Tag: Euro2010

Great Roads: Kick-Ass Mountain Passes From Our Euro Trip

Great Roads: Kick-Ass Mountain Passes From Our Euro Trip

In September of 2010, Kenny and I met up with our friend Patrick in Italy and spent a little over a week riding around in the mountains. Our travels took us to Italy, Switzerland, the teeny-weeny country of Liechtenstein, and Austria. The trip was, in a word – monumental.

Even though months have passed, I still find myself reliving fragments of the trip in my imagination. The Alps are a motorcyclist’s paradise.

Though it was difficult to will yourself to stop riding, we did manage to snap a few photos of some beautiful roads along the way.

(Click all photos to enlarge)

Stelvio Pass – Italy

Looking down at the Stelvio Pass

Fluela Pass – Switzerland

Fluelapass Switzerland

Julierpass – Switzerland

Julierpass Switzerland

Splugenpass – Italy/Switzerland

Splugenpass

San Bernardino Pass – Switzerland

San Bernardino Pass Switzerland

Nufenen Pass – Switzerland

Nufenen Pass

Grimselpass – Switzerland

Grimselpass Switzerland

In Case You Missed It

Here are some posts from that trip:

How About You?

Have you traveled any of these roads? Which were your favorites? Are they on your bucket list for someday?

Amazing Motorcycle Road: Italy’s Gavia Pass

Amazing Motorcycle Road: Italy’s Gavia Pass

The 9th of September was bittersweet. It was a special day in that it marked Kenny’s 40th birthday. He got to spend the day doing what he loved; riding motorcycles on amazingly twisty roads. Unfortunately, it also marked the last day of riding that we were to do with Pimmie on our vacation. Our day’s ride took us from beautiful Corvara back to where we started our journey together in Bormio.

The Dolomites were spectacular. Between the scenery, the road condition and the weather I couldn’t have imagined anything to top those passes. As we pressed on heading west, it became apparent that we saved what I would say was the most surprising pass of all, for last; The Gavia Pass.

Going up the Gavia Pass

Like Stelvio, I found the Gavia Pass to be most memorable because it was such an anomaly. On the ascent from Ponte di Legno on the southern side of the pass, the roadway that climbs through the trees is a single lane, and a tight one at that. The problem with the single lane is that it has to support 2 way traffic.

The Gavia Pass Italy

It was an eye opener to feel like you barely fit through the road with sidebags on your bike to then have to make room for a car to squeeze by in the other direction. It was kind of scary but exciting at the same time.

Gavia Pass - Photo by Pimmie

Creeping around some of the blind corners closer to the summit I found myself hoping I wouldn’t be face to face with the grill of an oncoming car.

As usual I was the caboose on our three rider train up the pass. I would catch glimpses of Kenny pulled over watching for me every now and then. It was kind of cute – like he was “protecting” me. 🙂

Me - Riding up Gavia Pass - Photo by Pimmie

I found this video on youtube. It gives a pretty good view of how tight the roadway was in the southern section. Imagine trying to squeeze 2 cars through there!

Riding the Alps with a GoPro Hero Camera: Is This Thing On?

Riding the Alps with a GoPro Hero Camera: Is This Thing On?

Kenny and Pimmie both rode with GoPro Hero HD cameras throughout our Alpine trip. Kenny mounted his on the side of his helmet for a “you’re seeing what I’m seeing” point of view and Pimmie mounted his GoPro on the front of his Tuono near the right mirror stalk.

Each day, they shot about 4 hours worth of riding video. In order to conserve the battery, this meant turning the camera on and off on less exciting stretches of road or during extended stops.

While looking through the videos, I found that many video clips start with a view of either of them looking into the camera with an “is this thing on?” expression. Kenny’s signature move was to look into his left mirror to see if the record light was flashing, while either Pimmie, Kenny or sometimes both had to look at Pimmie’s bike from the front see if his light was flashing.

It’s interesting to note some of the backgrounds, scenery, cars and bikes going by. This is like one big photobomb blog post. These photos are some of those video still frames:

click all photos to enlarge

Is This Thing On?

Kenny on Falzarego Pass Italy

Splugenpass Stelvio - Is this thing on? Alps Tour
Timmelsjoch - Is this thing on? Kenny Alpine Tour Heading to Jaufenpass

Is this thing on?

In the Dolomites Heading to Stelvio Riding in Austria
Motorcycling in the Alps Riding in Italy Riding in Italy

Stelvio Pass

Photobomb Gallery - Alpine Riding Tour Alps Tour Alps Tour
Alps Tour Falzarego Pass Heading to Falzarego Pass

Heading to Bormio

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Corvara, Italy and Riding Passes in the Dolomites

Corvara, Italy and Riding Passes in the Dolomites

Well hello, sunshine! What a difference a day makes.

