Kenny and I traveled across the Simplonpass in Switzerland while heading towards the Col du Petit St. Bernard in France. Assorted pics from Simplonpass:
The bridge is called Ganterbrücke.
I’ll sign off with my favorite photo from the Simplonpass. I think it really personifies Kenny and I – two awkward geeks in love:
While I struggle to find the thread that will weave my trip posts together, I go back and look through photos, fondle stickers, shuffle postcards from the places we’d been. This morning I picked through a folder that Kenny dropped onto my Macbook. It was filled with GoPro stills from his point of view.
There are tons and tons of pictures there that bring me right back to the cool mountain air and the undulating roads. But I recognized this spot right away as I rolled through the pics:
This was Kenny’s vantage point after I pulled over to take some photos on the Col de L’Iseran in France – one of my bucket list roads.
I’ll be daydreaming about our ride through there from my desk at work today. Have a great day y’all.
Following our last trip through the Alps, there were several mountain passes that we hadn’t ridden that found their way on to my riding bucket list. You know, for “next time.”
In hindsight, it’s really by the grace of the universe that there was a next time. Chalk it up to luck. Or is it something else?
Kenny and I found ourselves at the summit of the Great St. Bernard some time in the mid afternoon. We parked our bikes and strolled around taking in the sights. I bought a sticker and some postcards and resisted the chocolate.
We walked towards the lake and stood there for a few minutes among the stillness of our surroundings. The scale of mountains is so tremendous. I find it difficult not to become introspective about my place in the world when surrounded with such enduring majesty. These mountains – hard, unforgiving, beautiful in their strength. And there I am – a fragile, weak, pink thing.
I stood watching a woman walking two St. Bernards on the mountain to my right. It was then that I had a moment. Not quite an epiphany, but I came to some understanding of my existence in the split second. You can move through your life and recite things by habit. You know these things to be truths on a surface level. But then there are moments of certainty when you come to know something deeply. You feel it and know it not by rote but through some acute awareness.
I came to the simple understanding that… this is it.
This life is all there is, as far as I know. And so it’s up to me to make my life be what I want. I can sit around wishing and dreaming and filing things away to see “someday” but no one is going to bring them to my doorstep. The fear that keeps me stationary eats away my happiness.
Four years ago, I tapped away on some keys and wrote out the words “See the Great St. Bernard Pass.” As trivial as that goal might seem, as I stood watching those dogs walking along breathing in the smells of the Earth, I came to know I’d made it there of my accord. If I can do this thing – Why not anything else I decide I want? My only limitation is my will.
That’s a lot to see in a pair of dogs.
In preparation for our trip to the Alps, my friend Ed has made us a great set of stickers featuring the 5 of us that are going:
I just love it!
- Ed & Drea, 2-up. They could make an espresso, take a photo, whip up a 20-page paper on a typewriter… all while canyon carving at 70mph.
- There’s me on the left -in my fancy new Klim gear– stopped, taking a photo (probably of Bigfoot or something ridiculous).
- Pimmie? He’s out front and all business with the hammer down. No shocker there. That boy knows how to put a motorcycle down the road.
- And there’s Kenny on the right. He has everyone fooled looking every part of the textile-clad, responsible man – but staying true to his hooligan roots he is of course tossing up a wheelie.
We’ve each got our own character stickers to boot:
::runs away squealing::
Ed has outdone himself. For our last trip to the Alps, he whipped up an awesome pair of T-shirts for Kenny and me. But I think these decals are the jam! It’s kind of awesome having talented friends 🙂
I could fill a book with all of the places I’d like to go. Mostly because I want to go everywhere! Do you think if I put it down on paper or type as it were, that I stand more of a chance of making it happen?
I was completely enchanted by the mountains on our Euro trip in September 2010. Being there made you feel like you could ride for an eternity and never get bored. Wouldn’t you love to test that theory?
These roads are among the highest paved roads in the Alps. They’re also officially filed on my wishful thinking list.
Grossglockner High Alpine Road – Austria
Ride a winding road with spectacular views on Austria’s highest mountain. I love the “motorcyclists welcome” attitude of so many alpine countries. The Grossglockner actually caters to motorcyclists by offering designated parking, lockers for stowing gear and even surface improvements to make riding safer. Yes, please!
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Photo Credit: rauriserhof.at
Col de l’Iseran – France
The Col de l’Iseran is the highest paved mountain pass in the Alps. That is enough to pique my curiosity. At a little over 9,000 feet up at the road’s summit sits the lonely and beautiful stone Notre Dame l’Iseran chapel.
Photo Credit: Wormke-Grutman
Col Agnel / Colle dell’Agnello
This pass crosses between the French and Italian border and rises to over 9,000 feet up. The Col Agnel was long considered to be one of the possible paths Hannibal used to cross the Alps. It’s swooping serpentine curves are calling me.