Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31 2008, 59680km

Route des Grandes Alpes

Yet another trip, this time to France to do the Route des Grandes Alpes.

Day 1: Sunday July 27, 1.037km
I left at 6AM to be asap in France. At 3PM I was already at Grenoble, the meant finish of that day. Because it was still early I decided to head on and start the route I'd planned for a Monday. After some nice riding in the French countryside I thought it would be better to find a gasstation. Well, that's no easy task at a Sunday evening in the middle of nowhere. There were gasstations, but they were unmanned and accepted only cards I didn't have. Luckily with the aid of a friendly French motard I could fill up the Pan. After this adventure I called it a day and headed to Gap to find an hotel. At 8PM I ended up in an Ibis hotel I cannot recommend price/quality wise.

Day 2: Monday July 28, 420km
For this day I'd made a route with MapSource from Garmin. It should lead me over nice curvy roads and end in Menton, the starting point of the Route des Grandes Alpes.
By coincidence it lead me through the Gorges du Verdon, I'd seen a few years ago. If I'd know this I would have planned the route differently, because the Gorges are gorgeous, but once is enough. Soon after the Gorges I drove over the D955, leading through Montferrat. This is a great road for doing some fast cornering over perfect tarmac! If you're ever in the neighbourhood, make sure you don't miss it.
The further I got South, the hotter it got. With temps of around 33 degrees Celcius I was a bit overdressed. The local bikers seemed to cope better with this heat in t-shirts and shorts.
At around 7PM I stopped in
Menton, a nice place at the Mediterranean Sea near the Italian border.

Day 3: Tuesday July 29, 480km
At last, the start of the Route. I think I can let the pics speak for themselves (see link below). It was great! Highlights were the
Col du Galibier and the Col de l'Iseran.
Somewhere along the way I passed
R1 Sjaak who was doing the Route too, only from North to South. Here's a video of R1 Sjaak and friend doing the Iseran the same day I did:

R1Sjaak & MC King down Col de L'iseran from Marc King on Vimeo.

After almost 500km of curvy roads going up and down I had it for the day and stopped in
Val d'Iser where I stayed in the hotel Les Sorbiers. This hotel I can recommend for tired bikers.

Day 4: Wednesday July 30, 1,215km
Yesterday I'd done the biggest part of the Route and for today only 250km were left. These km's were great too and at around 1PM the fun ended in
Thonon les Bains at the Lake Geneva.
Now what? Plan another route through the Black Forest or Vosges? Nah, been there, seen that already this year. Head home? That's almost 1,000km. Hmm, it's do-able. Ok, fast forward home. At 12PM I was home again after a very boring highway trip only interrupted by a car crash on the German Autobahn A3 near Koblenz. Weather conditions were quite bad at that moment and cars were still racing with speeds above 150kmh. I wondered what I was doing wrong with my 120kmh max, or were there supermans at the steering wheels? Well, I wasn't doing anything wrong and there are no supermans in this world, seen this crash. After an hour the rubble was cleared and people were racing me by with even higher speeds to make up for the lost time. Some will never learn...

This was yet another fine trip of about 3,150km. The Pan was perfect again on mountain roads and at the highway (still not 100% stable though...). The Michelin Pilot Road 2's worked very well in dry and wet conditions. Gonna have them next time too.

Click here for all the pics

Click here for a Google kmz file with the route and small pics


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