Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Getting to Croatia – France and into Italy

The ride on day 2 of the trip to Croatia was good, but we had to miss out on one road that we had intended to do. We rode 365 miles on this day and it took a long time, on mainly mountain roads. Early on during the ride, I hit a big milestone, or rather the Leading Ladies did. The bike went over the 40,000 mile mark....




















This is Ian, taken at a morning drinks break....




















It didn’t take long for us to see the first snow on the Alps. We thought it looked pretty high up and we didn’t even think that it might affect our journey. We were wrong....





















Taken high in the mountains somewhere, this is Ian bike, called Richard II. He names all of his bikes after Shakespeare plays....






















And the Leading Ladies, in the same place....




















A lot of the roads we were on during the morning were very twisty indeed, with many, many, many hairpin bends.....



We were making good time and doing well, until we saw this sign....



























We were due to ride the L’Iseran Pass across the Alps as we wanted to see a ski resort called Val-D’Isere on the way. Unfortunately, it was closed and we had to do about a hundred mile detour via the St Bernard Pass. This was no big problem, but it did add a lot of miles, a lot of which were by motorway.

On the top of the St Bernard Pass, we went from France into Italy. This is just on the Italian side....






















There was no snow on the roads we were on, but we assume the pass we wanted to use was closed due to snow. The views were spectacular....





















The trouble with mountain passes, is there are never any toilets when you want one....





















We arrived at our hotel, the old Fiat factory that was used as one of the locations in the film, the Italian Job. I refer to the original and best version of the film, starring Michael Caine. We were so bushed, we ate in the hotel (excellent steaks and a good red wine).

10 comments:

Charlie6 said...

Bummer about the pass being closed Gary, but not surprising. I am eagerly awaiting the seasonal openings of both the road to Mount Evans and the Trail Ridge Road in the RMNP.

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Brady said...

I'm impressed, I know a lot of HDs get left in the garage or move across country on trailers, to see one with 40,000 + miles on it is quite the accomplishment. I have no hate for any kind of machine, but have never understood buying a motorcycle and then refusing to ride it any length.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

Canajun said...

Once again your travels leave me green with envy - much like the colour of Ian's bike come to think of it. Thanks for sharing so the rest of us can enjoy vicariously.

myrideblog said...

40,000 miles, quite an accomplishment. Congratulations.

mq01 said...

im with canajun, fabulous ride gary, i am again enjoying following your travels immensely! its a ride that i hope to make one day. gosh..wow i remember 20 yrs ago staying behind while arlen and friends made a similar alps ride, and i believe he was snowed out of MANY roads as well. continue to adjust routes and enjoy enjoy enjoy!!!

SonjaM said...

Please stop already with the awesome pictures, and don't you torture me with riding the Alps. Sigh! I got a serious case of homesickness now.

Too bad you couldn't ride the Col de l'Iseran. I have been there some time end of the 90's, but it was later in the year.
http://2wheelersrevisited.blogspot.com/2010/02/great-alps.html
Those were the days...

motoroz said...

I love the Rockies here in the States but I would love to ride the Alps. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Gary France said...

Charlie6 – What was silly about the pass being closed was I could easily have checked but just didn’t think to do that.

Brady – Thanks. To have a bike and not use it. What a waste that would be. I couldn’t do it.

Canajun – Sorry about the green!

myrideblog – Thanks!

mq01 – I hope you will get to ride in the Alps one day, hopefully without the snow. We seemed to be doing quite a lot of route adjusting!

Sonja – I will try to stop posting the pictures from the mountains. Oops, I failed again.... I am envious that you got to ride the Col de l’Iseran, but not at all jealous of your canvas hotel.

Oz – The Rockies and the Alps have many similarities. I love any mountain roads.

George F said...

40K miles, wow, my Connie has 39K but I'm sure it will be over 40K before the end of the summer ;-)
You friend's bike looks amazing but can it possibly be comfortable for long days in the saddle?
I'm jealous, wish I could ride those roads.

Gary France said...

George – Ian’s bike is a great looker and he was glad he rode it all that way, but he told me it wasn’t particularly comfy to ride, especially as we got to near the end of each day.