Adri: “I think we’re in Switzerland now.”
Liz: “Yeah, I think I saw a sign.”
Lana: “Okay, so we won’t have to stop for gas until Germany then.”
Today we are riding 600 km, which is about 400 miles. Our 2016 Husqvarna Supermotos have over 3,000 km on them from the past two weeks of riding through the European Alps; we’re halfway through the trip.
We just hit a major storm riding through northern Italy. I noticed the storm from a long ways away but hoped the road would lead us in between some other mountain passes and away from the black clouds. But nope, we rode straight into it. The air got really warm and we rode into the storm like it was a wall. Lightning was striking the flagpoles on the tops of the castles off the road. A strike hit the semi truck we passed just an arm’s length away from me. I was instantly soaked through and totally scared, but realized that it was one of the most beautifully amazing and dangerously perfect moments of my life. The downpour, the warm air, the bright green-covered hills, and the castles being struck by lightning over and over was like nothing I will ever experience again in my life.
We pull over at a gas station and I hit my saddlebag on the side of the gas pump, which drops my tall-ass Supermoto into a puddle. Within seconds I have three ladies helping me to pick it up and push it under some shelter. No one is fazed by anything. We look at each other, but don’t need to say anything. Time for some espresso.
Within 24 hours I am alone, standing in the middle of a cathedral in the middle of Germany being stared at by 40,000 human skulls. I realize I have never seen a human skull before and that a lot of the things I’ve been doing recently I have never done before. I have never rode over 9,000 feet up and than 9,000 feet down in one day, never travelled this long with four women who I care about and respect so much, never been looked at so much like I was a total alien, and I have never eaten tortellini everyday for two weeks in a row. I have never ridden a Supermoto and I have never been to Europe. The list goes on, but with the companionship of Lanakila MacNaughton, Adri Law, and Liz Horton, it felt like I could do anything.
We met up with women motorcyclists from all over on our route. Sandra with the ‘38 Harley Davidson Flathead that she rebuilt and restored herself taught us that the coolest women are the most humble. Sandy taught us that you don’t need a big bike to ride 700 km in a day: You actually can do it on a 250cc. And Lisa Looser taught us how to ride our motorcycles onto a train to save time and experience the Matterhorn Mountain in a simpler way. We rode with Austria’s first woman Skeleton World Cup holder, Berlin’s largest women’s-only motorcycle group, and met up with old friends at Germany’s first women’s-only motorcycle camp out.
We only took one day off from riding over 100 km every day. On that day we rented an eight horse power boat at Lake Lungano. We crossed the border between Switzerland and Italy on water going about two kilometers an hour, and I think Lana probably even swam through it. We smoked cigarettes and putzed beside cathedrals and old Italian brick apartments hanging over the lake. The water was room temperature and the air was warm. A boat full of Italian dudes followed us around until we let them come onto our boat and gave us beers. The locals have such positive and helpful vibes about them in Europe. It feels very safe everywhere you go and almost like you’re not so far away from home.
Through Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and (accidently) Slovakia, we rode in the same formation on the same bikes and got to know each other’s riding like the backs of our gloved hands.