The campsite where I was staying might have been the best campsite I visited ever. It was really good. For my health too. Because I woke up feeling very well. The evening before a friendly German man on his Kawasaki Z1000SX joined me and in the morning, he provided some company.
As I was packing my stuff I discussed possible motorcycle routes with him. I decided to go up the Stelvio once again. But I would descend on the Italian side instead of the west. And after that I would make my way through Northern Italy to the Dolomites. He also showed me a great little pass to get through. This was the second time this trip someone gave me really good advice. People are very, deeply friendly in this part of the world. I really like Germans and I should learn to speak their language better.
I took it easy to begin with. No photos. The Stelvio was foggy as hell and yet again I had some trouble with my visor fogging up. The forests seemed dense and mysterious in the mist. This time of year there are many small waterfalls irrigating the lush greenery and exploding the hues and odors inside my helmet. I would not be at all surprised if the birds who visit singing Fairy Tale princesses live in those forests. But I do not make a very good princess. So I decided to guide my little motorcycle to the snowy peak swiftly and go down the other side. In this no-mans-land I took my first pic of the day. It was a barren place. But full of potential for the burgeoning summer.
As I headed further down the pass got more interesting. But there was more traffic. Still good progress though. Just look at those corners.
As I arrived in the valley, I headed towards my cool promised pass. The “Gavia pass”. A short schlep on local roads, never boring, took me to a skiing village and indeed, a very narrow and rough pass. I think it was an old pass that now only serves to get equipment to the top when they maintain the skiing infrastructure in the summer. Good fun on a ‘bad’ road. Germans would be spooked by it and slow right down. But I am a Belgian, so I am used to a crap road. Alas, disaster struck just as I was getting into the mood. At the top of the pass there was a barrier. Closed. Scheisse!
It would appear the pass was only due to be opened tomorrow and not today, a nice man told me. On my way down, I alerted a man in an Audi RS6 (I love Germany) and several motorcyclists their journey was futile and like me they would need to head all the way back to Bormio.
I decided the best thing to do was not to dwell on this and go forwards. Like in fast forwards. I got back to the bottom of the Stelvio nice and quickly. Still in good spirit. Ok so the pass was closed. At least I had a good time riding one side of it.
Alas again. Soon after my arch enemy reared its ugly head again: rain! And A LOT of rain. I had learned from my mistakes and immediately I parked the bike under a bridge. I had something to eat and to drink. Soon I was joined by another German motorcyclist trying to get out of the rain. We wait and chat together until the rain had almost subsided. He inquired about my itinerary and I said I found a cool pass that allowed us to stay clear of the motorways and make our way to Monno. He asked if he could follow me to this pass and I agreed. Soon I was back on the road with a riding buddy. Unfortunately, the roads were now wet.
We were lucky. The sky looked angry but it kept its drink. Me, and the other biker in my wake, were soon spoiled by a narrow, pretty pass. It did not go very high. But it was full of nature and very dreamy villages. Almost like a exaggerated mini version of Tirol scaled down 50%. With mini little hills, pastures and only few houses. Even the sliver of road we were riding on was half the width it usually is. I decided to stop for a photo-op and waved goodbye to the German biker. The poor guy did not like riding hairpins in the wet and he was way behind me anyway.
Soon I reached the top of the pass, which happens to be in a lush forest.
I make my way down. The downhill side of the pass blended unnoticeably with lower, local roads. Again, the sights and the motorcycling were amazing. I give up waving to fellow bikers. There are too many of them. The sky had cleared by that time as well and the temperatures were increasing. I decide to make lunch at a perfectly kept picnic area.
Annoyingly I had to pee: Problem: With my fat and sweaty ass it is not easy to pee standing up. My motorcycle pants have no fly, see. So the only way I can pee is how a toddler does it. With my pants halfway down my legs. Only with a toddler it is adorable. With me, not so much. So in order not to destabilize the feminine half of the Tiroler population I hide myself some way in the forest. Just sayin’ folks. This is a part of motorcycle travel too.
After the picknick I made my way down. Temperatures soared as I continued towards the Jaufen pass. There were some great roads which I attacked with abandon. This was the first real sporty ride of the day and I was hungry for it. I stop at a chapel and get an ice cream. The view makes it the best ice cream in the history of ice creams. I sit and revel the fact that Tirol is a great mix of what makes Germany great and what makes Italy great.
I met some bikers along the way. Just like me they were enjoying the beautiful vistas. And battling the heat. One of them had a beautiful Ducati Diavel with a HUGE rear tyre. I had to remind myself to stay hydrated.
The roads got less interesting. I had to battle my way trough heavy traffic and some city centers to get to the Jaufen. I was too hot to take some photos. The cities themselves were beautiful. I will visit them in the future for sure. Nevertheless, I was glad to break free of traffic. The mountain road leading to the Jaufen was a feast of corners and I felt the desire for speed again. Especially because some German bikers behind me thought they were faster then me. I show them how it is done and for the first time I get annoyed by the limitations of not having knee sliders. I scrape the foot pegs left and right. But despite this I leave the bikers for dead. Germany-Belgium: 0–1.
Just I was slowing down a very, very angry cloud rolled over the mountain. In seconds the road was turned into a waterfall because of extremely intense rain. I got out if it at a bus stop.
Soon I was joined by another biker seeking refuge from the rain. We decide to have a drink together at the bar right in front of the bus stop. I had a pleasant time as I enjoyed one of the lovely local beers. When the rain had subsided, I decided to head back into the vally because it was too late to do the Jaufen. There were better campsites there.
I find I lovely camp site and set up camp. Another German biker provides me with understanding and good company as the evening comes. A good day.