Tuscan Tryst: Exploring Europe with a Zavorrina

Tuscan Tryst: Exploring Europe with a Zavorrina

Lesa and I have always traveled unconventionally. We began married life with an eight-month backpacking honeymoon adventure that included renting a BMW K 75 in Sydney and heading up into Australia’s Blue Mountains with a tent strapped on the back.

We often joke that we’ve been on t

wo cruises together in our lives—the first and last. It was one and the same.

The dress code and plastic bottles of vodka being hauled up the gangplank by our new shipmates told us what to expect and, more importantly, what not to expect the moment we began boarding the cruise ship. Being it was our whole family celebrating Lesa’s mother’s 80th birthday, we had no choice.

A very wise Aussie once told me: “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgment.

Our Tuscan Anniversary

So, in celebrating our 40 years together, we decided to explore Europe on a motorcycle. On the way to the  airport, Lesa gave me a card with the following poem:

Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom, there I will give you my love.

That alone told me the trip was already worth the price of admission.

Our dear friends Gordon and Fiona invited us to join them on a guided motorcycle tour in Tuscany, Italy. This was their fourth such trip. We booked it almost a year in advance.

The September journey began and ended in Barcelona after a nearly 1,900-mile loop through five countries in 12 legs—Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, and Italy, with a 20-hour ferry back across the Mediterranean.

We chose the BMW F 900 XR and it did not disappoint.

Lesa has always admired and respected my passion for motorcycling, touring, and travel, although she never really enjoyed an extended trip as a pillion passenger until about five years ago. Why the sudden change, you ask? What caused this transformation?

The answer I believe, is contained in a single word: “Headset”.

Correction, now she tells me it’s three words: “Headset” and “the Dolomites”.

I rode an Extreme Alps tour with Gordon and our friend Greg back in 2018. One look out from a hotel bathroom window in Italy and she said, “I want to do that.” The very next year, we booked a tour with Greg and Kay on the Canary Islands.

Motorcycle & Gear

2023 BMW F 900 XR

Helmet: Bell SRT Modular Hi-Viz
Jacket & Pants: Klim Altitude/Latitude
Gloves: Klim Adventure GTX
Boots: Sidi Performer
Luggage: BMW side and top case
Comm System: Sena 10S Bluetooth

We bought matching Bell helmets and two headsets. That did it. Suddenly motorcycling was an intimate, uninterrupted, shared experience.

We were in our own beautiful little bubble together for eight hours a day.