talk and ask questions about the Morgans. It’s a pleasant moment. Relaxed and funny.

It doesn’t take too long to find out that the problem of the car is the lithium battery. Apparently, it’s an Exide lithium battery, and these are known for failing randomly, and without any warning. Craig has batteries in the van, so the problem is quickly fixed, and we get on the road again.

We keep driving towards our lunch destination, the Alp Hïtta restaurant. But the views today are so beautiful, that some stop here and there to take fantastic pictures. At some point, one of us stops before a hairpin and takes pictures of almost all the 3-Wheelers of the squadron passing by. That’s a really nice book we have!

It’s a nice, pleasant drive to the restaurant, enjoying these mythical alpine roads. We’re in the very best area of the Bernese Alps!

We park by the restaurant. We’re so many 3-Wheelers this year that we need to park some on the access road. There is no traffic here, so this is not an issue.

Those beautiful machines…

The views form this restaurant Alp Hïtta are the best ones in the area. From its terrace we can see the whole valley and the Furka and Grimsel roads in the background.

Nice glass of beer!

As it’s a super sunny day, we can enjoy our lunch at the terrace. The ambiance has always been fantastic during all these years of the Jungfrau-Treffen, and this one is not an exception.

Everyone is enjoying lunch.
Chas and Mario look like in a jacuzzy.

We have a light lunch, and just one beer. Not only because I’m driving, but because on the way back to Grindelwald, we’ll do the Furka and the Grimsel passes, and there is almost no place to stop if you need to visit a toilet. We follow our philosophy: the less liquids, the better…

The Speedy Marmots.

We’re ready to come back on the road. All pilots get to their Morgans, and we start the big V-Twins.

Red, red and red.

Once on the road, the views are so incredible today, with such a blue sky, that we can’t resist to stop and take some breathtaking pictures.

Mythical Furkapass.
One of my favorite pictures of this year!

We keep driving downhill to cross Andermatt and head to the valley, to connect with the famous Furkapass.

The Furka and Grimsel are probably the most epic roads of this area. Famous for their hairpins, they’re the Mecca of cyclists, bikers and most drivers that come to Switzerland to enjoy its alpine roads.

But the consequence of this fame is that they’re so busy today! We can’t blame anyone. Who wouldn’t like to enjoy these mountain passes a super sunny summer Saturday?

Today, as you can appreciate in the videos, there’s quite an invasion of cyclists. We drive carefully to avoid any risky maneuver endangering any of them or us.

We have Peter and Shirley driving behind us this afternoon, in their lilac Super 3. We’re so happy to see them on our rearview mirrors after the bad breakdown they had the first day! Seeing their happy faces driving these mountain passes is one of the best rewards of our day.

Once we find ourselves back in the valley that takes us to Brienz, we take a different route we’ve never done. This time, we stick to the left side of the valley, on a narrow road. The reason we do this, is to do something interesting… Every year we’ve been here, we could see jet fighters taking off or landing somewhere in this area. There is for sure a military airbase. It’s the Meiringen Air Base. And the funny thing is that not only we head towards it, but this road crosses the runway!

After crossing the runway we’re on the South side of the Brienzersee. And there is a nice shorter road through modern tunnels that takes us to Interlaken, so we don’t need to drive around the lake on the Brienz’s side. This side is not so beautiful, but clearly much faster.

Shortcut. In the tunnels.

When we arrive to the apartment, we feel happy and lucky. We’ve been blessed with an amazing weather. The bitter side is that the Jungfrau-Treffen 2023 has come to an end. This was the last driving day!

We relax in the apartment, work a little bit, and invite Chas, Mario and friends to share cold beers, cheese we bought here in Grindelwald, and cold meats we bring from Spain. Who would say no to a frozen Weissbier and Spanish “pata Negra” ham?

After eating such delicatessen, we go to Da Silva for the farewell dinner.

Another fantastic dinner. We thank Laurens and Rineke for their amazing effort and excellent organization of the whole event, and hope we’ll be back next year to see this fantastic family of friends again.

Mario, Ana Maria and Chas. Les Trois Mousquetaires.

See you next year!

Day 7 – September the 3rd: Relaxed day in Grindelwald

Today is the day that most of our friends leave Grindelwald driving back home.

But this is not our case. Because we’re driving back home with the Land Rover pulling the trailer, being a long a relatively heavy convoy, we prefer to avoid leaving and driving on a Sunday. That’s why we rented the apartment until tomorrow Monday. We’re sure that the traffic will be much better than today that is the last Sunday of August!

Still sunny!

It’s a sunny day again, but we stay at the apartment catching up with work. Checking the WhatsApp chat, we notice that we’re not the only ones staying in Grindelwald today. Chris Goldin and his group, and Calum Fraser are staying until tomorrow too.

Last 3-Wheelers in town.

And from time to time, we hear the distinctive sound of a S&S V-Twin on the street. We must be some pilots still in town.

We can see Craig leaving town with his ducklings. We wish them a safe way back to the UK free of breakdowns!

The day goes by, busy working in the apartment, and permanently checking the news in the WhatsApp group.

Then a message from Hans Rhormüller gets in: his Centa rollers broke down on his way home! What a pity! Fortunately, it was on his way back home and not the day he was coming here or during the days of the event! This is the second Centa failure this year. The first one was Michael Ittensohn’s P101 that broke yesterday.

Hans got a Centa rollers’ breakdown.

This is such a common failure, and so unpredictable! We are very happy we asked M3W Services to do the Centa improvement installing a Phil Bleazey modified unit on our car. If it ever happens that our rollers break, we can change them relatively easy, even by the side of the road. Whoever thinks about touring with his 3-Wheeler, this modification is a must!

During the afternoon, we contact Chris Golding. They’ll have dinner with Laurens and Rineke and invite us over. We are happy and agree. And we invite him and the gang (Peter, Richard, Shaun, Calum, etc.) to join us before dinner for an appetizer in our apartment. Not all of them can come; Libby is not feeling well. She may even miss dinner. We hope it’s nothing serious.

Some Spanish and Swiss delicacies…

We try to finish all the delicacies we have in the fridge: cold meats, cheeses, beers, etc. And almost manage do it! But it’s time to join Rineke and Laurens at the Kreuze & Post for dinner.

We enjoy this last nice calm dinner in Grindelwald. We have a very nice time.

Shaun explains what’s happening to Libby, and it happens we have some drugs at the apartment that can be helpful. I cross the street and come back in less than five minutes and give him the tablets. We hope they’ll help her to sleep well and wake up much better tomorrow morning.

Special whisky edition…

One last special drink before coming back to the apartment!

Tomorrow we’ll be leaving early in the morning. But we may see Calum tomorrow night! It happens he is heading to Caramulo, in Portugal, and we told him about the fantastic place in Varetz: the Castel Novel. He might sleep there too!

We say goodbye definitively to our friends, wishing them a safe trip tomorrow. We hope to see them all very soon!

Back at the apartment, we pack everything and get ready to leave tomorrow first hour.

Day 8 – September the 4th: Grindelwald to Varetz

Relatively early in the morning we load the Land Rover and go to pick the trailer where it’s being parked all these days. It’s easy to take it back to the apartment and, knowing the space in the building’s garage, we decide to take the whole convoy – Land Rover and the trailer – down to the second floor of the garage, and load the Morgan in there instead of doing it outside.

The garage ramp is wide enough to do it. But as usual, our major concern with the Land Rover is the height of the garage. But we checked before and it’s high enough for the tall Defender.

All loaded and ready, and off we go! We can’t speed pulling the trailer, so this is going to be another relaxed day behind the steering wheel. The new Defender is so comfortable!

Our route is simple: motorways to Varetz. The opposite of what we did on our way here.

750km – 7h45min

While we’re driving exiting Switzerland by Geneva’s border, we get news from our friends. And these are not so good…

The picture says it all!

Chris Golding’s gang just got a snapped timing belt! Fortunately, they have spares and are experienced. They know how to change it. The new timing belt makes it a little bit hard because it’s not as flexible as they would wish.

But they end up fixing it, and the car is back on the road. They send a picture of all of them enjoying lunch. And even Libby looks great! All “timing belts” are fixed!

All cars and people are fixed now!

Chas and Mario send a nice picture in the vicinity or Courchevel. Rob joined them with his Catherham Super 7 and they’re enjoying the Col de La Madeleine over there, on their way to the Provence.

Chas, Mario and Rob at the Col de La Madeleine.

And then, more concerning news: Craig and his ducklings had a breakdown too! And apparently a major one! Paul Vincent’s master clutch cylinder failed!

Another breakdown. Just an appetizer for Super Craig!

But Craig is too skilled to get afraid by a “simple” clutch cylinder failure by the side of a French motorway. And he fixes it. What a genius mechanic… 

And fixed!

Soon this group send another happy picture, with all problems fixed and everyone happy!

Shiny happy people!

About us, we progress smoothly towards Varetz, and stop to refuel before leaving the motorway. Calum passes us when we’re refueling and gets to Castel Novel ten minutes before we do. He seems to love the place. We’re happy we convinced him to stay here tonight!

Calum has just arrived to the Castel Novel.

He is savoring a cold beer when we arrive. I join him as soon as possible after we do the check in. His beer looked too fresh and tasty to lose any time upstairs!

Ana Maria joins us a little after, and we have dinner together enjoying the nice cuisine of the place and a fantastic bottle of French wine.

We’ll sleep great tonight!

Day 9 – September the 5th: Varetz to Madrid

This is our last day. We’re supposed to arrive home tonight. We have more than 9 hours to drive, covering 875km. Why more than nine hours today?

875km – 9h45min

The reason is that we’re taking a deviation from the motorway and pay a visit to Steve and Annette at Montignac-de-Lauzun. Steve couldn’t make this year to Grindelwald, and we really want to see him and Annette.

Calum leaves before we do, but he’ll stop by Montignac-de-Lauzun too, because he wants to say hello to Steve too.

Time for Calum to leave Castel Novel.

Everything is ready and the Land Rover full of fuel! On the road again!

And soon after off we go too!

So, we meet at Steve and Annette’s and have a nice appetizer before continuing our way South to Spain. It’s so nice to see our beloved friends!

Ana María and I leave before Calum because we really want to make it to Madrid today. We advise Calum about another super nice place to spend the night, just by the Portuguese border: the Fuerte de La Concepción. It’s an amazing hotel built into an old 18th century fortress. If he drives fast, he might be there for dinner.

We stop by a known place for lunch, in Saint-Justin: Le Cadet de Gascogne. We’ve been here before and love the place. And we can conveniently park the convoy in front of the terrasse.

Super nice spot for lunch at Saint-Justin.

The rest of our day runs perfect. We arrive to Madrid for dinner. Back home and happy!

Everyone in the Whatsapp group is sending good news. Most of them are already home, or still on their way but without any trouble. All good news!

And Calum arrived safely for dinner too at the Fuerte de La Concepción!

Let his nice picture of his dinner table be the last one for this year’s Jungfrau-Treffen post!

It’s being a real pleasure! See you again next year! Maybe before the Jungfrau-Treffen in other 3-Wheeler adventures!

Hangar works #27 – The LED headlamps

Our beloved Morgan 3-Wheeler has many points that can be upgraded. Some are more important than others, of course, but there is one critical improvement to be done if you ever pretend to drive your car at night; and this is to change the standard halogen front headlamps for a much brighter and performant LED ones.

Why is that? Are standard halogens that bad? They are. I’m sorry to say this so directly and crudely: but they are ridiculous in terms of lighting. Simply terrible.

If you drive your 3-Wheeler in daylight, and just on few occasions at night but in nice painted and illuminated roads or streets, you’ll be ok with the H4 halogen bulbs in the standard headlamps. But if it ever happens that you have to drive at night, under a heavy summer thunderstorm, on tiny secondary roads with no white lines painted at all, you’ll immediately remember this post and understand why we say that the standard headlights are terrible.

We suffered this situation last year, on our way back from Grindelwald to Montignac-de-Lauzun. We had to stop at Cahors because it was raining cats and dogs again. That was a truly awful day. You can read about it in our post Long range campaign #2 – 3rd to 17th of September 2021 – The Speedy Marmots’ Journeys – look for Day 12 – September the 14th: Nyons to Montignac-de-Lauzun – and you’ll get an idea of the hell we passed through! Driving at night on those dark, black, unpainted French secondary roads with the so poor standard headlamps was something we don’t want to repeat. Never again…

Changing the headlamps for a new modern, and incredibly better LED version is so simple! We bought from M3W Services the LED set. It seems to be the same one used by Krazy Horse and other Morgan dealers. And installing those units seems a very simple task that can be done anywhere within just 20 minutes. If you have the correct tools, obviously.

The brand new LED headlamps.

The new LED headlamps have a middle horizontal light bar that works combined as a daylight – in white color – and as a turn indicator – in orange. But our 3-Wheelers already have the turn lights below the headlamps, so in our case I disregard the turn indicator wire and only connect the daylight one.

You’ll need a crimping tool to insert and connect the male plug for the daylight. The rest of the connectors are standard and the same that the car has. So, a simple plug&play task.

The standard connectors are good. Just a plug&play task.

Once I have made all the connections, and put back in the headlamp in place, I turn on the lights and… OMG! What a huge difference! Compared to the standard halogen headlights, these LED look like a military anti-aircraft spotlight!

Much brighter! Great improvement!

But I immediately spot a first problem: these new LED lamp sets protrude, and a lot, from the original chromed steel retaining rings. You may notice it if you look carefully at this picture below. There is a large portion of black painted metal protruding from the silver shining ring that holds them into the main shell. You have a much clearer picture later in this post.

Easy to fit. But not really as they should…

It’s not just an aesthetic issue, but this also means that we can’t put back the protection grille we had in front of the standard headlamps.

We can’t put these meshes back, because the new headlamps protrude from the chromed ring.

The result is that we have now new fantastic LED headlamps, but we lose part of the vintage looking of our 3-Wheeler, mainly because we can’t put those grilles back, and the totally transparent lenses of the new headlamps show their modern LED interior.

We will leave them that way for this trip. But a correct installation should be done later.

There is a way to put these LED headlamps properly in the original shell, so they don’t protrude. But it looks like a more complicate job to do right now, and the truth is that when I made this quick swap of headlamps, we’re in Montignac-De-Lauzun, and about to leave for Switzerland for the 10th anniversary of the Jungfrau-Treffen in Grindelwald. So, I leave the headlamps as they are. Because I prefer to have much better lights and lose part of the vintage look of the Morgan than risking driving at night again with the poor halogen ones. And I’ll modify the installation later, with no rush.

We travel to Switzerland and come back home to Madrid without any problem with the 3-Wheeler. The modifications made on our little rocket work neat, and the whole has dramatically been improved from the dynamic point of view.

If you want details about the mechanical improvements, you’ll find different posts in the Hangar Works section of this blog.

And if you want to know about the trip to Switzerland, this is in the Long Range Campaigns section.

Now we’re back in Madrid, and I’m still thinking about a better installation of the new LED headlamps to solve this protruding problem, when I take our Morgan to Retromóvil, the classic car show in Madrid, held from 24th to 27th of November.

Preparing the Morgan 3-Wheeler stand for Retromóvil 2022.

It happened that we talked with Tayre, the official Morgan’s dealer in Spain, and asked them if they will have a stand at Retromóvil this year. And if they will have a new Super 3 for the dates. Talking with our good friend Oscar Pollo, Tayre’s Morgan and Maserati sales manager, I told him about our idea to have three generations of Morgan three wheelers in the stand. And he loved it!

Our stand was the most admired of the whole show!

