2014 France / Italy Ride Continued
Asti: October 13
Our Pensione in Prataccio was a classic; Very small village, only bar and restaurant in town and rooms for rent on the upper floor.The whole family (three generations) live there; great people who work very hard. I didn’t get the elevation, but we were fairly high as it was quite cool. The blankets in the room were very heavy and we slept well. It had rained in the night, but was cloudy with some signs of clearing when we got up. After breakfast we loaded up and took off with a light mist. The roads were damp and the fall leaves were blowing in the wind. After about an hour we came to the end of one of the tracks, but, to my surprise, I found that I had deleted the next track from the GPS so we continued using just the map; I’m quite spoiled at this point and miss not riding with a track, but we did fine except for one wrong turn which was OK, because it took us to the top of one of the local passes where we had some nice cheese cake and a cappuccino. The riding was great and the country beautiful. Back down off the mountain and “on track” again the light rain of earlier had eased a bit, but as we began to climb going over the costal mountains we were soon into the fog (clouds) and it began to rain. The visibility became so poor that we were able to run in 1st and 2nd gear only using the center white line for guidance. Descending on the other side we dropped into a small coastal city that was a summer destination with a small fishing fleet. The town was quiet and as we left and began, once again, to climb into the mountains heading north we quickly got back into the fog, but this time it was more dense and there was no white line to follow so we had to go very slowly and if things weren’t going well enough, it began to rain more heavily. By the time we got out of the fog we felt very grateful that we didn’t have a mishap and after discussing our options for continuing, elected to get on the motorway and attempt to move away from the storm by connecting with our track up country a hundred miles or so. We’re not so proficient in toll road procedures, but (this time) managed to collect a ticket and get on our way in a pouring rain. The traffic was not heavy, but there was a heavy spray of water behind every vehicle so we tried to keep our heads down and clear of other traffic as much as possible. After riding for a while, the rain hadn’t let up so we looked ahead on our track and decided to go for Asti about a 100 miles northeast. We arrived there just as the sun began to peek through the clouds and the rain stopped. Ethel checked the Lonely Planet for a hotel which we located downtown. They were very nice since we were a couple of drowned rats; got us checked in, the bike safely tucked away in an amazing underground parking facility (with individual locked garages) and our gear carted up the room. We showered, rested a bit then headed out for dinner in the hotel which was surprisingly good. The rain was (now on reflection..when I’m warm and dry) as much a detractor of the real beauty of this coastal mountain region as it was a nuisance and we regret having missed much of yesterday’s route taking us through that area. Can’t say it was a great day but one, which I’m happy to say, we survived so I guess that made it a great day.