Alps ‘n’ Adriatic – Day 4 – July 11, 2017 – Dervio to Cavalese

The Stelvio

Today was the day the 1090 decided it wasn't for me. I found two stationary ways to put the bike on its side. The saddle bags don't look as pretty as they used to. After stopping at a Decathlon to buy a folding chair I was walking the bike backward out of a parking spot, caught the side stand and tipped the bike over on the other side.

If you are a motorcycle rider, then the Stelvio says it all. This one of those passes that you have to ride. It certainly lived up to its name of multiple hairpin turns like one after the other. We actually had to stop and descend back down to get the best view of all the turns. This was when I put the foot stand down, got off the bike and the stand dug into the dirt and the bike was down on the other side. This trip is going to be more expensive than I planned.

Here is MacBean giving it some gas up the Stelvio.


Here are Rob and Martyn doing the same. I think Martyn pissed off the cyclist. He got really agitated later up the pass.
Lunch at the top of the pass was traditional sausage, bread and kraut.
The view on the downside was even more spectacular with hairpin after hairpin and few places to pass. The rest of the day was riding out to Calavese a beautiful little town in the alps. We got there fairly late and it was threatening to rain so we opted for a hotel, with a bar overlooking the valley and a restaurant for breakfast. Dinner in town was a non-event but we had the best local-gin and tonic when we got back to the bar.

One of the many churches in Cavalese

 

Alps ‘n’ Adriatic – Day 3 – July 10, 2017 – Derivio to Bellagio to Dervio

Easy Day

The plan for today is an easy day. Macbean has gone deaf in one ear. Appantly this happens every year so h needs to head off to see a doctor. The interesting thing I learn is that there is now a European health card. Perhaps remembering my NHS number is no longer enough.

Breakfast is ham, cheese, and bread from the camp store and it is delicious. Proscut, old cheese, young bread, and Martyn's percolated coffee, although he has a fancy name.

Macbean stays behind to get his ear checked by a doctor who is also a dentist. 30 euros lighter, Mac can hear no better.

Rob, Martyn and I head off down winding road, through little villages, and faded glory. You can tell Como was once the place to be. Today, it clings to its pas glories. One of the places we passed was the Motoguzzi museum. Unfortunately, they didin't open until three which would be prime drinking time. The ride along the lake shore was beautiful and the scenery was amazing. Sheer cliffs rising from the waters edge with the road perched above the water.

 

We rounded the east leg of the lake in Lecco and stopped at a little cafe on the water for expressos and water. What a great way to spend a Monday morning. After the refresh, we headed north up the western shore of the lake to Bellagio. I guess that is where the casino got it's name. Martyn had brought Kate here for their 30th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago. I need to step up for ours.

Lunch was delicious grilled huge, grilled shrimp. They were more like baby lobsters in size. I don't think they were langostines. We enjoyed a non-alcoholic aperitif with lunch, similar to a Campari in tast. After lunch we took the ferry back across the lake to Varenna with a quick spring back up the coast road to Dervio to finish at camp.

After a swim in the lake, a storm broke and kicked up some large white caps. The boats moored nearby were being tossed around. We sat under our awning and waited out the storm. It became quite clear that my little camping stool is great for five minutes leaning over a stove to cook, it was not good for a couple of hours drinking beer.

Dinner was again beer, wine, and pizza. This time followed by a bout of heartburn. As much as I love it, pizza does not agree with me two days in a row. Dinner was topped off at the campsite bar with the local aperitif. It was like an alpine Benedictine.

 

Alps ‘n’ Adriatic – Day 2 – July 9, 2017 – Interlaken to Lake Como

Into the mountains

Day two was a great and grey day of riding. We did about 265 km of riding, basically all in the mountains. We headed out of Interlaken on an overcast day and headed up towards Sustern Pass. The weather brightened somewhat up the pass but stayed pretty cool. Some of the views were amazing with glaciers and ice melt lakes. We were handily beaten up the pass by the locals who would out ride us going into the bends riding much to fast for people who didn't know what was around the next corner.

The area of Sustern and the next “up” side of the next pass, Splugen pass were very orderly and well keep, much as you would expect from the Swiss. At the top we crossed the border and into Italy and things changed. They became much more unkempt and less well cared for. They were greyer and more run down. There is a big damn and lake close to the top and they were very reminiscent of pre-World War 2 films of Mussolini and HItler. It turned out they were constructed in 1931.

The “down” side of Splugen pass had some amazing switchbacks or “Tornatini”. They were linked together in amazing sequences of tight turn followed by a short straight. The right handers were the hardest seeming to drop away for ever. We did see someone trying to pull a trailer up at the bottom and wondered how far they might have made it

Once down of the mountain, the road seemed to hit and amazing number of long tunnels, 2 and 3 kilometers in length. With dark sunglasses on they were quite difficult to see clearly in.

Coming out of one tunnel into a right hand bend with an exit, Rob and I missed the turn-off. No problem, we figured we'd pull off at the next exit and turn-around. It seemed like 20 miles later when we found it. So a couple of Whatsapp calls and text later we contrived to meet in Dervio at the campsite.

The campsite was quite small and crowded but we got a nice corner overlooking the lake to get set up in with easy access to the beach and a couple of restaurants. After a few beers from the camp shop. We wandered down the beach to a small place with a patio and head what you should have in Italy, wine, pizza, and gelato.

 

Alps ‘n’ Adriatic – Day 1

Planes, Trains, and Motorcycles

Day 1 was a long day, getting from Denver, Colorado to Interlaken, Swittzerland. Leaving around 2pm, while on a conference call to close the work week, Lisa drove me to Denver International Airport. Checking and boarding for Icelandic Airways was a breeze.

 

The flight to Reykjavik was uneventful. A empty seat next to me, a few episodes of Modern Family, a ham and cheese bagette (apparently an Icelandic staple), a couple of gin and tonics, a nap, and Bob's your uncle we arrived.

3,593 miles/5782km

Passport control in Reykjavik was the most efficient I've ever been through. Switch passports, EU entry side, scan passport, pose for photo, done. Off to the gate for the Zurich flight via the food court, where they were running specials on ham and cheese bagettes with and orange juice – breakfast of champions. I figured I'd pick one up because I figured out why Icelandic is so cheap. You pay for everything except soft drinks.

I'd bid on an “won” an upgrade on the second leg, so I boarded early and was seated in economy comfort. Little did I know that this included food and drinks. The flight attendant was amazed that all I wanted was sparkling water. She whispered that I could have anything I wanted for free. Coffee, nap, Zurich.

82

 

1640 miles/2,640 kilometers

There is a train station at the Zurich airport and a bought my ticket to Thun, where I'd pick up the motorcycle, from a kiosk while waiting for luggage. Luggage showed up with no incidents and it was off to the train. This is where the fun began, I couldn't find the train to Thun. I was directed to take train 1 to the Zurich main station. At the main station, I couldn't find the train to Thun and I was directed to take the train to Bern. The glossy from the motorcycle store with the short train ride away all of a sudden came into focus.

90miles/146 kilometers

A quick taxi ride to the Thun Motorsport Center put this beauty in my hands, the new KTM 1090 R. Even the guys at the shop were drooling over it.

It was a beautiful ride around one of the Interlaken lakes. Just a little storm to deal with, requiring zipping up the Klim.

 

After a short ride to the Hotel Mattenhof aka the funny farm, day 1 was done.

19miles/30 kilometers

Meanwhile, the English lads had left at dinner (lunch) time on Friday and ridden all the way across the continent.

823 miles/1324km

Great to have Charlie along with us!