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More Twisty Turnies! Cinque Terre & Passo Stelvio

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, April 25.

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.

Finding a lost road…

Date: Monday, June 10, 2013

Route Location:  Figline Valdarno, Italy to Lago Di Iseo, 480 km or 298 miles.

Lodging: Hotel on the north end of Lago Di Iseo, Italy.

Money Conversion:

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

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

We depart the Gallo Nero HOG Rally at 8:00AM.  We ride directly to La Spezia, approx. 200 km or 2.5 hours.  Cinque Terra area consist of five towns from the south to north: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso.  The normal way to access these villages is by train which stops at each village.  4 wheeled access is very time consuming and along a semi-dangerous road.
This road runs along the mountain ridge above the villages.  Off this road are little spurs that switchback down to each little village.  Last year when we tried to ride the road that connects all five towns, the heavy rains resulted in a landslide that washed away several sections of the road.  We came to blocked fence that required us to backtrack back to La Spezia.  We wanted to see if the road was now open.

We were vey high above the Cinque Terra villages. I think this is Manarola.

The little spur road that goes down to Manarola had a sign “Road Closed, Use the Train!”

The road is quite twisty and as we came the same gated-fence that said “Road Closed” there is a couple on a motorscooter opening the gate.

We asked if the road was open all the way and the reply was yes.  So in we went.  The road was washed out in a half dozen places with a dirt road bypassing the missing paved road.  The missing sections were easy for motorcycles.

I think this is Corniglia. The steep mountain side is terraced with vineyards. Grapes and other produced is hauled up and down with little electric trolley’s.

It’s mid afternoon and time to ride north to find a place to stay.  We end up at the north end of Lago Di Iseo, Italy in a town of Pisogne.
Hotel La Pieve Di Pisogne, S.R.I., Single room with garage parking and WiFi was €67
The Stelvio Pass

All hotels include breakfast with room rate.  Breakfast starts at 7:30 / 8:00 AM.  We are on the road by 9:00AM.

We are riding north to find a couple more passes.

The first was Passo della Foppa, Mortirolo, 1852 slm.

This was the original pass sign.

Passo della Foppa

Passo della Foppa

At the top of Foppa we met a WW2 US Army Jeep Club.

Every BLOG has to have a photo of the local WC facilities.


You had better like tunnels if you want to ride the Stelvio Pass.  We went through at least 30+.  The longest was 8 km! (5 miles).  Italian tunnels are very different than the ones in the US.  They are rarely straight.  They might twist like a snake path, have intersections in the middle to different valleys, go in circles up or down, and all are only 2-lanes.  The air inside the tunnels stink of auto exhaust.

The second, the infamous mother-of-all-passes … Stelvio Pass. This is from Wikiipedia – “The Stelvio Pass (ItalianPasso dello StelvioGermanStilfser Joch), located in Italy, at 2757 m (9045 feet) is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, and the second highest in the Alps, slightly below the Col de l’Iseran (2770 m, 9088 feet).”
GPS Coordinates: N 46° 31’ 43”, E -010° 27’ 10”
From the south the pass is 18+ km.  It’s been on my “Bucket List” of things to do. Bob Higdon is my inspiration for riding this pass.  He had mentioned Stelvio Pass in an article.

The Stelvio has several levels of hair-pin climbs.  The first is fairly steep then there is a long valley then a second series of hair-pins to a mountain road to a final set of hair-pins to the top.

I apologize for lack of road photos.  This pass is extremely steep and narrow.  I kept looking for turn-outs to take photos but there was no level ground to park or space on the sides of the road.

The top was beautiful, cold, windy and alternated between rain and snow.  It was a beehive of activity with 40+ bicyclists, 40+ motos, and 30+ 4-wheel vehicles all squeezed on the top.  Many people talking and shopping at many souvenir booths, two food carts, several restaurants, and a couple hotels.

Stelvio Pass

Stelvio Pass

While we were having lunch it started to snow hard and like magic … everyone disappeared.  Just to be safe, everyone rushed to get off the mountaintop before the roads get icy.  We also were rushing to get on the road but after 15 minutes, the heavy snow turned to light flurry’s.  It was weird how empty to top was.

Stelvio Pass Summit was a beehive of activity! When the heavy snow came, everyone runs to get off the mountain.

We ride very slow in these conditions.  It takes a lot of concentration to stay on your line and not cross over in the hair-pin turns.  I do all the turns in 1st gear and sometimes standing on the pegs.  All the time we are maneuvering around bicyclists, other passing motos, and cars, trucks, and campers.
Today we will touch Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Germany.

This is the lower 1/3 north side Stelvio Pass.

Down the north side is a sheer face with tight hairpins then halfway down the hairpin legs get longer and longer.
Our last pass is Fernpasshohe 1210 m (Fern Pass).

All day it was mostly blue skies and light scattered showers except for the pass.  We ride north to the Bavarian town of Fussen. At 18:00 when we pull up the hotel and it starts to pour.  Life is good!

Fern Pass

A couple German beers, a light dinner and bed.  I was dreaming of riding the Stelvio all night with a big grin and chuckling.
The room with 3-beds is €180.  This includes evening beers, dinner and €5 to park 3 bikes in the garage, €5 for all of us to use the internet.

7 comments to More Twisty Turnies! Cinque Terre & Passo Stelvio

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