Alps 2013 Part 3 d'Izoard,Verdun,Parpaillon.

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Postby Tonibe63 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:15 pm

Monday

The days were flying bye now and we hadn’t had a chance to do some of the tarmac roads to the North but if we wanted to see the Gorge du Verdun we need to move base further South. We had talked about joining other Larf members on their Brittany trip but I’d already text Martin to say we couldn’t make it.
With a heavy heart we broke camp and packed up the bike in less than an hour. The German riders still haven’t returned so no update on the LKGS for future reference.
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First coffee of the day was watching a steady stream of bikes heading South
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The scenery was very similar to southern Spain
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A guy on UKGSer had said that the Col d’Izoard was his favourite pass and we have to agree it was simply stunning with fantastic bends and semi desert views
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And then a couple of shepherds bringing their flock down from the hills
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Riding down through a village I was sent to get some bread but once inside I got carried away with the fantastic display. I ended up with pain chocolate for now and fruit tarts for later and ............. I forgot the bread
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On to the Col du Vars which was only 20 mile down the road but the scenery was in total contrast
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We got to Barcelonette which although only 70 miles further South it would make all the difference to this last part of the trip.
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We found a campsite on the outskirts of the town for 14 Euros a night and had the tent set up within an hour. By now it was 2pm and much hotter today so spent a couple of hours relaxing in the shade with a pair of lovely fruit tarts each and of course a snooze.

Later on we decided to go to the nearby lake for an evening meal
There was a little restaurant on the way
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But didn’t fancy eating dinner whilst staring at a giant penis
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Had dinner overlooking the bridge and the lake before another fantastic ride back in the cooler evening air
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Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby bmk » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:44 pm

Great shot, liking the look of this one. :D 8-) :handgestures-thumbup:

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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:36 am

Tuesday

Nice bright start to the morning watching a couple of paragliders living the dream, wishing I was up there too
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Today we head for the Gorge du Verdun, starting with the Col d’Allos that was very narrow in places which meant very little traffic but with the occasional football sized rock in the middle of the road to watch out for
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As the road dropped down it ran alongside a lovely blue river that would eventually feed in to the Gorge
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We caught up with a couple of Harley riders and sat behind them for .................... about 2 minutes before I got bored. I was on a lazy pace but they were drifting wide on most corners due to the massive rear tyres, let’s get them out the way with.
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The roads were becoming busier, narrower and the pace slowed with cars worried about the overhanging rocks
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As we approached the Gorge via the Rue de Cretes it became very touristy and with the constant stop/start it got very hot in the midday sun.
The views help make up for it
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No run off if you get it wrong
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Eventually we got to the view point over the Lake and in the red hot sun it looked very inviting
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So we found a quite little beach and had a couple of hours in the shade eating our supplies of bread, cheese and fruit. Despite not having trunks it was down to the boxer shorts and in we go, who cares we won’t see any of these people again, absolute heaven.
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I would really love to be up there though
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Late afternoon we found a cafe with greats views across the lake
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Heading back via the Col d’Allos we just got to the supermarket before they closed so grabbed food and beer before hitting the showers and tea in the cooler evening air.

A long day of about 200 miles and 7 hours of actual hard riding. We both agreed it was worth it but at times it felt like you were looking on from the top of the Gorge and it was a shame there was no roads down in the bottom alongside the white water rapids. Maybe next time I will do a raft ride but water is not for Louise.
Last edited by Tonibe63 on Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:17 pm

Wednesday

Another good start to the day as we head North, grab a coffee and croissant before picking up the road for La Condamine Chatelard and then turn left for the Route de Parpallion.
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I’d been told that some riders had recently been forced to turn back by Police or get a fine and although today there were no Police there was a prominent sign which I chose to ignore but Louise obviously spotted it
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Luckily she hadn’t seen the rock on the right with STOP painted in red on it

