Monza, autobahn & the Swiss Alps

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Monza, autobahn & the Swiss Alps

Post by jaxZ4 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:35 am

Mosie on Down to Monza

Jack & Jacqui’s 2014 road trip to Monza & beyond . . .


Day 1 Road Trip Ready

So we’re off on our second European jaunt since 2012 - it’s been a fairly busy travel year with Berlin, New York, Washington, and Spain plus many Zed runs and a few forum runs, so this 10 day adventure will see four more countries all of which we’ve visited before, which is a tad frustrating as we try and see a new country or two every year, well at least there’s some new cities.

I think we’re now Road Trip Ready and spent too long planning and preparing and I’ve almost certainly spent over budget on “essential” Zed upgrades ( you know the kind) to include a new D2 Big Brake Kit with Ferrodo DS2500 pads, new wishbones, Meyle HD bushes, drop links, track rod ends//tie rods, a full Supertracker alignment, 4 new Vredestein Ultrac Sessantas, plus splashed out on the latest large screen Tom Tom 6000 Sat Nav ( it’s a little like having a 52” TV in a bedsit flat) and a new on board video camera - a Dragonfly - a kinda of a cheaper Go-Pro imitation. I largely prefer stills and typically am too impatient to upload videos any place as it takes so long - I know I could do it overnight etc. etc. Oh and a last minute low cost (pm me for details) Quantum remap with a stated 15bhp uplift and certainly stronger and smoother mid range punch.

It did feel stronger on the first leg of the Skyefall Run - thanks Bing for letting me lead the section from Inverary to Dalmally.

So first day drive to Newcastle for the overnight ferry to Ijmuiden ( Amsterdam) then a blast to Stuttgart. All packed, F1 tix, dosh, ferry tix, dosh, clothes, dosh, cameras, dosh and oh yes - divorce layers on speed dial !

Barely room for a bus ticket in the zed boot now !


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Last edited by jaxZ4 on Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by metal licker » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:43 pm

Good luck ,hope you have great trip :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by ZermattV » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:40 pm

Great first post Jax- will be reading with interest and hopeful of doing something similar in the new motor next year :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by hopz121 » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:48 pm

Those brakes look amazing, best of luck with the trip have fun :)
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by PerryGunn » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:13 pm

Enjoy your trip - the car looked great on Saturday :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by jaxZ4 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:33 pm

Thanks for comments so far:

Update - can't get pics uploaded so that will need to wait but here's some more light reading:

Day 2

That song from what’s her face . . . .

Not being cruising type individuals ( yeah I know the Amsterdam ferry is not quite a cruise) we were pleased with the rather pricey Commodore Deluxe Class . . .maybe I should have worn a smarter shirt mind but to be told of not only a free mini bar in our room but a free bar in the nearby lounge – well free beer to a Scotsman, red rag to a bull ! I’m not much of a cliché fan and would rather not mirror the media image, stereo type archetypal Scotsman plus with a long autobahn V-max drive to Stuttgart ahead, a night on the free beer was a non starter.

Mrs Jax had a good opportunity to test the new BBK kit on the drive over to Newcastle when a dozy old dear pulled out from the inside lane more than a little too late to turn right off the A69 dual carriageway ! So 75 mph to zero in . . . W T F is happening time – so well done D2 brakes and Mrs Jax for not swearing. . . .too much. Unsurprisingly it was indeed a brand new Nissan Micra (for her).

The sun was shining in Newcastle(ish) and we joined the ferry queue with what looked like a Dutch based TVR forum run with a great range of a dozen or so older and less old TVRs – most with that great V8 rumble and packed to the gunwales. Their “See you Jimmy “ hats suggested they had been hooning round our excellent Scottish roads. A ferry queue is always interesting – a 911 4S Cab with a wheelchair bound passenger, with his chair strapped to the open rear was a first for us – sorry no photos, respecting his privacy etc.

