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The Three Islands Tour


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#1 teerex51

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 02:14 AM

My bike's still warm from our 2,800-mile Istanbul Raid and I swear there's still a layer of dust from the Balkans all over it. wink.gif

BTW, here's proof we really did ride to Turkey and back: cool.gif THE ISTANBUL RAID

Two days ago Cap'n Hook phones me up and asks:"How about doing the 3-Island Tour" we discussed last year?". Sure, why not. rolleyes.gif

It's an anticlockwise tour of Italy (we had to briefly borrow Corsica from the French) that takes in the latter island, then Sardinia, Sicily, and goes on to cover the Eastern coast of Italy, all the way back to Milan, which we call home for lack of a prettier place.



My daughter Laura's studying Italian in Palermo (long story) so I guess I have an extra reason to go.
I'm still looking for a "regular" job (this male-stripper gig is getting old) and I'm not awash in Euros, but what the hell.
The open road beckons and, as I said, the FJR is still warm.

I'll keep you posted...

Stef
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#2 jet mechanic

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 07:14 AM

Ah great!

It's probably going to be another fantastic ride report that the majority of U.S. members can only dream about, be envious over, and wish we all had more time and resources to come and join you.

Thanks!

PS; Can't wait to read it! clapping.gif Good luck and have fun!!!!

#3 bikesniffer

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 07:31 AM

QUOTE (teerex51 @ Jun 10 2009, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My bike's still warm from our 2,800-mile Istanbul Raid and I swear there's still a layer of dust from the Balkans all over it. wink.gif

BTW, here's proof we really did ride to Turkey and back: cool.gif THE ISTANBUL RAID

Two days ago Cap'n Hook phones me up and asks:"How about doing the 3-Island Tour" we discussed last year?". Sure, why not. rolleyes.gif

It's an anticlockwise tour of Italy (we had to briefly borrow Corsica from the French) that takes in the latter island, then Sardinia, Sicily, and goes on to cover the Eastern coast of Italy, all the way back to Milan, which we call home for lack of a prettier place.



My daughter Laura's studying Italian in Palermo (long story) so I guess I have an extra reason to go.
I'm still looking for a "regular" job (this male-stripper gig is getting old) and I'm not awash in Euros, but what the hell.
The open road beckons and, as I said, the FJR is still warm.

I'll keep you posted...

Stef



dang!

Alfredo
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#4 teerex51

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 08:35 AM

QUOTE (jet mechanic @ Jun 11 2009, 11:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...

It's probably going to be another fantastic ride report that the majority of U.S. members can only dream about, be envious over, and wish we all had more time and resources to come and join you.


Now you know how I feel when I read ride reports about Hwy 421 or the Cherohala Skyway rolleyes.gif
This summer will be the first time in 5 years that I won't be visiting NC. mad.gif

Oh well. Plenty of good rides this side of the pond for sure.

Stef

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#5 beemerdons

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 08:40 AM

Stef, Looking forward to your Ride Report and Photos on this trip. You know that's the route I've been day dreaming about!!

#6 beemerdons

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:10 AM

Stef, Did you and Hook do (or are you doing) The Three Islands Tour? If you were going to do this in 2010, I know of dos gringos that would be interested: Dr. Bob and me. I'd cancel my Guatemala MC ride for Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, Italia!

#7 wheatonFJR

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:14 AM

wow...now that's a trip! clapping.gif

#8 beemerdons

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:24 AM

http://fjrforum.it-w...705d2f6ac#45664 Ah nuts, Wheaton FJR

If my Italian is to be trusted, much better mit Deutsche y Espanol, it appears that Stef and Hook already did Tre Isole Tour!!

Wheatie, once teerex51 does an awesome ride report, like he always does, then we have a complete guidebook for this trip.



