And so we’re back from our trip to the Alps. The trip that was once a wish, seemingly a million miles away on the horizon is now a collection of gorgeous memories.
Being home is wonderful. And terrible. You know how that goes.
Now comes the time when I will sift through the photos, postcards, scraps of paper and begin to write some blog posts. I must confess that I am stalling. For whatever reason writing up this trip seems extra difficult. Maybe I’m not quite ready to let it go yet. I miss seeing my friends each morning for breakfast, packing up our traveling circus in 5 minutes flat and hitting the road to soak up the beauty of the world.
And croissants. I miss the croissants.
I suppose I’ll just have to take my time and let the thoughts and photos trickle out as they may. I hope you don’t get bored from looking at pictures of alpine passes.
A few years ago, before we’d taken our first riding trip to Italy I had a page torn out of an American Express travel pamphlet. It was the town of Corvara, Italy nestled in the bosom of the Dolomites. From the first time that I thumbed through that magazine, that village was something that I knew I had to see with my own eyes.
Why? Who knows?
Really why does it matter, the reason that it is important to you? When a dream sets my heart alight, I’ve found it’s best to not question it too deeply. Something dumb like logic might end up talking me out of going after it.
I’ve got another dalliance or two that have wormed their way into my brain. One of them is stopping to see the drowned church tower in Lake Reschensee. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the Stelvio Pass.
There is something so surreal about the photos of the tower. It’s like something out of a dream. For whatever reason, I’d like to check that out. You know, if we happened to be riding in the neighborhood one of these days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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: