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CUA180A The Ultimate Alps

Monday, July 23, 2018 | Michael Engelhard / Julian Fischer / Wim Doms | Europe / Italy

16 Horsepower has always been a fantastic band. 16 friends from California, Chicago and Germany (yup, odd one out!) gathered together with waaaay more horsepower to come and do THIS! Ride the Alps, the Ultimate way.

Riding day 1 - Setting off from the center of the universe

You know there is some motorcycling about to happen once you see this...
Sure enough... just 40 minutes later, first little stop was already happening.
And well worth the stop it was: this amazing view over the Inn valley. Would turn out later to be just a little warmup-view
Our funky people even got photobombed by a local in the background
OK... we may have cheated a little and found them in a pot instead of high up in the mountains, but still: Edelweiss! (Well, or a close relative anyway)
We didn't come here to see flowers though. We came here to go up there! The legendary, bucketlist Stelvio pass. What a sight! And all 16 made it up perfectly safe!
Stelvio not enough? Then what about Gavia pass as en extra afternoon add-on before heading to Switzerland after a... well... slightly long first riding day

Riding day 2 - The Swiss/Italian Alps wonderland

Where else in the world can you get out of the garage, and be in a place like this 45 minutes later? Pauline and Arturo just conquered Albula Pass.
Mat, Zack and Kate met up with someone travelling with way less horsepower... brave man!
More views coming up!
But the road to get there was well worth a picture too!
And when in the Alps: no lunch without a nice view.
Getting close to our destination in Brünnen, Pauline actually met Wilhelm Tell. For real! (Well... almost)
Nature came up with a windy surprise for our evening dinner. Storm building over Vierwaldstättersee!

Riding Day 3 - Ice Ice Baby... oh and some traffic too...

Ever seen a glacier from the inside? Well our bunch did, walking straight into the Rhone glacier on top of Furka Pass. Up close and personal with the ice that feeds the alpine rivers which create the amazing landscapes we ride through every day.
Matt and Kevin have a look at the glacier from above as well.
An incredible view it is...
Well, on a sunday in the middle of high tourist season, sometimes we have to deal with a little traffic as well... But more importantly: how about that photobomb by a local? See him?
But just a short way up or down a mountain, traffic soon dies out and you can enjoy a little group picture with no one around.
Or if you don't want any traffic at all... just hop on a boat across the lake All peace and quiet there... only downside is that the bike doesn't move either...
Todd says: if the bike doesn't move, I may as well have a little power nap on this ferry. No snoring officially recorded.

Riding day 4 - Bye bye Matterhorn, Italian icons coming up!

Zermatt, that crazy little postcard town high up in the Alps, gave us the most beautiful goodbye salute: Matterhorn, the Swiss icon by excellence, in all its glory!
One last Swiss mountain pass over Simplon, and then it was time to go and look for some Italian icons.
There goes Michael with his group over Simplon! First tour and already guiding groups through these landscapes... not a bad job huh Mike?
Italian icons we said, right? Well, here's the first one: tartufo, or the legendary truffles, have just come in season. Would have been rude not to indulge... just a little tiny bit.
Somewhere on the other side of Lago di Como, Todd has spotted something... and it wasn't George Clooney's house... it was way better!
It was this place! A special add-on for our special tour group: the holy ground for motorcycle lovers, the Moto Guzzi factory and museum in Mandello del Lario! Tobias immediately kicked into petrolhead-mode.
Some really special one-offs on display here. A small museum, and a long way round to get there, but our classic bike lovers really enjoyed their visit...
... see? All smiles!
A nice little thunderstorm in the afternoon came at a perfect time to cool off the heat.
Some last little pretty sights before finally heading towards Lugano.
And how better to end a really long day on the bike than by having... a barbecue baby!

Riding Day 5 - To the valley of the sun

Happy faces all over on our way to Val di Sole, the valley of the sun.
Pass after pass after pass... did we ever tell you it really is hard work, having all this fun?
By the time we actually arrived in the valley of the sun, the sun was hiding behind the mountains already, but still... what a wonderful riding day again!

Riding Day 6 - Picnic day!

Today... it's all about relaxing!
And about enjoying the views...
After all those long, hard riding days, time for an easy going ride from Mezzana to Bozen. And since we had some time on our hands: Michael was hiding in a little secret place with his very first picnic on tour. And what a great job he did!

Riding Day 7 - Resting, going back in time and chasing Dolomite views

Rest day in Bolzano, so why not visit the most legendary man on earth?
Here he is: Otzi, the ice man!
Fancy an official Otzi-souvenir in chocolate?
In the mean time, somewhere outside Bozen, today's riders went looking for the best views around. And found them too!

Riding Day 8 - The final one... with Brough Superiors on the way!

Our final day on the road started like all the others: with smiles all over! Demonstrated here by Russ and Lisa.
We started meeting some funky old things on top of Penserjoch, but this was only a taster for what was still to come.
Richard and Vicki pose with a cool attitude in front of Jaufenpass, which they had just conquered on the big RT.
Here comes the true highlight of our last riding day: the unbelievable road over Timmelsjoch, crossing back from Italy into homebase Austria. And the road and views were not the only highlight...
Nope, for our group of true, official gearheads and lovers of all classic machines, the Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum on Timmelsjoch really was the perfect ending to a wonderful tour!
Just one of them...
Part of the group in heaven
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Pierre Baumgärtner
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 18:26

Hi Todd,
good to see you on that tour..... have fun and enjoy each and every curve and switchback…….
Cheers, Pierre


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