Friday, September 4, 2009

Missing Monday

July 15, 2009 - Wednesday

The best way to do so is to be in another country when it happens. And this week, I was.
Walti spontaneously suggested an extended weekend bike tour down in northern Italy. I was able to take Monday off, probably to the chagrin of my coworkers, but no matter.
On Saturday morning I fetched my nice new Beastie Driver jacket - gotta share a picture of that as soon as I get a moment - and around midday I left for the 1,000-kilometer tour.
On the first day we did about 300 klicks, all curves after we got off the autobahn in Chur. It was great. At the top of an Italian pass, then - I really wish I had a head for geographical names - Walti pointed out an unpaved gravel road that wound away from the roadstop. He said we could take the paved road down or that; which would I prefer?
I eyed the gravel. The Beast isn't an MX bike or an enduro. As much as I put it through, I maybe should have bought the Ulysses. But the XB9 fits me perfectly, and it's a tough little bugger.
Off we went on the gravel, all 10 km of it.

The view from that road over the Trentino mountains was beautiful, though rather foggy.

As the afternoon turned to evening, my clutch hand started to act up. The muscles were cramped or overused - I don't know which as I'd never had it before - and by time we found a hotel it hurt so bad I could barely change gears. We called it a day just in time.

The next morning my hand wasn't doing much better, so after a really awesome curvy stretch to Lake Garda, we parked the bikes and stopped by an apothacary to get some cooling salve and stabilizing bandages. That helped, and I kept the wrist smeared with the stuff all day.

We overnighted in popular bikers' hotel in the Dolomites that night, met some other Swiss and watched motorcycle after motorcycle drive in or drive by. I went to bed early; those 300 km and the ornery hand had gotten to me.
Monday, the last day of the lovely tour, we drove through South Tirol. It was my first time in the country that Dad's enthused about so often. And he has every reason to. It's gorgeous. I couldn't take any pictures as we cruised through there between 80 and 120 km/h, but I very much enjoyed looking at the scenery.
On the Gavia Pass, approaching the Swiss border, we stopped for a break - it's pretty important to keep hydrated on warm days like we're finally having - and ran into a guy who was waiting for two buddies - who were both at the base of the pass where one had bumped into the guard rail after a failed braking maneuver. (They were all okay; we just drove by carefully as they warned us of some oil and gas on the road.)
So he returned down to his buddies and we headed on toward Switzerland.

It was around 1900 hours when we got home. Walti came with me to deliver my backpack which he'd kindly tied down on his BMW GS1200 for the tour so I could drive without the weight on my back.
I don't think much of BMWs but they sure are good for carrying things.
My next tour is planned for the French Alps. Not sure when; probably next month. I gotta get back out into the Black Forest in the mean time.

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