That song - Alanis Morrisette “Ironic” where the only irony was the somewhat flawed use of the word. Free bar and I cannae drink !
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by Bing » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:05 pm

I am liking this thread Jack, keep it up :thumbsup:

I'd also put money on those TVRs being the very same ones we passed on Skye on Sunday as we drove down the island in the opposite direction. Cool 8)
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by ZermattV » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:01 am

Bing wrote:I am liking this thread Jack, keep it up :thumbsup:

I'd also put money on those TVRs being the very same ones we passed on Skye on Sunday as we drove down the island in the opposite direction. Cool 8)
Agreed - Great Post :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by jaxZ4 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:07 am

Bing wrote: I'd also put money on those TVRs being the very same ones we passed on Skye. Cool 8)
Cheers Bing - I bet they were the same especially if they had NL plates !

Some pics now and latest drivvle. . .

Day 3

Dumfounded by Davos
Spent a fabulously relaxing evening at Schwabenquellen – an experience that only the Germans seem to do and in some style – google it and try it if you’re ever in Stuttgart, followed by a late meal of burgers in an Irish Bar listening to a decent guitarist.

Another free mini bar in Domero Stuttgart and I again avoided the only beer therein following a beer in the unimaginably named Dubliner. We skipped the hotel breakfast for an early coffee & croissant at the Porsche Museum where it was pretty cloudy.

Our second visit to the Porsche Museum was almost as good as the first – again the underground car park is fascinating – easily identifying those museum cars that have been out to play recently by the general road kill, mostly insects and small animals and a few wayward pedestrians !

There were definitely less cars there and a section we enjoyed last time seemed empty though we chatted briefly with another Scottish couple over from the Isle of Bute ( Rothesay) instead whilst I was taking a picture of a topical Targa !

Think we hit a Tom Tom indicated 209kph today – never quite got the space to get faster though the Zed felt very stable and the brakes awesome at that speed – maybe a tiny but more transmission / engine vibration but as we don’t typically see those speeds on UK roads, we don’t have an every day reference zed point.

Two very nice 911s flew past yesterday as if they had been travelling at around 160mph +for miles – the rear one a new Turbo S. These things can of course reach and maintain these speeds so much easier & quicker though it’s clear the best way to get speed up on the zed is almost red line in 4th with SMG fast changes ( no lift off) and same again in 5th though you won’t probably red line.

Mrs Jax was passed today, doing a little over 100mph by a Lambo Countach and chasing Audi R8 – you just don’t see quite so many super cars on Scotland’s roads.

We’re finished with autobahns now for a while until our return leg.

The drive to Davos finishes with a 50km climb where we had the roof down for the first time since Newcastle ( well autobahn speeds don’t really lend themselves to top down hooning).

Davos has a frustrating one way system mixed with horrid roadworks meaning I had a complete circuit of the town just to re-visit the Hilton car park entrance due to poor directions and a truck outside – then had to call Mrs Jax (who was already having a beer whilst waiting on 50 Japanese tourists using the hotel lifts) to come to my rescue as it was simply impossible to collect the underground car park ticket from the wrong side in a tight space where neither door could open. I need a beer NOW.

The Fleulla, Offen and Stelvio Passes all beckon tomorrow – but hey I’m no Swiss pass virgin (or old hand) so looking forward to them all after a cable car ride in Davos.

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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by jaxZ4 » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:52 am

Day 4

A challenging day – when small problems are really big problems.

Like when your usually excellent central locking doesn’t work and no matter how hard you try you cannot open the passenger door, cubby hole ( where the sat nav is stored) & rather importantly the fuel cap cover ! Keyfob, actual key, from inside –nothing - so Mrs Jax has to promptly re-enact any episode of Dukes of Hazzard and jump over the door – fortunately Mrs Jax is blessed with long ( and shapely) legs – oi ! calm down boys and no she wasn’t wearing her Daisy Duke denim shorts ( they are strictly for special occasions – you know fancy dress ho-downs and the like.)

Naturally I had her first sign a damage liability clause to allow this one time only standing on the precious passenger seat leather with her sturdy Merrels !

