If you can swing it, I highly recommend such a trip. The vistas are stunning, the climbs are awesome, and the descents are great fun. We went in mid-September after the crush of Summer cars and motorcycles had mostly moved on. This time is risky due to the chance of inclement weather, but we lucked out with fine weather.
On our first ride in the Dolomites, we climbed four passes and were on the road most of the day. At the top of Passo Giau, I was enjoying the views and taking photos when a Japanese woman and her friend, fresh off one of the tour buses, approached George and me and began asking us in halting English about our bikes, where we were from, how we got here, etc. Perhaps she thought we were professional bike riders, or perhaps like many, she couldn’t imagine riding up such a mountain.
She asked a male companion to take a photo of the two of them with the two of us. We huddled and leaned down to get closer to their height.
When she learned that we were from California, she said that she had been to New York once. She said, “I went to New York, and performed at Carnegie Hall. I was a singer!” And she pantomimed a big operatic voice flowing outward from a younger version of herself over a large and rapt audience. You could almost hear the applause rising to meet her.
After this memory cleared the air around us, we nodded goodbyes, and the Japanese women and their companions boarded the bus and took off. A few minutes later, we flew past the bus as we descended the 33 tornantes (“switchbacks”) to the valley below on our way to the next pass.