Sunday, August 11, 2013

A day in the Alps!

Dear Family & Friends,

If I am going to keep writing these reports I need to work on some new adjectives... what can I say, another amazing day!
We left Lake Como and rode along the shore to the end of the lake where we branched off to a pass over the Italian side of the Alps.
Pass may be an exaggeration, this road was more like a trail! The pavement was fine but narrow to the point only small one car at a time could go on it and barely two motorcycles. Also very steep and switch backs that were more like U- turns! A bit challenging because when a motorcycle goes to slow in a turn it tends to fall over, but we made!
From there we took another pass and finally to the peaks of the Alps and to the world famous Stelvio Pass! Again mostly very narrow but a bit wider than the last pass. At one point there was a long tunnel that was even narrower. About half way through the car in front of me met a car coming the other way.. Both honked at each other as if there was some place to go. Each car had about 10 cars and motorcycles backed up behind them so they could not move. So it quickly became a honking and hand waving match.... very Italian.. Finally the other group gave up and they ALL had to back up out of the tunnel to let us go by...
On the Stelvio Pass we stopped at the exact spot that James Bond stood in Goldfinger.. I got shivers from it! Now let me explain my fascination with James Bond..... In 1962 when I was twelve Goldfinger came out. My mother wouldn't let me see it because it was to risque, there was a gold women in a bikini! Racy stuff for 1962... That made it more alluring so with my Dad's encouragement I snuck out and saw it. I instantly became a life long James Bond fan. Some for the usual reason, a lethal sophisticated man that could do anything, who all women wanted, and of course drove that very cool Aston Martin. But what really impressed me the most were the exotic and beautiful locations it was filmed at. Europe in the 1960's was still very distant and exotic for the average American and I fell in love with it! I always wanted to go there. I have been very fortunate that my business has allowed me to travel there every year for 35+ years but this trip was special... So far we have been to the exact location of over 5 different Bond scenes and honestly at every one I have said the immortal words, "The name is Bond..... James Bond" and I know it is corny but every time it excited me. Even a few days ago when we were riding along the Riviera where a Bond movie was filmed I was listening to my I-pod and the original James Bond Theme song came on... I know it is corny but I loved it!
I have to give a BIG thanks to our new friend Georg Donni.. He is a Swiss Jaguar and motorcycle enthusiast. A really nice and interesting guy and a terrific guide! He showed us passes, roads, and towns we would have never found. Also you can't believe how relaxing it is to just ride and not have to watch a GPS or worry about getting lost...
After a long day of riding we finished at Saint Moritz in Switzerland.. WOW!!  Saint Morritz is like the Beverly Hills of the Alps. Very classy hotels and restaurants, expensive shops, and incredible scenery. We finished out the night with a great Swiss meal and Swiss wine.
Now it is time to get some sleep because we do it all over again tomorrow!
 Riding along the shore of Lake Como

 The cities in northern Italy are so beautiful!!
 Lake Como

 The peak of our first Alpine Pass, many more to come today!

 Our trusty guide and friend Georg Donni..

 We are civilized so we stopped in a quaint Alpine village for some lunch... :)

 This is the world famous Stilveo pass, fun to ride on a motorcycle but a lot of work too!

 Motorcycles and hot sports cars all through the Alps!

 Duane and Georg..

 Masters of the mountain!

 Proof that I rode the pass, that is me on the GS!

 Our first view of Switzerland as we passed over another range in the Alps..

 Did I mention the roads are rather twisty in the Alps?

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