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Old 10-11-2012, 12:03 AM   #61
DolphinJohn OP
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The next morning, I think this would be day 12, I started out from Arabba and went up the Pordoi again, but the opposite way this time. It is a really fun pass and I was glad to have it as my driveway in and out of Arabba.

From Pordoi I turned right and went up Passo Sella. Breathtaking views of dramatic rock massifs and fun twisty roads, sunny skies and cool, crisp air, what more could I ask for?



















A cool little tiny car up on Sella Pass.















I came down Sella Pass in to a valley and then right up Gardena Pass.



















Corvara en Badia



From Corvara I headed back to Arabba by way of Passo Campolonga.





Arabba in the valley from a different angle.



After a quick lunch I headed back out to ride the Passo Giau to Cortina and back by way of Passo Falzarego.

















Cortina down in it's valley, from left to right.



















I was back to my apartment in plenty of time to shower and get ready for dinner. Another beautiful day.


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Old 10-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #62
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Not a bad little continent we live on John !!! great R un R by the way, been to a fair few of the places in your pics , "i must go back" thanks for sharing
Went over to Key West a few years back , stayed in Kellys Motel in Key Largo , had a great time.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:46 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by PHILinFRANCE View Post
Not a bad little continent we live on John !!! great R un R by the way, been to a fair few of the places in your pics , "i must go back" thanks for sharing
Went over to Key West a few years back , stayed in Kellys Motel in Key Largo , had a great time.
Phil
You're not kidding. With maybe one exception, an hour or so below Lake Garda, there was not a place I went that was not fantastic riding and gorgeous scenery.

I must go back as well. Already.

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Old 10-11-2012, 09:08 PM   #64
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On day 13 I was feeling ambitious and planned a large loop that would take me over 8 passes.

I think on this day I was in the mindset of not stopping so much to take pictures and just have fun and ride the fun roads.
I also started to feel like all of my photos were starting to look the same, so 8 passes and just a few pictures.

Here is the route for the day. The pass that google Maps doesn't recognize is Passo Forcella Aurine between Passo Duran and the town of Gosaldo.

The list of passes for the day:
Staulanza
Duran
Forcella Aurine
Cereda
Rolle
Valles
San Pellegrino
Pordoi


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And here are the photos from the day.

















After this day I'm pretty sure I took more pictures again, Ive got a lot more in my smugmug, so stay tuned.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #65
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Wow, you really scored on the weather, and obviously came through a few days after us. I remember looking back at Stelvio on the webcam and seeing it snowed in.

Half these mountains in your pics, we never even saw them . But when the clouds broke it was stunning.

Great pics in here and I'm tempted to pinch a few for my personal collection to fill in some of the 'holes' in ours. I have zero shots of the Arabba side of Pordoi etc. when it's raining, the photos suddenly seem to stop...

I am curious to see where you went afterwards. We had to skip the entire Garda/Valpolicella region for another time.

I like that three ADVers from all over the place happened to be riding F800GSs here at around the same time.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:11 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by shaweetz View Post
time.

I like that three ADVers from all over the place happened to be riding F800GSs here at around the same time.
imagine if we'd all run into each other (figuratively, not literally)
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:09 PM   #67
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Well, it was time to move on from the Dolomites though there is so much I didn't see. I will be back to this area at some point for sure. Everything about the Dolomites is like motorcycle heaven. The scenery, the people, the food, relatively inexpensive prices, the smooth, clean, winding roads, everything you could want. Sigh.

On the morning of the 14th day of my ride I left Arabba and went back up and over Passo Pordoi and down to the southwest. Just before the town of Molina I turned south on Strada Provinciale 31 towards Passo Manghen.

I had never heard of Passo Manghen, I just saw the road on the map going the same way I was going and it looked like it would be a nice route. As I started south I soon realized that this was different than any of the other passes I had ridden.
The road took me in to a thick forest and as it started to climb it became very narrow, down to a single lane. A narrow single lane at that. Being such a thick forest it was dark and the corners were all very blind, so you really had to be careful because any vehicle coming the other way was dangerous, even other bikes, because of how narrow the road was.