So we have to forego our planned cable car ride and head to the Davos BMW dealership where the only mechanic speaks as much English as I do German (my ‘allo ‘allo level is of no use on this occasion). Fortunately the salesman is very helpful and speaks sufficient to assist, though the Gap Tech One Touch Remote confuses him a little. We go a walk for an hour discussing options like trains to Milan ( via Zurich – thanks Sis) and hire cars but return to find it temporarily fixed and identified as a relay within a module. We discuss ordering one to arrive in Milan but that’s not possible. A very reasonable 60 CHF bill and we’re on our way to Fluella, Fuorn & Stelvio where we quickly find a most unusual roadster piloted by two Swiss chaps – a Weismann MS5 – a simply stunning looking beast – we both have to pull into a dirt lay bye to put roofs up as the rain starts – the Zeds is much quicker - the Weissman roof quite a faff but we agree to follow him for a bit – he sounds like he has way more power than my uplifted 245 bhp ! We share a laugh and head off though ultimately he turns left when we go right.

It’s raining really heavy up the Fluella and there’s loads of roadworks where the surface is ideal for a 4x4 but tough for a little Zed ! The surface is awash with water and offers little fun other than a predictable flashing traction control light on almost every hairpin !

We elect to take a different route up the Stelvio (See later) to be met with dozens of cyclists who have ridden up in horrendous conditions – I’m somewhat in awe at their fitness levels and spend some time talking to another Scots chap from Perth who is part of a 19 man group with support vehicle heading for Croatia. I confess to feeling a bit of a fraud just driving up the Stelvio though it requires a degree of commitment and with the roof up some passenger involvement on the left hand 180 degree hairpins where you have almost no line of sight !

Tyre pressure warning light comes on and we fine a portable pressure line at the foot of the Fuorn – all seems fine with all 4 new tyres so I reset and carry on. The emissions light had appeared again before Newcastle but has now cleared too.

So a long rainy day with zero visibility at top of Stelvio and my much hoped for many images dashed for this visit – I’m beginning to think it always rains or snows on the Stelvio !

Made it to Gravedona on the North West side of Lake Como which this evening looks more like Loch Lomond, though enjoyed a fabulous Italian meal in a place filled with locals.

Tomorrow should be better.
Weissman MS5
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the view from the Stelvio
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by ZermattV » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:09 am

Fantastic write up Jax - Monza here you come :thumbsup:

glad you got the car sorted :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by srhutch » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:51 am

Looks like your having some fun :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by CornishRob » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:48 am

Love these trips and write ups. Keep it going and enjoy :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by Swiftly » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:37 am

Enjoying the write up Jack and looking forward to the next instalment :thumbsup:
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Re: Moazie on down to Monza

Post by jaxZ4 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:03 pm

Day 5 Saturday (bit of a 3 day catch up here)

And it is… the sun is blistering hot by 8am and we breakfast outside over Lake Como at Gravedona. We agree ( that’s a good start to a day) that we can easily visit Milan again but maybe not this part of Lake Como so head off for a bit of a walk leaving around lunchtime still in fine weather.

Given yesterdays’ slight disappointments after consulting the hotel owner we take the quickest route to Monza to collect our tickets – at least the one with least traffic – this proves so right and we make great progress though Italian driving standards are poor beyond reason with everyone taking part in the other national sport of tourist tailgaiting.

It’s a most unusual drive as some 80% of this side of Lake Como involves driving through tunnels which is fine except the weather is scorchio outside and with top down it can get a tad cool in all those tunnels but the noise is great.

We manage to drive well into Monza park, roof down to collect tix and nab a very central spot where the zed attracts some admiring glances ( I think – well it’s not me!) Sadly I omit to take a picture this far into Monza park and mrs Jax collects tix before we head off to our hotel – in the wrong direction due to one errant letter in a street name – can’t even blame sat nav but maybe just as well those divorce lawyers are closed Saturdays! Eventually get to the Nu Hotel and metro into Milan for a predictable pizza meal.

Day 6 Sunday

Monza F1

Bizarrely our first Grand Prix and we’re scheduled to meet my friend Al at Central Station at 9am – no surprise that he texts to say he and his pal will be there by 9.30 – at 9.40 he texts to say “nearly there” – so we describe the Station which is as close to NYC Grand Central as you can imagine ! We soon realize he is at a different station altogether and we agree (almost) to meet up at Monza where as Al says you need to bus it in. Sows aural appendages !

Our train takes as straight into Lezmo ( apparently the train only stops here on race days) though we still have quite a walk which seems 10 times longer at 6pm after several beers and heading for a last train we don’t know when.

