Alps, May 2009 − Travels − Captain Tom

Alps, May 2009

Thomas, riding buddy from 100 passes tour back in 2006, convinced me to join in on a trip guided by Motorrad Action team. The plan was to pass the Alps southbound towards the Mediterranean Sea and then return on a different route. It's been 10 great days and it is needless to say that the gang (Thomas, Andreas, Frank and I) had a lot of fun. I intended to add a visit to Wolfgang and some friends into the trip but I failed to make the second visit.

Here is an overview page showing the big picture

Map 2009_05_alpen

1 Day 1

I ride to Schwabmünchen to visit Wolfgang on my way into the alps.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_21

Hide map
Just 50 miles out of Berlin I got hit by a thunderstorm. It was quite interesting to see and I took the opportunity to make a HDR picture (computer produced picture which is a combination of several pictures taken with different levels of exposure)
2 Day 2

Wolfgang, Irmgard and I have a nice little ride into the area.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_22

Hide map
Break in a little Bavarian city.
Yes, there is a baby stork in the nest on top of the building
And while I am riding around, Thomas and the pack is preparing for a long day in a car with the bikes on a trailer
3 Day 3

Ride to the meeting point at Davos, Switzerland

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_23

Hide map
The mountains come closer and closer
I am still in Germany but not for long anymore
I made it. The first pass for this year is Namlos Valley
On Fernpass (already in Austria) I have a wonderful view at the highest German Mountain Zugspitze
I pass Piller Höhe which gives a great view over the valley of the river Inn
And then at Reschenpass which forms the border between Austria and Italy I wanted to get up onto the plateau which you can see to the left. But some boulders blocked my path.
This is what I was looking for: The view over Lake Reschen towards Ortler massif with Ortler glacier. This is where Stilfser Joch pass and Umbrail pass are. But both passes are closed anyway. Guess why.
Now in Switzerland at Ofenpass. It is obvious that the higher passes are still closed at this time of the year due to the high amount of snow still around.
4 Day 4

We have met the rest of the group and our tour guide Gerhard. Today we want to go to one of the great north Italian lakes: Lago Maggiore

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_24

Hide map
Gathering in the morning (Jens, Stefan, Tom, Thomas, Ralf)
Guide Gerhard on a GSA
First stop at Marmorera reservoir
Next stop Julier Pass. Quite cold up there and a lot of snow around
Having Italian caffee in a little bar down in the valley (along the wall Georg, Jens, Tom, Gerhard, Thomas)
The evening at Lago Maggiore
Dinner. Thomas, Andreas, Gerhard, Jens, Tom
The group does not look completely happy as the riding skills are quite inconsistent. I have a word with Gerhard and we decide to split into two groups. One consists of Andreas, Thomas and Frank and is guided by myself and the other one consists of Stefan, Ralf, Jens and Georg and is guided by Gerhard.
5 Day 5

The next station is Albissola at the Mediterranean Sea. We have to cross the flatlands of the river Po. We decide to avoid the highway and I think it was a good decision. The other group will use the highway and we will meet for lunch later in the day.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_25

Hide map
Alarm clock set to 5:30, alarm goes for about 1 hour. No snooze button.
Lago Maggiore in the morning
Preparations in the morning (Jens, Tom, Thomas, Andreas)
A break in between. The group is to fast. We will reach the lunch meeting point an hour early. (Thomas, Andreas, Frank)
Waiting for the other group
Having great Italian lunch. (Tom, Ralf, Jens, two other guests, Georg, Stefan, Gerhard)
Thomas is getting pasta.
Wine area around Asti. Beautiful country side with vineyards everywhere
Road closed and secured with earth walls. No problem for us.
Having a beer in the evening and telling stories about closed roads. (Thomas, Frank, Tom, Gerhard, Jens, Stefan, Ralf)
The waterfront and the Mediterranean Sea
6 Day 6

We will go to another place at the Liguran coast. This will be a very exhausting day. All day long just very tiny roads with a lot of dirt on them. The 204 miles feel like 400 at the end of the day.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_26

Hide map
Some maintenance work in the morning. (Jens)
Faiallo Pass has spectacular views towards Genoa
Tom has to climb even higher
The port of Genoa in the distance
Another closed road with a bridge under construction. Did I mention that this is not a big deal for us?
Passing through the water
Having another break with Italian caffee
Stopping at Passo del Portello
Then we found a little Italian restaurant with homemade food. Great!
Andreas, Thomas, Tom
La Forcella is another tiny but beatiful pass
The last pass of the day is Cento Croci
7 Day 7

We stay in Devia Marina and do a loop from there. After the exhausting trip yesterday we decide to got the big and fast roads. Well, even those are quite twisty and show some spectacular views.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_27

Hide map
Gathering in the morning (Gerhard, Tom, Thomas, Frank)
Madonna della Penna. Another tiny but beautiful pass
Today there is pizza for lunch
Frank, Thomas, Tom
Lago di Cerretano is rather disappointing view wise. (Tom, Thomas, Frank)
At least the KTM looks good
Back at the hotel we have to test the water of the Mediterranean Sea
View to the Hotel
An Emu is walking around. It has the size and shape of an ostrich
Having a beer in a local bar in the evening (Stefan, Andreas, Thomas, Tom)
8 Day 8

We go back northbound to another one of the great north Italian lakes: Lago di Garda. We have to cross the flatlands of the river Po again and we will pass Parma. Jens has decided to join our group for today.

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_28

Hide map
Route briefing in the morning
View back to Deiva Marina from Via Aurelia
Close to Lago di Garda we find a nice restaurant for lunch.
Thomas, Jens, Tom
We will cross the lake on a ferry. The boat is just waiting for us
On the ferry (Thomas, Tom, Andreas, Jens)
Eastern waterfront of Lago di Garda
The group
Western waterfront of Lago di Garda
Northbound view
Next stop at Lago di Valvestino (Jens, Frank, Thomas, Tom)
Having a caffee at a gas station
Dinner (Frank, Stefan, Gerhard, Ralf, Jens, Tom, Thomas)
9 Day 9

The last day of the tour goes back to Davos, Switzerland

Click here for a map with the route of the day

Map 2009_05_29

Hide map
Ready to go (Thomas, Jens, Frank)
View from Lago di Tenno towards Lago di Garda
The highlight of the day is the first pass Tremalzo. Amazing views in all directions
View to Lago di Garda
Snow covered mountains
Big scenery
Frank found a new toy
Big mountains at Madonna di Campiglio
Having lunch at Carlo Magno Pass
The last two passes are very chilly. Bernina 48 F
Thomas, Jens
And Flüela at 37 F (Jens, Andreas, Tom, Thomas, Frank)
10 Day 10

Well, it was planned to go to Stuttgart and to visit some friends. But this tire did not look like making another 600 mile

So I joined the Andreas, Thomas and Frank. They provided a good door to door service dropping me and the bike off in Berlin before they continued their journey back to Schwedt which is another 60 miles away from Berlin