Monday October 4th.
Monday was a free day, reserved for people getting familiar with the bikes, terrain, and the protocols for European riding, like riding to the right, not down the middle N American style. Rob and Gretchen left the villa early to assign the others their bikes and to lead them on a ride, if they so desired, to advise and size up the skill and or needs of the riders. The wife and I took off for a ride to the North, the weather was threatening all morning, but again we found some excellent small roads. We stopped at a small Café for lunch and our luck, and dry weather ran out. We donned our rain gear and set off again, in a few miles we ran out of the rain and got some dry pavement again, for a little while, until finally the rain got steady for the hour or so back to the villa. Tomorrow we head out of Italy.
A view of the countryside.
Tuesday October 5th
It rained hard overnight with some lightning and thunder, but by morning there was some sun peaking out of the clouds. Today we hit the road and ride to a different country tonight, even though we are still “in” Italy. The destination for tonight is San Marino, one of the European micro states, that is all of 24 square miles of rock in the middle of central Italy. San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and the oldest constitutional republic in existence, and was founded in 301, no I didn’t forget a “1”, it is 301!
Cecilia and I took off to ride by ourselves, as we were advised that we probably kept a little faster pace than the other riders on tour, the freedom to do your own thing, is the great part of Beach’s tours. We did know that the others were planning on stopping at the castle in Poppi, to sightsee and grab lunch, so we meandered along some smaller roads as we knew we would make better time than the rest. I hit some narrow twisty roads, but many were covered with leaves, pine needles and ripe chestnuts that were knocked down by the previous night’s storm. . So a little slower pace as we tiptoed along the feeling out the traction of wet fallout.
By the time we hit Poppi the sun was bright and we sat outside the castle soaking up the warm sum. When the others arrived we wandered around inside the castle and climbed up the bell tour to look at the surrounding landscape. Then a short walk to a nice restaurant for lunch of pasta, of course.
View from tower
I usually look forward to the fine and tasty breads in Europe, but was disappointed by the breads I was being served at most places, but about half way through the tour someone explained that the bread is NOT for eating as a separate food, it is made to be used as a sponge to soak up the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomato or bolognaise sauce.
We took off on our own again on some wonderful roads, I saw this on a hill.
So I went to pull over on the side of the road , on what looked like some sand, as I pulled in the front end started to wash on what was wet clay and slicker than monkey snot, my mad skills (Dumb ass luck) kept the bike upright. I had the wife get off, and slowly peddled the bike out.