Tornanti_2...Three Weeks Of Carve Till Ya Barf!!


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
After the first “Tornanti” ride in ’07 there wasn’t much left of the Alps to cover, right?

(Ride Report HERE)

Tornanti 1 (short “T1”) had stretched over 6 weeks and we’d covered a LOT of ground ….T2 was going to be a little different then....and we only had half the time.
While not such a big area if plotted on a flat sheet of paper, the Alps span Austria/Italy/ Slovenia/ and part of Switzerland in the eastern half…with France/ Italy/ the other half of Switzerland and a little bit of southern Germany making up the western half.

All up around 800km east-to-southwest ….and between ~25km and 300km north-to-south... as the crow flies.
Chuck in all those mountains, and things multiply at least four-fold…. at least as the roads go.

As T2 started looming, I didn’t have any firm ideas of what to tackle this time around, but the all-too-short T1-stint in Slovenia had left its mark.

There was a hell of a lot more there….and we’d missed out on the far north-eastern corner of Italy, the Friuli region as well…due to bad weather.
Friuli…reportedly one of the poorer, non-“Golden-Arched”, areas of northern Italy….little tourism, little flimflam….and downright Italian to the core.

Lots of hours researching the net yielded some interesting conclusions.
The Isonzo-Line was one of the most hotly-contested battle-fronts of WW1 and stretched from the Carinthian Alps (Austrian-Italian border….stretching juuust into Slovenia) .... across the Dolomites about 200km further west.... and south-west to the Val Sugana/ Asiago Plateau, just west of Feltre in today’s Northern Italy.
Map :

Borders marked in blue, Isonzo battle-areas marked pink

In short…the eastern ascent of the main ridge of the Alps is fairly narrow (~30k’s at its foot) and climbs to ~3000
The land to the north (Austria) and the south (Italy… with the Adriatic coast and it’s ports and trade) are fertile low-lands, which for 1000s of years have been extensively farmed (and vino’ed
)….both sides then are valuable ground, divided by a fairly narrow, but steep and rugged mountain range.

That natural border brought along its own set of considerations. Each side was keen to somehow cross the mountains and grab the spoils on the other side. A feuding King’s (or Pope's) dream: cross the mountains, rape and pillage to your heart’s content, then establish a firm “bridge-head” on the other side to guarantee trade and taxes for generations to come.

In the meantime, get rid of that inbred yokel, the black sheep of the family, and place him/ her far enough out of the way with hard-to work-soil, limited resources and a little castle here and there to keep ‘em under-resourced and unlikely to start some revolution….but in-line to be used when the big push across the mountains looked good for the next ego-expansion.

No shortage of skirmishes and biffs of all sizes along those mountains then….and WW1 proved the most recent one.

What’s THAT all got to do with motorcycling??

Weeellll….with that sort of background, and the most expansive military action a mere 100 years ago, there just HAS to be a lot of infrastructure left, which supported action of that kind.

Considering the terrain, it means that the valleys were the supply routes, with the ridges being hardest fought over (to control the valleys!).
That in return, makes for a myriad of “leftover”-roads and tracks, (to supply the military action along the ridges) which have either been
1) re-developed as main roads by now
2) became small local roads/ farming roads
3) have been left to deteriorate and fall into disrepair
4) have been re-developed to some extent for some local purpose

Whatever their fate…there just HAD to be a lot of interesting stuff around after a lousy hundred years (which is NOTHING, when compared to the local church or public building with their cornerstone markings of 1200 or 1500AD).

What a place to kick off T2 then….

A smorgasboard of tiny single-laners….a little dirt…remote areas with awe-inspiring scenery, sticking our noses into some historical stuff along the way.

The Slovenian Border Ridge Road….The Panoramica…the Mangart…Mt.Zoncolan….the Stol…the backroads around Northern Slovenia…Casson di Lanza…Torri de Fraele….and endless other tiny stuff.

Stringing it together via some more well-known stuff, still single-laners though….the Gavia, Vivione, Kaiserjagerstrasse,….the Tremalzo and Croce Domini….not to miss the Mortirolo/ Foppa….then throw in a few of the Classics and “Must-Do’s” like the Timmelsjoch, Grossglockner and Stelvio….pad it out with the Umbrail, Spluga, Albula and OfenPass…just to throw a few names around…..and finish off with the Grimsel/ Furka/ Susten/ St.Gotthard rollercoaster.

And that’s only the riding!!!!

Red circle= approx T2-area….green= approx. Eastern Alps Main ridge

Ideas came together… and if the order to the "weather-gods” had been processed correctly, we’d make a major dash east from Zurich to Slovenia, then spreading our time moving west towards Zurich again in an extended North-South ZigZag.

Lump in the local tucker, the low-season timing post EU school holidays, glorious autumn colours!! the incredible vistas, the “smells” of the place, riding on the wrong side of the road, extreme landscapes, buildings and history….and it should be an unforgettable time!!!

