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Under the Tuscan Sprinkles

PHOTOS: If you want to see the photo’s full-size, click the photo, it isolates to a new page and click it once again.  Use browser’s “back” to return to blog.
CURRENT LOCATION:  Upper right corner is my SPOT Satellite track provided by SPOTwalla.  When activated, it provides a real time track of my travels.  The tracks are archived back to my arrival in Heidelberg, May 15.

Use the zoom slider on the left to open up the map to see our entire route.  The “History” allows you to see day-by-day routes.  “Satellite” replaces the map illustration with satellite photos.

675 km on the Autostrata

Date: Thursday, June 6, 2013

Location:  Bari, Italy to The Tuscany Area, Figline Valdarno, Italy via the Autostrata

Lodging: Norcenni Girasole Club, Figline Valdarno, Italy

N 43° 36′ 43″, E 011° 26′ 54″

Money Conversion:

June 11, 2013: €1 = $1.327 USD or $1 USD = €0.77537

Gas/Fuel in Ghedi Estaut, Italy: €1.789/l or $8.775 USD/gal!

The ferry lands at 8:30AM and we are on the road at 9:00AM.  The 3 motorcycles were the first to go through Italy Immigration/Customs on the dock and it was mass confusion.  First we were told to wait in a line.  Then H was waved through by the officer next to him.  All the officials were yelling at each other and H rode away.  He rode 200 meters and was stopped and turned around.  I was told to wait. They don’t see H had been turned around and was on his way back to Immigration/Customs.  They then gave up on seeing our documents and wave Robert and I go while H was riding back to the Immigration/Customs area.  Seeing us H does a U-Turn on the wide empty dock and the three of us are waved through the gate to the streets of Bari.
Our destination today is 675 km (420 miles) to the Tuscany region.  We are going to the “Gallo Nero” (Black Cock) HOG Rally in the Tuscany area.  It is a 7-day Ride-To-Eat while exploring the Tuscany area.
When we enter the autostrata we each pull a ticket.  There are super stations with restaurants so you don’t exit the autostrata.  When we exit the autostrata at Figline Valdarno the toll price was ~€25 or $33 USD each.
A HOG Ride-To-Eat Extravaganza
Date: Fri, June 7, 2013

Location:  The Tuscany Area, Figline Valdarno, Italy

Lodging: Norcenni Girasole Club, Figline Valdarno, Italy

N 43° 36′ 43″, E -11° 26′ 54″

Money Conversion:

June 11, 2013: €1 = $1.327 USD or $1 USD = €0.77537

Gas/Fuel in Ghedi Estaut, Italy: €1.789/l or $8.775 USD/gal!

The Norcenni Girasole Club, Figline Valdarno, is a really fancy campground.  It’s huge with almost any style of camping from cabins, stone apartments, tents, all styles of RV’s, etc.  I wasn’t expecting much but …

I was expecting a tent or cabin. We are staying in the right stone farm house.

Front of our modest lodging.

This is the logo of the "Gallo Nero" Rally -- The Black Cock.

The “Gallo Nero” (Black Cock) HOG Rally is one of the best I have attended.  It wasn’t cheap but the food, wine, friendship, and Tuscany riding was fantastic.

The love for Harley in Europe is amazing.  These were very serious HOG members.

It was “invitation only” and limited to 150.  Riders came from all over Europe.  The second half of this was a ride into Rome and the Pope would do a Blessing of the Bikes.

I was the only non-Harley!  I was asked many times “How are you here?  My answers were many but it came down to “My Harley is at home in California!”

The first 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) are planned rides of ~200 km (125 miles) RT through the best of Tuscany.   Lunch is at wonderful restaurants usually with wine and 2-3 courses of food.

Penzi is a HOG member from Germany. He trailered his HD side-car rig and an antique US HD police bike to this event. He even as a moto police uniform!  Penzi came well equipped with cases of beer and made sure we had a sampling of all … even a 10% Austrian beer!

Penzi was a professional musician traveling all over the world performing at Bavarian and Octoberfest events.

Tuscany with vineyards, olive trees, farms, villages.

Gallo Nero Lunches

Friday, June 7

Restorante “Latini”, San Gimignano (SI)

First course of our riding lunch.

180 degree photo of Tuscany countryside and restaurant.

Saturday June 8

Ristorante “la Costa”, Montefollonico (SI)

The Firenze HOG Chapter performed a great "Village People" Macho Man and YMCA act. They were the official Road Captain's of the daily Tuscany rides.

Sunday June 9

Costello di Valenzano, Subbiano (AR)

Sunday lunch was at a Castle!

Every lunch was excellent.

Penzi came to the Sunday dinner in his area's traditional clothing.

Celebration Cake for the 12th Gallo Nero Rally


Typical buffet spread for the group!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday you rode on your own with a big party Wednesday night.  Thursday a huge group would ride to Rome for the Blessing of the Bikes.

We chose not to participate in the second part and leave early Monday for … La Spezia (south of Cinque Terre).  Last year it was raining so bad the Cinque Terre road washed out.

The five towns are from north to south — Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

We’ll see how far we can get!

5 comments to Under the Tuscan Sprinkles

  • Brother Tom

    See new places, meet new people, eat great food and drink red wine…..can it get any better? Oh yea, how’s the weather been lately?

  • Tom B.

    Fantastic, Dean! Careful with the wine.
    I’ve gotten waved into countries and then wondered what would happen if I get stopped by a cop, since I don’t have any importation papers for the bike. I guess going into Italy it doesn’t matter because it’s part of the Euro zone.

  • John, Sharon and Azkl

    The “Black Cock”? Good one! In the US we’d get arrested for a rally by that name, it aint politically correct! Great Pics and blog! And a bike blessed by Pope Francis, you are golden!!

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