It’s clearly a road with a sign post on it
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And even a car (parked up at a tiny shack) just after the rickety bridge
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It was getting more remote up here and we hadn’t seen a single person for over half an hour
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Before finally arriving at the tunnel entrance
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At this point Louise said “it doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t be up here”, which I’ll be honest and say I just dismissed it.
Entering into the tunnel we could see the distant light of the other end and I was happy to ride on until I spotted that some of the tunnel wall and roof was missing and lots of water on the floor
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The floor was a mixture of water, gravel and silt mud until I was stopped in my tracks by ............................ by ICE ........... “ohh bollx”
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Getting off the bike I was immediately up to my ankles in mud, even worse I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face and if this headlight bulb blows we are seriously f’cked.
Walking ahead of the bike I was struggling to stand up and after 10 or 15 paces I’d lost the light from the bike and fell off the end of the ice step which was about 18 inches thick.
There was no way we could ride over this so I had to think how to turn around, something that I hadn’t even considered.
Like a scene from Chuckle Vision (“to me to you”) we started pushing and pulling the bike backwards and forwards. The front tyre hit one wall whilst the top box was brushing the opposite wall. Stress levels were rocketing and although I couldn’t see Louise I could tell from her voice that panic was setting in. After a bit of heated discussion we eventually managed to turn round and ride out of the tunnel.
A huge relief to see daylight although the atmosphere was definitely frostier than when we went in
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A LARF sticker at one end but not the other
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Looking back in to the tunnel sends a shiver down my spine
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The 45 minute ride back to the road was strangely silent and we didn’t see another person, we could have been seriously up sh!t creek.

A coffee and refuel got things back on track so we head for the highly recommended Col de la Bonette which again had a totally different feel and was stunning
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Gathering storm clouds ahead
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I love this photo
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Mountain forts, war graves, pill boxes and shrines
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And the final climb to the top
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The German guy who took the above photo had ridden the Parpaillon Tunnel a couple of days ago with his mate, both with knobblies on their GSA’s. They tried to ride the bikes over the ice but his mate had fell landing under the bike which they couldn’t pick up. He was stuck there for half an hour until 2 guys on quads just happened to turn up and get them out the sh!t. A lucky escape.

By now the weather at the top had closed in with a mixture of rain and hail.
Heading down it did improve for a while and we rode to this Barracks which was built by Napoleons Army and housed over 800 men.
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Incredible to think Napoleons Army had once been here
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Heading down in to the valley
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The waterfalls are full from yesterday’s storms in this area
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A town en route looks like a film set from ‘Les Miserable’
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It’s been raining hard for hours now and the rivers are turning red with mud
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It’s now throwing it down
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At the next Town we had to turn off but couldn’t stop in time due to a 6 foot wide river of mud flowing through the main street. As we turned round masses of water was cascading down the steps between the houses plus a massive thunderstorm was raging overhead.
As we rode up the pass rivers of mud were cutting across the hairpins some with football size rocks in the flow, this was really dangerous but I wasn’t going to risk getting washed away so just pushed on for higher ground, it was frightening. Ten minutes later and at least the road/river was clear water so nothing for it but to keep going.
Eventually we get to a cafe and stop for coffee. Soon the verander floor was covered in puddles around our chairs but we were made very welcome.
By now the camera had stopped working-never to work again but at least the SD card survived.

The rest of the ride slowly got dryer until we arrived at the tent and the sun was out.

A day of extreme highs and lows.

A real hard days riding and can’t believe it was less than 200 miles
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Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby bmk » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:41 pm

Really enjoying these Tony, and I realise it takes a lot of time and effort to sift through photo's, upload them and do the writing, but it's much appreciated.

:text-thankyoublue: :text-thankyouyellow:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:04 pm

Thursday

After some long days in the saddle along with all the rain of yesterday we decided to have a day around the camp site. The weather was a bit dull and there was talk of storms after lunch and tomorrow. After looking at the map I suggested packing up today whilst it’s dry and start heading North, Louise replied by asking “how far is it to Turkey, can’t we just keep going?” Unfortunately we had an important family gathering to scatter her Dad’s ashes on Sunday so Turkey isn’t an option on this trip.
Decision made, the bike is packed and we’re away by 10am.
Taking in the Col du Vars and the fantastic col d’Izoard we had ridden a few days earlier
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Then head towards Grenoble and the Alp D’huez but it was closed for the Tour De France so we had to take the Col De Galibier and Col du Telegraph which we’d missed on the earlier part of the trip=bonus
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We’d not eaten a great deal all day so by 8pm we were ready for a meal and bed so switched on the sat nav and found an Ibis in Bourg en Bresse.
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270 mile day of good riding considering we were on the long and depressing road North.

