The first Saturday in October…
It's that day when the roar of the engines wakes you up, it's that day when you open the window to Alleghe or Rocca Pietore as well as the fresh air of the Dolomites you smell petrol, it's that day when you go out into the street you find yourself among the most beautiful cars that can ply the mountain passes!
The first Saturday of October is the day when the Dolomites Street lives!
It doesn't matter if the official event isn't there again this year, it doesn't matter if we don't even know if and when it will return, what we do know is that we, every driving enthusiast, must be there, at any cost, at the meeting at Malga Ciapela!
Special Stages, like every year, has programmed the 3-day event that takes you to the Dolomites, lets you experience the spirit of the Dolomites Street and then takes you back home.
Friday 30 September 2022
The forecasts are not the best for this weekend and are definitely not good at all for the first day of the Road To Dolomites.
The meeting point is in Albino (BG), at the station bar. More or less all the participants arrive on time, even if not all members are here, but some will arrive directly at the hotel in the evening.
After the usual delivery of roadbooks and gadgets we are ready to leave, under a sky that is not at all promising, but at least it is not raining at the start.
There are about 25 cars that leave from Albino, and we immediately head towards the Val Rossa. It is a valley that is somewhat narrow at times, with a fairly good asphalt and above all with very little traffic. We are therefore able to enjoy the drive a bit until we reach Lake Endine.
We begin a small transfer then until we arrive on the shores of Lake Iseo. Very little traffic here too where we go up the lakeside promenade northwards from Riva di Solto up to Lovere. This stretch of road is very beautiful and characteristic, but we are happy that there is no traffic, otherwise it would be almost impossible for us to be able to overtake due to the fairly narrow roadway and the continuous succession of curves between the rock on the left and the low wall overlooking the lake to the right.
From Lovere begins a tedious transfer along the SS42 up to Bienno where we leave the state road towards Passo Crocedomini.
The pass is very beautiful from a landscape point of view, and also the road conditions are not bad at all, the problem is the very narrow roadway, which makes it enjoyable only on a midweek day like this.
Descending towards Lake Idro it begins to rain and slowing down we then reach Ca' Rossa for the lunch stop.
After the stop, the Tour continues with a stretch of road that is not very driven, it's more of a nice transfer until you get to Trento. From here we take the Val di Cembra, but unlike the usual SS612, on this occasion we take the SP76 up to Lona-Lases and then the SP71 up to Molina, where we rejoin the state road. From here the approach is the traditional one through the Passo di San Pellegrino.
Saturday 1st October
Saturday: the first noise I hear after waking up is the rumble of a car passing under the Hotel Venezia. It's still early, but there's already movement and the weather conditions are decidedly favourable, despite some clouds, compared to the previous day.
All the participants of this Road To Dolomites are spread over 3 hotels, the usual Hotel Venezia, the Hotel La Montanina and some in a third hotel, the Camoscio. Yes, because we are many, many! In fact, for this Road To Dolomites we are 62 cars and 105 people!
After breakfast, while on the road the comings and goings of cars increase more and more, it is time to leave for the usual meeting point: Malga Ciapela.
Obviously it's not just us from Special Stages at the meeting, at 9.30 in fact the square of the cable cars is crowded with cars, many and of all types, as always. There are apparently well over 300 cars in the parking lots!
It is exciting to find so many cars at the Dolomites Street appointment, paying homage to the official event even if this year once again, due to the pandemic, it was not organized. Unfortunately, the absence of the official meeting is felt in the lack of an itinerary and the management of so many cars.
Meanwhile it's time to leave, we at Special Stages have a well-defined itinerary, and many others present decide to follow our group.
Starting from Malga Ciapela we head towards the valley as far as Caprile where we take the SR203 and then the SP251 to pass through Colle Santa Lucia and then take the SP638 which goes up towards Passo di Giau. The road is always fantastic, the wet tarmac in the valley giving way to a drier surface as you climb towards the summit. Traffic is practically absent and we push on the gas pedal to the top. Someone stops for a few photos, rightly so, to then get back on the road and go down the opposite slope.
In the stretches where the road is immersed in the woods we still find damp asphalt, but still little traffic.
At Pocol we turn right to go down to Cortina.
In fact, this year we have decided to plan a slightly different itinerary, in fact from Cortina we take the SR48 which through Passo Tre Croci will take us to Lake Misurina, the first stop on this Tour. The road to the Pass is not perfect, it appears a little bumpy, but even here there is still little traffic that allows us to have fun in safety.
