I’m finally making my dream come true and starting a multi-day motorcycle trip. I live in the Black Forest and have visited sixty countries around the world, but I haven’t explored my neighborhood yet. It is time. I pack my tiger and start.
What does the neighborhood of my home ACTUALLY look like?
I ride a Triumph Tiger XC 800 from 2014. The cases have been waiting for their use for a long time. I strapped my tent to the passenger in a waterproof backpack.
How does it actually look behind the border?
It’s going west. I haven’t seen much of France in my life, although I can see the country from my apartment window. So far, my “trips” there have been limited to day trips to Alsace and a student excursion to Paris in 1998.
The Tiger has also been to the Vosges a few times.
But what is behind the mountains?
At Breisach, I cross the Rhine. On the German and French side it is very flat near the river.
I don’t have a specific goal. I drive toward the horizon.
One village after another is separated only by the fields in between. The tops of the church towers announce the next village on the horizon.
Then I reach the mountains. I use the Calimoto app, which selects small routes that are interesting for me.
It’s a weekday Wednesday. No holiday. The streets are empty. It is wonderful. In June, the days last from 5 a.m. in the morning to 10 p.m. at night. I have 17 hours of sunlight to drive relaxed through the countryside. I can take long breaks and enjoy my stops.
Among other things, I stop at the Lac de la Lauch. The lake has a funny name and a pretty little dam in the woods.
I drive up the mountains in serpentines. There I finally reach the pass of Markstein at the mount Großer Belchen. At 1424 meters, the “Grand Ballon” is the highest mountain in the Vosges and only 70 meters lower than the Feldberg in my home region, the Black Forest.
I remember the little hobbit. One of the hobbits eventually stops and says that he has never traveled so far from home as he has at this point.
Although I’ve traveled the world before, I remember it now. On my own, alone and intensively I have not been away like this and on the Great Belchen I finally see the country behind the Vosges that I do not know yet.
Welcome new country!
It goes down the mountains. There is no big city in the area, just small sleepy villages that are showing their age.
I pass through the village of Ventron in the evening and stop for a lemonade. It’s very idyllic.
On the map I find an area full of lakes. In the iOverlander app, I see recommendations from travelers who have marked good places for wild camping there. One of them is not far from here.
After I leave Ventron it’s almost only through small forests and fields. Nobody is on the street but me. The light of the evening sun paints the world golden.
The mood at sunset in nature is wonderful
To get to the lake I have to leave the road and drive over bumpy forest paths. Then I reach a small, deserted rest area by a lake. Nobody is here.
I steer the motorcycle over a beam that leads over a small creek and find an ideal spot for my tent. I can put the machine right next to it. I even have a table with a bench available.
The sunset drags on so that I can still set up the tent and eat in peace. There is even time for a flight with the drone.
A motorcycle. A tent. A lake. The world is perfect.
It is quiet. As soon as darkness sets in, the vampires come out of their hiding places in the form of fat mosquitoes. Time to duck into the tent and sleep at a concert by the frogs.
The night is calm. Nobody bothers. I leave the outer panels of the tent open and can watch the veils over the lake the next morning.
It’s already warm. No sound can be heard. A coffee and a croissant would be nice now.
I’m in the right country for that. The nearest town on the map is Luxeuil-les-Bains, where my breakfast is waiting for me
I enjoy a few more moments before slowly packing up my things.
Wild camping in France
On my way through Burgundy with the tiger, I always camp somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Using the iOverlander app, I can find recommendations for off-the-beaten-path locations where others have stayed. The rules for wild camping in France are not very strict. If you don’t harm anyone and are tidy, you can find a place quite flexibly.
As long as you keep a low profile, get in someone’s way and ask the people who own the ground, nobody minds a humble stay in their campervan or tent. Everyone leaves the place better than they found it – that goes without saying. I am never bothered when I pitch my tent in France.