After the joys of the Bonette and a pause for refreshment, we set off again for the Col de Vars. Unfortunately, the signposting was so bad that we missed what looked like a branch off the main road, and continued on what turned into a fantastic pass, but which terminated in Italy . A quick check of the map, as the bloody Zumo had failed miserably, and it was clear we had missed a turn and were now at the head of the Col de Larche, about to enter Italy.
Whilst this had been a great excursion, we were now going the wrong way, so we turned round, went back the way we’d come, and found ourselves back at the missed junction. Luckily, as it turns out. The road had been closed a few kms before the next town, and from 08.30-12.30, and would be closed again from 13.30 to 17.00. We’d arrived back half an hour after the road re-opened, so off we went, and this time we were on the correct road heading up the Col du Vars.
Time had clearly addled my memory, because aIthough I remembered the Vars as being an old favourite, I hadn’t remembered the height elevation. Reading the map later I should have realised that it was going to climb a bit!
In fact the col climbs and climbs until its 2109m summit This is a wonderful pass with great views and a pretty good surface.
Another pause for refreshment and a great plate of spaghetti carbonara
The route down was equally spectacular
Next highlight, the Col d’Izoard. This is a really unique pass, quite unlike any other, resembling a moonscape
Here looking back down to Chalp
From the Izoard to Briancon, over the Col du Lauteret and the last major pass of the day, the Galibier at 2646m. On this pass you really feel you are up in the clouds, but it’s a tricky ride as there are NO guard rails to the side, the road is narrow and has some sharp bends, concentration is paramount, a small mistake and you’d be falling a long way!
We stopped for the final time for the day on the descent, and then continued down to Valloire, and after that, the less than stellar Col du Telegraphe , which is infinitely forgettable. I remembered feeling the same the last time I rode it , perhaps it’s because it’s at the end of a long day, but there are no great views, no flow to the bends, and it’s just a pain.
Deciding to return quickly we headed for the motorway, only to enter and find an overhead panel showing VENT VIOLENT- PRUDENCE ( violent winds, take care!)
After several kms swaying and weaving at a max of 100kph I opted for the A roads which although longer in distance were certainly safer.
Home safe and sound by 19.30, we’d had another 11 hour day, and covered 1045kms in the course of the two days. The bike had proven itself worthy, with it’s comfort contributing to our being able to handle two such long days in the saddle. Fuel consumption remains steadfast at 5.5l/100km or 51mpg, which is pretty good for a fully loaded two up touring bike.