MC Adventure 2016 (6), Italy, Tirol and north again

The Timmelsjoch alpine road into Italy is a pretty awesome riding experience. That the fog hang or rather drifted across the mountainsides as I passed over, just added an extra dimension of drama to the whole experience.

The higher the road climbed, the thicker the fog, until…

Italy, or Italian “Tirolia”

a little further up and in, around a turn, Italy came in sight. And what a sight! Glimpses at first, but a few meters lower along the road I found a place to stop and caught this view.

Across Timmelsjoch and looking into Italian Tirol

Across Timmelsjoch and looking into Italian Tirol

In retrospect it truly was a magical experience. One I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and for more than one reason! Could have been more lucky with the weather though. July has turned more and more into a rainy season.

Next time I’ll start an adventure like a month earlier.

Italy and Italian Tirol, a marvelous sight.

Italy and Italian Tirol, a marvelous sight.

Further down into the valley the weather cleared up a bit. The roads were fantastic to ride on. Challenges in plenty for the active rider, yet pleasant for the more touring oriented.

Italian Tirol

A little further down with Belprato below on the right side

Another leg done

Further down and along the SS44, after yet more twists and turns, one comes to a split. Either to the left and head up the Jaufenpass, towards Vipiteno (Sterzing). Or south towards Meran (Merano). As afternoon was about to turn evening it was too late or another pass in Italy.

Along the road towards Meran there are several villages with hotels lined up. In other words, no shortage of options or alternatives. I needed to make a fuel stop as well. In the village of St. Martin de Passeier, next to a gas station along the road, I spotted hoetel Phandler Alm. They had a vacant room, price was ok, so it was a done deal.

St. Martin in Passeier

View of parts of St. Martin in Passeier, from the hotel’s outside dining veranda.

The hotels in Tirol, regardless of country, usually have very good standard. Pfandler Alm was no exception. Friendly staff, a great room, great food and drink, what I needed, all in one place. Was interesting to sit around and hear almost everyone talk German. I was in Italy after all.

Curious I asked the hotel staff and she confirmed locals mostly spoke German. That people in the region don’t feel very related to the south, nor Italian. Most of the places, passes, roads, villages and cities have both Italian and German names.

A weather-wise wet start

Waking up the next morning I realized the next leg was going to be a wet experience. I did not know just how wet, until later in the day. The best I could hope for was periodic showers and nothing more than that.

Back on the SS44 I headed south in direction of Meran, took off in a western direction along the SS38 which runs along the alps. It did not take long before rain set in. My MC Suit of 2016 was neither top notch nor entirely waterproof. Realized the rain would not end quickly, so made a stop to get the extra gear on.

Switched to SS41, then northwards on SS40 and in direction of Reschen Pass, and Austria. Finally I got some relief from the pounding rain and an opportunity to stop and take a few pictures.

St. Valentin

On road SS40 in the direction of the Reschen Pass and Austria

A pass for touring riders, to Landeck

Reschen Pass is a great road for motorcycle riding, but not among the more exciting mountain pass roads you’ll find. However, if you don’t need the steepest climbs, the most twists, turns and sharp roads, if you fancy stretches with nice curves where you have excellent overview of traffic, then this roads is a nice choice.

Crossing the border I headed in direction of Landeck where I had a lunch stop.

Landeck

Across the border into Austria and further up north on road 180 you’ll pass Landeck.

Weather still held up but unfortunately, that wasn’t going to last. A German friend sent a message while I was lunching, told me that a weather system was on the move over the southern part of Germany. Heavy rain and hailstorms, the worst they had had in years.

Great! My route would lead me right through the worst part of it. He suggested in fact be best to chill some place in Austria till the worst had passed. But I’d booked service at a BMW Motorrad workshop north in Germany. So I did not have the luxury but instead had to move on.

Little did I know how bad it would become.

The worst weather ever?

Well I might have experienced similar or worse, but not on a motorcycle. Passing through Austria it was still only cloudy, but as I approached the German border and Bavaria, the weather changed. At first heavy clouds and light rain, but the closer I got to Germany the more it intensified.

Made a stop to put extra rain gear on. Then crossed the border on the Autobahn. Man, did it get bad, It was a shocker, water flooded across, turning the Autobahn into a river. Traffic slowed down. Now I was glad to be sitting on a bike with good weather protection!

More than once I considered to make a stop. Forget about the riding. But since no alternatives or else lose a service appointment of importance, I decided to keep on. And so I did, across most of Germany, to get out of the weather hell.

Fortunately for me, I have an ability to switch off while sharpening needed senses. Comes from years of meditation practice. Freezing thougts and emotions. This ability or “talent” have helped me more than once, to endure or tackle difficult situations. Accomplish set goals.

As a result, with only one fuel stop, I rode through the entire monsoon system, and did not stop till I was out of it. Some kilometers south of Hannover I had made it out of the system, took off and stayed at a hotel right by the Autobahn. Despite rain gear, my boots and gloves were completely drenched.

Around 11,5 hours worth of riding, of which the greater part through monsoon rain, and hailstorm, was over and done with.

Roadside view

Roadside view from the Autobahn hotel. Not fantastic but it provided the shelter needed.

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