Tag: Italy

Sleeping Our Way Through Lake Maggiore

Sleeping Our Way Through Lake Maggiore

It can be very tempting to think that when you fly somewhere far away on an overnight flight that the sheer excitement will keep you going. Jet lag? Ha! I spit in your face! Ptoo!

Tempting. Yes, tempting.

But my reality is something more along the lines of wobbling my woozy ass out of the airport, eyes red and burning, my teeth feeling like they are in constant need of brushing and when it comes down to it – functioning in a pretty impressive state of autopilot. $500 cab ride to a hotel 3 blocks away? Sure, sounds perfect. I’ll go ahead and start sleeping now, just take the cash out of my wallet and dump me on the sidewalk in front of the hotel.

fuzzygalore the view going in to lake Maggiore italy

Knowing we’d be feeling ragged, Kenny and I planned a day of leisure as our first 24 hours in Italy. We planned our ride from the rental bike pickup outside of Milan to be about an hour north on Lake Maggiore. We’d had such a nice time in Lake Como on our last trip, it seemed like a no brainer to do something similar.

But I must confess, there were a few times before we left New York that I wavered, thinking – well, we could probably go further that first day – but I’m glad that we stuck to our guns and stayed put. Kenny didn’t sleep a wink on the flight.

Smart thinker that I am, I’d made a reservation in advance at the Hotel Regina Palace in Stresa. In a funny way it reminded me of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Since I loved that move so much I thought t would be perfect.

fuzzygalore hotel regina palace

We rode to Stresa on Lake Maggiore and the two of us – determined to stay awake – showered and set off on foot to stroll around the lakefront in the sunshine. It was so warm…and… bench… by the waterrrr…zzZzz….. I’M UP, I’M UP!

Our hotel was lovely and we probably didn’t need to venture beyond it’s doors for entertainment. But I like to walk around and take in the sights of a new place. Even if I do it zombie-style.

Poor Kenny was so tired. He’s usually an Energizer bunny, able to stay up much longer than I am.

fuzzygalore sleepy kenny

We parked ourselves in a cafe and drank mojitos and ate pizza in the warm after.. noonzZzzZz…sunsh…

Those drinks pretty much sent us over the edge and we shuffled back to the hotel for a nap. By the time we awoke the sun was nearly set. But the little cobbled lanes were busy with the hustle and bustle of people dining outside. It was lovely to wander around taking it all in.

fuzzygalore on lake maggiore

We finished up our evening with a dip in the hotel pool. It was like an underground grotto and just what the doctor ordered after a long journey.

Relaxed yet excited about the following day’s ride – I think I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

Introducing the Alpine Rental Steed – BMW F700GS

Introducing the Alpine Rental Steed – BMW F700GS

One of the biggest concerns that we had when choosing a rental bike was its fuel range. Sure it would be nice to try an all singin’, all dancin’ big ole “dream bike”. But a gas-sipper that can still motor along the highway is where I was squarely focused.

With that in mind, Kenny and I both ended up on a pair of BMW F700GSs.

The little GS had friendly, predictable power – there were no abrupt surprises. I especially liked its low seat height and found it to be comfortable and nimble. It was an all around easy ride. On the downside, the brakes left a bit to be desired. And I did miss that punch of power on demand I get from my Tiger when passing while already hustling. But a person who likes to ride around on something like the Enfield can’t be too picky on that front.

While I didn’t fall in love with the bike – I would definitely rent one again.

On average, we saw gas priced at abouuuuuut 1.75 per liter. That put us in around $8.50 per gallon. OUCH. You can keep your big horsepower and your fancy working brakes! The F700GS was getting about 50mpg.

You know? I think we made a good choice.

fuzzygalore rental steed

 

Alpine Extravaganza: We’ve Returned From The Passes

Alpine Extravaganza: We’ve Returned From The Passes

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.

fuzzygalore novena neufenen pass

 

It’s the Alpine Trip Sticker Bonanza!

It’s the Alpine Trip Sticker Bonanza!

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:
fuzzygalore eurotrip decal

I just love it!

There’s~

  • 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:
fuzzygalore eurotrip stickers 2014
::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 🙂

Thanks, Ed!

Ride Inspiration: Lake Reschensee Drowned Church Tower

Ride Inspiration: Lake Reschensee Drowned Church Tower

corvara italyA 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.


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2014 Motorcycle Daydreams: Riding in France

2014 Motorcycle Daydreams: Riding in France

The new year is nearly a month old and I haven’t done any riding. There is no clever excuse, just the basic truth that I’ve been doing other recreational stuff with my free time. However – that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about motorcycles all the time.

In 2013 I didn’t get to take my yearly big riding trip. Unfortunately, life got in the way.

Sometime during the fall, I picked up a Lonely Planet book for Provence & the Cote d’Azur. I never cracked it open or thumbed through its pages. Instead I flopped it down on the coffee table and it just stayed there.

With a little prodding (I’m lying, it was constant badgering) from my friend Pimmie who lives in the Netherlands, it looks like I’ll be putting that book to some use. Kenny and I just reserved a pair of BMW F700GSs for later in 2014 to meet up with him. Things are still in the early stages but we’ve made the first leap to say, “yeah, let’s go.” That’s usually the biggest hurdle for me. Everything else is just details.

motorcycle travel books

This morning a lightbulb went on for me. I bought a book called “Motorcycle Journeys Through Western Europe” some time ago. Another unread book. Is this a running theme in my life – That I have a lot of un-done somedays? While the snow threatens to fall today, I’ll be feeding my brain with ideas from the pages of this book.

If you know of any Southern France/Swiss/Italian riding trip blogs – like Orson’s Travels – please leave them in the comments. You can never have too much inspiration.

Read About our 2010 Alpine Adventure

Flashback Friday: Riding the San Bernardino Pass – Yeah That Didn’t Suck

Flashback Friday: Riding the San Bernardino Pass – Yeah That Didn’t Suck

In September of 2010, Kenny and I set off for Italy to ride with our friend Pimmie who lives in the Netherlands. It was such an epic trip – the friendship, the scenery, the riding. All of it. I find myself thinking about it often.

Fuzz on the San Bernardino Pass

One of my favorite rides while we were there was taking the Splugen Pass to the San Bernardino Pass. Between the stark beauty of the mountains themselves and their the undulating roadways it was some of the finest riding I’ve ever done.

Just look at that… ::wipes tear away::

the san bernardino pass

Do you think you would ever tire of riding roads like that?

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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