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Author Topic: Central Italy  (Read 1408 times)

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Offline Orson

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Central Italy
« on: November 12, 2013, 08:49:35 AM »
After a long layoff, a plan was hatched for a team orson reunion tour. While Greece was originally considered as a focal point, with team orson still recovering from their injuries and, with the Goose having been in mothballs for almost two years, it was decided to play it safe and stay close to home in an attempt to rediscover sport touring. The team was reunited at team orson world headquarters in Parma, Italy and was soon on the road heading southwards.

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Tuscany

The first day would end with team orson in the Chianti region of Tuscany. The long layoff had affected team orson's endurance and they were feeling mighty sore. In the past, team orson plowed ahead, staying in a new locale every night. A decision was made to stay at one place for a few days, making day trips before moving on.

Panzano in Chianti

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Heading southwest from Siena

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Someone's Tuscan weekend bungalow

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Approaching the castle in Rocca d' Orcia

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Narrow, cobblestone streets of Rocca d' Orcia

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Heading south from Rocca d' Orcia, Monti Amiati, the highest peak in Southern Tuscany looms in the distance

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Castel del Piano

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Tuscan autumnal landscapes

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Returning to Rocca d' Orcia

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An elderly gentleman makes his way up the streets of Rocca d' Orcia. Team orson had been recommended a nice room nearby with an excellent restaurant

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Tasty twisties were also sampled

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We stopped to have lunch in this town whose name now escapes me.

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Team orson was becoming all too familiar with the pleasures of Italian cuisine where, one course simply will not do. Meals were consumed with no concern given to bulging waistlines. At one lunch stop, an Italian waiter chided team orson for ordering a coke rather than wine with lunch. The fact that I was operating a motor vehicle failed to dissuade him from his stance. It was simply un-Italian. Within a week, team orson had to cut out all desserts.

Something was amiss with team orson's itinerary. Whereas in the past, an innate sense of wanderlust had propelled us onward, now, wandering aimlessly had caused a feeling of disorientation to set in. A chance meeting with a leather shop owner in Siena changed things. After learning that we were both motorcyclists, a conversation about trips and roads ensued. He mentioned the Isle of Elba and how great the roads were there. A seed had been planted and by the next morning, team orson was heading towards the Tuscan coast.

Approaching the coast through groves of olive trees

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I had planned to stay overnight at the ferry port of Piombino but, arriving by 3:00 P.M., I found that a ferry was leaving in 20 minutes. I purchased a ticket and was soon directed to the front of the line. I had barely enough time to get off the bike and snap this picture of the ferry before the load master was hollering at me to get my butt onboard

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Elba lies 18 kilometers off the coast of Tuscany so, it was a relatively quick 1 hour crossing. The island is about 40 kilometers long and roughly 10 kilometers wide. As with many islands, time seems to slow down a bit and life is carried out at a more relaxed pace than on the mainland. We found a hotel on a beach and made plans to explore the island the following day.

The cove where the hotel was located

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The next morning we head west from the main city of Portoferraio, following the coastal highway, Monti Capanne, the highest peak on Elba in the distance

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Approaching the town of Marciana Marina on the north coast

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The roads of Elba are extremely twisty but, with the heavy traffic, traveling at a sporty pace proved difficult. It seemed that a moped with flip flops and a bathing suit to sample the passing beaches might be the proper choice. After Marciana Marina however, the traffic density was reduced significantly and things began to look up.

When the road broke out of the forest onto the cliffs overlooking the west coast, I was impressed by the view. If you squinted, you might think that you were riding the Pacific Coast Highway in California

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Cue Tommy Chong voice: Oh wow man! That's California!

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I stopped in the town of Pomonte for lunch. The primi platti of frutti de mari was absolutely delicious

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Unfortunately, the Highway 1 similarity only lasted about 20 kilometers. Heading back east along the south coast

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The next day would be spent exploring the east side of the island.

Overlooking the main city of Portoferraio across the bay

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Approaching the town of Innamorata

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Looking back west along the southern coast from the town of Innamorata

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After two days on the island, we boarded a ferry back to the mainland. Heading across Southern Tuscany, the landscape reminded team orson of Spain

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It was on this day that team orson would rediscover sport touring. From the coast, the Strada Statale 322 climbs up into the Appenines with a mix of fast, sweeping bends followed by tighter, more technical twisties. Team orson meshed into a single, strada-strafing unit, dispatching what little traffic they encountered to turn the knob to eleven. The day would end along the shores of Lago di Bolsena which, when viewed on a topographical map, is revealed to be the crater of a giant, extinct volcano.

The town of Bolsena is one of those places, lined with trees and cafes and gelaterias filled with Italians enjoying life, that make one think, "Dang, it sure would be nice to retire here".

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Leaving Bolsena the next morning, it's just a short hop to the hill town of Orvieto

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Meandering through the narrow streets of Orvieto

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The mighty, mighty Goose patrols the rampart walls for any signs of approaching Honda hordes

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Owww...well she's a BRICK...'ouse
she's mighty, mighty just lettin' it all hang out


Massive v-twin torque + shaft drive + sporty ergos = The Sport Tourer of the Decade

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Lazio

Leaving Tuscany, team orson enters Lazio. While not as famous as Tuscany or Umbria, Lazio still has some wonderful natural beauty.

Heading into the Grand Sasso National Park north of L'Aquila

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Team orson was surprised at the quality of the twisties on the eastern fringe of the Appenine mountains. Wonderfully traffic-free, twisty roads that rivaled anything the Alps have to offer. It remains a mystery to team orson why so many focus on the Alps while leaving other fantastic roads untouched but, we are grateful for the lack of traffic

Vast wide open spaces on the northern fringe of Monti Sibillini National Park

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The town of Civitella (I think)

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Umbria

Approaching Spoletto from the south

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Tuscany

After almost two weeks of unflinching, sunny blue skies, a day of rain set in. With time running out, we began to head north towards home base. In Northern Tuscany, the mountains become steeper and the terrain becomes almost alpine-like.

The Northern Tuscan spa town of Bagni di Lucca where team orson found a nice little hotel overlooking the river

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Sunny skies returned allowing for a beautiful ride through the Apuan Alps of Northern Tuscany

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Resistance is futile. If you see the sign of a scorpion in your mirrors, surrender to your fate at the hands of an Abarth-equipped Fiat 500

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More views of the Apuan Alps

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Popping out on the Ligurian coast near Portofino

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After a rest day in Portofino, team orson begins the final leg of the trip from the coast back to Parma. Team orson was a bit surprised to find some of the best roads on the trip were within a day's ride from Parma.

Impressive mountain views in the Emilia-Romagna

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The castle overlooking the town of Bardi

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One final meal

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Route Map:

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Trip statistics using the Dantes Dame format

Mileage: a paltry 3200 kilometers
Riding Days: 17.5
Rest Days: 1.5
Carabinieri encounters: 0
Deer encounters: 0
Ferry crossings: 2
Bee stings: 0

Offline RedCBRRider

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Re: Central Italy
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 09:30:14 AM »
Way cool.  :bigok:

Offline ST1300Rider

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  • Location: The East Slope of the Alberta Rocky Mountains
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Re: Central Italy
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 09:32:57 AM »
Awesome. Riding in Tuscany is one of the best all round holidays anyone could have.