The road surface was very nice and it was very fun as long as I was careful in the blind corners. I climbed up some switchbacks and wound around and then the road came out of the forest.

In this picture you can see where the road comes out of the trees and you can see how narrow it is.



A few more switchbacks getting closer to the summit.



Just before the summit, a small lake



and the obligatory cafe, where I stopped for a mid-morning coffee.



There were several other riders doing the same. The sky was blue and the air was fresh and cool.



I bet this would be fun!!





At the summit there were several riders who had stopped to climb up a path to the peak where there was a cross and probably a beautiful panoramic view. I regret not stopping but I had just gotten back on the bike. I did pull over a couple of times a bit later to shoot these pics of the road winding down below me.





Whoa, that's a lot of firewood! Winters must be long and cold up here.





Down in the valley looking at what I think is the town of Telve.



A while later this shot near Cento San Nicolo. (I just now discovered that the "Places" feature on the iPhone's photo album has recorded exactly where every photo was taken. Very cool.)



Random shot I felt worthy of pulling over for:



A while later I came down around a bend and saw this castle in front of me on a hilltop (as most of them are).





It is the Castel Beseno which dates back to the 12th century.



Then a few kms later, this building. I don't think it's an actual castle but it looked cool.





And finally, my destination for the day, the town of Torbole on the north shore of Lake Garda.





Garda is Italy's largest lake and it's northern half is surrounded by mountains that channel winds up the lake and make for perfect sailing and wind surfing conditions.





I had time to walk down to the beach for a sandwich, get all of my hair chopped off by a beautiful Italian girl, relax and plan the next day's ride before walking down the street for pizza. Sorry, no pics of Italian girl. She was from Sicily and looked like Eva Mendez.

It was a very nice ride of 186 kms.


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Old 10-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by shaweetz View Post
Wow, you really scored on the weather, and obviously came through a few days after us. I remember looking back at Stelvio on the webcam and seeing it snowed in.

Half these mountains in your pics, we never even saw them . But when the clouds broke it was stunning.

Great pics in here and I'm tempted to pinch a few for my personal collection to fill in some of the 'holes' in ours. I have zero shots of the Arabba side of Pordoi etc. when it's raining, the photos suddenly seem to stop...

I am curious to see where you went afterwards. We had to skip the entire Garda/Valpolicella region for another time.

I like that three ADVers from all over the place happened to be riding F800GSs here at around the same time.
I definitely scored on the weather. Other than the day and a half in Andermatt I don't think it rained the whole month.
Well, maybe a couple of brief showers in Barcelona when I got back but I was in my room at the time between rides and they passed quickly so I never really had to ride in rain. Oh, and the day I went to Cinque Terre it was kinda overcast and drizzled a bit until mid-day but I was not riding that day as I took the train from La Spezia. That part of the report is coming up....

Feel free to use any pictures. I'm really pleasantly surprised at how well most of them came out. As long as you don't zoom in too much the iPhone 4S cam is great. I wonder if they made any changes for the 5 ?

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Old 10-17-2012, 04:00 PM   #69
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What a great trip...one I want badly to take someday. The iphone did remarkably well.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:19 PM   #70
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From Lake Garda it was on south to the coast to check out Cinque Terre.

The ride from the north of the lake started out nicely, riding along the coast of the lake and past this castle, Scaligero.



The best view of the castle is from the lake, and since I was not on the lake, here's a pic from the internet:


After the castle I rode the rest of the east bank of Lake Garda until the traffic started to get heavy. I bailed to the east and made my way down through Mantova and then to Reggio Emilia. This part of the day was pretty boring and my least favorite section of my entire Europe trip. It was just flat and not very interesting. It was also very hot, so I was not really enjoying it much.
Once I got south of Reggio things improved quite a bit. The elevation started rising and the air cooled, the roads got curvy, and I was soon having fun again. How spoiled I had become!!


I took these shots of some interesting topography along the way.





And a cool looking village in a valley



And then this castle with a residential building right in front of it making it look like they had satellite dishes in the castle.
There was actually a narrow ravine between the buildings.