Said and done! We take to the Retromóvil Tayre’s – Morgan – stand the new Super 3 they just received from Malvern, our 5-Speeder, and Sergio Romagosa’s – another good friend of us – stunning 1934 Supersports. The stand is the most admired during the three days of the event. So many people taking pictures and asking about the 3-wheelers! It’s not everyday that you can admire more than a hundred years of automotive evolution under a same brand!

But the day I took our 3-Wheeler to the show, something weird happened. Again… Believe it or not, the same turn light front right support broke again. Again! This is the third time! And it broke despite the stainless-steel unbreakable reinforcement I recently made for these supports! The crazy thing is that this time it broke just at the very end, exactly after the point where the stainless-steel reinforcement ends. Unbelievable!

Are you kidding me?!?

This is outrageous! I’m furious. I do a very discrete temporary fix for these days of the Retromóvil show, but I’m done for good with these stupid fragile supports!

I won’t be fooled again and won’t let Morgan replace the support for another one, again, made of cheese. I take the decision to remove the front turn lights as they are and use the LED headlamps integrated turn signal system.

And here we are, after the Christmas holydays, beginning of February, and ready to do this modification of removing the standard front turn lights, and do a proper installation of the front headlamps. A nice winter “do it yourself” job.

I ask my good friends of M3W Services about the correct way to install the headlamps, so they don’t protrude.

Here you can see how much the new headlamps protrude. That’s quite a lot! More than 10 mm.

Steve and Chas reply immediately and pass me “instructions” they got from Krazy Horse, as a guide to do this job myself. They’re as follows:

  1. Remove Chrome ring from headlight front by unscrewing retaining bolt.
  2. Disconnect old headlights.
  3. If using integral indicators remove M3W indicators and re-route wiring.
  4. Glue the cork around the headlight, 4 pieces per headlight.
  5. Bend the two clips on the chrome ring and fit the light into it with the rubber trim (x2) around the edge.
  6. Bend the two clips back against the headlight to secure.
  7. Connect the wiring from the sidelights and indicator. Red = indicator, Yellow = sidelights.
  8. Reduce length of retaining bolt by 3mm as it will be too long.
  9. Refit chrome ring and retaining bolt.

Everything makes sense. Nothing strange with these basic instructions. I check if I have everything to do the job, and the first thing that attires my attention are the cork pieces.

The cork pieces look like slices of Danish Rye Bread!

I’m supposed to glue four small pieces on each headlamp, to solve the protruding problem. These pieces, measuring 40 mm long, 10 mm large and 5 mm thick, are made of soft cork. Too soft in my opinion. They will be in contact with the inner side of the chromed ring, pinched between this ring and the main heavy body of the LED headlamps, acting like a spacer to pull inside the headlamps. But I’m convinced that they will disintegrate very quick because of the permanent vibrations of our 3-Wheeler’s headlamps.

And there is also another issue: if I use only these four small cork pieces so that the headlight is more inside the housing, flush with the chrome ring, I don’t see anything that prevents water from entering the headlight between the corks.

I don’t like this solution. And I think there is a much better way to get the same aesthetic result, using much more resistant material that will absorb perfectly the violent vibrations, and sealing for good the headlamp avoiding any water ingress.

So, I do a quick visit to a shop in Madrid, specialized in rubber pieces. I buy one meter of a good rubber band, 50 mm large and 5 mm thick. The material is quite cheap. I get the meter for less than 10 €.

Rubber band: a much better solution than the cork pieces!

The idea is very simple: cut it and make my own rubber O-rings and place them around the headlamp instead of the four fragile corks.

To do the O-ring, I use a metal ruler and a sharp cutter. And a special ultra-resistant flexible glue for rubber.

The rubber band, a cutter, a metallic ruler, and special rubber glue. Everything easy to find!

I cut out of the rubber band two 10mm wide strips, the same width as the cork pieces supplied with the kit. The metal ruler is not damaged by the cutter, so I can use it as a guide for the cut.

Use the metallic ruler as a guide for cutting.

For the length, I simply use a measuring soft tape, and then cut the stripes to the exact length matching the circumference of the headlights, make sure it fits properly, and glue.

And here it is! A nice rubber O-ring!

It’s an easy task. Everyone can do this at home!

The rubber O-ring will go where the corks should to be glued. But no need to glue it!

When the glue is dry, I can check the result. I gently slide it in position, and I find it way better and satisfactory than using the corks!

That’s a good looking O-ring!

In order to insert the headlamps into the chromed rings, now with the rubber O-ring, it’s mandatory to follow the step 5 of the instructions: bend the two clips on the chrome ring. If you don’t, you won’t be able to insert the headlamp properly.

Clips are easy to bend with small plyers.

The result is obvious. The headlights are now perfectly flush with the chrome ring.

Doesn’t it look better? Much better!

The protruding problem is now solved. But solving it arises other problems. As you can see in the next pictures, the headlamp fits into the chromed ring after bending the two clips.

The bended clips become almost unnecessary, as they can’t be bent back to their original position.

But at the bottom of the chromed ring, there is a tab. And this one is just in contact with the headlamp body now. And this is a problem, because the main chrome casing has a slot in which this tab fits, and if this does not happen, the closure is not achieved.

Now that’s going to be a problem!

With the tab touching the headlamp body, there is no room for the insertion into the main chrome casing. This is something I’ll have to deal later, cutting the tab on the chromed ring enough to allow the insertion, but not too much so its task as retaining tab is still effective.

I’ll have to cut the tab to allow the new headlamps fit properly into the main chromed casing.

Now I must make sure that the headlamp is holding properly into the chromed ring, making sure it doesn’t move or rotate with the vibrations of the 3-Wheeler. Because the S&S huge V-Twin does shake the car for good!

To retain the new LED headlamp in position, I reuse the clips the original headlamp had. But as the new body is heavier and thicker, I bend the clips a bit to reduce the tension they’ll transmit to something reasonable. Otherwise, with the strong spring force they have it will be very difficult to put them in place or remove them.

Bend a little bit the removable clips. Easy to do with the small plyers.

This is an easy task with the help of small plyers. Now I can put four clips back on each headlamp to retain them solidly to the chromed ring. I’m just careful to place them properly around the diameter so they don’t bother with the tabs or bolts I’ll have to insert later.

Then put them back in place to fix the headlamps within the chromed ring. The clips will hold the headlamps position by pressure, and the rubber O-ring will not allow it to rotate.

The home tasks are complete! Now it’s time to go downstairs to the garage and fit everything on the car. I take all the tools and my large LED work lamp and start working on the Morgan.

First thing to do: remove the front turn lights. They come out easy. Then I remove the connectors, cut the wires there by the connectors, and pull out the cables gently, because I want to recover the LED orange modules without damage. They’re the same as the back ones, and we never know when we’ll need one as spare!

I remove the original turn lights and keep them as spare, just in case.

Now it’s time to use the Dremel and saw out the soft turn light supports. Why keeping them when you know they’ll break sooner or later? And without the turn lights, they’re useless.

Time to saw the turn lights’ supports.

The removal is incredibly easy. These supports are truly made of mild steel. A Simple thin indent with the rotor blade, and I can remove them by hand with little effort.

Cutting carefully!

Look at the video! It was so easy! Now the problem is solved: I have no more front turn light supports to be worried about!

After sawing out the supports, the main arm that supports the headlights has an ugly scar where the support was welded and I made the cut.

This needs “plastic surgery”!

It’s important to do some “plastic surgery” and reduce the sharp edges to get the area as smooth and aesthetically correct as possible. Again, a little bit of Dremel with a proper sandpaper head helps me to do it.

A little bit of Dremel with the appropriate sandpaper head.

After letting the area smooth and clean, I apply a little bit of black metal paint. The scar is finally hidden, and not even a keen eye will suspect there was a support welded there before.

And the final make-up! Just a little bit of black paint spray.

Before working on the cabling, I do a little easy task, which consist of inserting a M5 rivet nut at the bottom of the main chromed casing. Why is that? Well, our 3-Wheeler was ordered with the option of the headlight meshes. And these meshes were attached by two claw-like metal tabs which held the outer ring of the headlight meshes. One was at top of the chromed ring and fixed with the upper closing M5 bolt. And the other was at the bottom, riveted to the main chromed casing.

I need to fit a rivet nut here!

Instead of riveting again the bottom tab, I prefer to put a M5 rivet nut that will be more useful than a simple rivet, to fix the meshes again in front of the headlights.

Fast and easy: make the hole large enough for the rivet nut!

That’s a very easy task with a drill and a good quality metal bit, and with a proper tool for the rivet nut. The rivet nut gets solidly fixed to the main chromed casing.

The appropriate tools on hand!
And done! That was easy!

This makes the fixing of the metal claw-like tab much easier. And therefore, the installation of the metal mesh too!

The bottom claw-like tab, bolted in place.

And now it’s time to work on the problem of the chromed ring’s lower tab. The one that touches the headlamp body and doesn’t leave enough room to insert the thin metal sheet of the main chromed casing, so this tab inserts properly in its slot.

Back to this! I need to remove the excessive material from that tab!

In the picture above, you can see how this tab gets into the main chromed casing slot. Once inserted, the tab protrudes quite a bit. Please allow me to repeat the same picture, explaining the problem. It makes sense here!

Remember? Let’s do it now!

This unnecessary material is what doesn’t allow the chromed ring to fit properly into the main casing, because it touches the headlamp body leaving no gap at all for the thin metal sheet to pass through.

More Dremel and problem solved!

This is much better now. I’ll be able to fit the chromed ring with the headlamps on now.

I test the whole assembly with the headlamps fixed onto the chromed ring, and now it works. Just a little fiddling but nothing difficult.

Now it’s time for the wiring! The good news are that the new LED headlamps have the turn signal light integrated in the middle horizontal bar. And therefore, the neutral cable is the same of the whole lamp. This means that we only must take one cable from the turn signal connector under the bonnet to the headlight, instead of two.

The connectors at the back of the new LED headlamps.

The headlamps box has a couple of yellow cables, long enough, and with the Faston connector matching the headlamps one.

I try to pass the cables through the flexible plastic hose, from the headlamp to under the bonnet. But it seems an impossible task. The cable is too flexible, and the flexible hose already has four cables inside, leaving very little room for an easy insertion.

The cable guide that I have is too thick, and therefore useless for this task in such a small flexible hose. Then I call my father. I’m sure he has a solution. He comes down to the garage and checks the situation. Then he leaves to come back minutes later with many options. Amongst them, a nice looking long thin rod made of soft brass. This is the perfect guide to feed the wire through the flexible plastic hose!

It’s so nice to have his support! After decades of building his own H0 train models, his experience and resources to solve this kind of tiny delicate wiring operations is stunning!

My father always has the solution! A thin and soft brass rod.

With this guide, I gently push the yellow wires through the hoses on each side. And once there, the task is easier. I do the pin connection, securing the connection with a bit of soldering.

A little bit of delicate soldering and we’re done!

Electric job done! I proceed with the appropriate tests and everything works fine. Right, left, warning lights… Now our Morgan has the headlights properly fitted, with the turn signals integrated, and the vintage looking metal meshes protecting the glass. Excellent!

Long range campaign #3 – 24th of August to 7th of September 2022

We’re in the middle of summer 2022. We’re approaching the critical dates for this year’s Jungfrau-Treffen. This is going to be a very special event, as it’s the 10th anniversary of this fantastic Morgan 3-Wheeler meeting, prepared with so much love and great effort by Laurens and Rineke.

The exact dates to be in Grindelwald are September the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The plan of our squadron is to arrive to Grindelwald the 31st of August, leaving as usual from Montignac-De-Lauzun a few days before that.

Last year experience was incredible, although quite tiring for all of us. In particular, the return from Grindelwald to Montignac-De-Lauzun was especially hard on the day we crossed Nîmes, with those terrible floods and torrential rain in some sections of the way (if you want to know about this awful day, you can find all details, pictures, and videos in our post “Long range campaign #2 → Day 12 – September the 14th: Nyons to Montignac-de-Lauzun).

Ana Maria and I found it especially hard and long. We made the entire trip in the 3-Wheeler from Madrid to Switzerland and back because we did not have then a proper car with which to tow the trailer with the Morgan on it. Exciting, but too long.

Fortunately, this year we have an amazing new “bomber” to tow the trailer: the brand-new Land Rover Defender. It will make our trip much more comfortable between Madrid and Montignac-De-Lauzun.

Our new Land Rover Defender, with our trailer.

We discuss about this year’s route with our friends. To avoid repeating roads done the previous years, we agree to take a route going a little bit more North and enter Switzerland from the Northern side of Geneva.

The squadron’s philosophy remains the same: enjoy as much as possible small country roads. However, to avoid too many driving hours each day, we agree to use motorways in some parts of the way. And on our way back from Switzerland we decide to make a full last day on motorways, to make the comeback one day shorter.

The Speedy Marmots are asked to choose the routes again, and after a long research and detailed work, we create another navigator’s roadbook.

The new navigator’s roadbook for this Grindelwald 2022 adventure.

These navigator’s roadbooks are now becoming a classic! We always create one when we do a new “short fighter mission” – depending on its importance and distances – and any “long-range campaign”. For the long-range campaigns, we believe it’s mandatory to create this navigator’s roadbook. It helps me to memorize the route, with the critical images in the back of my mind. It gives us confidence. And Ana Maria, being such an amazing co-pilot, has a useful tool to make sure we never get lost.

Same format. It proved to be really efficient. We just optimized some indications and signs.

We’re optimizing the information and the details, so this year we can make just one navigator’s roadbook for the whole trip. But it’s true that the comeback is one day shorter, and that we use motorways in some sections of the trip, simplifying a lot the indications on the roadbook.

The plan is to do two overnights on our way to Grindelwald. Leaving on Monday the 29th of August, and arriving to Grindelwald on Wednesday the 31st in the afternoon. And only one overnight on the comeback. Leaving Grindelwald on Sunday the 4th of September, and arriving to Montignac-De-Lauzun on Monday the 5th in the evening.

Apart the navigator’s roadbook, we create the files of Google Maps routes too, as a back-up for everyone. The positive aspect of having this technological backup, is that the other squadron members, who drive solo, can use these Google Maps routes in their smartphone if needed. We never split, but who knows?

During these weeks, Steve has done the big upgrades to our little rocket: Bleazey drive train upgrade, Walbro fuel pump, rear disc brake conversion, Öhlins shock absorbers, etc. This year our 3-Wheeler will be much more reliable and racier for such a long and demanding trip! We can’t wait to get there and test the Morgan with all these new improvements!

If you read our post “Hangar works #22 – The front turn lights support”, you’ll know that I took our beloved 3-Wheeler to Southwest France beginning of July, to M3W Services in Montignac-De- Lauzun. And I left the trailer there too. We plan to do a one-day trip from Madrid to Montignac-De-Lauzun in the Land Rover. It’s long but feasible and relaxed in such a comfortable car.

Day 1 – August the 24th: Madrid to Montignac-De-Lauzun

Ana Maria and I planned to drive together the Land Rover to Montignac-De-Lauzun on Wednesday the 24th of August. But this summer of 2022 seems to mark the real end of the Covid-19 pandemic. And this means that, fortunately, Ana Maria’s business – a bespoke travel agency – is overloaded with clients hungry to travel again after the last two terrible years. Because of that, we decide that I’ll drive alone to Montignac-De-Lauzun in the Defender, and she’ll fly on Saturday the 27th to Bordeaux, which is 45 minutes’ drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun, where I’ll go to pick her up. She’ll have three days and a half more at the office, and she really needs it.

