I woke up early, I felt refreshed and relaxed. The bed was cozy and Ginge had not woken me up but I did wear earplugs so that I couldn’t hear him anyway. I looked up at the curtains and the sun was shining, I hoped this was going to continue for the rest of the day.
We had decided on a late breakfast the night before and a very leisurely start after a tough day yesterday. It was going to be a 10.30am get away with such a short day anticipated and lots of photo opportunities for the whole group. Because of the shit weather so far and the motorway mileage to start the first two days, there weren’t many riding pictures.
We decided breakfast was going to be around 08.30am or even 09.00am and then when we were all ready (without cracking the whip) we’d leave. This would give us loads of time to ride, stop, take in the scenery and take some pictures. We would also have loads of time to ride up and down the Stelvio Pass during the afternoon and get the drone up for some group riding video shots. It promised to be a great day.
We arrived for breakfast fairly early as we are getting older now and we need less sleep. Even though we had said late, I was up and about early and so was Ginge, we had a shower and got ready to head down for a huge breakfast and lots of coffee. The owner of the hotel was very pleasant, he made small talk and said he didn’t think we would arrive last night as it was late on when he left.
He asked where we were heading, we told him the route and he explained that it was going to be closed at midday and we should be on our way now to reach the pass before the barriers come down. What the hell was he on about! My mind started to think about the amount of bikers already up and about and were riding through Davos. I had wondered why it was so busy earlier but didn’t think anything of it.
We told him our perception of the closures and that we were under the impression it was midnight until 06.00am. He said he would check for us, went away and came back a few moments later to state that all high passes close at midday due to avalanche risk. The heat of the day makes the snow melt and it becomes a very high risk. So at midday all passes close, if you are not through the barrier, you have to find an alternative route.
After yesterday’s long day, we were not going to put ourselves or the bikes through another arduous day. So we made a decision, to rush breakfast, pack bikes, fill up across the road at the garage and be ready to go asap. The rush was on because the route was just over 2 hours and it was now getting close to 10.00am!
We all rushed back to the rooms to pack and ready to go, we got the bikes ready, filled up with fuel at the garage opposite, lined up and when everyone was packed and ready we were off on our way. Now we had to be heading the most direct route to the Umbrail Pass, from there we’d either head up the Stelvio Pass for pictures (not very likely) or head straight down into Bormio.
The route didn’t disappoint, fast sweeping roads taking us out of Switzerland and in a hurry to reach the passes before we are once again stranded and looking for ‘Plan B or C’. Not many opportunities for pictures now, because we were on a mission! I was able to ride ahead at times and take pictures of the group as they rode past, I also found a few places to look down on them as they passed far below on the mountain sections.
We arrived at the Umbrail Pass to find the barrier was still up, so we went through and took a slower ride over this section of the pass. A few chances to take photos and look at the amount of snow still hanging about, it was getting chilly as we climbed and the snow much deeper.
As we rode through the Italian border we all met up for a quick photo and set off together. As we arrived at the Stelvio we could turn left up the mountain or eight down to Bormio. Then we saw the barrier sign, the gate would be closed in 10 mins! Wow, if we were a little later we’d have hours of riding to get down to Bormio just 20 minutes down the side of the mountain. Our decision was made, we turned right and headed downwards instead of up. We would not risk going to see the main section of the Stelvio but were happy to drop down this side of the pass to Bormio.
Our aim was to get to the hotel for an early stop, this would be a welcome chill out for the afternoon and a bit of group bonding. The hotel did not disappoint, a very well kept modern hotel. A great garage to park in, a beer or two ordered on arrival and a slow and relaxed afternoon was going to be the order of the day.
After the beer and checking in early, we had a shower and met up for lunch. It was a very pleasant afternoon, chilling out watching the world go by and loading up with water to rehydrate our bodies ready for a big day tomorrow.
After lunch we had a few hours to chill time, sorting out our kit, looking at the maps and just catching up and socialising, getting to know each other a little better. It wasn’t long before it was time for dinner and we booked a typical Italian pizza place to finish off the day. It was a lovely meal and so far every meal has only cost €20 each, we put the same amount in the kitty each day to pay the bills. This pays for food and coffee, if we need more in the pot, we all contribute the same amount.
It was getting late, the rain was just about to start. It was spitting as we walked back to the hotel and we could hear the thunder rolling somewhere in the distance, this was going to be a loud night. I enjoy watching the lightning and listening to the thunder but I was not prepared for what was about to wake me up during the night.
It was time for a much needed catch up on our beauty sleep.