Tag: Italy

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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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.

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