The drive to Montignac-De-Lauzun is really nice. This new Defender is a fantastic car: quiet, powerful, and super comfortable. Despite the very long journey (720 km, mostly on motorways) it takes me to the destination without fatigue in more or less 7h30min. We’re so happy to have this new “bomber”.

Le Papillon guests house, at montignac-De-Lauzun.

I stay again in Le Papillon. I love this guesthouse! Just for the fun, because there is no need to, I check if the huge Land Rover fits in the garage. And it does. It helps a lot to download all the luggage direct into the house! But being practical, after unloading the luggage, I park the massive car in the main square, where there is plenty of room and that it’s just seconds away from the front door. Montignac-De-Lauzun is a very small village!

Day 2 – August the 25th: enjoying the countryside

This Thursday Steve is not at the workshop. I take my day to enjoy some relaxing solo drives in the area. I discover new places with the Land Rover, reaching few isolated villages not too far from Montignac-De-Lauzun.

The small roads around Montignac-De-Lauzun are so beautiful!

This region is beautiful and deserves a longer stay than just a couple of days. The narrow roads are so relaxing to drive, and I can see some old country houses and barns abandoned that would do a very nice restoration project.

The area is plenty of abandoned old houses and barns.

The Speedy Marmots are thinking about it. We would love to buy a property in the area. We just need to wait for the right moment and the right property to buy! It would help winning a lottery too, of course!

Day 3 – August the 26th: testing the car and installing the new LED headlamps

This Friday morning, I meet Steve at the M3W Services workshop. We discuss about the pending tasks on the squadron’s cars before we leave for Switzerland and see how I can help him.

It’s Chas’s car the one that needs more attention. Apart it needs a new set of front tyres, it’s misfiring at 4.000 rpm. We get crazy trying to find the cause. Apparently, all sensors run properly. After many tests, Steve decides to reset the ECU and download a fresh new software, as a corrupted software seems to be the only possible problem. And bingo! After the reload, the car runs smooth again. What a relief! There’s nothing worse than having an electronic “gremlin”. It’s the most difficult problem to find and solve.

Chas’ 3-Wheeler on the “operating table”.

Another task is mounting back all the upholstery on Charles’s car. The old tan leather has a beautiful patina but needed a serious cleaning. Chas cleaned it a few days ago, and now that the leather is dry and nourished it’s time to put all the parts back on the car. What should be an easy task shows to be more complicated because of a couple of loose nut rivets. Steve and I fix them, and I finally manage to finish the task.

Meanwhile, Mario arrives from Erfurt. He drove his 3-Wheeler from Eastern Germany, making the 1.350 km drive in non-stop-mode. What a brave man! We move the cars in the garage to do some works on Mario’s. It’s still fun to me to see many 3-Wheelers together!

Mario’s 3-Wheeler just arrived! Time to check few things on this one.

Regarding our 3-Wheeler, all modifications and upgrades have been done but the LED headlamps. Not a big deal because I can do it myself. It happens to be a fast and easy task.

Our new LED headlamps.

The new LED headlamps look like an easy pop-out & pop-in. But there is a little modification to be done in the wiring, as the new headlamps have a horizontal bar in the middle for the daylights that also can work as a turn light indicator. I decide to keep the original turn light indicators on their reinforced brackets, so the change is easier without rerouting any wires.

Fast and easy installation!

Just a cut and fitting a crimp connector and we’re good to go! It takes me half an hour to do the change, with the appropriate tools and taking my time.

The new LED headlamps change the front look.

I do some short test drives in the area, and I feel the car much more comfortable and faster on corners. The Öhlins shock absorbers are a massive upgrade! Everything works perfect. The only thing I can’t really test properly are the LED headlamps, as it’s daytime. I could see a clear difference when the car was in the barn, but we’ll have to wait to drive at night to see the real difference.

In late afternoon, Rob comes from his place in his Caterham Super 7. It’s another long trip of 700 km between Courchevel and Montignac-De-Lauzun! And Rob made it using secondary roads, where his Super 7 is one of the fastest and funniest machines you can drive. Another brave driver!

Day 4 – August the 27th: all pilots together

We’re all pampering and preparing our machines for the takeoff scheduled for Monday. And there is still an important task to do: fit new front tyres in Chas’ Turrino wheels. But as these are tubeless, and the Blockley they got are for tubeless mount too, it happens that the tyres’ wall is so hard that the usual Point-S garage can’t fit the tyres in the Turrino rims.

Saturday morning, Rob and I take the wheels, and a set of softer tyres in case the Blockleys can’t be properly fitted, to Marmande, where there are a couple of tyre shops that may help us with this. We first get to the DSN bike shop there. What a nice bike shop! Rob and I are drooling over some of the machines they have there. We give them the wheels with the Blockley tyres, and they try their best but can’t make the tyres’ wall to stick over the inside wall of the rim, so they can’t inflate them too. The Blockleys combined with the Turrino rims are a no-no for their motorcycle tyre machines.

We end up at Leclerc motor shop, where they finally manage to fit a set of tyres to the Turrino rims. During the wait, we explore the shop. What a gold-mine! We find many bling-bling accessories, some of them that would fit with Chas’ Squint Studio upholstery! Or the modern-looking black and orange Steve’s 3-Wheeler.

So classy!

We send to the squadron’s WhatsApp chat the pictures of the best they have and try to convince Chas and Steve to add a few of those accessories to their 3-Wheelers, to make them more fashion trendy.

Bling Bling Crystal! LOL!

Our efforts are in vain. They’re too old-fashioned and can’t appreciate how cool is to have a pink vinyl steering wheel cover with Swarovski crystals. What a shame…

We look for more conservative stuff, such as a super-classy dream catcher, a set of perfumed dices, or the mythical head-shaking dog. But they still refuse to drive in style.

Why? Just why?

Seeing that it’s impossible to convince our friends to modernize their Morgans, we focus on what’s important, which is to recover the wheels with the new tyres mounted and return to Montignac-De-Lauzun. Finally, Chas has a new set of tyres!

During lunch, we receive a message from Charles. He just landed at Toulouse airport and will take an Uber car to Montignac-De-Lauzun. We’re surprised he got an Uber to do such a long distance, but the driver accepted the trip at a fair price apparently, so we’ll sit and hold a beer waiting for our friend!

Then it’s Ana Maria who writes from Madrid’s airport. She’s relaxing at the lounge with a mojito in hand! The holidays mood is in the air!

Mojito time!

After lunch I drive to Bordeaux’s airport to pick her up. And we’re back in time for dinner at Chas’. The whole squadron is reunited again! But Steve and Annette who have a family dinner. We enjoy a nice dinner at Au Bosq, with some fights against huge hornets that end up in a hornet killing competition. Those awful big stingers seem to love the terrace and keep flying in like bullets, hitting the fans and the walls and anyone in their flightpath!

Day 5 – August the 28th: getting ready for takeoff

This Sunday there is nothing special planned. Apart Steve, who still has work to do on Mario’s car. And as he has help from Mario and Rob, the Speedy Marmots we decide to take the Land Rover and drive around, to enjoy this beautiful region.

Saint-Avit-Seigneur.

There is a special village we want to visit: Saint-Avit-Seigneur. It’s just 45 min of relaxed drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun. The reason why we want to get there is that we’re dreaming about buying a property in the area, and we’ve seen a stunning property for sale in this village. It’s just a dream, because the price is way over our budget, unless we win a huge lottery. But hey! Dreaming is free! And we love looking at beautiful houses.

Saint-Avit-Seigneur; a beautiful medieval village.

After clinging to the fence of the mill that we dream of being able to buy, and dry our drool, we enter the town and park to have a coffee in the town square, in front of the fortified church.

The façade of the fortified church at Saint-Avit-Seigneur.

The place is so quiet, so relaxing and beautiful, that we keep on dreaming about buying something there. At the café where we sit, they sell local products. We look at canned duck and goose, as this is the region of France best known for its foie and products from such delicate birds. The products are handmade, prepared and packaged by local producers, which make them even more appealing to us. So, we buy a bunch of canned duck and goose food. Not the best for a healthy diet, but we’re on holidays, so, who cares?

Delicious! Duck’s French delicacies.

We talk with the lady owning the café where we’re buying the cans. She’s very kind and recommends us a couple of restaurants in the area. We call the first options but, being a sunny August Sunday, they’re already fully booked. She recommends another nice local bistrot in the closest village, where we manage to make a reservation.

After the coffee and soda and the food shopping, we visit the church. It’s surprisingly big inside, and it shows a strong fortification with a walkway around the walls.

Saint-Avit-Seigneur.

Saint-Avit-Seigneur is a small medieval town, very cozy and with very few inhabitants. A classic dream French village, with its cafés under the shadow of plane trees, it’s boulangerie, a little épicerie, and nicely restored medieval houses.

Saint-Avit-Seigneur.

Within the town we can see few houses apparently abandoned. The dream keeps on… How nice it would be to buy and refurbish one of these!

After the short walk, we jump in the Defender again and drive to the closest bigger village: Beaumontois-En-Périgord. It’s just a 10 minutes’ drive. We park at the village’s entrance and walk towards its main central square.

Beaumontois-En-Périgord.

This is another beautiful village. Bigger than Saint-Avit-Seigneur, but not too big either. While we walk the narrow streets, we can see many little cafés, shops, local groceries’ shops, and various restaurants.

Beaumontois-En-Périgord. Main square.

We sit down in the main square, at the local bistrot where we made the reservation: Le Jean Bistrot. And we have a fantastic lunch for a very fair price. In this region of France, it’s not just the quality of the food, and the landscapes, but the kindness of its people, and the relaxed ambience everywhere. We’re enjoying so much these days here!

Beaumontois-En-Périgord. Main square.

After the nice lunch we take another short walk within the village. We see a few houses for sale. Some to be refurbished and others looking good. We’re starting to get obsessed with buying something here!

But we wake up to reality and drive back to Montignac-De-Lauzun. We drop all what we bought at Le Papillon. Then we drive to Steve and Annette’s place to say hello, and check if Steve has finished or if he needs any help with the Morgans. Everything is done! M3W Services has done its magic and all the little rockets are ready for takeoff!

Ana Maria comes back to Le Papillon with the Land Rover, while I drive our 3-Wheeler to Castillonès to fill the tank with fresh 98 octane fuel. We’ve decided to refuel today, instead of tomorrow morning as the others, because tomorrow we’ll have the luggage rack mounted with the big bags on top fixed with the leather straps. We prefer to refuel now that it’s much easier. After refueling I take the Morgan to Le Papillon and keep it in the garage, ready to be loaded tomorrow morning.

At 19:00 we meet with the rest of the squadron at Au Bosq. From there we drive to Seyches, to enjoy dinner at Le Vieux Porche. Another fine dinner with the best company! We chat about tomorrow’s route and where to meet with Kevin Rose, another 3-Wheeler pilot, and his wife Cath, who will join us tomorrow, just for the day.

Everyone is ready for the takeoff!

Day 6 – August 29th: Montignac-De-Lauzun to Murol

We wake up early and pack everything. It’s takeoff day! We drive both cars to Steve and Annette’s place, where we park the Land Rover. We ‘ll leave it there until we come back from Switzerland. Ana Maria jumps in the copilot seat of our 3-Wheeler, and the Speedy Marmots and Steve do the short drive to Au Bosq, where Chas, Mario, Charles, and Rob are waiting for us.

All vehicles ready for takeoff!

All cars and pilots ready! We do the last checking and make sure we forget nothing critical for the trip. This year the squadron is complete again. Just Ari, Charles’ wife, couldn’t join us. But she has an excellent excuse: she’s taking care of their newborn son!

Au Bosq. The squadron is about to start the engines.

We revise the route and agree to make a first stop at Castillonès for refueling the other cars. We expect to be at noon at Uzerche, where Kevin and Cath are joining us.

Minutes before departure.

We’re six cars this year, but one has four wheels! Rob is coming with us to Switzerland, driving his Caterham Super 7. Unfortunately, he will come back to Courchevel on Wednesday before we reach Grindelwald.

Steve’s – Speedy Marmots’ – Charles’ – Mario’s – Chas’ – Rob’s.

In the pictures and video, from left to right: Steve’s black & orange, ours in the Morgan Sports Green and the luggage in the back rack, Charle’s RAF-style one, Mario’s classy heritage, Chas’ Squint Studio special, and Rob’s Caterham Super 7.

Very last checking, a kind goodbye to Chris and Annette, message to Kevin confirming our departure, and “gentlemen, start your engines”!

Ana Maria will lead us again, as she’s in charge of the navigator’s roadbook. Helmets on, intercoms linked, chronograph in hand, and… GO!

Ana Maria’s navigation tools.

Our route today is as follows:

346 km – 5h20min

Montignac-De-Lauzun (Au Bosq) → Castillonès (D254, D227, D145 & D254) → Bergerac (N21) → Notre Dâme De Sanilhac (N21) → Uzerche (A89, A20 & D920) → Chamberet (D3) → Bugeat (D160, D940 & D979) → Millevaches (D164) → Eygurande (D21, D982 & D21) → Les Gannes (D21, D110, D73 & D73C) → La Bourboule (D987, D601, D922 & D996) → Le Mont-Dore (D996 & D130) → Murol (D996).

The first section of today’s route is easy on good roads, with some traffic due to roadworks. It’s a main regional road, and we chose this one because we’re heading North to connect with the A89 motorway at Notre Dâme De Sanilhac.

Once we’re on the motorway, we push the machines to the speed limit and glide to Uzerche. The driving on motorways with a 3-Wheeler is generally a little bit annoying for us, because almost everyone who passes you is trying to get a nice picture or are filming with their smartphone. The fact that we’ll appear in more Facebook and Instagram posts than Prince Charles or Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t bother us, but it’s how they drive while passing you and taking these pictures and videos what can be dangerous. Because they don’t pay attention to the traffic ahead and they stay aside your 3-Wheeler at your same speed much longer than necessary. Those who own a Morgan 3-Wheeler and are reading these lines know what we’re talking about. But we’re on holidays and trying our best for not getting stressed by any baboons behind a steering wheel.

We get on schedule to Uzerche. Perfect timing! Kevin and Cath are already there waiting for us. We refuel and park the cars in front of the Intermarché and sit down for a quick lunch. The fun roads start now!

We restart the engines and exit the parking, now taking the kind of roads we like to drive. We’re seven cars now! Everything goes perfect, until we reach Chamberet. I check the rearview mirror again and we’re just two cars. Where’s the rest of the squadron? When we don’t see all the cars behind us for a mile in a simple and easy road, we know that something happened…

We stop and wait. But no one else is coming. We decide to drive back and see what’s going on. And we find the rest of the squadron parked on a small street on the side of the road, before the entrance to the village. Apparently, something’s wrong with Mario’s 3-Wheeler. His engine stopped suddenly.

We park our car and join them in the action. We’re betting for a broken time belt, as the symptoms are pointing to this problem. If this is the case, it’s not a big deal. We carry the spares and tools and it’s an easy repair we can do in less than half an hour.

Steve removes the engine cover, and we can see the time belt loose. But not broken. Strange…. What happened? And then, the big shock… A camshaft snapped! It broke clean! Oh my God this is almost impossible!

Broken camshaft!

It’s the first time we see this in a X-Wedge engine. And it’s a major breakdown. To get Mario’s car running again, we’ll need to open wide the engine and change the camshaft!

Incredible but true: the head of the camshaft snapped.

And these are major works! And we need the spare camshaft (obviously no one carries camshafts as spares!), and Mario’s is a Stage 2 car with 569 camshafts, which are rare. Mario looks devastated. And we totally understand him. This looks like a very complicated situation. Will he be forced to call the road assistance this first day of the trip to Switzerland, and come back home to East Germany on a flatbed truck? This is not looking good at all…

Time belt removed. Beheaded camshaft.

