Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This Year's Big Trip

As a blogger, heck even as a person in general, there's a fine line between telling people what you are up to and coming across all "look how f'ing wonderful my life is!" Really.

I'm sure you've had days where you are reading someone's blog, or a succession of Facebook posts, where people talk about how wonderful their spouse is, how much they love their children, what great friends they have, how fabulous their pets are, etc.

I hate that.

Which is why I've been hesitant to post anything about this year's vacation. But since it is motorcycle related, and since I am super-excited about it, I just have to share.

The Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps near Switzerland
Hubby and I happened into a routine with some friends of ours, who live in Belgium, where we alternate continents each year to do a joint vacation.

They started it by visiting us for a few days in 2009 while touring the Northeastern US. We reciprocated in 2010 by visiting them for a few days during our trip to Europe. In 2011, they came to the US and we explored a bunch of national parks out west. Now it's our turn to go to Europe.

Our significant others usually leave all of the planning to us women. Of course, we are very good at trip planning, so that's a smart move. This year, Hubby did voice a vague preference that he wanted it to be a destination good for motorcycling.

Annelies and I were having a heck of time deciding where to go. But we finally settled on Northern Italy.

Hubby and I spent a little bit of time in Italy during our first trip to Europe. That's when we did a five-day Edelweiss motorcycle tour, which had us based in Austria, but also riding into Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Across several of the mountain passes that are mecca for motorcyclists. With quick stops in lovely little towns, one of which was Sterzing / Vipiteno.

Most of the towns in Northern Italy have German and Italian names. In many of the regions where we will be traveling -- North, Trentino-Alto Adige, South Tyrol, Bolzano Province -- the German language is spoken more than Italian. In Alto Adige, German is actually the official language. It's a long story...

The Edelweiss tour was fabulous. I captured that shot of the infamous Stelvio Pass during our first visit. As awesome as it was, it was also sort of expensive. So this year we decided to go the "bargain" route. We'll be renting bikes from an agency in Milan (thanks Fuzzy!) and tooling around Northern Italy for five days on our own.

Which should be interesting considering neither of us know a lick of German or Italian. And I cannot seem to comprehend the whole meters to miles conversion. I guess I'd better start studying!

Sterzing / Vipiteno in Italy

Annelies and Yves aren't into the bike touring thing, so we'll meet up with them after our rental period for another nine days of recreation. At some point, we'll be hopping over into Switzerland to visit a mutual friend and her husband. They just, within the last week or so, moved to Ecublens, Switzerland, a suburb of Lausanne.

This is all happening in September. I have lots and LOTS of planning to do.

Oh, I forgot to mention that it was during the Edelweiss tour, which had me riding an F650GS, that I became a cruiser-to-dual sport convert.

Anyway... that's my big trip for this year. But there will be lots of little trips between now and then. I hope!

Me with serious helmet head at Passo Giovo / Jaufenpass in Italy.


bobskoot said...


I think all of us are envious, and what's wrong with "helmet" hair, at least you still have some, mine is seriously thinning. You are going to places we can only dream about.

we went through metric conversion here and everytime we cross the border we have to figure out everything in miles again, and then have to purchase gallons of fuel instead of litres.

it's really easy, just think 5/8ths (ie: .625).

for eg: 100 kms x .625 = 62.6 miles

4.54 ltrs = 1 imperial gallon.

US gallons are different
3.8 ltrs = 1 US gallon.

see, I told you this was easy

200 miles / .625 = 320 kms

just remember .625 or 5/8ths is your friend

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Trobairitz said...

Awesome. You are going to have so much fun.

Having never been off of North America I can only imagine, but I will still enjoy every minute of listening to your travel plans and ride reports.

I am glad you decided to tell us of the trip so we can enjoy the anticipation too.

ToadMama said...

Thanks, Bob. Hopefully that 5/8th thing will help. I may make myself a little cheat sheet though. I can do math, I just don't enjoy it. So it doesn't stick with me.

And, Trob, that was sweet. I'll be sure to take lots of pics and try to do interesting ride reports. :-)

Fuzzy said...


How exciting! I suppose I don't have to tell you that i'm jealous, but I will anyway. Got room in our carry on bag for one more? :)

You are going into the heart of such beautiful riding. I cannot wait to see your photos.

I have no understanding of the metric system but found I didn't really need to. You just muddle along fine. We had maps & a gps, what could go wrong? :)

Actually the only time we needed the GPS was going back into Milan to drop the bikes off. It was most helpful then.

Super excited. Don't skip the Gavia pass! It's a neat experience.

ToadMama said...

Thanks, Fuzzy. Gavia has been added to the map.