#9 wheatonFJR

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:34 AM

QUOTE (beemerdons @ Jul 10 2009, 11:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
http://fjrforum.it-w...705d2f6ac#45664 Ah nuts, Wheaton FJR

If my Italian is to be trusted, much better mit Deutsche y Espanol, it appears that Stef and Hook already did Tre Isole Tour!!

Wheatie, once teerex51 does an awesome ride report, like he always does, then we have a complete guidebook for this trip.


Hey! If you're buying...I'm flying! clapping.gif

smile.gif

#10 teerex51

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 12:33 AM

Hey there, we're back -- as Beemerdons correctly guessed.

We rode in yesterday after 3,750 kms of dry roads and temperatures ranging from 52 to 100 F.
Everything went fine and we've got some amazing stories to tell.

A full report will follow cool.gif

Stef
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#11 vabrzn

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 02:14 AM

Looking forward to some pics!
Posted Image Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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#12 teerex51

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:42 AM

Well, you asked for it... laugh.gif .
This is a lot of pictures, but I had a hard time selecting them out of 1.5GB of JPEG files... blink.gif

We left on July 1 headed for the seaport of Savona, that lies on the Med coast a mere 60 miles from the French Riviera. There we boarded a ship bound for Bastia, on the French island of Corsica.



Bright and early (7 AM) the next day we headed inland through Corsica's rugged landscape.



The island is mostly rocks and pine forests, with many streams running to the sea and lots of old stone bridges.



We reached the West coast of Corsica north of Ajaccio (Napoleon's birthplace) and enjoyed a wonderful fast ride down D81, a state highway with the finest surface I've ever seen. A layer of my ContiMotion tires rests there forever. Could not have picked a better place.

Corsica's only a small island and we soon found ourselves at its southernmost tip (Bonifacio) waiting for a car-ferry bound for the Italian island of Sardinia, that's just a beer and an hour away.



We slept on Sardinia's North coast and hit the road early the next AM. We were going to ride the island's West coast, all the way down to its capital Cagliari. We hit an old favorite, Highway SP105, a spectacular 25-mile stretch of road corkscrewing its way along the coast. It's a classic haunt for bikers but that morning we only came across 3 bikes that proudly flew the flag of the Czech Republic. These guys had come all the way from Prague to ride here.



We rolled on South with an eye on the time. We were supposed to make a ferry-boat leaving Cagliari at 7PM bound for Palermo in Sicily.
Temps reached 100F as we barreled down the island N-S highway but we finally rode into the harbor at 5.30 PM with plenty of time to spare.



Our ship sailed into the night bound for Sicily and we entered Palermo harbor at 9AM on Saturday July 4.



One of our Forum buddies was waiting for us on the jetty and he promptly took us to a downtown bar for our second breakfast. Sicilian pastries are incredibly rich and filling, but local folks are not used to having their offers refused -- ya know what I'm saying, goombah?



We then proceeded to a farmhouse along the coast where we'd booked accommodation (what is known as Agriturismo) where we spent two days doing virtually nothing between meals, except maybe drinking and splashing around in the swimming pool.



Oh yeah, we did go into Palermo and strolled around the flea market, where Catholic paraphernalia shared a stall with sexy photos from the early 1900s.



By the way, this is us: (from left) myself, my riding buddy Hook and our Sicilian friend Leonardo.



But the road beckoned and we had to leave. Next thing we knew, we were riding through lush mountains headed for Mount Etna, an active 10,000 ft volcano that looms over the Southern coast of Sicily. Below you see Etna and the town of Randazzo on its Northern slopes.



Holy moly, what an incredible scenery. Scraping pegs through lava fields on one of the most beautiful roads on this island. Too bad it's only 13 miles long.



We explored some (apparently) inactive craters at elevation 6,000 and reluctantly headed back.



Our destination was the Alcantara river that flows along the mountain's North side and forms beautiful gorges.



Next to it, the town of Motta Camastra sits atop a bluff and would be the perfect setting for a Mario Puzo novel.