But hey! We’re with Steve and Rob, two super skilled mechanics! And on the top of that, M3W Services has 569 camshafts in a drawer in their workshop, back in Montignac-De-Lauzun! Steve makes a call to a friend in Montignac-De-Lauzun, gives him the list of the tools and spares he needs, the exact place he can find them in the workshop, and asks him to take the van and drive to our location in Chamberet. It’s just 2 hours’ drive from Montignac-De-Lauzun! So, we’re relatively lucky that this happened the first day and not further from the M3W Services’ headquarters.

Ana Maria and I drive back to Chamberet to buy some drinks and snacks for everyone. When we’re back, we’re told that the rescue van with the spares is on its way, and Rob and Steve have already partially opened the engine.

Dismantling the engine by the side of the road.

This is amazing. Looking at our two friends, Steve and Rob, dismantling a still hot engine by the side of the road is unbelievable.

Impressive mechanical works performed by the side of the road.

After a long hour, as there is nothing we can do but just watch, we talk about the options we have, and we all agree it’s wiser to leave the place. Heartbroken, part of the squadron leaves and keeps driving to Murol. We think it’s better to do so, and get there before the sundown, making sure we’ll have the keys of all the rooms, so whatever the time they make it to Murol they’ll have a nice bed to sleep in. Mario, Steve, Rob, and Charles as backup, stay trying to solve the situation.

Now we’re happy we made the Google Maps routes too! Because, as soon as they’ll repair Mario’s engine, those left behind will be able to follow the same path to our destination, using their smartphones’ Google Maps navigation app.

So, Chas, with Kevin and Cath, and the Speedy Marmots continue our route to Murol. The roads selected are beautiful. We’re crossing the Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches first. Beautiful landscapes and, as usual on these isolated narrow roads, almost no traffic at all. We’re enjoying pure 3-Wheeler driving!

Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches.

After less than a couple of hours driving, we make a short stop and try to get in touch with the ones left behind. The engine is totally open now and the van has just arrived.

Pushrods out!

Travelling with Steve and Rob is always a pleasure. But if you add to the equation that they’re capable of dismantling your engine by the side of the road, change a camshaft, and put your car back on the road in less than one hour (if they have the spares on hand, of course!), you realize that it’s not only a pleasure but a real luxury.

There are no words to thank them for being there, and their skills. Mario’s car is quickly fixed just after the van arrived with the spares! In less than half an hour Mario is driving again! Impressive! A true exploit that will remain in the memory of the squadron forever!

We keep going towards Murol, now entering another national parc: the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne. Again, an amazing scenery!

Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne.

We finally get to Murol and find the hotel. While we download all the luggage, Chas tries to get in touch with the ones behind: now they’re driving towards Murol trying to reach town as soon as possible. They might get here approximately in an hour and a half. Great news!

Hotel de Paris, at Murol. The City Hall is the building on the right.

The Hotel de Paris is managed by a lovely couple. The owners were waiting for us, warned by telephone about the problem on Mario’s car. We have a very nice conversation with them. They tell us where to park the Morgans safely, just by the City Hall, a few meters from the hotel, and they give us all the keys so, when the rest of the squadron arrives, they’ll have access to their rooms.

Because here in France the restaurants close relatively early, we decide to go for dinner. If we want to have dinner, we can’t wait for the others to get to town, as restaurants will be closed. We walk to L’Arbalète, a classic regional restaurant, where we have a very nice dinner with cold beers and a very nice ambience.

L’Arbalète, in Murol. A nice place to have cold beers and good food.

Murol is a cozy small village, with nice old houses and a big medieval castle on the top of the hill that dominates the valley. From the hotel we can admire the castle illuminated at night. The place is beautiful.

Murol’s Castle in the back. The church’s bell tower in the front.

It’s dark when we’re walking back to the hotel, and we can hear the roar of the V-Twins in the distance. We can’t believe they’re here! The rest of the squadron finally makes its entrance to the village, and we meet them in front of the hotel. What a relief to see them here! We still can’t believe they managed to fix Mario’s engine after such a major breakdown!

The heroes of the day are tired and are not thinking about dinner. It’s been a very long day for everyone. We go to bed, as we need to rest for tomorrow’s long drive, that will take us very close to the Swiss border.

Day 7 – August 30th: Murol to Crozet

We wake up in a partially cloudy day. But according to the weather forecast, we’re not expecting rain today. At least not before we get to Crozet, our destination today. The sightseen from the hotel over the hill with the castle is fantastic and refreshing.

Same view, in the morning.

We have a nice breakfast at the hotel, and we start packing and loading calmly the luggage in the cars. The parking we used is in fact the schoolyard, just by the City Hall. All the 3-Wheelers (and the Caterham) are aligned under the trees, ready for another exciting day.

Our 3-Wheelers, parked in the schoolyard.

We check Mario’s car carefully, to make sure it’s not leaking oil or if there is not any other hidden damage caused by yesterday’s fatal camshaft failure. We are relieved to see that everything is correct.

With full daylight, we can appreciate better the village and the views from where we are. It’s a very nice area, close to some ski stations, and it might be very cold in winter we guess.

Left: Murol’s Castle. Right: Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).

It’s a fresh morning, probably because of the clouds hiding the sun. But this is precisely the best weather and temperature to drive the 3-Wheeler! Not too hot and with no sun hitting our heads along the route is the perfect scenario to enjoy driving these little rockets.

As Kevin and Cath are leaving us today, we take a nice picture with them before saying goodbye and starting the engines. It’s a pity they’re not coming to Grindelwald this year. We hope they’ll do it next year!

The gang before leaving Murol.

The first thing to do is to refuel at the village’s petrol station. As usual, the convoy attires a lot of attention at the petrol station, and a French couple on a motorcycle stops by to chat with us and take some pictures. It doesn’t take much time to fill all the tanks, and we’re good to go.

The route today is taking us very close to Geneva. Just 20 minutes North this city. To cover such a long distance, we’ll use motorways again. Mainly to drive around Lyon avoiding its terrible traffic. The idea is to drive the outskirts of Lyon, on the North side of the city, and as soon as possible to avoid the rush hour. The timing should be good if everything goes smooth.

This is the planned route:

370 km – 5h30min

Murol → Champeix (D146, D150 & D996) → Vic-Le-Comte (D996 & D229) → Cunlhat (D225, D996 & D225) → Chalmazel-Jeansagnière (D65, D267, D906, D268A, D268, D40 & D6) → Boën-sur-Lignon (D6 & D1089) → Feurs (D1089) → Vindry-sur-Tourdine (D89, D60, D111, D7, D111 &D27) → Bellegarde-sur-Valserine (A89, A6, A466, A432, A42, A40 & D101) → Crozet (D101, D101F, D1206, D984, D884, D35 & D35A).

The first part of today’s route is still in the Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans D’Auvergne. The scenery is fantastic, and we cross few small cozy villages like Sapchat and Saint-Nectaire Le Bas.

Then we quickly enter another natural parc: the Parc Naturel Régional de Livradois-Forez, where the scenery is as beautiful as before. We’re really enjoying the driving today, with very little traffic.

Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne & Parc Naturel Régional de Livradois-Forez.

We drive towards the Col Du Béal. We struggle a little bit behind an army truck, as in these narrow roads you don’t have many chances to pass a big truck. But most of the time we’re alone on the road.

Col du Béal.
Col du Béal. Speedy Marmots’ 3-wheeler in the front, Charles’ in the back.

We stop at the top of the Col Du Béal to enjoy a hot coffee. It’s a nice spot and we can’t see any other car up here.

Col du Béal – 1.390 m altitude.
Steve’s rocket at the Col du Béal.

The day is still clouded, and the clouds on the downhill side of this col look very dark and menacing. We check the weather forecast just in case we have rains from here. But apparently the risk is still at the end of the trip, close to the Swiss border. Let’s cross fingers and keep going, hoping to stay dry as much as possible!

We enjoy a lot the downhill. The road is very twisted and fun to drive with our agile little 3-Wheelers. And the clouds are still holding the rain. In fact, we see the sun in some parts of the road. It looks like we’re avoiding the shower!

Downhill from the Col du Béal.

We’re getting close to the motorway, and we decide to make a short stop to visit the toilets. We better do so, as we don’t want to be in a “exploding bladder” situation while driving fast around Lyon. We get into a roundabout with a service area, and Charles and Steve are leading the squadron at this point. We see them getting into the roundabout and, before we do, without any reason, they do one extra 360 round into the roundabout, fast as lunatics. Maybe just for the fun or were they a little bit disorientated and couldn’t see the right exit to the service area? Who knows!

But here is what happens: after such a fast turn in the roundabout, while we stop at the service area just a few meters further, Charles detects an oil leakage over his footwell. His car is a right-hand drive one, so he could see the oil beneath his feet when he gets out of the car. We can’t see why there is oil there. Where does it come from? It seems to have leaked from the top of the gearbox. Quite unusual. But with the car stopped and on flat ground, there is no more leak at all. We’re suspicious about the reason of such an unexpected oil spilt from, we guess, the top of the gearbox. But we’re reluctant to open the area, as removing the gearbox cover implies removing almost all the upholstery of the car. We think it might be caused by the super-fast roundabout turn he just made. And as everything seems to work properly, we decide to keep going.

We finally connect with the motorway towards Lyon. Right foot on the floor and we drive around the big city without much traffic. We have passed the most feared part of today’s route, and the traffic from here should be fluid. And all cars are running very well. Good news for the squadron.

But then, on the motorway A40, some kilometers before the exit we must take towards Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, it starts raining. Light at the beginning, then very heavy rain. Ana Maria juggles and manages to put on her waterproof windbreaker, but when I’m behind the wheel I can’t put mine on. And on the highway, we cannot just stop at the edge to put on our raincoats, because of the danger it represents.

So, the only solution is to keep going, letting the 3-Wheeler’s aerodynamics and the small windshields deflect the water over our heads. Also, we are lucky enough to wear helmets, so the rain is not too bothersome for driving. But I inevitably end up drenched.

We finally reach the exit and stop just after the toll station. It’s not raining anymore, and we have good laughs because of the rain and how each one of us managed it. Charles was wearing a heavy cotton sweatshirt, and a T-shirt underneath. And with the rain the sweatshirt looked like something out of a car wash. He managed to remove it on the fly, but not without also taking the shirt with it in the maneuver. And when he got to the toll, the highway ticket is so soaked that the machine can’t read it. He has no choice but to call the toll help through the intercom, and a charming woman answers him and ends up opening him. But telling him with good humor that she can see him through the cameras – without saying exactly that she can see him in the 3-Wheeler with a naked torso… We all admit it must be quite a peculiar and funny vision!

From here, we drive with intermittent light rain and finally arrive to the Hotel Bois Joli, in Crozet. The clouds still menace with heavy rain, and Rob and the Speedy Marmots we choose to park the cars under cover, while the others let them in the open, trusting in the impermeability of their tonneau covers.

We’re soon at the terrace, protected by the open awnings, enjoying a cold beer, and chatting with some peculiar guests about cars and travels.

Ana Maria petting a huge dog at the Hotel Bois Joli. And the nice cold beers we’re enjoying.

We can see the famous Geneva water jet in the distance. We’re really close to Switzerland.

It looks like the hotel’s restaurant is famous, because the parking, that was almost empty when we arrived, became little by little really packed with many cars arriving for dinner. Even a bus! And then it starts raining like hell.

Heavy rain again! Fortunately we’re under cover now!

Rob is unfortunately not coming with us to Grindelwald. His plan was to keep driving this same evening to his place in Courchevel. But the rain is too heavy, the beers so nice and cold, and the restaurant looking so nice, that it’s not difficult to convince him to stay here with us for the night.

Heavy rains at Crozet!

We are all very tired, but we enjoy a fabulous dinner. And with our full bellies we head to our rooms for a well-deserved rest.

Day 8 – August 31st: Crozet to Grindelwald

It looks like a sunny day! The rain we suffered yesterday seems to have gone for good. There are just few clouds in the sky early this morning.

We gather at the hotel restaurant for breakfast and discuss about today’s route. Sadly, Rob is leaving us today, and will drive back home to Courchevel. But the rest of the squadron will be driving into Switzerland and use the motorways on the North shore of Leman’s Lake, avoiding entering any big city such as Geneva or Lausanne. This year all the group made sure we have the Swiss vignette for the motorways, so we don’t have any stress selecting the roads.

We will exit the motorway at Lutry, because our dear friends Pedro Freitas and Didier Leuba, who live in Montreux, are joining us there for the rest of the journey to Grindelwald.

The route today is the following one:

225 km – 4h00min

Crozet → Lutry (D89, D984C, D15C, D1005, D984E, D984C, D15, 1 & 9) → Vevey (Route de la Petite Corniche & Route de la Corniche) → Bulle (12) → Broc (Route du Jaun & Route de Pra Riond) → Jaun (Route de la Jogne, Route Pont-du Javro, La Tzintre & Haupstrasse) → Boltigen (Jaunpassstrasse & 11) → Wilderswil (11, 6 & 8) → Grindelwald (Grenchenstrasse, Haupstrasse & Grindelwaldstrasse).

Getting ready. Today we arrive to Grindelwald!

After packing and loading the luggage on the Morgans, we drive downhill to the closest petrol station to refuel. Once all cars are filled and ready to go, we drive through few villages before crossing the border. Once in Switzerland, we take the Swiss motorway towards Lausanne.

Charles decides to keep straight on the motorway, splitting from the squadron. He doesn’t feel very confident with his gearbox. He feels something is not working as it should, after the oil leak he got yesterday.

We drive carefully to avoid speeding, and we make it to Lutry on schedule. When we get to the agreed meeting point, Pedro and Didier are already there waiting for us at the Coop parking. It’s so nice to see them again!

Pedro has some nice things for us: the 3D printed bins for our 3-Wheelers! We are many who always thought about putting some kind of tray in front of the gearbox stick. There is space for a little tray, and it could be useful to drop keys, garage door remotes, sunglasses, or anything else.

Pedro’s fabulous 3D-printed bin.

But Pedro is the first one (as far as we know) who has made a proper 3D design and used a 3D printer to manufacture these amazing bins. The best point of using a 3D printer is that we have a huge palette of colors to choose from! And it can be personalized with a logo if you want to!

Part of Pedro’s orders! Well desserved success!

When Pedro shared his idea on the big WhatsApp chat of the Grindelwald assistants, the success was immediate. He got dozens of orders for this fantastic bin. In our case, he proposed to print ours with our Speedy Marmots logo at the bottom of the tray. We love it!

Our personalized Speedy Marmots’ bin.

And we can see it’s, as expected, a very practical bin! Pedro carries his sunglasses, EarPods and wallet there on hand while he is driving, showing that this bin is larger than we imagined.

Useful bin. Perfect size!

After the warm reencounter with Pedro and Didier, we buy some light sandwiches at the Coop, as we plan to continue without more stops until Grindelwald. Sandwiches finished and we’re good to go!

Route De La Corniche. LavauxVineyards.

From here we’re not taking more motorways. And we’ll do first the beautiful Route de la Corniche. This is a narrow twisty road over the Leman Lake, in the middle of the Swiss vineyards.

View over the Leman Lake. Lavaux Vineyards.

This is the area called the Lavaux Vineyards, a stunning landscape qualified as Unesco World Heritage site, and it’s totally worth a drive. The terraced vineyards pour their intense green into Lake Leman.

View over the Leman Lake, Lavaux Vineyards.

The beauty of the place is overwhelming. It is these kinds of roads that make our trips on the Morgan so special.