I then descended down to the coast and in to the city of La Spezia. My first impression of the city was not good because it is a fairly large city and I was not really sure where I was going. My GPS started playing games with me and I was going in circles trying to find my hotel near the train station. It was also hot again and I was sweating in my riding gear.

Here's the map of the ride from Lake Garda to La Spezia, 285 kms.

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I finally found my way to the train station and then found the hotel where I had made a reservation. I was not impressed by the look of the place but I was anxious to get out of my gear and shower. The room was very small but it was clean and had everything I needed. It was also directly across from the train station. That would make it very easy to take the train to Cinque Terre in the morning.
After showering I walked a few blocks down the street and the neighborhood improved greatly. There were shops, restaurants, fountains, and squares. My opinion of La Spezia was going from not that good to very charming. I actually like the city quite a bit and spent a couple of evenings walking around the area near the station. Via Flume is the name of the street between the station and the Hotel Mary. There are nicer hotels in the city, I'm sure, but I was happy with the convenience of the station and walking to eat and explore at night.




















I was impressed by this diagonal elevator thing and the fact that it was just there for the public to use.
(I live on a tiny island, we don't have city stuff like this )




Another public elevator. I wish I had found these before I walked up all those stairs.



Rental bikes


Great pizza, terrible photo. I was trying to get a pic of the pretty waitress but she walked behind something. Creepy American, I'm sure she was thinking.



After pizza and of course gelato for the walk home, I went to bed nice and early to rest up for all the walking and climbing I would do the next day. I woke up early and had my mediocre hotel breakfast, walked across the street and got my combo train ticket and pass for the walking paths at Cinque Terre. A short train ride later I was at the first of the five villages. For ten euros you get unlimited train rides between villages and/or you can walk the paths along the seaside cliffs from village to village (some have been closed, some are really, really far).

I have many, many photos from Cinque Terre, I will narrow them down to what I think is the best of them. If you get the chance, definitely check it out.

From Wiki:
The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination.

The day I visited the sun was not out so you can't see the beautiful blue color of the sea. Google Cinque Terre and you will see some good ones.
Here are a few of mine.























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DolphinJohn screwed with this post 10-23-2012 at 04:37 PM Reason: map issues, what else?
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:46 PM   #71
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Beautiful pictures. I recognize a lot of the locations. I'm jealous. Need to get back there again.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:14 AM   #72
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Great to see the Dolomite climbs. I did a push bike trip there in 2011 and stayed at Bormio and did Stelvio and Passo Giau. Then we also stayed at Arraba for 3 days and did the Sella Ronda which is the name of the loop you did coming back through Campolongo. Hard work on a bike cycling but the views made up for it! Wished I had my motor bike ( I'm from Australia). Your photos great for an iPhone. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:33 PM   #73
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From La Spezia I went northwest and up into the coastal mountains. This is a beautiful area and some of the best riding was during these next couple of days.
I didn't take too many photos, but here are the towns I went through in case the stupid maps link doesn't work again:
From La Spezia up to the Passo del Bocco. On the way I took this photo looking back towards the coast.


I then continued on to Carasco, Gattorna, Laccio, Bussala.

Between Bussala and Campo Ligure I took these shots.





The weather, scenery, and roads were all perfect.

Campo Ligure is an old city with narrow streets and the Spinola Castle from the 14th century (I think).
Now that I am reading a bit about it I wish I had spent a little time looking around, but I did not.
I took these quick shots without getting off the bike and continued.





From Campo Ligurne I went south to Masone then west to Sassello.
Along the way I took these photos of the mountain scenery.






From Sassello I made my way down to the coast, passing through the towns of Pontinvrea, Altare, Bormida, and Bardineto before reaching my destination for the night, Albenga.

I took no photos of the town or the beach, only this pizza.


After pizza I walked around a bit, found a gelato shop, and walked back to my room.

This was a great day of riding, and I slept well in my small room. The shower was nice, I think the bathroom was as big as the bedroom, but it was all I needed for the night. The hotel is called Marisa, just a couple of blocks from the beach with reasonable rates.

The route this day was 339 kms. Check out the link (hopefully it shows the route)

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=La...g=h&mra=ls&z=9
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:44 PM   #74
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I think you rode through the Parco Nat. Capanne Di Marcarolo,,,
we went through the opposite way, from Campo Ligure towards Voltaggio and then on to Busalla.



