Alps!!! French ones
Another bright sunny day. One of the other campers who I met yesterday in the wifi hub, invited me to dinner. Unfortunately I was just in the process of packing to leave and head north. I have been using a combination of maps including John Hermann's book on the Alps and the Best Rides of France I bought from Kate.
I'm not convinced about the Best Rides book as it seems to be rather inaccurate and the road numbering is quite out of date. He marks the best rides with purple but I have ridden a few of them and seriously doubt that I would be calling major thoroughfares with trucks "best rides". Some of them are not even twisty - just dead straight and boring.
John Hermann seems to be much more reliable, so I have gone north and am basing myself in Barcelonette for the next few days on his recommendation. It's also the jumping off point for Italy.
The first part of the ride was retracing the north side of the Gorge du Verdon and this time Henry did it in spectacular style. I suspect he actually likes a bit of weight on.
We got held up by a very slow bus and then by a landslide and then by some inconsiderate bicyclists riding 3 abreast and would not give way. After we cleared all that I was able to follow a pink jeep with a huge St Bernard dog hanging out the back watching my every move. They were doing just the right speed and were "clearing" the corners of wayward vehicles coming in the other direction using our side of the road.
This lasted a good 40+kms so a lovely ride was had by all.
As soon as we left Castellane we started climbing - and climbing - and climbing. I stopped for lunch in a beautiful park in Colmar and then went looking for the toilet. I circumnavigated the whole "old" town but could not find the public WC. Just as I was beginning to think I would have to buy a coffee in a café in order to use the ladies (kinda defeats the purpose really), I spotted the sign about 10m from where I'd left the bike.
Comfortable once more, I set off to climb even higher. I passed through Allos which is one of France's most famous ski fields and rode on the shittiest little goat track to the top of the Col d'Allos.
Down the other side, 20kms to Barcelonette, the roads were only slightly better. Lots of blind corners and rough surface and you are lucky to be doing 30km/h.
Spectacular scenery though!
Settled in to the camp ground which has free wifi, and a restaurant and somewhere nice to sit out of the rain... which came down in buckets as a passing thunderstorm struck!