Welcome to the last day of TDAF2016 – currently, we are at an alpine resort called Aprica at 1100m.
Toady, we have a day full of alpine passes waiting for us:
1181m – Passo di Aprica – Italy
2621m – Gavia Pass – Italy
2291m – Foscagno Pass – Italy
2315m – Livigno Pass – Switzerland-Italy
2328m – Bernina Pass – Switzerland
1815m – Maloya Pass – Switzerland
2117m – Splügen Pass – Italy-Switzerland
First thing in the morning, I open my window to be greeted by the usual blue sky that has followed us during all our trip. Thinking about it, we’ve been extremely lucky – everywhere, we were told, it had either been raining until the day before, or it was raining everywhere else or that it would be definitely raining the day after… Let’s see if our luck stays with us for this last leg back home.
Just above the village, at 1180m we cross Passo d’Aprica and decide to stop and buy some local specialities. It’s become a long-running tradition to bring something typical back for my family and more recently, for my office, too.
With the TWIKE full of local goodies, we start coasting down Passo d’Aprica towards Edolo. If we would continue from here without our next pass, we would eventually end up in southern Tyrol … again.
Our decision to drive to Aprica and then onwards via the Stelvio National Park was influenced by a very resolute woman in Diano Marina who walked up to us already sitting in our TWIKE and gave us unsolicited information about where we should be going next. One of the things she was adamant about was this stretch of road. We’re curious as to what is expecting us here.
In Edolo, a very small single-lane road branching off our main road turns out to be the start of our next climb.
The road stays narrow – usually there is just enough space to comfortably overtake a bicycle. We’re glad we started out early today since this road would be much less fun if we would have somehow cross cars with barely enough space for a bike and a TWIKE!
The views, however, get increasingly better and we can see further and further back the valley we came from.
Without us having checked how high this pass is, we were pleasantly surprised when we eventually left the trees behind us and entered a landscape covered in fresh snow.
Passo di Gavia turns out to be #10 on our list – we stop for a late (& last italian) breakfast.
As we continue driving towards Bormio, the pass stays level for a while and takes us through a wintry landscape with glistening ice reflecting in the sun.
Back to Bormio, we take the same road to the tax-free haven of Livigno TW560 travelled along last year. This year, however, in daylight, I get to see the mountains and landscapes…which are very nice. 🙂
We enter the special tax zone of Livigno which has its own border control point. Just a few metres behind the control point we come to the highest point of Passo di Foscagno.
One of the most striking differences between Livigno and the rest of Italy aren’t the surrounding mountains – it’s the fuel prices: With unleaded fuel at an average of €1.56 and Diesel at €1.28, it is completely understandable that many trucks, busses and private people make their way to Livigno to fill up, even if it means to drive half an hour – the savings are massive!
Full disclosure: we’re still at €0 for energy for all our trip 🙂
In Livigno, TW560 is back to discovering new roads. Instead of driving back to Switzerland heading east, we head west towards Forcola di Livigno.
The plateau is bursting to life with flowers and fresh, alpine greens.
At the end of the valley, we’re back climbing towards Forcola di Livigno.
After just 20 minutes we arrive at the top. This place feels very remote, there is just a small restaurant and place to stay and a border post.
Within metres of driving in Switzerland, we know we’re back: road surface quality. The road, even if it is in a very hostile environment is pristine. No bumps, cracks – just perfect tarmac. Driving is much quieter now 🙂
In what feels like a blink of an eye, we arrive at our next pass: Bernina.
After a very nice and relaxing drive down the Bernina Pass, we decide not to charge in St. Moritz at our secret 3-phase socket, as we did two years ago, but drive onwards and try to make it to Chur on one charge.
Instead of driving up the Julier pass, driving down the Engadin valley and then taking the car-train to Klosters, we decided to drive down the Maloya pass. It’s been over six years since the last time we were here.
Weather-wise, we’re seeing more and more dark clouds. According to the locals, it’s been raining heavily for the last week – seeing the many waterfalls at full capacity, we can only imagine how bad it was.
Back in Italy, we turn right in Domodossola and start our ascent up our last pass for today: Splügen. This was the pass I entered Switzerland for the first time in my life – over 35 years ago on a family vacation whilst living in Italy.
On the last few km up the pass, I got a little concerned if my predictions regarding our remaining charge were correct – the pack’s voltage was dwindling precariously towards the minimum allowed.
But in the end, we made it on the last few Wh.
Have a look how finely we cut it – we’ve got a mere 500Wh left to cover 69km to our charging station in Chur. Even with the descent ahead it feels like a tad too little to make it all the way. JC asks me if we’re going to make it…my answer: it should work out. (he hates this answer!)
To cut the story short, we made it with a mere 60Wh left in our battery!
The charging station I chose was the one I used for my 4-pass tour on one charge with an i3: BMW’s Alpina Garage in Chur.
Last time I was here, this was a fully open, charge-for-free barrierless charging station.
With our battery completely empty I was somewhat dismayed to see that there had been some changes since my last charge here: The charging station had been added to the Intercharge network which means activation via a QR code and a web application. Usually, I steer clear of such stations since they either charge completely insane amounts of money for a time-based charge (i.e. CHF10 for a charge or even worse CHF10+ for an hour of charging) or are out of service because the unnecessarily complicated IT-overlay which is managed badly.
This time, however I had no choice but to try the system…and was pleasantly surprised how well the system worked: Scan QR, chose energy source AC/DC, plug in EV, activate charge via the web.
(I’m not going to get started re. the proposed future pricing for this system which is off the chart…30~35ct/minute for a DC charge). But – for the moment – we’re very happy to get a free charge. Thank you BMW!
We settle in for a 2 hour charge and I start writing an entry. After two hours, we get back to a TWIKE charged to 80% – 12+kWh are insane amounts of energy when thinking back to the old days when I started driving a TWIKE: I had around 2.5kWh available in those days – no need for quick charging 2kW was more than enough to charge quickly 🙂
We charged this much because we wanted to drive home full speed on the motorway. We’ve both driven along this road so many times that for us both getting back home was the primary goal from now on.
For the first time, we hit heavy rain. No problem after 9 days of sunshine 🙂
On our last few km, we are happy to see that we will have a fitting end to TDAF2016: A sunny and dry evening.
After 1690km and traveling 9 days, TDAF2016 comes to an end. We loved the new-found relaxed driving the large battery made possible.
JC and I am looking forward to our next years’ trip and I’m looking forward to my 5-day long-distance trip to Styria across Italy and Slovenia this October.
Since today was an extreme day regarding our passes we crossed – have a look at our elevation profile for today.
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