PS: I think the west side of Garda is nicer than the east side.. but that's just opinion.
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:11 PM   #75
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Above is the map for the next day, day 18 since I picked up my bike in Barcelona.

This day I left Albenga on another perfect blue sky morning and went northwest from the coast and was quickly back in the mountains.
Somewhere up in these mountains, and I can't remember specifically where, I was stopped as I came around a corner by a few men with walkie-talkies and a big white truck. They had ribbon across the road to stop traffic. One man walked up to me and started saying something in Italian, I nodded and said "English?" He waved to another guy who explained that they were testing the road for an upcoming rally and that I would be able to pass in just a few minutes. I took off my helmet and ear plugs and I could hear the rally car speeding on the narrow mountain road below me. The engine got louder and then appeared as it rounded a corner. It got within a hundred yards of us and did a hand brake 180 on the narrow, cliff-lined road. They did this a few times and then the car was gone and I was allowed to go. I never did see the car up close but for several miles I could see the tire marks where they had slid in and out of the corners. There were no guardrails or barriers of any kind to keep them from going over the edge if they made a mistake.

I took this photo somewhere near the area. This is up near Testico, fittingly.



I spent the morning alone in the hills, riding the mountain roads from village to village, making my way west towards the French border and beyond. I enjoyed the panoramic views, the old villages that look unchanged for hundreds of years, the perfect weather, and of course the twisty roads.

Some of the roads got quite rough and narrow up high where there was some sort of tree planted and farmed. If anyone knows what those might be please post. The trees were small but stout, the soil was reddish brown and dry. There was no sign of any fruit on the trees but may have been out of season.

There was also a lot of people searching for mushrooms in the hills in this area. I passed through one small town that even had a mushroom statue. Now that I think about it, I think that was the day before in the mountains north of Albenga, Italy. I was having a sandwich and a Coke at a little cafe and there were some old Italian guys that were showing off their box of big mushrooms.

Anyway, on to the report for today.

These are from somewhere between Borgomaro and Carpasio.





Then heading towards Montalto Ligure.






Badalucco



I'm having a hard time remembering exactly which photo goes with which village because the location feature on the iphone is sometimes off a bit.

If anyone knows and sees something incorrect feel free to correct me. It's been a while now so I'm going by memory and.... what was I talking about?





I'm pretty sure this is Bajardo




A very old and small church in the mountains.


Apricale








Isolabona?



Border crossing in to France. There was a very small building, now abandoned.




I stopped for lunch in Sospel, France at a little outdoor cafe on the river.








After lunch I left Sospel and went south to the coast and Menton. This route takes you down beside a beautiful gorge which I neglected to stop and photograph. I got to the coast and almost made a u-turn. It was just so congested and compact that I almost decided to head back up in to the mountains. It was hot on the coast as well. I wanted to see Monte Carlo and I planned to spend the night in Nice, so I continued down the coast.

Here is Monte Carlo from above.





I had imagined finding a nice little place to stay in Nice, in my mind it was quaint and peaceful. Those places may exist but what i found was a sprawling crowded city. I was sweating and the traffic was thick. I just wanted out.
I pulled over and broke out the maps (much easier than trying to search on the GPS). I decided to go north and away from the crowded coast.
I got lucky, as I seemed to do over and over on this trip, by choosing to go to Vence. By this time I was very tired and hot and would have settled for anything. I found my way to the town and the Hotel Diana.

I had no idea but Vence is the sight of a medieval walled city, and the hotel just happened to be a few blocks from it.

I checked in, parked in the underground garage, and went upstairs to get out of my hot riding gear. I showered and took a walk to check out the sights and have dinner.

Here's the view from my room at Hotel Diana.



And from the rooftop area which has a hot tub, looking south to the coast.






A few shots from the city.











Despite the nightmare traffic and heat of the coast, this was another great day of riding in Europe.

I had a great dinner, chatted with a British mom and daughter, and walked back to the room.

I was nearing the end of my trip, but I still had some great riding ahead of me....

.
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