September 28, 2012 – Romeno, Italy
A very nice day of riding with the promise of much more to come. We are about an hour southwest of Bolzano and headed for the Dolomites.
We took surface streets again and went from Monza to Bergamo and then for most of the day rode highway SS42 northeast here to Romeno. We went through Lovere, Edolo, over Passo del Tonale (Debb calls it Toenail Pass), down the hill through Pellizzano and across Lago di Santa Giustina and up the hill to here. Hardly a straight road in the bunch, today.
We are staying at a health and wellness resort called La Quiete. Really nice rooms and a beautiful view across the valley. Breakfast is served here but we had to walk a couple of kilometers back into town to have dinner. Pasta with basil and garlic, salad with green beans, beets, tomatoes and shredded carrots, Debb and I had the trout while Gary enjoyed the rabbit. Red wine, of course and ice cream for dessert.
This was our first real day of real riding. No freeways and no tolls and a whole lot of fun. We are looking forward to more. The R1100 did well, I guess I am getting used to it and how it handles. It is no SV650, to be sure but it acquitted itself well today. I will enjoy riding it here. The roads we have ridden are in excellent shape.
The apple harvest is in full swing so there is a lot of truck and tractor traffic, but they don’t hold anyone up for very long. All the apples I have seen look similar to Golden Delicious. Very yellow. There are a lot of orchards here. It smells great.
I took my camera to dinner and took a few shots before and during dinner. I forgot to put a memory card back in the camera, so it records them in the camera’s internal memory. I just realized the only way to get them out is via USB cable. It is an odd one and so I never use it, I just use the memory card. You will have to wait until I return to Seattle to see the five pictures I took. A sunset, the pool at our hotel, a church fresco, the moon and clouds, and my flaming dessert. They are all fabulous photos – as far as you know. 🙂
The Dolomites are waiting for us. We can hardly wait for them.
September 29, 2012 – Ritten – Rosen, Italy
Serious (I almost said low but they aren’t low, we’re high) clouds, fog, and rain. A ride over any pass around here would be a ride with just enough visibility to see the fog line. We decided to pick our fights so today we rode over Mendel Pass and spent the afternoon in Bolzano. There are no bad days in northern Italy. Though to listen to the folks talk around you you might think yourself in Austria or Germany. Lots of German spoken here.
Big cities in Europe are civilized. They have large parking areas specifically for motorcycles and for scooters. And, of course, for bicycles. We found some spaces together, changed into tourist dress and headed for the information booth. They directed us to the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and Otzi the Iceman. The world’s oldest murder mystery. A very informative display in a museum built specifically for Otzi. Recommended, if you find yourself here with a
couple of free hours.
After that we wandered around the tourist shopping area and did one of the things we do best – people watching. And I took a bunch of photos of shoe and clothing shops. There were some really nice things, with prices to match.
On the way into town we spotted a Honda shop so we pulled in so I could get some oil and chain lube. We got a close look at the Honda CrossTour and the NC700. Both look like fun machines. We’ve seen a few bikes that aren’t available in our market. Shame that.
We are in a small family run hotel in a place or area called Ritten – Renon. When you check in they give you a booklet and a card that gets you into nearly all the museums in the area, free bus rides, free gondola rides, and free or discounted entry to a lot of places. If the weather is as bad as predicted, we will make use of it.
Small world. There is a woman here visiting her Mother who has helped us with translations of menus and other questions. She has a distinctive accent. She grew up here but has lived in Australia with her husband for the last 20 years. She and her husband just recently moved to Gig Harbor. What are the chances?
The area immediately around Bolzano is fruit and vineyard country. Seriously dense farming. The vineyards are terraced into the hillside and the vines themselves are shaped very differently than anything you will see in Eastern Washington. The trunks of the vines are vertical, but the grape growing parts are draped on a support that holds them slanted up over the space between rows. Looking down on them they look solid green with barely a hint of the rows. Nearly all the apple trees are grown vine-like and the trees are short but seem quite productive. In the market today, I saw many displays of Golden Delicious apples so I think that is what I have been seeing along the roads. Every now and then I spot some red apples, but not many. Before and during dinner this evening we enjoyed a SudTirol red with a vintage of just last year. An excellent vintage, it is. I checked it thoroughly.
If the sun makes an appearance tomorrow we will be out on the passes. If not, I’ll be riding the Gondola and doing more quality control on the local red.
Life is good.
