There are times in life when everything just works out great.
In my book, A Month of Italy: Rediscovering the Art of Vacation, I talked a little about riding a motorcycle through Tuscany. That trip, however, was mostly a family vacation, and I only logged about 400 kilometers in the course of a whole month. As any motorcycle enthusiast knows, that's nowhere near a serious amount of riding. It was a family vacation and my top priority was spending time with Terri and my four brown-eyed kids. As you can read in the book, that part worked out wonderfully.
However, while on some of those short outings and zipping around smooth, unpopulated Tuscan curves, I couldn't help erecting in my mind a return trip dedicated solely to adventures of the two wheeled variety . . . .
And so, one of my first calls was to my friend, business partner, and boondoggle buddy Tim Marks. Tim and I have embarked upon many an adventure together, including racing a dune buggy through the Baja, flying fighter planes, scuba diving, snorkeling through swim-throughs (one of the scariest of our capers, believe it or not), shooting machine guns, using kayaks to hunt muskrats, power boating, motorcycling, snowmobiling, and owning and flying an airplane together. So I knew Tim was the perfect partner for some serious motorcycle exploration through Italy. Our only challenge was the calendar. With launching a new company, building our businesses, and being heavily involved family men, the toughest challenge was finding a spot in the calendar. Finally, we settled on September of 2012. We both had over a week available, and the situation in Italy would be perfect that time of year. The summer holiday crowds would be gone, and the temperatures would likely be in the high seventies to low eighties. Perfect.
We reserved two BMW 1200GS motorcycles from the super reliable Ricardo (also featured in A Month of Italy), purchased plane tickets (first class so we could recline flat and arrive rested and ready to ride), and began the process of planning and provisioning. It was decided that we would mostly restrict our touring to Tuscany, with it's thousands of kilometers of curved roads through an extreme range of topography. This would allow us to establish a home base in one location from which to venture out each day, thereby eliminating much of the logistics and wasted time of finding new lodging every night and packing and unpacking. We chose a borgo (a type of village converted to a resort) near Siena. We also decided we'd like to see at least 100 towns in Tuscany, a detail agreed upon by two overachievers with choleric personalities that would come back to haunt us. Tim also indicated he had two additional objectives: 1) to see the leaning tower of Pisa ( Torre pendente di Pisa), and, 2) to obtain some purses of a particular style for his wife Amy. Little did we know how these last two would combine into a story of their own.
To be continued . . .