Lavaux Vineyards.

As usual, and because we’re leading the squadron, we regularly check the rearview mirrors to make sure that everyone is behind. But when we’re arriving to the small village of Cully, we can’t see any other cars but Didier’s. He is just behind us but no one else is following. We stop and wait, hoping nothing serious happened.

After a few minutes we receive a WhatsApp: Steve’s car had a small fuel leak. He smelled the spray and stopped immediately. One of the high-pressure hoses was leaking at one connection. Nothing serious, and easy to fix. At least for him, of course!

It takes them 15 minutes to solve the issue and get where we are waiting. We hit the road again, still enjoying these amazing views over the Lake Leman, as we drive relaxed in the middle of the vineyards.

Lavaux Vineyards.

We finish our trip through the Lavaux Vineyards in Vevey, just by the shore of the lake. From there, we take the road 12 (not the motorway) uphill and reach Bulle and pass very close to Gruyères. Maybe next time we’ll stop at Gruyères for lunch? Raclette and fondue mandatory! And of course, some meringues with heavy cream for dessert… But not today! We keep driving towards Jaun, looking for the Jaunpass.

Swiss landscape.

We’re driving through the classic Swiss scenery: green hills, dense forests, cows grazing on the roadside, and today the extra of an intense blue sky and the sun shining!

We pass Jaun and climb to the Jaunpass. The uphill is a very twisted but fast road, that delights all members of the squadron. And the downhill is even better! Not that fast, but because we find a series of hard hairpins, challenging the steering of the little 3-Wheelers. But this is the perfect type of road for these machines! If the driver is skilled and experienced, there are very few vehicles capable to follow a 3-Wheeler on this type of road.

Jaunpass.

After enjoying the descent of the Jaunpass like children, we connect with the well-known highway 11 that takes us to Thun and Interlaken. From here the driving is calmer and allows us to enjoy the alpine landscapes on the way to Grindelwald.

More Swiss landscapes.

We arrive to Interlaken relatively soon, and while crossing Wilderswil, and in the valley towards Grindelwald, we still enjoy a beautiful blue sky.

Arriving to Grindelwald.

We’re back! Yes, we made it another year to Grindelwald! We arrived relatively early in the afternoon, and we quickly make ourselves comfortable at the Bernerhof Hotel.

Charles has also arrived, but his gearbox is apparently broken, stuck in reverse when he maneuvered to park in the back of the hotel. He calls Steve for help. Now there is no choice but to take off the seats and other pieces with upholstery out of the car, so we can access the gearbox. And what a surprise: his gearbox upper part, the one holding the stick, is open. The bolts came loose and that’s why he got this oil leakage yesterday! But the worst part is that with the top cover loose, the stick lost the connection with some kind of Teflon ball joint that connects the stick and its movements to the inside of the gearbox. That’s why he couldn’t change gears anymore!

If this happens to anyone else, it could be catastrophic. But Charles is skilled, and Steve is from another planet when it’s about 3-Wheeler mechanics. So, they fix the mess together in approximately one hour, and Charles’ car is ready for action once again!

Meanwhile, Ana Maria and I are shopping around in Grindelwald. She needs new technical trousers for the Morgan! She finally finds a pair she likes, and we’re back to the hotel with our shopping bag and a smile on her face.

Tonight, there is a welcome dinner at the Hotel Kreuz & Post, organized by Laurens and Rineke. But unfortunately, Ana Maria is working until late with her laptop, and when we try to join the party it’s too late and all tables are full. So, we walk up the street and have a nice couple dinner at the C und M. The sightseen from the terrace is incredible.

Our dinner views from the C und M restaurant.

After dinner, we join the party at the Kreuz & Post for the drinks! It’s being another great day enjoying the Morgans and our friends! After the mandatory beers, it’s time to rest for tomorrow’s first day of this 10th Anniversary Grindelwald meeting!

Day 9 – September 1st: first day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen

Today the sun is shining in the blue alpine sky!

After the mandatory breakfast at the hotel, first thing to do in the morning is to refuel the Morgan. I drive the machine solo to the Shell fuel station, planning to fill it with nice and fresh 100 octane juice. It’s still relatively early and the fuel station is empty. When I’m refueling, the first colleague 3-Wheeler I see today stops to refuel here too. And it’s not just another 3-Wheeler, but a P101! One of the latest beasts to leave the Malvern factory!

Refueling with Michael’s P101 aside.

The owner is Michael Ittensohn, a Swiss enthusiastic driver. He acquired his P101 recently, and I believe he just told me that I’m the first 3-Wheeler he sees on the road, apart his, obviously. It might be quite curious to see another one for the first time but coming from Spain! We have a super nice chat. What a nice guy!

We end up filling our tanks and drive back uphill towards the main parking in Grindelwald, in front of our hotel, where we’re all supposed to meet this morning.

Some of the drivers are already there, with their Morgans sunbathing at the back of the esplanade. Michael and I park ours side by side. And keep talking and looking at the spectacle of the many 3-wheelers arriving little by little.

The number of 3-Wheelers arriving increases every minute!

Michael is waiting for a friend of his, Jose, of Spanish origin, who will join him as a copilot today. This is a surprise for Jose, as Michael hasn’t told him he bought his P101 and even less that today he’ll be joining a gang of crazy 3-Wheeler drivers coming from all over Europe!

Michael and Jose onboard Michael’s P101.

Jose is another car enthusiast, and he seems to be enjoying as much as Michael such an original surprise!

This is the 10th anniversary of this Jungfrau-Treffen meeting, so a special year! And we’re expecting many to participate. This first day we can count thirty-four 3-wheelers in the parking! And Laurens and Rineke expect a few more to arrive for the weekend!

More and more pilots and machines arriving!

It’s impressive! It might be the largest Morgan 3-Wheeler meeting in Europe! What an incredible meeting. We can see so many modifications and different styles. It’s overwhelming. We can clearly see why the Morgan 3-Wheeler is such a peculiar and incredible vehicle.

Thirty-four 3-Wheelers together! Impressive!

Laurens and Rineke do their mandatory debriefing for today’s route, and we’re ready to go! The sound of such a massive swarm of 3-Wheelers starting the big V-Twins is like a thunderstorm. Many people who gathered by the parking to admire our machines cheers the roaring and wave goodbye as we drive down the street.

Takeoff!

Today’s route was carefully planned by Laurens and Rineke. The morning part goes as follows:

78 km – 1h45min

Gridelwald → Wilderswil → Sigriswil → Heiligenschwendi → Thun → Steffisburg → Kreuzweg → Buchholterberg → Röthembach im Emmental → Gasthaus Siehen restaurant.

It’s always a fantastic experience to drive with other 3-Wheelers. We really miss this in Spain, where, despite our efforts, we haven’t succeeded to find other 3-Wheeler owners willing to share adventures with us.

On our way out of Grindelwald, driving down to Interlaken, we’re the center of attention of everyone crossing us. It’s not every day that you can see a Morgan 3-Wheeler on the road! So, how about thirty-four of them?

What a huge swarm of 3-Wheelers!

The road on the North side of the Thunersee is an amazing piece of engineering and offers stunning views over the lake and some great tunnels in which the 3-Wheeler exhaust are much louder than usual… probably because many downshift on purpose to rev the engine and make it louder just for the fun!

Downshifting in the tunnels. Let’s make some noise!

The expedition today is enormous, and despite the large number of vehicles, we manage to keep all together during the whole morning and without incidents.

The squadron progresses towards lunch.

The driving through the Swiss landscapes is beautiful today, with a bright sun shining up in the blue summer sky and very little traffic on the selected roads.

Some nice hairpins!

The views are stunning. This region of the Swiss alps is probably one of the best places in Europe to enjoy the drive.

The views over the Thunersee are fantastic.

Once we’re in Thun, we drive uphill again, and cross Steffisburg. While we’re crossing the village, we see a few groups of children walking aside the street. And they immediately cheer up with our passage, some of them asking us to rev-up the engines to amplify the sound. It’s fun to see how everyone enjoys the passage of the 3-Wheelers.

Swiss country roads.

We finally get to the lunch stop: the Gasthaus Siehen restaurant. We align the cars properly in the large parking and sit down in the terrace to enjoy a nice meal. During this lunchtime, Rineke gives us the t-shirts and badges specially made for this 10th anniversary edition. The badge is beautiful. Ana Maria and I are happy we ordered one!

The 10th anniversary badge.

It’s a very nice badge, made of steel and with a proper enamel drawing. It looks fantastic!

After the nice lunch and some coffee, it’s time to hit the road again! We all go to our cars and little by little start the engines, getting ready for the afternoon drive back to Grindelwald.

The route back is planned as follows:

71 km – 1h40min

Gasthaus Siehen restaurant → Oberlangenegg → Eriz → Teuffenthal → Sigriswil → Wilderswil → Grindelwald.

Just after leaving the restaurant, we’re driving behind Steve when we sense a strong gasoline smell. It’s Steve’s car that got another fuel hose connection leaking! We stop by him and ask if he wants us to help or just wait for him, but he seems calm and just tell us to keep going. He is confident he will fix it fast. And he does! So, few minutes later he is catching up with the group.

We get back driving on more small secondary alpine roads, crossing woods and small villages. We find very little traffic and the whole group drives relaxed back to Grindelwald.

Once in Grindelwald, Ana Maria and I head direct to the parking. This year, instead of parking outside with the rest of the members of our squadron, behind the Bernerhof Hotel, Ana Maria got an indoor garage spot included in the price she negotiated with the hotel. It’s a strange feeling not to park aside our friends, but the advantages of an indoor garage are clear, and we don’t hesitate to use it.

We have just time to get a quick shower and get ready to drive again, this time to do an amazing uphill to the restaurant where we’ll enjoy dinner tonight: the Schreckfeld restaurant at 1.962 m altitude.

On the way up to 1.962 m altitude!

We’re taking the Grosse Scheidegg pass, which is a tiny road usually not open to the public. We enjoy every meter of this route! The weather is still nice, and the views get better and better as we gain altitude.

The road is getting narrower.

The road is tiny and steep, so the convoy progresses relatively slow. And this is fantastic as we have time to enjoy the sights, and we appreciate more details of the landscape.

The views are breathtaking!

This is a very isolated road. No cars here, except the residents’ ones. And few valiant cyclists.

Still climbing!

At a certain point we cross a car pulling a trailer. The 3-Wheeler is not precisely easy to maneuver but we’re forced to, as the car has the priority because he is pulling a trailer, meaning we are the ones having to reverse. After some funny minutes of 3-Wheelers pulling aside here and there, we manage to leave a gap big enough for the farmer to drive down the road, and we’re free to keep going up again.

Fantastic road. Slow driving but fantastic views to enjoy!

Midway up to the restaurant, Franck’s 3-Wheeler starts misfiring seriously, and he is forced to stop and let pass the whole swarm. As usual, “Steve the Savior” stops by and stays with Franck trying to find the reason why his car said “enough” in such an uncomfortable cold and high-altitude spot.

We stopped! Something’s wrong with Franck’s 3-Wheeler…

While Steve and other good Samaritans try to restart Franck’s stubborn 3-Wheeler, the rest of the gang progresses uphill, reaching the restaurant.

The only way is up!

We arrange the 3-Wheelers here and there while many approach to admire the machines. The funny thing is that these are not human, but a big herd of cows!

Hello cows!

The cows literally run from all over the hills around the restaurant towards us and stay as close as possible to the cars, staring at everyone here.

More cows arrive. Such curious animals!

Just in case any vicious cow tries to assault the cars, we leave Pierre the mog-bear in charge of the surveillance!

Watch the cows, Pierre!

While we wait for Steve, Franck, and the others to reach us, we admire the breathtaking views from such a high position.

Laurens enjoying the views.
Top left: Mario and Chas. Bottom right: Charles.

The sightseen over the Grindelwald valley and the peaks in front of us are stunning.

The mirador in front of the restaurant.

From up here we have quite a clear view over the road we’ve taken to get here. And we try to spot Franck and Steve, but no sign of them yet.

The Speedy Marmots.

It’s getting dark and cold. So, just after seeing a fat fox running not far from where we are, we decide to get into the restaurant.

The Schreckfeld restaurant.

A few moments later, Franck and Steve arrive. They couldn’t fix the misfire, and they left Franck’s car parked where it stalled. They’ll recover it after dinner on the way back. As it’s downhill from there, for sure Franck will be able to drive it back to Grindelwald, and hopefully at some point, with lower altitude and air richer in oxygen his engine will come back to life.

We enjoy a classic cheese fondue, cold beers, and the best company! We must thank Laurens and Rineke again for such a wonderful organization!

After dinner, now totally dark, we drive back to Grindelwald. It’s not raining but foggy at some points of the tiny road.

This is the first time that we really drive at night with our new LED headlamps…. And Holly Molly! The improvement is simply amazing. We can properly see at night now! In some zones we drive a little slower, leaving enough space with the cars preceding us, so we can put the high beams on. Oh my God! It’s like having military anti-aircraft spotlights! The safety improvement is incredible. We hardly recommend everyone to change their standard halogen headlamps for these LED ones. The improvement is simply stunning.

We make it comfortably warm to the hotel, covered with our fleece Morgan blanked and the heated seats on. It’s been a long and beautiful day!

Day 10 – September 2nd: second day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen

We wake up with another sunny day in Grindelwald. It seems that the unpredictable alpine weather is going to be kind to us one more day.

Nice sunny morning in Grindelwald.

We gather again at the end of the main bus parking area in front of the Hotel Bernerhof. The departure is planned for 10:00.

We start the engines on time, and the 3-Wheelers’ swarm takes off towards Wilderswil, down the valley.

The route planned for this morning drive is as follows:

105 km – 2h20min

Grindelwald → Wilderswil → Leisingen → Aeschi → Wimmis → Zwieselberg → Amsoldingen → Thierachern → Wattenwill → Gurnigel Pass → Riffenmatt → Pfaffeien → Schwarzsee.

The indications given by Laurens and Rineke warn us about some road deviations. We must pay attention as we are many cars, and this time of the year the Swiss roads’ maintenance works are frequent, and we may find unpredicted deviations on the planned route.

The pack drives along the South shore of the Thunersee. No one has issues taking the indicated exits and turns, early this morning, despite the long convoy is split at some points with other vehicles inserting between the Morgans.

The Thunersee.

But when we pass Wimmis, the convoy is clearly split in two big groups. We’re driving in the second one, and at a certain point, we need to stop by the side of the road and check maps and navigation systems, because it looks like we missed a turn somewhere.

It takes just a few minutes to get on the correct path again and reconnect with the other half. Reunited, we drive towards the beautiful Gurnigel Pass, crossing some nice small villages and forests before reaching this famous mountain pass.

Swiss green hills and wood houses.

We’re really enjoying the drive, under a nice sun and through these Swiss alpine landscapes!

Enjoying the drive.
Such a beautiful day!

The Gurnigel Pass is a very nice road, and the sunny day is simply perfect, offering stunning views and a nice warm temperature. Some sharp turns, fast drive, and a lot of torque-enjoying moments with the S&S big block purring.

On the way to the Schwarzsee.

The destination for lunch is a known place: the Schwarzsee. There is a very nice and posh restaurant there, the SchwarzseeStärn, where we enjoyed a lunch last year.

When we arrive, we have a great surprise waiting for us! Parked at the front door of the restaurant there is one prototype of the brand-new Morgan Super 3! How is that? Laurens contacted Morgan Motor Company and they talked about this special 10th anniversary of the Jungfrau-Treffen he was preparing. And they thought it was the perfect occasion to show the new 3-wheeler model to a lot of enthusiasts.

Surprise! A prototype of a new Super 3!

