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TDI2020 – Two Days On My Own

A new TWIKE adventure! Post-Lockdown1 relaxation of travel restrictions to Italy meant that we – at short notice – arranged to visit various of our Italian friends and stay a few days at the sea, both on the Adriatic and Tyrrheanean side of the Italian peninsula.

The first two days will see me driving on my own to Brescia and staying there with friends and their family before my own family joins me on late Sunday. I really need the time-off and two days on my own as I’ve been extremely busy lately.

As always, it doesn’t take me long to pack my TWIKE, having done this many times for the various long-distance trips I’ve done with my TWIKE.

Getting TW550 ready for TDI2020

With a fully charged pack, my range prediction for today is impressive (and greater than 95% of all TWIKEs in existence). Today’s OCV after charging all night at 0.02C is 418V. If everything goes well, I should be able to get to Brescia on one charge.

Ready for the trip!

TDI2020: All systems GO!

I depart into the twilight of a cold morning, driving carefully as I will not have any recuperation for the next 35 kilometres or so.

On my first few km at 5am

On my first few km at 5am

My hopes to be able to make it to Brescia are shattered quickly as it starts to rain heavily and my consumption goes past my reserves. I decide to drive faster and charge in Chur.

As always, I take a solo-TWIKE-team picture – here I’m driving through the rain and feel somewhat cold.

Still cold...but on my way.

Still cold…but on my way.

In Chur, I arrive at Gasser Baumaterialien. This company, for the last 30+ years has been at the forefront of sustainability…and the boss drives his own TWIKE! This is why there is a barrier-free charging point just outside their main entrance. I’ve been charging here since 2008!

Multi-single-phase charging in Chur

Multi-single-phase charging in Chur

Green or white?

Green or white?

I enjoy some minutes of calm in my TWIKE during the charge with the two additional chargers warming the cabin with 200W each.

From there, I take TW560 up the hills into a world of grey and even colder temperatures.

Awful weather on my way to Italy

Awful weather on my way to Italy

Fortunately, eventually, I got out of the fog and drove onwards to the Engadin.

up, up, up!

up, up, up!

Upper Engadin valley - glacier in the background

Upper Engadin valley – glacier in the background

The Bernina Pass was quickly dealt with and I then found myself in one of Switzerland’s valleys everybody knows but hardly anyone actually visits because, geographically, It’s ‘on the other side’ of the alps.

Posciavo Lake - Seldom visited place in Switzerland

Posciavo Lake – Seldom visited place in Switzerland

On the last few metres, I see the hills I’ve chosen to cross the hard way (the official road would take me along the valley) by driving all the way up to 1800m again.

The road for me goes straight up the hill...

The road for me goes straight up the hill…

Welcome to Italy!! This is the moment I’m always happy to capture!

There we are...fun starts here

There we are…fun starts here

I cross the valley and make it to the other side quickly.

Once again, the road ahead snakes all the way up the hill

Once again, the road ahead snakes all the way up the hill

At least the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising!

My 'it was really me' pic for today

My ‘it was really me’ pic for today

 

The climb is spectacular. A small road snakes up the hill through the trees and at around 1500m opens up to a plateau that rises slowly whilst offering one of the best TWIKEing experiences for a long time!

What a beautiful road!

What a beautiful road!

Summer in the mountains

Summer in the mountains

Tirano Valley and Swiss Alps in the background

 

Just 10 km later it’s time for the descent back to the next valley. This time the road is really small and the warning signs are not ‘just for the fun of it’…

A dangerous road - totally worth it

A dangerous road – totally worth it

Oh, 25 percent!

Oh, 25 percent!

Better stay on the road - vertical drop without guard rails

Better stay on the road – vertical drop without guard rails

 

The gradient is just awe-inspiring. I am pushing back against the yoke just to stay seated. It’s a hard job keeping the speed low enough to not have to break and get all the energy back into the batteries. Also: it’s just plain dangerous driving. No guard rails and 500m drops just a few cm from where the tarmac ends. Better stay very, very concentrated on driving!

It’s steeper than it looks! 25% are crazy-steep!

 

I’m happy to have invested – as every year – in an inspection and vacation prep session with ksenotek‘s mechanic prior to embarking on my trip. This ensures that my brakes and other vital parts of the TWIKE are up to the job and will not fail. #toptip

The road itself was one of the most exciting alpine roads I’ve driven in quite a while – which was also the reason that I stopped at the first bar I got to. Here I drank my usual drug-like coffee and bought one of my life’s pleasures: liquorish. Although I usually avoid industrially-made liquorish elsewhere, in Italy, even the commercially available ones pack some punch! (nothing can compete with the roughly broken pieces made by an Italian nonna, however. Have some and you’ll have the inside of your mouth stripped and your heart will be beating very fast for a very long time)

Coffee and liquorish

Coffee and liquorish

 

I chose this route as it not only had the very small road I just took, but also another pass that I’ve not yet crossed. (I know this sounds a little elitist but it’s true: I’ve been traveling across these hills and mountains for the last 10+ years and am having an increasingly difficult time to find roads and hills that I haven’t driven along!)

Passo Crocedomini in the background

Passo Crocedomini in the background

 

Before attempting to climb back to 2000m+: Another small 5 minute stop is in order 🙂

My first stop in Italy is for ...

Another stop in Italy is for …

 

Now comes the last pass for today: Passo Croce Domini. A very small and narrow road leads along precarious drops. With the grey clouds being blown across the hills at high speeds, the views are spectacular and ever changing.

My favourite type of road - Climbing Passo Rifugio

My favourite type of road – Climbing Passo Croce Dominio

Last pass before driving to Brecia

 

Lucky me, that there is virtually no traffic and I don’t have to try to let a normal car pass! In the picture below you can see why: no guard rails and the road is just barely wide enought for the TWIKE, let alone a TWIKE and a car!

I love these small Italian Passes

I love these small Italian Passes

 

Lago d’idro is a pleasant surprise after the pass. Smaller than the close-by Lago d’iseo but with very similar views and much smaller roads winding their way along the shores.

Lago dIdro - always impressive

Lago d’Idro – always impressive

 

I make it to my friends’ house later that afternoon and we start having the usual good time with food and wine.

Chilling on the balcony

Chilling on the balcony

 

The next day is spent without the TWIKE – we go hiking in the nearby hills to get a view of the Pianura. Lockdowns and home office have transformed the notoriously polluted air in Europe’s largest valley. The visibility is back and the views from the hills and mountains surrounding Brescia are stunning!

Climbing, climbing

Climbing, climbing

After a 500m climb, even the pianura looks good...

After a 500m climb, even the pianura looks good…

View of the Pianura around Brescia

View of the Pianura around Brescia

 

Whilst we were having fun, TW560 was having some well-earned R&R with an ultra-slow charge in the garage.

Overnight charge in Brescia

Overnight charge in Brescia

Multiple adaptors

Multiple adaptors

 

Tomorrow, my family will arrive and we will start our ‘new-style vacation setup’ PoC for real.

Day 1 - Home to Brescia

Day 1 – Home to Brescia

A day around Brescia

A day around Brescia