Once in Misurina unfortunately the weather conditions worsen a lot. Luckily it didn't rain but the low clouds almost completely covered the view of the beautiful lake, a condition which luckily lasted a few minutes, with a view that opened up a little before setting off again.
We continue north along the SP49 up to Carbonin where we take the SS51 to return to Cortina.
Here the road is fast, a lot, with wide curves and a practically perfect roadway.
Back in Cortina we resume the classic itinerary towards the symbolic passes of the Dolomites Street, even if here we had to break up the group.
Unfortunately with over one hundred people we were unable to find room for everyone in a single structure. In fact, part of the group stops in Pocol at the Baita il Cervo, while the other part of the group continues towards the Falzarego Pass and then climbs again towards the Valparola Pass to then stop for lunch at the Valparola Refuge, the same structure that had us hosted in the last edition.
After the lunch break we continue with the itinerary. Obviously the group that had stopped in the first restaurant continues to reach the second group and all together then we go down towards La Villa.
Unfortunately, the absence of the organization of the real Dolomites Street is particularly felt here, in fact we find several patrols of Carabinieri and Local Police a bit on a war footing, with frequent checkpoints, certainly alerted by the cars that headed from Malga Ciapela on these steps before lunch.
We pass Corvara to then take the climb towards Passo Gardena, finally completely resurfaced.
We then continue towards Passo Sella to reach Canazei and then the last pass of this day, Passo Fedaia.
Obviously a stop on the dam at the top of the pass, with its stupendous view of the Marmolada, is a must before returning to Malga Ciapela and then back to the hotel.
Definitely thanks to the uncertain weather, but the traffic was practically absent for the entire tour of this day, and now a bit of relaxation before going to dinner.
Like every year, the dinner takes place at the Murada, a historic venue that serves as a meeting point for the participants in the Dolomites Street, but here too we had to divide the participants into two groups. In fact, as for lunch, a part of those present went to Alleghe, to the La Grande Guerra restaurant, a typical restaurant where the food is very good here too.
Sunday 2nd October
Like every year, the third day includes a return program far from the usual state roads and motorways, in fact for those arriving from Lombardy the planned itinerary is still full of exciting curves and roads.
Departing from the hotels we head south to Agordo. Here we take the SP347 towards Passo Cereda to get to Fiera di Primiero. Here unfortunately tragedy!
We find the road closed due to a local holiday that keeps us blocked for an hour, but that's not all, those who managed to pass before the closure of the road in the inhabited center inform us that the Brocon Pass is also closed for work.
Unable to reach Passo Sommo for the lunch break, we opt for a totally different itinerary. We go up along the SS50 up to San Martino di Castrozza and then up again up to Passo Rolle where we stop for lunch. The road is nothing short of beautiful, traffic almost absent and the sun is shining! We could not find a better condition.
After the lunch break we descend towards Predazzo, transfer to Cavalese and then back to Val di Cembra, this time via the SS612 which, as always, we find deserted. This is probably one of the fastest and craziest roads out there! Stop in Lavis for an ice cream at the Gelateria Serafini (if you pass by it is highly recommended) and then off to continue the return tour.
Being late on the roadmap, being a beautiful day that brings many tourists on the roads, we avoid the SS45bis which runs alongside Lake Garda to make the last stretch through the Valvestino, but we opt to travel along the Valle di Ledro, which unfortunately it also has a bit of traffic.
After skirting Lake Idro in Nozza, we take the SP3 which takes us through Casto and Brozzo up to Gardone Val Trompia, to then reach Iseo along the SP48, where this 3-day tour finally ends!
Spectacular event, a little penalized by the weather situation on Friday and by the traffic and the unforeseen events encountered on Sunday's return.
Otherwise the event went well!
Now we are already thinking about planning for 2023, because as always we cannot miss this appointment, hoping that the real Dolomite Street will become official again, even if the organizers did not want to hear these questions, under penalty of the involuntary administration of alcohol (obviously on a Saturday night when we were at the hotel).
Surely it is certain that we will still organize the overnight stays, itineraries and meals for all our Members!
Thanks to all participants and we look forward to seeing you at the next event!
Download all photos at this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1czNIfa-5TajW6NnVrPAuj--Qaj1UNnbJ?usp=sharing