The prototype was driven from Malvern to Switzerland by Steve Morris, Morgan’s CEO. He came accompanied by his wife as copilot in the Super 3, and a couple of friends who were driving a new Plus Four.

Parking at the SchwarzseeStärn.

This is a fantastic surprise. And everyone in the group highly appreciates the gesture of Steve Morris to drive the Super 3 here to show it to us.

Nice looking new model!

This prototype vehicle comes in a nice metallic silver color combined with blue leather upholstery, and most of the options such as the side luggage bags, and the rear luggage rack.

The new Super 3.

It’s really nice to see this new model amongst all our 3-Wheelers. We are all inspecting the new model in detail and can see many differences, obviously. Some say they like it; some say they don’t. But the truth is that this is a fantastic new product, with apparently a clear step forward in technology and assembly quality.

Amongst friendly vehicles…

Is this just the first impression, at first sight? Or has this new vehicle really an improved engineering compared to ours? Only time will say!

Plenty of questions and comments pending. But it’s time for lunch!
Everyone is happy to see this new prototype.

But there is something clear regarding the new model: this is the logical and only possible evolution of a 3-Wheeler, at least for the European market. Because there is no V-Twin available that you can couple with a traditional transmission such as the one on our beloved machines, and compliant with the Euro6 emissions’ mandatory specifications.

Nice looking luggage rack and interior.

The look of the Super 3 is so much different than our model. It doesn’t look “vintage” anymore, it’s bigger, and the engine is 3 cylinders hidden under the bonnet. No bright exhausts, nor a massive V-Twin at the front anymore. But I insist: we’re told there was no possible way to couple a modern V-Twin to the classic Mazda 5 speed gearbox. All possible candidates complying with the Euro6 norms are pure motorcycle engines, that come with their gearbox integrated, and constructed in such a way that they can’t be coupled to a 3-Wheeler without dramatical modifications.

Come on everybody! Lunch is waiting!

This said, we personally think this new Super 3 is a beautiful machine, very different but with its own charm. And we hope it will be a success for Morgan Motor Company.

Steve Morris will stay the next days in Grindelwald with all the gang, so, we’ll have many more occasions to check over this new Super 3. After the surprise encounter, we all sit down for the nice lunch that was waiting for us at the SchwarzseeStärn.

Delicious meal at the SchwarzseeStärn.

After lunch, we make sure we visit the toilets before jumping again in our cars. We still remember the critical situation we suffered last year after the lunch here! No more exploding bladders please!

Everyone gets into their cockpits, and we fire the engines. All cars align on the road after exiting the restaurant’s parking area, ready for takeoff.

Aligned in the runway, waiting for the takeoff.

And we’re good to go! Revs up! And the huge roaring of the more than thirty S&S V-Twins echoes in the valley.

The route back to Grindelwald is as follows:

96 km – 1h55min

Schwarsee → Sangerboden → Gurnigel Pass → Rüti → Wattenwill → Blumenstein → Wimmis → Wilderswil → Grindelwald.

But we’re forced to stop very soon. Why is that? It happens that this time of the year is the Swiss tradition of taking the cows from high in the mountains back down to the valley, and they use the roads.

Crossing a cow’s parade.

We need to stop the engines and wait for the cows and the villagers to pass us. We shouldn’t scare the animals! These big cows can do a real mess on a regular car, so we can imagine what they can do if they get nuts, and it occurs to them to ram one of our little rockets!

Big cows, and small cars.

We’re talking and admiring the animals walking down the road when we suffer a biological attack! And a pretty stinky one… As animals they are, the cows decide to evacuate the processed grass anytime and anyplace. So, while they’re passing by us, one of them decides it’s the best time of the day to empty its tripes just by our Morgan.

The big problem is not the smell, but the shrapnel… As the soft paste falls onto the hard asphalt, barely one meter from our car, it splashes, leaving the Morgan’s side and my left arm covered in hot shrapnel. I think I even have some fragments stuck in my beard. While Ana Maria cries with laughter, it comforts me to think that I am not a vegetarian, and that any day I will have my revenge, with a good T-bone steak from one of these terrorist cows on my plate.

“Hello! Good afternoon! Who are you?” – “Hello miss cow, my name is Pedro.”

Not very further, we cross another cows’ parade. This time we’re luckier and they don’t shower us with their detritus.

More cows! Take cover!

We keep driving back to Grindelwald, enjoying the nice country-side Swiss roads, but it’s not sunny anymore. The sky is getting darker and menacing as we’re approaching Thun. It looks like the alpine weather is preparing a big summer thunderstorm…

The calm before the storm…

We hope it won’t rain until we’re back to Grindelwald, but we soon see there are high chances it’s going to happen. So, we all stop and put on our raincoats, just in case. Ana Maria and I also remove our front GoPro, as its foam wind slayer gets soaked when it rains. And lucky we did it! Because few kilometers later, before reaching the Thunersee shore, it starts raining cats and dogs!

Progressing under heavy rain.

Ana Maria and I have nice raincoats, but it’s raining so much that’s not enough, and everyone gets wet for good! From time to time, it stops raining, but these are short intervals between big showers.

Nice rainbow!

We’re thinking about Steve Morris and his wife. What a baptism! Now he knows the hard side of driving a three-wheeler! Maybe he’ll ask the engineering team in Malvern to design a proper hood for the Super 3?

And more rain…

We decide to keep going as we had no guarantee that it’s going to stop raining soon. We manage to reach Grindelwald without stopping, despite the rain is very hard in some parts of the road.

We quickly park the 3-Wheeler in the indoor parking. The good news is that the rain has cleaned the cow’s shit, and the Morgan looks clean again. We run into the hotel and enjoy a nice hot shower.

But the day is not finished! We have plans to climb up to 2.222 m altitude to enjoy dinner at the Mannlichen restaurant! This year again, Laurens and Rineke managed to have the mountain road open for us – it’s normally closed to regular traffic, as it’s used only for maintenance – and we all reunite at the parking around 19:00.

Climbing up to 2.222 m altitude.

We take our best and warmer clothing for this short drive uphill, but it seems that the heavy rain has stopped. It’s still clouded, but not raining hard anymore. Just some light drizzle here and there while we’re reaching the top of the mountain.

The road up to the Mannlichen is another beautiful climb.

Once at the top, we’re delighted by a beautiful orange and grey colored sky, as the sun goes down.

The light is spectacular up here!

The stormy skies offer a stunning view over the Grindelwald valley, with the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Monch peaks between golden clouds and some rainbows.

Beautiful picture.

Everyone enjoys the moment and take many pictures before getting in the restaurant, where we’ll enjoy some Swiss specialties another year.

The Speedy Marmots.

The dinner is delicious and the atmosphere, as always, very lively and fun.

Good ambience at the MannLichen.

We share anecdotes, interesting conversations, and at one point the group offers Laurens and Rineke a special gift – a weekend at a spa hotel – as a thank you for so much attention and such a fantastic organization.

Laurens and Rineke.

We also have a special mention and thanks for Steve and Craig, from M3W Services, because they’re not just friends but our saviors on many occasions. Their mechanical skills with our 5-speeders are becoming legendary!

Craig in front and Steve in the back receiveing their special “thank you” gift from the group.

Time to drive downhill, back to Grindelwald! Fortunately, it’s not raining at all anymore, and we can drive carefully back to the hotel.

Nice drive downhill. No rain this time!

The heated seats of our 3-Wheelers, combined with the fleece Morgan blanked and warm clothes, makes this drive back quite comfortable despite the freezing cold in such altitudes.

This year we have no complaints about the headlamps. The new LED ones are fabulous!

It’s been a wonderful day, but hard because of the late afternoon heavy rains. We’re going to sleep deep tonight!

Day 11 – September 3rd: third day of the 10th Jungfrau-Treffen

Today is meant to be the greatest day. With the big mountain passes on the route. And being a Saturday, we expect even more 3-Wheelers to join the party.

But we wake up with a very cloudy sky. And the clouds are very dark, menacing heavy rain, as it happened yesterday late afternoon. In fact, we can see from our balcony that it’s already raining in part of the valley.

Rainy morning at Grindelwald.

The WhatsApp chat is on fire! Everyone is checking his weather forecasts, and not only here in Grindelwald but along the planned route. Most of the apps are announcing a terrible day everywhere. In our case, we use the WeatherBug app. I personally like this particular app because it’s based on the information collected by the nearest airports’ meteorological services. What’s more precise and accurate than an airport meteorological service? It seems it’s going to be a very bad day. Rain and thunderstorms are announced almost everywhere.

But the summer weather here in the alps is so unpredictable! You can leave the valley under a sunny and blue sky and get soaked in a blink of an eye minutes later. Or you can start the engine under the darkest clouds but enjoy one of the best sunny days of the year! So, we’re many discussing and with mixed feelings about today’s drive.

The route that Laurens and Rineke planned today progresses first along the Brienzersee (Lake of Brienz), then heads towards the Brünig Pass, the Susten Pass, the Furka Pass, and finally the Tremola Pass, to reach Airolo and have lunch there. The only pass we haven’t done before is the Tremola, and I personally really want to do it. But this road is not asphalt but has an old stone pavement, and when it rains it is very frequent that they close it because it is slippery, especially for motorcycles.

In the parking we are some having this same bittersweet feeling: the itching for jumping into the Morgan and hit the road with the risk to get soaked and freeze or be conservative and stay warm and dry in Grindelwald. The ones convinced about the driving get prepared with their best rain clothes, helmets and all sort of scarfs and blankets.

Steve Morris (right) showing his fancy Malle london suit.

Steve Morris shows us the fantastic clothing he got from Malle London, a superb-looking rain jacket with a special knee guard, that are tailor-made for the Super 3!

Perfect jacket and knee guard, made specifically for Morgan and the new Super 3 launch.

After many minutes weighing the pros and cons and knowing that driving the 3-Wheeler under heavy rain can be miserable, Ana Maria and I decide that today it is preferable to stay in Grindelwald. Thus, Ana Maria will also have the opportunity to carry out a lot of work that has been delayed. And if we see that the weather improves, we can visit the Lauterbrunnen area, which is very close to Grindelwald and is said to be beautiful.

So, we say goodbye and wish the best for the day to all the valiant pilots that will drive today. We really hope they’re lucky and don’t have much rain!

Mario (pilot) and Chas (copilot), in Chas’ 3-Wheeler.

Some who don’t want to drive under the rain, but still want to go, decide to share the 3-Wheeler, instead of driving solo. Chas and Mario will go together today in Chas’s 3-Wheeler. And Steve gets a copilot too.

Steve gets a copilot too!
Takeoff under the dark clouds.

After the big squadron departure, we get back to the hotel. Ana Maria switches on her laptop and dives into work, while I relax and enjoy the warmth of the room, keeping an eye over the windows, hoping for a ray of sun to show up.

We have no news from the group. I’m checking the radar images and my guess is that they had a little rain clearance before getting to Brienz, and rain just after and up the mountain passes. The first few pictures they share in the WhatsApp chat show that the weather forecast was correct, mostly.

A little bit of sun by the Brienzersee.

But in Grindelwald it keeps raining insistently for a couple of hours. It is not until noon that we see the first small clearings of blue sky between the black clouds. And the progress of the clouds in the radar image seems to offer a sunny window in the Lauterbrunnen area for the next hour.

Rainy day… Views from our balcony in the Bernerhof Hotel.

We decide to jump in the Morgan and visit this village and the natural wonders it offers around. For sure Ana Maria will appreciate this break from work! The road to Lauterbrunnen is relatively short: while exiting the Grindelwald valley, instead of turning right towards Wilderswil and Interlaken, you turn left and drive upstream along the river. It’s just 17 km, meaning 25 minutes’ drive.

Beautiful watefalls everywhere!

The scenery is beautiful. High stone walls on each side of the road and many waterfalls here and there.

Stone walls by Lauterbrunnen.
Lauterbrunnen. Beautiful village.

We pass the village and stop to visit the famous Trümmelbachfälle. It’s a series of ten glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain, made accessible by a tunnel-lift carved into the mountain. This amazing natural spectacle drains the glacier defiles of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, with an average water flow of 20.000 liters per second!

The Trümmelbachfälle scheme.

After parking the Morgan by the café at the entrance, we pay the 14 CHF (Swiss Francs) each fee and walk to the elevator. The place is absolutely worth the visit! The engineering works done to carve the elevator’s tunnel, and all the path up along the waterfalls is impressive. And the force of the nature in this place is overwhelming.

Trümmelbachfälle. What an amazing place!

This is a place you shouldn’t miss to visit if you’re in the area! On the one hand we’re sad because we’re not driving with our friends, but on the other hand we’re happy to have the opportunity to visit this place.

The way to do the tour is taking the elevator first, stepping out between waterfalls 6 and 7. And then walk up to waterfalls 7, 8 9 and 10. To walk downstairs back to the bottom. The complete tour inside the waterfalls takes approximately one hour. There are a lot of stairs! You better are in good shape!

Inside the mountain.

And take a raincoat in there! The spray of the waterfalls and the humidity in some parts of the path can get you soaked if you’re not wearing a waterproof jacket!

Trümmelbachfälle.

The glacier’s water has carved its path through the hard limestone for centuries and the magnitude of the water’s path is impressive.

The green is so intense here!

We have enjoyed a long hour of partly cloudy weather, but as we walk back to the parking lot, it starts to rain again. This alpine weather is so erratic! We take refuge in the cafeteria next to the parking lot and wait for the rain to stop.

We enjoy our hot coffees for half an hour, until the sun appears again between the dark clouds. Then we drive back to Lauterbrunnen to enjoy our lunch there.

We park the Morgan at the end of the village and walk to the Weidstübli restaurant. We have a nice warm typical Swiss meal to recover our energy. We check the WhatsApp chat if there are any news of the group, and if they’ve being lucky avoiding the rain.

Our friends progress towards the mythical mountain passes.

We can see some nice pictures of them driving up the Susten and Furka passes, and of course some of the Tremola Pass.

Dense fog at the Tremola.

They suffered scattered showers along the route, and they crossed the Tremola under a thick fog hiding the scenery, and drizzling. What a pity! These are definitely not the best conditions to enjoy such wonderful roads.

Foggy and drizzling in the Tremola.
A brave cyclist!
Slowly and carefully! Stone pavement can be slippery!

According to some messages, it’s been raining hard in some parts of the route. But it’s not being a persistent rain at least! We agree it’s better to suffer short intense showers than having a permanent annoying rain. But the weather forecast was right. Rain and more rain, here and there.

Hairpins in the fog.
Very poor visibility.
Tremola pass.

They are now stopped having lunch, still with fog. We hope they’ll have better weather on the way back.

Parked for lunch.

At least Ana Maria and I are enjoying few rays of sun here in Lauterbrunnen! The meal is delicious, and the restaurant is very calm and cozy. A nice spot to be noted for future visits to this village.

We miss our friends, but not the fog they’re in!

We drive back to Grindelwald before the heavy rains come back in our area. Even though the sun timidly shows up from time to time, intermittent showers continue to fall, although fortunately the rain is still light.

It’s being a short drive today, but the visit to Lauterbrunnen and the Trümmelbachfälle was absolutely fantastic. And it helped us to rest and recover our energies.

Driving back to Grindelwald.

Entering Grindelwald we fill the tank to the top, again with juicy 100 octane Shell V-Power gasoline. And after parking the Morgan, we check everything is in order for tomorrow’s trip back to France.

Back in the hotel, we are happy to be here dry and warm, as outside it’s starting to rain intensively again. And it doesn’t stop raining until late in the afternoon, around half past five.

Is it really stop raining?
First time we see a real blue sky today!