Our Sicilian stay ended the following morning. We crossed the Messina Straits into the toe of Italy and climbed it for 200 miles. Then we headed East to the
Apulia coast (Italy's heel) and reached the baroque city of Lecce in the early evening.



We strolled around the old town and enjoyed the evening breeze that offered some respite from the day's suffocating heat.



The setting sun was a fiery globe. More of the same tomorrow, we thought.
With that in mind we left early and rode up the Eastern Italian coastline. Flat land, lots of traffic and many speed traps.
3 hours of that crap and we'd had enough. At Vasto, we turned inland and started climbing into the mountains that form Italy's backbone.

This here is the village of Cerro al Volturno. From there we headed further NW into the Abruzzi National Park.



We initially wanted to visit the city of L'Aquila, recently hit by a severe earthquake, but the G8 Meeting was taking place there at the time of our trip, so the city was off-limits to us. We rode through the Abruzzi National Park and enjoyed the fact that every LEO in a 300-mile radius was keeping the world's leaders safe and was not, for a change, pointing a laser beam at us.



We were now about 60 miles inland from Rome and determined to stay away from the low ground. Too hot and too busy.
At elevation 2,000 ft we found an agriturismo that promised cool air and wholesome food.
For 50 Euro apiece we had a huge room each, a delicious meal based on fresh mushrooms and a country breakfast the next day.



Man, we were now just 350 miles from home. But fortunately there were plenty of mountains in between.
So we ended up climbing Mount Terminillo, the closest ski resort for Roman skiers. In July there was hardly a soul up there and the temperature was a balmy 50F.



We rode on and climbed up the Parco dei Monti Sibillini to reach the plateau of Castelluccio. At elevation 5,000+ this green bowl was originally a mountain lake that dried up eons ago and is now a beautifully colorful and gentle landscape.



We were soon in the heart of Umbria, near the town of Assisi. We pressed on and rode into Tuscany.



We were getting closer to home but still had a few mountain passes to negotiate. One more night to the West of Florence, then we broke a small record: 100 miles of backroad twisties without a straightaway worth mentioning, like a homegrown Tail of the Dragon with potholes, cracks and lunatic truckers thrown in.

By the time we hit the slab for the final stretch home, I said a silent thanks for my Throttlemeister.

This was a helluva good tour! Not a drop of rain over 2,300 miles. We called it the Three Islands Tour but we ended up throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. Well, you know how we FJR pilots are... rolleyes.gif

Stef
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#13 Hit the Road Jack

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:55 AM

Great ride report Stef! I'll have to add that to my list.

I spent time on Sicily in the service of my Uncle Sam. Hope to return there someday, with a motorcycle.

#14 juniorfjr

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:59 AM

Someday I will make that trip, if there is a god. Great report, thanks.

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#15 teerex51

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:04 AM

QUOTE (Hit the Road Jack @ Jul 11 2009, 10:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I spent time on Sicily in the service of my Uncle Sam. Hope to return there someday, with a motorcycle.


Chances are you were stationed in Sigonella, that's just south of Mt. Etna and those awesome roads cool.gif


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#16 beemerdons

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 08:49 AM

Ah Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and The Boot of Italy: Man, it looks so groovy I just want to go! I normally only sing that James Taylor song about Mexico: But just like the Pyrenees our fine friend Stef finally got me to, I want to ride The Three Islands!!!

teerex51: What would the weather be like in the first week of April if I was to fly into Roma? I know forecasting the rain is next to impossible, but would the snowfall be gone in the higher mountain area passes that you and Cap'n Hook traversed?

Trip is definitely on my bucket list having survived a heart attack, I'm 60 and riding with SkooterG: I'd better go damn soon!

http://www.rental-mo...ome_rental.html From the conversation You, Hook, Mek, Dave and I had in Pamplona at the Cantina: I know you think that I'm nuts, but I would rent a Ducati ST3 for an Italian Tre Islands Ride. Ciao!