Our Balcony in CorvaraI wish I knew why I am a morning person. I so envy those that can slumber into the late morning. Alas, it isn’t in the cards for me. I’m the first one up at home and seemed to be the first one each day on vacation. I quietly packed up my things, got myself dressed and padded outside on to our chalet balcony. Sunshine. Aaaahhh.

Kenny rousted himself up and we set off for a walk through town in the quiet early morning. We sat for a while watching the cows that dotted the hillside. The valley was completely silent except for the sounds of their bells ringing.

Cows in Corvara Italy

Corvara in a magazineThis was it, this was the place that I glanced at every time I got milk for my coffee out of the fridge, every time I buttered a piece of toast – this place was something my mind latched on to as being a someday for whatever reason. And there we were walking down the street in Corvara.

Some dreams are small. And sometimes you don’t really even know why they leave an indelible mark on you. But, big or small, silly or not – a dream followed is worthwhile.

This day was a little extra special. It was Kenny’s birthday.  Lucky him, he would get to spend the day doing something he loves. Riding his motorcycle through the mountains. That sure beat getting something like say… a new sweater.

Dolomite Mountains along Gardena Pass

The Dolomites had a much more rugged, extreme and vertical look to them than the mountains we’d ridden through up to this point. They had an aggressive starkness about them that I loved.

The passes in this area were spectacular; Campolongo, Gardena, Sella, Pordoi, Falzarego and Valparola. Beautiful road surfaces, the layout of the roads and the scenery made a trifecta of riding perfection.

Falzarego Pass Italy

Dolomites on Campolongo Pass Gardena Pass Falzarego pass sign

Falzarego Pass Italy
It could have been the relief of having a nice sunny day after the rain. It could have been realizing a dream and seeing Corvara with my own eyes. Or, it could have just been that the roads were just that amazing – this group of passes was my favorite.

From Innsbruck to the Dolomites and Corvara, Italy

From Innsbruck to the Dolomites and Corvara, Italy

Oh, Innsbruck. Our time together was too short.

On Wednesday morning, we packed up our circus in no time flat and said goodbye to the city. We were heading back up in to the mountains. Following yet another of my whims, we would be heading towards the town of Corvara, Italy.

Nestled snugly in the shadow of the beautiful Sassongher mountain, Corvara first sneaked into my brain from a photograph I saw in a travel ad. I tore the page out of the magazine and stuck to our refrigerator. I would finally have the chance to see this beautiful little village with my own eyes after looking at it for 6 months in my kitchen.

Steuibenfall in Austria

We left Innsbruck heading west where we stopped off at the Stuibenfall in Umhausen. It is the tallest waterfall in Tyrol Austria and a beautiful sight. The view overlooking the Ötztal valley isn’t too shabby either.

Snow on TimmesljochMotoring on, our route brought us up and over the Timmelsjoch Hochalpenstrasse. Like, Silvretta this roadway also had a toll. When we pulled up to the booths to pay the fee, we could see  misty clouds getting closer the higher we went. Just a few miles in to our ride, the fog thickened.

It was a chilly 4°C. It was the first time I remember seeing any standing snow on the roadway. I had to flip on the heated grips because my hands were starting to sting as the wind whistled through the perforated areas of my vented summer gloves.

Fuzzygalore on Timmelsjoch Hochalpenstrasse

When we pulled off at the summit to see the pass museum, we couldn’t see a blessed thing of the view. We saw nothing but an abyss. The rain started to fall as we descended the mountain. Between the fog and the water on my visor visibility was terrible. I crept along, making my way down through the tunnels and hairpins trying to enjoy the ride.

Timmelsjoch in the rain

Stuibenfall Austria KTM Supermotos on Timmelsjoch Pimmie on Timmelsjoch
Pass Museum on Timmelsjoch Heli's roadside eats Our hotel in Corvara

When we reached the foot of the Timmelsjoch, we continued on to the Jaufenpass in the pouring rain. Between the mixture of cold rain and tar snakes, it turned out to be one of my least favorite passes. When I look at photos of the pass in the sunshine on the web, I can honestly say I don’t remember any of that. I just remember gray.

Jaufenpass in the rain

When we reached the bottom, we pulled off and ate a roadside hamburger. We dried up a little and made a plan to make tracks to Corvara. The cold rain dogged us the rest of the way. Sadly, the rain and fog robbed me of my view of the town below the mountain, but I had high hopes to see it early in the following morning. The sunshine was on it’s way.

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