(6/15/07 - 7/1/07)
On this page are pictures and descriptions from 6/26/07 - 6/31/07. These are mostly pictures of Switzerland (on motorcycles). Click on any picture or panorama for an ENORMOUS version. Click here to go to the homepage and get a description of what this is all about.
(Read a personal description of Backblaze here.)
On the morning of 6/26/07 (Tuesday), we drove the motorcycles from Trento, Italy to Arabba, Italy. I rode this day alone, not seeing anyone else on the tour until arriving in Arabba, Italy. I've been to Arabba 4 times before, and it's a GREAT area for motorcycling. I had a great time all day long ripping through the Italian countryside. In the morning I even listened to my iPod on the motorcycle. :-) Below is the first panorama I took a little outside Trento heading south.
A little into the day, over the top of Borcola Pass, Italy.
I thought the bridge below was interesting, it is VERY tall over a gorge.
A different angle down the road a little, same bridge.
The sign below cracked me up. :-) (Explanation: as you are leaving any town, there is a sign with the town name and a red slash through it which signifies you are leaving that town.)
This world war era fort looks like it was shelled, but it might just be old.
A different angle on the shelled out fort.
Here I am at the top of the Brocon Pass, Italy.
There are two cafes here, with outside seating and a bunch of motorcycles parked at both.
Heading down off of the Brocon Pass, I think the town below is called Prade.
Random switchback in a road in Italy.
The top of the Rolle Pass (Passo Rolle). These "top of pass" signs I took just to remember my route, and it's free for me to throw them up here. :-)
I'm zooming around a corner in Italy and I have to come SCREECHING to a halt because this horse is standing in the road. As I stop, it walks right up to me and leans over the motorcycle to nuzzle me! I took this picture leaning back in my motorcycle seat. I petted the horse, then was on my way. You gotta stay on your toes when motorcycling in the Alps!!
At the top of Passo Valles, Italy.
Looking over the rail at a rest stop in Italy, you can see a town far below almost straight down.
I like this sign because it shows so many of the excellent roads around Arabba, Italy.
Below is a scanned in map of the area surrounding Arabba, Italy. The roads in every direction are fabulous motorcycle roads. The above sign is referring to many of the passes listed on the map below.
Here I am going up the "Giau Pass" (Passo Giau, Italy).
A picture of the town below.
At the top of Passo Giau, Italy.
A few minutes later, at the top of Passo Falzarego, Italy.
On 6/27/07 (Wednesday), we stayed in Arabba, Italy (same as the previous night). The weather wasn't great, so instead of doing a big motorcycle ride several of us went up to the top of Falzarego Pass and toured the World War I museums up there. The first few pictures below are just people milling about getting ready for the day.
The cockpit of my BMW R1150R motorcycle.
Dave on the far left, Sue, Donna, and Graham on the right at the motorcycle.
Donna with map, and Graham in the open saddle bag.
Neil, Sue, Jane, and Steve in the tram at the top of Falzarego Pass, Italy. We were looking for an "outdoor museum" at the top of the tram, but it really is an "all day hike" if you want to do it, so we had cappuccino and came back down. :-)
On the ride up the tram, looking back down. It is raining.
At the top of the tram.
If you have all day, you can hike the distance the tram took us, the way the Austrian troops would walk it. Here is Denis Columb by the sign. We just had cappuccino and took the tram back down. :-)
About half a mile from the bottom of the tram at Falzarego, Italy, is the "Tre Sassi Fort" which has been turned into a nice little WWI museum. This area was the front line in World War I, and it was so mountainous it made for a unique situation back in that time.
The outside of "Tre Sassi Fort".
Some information about the fort. It says: "The Tre Sassi Fort barred access to the Val Badia. It was built between 1898 and 1901, with the characteristics of a mountain fort. .... directed it's guns at the Falzarego Pass."
More information from a different plaque:
Pictures from inside the museum.
WWI era machine guns.
Big bad artillery shells. Below is a "mortar", the plaque says "Austro-Hungarian 305/8 mortar bullet model 11-16 "Skoda" with a 30,5 gauge, "shrapnel" type. It traveled 15 kilometers.