September 30, 2012 – Ritten – Rosen, Italy
Short ride today. North from the Sudtirolerhof Hotel on SP135 and SP508 to Campolasta where we turned right and rode up the valley to Valdurna on the shores of Lago Valdurna. While we were inside enjoying a very good cappuccino, the skies opened up. We came out to a downpour. Back down the hill in the driving rain and a short run north until we decided it was just too wet, so we turned around. As we headed south the sun came out and the roads were drying fast so it was more fun and more scenic. Every place we stopped we could hear the bells on the cows. Fun.
An adult beverage in the bar before dinner. The forecast is improving.
October 1, 2012 – Resana, Italy
No reliable connection from Bellano last night, although Gary and his Mac Air had a good WiFi connection from his room but I couldn’t use it. So it goes.
Yesterday both Gary and I decided we needed new tires. Both of us had been fighting some ill-handling and we didn’t want to put up with that the rest of this trip. In the afternoon we came south from Cortina in the heart of the Dolomites and ended up in Bellano. We were baffled to find a place to stay until a kindly book shop owner with quite good English pointed us to a pensione just a couple of blocks from where we were parked.
A single room with two room, a double and a single and a very nice modern bath for E59. Hard to beat. We wandered around a couple of blocks and found a pizzeria and next door a wine shop. The pizza was fine, the wine was superb. All this was in a galleria and there was lots of people traffic so it was fun watching everyone go by.
One interesting note. After we checked in to the pensione and were heading out for dinner, we asked at the counter about wifi. The clerk was explaining how much it cost to use and the lady who had checked us in interrupted and asked me if I had a PC. I held up my little laptop. “Mama Mia!” she exclaimed, shaking her head.
My new-to-me BMW has had a few issues. The heated grips didn’t work, the handling was not what I expected and then yesterday a rider on a Trans Alp passed me and then waited for me in the next town. He saw me and signaled me to stop and he came over to me and told me my headlight was out. He also said my brake light was blinking when first applied. I rode the rest of the day with my high-beams on. The blinking is one of those aftermarket modules on the brake light connector. And somewhere along the way the PIAA driving lights quit working. So several things to look at. We decided to look at them all this morning, since Bellona had a couple of bike shops listed.
We stopped at an Aprilia shop first and I bought some oil and several 15A fuses. Replacing the blown fuse didn’t seem to make any difference but at least it was a good fuse. That dealer didn’t have any 18 inch tires for me or a 19 for Gary so they directed us to a place several roundabouts back the way we had come. We arrived at Tecno Sport and immediately knew we were in the right place. They are a dealer for Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, and Benelli. And there were lots of nice used bikes of all makes. Two very nicely farkled WeeStroms, two Versys’, and just about anything else you could name. The bike of note for us was a Benelli Century Racer. Inline triple, forward side-mounted radiators and lots of trick bits. Very Alien looking from the front.
So we chatted with the nice counter-girl and explained what sizes we wanted and the staff went and got what they had and brought them for us to look at. She wrote the price of each tire on a tear-off and they were all reasonable. Not US mail-order prices, but the price included mount and balance. We collectively said “Yes” and she said “One hour and one half”. I didn’t know if that was to finish or to start, but it was to finish. Not too shabby. I bought a new H4 bulb and when my bike was done, we figured out the wiring issue with the driving lights.
After a nice lunch just down the street, we headed south. In about 2 minutes, I noticed my hands getting really hot. Seems the 15A fuse was for heated grips, which were in the Hot! position. One more thing fixed.
The tires make all the difference, as they always do. Definitely a keeper.
We rode south and west through the foothill canyons and finally popped out on the plain. Lots of truck traffic by the time we took a break and we decided to head more west to avoid the greater Venice area. It was fast going for awhile, but then we ran into some road construction at a railroad crossing and had to detour around a bit. By then we were getting tired and so we stopped here in Resana.
While Debb and I got checked in and settled, Gary was out buying our dinner. Two bottles of wine, some prosciutto, some Brie and a soft Asiago, apples, tomatoes, and some almonds. No eating in the rooms, the clerk at the desk made that very clear, so we ate on the patio next to the sidewalk and did more people/bike/dog/girl watching. The church bells across the street are deafening, especially at 7:30 when the bells rang and rang and rang. Dozens of hits. We wondered what that was about.
We will head south and east to the coast tomorrow to see what we see, then to Imola and Bologna and a tour of a little known motorcycle manufacturer.
Wish you were here!
Continue to Emilia Romagna 2012