Before I came to Europe I had never heard of passes named Großglockenspiel, Furka, Albula, Klausen or Susten. Yet, anyone who has ridden motorcycles in Europe, has either rode or dreams of riding these passes someday. Well, it’s my turn – My time to ride some of the most beautiful passes in all the world!!
The route planning started well into last year with hours and hours of internet searching, and studying. I made lists and created map waypoint of every Alp pass and then did my best to find a route that connected them all. In the end I created a map of 22 Alp passes that I wanted to ride from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland.
Originally I had panned to do this trip with Chantil but she ended up having her own motorcycle trip. I’ve been pressing her to write her own blog about it and I hope we can share it with you all in the future…
So, I’ll be riding this trip solo. I’m a bit nervous about it because I’ve been riding with Chantil for a few years now and this will be my first longer length trip on my own. Not to worry though, I’ll made sure to take some pictures along the journey and share the adventure.
Previously to this trip, I rode an event called the Illyria Raid. You can read about it here: Illyria Raid 2019. This event ended at a hotel in Zader, Croatia and this would be my starting point for the next leg of my trip focused on riding the exciting pavement of some of the most famous Alp passes!
Alps Trip – Day 1 of 8
🗓: 15 Sep | 🌍: Zader to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Map of Day 1: An easy Sunday ride of 142km.
At 1000, I left the hotel in Zader and found a self-serve car wash so I could clean up my mule, Apache, from the last four days of dirt and mud. I then entered Plitvice Lakes National Park as my destination making sure that highways were not selected, and then I was on my way…
A beautiful day for riding some two-lane backcountry roads. To be honest, this part of Croatia felt very similar to riding in San Diego Country, USA.
As I passed through the town of Obrovac I noticed these ruins overlooking the town. It turns out these are the ruins of a 14th century fortress.
Another view of the fortress. There were some walking trails to the top but I decided to skip the hike in order to make it to my destination and relax for the remainder of the day.
The two-lane road was well maintained and relatively free of traffic. I was a bit on guard because some riders had mentioned that people in Croatia drive pretty reckless. I didn’t experience this for myself, however.
You can’t tell in this photo but my riding jacket and pants are FILTHY! – The homeless looking kinda filthy! I hope I can find a campsite with laundry facilities to wash up.
I ended up reaching the camp site at 1345 with gave me plenty of time to do laundry and catch up with some photo editing and social media posts.
Washing my motorcycle jacket and pants is actually quite a pain. Removing the armor from the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, and back are a bit time consuming. Once it’s washed you got to put it all back in. However, I was grateful to have clean gear!
Camp Borje provide a nice quite campsite to relax and enjoy the rest of Sunday afternoon. It was a bit expensive however – The campsite and two bags of laundry cost me 296 HRK = $44 USD.
Tomorrow I plan on getting up early enough to beat the tourist busses and enjoy the beautiful waters and falls of Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Alps Trip – Day 2 of 8
🗓: 16 Sep | 🌍: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia to Lake Bled, Slovenia
Map of Day 2: from Plitvice Lakes National Park to the Žumberak and Samobor Mountains, then to a campsite near Lake Bled, Slovenia.
I slept in. My original plan was to wake at 0600, pack-up camp and be at Plitvice Lakes National Park at 0700. I went to bed with earplugs in my ears and didn’t hear the 0600 alarm. I didn’t wake up until 0652!!
I quickly packed in 20 minutes (perhaps a record) and still made it to the National Park before the first tour bus. Victory for me!!
I found a spot to park the mule without having to pay a parking fee. An entrance fee is required however – Cost 250 HRK = $37.43 USD. Ouch!
Plitvice Lakes National Park is known for its water-falls and clear emerald-green water, however I was impressed with the calm lakes and the reflections.
You can rent row boats but I was here to hike and take pictures.
The water is really clear and clean. This picture was taken from the surface looking into about 5-6 feet of water.
Wooden paths run everywhere! It would have taken a lot of time to build the trails for this park.
The park features many falls from 16 interconnecting lakes of emerald green water.
No swimming is allowed but I found a quite spot to dip my feet.
A beautiful day.
I love this picture of the red leaf floating on the surface of the aqua hue water.
Ducks and other water fowl enjoy the park as well.
Elevated wooden paths seem like the best way to minimize foot-traffic impact at this popular park.
Vegetation grown right up the wooden paths.
A nice and sunny day with perfect temperatures and shade from the many trees.
The trial climbs up the hillside and provides a nice overview of one of the largest lakes.
You can even bring your furry four-legged friend to the park – leashed of course.
I took a ferry from dock 2 to dock 3 which was a mistake because this was where the tens-of-thousands of people were.
Cool walkway near the restaurants.
An interesting tunnel and the aqua-blue water of the northern lakes. It makes me want to swim in there and imagine a secret oasis hidden from all the other tourists.
A steep trail from the crowded lower trail provided some relief for my anxiety around large crowds.
The upper trail also provided a birds-eye view of the walking path and water below.
At this point, I was quickly reaching stratosphere level annoyance with the crowds of tourists. My advice would be to go early and leave early before the peacefulness is invaded with bus-loads of tourists.
After leaving Plitvice Lakes I made my way towards the Žumberak and Samobor Mountains. The map seemed to indicate this area was forested and less traveled.
Onward to Slovenia! After I snapped this picture I continued along to the border checkpoint. The border official looked at my American Passport and then went to talk to the supervisor. He returned and told me that I would have to “turn around!” I questioned “Why?” and he said because I was an American and not part of the European Union (EU). I replies that I was part of the EU because I live in Germany. I then presented my International Driver’s License issued from Germany. He went back to the supervisor. They discussed it for a bit with some raised voices and hand gestures. They both came out and the supervisor said I could “pass through, this time”. Whatever that means?!? Anyhow, on my way!
An interesting home built on the side of a hill in Slovenia.
I made it to camp with enough time to set up before dark and enjoy a bit of down-time before climbing into my sleeping bag for another night of sweet dreams.
Tomorrow I plan to get up early enough to get some sunrise photos of Bled Lake and then ride Mangart Saddle and Vršič Pass before continuing north through Austria to the Eagles Nest in Germany.
Continued on PAGE 2…