Those were the plans…and that’s how it went!

T2 had it ALL….AGAIN!!!...
incredible riding, unbelievable scenery, delicious single-laners, magic moments, SUPERB tucker …and “liquid bread”
….FANTASTIC people along the way
, roaring laughter and mirth, moments that turned knees and belly to jelly….and places which made you sit down, open-hearted, head in idle… and just let it all FLOOD IN.


Some stats ?
Near enough to 5000k’s, the bikes from Moto Mader near Zurich were EXCELLENT!!!!, no crashes (or rather: free-falls, considering the terrain), all timing and arrangements/bookings worked out perfectly, and a week after the return to Melbourne, the blisters and callousness on the “gas”-hand are slowly starting to come off… it’s been a HOOOOT of a time and the “weather-gods” DID PLAY ALONG!!

3 weeks of near perfect weather with only SOME wet roads on the 2.last day (near Andermatt) and a little drizzle on the last day along the way to Zurich….
The last day’s (Sat) Swiss morning-TV forecast promised something about “…a low-pressure-front coming in, snowfalls down to 1600m”.
By Monday , “Ranger” (from forum…who lives in the Dolomites) reported the Timmelsjoch closed due to snow, snow-tyres and chains needed for other passes…and the Passo di Gavia closed for the winter period since last Wednesday!!!

“The Aussies are gone!!...close down for winter NOW!!”

It just couldn’t ‘ve been any tighter!!

Hang in for Day1….(could be a day or 3....still sorting 8000+ pics!!)


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
Re: Tornanti_2...Rockin' The Backroads

The T2 Crew...

Tim (TT)






....and a couple of snow-ins.


...our Flying Dutchies Ed + Henrike


Still young and stupid
geez, is moike a statue or what, there is a pic from our bright trip a few years ago and i reckon he is in that same relaxed pose......might just be the type of guy he is though.....also have one of him rounding up a cruiser on the whitfield mansfield road :thumbs: on his fully loaded bmw


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
geez, is moike a statue or what, there is a pic from our bright trip a few years ago and i reckon he is in that same relaxed pose......might just be the type of guy he is though.....also have one of him rounding up a cruiser on the whitfield mansfield road :thumbs: on his fully loaded bmw

Mate....THAT IS Moike!! :so:so
Ever so cool and relaxed...until he's straddling the seat....of ANY bike, as we found out :thumbs:


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
The modern, airy Duesseldorf (Northern Germany) Terminal is jam-packed with folks hustling and bustling to the gates to fly off to where ever the discount tickets take them this weekend….with 3-5 flights-per-minute
leaving the place, there’s quiet chaos everywhere.

Most probably like any late-summer Saturday morning, I guess.

The mobile buzzes: “Tornantis in Dubai, all ok and on time”.
Tim’s SMS nails it then….if Air Berlin is on time, we should all meet in Zurich/ Switzerland within 40 mins of each other. Goodie and I had left for Europe a week ahead of the crew for some family-time with Goodie’s mum.

With Emirates Air running a tad late and Air Berlin copping some tailwind it all comes together nicely
…we meet at the exit just before customs.
”Maaaan, what a draaaag!!”….the tired eyes and slightly-out-of-focus-eyes say it all….it IS a bloody long flight.




Find an ATM for a fistful of the local baksheesh, grab a coffee, get some train tickets for the ride to Aarau, a 45min trip…. where Kurt Mader, the boss of MotoMader, had offered to pick us up for the short hop to the Bike shop “just walk out of the station, we’ll be at the carpark out front…we’re in a Van and an X5” ….easy enough !!

Swiss trains are ON TIME….even if they use the basement of the airport as a station. Straight through to Aarau on the Tilt-train to Geneva then…


While the tracks are flat to allow slower, local trains to use the same tracks, the InterCity trains have carriages which tilt like on a banked track through the high-speed bends…an eerie feeling.

Another call to MotoMader confirms locations and times.

Instantly noticeable is the lack of graffiti and rubbish strewn everywhere….even during the slow cruise through Zurich’s Outer Suburbs….before it’s into the deep-green countryside of rolling hills and small villages with their prominent church towers.

Aarau appears in a flash…then there’s a pile of suitcases, backpacks, jackets and helmets flying out the door onto the platform, the train leaves with doors barely closed.

Checking around, there’s some major building works going on at one side of the substantial station…that’ll most probably mean the other side for us then…..suitcases and gear dragging up and down stairwells, underpasses etc. Man…it’s warm, too!

Gasping, we finally appear at street level….and there’s a small carpark ! That must be the one!! No cars though….

Then Tim turns WHITE:SHIIIIT….I must’ve forgotten my backpack on the train!!!....yep, with all the money, passport and all the other important stuff!!”.