Pictures from inside Tre Sassi Museum, in Italy.
WWI era machine gun in the Tre Sassi museum, Italy.
A room full of collections of WWI era war stuff. Click on the picture below for a LARGE version you can see more detail in.
Another room full of collections of WWI era war stuff. Click on the picture below for a LARGE version you can see more detail in.
There is something horrific and spooky about WWI era gas masks. The big round glass eyes and canvas cheeks, with the hanging elephant nose filters.
Various implements of war, land mines and hand grenades.
Below is a description of the "tunnel explosive warfare" that was done in this area. The WWI front line was so locked up here, because the DEFENSIVE lines were 10 times harder than any offense could break. So they tried new techniques with mining under the enemy positions and packing the mine shafts with explosives. Click on the pictures below for larger versions.
Some bombs and mortars.
On the morning of 6/28/07 (Thursday), we drove the motorcycles from Arabba, Italy to Villach, Austria. Below is Jake flying his remote control helicopter in the garage in Arabba, Italy before we leave for the day. That's Rob (Jake's dad) on the right watching the helicopter. I circled the helicopter in red and the remote control because they are hard to make out in the picture. Click the picture to see a larger version.
Getting the motorcycles ready in the morning outside our hotel in Arabba, Italy.
Dave (wearing helmet) and Al (with pipe) smiling discussing what they are planning for the day.
Riding along, here is a picture taken from Passo Pura looking down at the valley. Passo Pura is a curvy little circle of a road near Ampezzo, Italy.
The top of Passo Pura.
Half way around Passo Pura is this very tall, very thin dam. I have been here before.
The road goes across the top of the dam, and the road disappears into tunnels on BOTH sides of the dam right into the mountains.
On one side the dam is VERY VERY tall showing how deep the water is on the other side.
This is looking straight down over the side.
Some sort of warning, but since I can't read it I ignored it. It probably says "Don't Stand On Dam or it will Collapse" or something like that. :-)
Panorama on the non-water side of the dam.
Panorama on the water side of the dam.
On the non-water side of the dam, you can make out a really old road that has eroded away, the new road is the set of tunnels through the mountain.
Close up of the old road in the picture above.
A little way down the road, in Nassfeld Pass near Pontebba, Italy.
I left Italy for 15 minutes to go to Austria to use the toilet. :-) You think I'm kidding? The Italian gas station toilets are hideous! So I hopped over the border on a little loop through a couple mountain passes, got gasoline and a bathroom break in Austria, and now I'm headed back into Italy.
A happy Italian cow wandering around on the street.
Coming close to Bovec, Slovenia (still in Italy). Bovec seems to be a vacation area with white water rafting, wind surfing, great motorcycle roads, and beautiful women. You might not realize it, but Slovenia is now part of the European Economic Community, and is actually quite nice (and very friendly towards tourists!)
Heading into Slovenia on my motorcycle for a little loop.
The main pass I entered Slovenia over is Predil Pass in Slovenia. That's the border crossing up ahead (just a wave by a border guard and I fly right through without stopping into Slovenia).
Below is a picture up the side "dead end" mountain road of "Mangrt Mountain, Slovenia". It is a very pretty little road up what I think (?) is the tallest mountain in Slovenia. I was here 3 years ago with some other buddies and got stopped because the road still had snow on it. Click here1 and here2 to see pictures of our motorcycles trying to get through the snow on this road 3 years ago. Barry and BrianB -> I made it! :-) Here are the pictures of what we missed last time, sorry you couldn't be here!
Almost at the top of Mangrt Mountain, Slovenia.
At the top looking back down from Mangrt Mountain, Slovenia.
A quick stop for coffee in Bovec, Slovenia, one of the best places on earth.
This next picture IS NOT from this trip, but from 3 years ago in Bovec, Slovenia. A beautiful blonde Slovenian woman stopped to admire our motorcycles, this isn't a staged picture. :-)
Back to Austria, headed for Villach, Austria to spend the night.