Saturday

After a late meal and a good nights sleep we skipped breakfast and were away by 9am taking in some of the N Roads, getting supplies en route but using the paege to skirt around Cities. At Reims the traffic was getting busy and the constant stop start of roundabouts was hard work so we just got on the paege, stopping for fuel and also at decent picnic spots along the way to escape the 34 degree heat.

5.30pm and we fuel up just south of St.Quentin.
With 225km’s to the tunnel I give Louise the choice of getting a Hotel or blast it home. Without a moment’s hesitation she said let’s just go for it. I did explain that means 150 miles this side and another 185 miles in the UK but the answer was the same.
8pm we pull in to The Tunnel terminal and despite being 18 hours early we were offered the next crossing at 8.40pm at no extra charge=result.
10.30pm and we stop for fuel at Toddington and finish the last of our French supplies along with a Costa caffeine hit.

By midnight we were at home in bed after 650 miles
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Monday
5.15am I pushed the bike out the garage, put my sandwiches in the top box and rode to work.
I could be in Scotland for dinner time :think:


*********************************************************************
Mission accomplished.
3000 miles over 2 weeks.
The trip was all that I’d ever wished it could be.
The tarmac roads are absolutely awesome, even the roads joining 2 villages make the Cat & Fiddle look like a motorway.
The Stella Rally is a fantastic event and if you like adventure riding on unsuitable bikes then you will meet many great people of all Nationalities that return year after year. Get a CG125, 650 Versys or Triumph Explorer and go ride the Col de Sommelier. You have to do it at least once.
After a few days you take the scenery for granted but once you’re back home you realise just how good it is out there.
F’kin awesome.
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby skunkyd » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:06 pm

:text-yeahthat: many thanks Tony. :handgestures-thumbup:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:41 pm

Thanks Gents :handgestures-thumbup: .
It's a ball aching job to be honest but when the mind starts to fade I can look back at what we've been lucky enough to have done :rob .
When doing my research I've got my information from reading many ride reports on t'internet so if this report helps somebody to get out there and live their own dream then it's a bonus. Sometimes peoples fear of the unknown makes them fall at the first hurdle.

I also firmly believe if it wasn't for that first Larf trip abroad I wouldn't be doing any of this, it's all Larf's fault :text-thankyouyellow:
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby Digga » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:14 am

really enjoyed that Tony .... thanks for the read and pix.

That "MorCoCo" appears to be lasting well, it must have covered some miles now :D
"The day you become old is the day you're not looking for new experiences anymore."

"Quisque comoedus est."

perspicuus lux lucis , caligo umbra.
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Postby BLUE(UK) » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:38 am

I always wear speedo's when riding in hot places so I can go for a swim as and when. 8-)
Then there's the guy who emails 50 questions about a 10 quid product, all of which could be answered by googling. So you answer and try to help, he emails again with more and you reply again. After the 5th email its obvious he doesnt actually want it and is basically wasting your time so you reply slower. Then he puts a post on a forum about how you're a twat because you're slow to reply so that whole process just costs you time and reputation, all because the bloke is a massive """"..
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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:16 am

Thanks for the positive comments at last nights meeting gents :handgestures-thumbup: .
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby bmk » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:51 am

Tonibe63 wrote:Thanks for the positive comments at last nights meeting gents :handgestures-thumbup: .


Fully deserved Tony, it's a great write up, and hopefully has inspired Chris to finish his tales in Norway. :augie :handgestures-thumbup:
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Postby Noel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:12 pm

Have loved this write up probably my favourite thread on the forum to date.
Thank you.
PS Will be revisiting on the dull winter days just to lift spirits.
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Postby Tonibe63 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:01 pm

It's all down to the skill of the photographer on the back :liar:

(she's reading it on the Kindle :shhh: )
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby bmk » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:42 pm

Tonibe63 wrote:It's all down to the skill of the photographer on the back :liar:


It's true and does make a real difference, Charly snaps literally hundreds of photo's when she has been on the back of my bike on trips. :handgestures-thumbup:
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