I didn’t know I was prone to wanderlust until I actually began to travel on a motorcycle. After buying my Griso, my first trips were fairly short, from San Diego to Solvang, for instance. That trajectory involves a lot of freeway riding until you reach Malibu. Then I would usually cut westwards on the 10 freeway until hitting Highway 1, just for the pure joy of riding north along the sparkling Pacific on a paved road flanked by sand dunes. Once in Ventura, I would turn back inland to trace the contours of Lake Casitas and it’s fantastic twisty roads. Finally, I would circle back westwards to my destination and collapse into a hotel bed, tired but blissful. Oh, I could have gotten there faster. A lot faster even. But the goal is never really the destination- but the ride!
And the second goal involves packing. Lighter is better:
Now that I’m in southern France, Wanderlust strikes as soon as the days begin to grow longer and warmer… after months of rainy, cold frustration that have me casting longing looks at my Griso as it languishes on the battery tender. It’s the weather and the year-long riding that I miss most about living in San Diego. (Well, I miss my family too… Hi Mom!)
However, France does have its advantages in the form of great riding destinations. The Gorge du Verdon (France’s “Grand Canyon”), The Route de Napoleon (an epic riding route with just-right curvy roads), The Valley of the Roya (a twisty canyon road that crosses and re-crosses the border between France and Italy…and as if that was not enough– Italy is right next door! And in Italy, on the banks of Lake Como, is Mandello del Lario. The birthplace of both of my Grisos.
Once school is out of session (I teach English) and I have some free time, I pack my bags and go exploring. Sometimes I have the good fortune to meet other Guzzi enthusiasts, like Olivier and Joelle, and I choose a destination near them (http://olivierguzzi.e-monsite.com/). Other times I just pick a spot and go– alone, simply because I’ve heard of it. My trips to Cuneo, Aix-in-Provence, Cassis and La Brigue fall into that category. Then there are the longer trips- like the one to Rome last summer with motorcycle acquaintances who have since become like my second family (Hello Fio, Luigi, Rox!). More on that in a few weeks.
However, my solo trips in Europe had to start somewhere. And the first trip was the “scariest” venture for me as a woman motorcyclist…t was a launch into the unknown. So, next time I’ll tell you about that first trip to Mandello del Lario in 2017, on my “French” Griso purchased the same year. That trip is truly what has inspired the rest of my European travels, and is what pushed me to start writing this blog.
Meanwhile- here’s a video of some of the very nice local riding that I get to enjoy– less than an hour from my home here in France.