We’re enjoying the light and sights from our balcony when we receive a message from Christian and other ones that stayed in Grindelwald, saying they’re downstairs having a beer.

Would you reject such and offer?

No need to say that we quickly join them! We enjoy our beers checking the WhatsApp chat for news and waiting for the squadron to come back here.

The group driving back to grindelwald.
Look at that road uphill!
Good fun!

It seems that they’re having much better weather on the way back. Still with intermittent showers, but shorter and not so intense, and even some blue skies now that they’re arriving to Grindelwald.

Finally some dry road!

They crossed again some of the cows’ parades around Innertkirchen. There the people of the town dress up in their typical costumes and decorate their cows with more care, since Innertkirchen is precisely where the most tourists are attracted by the celebrations related to this colorful event.

Cows’ parade at Innertkirchen.
The shore of the Brienzersee.

We admire the Morgans entering Grindelwald, by groups. Some have a big smile on their face, and others look really tired. It’s been a hard day! It’s logical, as it’s being a long drive, and under the rain in many parts of the route.

We enjoy the mandatory beers with the anecdotes of the day. A good one is that Charles was driving down the Grimsel Pass when he saw a suction cup on the asphalt. He stopped and collected it, and it happened to be the suction cup of a Morgan 3-Wheeler luggage rack. It was John and Marian’s! They’re lucky that Charles has a very keen eye! Otherwise, their trip back to the UK, without a proper support in the back of their luggage rack, would get unnecessarily complicated.

At 20:00 we all meet again at the restaurant Da Salvi for the farewell dinner. There is a great ambience. Chas and Mario decide to put on the Scottish kilts they bought during their recent trip to Scotland. Pure Afghan wool and manufacture! LOL!

Chas, Ana Maria and Mario.

Dinner is great. It’s so nice and relaxed to share these moments with so many friends!

Leaving dinner, it’s time to say goodbye to everyone. Because tomorrow morning we may not see most of them before we takeoff back to France.

We walk the street back to the hotel, behind Chas and Mario. We don’t know if crossing these two at night, dressed like this, is funny or scary!

Mario and Chas.

Back in our room, we pack things as much as possible, and make sure than all batteries are full, helmets clean, and the navigator’s roadbook and stopwatch ready for the copilot.

The organization of this 10th Jungfrau-Treffen was incredible! We thank again Laurens and Rineke for such an amazing work! Your gathering in Switzerland always let us with wonderful memories!

Day 12 – September 4th: Grindelwald to Pérouges

This is the last day in Switzerland. Our small squadron splits here another year. Mario will drive back to Germany, but the rest of us will keep together back to Montignac-de-Lauzun. Charles is coming with us too, because he wants to let his 3-Wheeler in the hands of M3W Services with Steve and Chas, instead of driving it back to the UK as he did the previous years. We’ll be four cars then: Chas, Steve, Charles, and the Speedy Marmots.

For the first section of today’s route, to the outskirts of Montreux, Pedro and Didier will join us this year again. So, the squadron’s debriefing and takeoff today is for six 3-Wheelers.

Pedro with his son.

We all meet as usual at the parking area in front of the hotel. We do the very last checks, say goodbye to Mario, Victoria (Pedro’s wife) and Caroline (Didier’s wife), and fire the engines.

The route today is as follows:

350 km – 4h45min

Grindelwald → Wilderswil → Thun (8) → Seftigen → Wattenwil → Rüschegg-Graben → Riffenmatt → Laubbach → Hirschmatt → Zumholz → Plaffeien → Oberschrot → Plasselb → Giffers → Le Mouret → Épendes → Arconciel → Riaz (12) → Bulle (12) → Lausanne (12) → Geneva (9) → Varambon (1, A40, A42, D984) → Chalamont (D90) → Pérouges (D90A, D904, D22, D4 & D4B).

Yesterday it was raining cats and dogs, but today the sun is shining in an intense blue sky. The weather is so crazy and unpredictable here! But hey! We won’t complain if the road is dry, and the traffic is light!

The sun is shining today!

The first part of today’s route is taking us through some areas we already know. But we’ll go a little bit further and reach the shore of the Gruyère Lake. The roads are a pure delight today! Sunny weather, twisted roads crossing green prairies and dense forests, and very few cars in sight. We just need to be careful with cyclist. On Sundays these isolated roads are precisely full of them, because, like us, they try to avoid the main busy roads.

Enjoying our last day on Swiss roads.

We make a first stop at Plaffeien. A classic short stop to drink a coffee or soda, and the mandatory visit to the local coffee shop toilet. We will keep together until the outskirts of Montreux, but as we don’t plan to stop before that, we say goodbye to Pedro and Didier here, because they’ll split from us in the motorway.

Stop at Plaffeien.

The route today takes us across many of these beautiful Swiss wooden bridges, over small rivers here and there. These roads are not mountain passes, but they offer a great Swiss charm too!

As we commented at the beginning of this very long post, this year we decided to use motorways too, instead of driving only on secondary roads. Because we want to get faster to Montignac-de-Lauzun, with just one overnight instead of two.

Once on the motorway, we cruise at nice speeds in the traffic. But it’s not too dense and we keep all together without any incident. Just after crossing the border, in France, we make a refuel stop and grab something light.

Continuing after a short stop.

The French motorways allow us to drive at 130 km/h. The 3-Wheeler his plenty of power to keep this speed – and more if necessary – and the airflow is great to keep the engines cool.

Cool acrobatic airplanes over the motorway.

We don’t drive as a pack, as with the curious filming and taking pictures become sometimes annoying. Therefore, we change speeds and lanes accordingly to make our trip more comfortable and agile. And Steve and Chas have the little transponder for the tolls, so they pass them using the special lanes much quicker than we do.

Charles in the motorway.

We take the exit taking us to Varambon. We could keep on the motorway more kilometers, but we planned the route that way, to have a nice end on isolated secondary roads before our arrival to Pérouges.

Arriving to Le Vieux Pérouges.

Pérouges is a beautiful medieval village, just before arriving to Lyon (from Geneva). Ana Maria chose this village for our overnight, because it’s really worth a visit. The village inside the city walls is for pedestrians only, but as we’re going to stay at the Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges, inside the walls, we’re allowed to drive the Morgans to the center.

Le Vieux Pérouges.

Our entrance in the old city, as you can imagine, is a big event for all the tourists that are walking the narrow streets this afternoon. Plenty of pictures taken and dozens of curious people gathering around the 3-Wheelers.

Le Vieux Pérouges. Parked in the main square.

We leave the cars parked in the main square while we’re doing the check-in.

People love the 3-Wheelers.

The Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges is a really special hotel, composed by few of the medieval buildings of this historic village. We’re sleeping in rooms situated in a very old stone tower, few meters away from the main square.

Our room at the Hostellerie du Vieux Pérouges.

The rooms are decorated according to the historic place. Very large rooms, with high ceilings and wood flooring, and medieval furniture. The wood cracks everywhere, but it’s part of the charm of this hotel.

Medieval style rooms. Special charm.

After dropping our luggage in the room, we come back to the main square to move the 3-Wheelers to a parking place, hidden in the garden of another building of the hotel. We leave the Morgans resting under the shade of the old trees, but Charles, who prefers to leave his under the sun. When we ask him why, he reminds us that birds sleep in trees, and that he doesn’t want to be cleaning bird drops all over the car in the morning. Good point. But we’ll take the risk!

The Morgans resting for the night.

We come back to the rooms to have a nice shower. Ana Maria goes first, and she has no complaints with the bathroom. But when it’s my turn, I struggle to regulate the water temperature. I’m showering with warm water, suddenly it’s freezing, and seconds after I try to regulate opening more the hot tap, it’s boiling. What’s going on? I’m getting crazy!

After the shower we all come downstairs and walk to the main square, to sit and enjoy a cold beer in one of the terraces there.

Time for a cold beer!

It’s very sunny, and we relax watching the tourists leaving the place little by little, until the main square is almost empty.

Little by little, the tourists leave the place.

It’s a beautiful place. And the last rays of the sun enhance the charm of the buildings around the square.

Pérouges. Beautiful village.

Talking about the shower and my issue with the water temperature, Charles tells me, giggling, that he was cleaning some clothes in his bathroom, side-by-side to ours, opening and closing intermittently his hot tap. And we assume he was the cause of my despair. The water system in the hotel is clearly not of the latest technology!

Pérouges.

We finish our beers and head to the hotel restaurant, across the square.

Pérouges.

The sun is hiding fast now. The village is really quiet, and we don’t see tourists anymore. It seems like closing time.

Pérouges.

As we’re taking some appetizers and reading the menu, we see through the window some girls dressed quite weird. Like disguised in a burlesque way. And taking many pictures of themselves posing in strange manners. What’s going on?

Strange people appear just before sundown…

We guess there is some kind of comic convention or meeting. It’s fun to see their aspect and the silly ways they pose for the camera. Moments later they disappear as fast as they came, and the village seems deserted again.

We have a fabulous dinner. Really nice chef they have here! The menu is classic French cuisine, and the quality is excellent.

Pérouges. Iluminated at night it gets even more beutiful.

After dinner, we do a short walk around the village. It’s a very small village inside the walls. Genuine medieval. Most of the buildings are nicely restored.

Pérouges by night.

There is no one else on the streets now. This is clearly a day tourist place. At night it’s silent and absolutely empty.

Pérouges by night.

The only thing alive we cross is a caring cat. She purrs during minutes while we pet her, and she follows us for a while asking for more.

The Speedy Marmots have a weakness for cats. This one was purring so loud!

We love this place. It was a very good choice for our stop tonight! We walk for half an hour, more or less, and come back to the hotel.

Pérouges by night.

We climb the stairs of the tower and head to our rooms for the night. The building is in total silence. We only hear the distant cracking of the wood flooring when someone walks in another room close-by. We guess we are the only guests tonight. At least in this building. We quickly fall asleep.

Day 13 – September 5th: Pérouges to Montignac-De-Lauzun

We slept like logs! The place is so quiet! The village is still completely empty when we come downstairs.

Pérouges. Morning light.

We have a nice early morning walk in the village. We love Pérouges! It’s being a fantastic choice for our stopover.

Pérouges.
Pérouges.

We look for an open coffee shop where to have a light breakfast. They are not many in this tiny village, but we manage to get some coffees.

Chas enjoying his first coffee of the day.

After enjoying the hot drinks and the morning rays of sun, we take the 3-Wheelers to the main square for the check-out and to load the luggage here.

Pérouges.

We take a lot of nice pictures with no one around, because the village is still totally deserted. The scenery is really unique!

Pérouges. Chas’ and the Speedy Marmots’ 3-Wheelers.
Pérouges. Steve’s 3-Wheeler.

It’s not every day that you have the main square of such a beautiful French medieval village for your own!

Pérouges.
Pérouges. Steve with his Morgan.

The cars shine with the morning light, and the frame is perfect for the photo shoot.

Pérouges.
Pérouges.

It’s going to be another sunny day. As we’re not anymore in the Alps, the weather forecast is stable and announces sun along the whole route. We revise together the planned route before jumping into our cockpits. Today we’ll drive on motorways as much as possible, as we want to get to Montignac-De-Lauzun just after lunch.

Checking the route.

The route today is as follows:

550 km – 5h40min

Pérouges → Bergerac (D4B, D4, D22A,D1084, A42, A432, A46, A466, A6, A89, A20, A89 & N21) → Castillonès (N21) → Montignac-De-Lauzun (D254, D145 & D227).

Everyone gets ready, route clearly in mind, and we start the engines!

Charles.
Steve.
Chas.
Javier.

Ana Maria is our navigator again. She jumps into our Morgan, after taking the pictures above, and we put helmets on, check the intercoms are working, and go!

Pérouges. Main entrance gate.

We exit Pérouges through the main medieval gate, and head to the closest petrol station first.

Today we’re not driving with the GoPro in the front, just the one on hand for Ana Maria to take short videos if we see something worth it. Because today we’re driving hundreds of kilometers on motorways, and there it’s unusual to have interesting video situations. But we still get a few nice pics of our rockets at high speeds in the French motorways.

Charles on the French motorways.

We need to be careful and drink regularly, as driving in the open air makes you feel fresh, but reality is that it’s still summer, and it’s a very hot day with an intense sun hitting our helmets and bodies. Under these circumstances you can get dehydrated very quick without noticing it!

These 3-Wheelers are fast on the motorway too! The 2.0 liters massive V-Twin has such torque that we need to be careful not to speed over the 130 km/h limit.

Chas on the French motorways.

After a couple of short stops, we finally arrive to Montignac-De-Lauzun. Ana Maria and I head to Steve and Annette’s place, to pick up our Land Rover and take it to Le Papillon in the village.

Ana Maria driving the Defender following me in our 3-Wheeler to Le Papillon.

Once we’re at Le Papillon, we quickly download all the luggage and keep the Morgan inside the garage. A nice refreshing shower and we’re like new!

We go back to Steve and Annette’s for dinner at 19:30. Wow! Annette is an amazing cook, and again this year she has prepared a special menu: a lot of Indian stews and side dishes. Everything is delicious! The dinner is so relaxing and nice! When we’re here in Montignac-De-Lauzun, despite we’re hundreds of kilometers from Madrid, we feel like home. The company of our friends, the home-made food, the relaxed ambience. We are totally in love with this French region.

Day 14 – September 6th: French local markets

We wake up at Le Papillon, comfortably in “our” room, after a great night. Dinner yesterday at Steve and Annette’s was amazing. A little bit of excess of delicious Indian cuisine with beers took us to bed early, where we fell asleep in seconds.

Today we have two things to do. The first one is changing our front tyres for brand new Blockleys. It is time, as the Avons we have right now are almost gone. They lasted for a couple of Gridelwald trips and few “short fighter missions”. But after thousands of kilometers, it’s time to get new fresh ones. It’s nice that M3W Services has Blockleys on stock, amongst other brands. It’s the first time we’re mounting Blockleys, and we heard nothing but good critics.

We take the 3-Wheeler to M3W Services magic barn, and we take out the front wheels. We take the wheels, and the new Blockleys, to the Point-S at Miramont-De-Guyenne. They tell us that it’s going to take them a few hours, as they have previous appointments. No problem! We leave the wheels and tyres there and wait for their call when they’ll be ready.

The second thing we want to do today is getting to Castillonès, because today is Tuesday, meaning that there is a local market full of street food stalls, gathered with delicious products made by artisans from the region. As foodies we are, we can’t miss that! There we go! It’s just 25 min of relaxed drive from Miramont-De-Guyenne.

The Speedy Marmots at the weekly market in Castillonès.

We park just by the street where the market is, and we start walking, drooling in front of every food table. The first one is dedicated to home-made pâtés. Goose, duck, pork, beef, volaille’s, wild boar, deer… Ana Maria has to pull me out of there as I was hypnotized staring at the clay molds in which they present all these delicacies.

Incredible cheese shop.

A little bit further we feel some kind of traction beam pulling us towards a big white food stall. And this smell… It’s a cheese shop. Artisan French cheese, in a French village weekly food market! If you like cheese, you’re in paradise. We stare at the dozens – maybe more than a hundred? – different delicacies.

But the best is to come: the guy asks us if we would like to taste some. And as soon as Ana Maria replies, he detects her accent and asks where we’re from. She tells him she is from Guatemala but we live in Madrid, so we’re just passing-by, and then he gets like crazy and asks us to stay. And he starts offering small pieces of everyone and all possible cheese he offers, explaining with such passion each one of them! We stay there like half an hour and buy some kilos – yes kilos, I’m not exaggerating – of different French cheese.