OH, Jeezaz!!

Chaos reigns for the next 45 minutes….Goodie and Tim are off to the train station’s Lost Property office to lodge a claim….
....more calls to MotoMader HQ (“Yes, they’ve left 20mins ago, they’ve GOT to be there, it’s only 5km”)…. the end it all comes together, Kurt and Joerg show up in the Van/ X5, Goodie and Tim are back with copies of forms in their hands “it’s lodged, let’s see what comes out of it” ….and we’re chucking all the gear into the van.

Off to Oberentfelden, the small town right on the Swiss A1 Autobahn.


The drive ends in a small industrial area and …HolySchmoly!!
….what a place MotoMader turns out to be!

The boss has talked some of the Mader-Crew into staying way past their usual Saturday arvo 4pm closing time to “process the Aussies” and get the official stuff out of the way.
Let’s take a short stroll around


Some of “our” bikes in the foreground

Dave getting the lowdown on where to find that BMW indicator-cancel button


Just sign on the dotted line

Showroom gems



You got that fuggen indicator switch now??


The upstairs accessories and clothing section make you weep with delight (and envy)




Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
There are 2 blue and a red GS650 for us…plus 2 grey GS800s for Tim and Marty….and at the lack of a third one of those, the boss throws in a GS12 for the same price. All done!!

All bikes are virtually brandnew
….the “oldest” are the 2 blue GS650s and the GS12 with ~ 5-6000km on the clock. Tim’s GS8 sprouts a virgin 30k’s!!! We'll fix THAT pretty soon...

All with panniers/ topboxes and tankbags….and full tanks.

That paints BiancoBlue in Milano 2 years ago “into the bin”!!!

In amongst all the kafuffle, Goodie’s mobile sprouts some good news: Tim’s backpack has been found intact and untouched by the conductor of the train (still on its way to Geneva!!) and can either be picked-up from Lost Property in Geneva (~250km away) tomorrow….or be returned in about 3 days to Aarau. Looks like a long train trip for Tim tomorrow then….in 2-3 days we’ll be somewhere else.

HUGE KUDOS to MotoMader…. Kurt, Joerg and the others who were there to help out 6 travel-weary Aussies getting their stuff together, get looked after like family (with nibblies on the counter and ice-cold drinks in an esky….incl. some Feldschloesschen beer for those who wanted it

What a super-friendly and professional bunch they are!!

In the end they lumped us all back into the van and X5 for the 2km hop along the single-laner backroads to Muhen, a small village on the other side of the Autobahn….and home of the Gasthof Baeren, our stay for the next 2 nights….and the last night upon our return and prior to the flight back to Oz.

Muhen proves to be one of those typical semi-new-time, semi-traditional villages of the more industrialized northern Swiss “flat”-lands.

A big sign outside proclaims : “CLOSED” for holidays….WOT???
I’d just called them again a fortnight ago to confirm everything!!!

On further inspection, there’s a small bar at a side-entrance….and we’re expected.

The narrow doorway opens into a big courtyard….the Gasthof out the front used to be a typical farm-building with stables and hay-lofts out back, all wrapped around a courtyard with thick timber benches and tables nowadays….a sort of beer garden.

A steep staircase drives the sweat again, but there are 3 renovated rooms with ensuites upstairs….CHRIST, those suitcases weigh a ton!! Especially after that first half-liter stein of local brew has turned the legs to custard…the shade in the beer garden was just too inviting.

YOU wanted to be first in the shower?? Kiss my %$#@

Around 7ish, the world looks good: Got the keys and rego-papers for the bikes, the bed for the night is fixed, Tim’s backpack is only a 6hr. train ride away, the shower bolted the legs back underneath, time for a short look around and getting some tucker organized….


The local Farmer’s shop along the main street….the “Stainless Cow”….selling raw milk out of a fridge-come-vending-machine.


Bring your container (or grab one of the cleaned, re-usable Mineral Water bottles next to the machine), stick a Franc (~A$1) into the slot and watch the absolutely sensationally-tasting stuff
glug about a litre worth of the cold, white stuff into the bottle.

Doesn’t go too well with the beer-foundation we laid about an hour ago though

Time for some chewies at the Restaurant Bahnhof !



Couldn’t care less about the local tram (connecting with Aarau Main Station) screeching away later that night and early the next morning…


….or the decidedly rural smell of the place.

“Shitflicker”-time around the Alps…more about that tomorrow, eh?

The local Saturday-Night crowd takes the downstairs Bar apart…while 6 Aussies snore blissfully unaware, wood-chipping half of Switzerland’s pine forests…


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
you should of taken a dainese suit and that rc8 instead of the beamers :glu:slobb

Fark...I'm getting too old for running around in a rainbow-condom with a permanent wedgie all day.
And stuff the RC8, too....way too much work on those roads.
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