Had a great day, tried hard for some photos with little success, got on track at the end though as expected you see 100 times more on TV, Fab experience and atmosphere –highly recommended though no point me giving a race report !

We’re thoroughly knackered once back to Milan after some loud Skandinavian jovial rivalry – so much so we eat at the Station and head for home !

We seemed to be stalked by TVRs – as we chatted to a British couple (Griffin) in our hotel who were Monza bound and to an interesting Auzie / Kiwi couple on the train.

Day 7 Monday

Milan to Flims –via San Bernardino Pass

Though tempting, it seemed churlish not to see at least some of Milan itself so we headed into the Duomo after a lateish breakfast for some sunshine photo opps and some typical Milan shopping – i.e.Fridge Magnets not Ferragamo shoes.

Milan is pretty in parts but the Milanese are oh so vain – unsurprisingly we’re not fans of style over substance though I would love to fit some of those designer suits. I did buy some sports socks though – not quite “3 pairs for a pound” mind.

Milan traffic has been pretty quite and I would not discourage taking a car there – we stayed on the north side allowing easy exit this morning and a short Metro ride into central Milan.

So by lunchtime we’re well north of Milan, roof down, 29 degrees, stunning mountain scenery and heading for the Swiss border like we’re being chased by the Interpol Prada Police. Our Swiss vignaite allowed us safe passage, unlike the Swiss registered car in front who was huckled.

Plenty more tunnels today – auto lights a near essential bit of kit. A little short of the climb to San Bernardino proper a large posse of Porsche, Lambo, Ferraris ( at least 3 458s) , I’m sure I also spotted a McLaren and a lone E85 Z4 (which we guessed was an M – in that company) – it was quite a sight though not at breakneck speeds.

Some short heavy rain on the climb necessitated another pit stop to remove the folding roof gap covers (they do look good but really !) We stop again after the lo o o ng tunnel to study a sign for the San Bernardino – which we elect to follow – we hadn’t been convinced that the wide road we were on full of traffic and artics was the pass and indeed we were correct but had missed the point of heading into the village of San Bernardino – therefore we followed the sign and drove both sides of the pass which was simply sublime - scenery, scalextrix like bends and mountains straight from The Sound of Music (without the singing nuns of course – our ipod preferring an eclectic blend of Zeppelin, Springsteen, Bob Marley and some surprisingly fitting classical guitar).

The Pass itself was near deserted late afternoon – lucky if we met 6 cars and chatted to a German couple in an open top old Merc at the Hospiz St.Bernardin near the top.

Mrs Jax needed some persuasion to allow me to run in DTC mode ( i.e. half traction control) as with full traction enabled power was being hugely cut on (mostly right hand) bends. With DTC enabled full power returned – much more fun with loads of SMG downshifts to 2nd for those 180 degree hairpins – roof down now so better sight lines round the left handers too – what a blast – it would have been fab with more Zeds but some peer pressure / red mist restraint might be needed too – it’s a long way down over those often un barriered drops.

Ultimate Drives.net quotes this as its’ favourite pass and I can see why. I will certainly drive this again some day but in the opposite direction and hopefully with some chums!

The little town of Flims beckons and the Cresta Hotel has wonderful valley and mountain views but we’re too late to use the tiny sauna etc. and also have dinner so having had no lunch – dinner wins ! Seems a bus tour of senior Americans are here so not sure the Spa would be quite as convivial as Stuttgart’s Schawbenquellen!

More passes tomorrow which we’re briefly renaming Bonday ( Furka pass etc.) I’ve even got some Bond themes on the ipod for the occasion.

Some minor stats:
35mpg en route to Newcastle – driving like Nuns !
31mpg overall to date which is wonderful given a full load, autobahn and alpine pass blasts
1320 miles so far ( I know some done that to Skye and back but we’ve been busy)
Some squeaky but powerful non fading brakes
NO warning lights or other mechanicals for now
Some combined burning rubber and brake smell at top of Bernardino with the Zeds little fan working away for minutes after we stop.
Top speed a reasonable 229kph – ‘bout 130 so plenty scope for a tad more on the blast home
More pics when better Swiss web connection found.
04 Sterling Grey 3.0i SE SMG sadly sold. Now in an Aqua Blue 981 S P car

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