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Alpinebiker Aug 2nd, 2009 11:00 am

Gorges du Verdon- My longest ever ride!
 
With the weather forecast looking good, Mark and I decided to go and do the Gorges du Verdon route we had decided the previous week was too far! With Marks partner Sev coming along as pillion with him, we met at the douane at 07.15am, and set off down the motorway again to Grenoble.

We made our first stop after 2 1/2 hours at the top of the Col de Croix Haute, where Mark berated me for not stopping sooner as both he and Sev were wanting a refreshment break, I had wondered what the strange hand signals and gestures had meant!

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The N75 is a glorious road, and with relatively little traffic we really got to enjoy the fast well surfaced and sweeping bends, the GTs being in their true element here. Onto Sisteron and then Digne, before a lunch break at the Col de Leques. Here the waiter recognised me, my Camel Honda Tamada cap, and the GT (but didn't notice it was now a 1300), from the trip I had made with my wife Sue just a few weeks earlier.

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Mark & Sev

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After an excellent lunch we dropped down towards Castellane and then turned off on the D955 at Porte de Soleiles before taking the small D90 via Trigance to the D7.

Trigance

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From Trigance to the start of the ride upto the Balcons de la Mescia and the wonderfully named Grand Canyon du Cornich Sublime. The gorges are not big on an American scale, but pretty impressive nonetheless.The pictures tell their own story!

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Here you can see the lake behind the gorges

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After stopping for pictures and an ice cream, we dropped in alttitude

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Heres the lake we are aiming for to take a cooling swim, as temperatures had been in the early 30's C.

Time to swim!

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With the time around 17.00 and a few hundred kms to return home, we set off again with idea to stop for an evening meal at this mornings cafe at the Col de Haute Croix. Arriving there after 2 1/2 hours we were disappointed to find it closed, and had to ride another 20kms or so to find another spot to eat. After liquid and food, off again, with Grenoble another 50kms away, and another 1 1/2 hours to go once we hit the motorway.

I had to stop to take this magnificent panorama with the setting evening sun illuminating the peaks in the distance.

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We needed petrol and managed to fill up at a garage selling at cost price until midnight. It was dark by now and in Grenoble Mark took the wrong route. I thought that would be the last I'd see of him, but rolling up at the peage fifteen minutes later, he appeared from no-where behind me!

We took a last liquid intake of the day at the motorway services at around 10.30pm, where I received an SMS message from my wife wondering where I was (it was my birthday and she's in the UK visiting her family), and we were off for the final time, enjoying the Xenon lights and the speed of the motorway home.

Finally home at almost midnight. the day, my birthday, had turned out to have been memorable, not only for the great roads, but because it was the most kms I have ever ridden in one day, 840kms, and the longest time in the saddle, 11 hours and 40 mintes, surpassing the previous weeks total of 11 hours 18. The new GT had 1161 kms in the first week, and now has nearly 2400 in two weeks. Run in and waiting it's first service this week, it's been great to ride, is fun, and is fulfilling it's promise. Long may it continue to do so!

Fergie Aug 2nd, 2009 2:33 pm

Nice ride and pics.

larrykay Aug 2nd, 2009 3:32 pm

Great ride and pics. Keep them coming as you go forth in your adventures

easyman05 Aug 15th, 2009 1:24 am

thanks for sharing!

what kind of weather do you have normally end of August in the Alps? Is it worth riding there at that time? Will the major passes be closed already?
tnx in advance! :)

Alpinebiker Aug 16th, 2009 5:57 am

Hi Easyman,

It's ALWAYS worth riding here!!!! In fact a friend and I are doing pretty much all the major passes over 3 days first week of September, so we're expecting them to be open!

The weather here will still be good. I would say temperatures may start to drop a little from their current 30 degrees C daytime temps to around 23-26 degrees whilst at 2500m they could easily be between 7-10 degrees lower. Evening temps will for sure start to get a little cooler, especially at alttitude, maybe around 15-18.

Passes will in the main be open, although some of the higher ones such as the Iseran will close early, and are only open 3 months a year! Before settting off for any alpine ride I check the pass status as to whether they are open or not, these can be found on http://www.alpineroads.com/passstatus.php or the TCS (Touring Club Suisse) site http://www.tcs.ch/main/fr/home/verke...e_tunnels.html Ouvert meaning open, ferme = closed.

If you need/want any more info feel free to PM me.

Cheers

Paul

easyman05 Aug 17th, 2009 12:59 am

Thanks a lot, Paul!

Would love to do the Grand route des Alps still this summer.

What about bike safety there? Any special advice? Is it OK to leave the bikes outside near hotels for overnighting?

Vladimir

Alpinebiker Aug 17th, 2009 3:09 am

Hi Vladimir,

My recommendation would be to ALWAYS travel with a minimum of a U lock and perhaps even a chain as a back up. Most French insurers insist on a U lock as MINIMUM cover and will decrease any payout if stolen and it was not in use.

If you use the chain hotels in bigger towns such as Camponile, Formula 1, Balladins etc, many of these have electric security gates which are closed after a certain time of night.

If when you arrive you ask any hotelier if they have secure parking for bikes, I've found that many will offer you the use of their garage, or parking at the rear or out of view. It depends whether you are happier knowing the bike is in full view and therefore less likely to be stolen, or hidden so no-one can see it in the first place?

Bike theft is high in France, but probably no worse than many countries.You would be unlucky to have it stolen if only in one place for one night!

I'm sure you'll have a great trip if you make it, I've been trying to work out how far it is to get down here, it's a pretty long trip just getting there!

Cheers

Paul

BigBloke Aug 18th, 2009 10:37 am

Hi Paul,

Cool photos. Man, you do some riding over there in West CH/F. I somehow have to find a way to get the gf on the GT...

I am sure we may have passed each other somewhere up over the Susten or Grimsel Passes, although you live actually on the exact opposite side of CH.

@Easyman

End of August is still summer! We dont want Winter to come that quick...geeze ;-) GT is right, it can get pretty fresh up on the passes, especially in the Engadine Area. It is already down to 12C at night, so if you plan on making a few evening rides, pack something a bit warmer. Start of Sept is actually good, because there are less pussies ont the road, because it is getting cooler. I was up on the Stilfserjoch mid/late Sept last year, and I was the only one. 4 weeks before, you could not move for bikes. All the riceburners and the pretty colour leathers were out in force.

Cheers,

Bloke

Alpinebiker Aug 18th, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi Bloke.

I'm riding across the passes to the Stelvio in the next couple of weeks. Will be doing the Grimsel, Susten, Gotthard, Neufenen and Furka on Friday 4th Sept, stopping overnight in Andermat If you see a blue K1300GT on that date, could well be me!.

After that we take 2/3 days and return via the:

Oberalp
Lockmanier
San Bernardino
Julierpass
Bernina
Stelvio
Umbrail
Fourn
Fluela
Wolfgang then to Liechtenstein
Klausenpass
Susten (again)
Jaunpas
Col des Mosses

Did a similar trip last year, 1300kms and 13 passes in two days. This time we'll take 3/4 and stop a bit more often.

Cheers

Paul

easyman05 Aug 18th, 2009 1:03 pm

Hi mates,
my plan would depend on weather forecast - if it's raining in the North then we ride the Austrian and Italian passes and start the GRDA from the South. If everywhere the weather is sunny then will ride Swiss passes on the way to Geneva then down to Barcelonette and return via Italy.
Did Furka in Austria, Grossglockner, Nockalm, Swartzwald and Dolomiti past years- still je suis ravi :)


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