01 June 2019

1 June - Black Forest

Today, Bret and I took our big KTMs out for a day ride through the Black Forest here in Germany.

The weather and traffic was all perfect. Here we stopped for a lunch break at the Mummelsee at the top of a mountain.

Pics Credit: Bret Austin

30 May 2019

26 May - Partnach

Out with the fantastic La Rayne for a weekend to Garmisch-Partenkirchen...

Nice little morning hike up through the Partnach Gorge to the top, then down the cable car ride.

22 May 2019

2019 Adventure Countdown!

In a few weeks, it'll be time for another epic Alps tour.  This time, I'll be riding my KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. I'll head out with a couple riding buddies for three weeks on the road.

The working plan is to start off with a visit to the new KTM Museum over in Mattighofen, Austria. Next, after a day exploring one of my favorite passes, the Grossglockner in Austria, we'll head over for a couple days around the Dolimiti. We'll then head down to Lake Garda, and the surrounding area, then back north to the heart of the Swiss Alps and the Stelvio, Furka, Grimsel and many other great passes. Next, it's over to intersect the Tour de France in far eastern France, by the Swiss / German / French border, where we'll check out that great bicycle spectacle. Then, we'll head south to explore the Grey Alps along the French / Italian border, and on to the ancient seaside villages of the Cinque Terre. Finally, we'll head back north towards southern Germany for a slow meander back up to finish what should be a truly epic adventure.

Off to the right, is a "GPS Tracker" link, where you can see where we are each day.

We head out at the end of June 2019, so come back and ride along.

In the meantime, here is look at the Grossglockner and it's magic...

15 July 2016

13 July - Pisa and the Ligurian Coast

It's time to leave the walled cities of Tuscany behind and move on.

We're about an hour and a half away from Pisa, so we'll roll through some more of the wonderful Tuscany countryside.
... and stop in the city of Pisa. Walk around a corner and here you see just down the end of the street, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the nearby cathedral.
Once you get up the street to the actual plaza, all around people are taking the obligatory "look, I'm holding up the building" pictures.
As you walk around the area, all around are people with the same silly poses. Kind of hilarious really.
The weather has cooled off slightly, with a little bit of rain to cool things down. So, we stopped in one of the sidewalk cafes for a bite to eat - some lasagne and salad.
Time to roll down the road a bit.
Finally out of that tourist trap, we go down the coast of the Ligurian sea to a bit of a hidden gem called "Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre". These jagged, ancient volcanic cliffs drop into the sea, but there are five towns in a zone protected from further development. After cruising up and down the ridgeline, we dropped down into the town of Monterosso al Mare to find a nearly tropical beach and vibe.

12 July - San Gimignano, Tuscany

Today was another short ride day, only one hour over to San Gimignano from Siena, but it was a beautiful, leisurely ride through the hills of Tuscany. We ride along hilltop ridgelines, then drop into heavily tree-line tight valleys and back out for another ridgeline ride. This is more bucket list stuff here folks!

San Gimignano is another walled city near Siena, but much smaller and without the huge crowds.

There are only two small piazzas (plazas). Shortly after arriving in our hotel and getting sorted out, we heard this strings and wind orchestra warming up in the plaza just outside out room. Apparently there is a big concert event this evening. Nice timing.

So, as they warm up and the air cools down from another 95F day, we take a chance for a bite to eat in one of the 3-4 restaurants in the smaller piazza around the corner to the right of the picture above.

After a bite of gigantic raviolis with truffles and some of that wild boar, we stepped back around for a bit of music in the piazza next to our hotel.

14 July 2016

11 July - Siena, Tuscany

In 2004, I stopped by Siena when on a ride, back when we lived in Germany. I was only able to spend an hour or two, so I put this place on the bucket list to come back to with La Rayne. Finally, 12 years later, it's checked off.

As we walk towards the city center, La Rayne just had to do a bit of shopping...

Behind me I noticed a couple of pups intensely waiting for their lady, shopping nearby. Feel free to ignore the superfluous post holding the leashes, just like the pups were doing.

Eating wild boar is a thing here. Most do not wear glasses.

Did I mention that it's about 95F outside today? It's about 20F more than we're used to...

So, we need to climb the tallest tower at high noon.

Just inside this portal is the ticket office and stairwell. Many steps up tiny winding staircases of stone. Watch your head and leave your vertigo on the ground..

Now, more gelato is consumed... We're doing our part to keep this industry alive.

10 July - Into Tuscany

This morning we left the mountain ridge of San Marino, towards the west. We took lots of small, very winding roads which were a bit technical. Obstructions like bicyclists, local sport bikers, and small two-stroke three wheel pickup trucks kept me busy La Rayne has been an outstanding passenger through the new experience of riding on the back of this sort of bike. Personally, I'd never ride on the back of this machine.

Sorry, no pics of the windy road. Just imagine a lot of trees and bushes right up the edge of the road, and many blind corners...

Temps are climbing as the morning goes along, so about 1215, we pass a restaurant with 3-4 motorcycles stopping, so we decide to turn around and stop as well. Its time for a break and perhaps a bite to eat.

The restaurant is opening in 10-15 minutes, so we wait for a table.  The menu is just one page of paper, with 22 different items all served in a row, for one price of 22 euro. Sounds good, we'll take that. There was no other choice, anyway...

As it turns out, the place is apparently THE place to be, because by 1245, the entire restaurant is completely full.  We were the first table to be seated, and people from all around just showed up and filled about 35 tables in short order.

The first course was a deconstructed salad, of the first 8 items or so, which was followed by 6-8 more small plates, tasting a bit of various awesome specialties.

One of the most important tricks to having excellent experiences is to be somewhere unexpected and new at random and ideal times.

After a fantastic two-hour long lunch, we rolled off the mountain / hill (depending on perspective) and into eastern Tuscany, then into Siena for the night.

We'll be in Siena for two nights, so we have an entire day (tomorrow) to explore Siena.