On the morning of 6/29/07 (Friday), we drove the motorcycles from Villach, Austria to Salzburg, Austria. I chose to go the route to see the Grossglockner, which is a famous pass in Austria and very scenic. I've been there before, but it's worth driving and seeing again. Below is the parking lot by the glacier called "Pasterze Glacier".
Those are people WAAAAY down below all the way on the glacier, you can walk down this path but I've never done it, it looks like it would take all day.
The Pasterze Glacier flowing down.
A little blurb about the "Pasterze Glacier" pictured above. It says "The Pasterze Glacier is the largest and longest glacier of the Eastern Alps, and the ninth-largest of the Alps overall". At an average speed of 15m per year the ice takes about 560 years to travel the total length of the glacier."
A pretty good map of the whole area. Click on the picture below for a much more readable version.
I liked the plaque below showing a picture of the same glacier awhile back filling the valley.
The motorcycle parking lot here at Pasterze Glacier near the Grossglockner.
A little way down the road, the road up the Grossglockner.
Same location, different angle picture.
There are a couple of tunnels at the top of the Grossglockner, here I stop in one to take a picture.
Looking back behind me on the motorcycle.
Just outside of the previous tunnel, if you click on the picture below you can see the road where I'm going headed off into the center of the picture.
"Bikers Point" at the top of the Grossglockner is an amazing little nob with great views. Here is the top of Bikers Point.
The road leading up to "Bikers Point" on the Grossglockner.
A trike parked at the top. Notice it can seat 3 people (one driver and two passengers).
Looking down from Biker's Point, Grossglockner. The road I came up is on the far left, and the road I'm headed down is down to the right on those switchbacks.
A good map of the area of the Grossglockner.
Pretty road on the "run out" after the Grossglockner.
Our tour group hanging out at the hotel near Saltburg, Austria, swapping stories from the day of motorcycling.
On the morning of 6/30/07 (Saturday), we drove the motorcycles from Salzburg, Austria back to our original start location (and final destination) of Olching, Germany which is just outside of Munich, Germany. We started the day by driving the Rossfeld Ringstrasse (a scenic loop just south of Salzburg). Below we are lost and cannot find the entrance to the Rossfeld Ringstrasse loop we were looking for. That's two maps, one GPS, and 5 motorcyclists trying to figure it out.
Add in 2 locals that live there explaining where it is. :-)
Finally at the entrace to the Rossfeld Ringstrasse (it is a toll road).
One of the views from the Rossfeld Ringstrasse just south of Salzburg, Austria.
Simone, Graham, and Donna taking in the view.
Lunch in Berchtesgaden, Germany. I kind of laugh when I drive through this town because I used to play a WWII video game that had a battle through here, and I recognize the Church in town from the video game. :-) That is Graham on the left, Simone in blue, and Darryl on the right.
Donna, Al, and Leslie.
Back on the road, heading back to home base of Olching, Germany.
We passed these hand-gliders swooping around in the sky.
A close up of the hand gliders.
You can click on these photos to see much more detailed versions.
All finished with the riding! We turn the motorcycles back in (the guides check them for damage).
A toast to a successful trip! Nobody got hurt, and a lot of fun was had!
Darryl, Simone, and Leslie wearing "Jake's" T-shirts and hats. "Jake's" is a local hangout in Leslie's home town outside of Boston.
The whole tour group swapping stories after a successful tour.
Rob (in center) and Gretchen on the right smiling.
The final dinner together before we all go home.
Just after noon on 6/3107 (Sunday), I flew home from Munich, Germany to San Francisco, USA. Below is the shuttle ride to the airport, some of these people are flying out, some are just going along to say goodbye.
Al (one of the tour guides and mechanic) drove us to the airport.
One last fast drive on the autobahn, here is the speedometer hitting 160 km/hour (about 100 miles per hour).
Off to the Munich airport.
Final stop, offloading the van at the Munich airport.
That's it, the 2007 European Motorcycle Trip is all over! So Sad! But I'll be back in a year or two to do it again!
(Read a personal description of Backblaze here.)
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