#17 teerex51

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:32 AM

Don, early April is way too early for Mt. Etna and some of the mountain passes.
I'd recommend the last week in May or the first half of June.

QUOTE
I know you think that I'm nuts, but I would rent a Ducati ST3 for an Italian Tre Islands Ride


I know you're nuts, the choice of an ST3 being just one of the reasons... rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif

Stef
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#18 beemerdons

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:56 AM

Many thanks, Stef. That's interesting that Mt. Etna would stay snowed in as long as Timmelsjoch much farther North in Tirol.

Of course I'm nuts, I just posted I ride with SkootyG; but pictures here prove you also have ridden with Sir CrashALot too!!

#19 beemerdons

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:11 AM

Dear Stef, Hope you don't mind a bunch of "local knowledge" questions asked of you by your fat Irish-American cousin, me!

Contacted Dr. Bob and naturally as a born adventurer Sir Flanders is up for a Three Islands Tour. We've penciled in flying out of Phoenix on Thursday May 27, 2010 to Roma. Two nights in the Eternal City and we would pick up the bikes on 5/30.

1) Do we need reservations for the ferries for the day time crossings? Such as Porto Torres, Sardinia to Ajaccio, Corsica?

2) Have you personal experience with Civitavecchia to Olbia ferry crossing? It seems a natural route departing from Roma.

3) For the overnight crossing from Sardinia to Sicily, do we need reservations for a berth and meals? First class or second?

4) We intend to use exact same hotels and routings that you und Capitano Hook used. Do we need advance reservations?

5) We'll have the bikes rented for 7 days. Is there any place or any thing you two didn't see you would recommend to us?

We'll return the bikes to Ad-Mo on Saturday evening June 5 and spend another night in Roma. I think you do know Bob's response to my suggestion we rent Ducati's: It wasn't no: It was HELL NO! As usual, Dr. Bob will rent "his" BMW R1200RT.

Sunday we'll take the afternoon train to beautiful ancient Firenze and fly back to blistering hot Phoenix on Tuesday, June 8th.

I'll drum up interest at AZ Beemers 1st to see who's interested, then FJR forum and then ask you to post to your IT forum.

#20 teerex51

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 06:45 AM

QUOTE (beemerdons @ Jul 12 2009, 10:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
1) Do we need reservations for the ferries for the day time crossings? Such as Porto Torres, Sardinia to Ajaccio, Corsica?

2) Have you personal experience with Civitavecchia to Olbia ferry crossing? It seems a natural route departing from Roma.

3) For the overnight crossing from Sardinia to Sicily, do we need reservations for a berth and meals? First class or second?

4) We intend to use exact same hotels and routings that you und Capitano Hook used. Do we need advance reservations?

5) We'll have the bikes rented for 7 days. Is there any place or any thing you two didn't see you would recommend to us?


No problemo Don, glad to be of assistance.

1) Negative. There'll always be room for 2 bikes in the garage and 2 guys at the bar. rolleyes.gif

2) Plenty. Go for the Civitavecchia-Golfo Aranci service run by Sardinia Ferries. Great off-season rates and good on-board service.

3) Tirrenia's the only shipping line working that route and they suck big time. BTDT. Moreover, there's just a sailing per week to Palermo and one to Trapani.
This year, the Palermo run was on a Friday and the Trapani on a Sunday. This is a glorified ro-ro ship with limited accommodation. You need to secure a cabin early next year, stock up on beer and hole up in your cabin for the 13.5-hour ordeal.

4) Nope, wing it like we did. Hotac is not an issue that time of year.

5) We never overnighted in Corsica and that's a shame, but we've heard many horror stories of bikes stolen there. If you can spend a night in Corsica, check out St Florent or Calvi on the NW coast and book a hotel with indoor parking.

If you need local assistance, please count on your Italian Chapter. We'd love to eventually ride along.

Stef





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