The good point is that we have a portable cool box, almost hermetic, in which we can carry the smelly cargo to Madrid. Otherwise, the Land Rover would be like a gas chamber after a few kilometers!

After the market visit in Castillonès, we head towards Eymet, where we want to have lunch in a restaurant called La Cour d’Eymet.

La Cour d’Eymet restaurant. Fantastic!

When we come into the restaurant, we see we’re just the second guests they have. So, just two tables. The chef comes out to say hello and explains the different options he offers today. Everything sounds delicious, and we take few minutes to decide.

Nice menu. Everything looks delicious!

The descriptions on the chalk board look quite complex. They look very good, but we don’t know if the result, in a small village such as Eymet, will be as good as it sounds when you read it. But we’re in France! And here “cuisine” is a very special word… Oh My God! The meal is outstanding! What a place! We enjoy every plate we’re served. Each one more delicious than the previous one! This is a place we’ll remember and come back for sure next time we’ll be here.

Some food porn.

After the fantastic meal, we drive back to Le Papillon. We quickly put the cheese in the fridge and think of having a nice repairing siesta. We need to recharge our energies, as tomorrow we’ll drive back to Madrid, pulling the trailer with the Morgan in it.

But we still have our wheels at the Point-S! They still haven’t called, so I decide to drive there and put some pressure with my presence. Ana Maria stays at Le Papillon working on her laptop.

When I arrive to the Point-S, the tyres are still untouched. I kindly ask them if they can do them next, explaining that we’re leaving early tomorrow, and I need to load the Morgan on the trailer as soon as possible this afternoon. They’re nice, and despite they’re overloaded with appointments, while I just jumped in without previous notice, they tell me they’ll do one more car and then they’ll take care of our wheels.

Excellent! I even have time to buy a white marker and paint in white the Blockley lettering on the side of the tyres! I like the result. The car looks more vintage with the Blockley letters painted in white.

Our 3-Wheeler in November 2022. See the detail of the white-painted lettering on the Blockley tyre.

Once they’re finished, I come back to Le Papillon, and take time to clean the wheels properly, as it’s much easier when they’re off the car. Then we both drive back to M3W Services and put the wheels back on and load the 3-Wheeler into the trailer.

We say goodbye to Steve and Annette because the plan is to leave tomorrow relatively early. We check the pressure of the tyres of the Land Rover and the trailer, and finally we hitch the trailer to the big Defender. Minutes later, with a heavy heart, we say goodbye to such good friends and head back to Le Papillon.

We park the trailer and the Land Rover in front of the City Hall. I secure properly the Morgan with the strong ratchet straps, leaving everything ready for tomorrow morning.

Day 15 – September 7th: Montignac-De-Lauzun to Madrid

Today we have a very long journey. 720 kilometers and, as we’re driving with a trailer, we’re limited to 90 km/h on both in French and Spanish motorways, it’s going to be long…. Very long….

The route today is as follows:

720 km – 9h30min (as we’re limited at 90 km/h)

We leave Montignac-De-Lauzun at 8:30. The first part of the route is on French small narrow roads. After crossing Saint-Barthélemy-d’Agenais, I hear an unusual noise coming from the trailer. I switch on the rearview camera to see the front of the trailer and I see that the jockey wheel came loose, and might be touching the asphalt at some points, causing that noise. I stop and put the jockey wheel back to its secure position.

We cross the Canal De Garonne, which is part of the Southern canal network of France, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Crossing the Canal de Garone.

We finally connect with the motorway and can use the cruise control and relax driving South towards Spain.

We cross at noon the French-Spanish border and stop to refuel. Everything is going well. We revise the trailer and no signs of anything going wrong. And we keep driving through the Spanish Basque Country. But I check again with the rearview camera the jockey wheel, and I can see it’s loose again! Why is that? It’s normally very tight and secure, but something is happening to it that it becomes loose. We stop at a petrol station, and we buy some elastic thick strings to hold it even more secure; and we take the motorway again, hoping it won’t bother anymore.

Then, like 20 km later on the motorway, we hear a bang and we clearly see there is something wrong with the trailer. I check the rearview mirrors and I can see that one of the left tyres is flat. We thank God we have two axles in our trailer! As we’re on the motorway, we can’t simply stop, so we slow down and keep going looking for the next exit, hoping the second left tyre holds the load as it should. I check the rearview camera thinking that the strings we just put may be the cause. That one came loose and fell under the wheels. But they’re in place.

We finally get to the next exit, and we stop just before the toll, in a large side area where we can replace the flat tyre.

Exploded tyre!

Flat tyre! That’s not a flat tyre! It’s a disintegrated tyre! Holy cow! We check the broken tyre, and it looks like it exploded violently and was ripped away from the rim. Maybe the fact that we drove a couple of kilometers to this exit for sure made more damage to the tyre, but not so much! Looking carefully at the inside of the tyre we can clearly see that it’s a bad quality crap. We’re furious!

Damn these low quality chinese tyres! They could have caused a serious accident!

We send a picture of the incident to the squadron’s WhatsApp group, and Charles immediately spots a detail on the tyre wall: “Made in China”. No comments…

The good point is that we can change the tyre without even disengaging the trailer from the Land Rover. As it’s a tilting platform, when we tilt it, the front tyre – the one we must change – lifts in the air without needing a jack. So, the wheel change is relatively fast: it takes us approximately twenty minutes.

Fast tyre change. We’re lucky that the trailer is properly designed!

We’re lucky that we designed the trailer with two axles, and with a spare wheel. When we designed and ordered it, the two axles were mandatory for us. And now we thank to have taken this smart decision. If this accident would have happened with a single axle trailer, we can’t think of the consequences, carrying the Morgan on it.

We stop by the next petrol station to check the tyres pressure, and more precisely the one of the spare wheel we just put on. After having everything properly checked, we hit the road again, driving carefully and hoping we don’t have a second tyre blast.

We make it home without any other incident at 20:00. So, the total trip today took us 11h30min. We’re glad to be home!

Our Grindelwald trip came to an end. Fifteen days of adventures, enjoying the 3-Wheeler and our friends! We’re looking forward for the next “Long range campaign”!

NOTE: by the time we wrote this post, we already went to a tyre garage to check about the tyre blow. The specialist pointed out that the tyres we have on our trailer are very bad Chinese quality. With few (three) internal layers and not appropriate for a trailer that heavy. Thanks to the two axles, the tyres resisted until now, but the risk of another blow is high. The guys who made the trailer saved peanuts on the tyres! Really worth the savings? We’ll change the tyres for good quality appropriate ones as soon as possible.

Hangar works #26 – The Öhlins

Since we wrote down the worksheet for M3W Services, Chas and Steve were teasing me about the shock absorbers. Chas, Steve and Mario have the Öhlins installed back and front on their 3-Wheelers. They have tried the standard Spax, the adjustable Spax and of course the Öhlins. They say there’s a huge difference. That the car handles incredibly better. That the Öhlins are truly the best if you want to improve dynamically the 3-Wheeler.

Changing our standard Spax shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins is something lurking at the back of my head that bothers me. But the cost of these beautiful shock absorbers is high. Really high. We’re talking about thousands of Euros! And we’re already doing a massive investment on our 3-Wheeler with the Bleazey drive train upgrade, the fuel pump change, the rear disc brake conversion, LED headlamps, and some more little things here and there. We have to resist all the jokes and funny WhatsApp messages going in and out, silly pictures, puns, etc.

I can imagine Chas and Steve’s laugh while teasing me with the Öhlins!

I start to wake up at night sweating thinking about adding them to the worksheet!

“Should I?” “Do I add them to the worksheet?”

But do we drive the Morgan enough through the year to justify such a big extra investment? OMG we do! We’re already doing the Bleazey drive train upgrade because we really do long trips with the Morgan. And we plan to do more!

And Chas, Steve and Mario keep teasing us… “and you’re two in the car! That’s a lot more weight and you’ll feel even more the difference with the Öhlins”, “and you know we drive like lunatics on twisted roads” and “keep your Spax if you plan driving Miss Daisy”, bla bla bla…

Bla bla bla…

Let’s be realistic: we’re not adding them because they’re very expensive, but if they’re so good as our colleagues say, we’ll really feel the difference and enjoy the upgrade, won’t we?

It’s July the 16th, our wedding anniversary. Ana Maria and I are having a nice breakfast in a terrace in Madrid center, chatting about different things, when we’re revising the last WhatsApp’s messages of the squadron group. They sent another teasing image again: M3W Services has a complete set of Öhlins with black springs that would look simply perfect on our 3-Wheeler.

Come on! Really? And with black springs…

We discuss again about the benefits versus the cost, make some numbers, and take one of the best decisions we’ve ever made regarding our Morgan: let’s change the shock absorbers for a complete set of Öhlins!

Ana María sends the message, making this official: “Me, the boss, approve the Öhlins!!!”. Followed by a couple of clear pictures.

As our 3-Wheeler is already at M3W Services facilities in Southern France, the following days Steve sends some pictures of the works in progress, and obviously some beautiful ones of our Öhlins being mounted.

These are the fron standard Spax. Ready to dissapear!
What a nice looking shock absorber! Front Öhlins mounted!
And the back ones too!

I’m driving the Land Rover Defender from Madrid to Montignac-de-Lauzun on Wednesday the 24th of August. When I join our friends, all works on our 3-Wheeler are done! I’ll have few days to test drive the car before Ana Maria joins us on Saturday.

On Thursday I start-up the little rocket after all the modifications done by Steve: Bleazey drive train upgrade, new reinforced clutch plate, new Walbro fuel pump, the rear disc brake conversion, and some little details here and there that I’ll mention in a later post. And of course, the complete set of Öhlins! In fact, this is the major dynamic change – with the rear disc brake – done to the car.

I love the black springs! Black looks better than the classic Öhlins yellow on our car.
The Öhlins are adjusted for the Morgan 3-Wheeler from factory. But you can readjust them in many ways if you want to.

Let’s see if they work as good as they look! The little secondary roads around Montignac-de-Lauzun are perfect for a test drive. No traffic at all, very good tarmac, roads wide for two cars, with nice visibility, plenty of curves… And as background an amazing landscape… The perfect scenario! I fire the engine and go! Just some kilometers warming up the engine and getting familiar with the new clutch (the pedal doesn’t disengage the clutch as it used to). I already feel a much smoother ride. But is it just my feeling or does the car really handle better?

It’s time to see! second gear, revs up to 4000 and right pedal to the floor. The little rocket is launched furiously towards the incoming curves while the engine goes over the 5000 rpm. And right, left, again left, hard braking, accelerating like crazy again… OMG!

I put this in a separate line and in capital letters, to send a clear message:

THE ÖHLINS ARE A MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT!!!

The way the car absorbs the tarmac irregularities and the grip in tight bumpy curves is light years away from what I was used to. Amazing! The handling now, combined with a harder brake pedal with the rear disc brake, is so much better!

But is this just my feeling? Am I cheating myself? On Saturday evening Ana Maria joins us at Montignac-de-Lauzun. As soon as she jumps into the Morgan and we drive around the village, she tells me she feels the car different. “How different?” I ask. “Like more stable. More secure. I feel much more comfortable and safe at high speeds”. So, it’s not just me! The Öhlins “Magic” is a fact!

Is this a mandatory upgrade for your Morgan 3-Wheeler? It depends on how you use the car. But for us, tourers and fast drivers, it’s probably the best dynamic improvement you can do on your little rocket!

Hangar works #25 – The rear disc brake conversion

What’s next? While our 3-Wheeler is in M3W Services in Southern France, Ana María and I discuss about other improvements that can be done to the vehicle. We still have many tasks on the list for Steve! Now we’re focusing on dynamic improvements!

And one of the best dynamic improvements offered by M3W Services – and exclusively – is the rear disc brake conversion.

Geneva Motor Show 2011 – The new generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler is unveiled!

During its presentation in the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, the new generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler – known as the 5-Speeder – was equipped with a rear disc brake.

The units presented in Geneva were equipped with rear disc brakes!

However, when the car came into production, Morgan Motor Company changed this rear disc brake for a drum brake. Why? It’s a fact that those first units shown in the 2011 Geneva Motor Show were prototypes and many modifications were done to the model when it came into production, but no one really knows the reason why they changed the rear disc brake for a drum…

But finally the production cars get a rear drum brake…

Was this a wise decision? In my honest opinion, it was not. Don’t get me wrong: our 3-Wheeler rear drum brake always performed correctly, and the time we’re changing it, it’s still looking pretty good.

Our rear disc brake being removed.

But that’s not a surprise, because our car is just two years and a half old, still has few kilometres, and in Madrid the weather is extremely dry reducing the risk of rust to the minimum.

Why have we decided to change the drum for this beautiful disc brake? First of all, because a disc brake has clear dynamic advantages compared to a drum one. Despite the modern drums perform pretty well, the disc is still a better option for many reasons, such as the lightness, faster cooling, no mushy feeling on the brake pedal when the pads get worn, not affected by water ingress and rust, etc.

1,1 kg lighter! Everything counts!

In fact, the 3-Wheeler rear wheel drum’s cylinders are known to seize due to corrosion, causing the rear brake shoes to stick on.

They work OK, but the drum’s cylinder can seize due to rust blocking the rear tyre!

For all these reasons, we decide to make this improvement on our Morgan. The M3W Services disc brake kit looks fantastic!

The M3W Services disc brake kit.

The kit was specifically designed for the Morgan 3-Wheeler, so it works perfectly balanced with the front disc brakes. When it comes to design a disc brake, you need to make the proper calculations and dimensional designs to get powerful and efficiently balanced front-and-rear braking system. It looks like M3W Services have done this perfect!

High-quality kit!

The quality of the materials looks fantastic, and despite every 3-Wheeler is hand-built and M3W Services found constructive and dimensional differences between cars, they managed to produce a high-quality kit that can be installed on any of our 5-Speeders.

The calliper is a real piece of art!

The first test kits were mounted on Craig’s and Steve’s rockets last 2021 summer and tested under the hardest possible conditions. It is a fact that Steve was testing this kit in his black and orange high performance 3-Wheeler when we went to Grindelwald last September.

Steve driving through the Alps, testing the first rear disc brake kit.

The trip was back and forth from Southern France to Switzerland, and I can tell you we were not driving precisely slowly in the French twisted roads and the mythical Swiss mountain passes! The rear disc brake performed amazing during the thousands of kilometres we made!

The calliper mounted.

Have a look at the M3W Services webpage!

Home (m3wservices.com)

And this article written by Phil Gardner for the MTWC Bulletin highlights the benefits of this fantastic rear disc brake kit!

Microsoft Word – M3WServices Disc Brake Upgrade v0.2.docx (website-editor.net)

This disc brake kit fits perfect on our 3-Wheeler. It also includes the hand brake system, via a classic cable acting on a separate braking pad in the calliper. Neat and easy solution.

A kit completely assembled.

Once installed, the disc brake looks neat, in harmony with the wheel and the rear arm. The route of the brake fluid’s line and hand brake cable are so similar to the original drum brake ones, that everything is installed in a very clean way, without interferences with any other element of the car.

The routing of the lines and cables is neat.
The rear disc brake looks fantastic on our 3-Wheeler!

From the outside, it’s really hard to see that the car has a rear disc brake instead of the original drum. But from the dynamic point of view, we can feel a difference. The sensation while braking is more balanced, and with a harder feeling on the pedal. The braking power remains the same, but we really feel it’s easier to modulate and stop the car in a smoother way. Both Ana Maria and I feel more confident with the braking system now.

We think it’s worth to make this change, not only for the better reliability, but for the performance too! Another satisfying upgrade of our beloved little Morgan!