Somewhere on the list of things you should not see while riding a motorcycle is people carrying skis and snowboards, I wanted to take a picture, but was too busy freezing.
We, me and Pepijn, are on our way to Mongolia, on motorcycle. The preparations took forever, getting the bikes ready, trying to sort out the entire visa circus, trying to pay for all of it, pack lists, websites. And all of that while trying to be decent boyfriends, husbands, friends and family to those around us, let’s just say it’s been a hectic year or so.
Our first two days now lie behind us, we left home being waved off by a small group of friends and family. They were long riding days, through Germany and Switzerland. This is country we know and can always return to easily, so we won’t be spending too much time here now, we chose to take motorways as much as possible.
These bikes are still new to us and I knew that it would take some time to learn how they handle and what is and what isn’t comfortable. So far, we were confirmed in what we knew, these are not the bikes you choose if you spend all your time flying over the German Autobahn. Fully loaded they max out just above 140km/h but stop being comfortable above 110km/h. So, the motorways were just work. But then we hit the Alps. The speed drops, the roads go winding up and down the mountains and it all becomes pure joy. At these speeds the noise level is comfortable, the bikes have plenty of power, and all the small enhancements in the suspension we made start paying off.
We head deeper and deeper in to the Alps and trust the GPS to get us to our destination, this is Europe, so no need to do careful rout planning, all will be okay. I should have known better of course. This is the Alps in March and we start seeing small patches of snow on the fields as we ride in to the typical alpine skiing villages. It doesn’t take long before I actually spot people carrying their winter sport equipment around town. This of course means that somewhere out here the slopes are still open, and some passes closed… We need to double back at some point because the albula pass is still snowed in higher up. We re-route through St. Moritz and over the Jullius pass to find ourselves riding between high snow banks on both sides of the road and in to dense fog. This is an interesting change for the rain that had been attacking us all day, but somewhat surreal, not the environment I would choose to motorcycle though, normally. And then, near the end of daylight, on our way down in to Italy the sky opens up and we get the most stunning views of the high snow covered peaks in the beautiful last sunlight of the day.
Our first few days I’ve arranged to stay with friends along the route. In Germany, my friend Inka and her parents made us feel very welcome, opening their home (and garage!) to us. Dinner, breakfast, hot showers and warm beds, a great stop to end the first and start the second day from.
The second day we met up with Tomas, an old CouchSurfing friend, in the Italian Alps. Pizza, wine, we’re in Italy! And.. the weather is great!