Epic Day! I knew it would be but I had a goal to achieve.
I set out as early as I could and headed up the Gorge du Verdon on the south side though Aiguines. The roads were perfect (due to the Tour de France) and absent of trucks or through traffic. Everyone was a tourist and were travelling at tourist pace with a stopped car on every bend taking a photo of the magnificent view.
I did the same because every corner revealed a new vista. A thousand blind corners and a hundred hairpin bends - you couldn't go much over 60km/h and although I consider it to be a great motorcycling road, it is not for the speed jockeys.
The gorge is spectacular and I was so slow I had only completed one quarter of my figure eight by 11am. I stopped for a coffee at Comps and then found the D2 to Vence. I was heading even higher and the clouds started to roll in but luckily no rain. I was heading to Tourettes sur Loup which was close to the coastline above Nice. I will write a separate page on Tourettes later.
I arrived by 1pm and had a good poke around the town and snapped off lots of photos before my camera battery ran flat. (I'm not really impressed with this new camera even though it is a Sony. The old one took much better photos and had more features. A lot of these photos come out blurred and/or dull in colour. I've played with every setting but still can't seem to get a decent snapshot. It also doesn't tell you when the battery is low so you have no idea until it suddenly won't turn on.)
The wonderful ladies in the Tourist office charged my battery but it meant I had to wait around and delay my departure.
I had planned the trip on Google Maps and written down every road number to follow. Unfortunately when I got to a roundabout, road I needed to take was not numbered and I ended up on the edges of Grasse and in the middle of peak hour traffic.
I needed petrol so pulled into an automatic garage. The pump rejected my credit card! I had only used it the day before and it was fine, but now it seems to be blocked by Westpac. With my other credit card out of action and the auto petrol not accepting cash - I'm in a real pickle. (If it is blocked again you will hear me screaming at Westpac from the other side of the world).
I had no choice but to head off towards home and hope that a cash station would magically appear. It was already 4pm and I was only halfway through the trip.
I figured I had about 40kms left in the tank and Castellane was 55kms away. If I made it I would be running on fumes.
The road away from the coast is just wonderful - although it is a major through route and the traffic is a lot quicker. The lanes are wider and although they climb and fall quite steeply at times, you can happily maintain a decent speed as there are few blind corners.
I was trying to conserve fuel and thought I might actually make it into Castellane when a cash station magically appeared at Logis du Pins albeit at 1.79E/l. Ouch!!
The last 45kms back to Moustiers was the worst. I was back in the Gorge - on the northern side - and although the views were again marvelous, the road was windy and twisty and slow going. I was very tired and the sun was in my eyes and the shadows were long on the ground. I could feel my face burning and I was hungry. Not good riding conditions and I was sloppy and fatigued. Although I only had 15kms to go, I had to stop and fix myself a picnic and let the blood flow back into my gluteus maximus.
There was a sign saying "lookout" so I went on a little hike to wake myself up. I was even more tired by the time I returned from tackling the rocky path but the view was worth it.
I arrived back at the campsite about 7.30pm - exhausted but exhilarated.