Thursday, July 02, 2015

The European Trip, Day 25 - Stelvio and Gavia Passes

I woke shortly after 5AM, eager to get my riding gear on and ride out of town towards Stelvio Pass.  It's one of the top ten roads to be "done" by riders everywhere it seems, and today was my day.

The rental Ural Sidecar Retro rig started up easily and purred as I took one last look at the tourist map and then we both motored out of town.

We would find the road to Stelvio Pass easily enough and so began to climb away and above the town of Bormio.

The temperatures were in the low 60s and I was glad to have worn my jacket liner.  The skies were brightening as I rode along and soon I could see the rising sun's rays lighting up the clouds.  Before I knew it, I was twisting my way upwards on the Stelvio Pass road, and soon I lost count of the number of hairpin turns once again.

I had the road to myself, it being so early and all, and I was loving it.  I would, on my first run through Stelvio Pass, see only one other motorcycle and perhaps less than ten cars; four of which were late model Mercedes Benz SL's apparently doing speed runs or tests.

Nearing the summit of Stelvio Pass from the southern end

I stopped at a war memorial south of the summit, 
quite a nice place for one's final resting ground I think.

I like the way the rising sun started painting the nearby 
mountain peaks.

The Tibet Restaurant building, on a small hill near 
Stelvio Pass Summit where the hotel, restaurant and
souvenir shops are located.

One of the first looks I had of the northern half of the
Stelvio Pass road, a bit twistier than the southern half.

Following are shots I took as I drove the sidecar rig down towards the southern endpoint of Stelvio Pass Road, or at least, the point where I would turn around once the hairpin turns ran out.

The early morning sun was providing lovely lighting
don't you think?

I tried to stop at each hairpin's apex to see what picture
could be had from that vantage point.  I obviously didn't make good
speed on the way down, but then again, I was on a URAL after all.

The road was so empty, I had time to pose the rig in the
spot above and not have anyone come by before I was done!

One can stay at a hotel, highlighted above by the sun's beams,
at the northern end of the Stelvio Pass Road.

Above pic taken from the parking lot of the previous
picture, showing the hotel in the valley below

My turnaround point.
The restaurant/hotel that was there is shutdown, so
if anyone's looking for a business opportunity....

After shooting video on the way back to the summit of Stelvio Pass, I motored over to the nearby building on the hillside, which turned out to be a restaurant.  Still, it had grand views of the road and the surrounding areas.

The Tibet Restaurant of Stelvio Pass

The building on the top of the hill is another war memorial
I think, where once a customs office or observation post stood.

The requisite picture of one's ride at the pass sign

Image Courtesy of Benjamin Grant/Google Earth/Digital Globe

The next pictures are taken as I rode back towards Bormio.

I went back to the hotel in Bormio to retrieve my passport, thinking I might head back to Stelvio Pass and take the road to the nearby Swiss border.   First though, after collecting the documents and some other things, I drove the rig east out of Bormio towards Gavia Pass.

The weather had warmed up quite a bit and it was sunny and clear.  It felt fine as long as one was riding and moving, but the heat quickly built enough when stopped or walking around.

I soon came to the war memorial I'd seen yesterday while rushing through this same pass road.  This time, the lighting and weather were more accomodating.

The Italian war memorial on Gavia Pass

My Hotel, heartily recommended if you're ever in the area.


Learning to Golf said...

What a Great trip and the pictures are outstanding!

SonjaM said...

Dom, what a beautiful morning light. Again, you've outdone yourself. Awesome pics. Gotta love the Stelvio!

GF said...

As always, amazing pictures and adventure. One day I will do this road too.

Unknown said...

Lovely lighting indeed... I'm with the others here: You captured some spectacular images.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks AZ HD, very kind of you

redlegsrides said...

Danke SonjaM, I lucked out with the light, not even a couple of hours later the light flattened into hazy grays

redlegsrides said...

Thanks George F. Don't wait too long.....

redlegsrides said...

Ty, thanks very much

Trobairitz said...

Wow, such stunning pictures. The light was just right for you.

Good idea leaving that early and beating the traffic.

Curvy road, little traffic, and beautiful lighting all on a Ural. You sir, are having way too much fun.

VStar Lady said...

Absolutely beautiful ... Seems like the Ural handled the ups and downs fine. Doesn't look like the kind of road you'd want to race through anyway

Canajun said...

Riding, stunning beauty, and great photos. Thank you!

RichardM said...

Phenomenal photos! Finally catching up with your travels now that I'm out of the Internet dead zone...

Bob and Sharon said...



redlegsrides said...

Trobairitz, though I would have done so anyways, Gary France also recommends hitting the pass early or really late. And yes, I am having too much fun.... :)

VStar Lady, the URAL does hairpins fine, just very slow right handed ones in my case....thanks for your comments

Canajun, thanks for your kind words as well. Prego!

RichardM, thanks...well if you would quit losing parts of your rig.... ;) I can't tell you the number of times I've had to pound the left muffler back onto my rig.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Bob, you should bring Sharon, rent a rig....

ToadMama said...

Wow, stunning pictures. It's so cool to see the pass and surrounding roads in the lovely light. You really did almost have the place to yourself. Great job capturing pictures.