The call of the Cols

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by ChubbyThumper, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    A ride to the Stella Alpina rally in Bardonechia Italy via some cols and passes of France and Switzerland.
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    With 10 days between ferries and a target to be in Bardonnechia, Italy for the Stella Alpina event in a weeks time I set off from Roscoff with a rough plan of what I wanted to do and see. My forum buddies Jockser and Padge had given me some ideas so my first day was spent doing 440 miles S/E to the RidersRest.net
    bikers B+B near Treignac, just South of Limoges. Tony, the owner, had told me if I was down in time they would keep Sunday dinner for me. With a Garmin ETA of 7pm I made maximum use of the motorway system and arrived at 7.20pm after two fuel stops and a coffee break. This left time for a beer and shower before the roast chicken Sunday dinner.



    Day 2

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    Next morning I realised what a useless piece of sh1t my lowered gel seat (came with the bike) is in 35C. My arse bones had been bottoming out on the seat frame giving me two nice bruised tender spots which stayed for the entire trip! Sorry no pics!
    Over dinner we had been watching a slide show of Tony’s showing local points of interest and he kindly gave me a mapsource route for my Zumo to get me near Gap using some excellent roads and cols (passes) and a waypoint for Chateau de Val

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    A bit knackered but still characterful. There was a bottle jack under the rear end!

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    Ardeche

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    I waved these guys down to warn them about loose gravel ahead but they wouldn't stop. It is very remote....






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    #1
  2. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    I stayed that night at camping-solaire.com near Veynes and after setting up camp met Thomask and his wife. They were a Swedish couple beside me in a camper and correctly assumed that as I was from Ireland , a wee glass of Tullamore Dew would not go amiss. After a couple of nips and a great chat I went back to my tent and fell fast asleep without having any dinner. Must have been tired.

    Day 3

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    Up early and on the road at 7am. Great light for photos. These are just across the road from the campsite

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    As a guide I used the book &#8220;Motorcycle journeys through the Alps&#8221; by the American John Herman ISBN 978-1-884313-70-7. Being close to Veynes I intercepted the D937 going Nthwards and rode the col du Festre and col du Noyer

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    The refuge at Col de Noyer, Time for a coffee and a walkabout. There was only myself and a cyclist in the cafe. Perfect.

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    Down the other side towards Poligny village

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    #2
  3. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Poligny village looking back up at the Col de Noyer

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    From Poligny onto the Route Napoleon N85 to La Mure then col de Glandon

    Road to Col de Glandon.
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    As a fellow Vito van owner I got chatting to the young English couple holidaying in this one and took a photo for them

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    #3
  4. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    to Les 2 Glaciers campsite just before Chamonix. The site is just below the Aiguille du midi, giving spectacular views of the mountains. Mont Blanc is out of sight on the other side of the hill. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    Even the toilet block was pretty

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    #4
  5. jtb

    jtb Long timer

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    Mate, how awesome is that! I'd love to be able to go and have a look at some of that one day!

    What is the building at the top of the mountain?
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    Love your work keep it coming :thumb
    #5
  6. E-man

    E-man 4-4-09, 12-6-09, 1-13-10

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    TEASE!!!! WE WANT MORE!!!:clap
    #6
  7. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    jtb its a viewing platform and gondola station. You can take a ride up from chamonix on the other side. I have done it with my wife in winter and it is spectacular. Try this link for more info
    http://www.coldfusionchalets.co.uk/pdfs/Aiguille%20Du%20Midi.pdf

    Eman
    No teasing intended I am trying to work my way through a mountain of photos and rough notes made at the time then carefully put away in places that made sense at the time but have now been forgotten.....Doh!
    Thanks for your interest guys
    #7
  8. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Day 4<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    I crossed the border into Switzerland from Argentiere at 7.15am. The customs had not yet opened which made things pretty simple. 80 tedious miles through urban roads (avoiding motorways) and passing lots of motorcycle dealerships brought me to Furka at the foot of the Furka Pass. This is more like it!<o:p></o:p>
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    I feel the Furka is best ridden from its base near Furka village, this gives you the entire climb wheras joing from the Grimsel Pass brings you in much higher up missing the golden triangle of hairpins.
    Still climbing Furka up through the tiny village of Gletsch which you can just about make out lower down.


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    Starting the Descent towards Hospen Tal and Andermatt

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    I pulled in to let a bus get ahead .You really do prefer these roads (read corners) to yourself. An American guy, Alex from Texas pulled in with the same idea. As we ate lunch he told me he was studying in Oxford and having an end of term break on his BMW. Good to meet you Alex

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    #8
  9. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    Great Stuff! Can you show us a map of your route? I'm yearning for Europe.
    #9
  10. LeiCHtI78

    LeiCHtI78 n00b

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    very nice pics, want some more :thumb
    #10
  11. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Strangely some of these perfectly straight sections in the valleys have airsocks and can double as a military landing strip. I don&#8217;t think we&#8217;re talking Cessnas here&#8230;&#8230;
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    Turning to page 21 of Motorcycle journeys through the Alps I decided to do the Furka, Susten pass Grimsel loop anti clockwise. Not my smartest move as the guide takes you round in a clockwise direction. Ah well
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    Sustenpass. Taken by a German guy working in UK and riding a UK registered Beemer. This is his 6<SUP>th</SUP> year here working on getting his laptime down&#8230;
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    From the hotel Alpenrosi at the top of Grimsel you can take a dead end track called the Oberaar. The track is controlled by traffic lights. I highly recommend taking a look along here as long as you can handle the drop offs.
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    Restaurant above the reservoir at the end of the track. Too pricey for me!
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    And so I turned down the Grimsel to head for Interlaken and the campsite there. I had been texting Gordo from ADV and hoped to tie up with him and Marc, the Swiss guy he was staying with.

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    As I was approaching Interlaken I was waved down by another 950KTM . This turned out to be Marc accompanied by Gordo. We went back to Marcs place and I ended up staying the night there. Excellent!
    #11
  12. Tigrou

    Tigrou Been here awhile

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    Hi,

    At the top of the "aiguille du midi" the building is the highest telecommunication center in France.
    #12
  13. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Thanks Tigrou I didn't know that. :thumb
    #13
  14. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

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    Nice pics,and the right stuff for me.Will do the "route des grandes alpes" to south france next week :ricky

    MJ
    #14
  15. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Enjoy, you won't regret it.
    #15
  16. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    It turned out Marcs wife is from N.Ireland so we had a great night of beer, chat and insights into life in Switzerland. Here are some views near Marcs house. The Swiss are nothing if not efficient, neat and tidy.
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    woodpile
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    Ooops a bit of woodworm here.
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    Even the dungpile is efficient
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    Next morning we get our kit sorted out and head out on a run led by Marc
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    A waterfall near Gstaad
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    Gordo closest Marc behind


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    Big marc gets a phone call, I try a wide aperture shot
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    which works better on this passing Harley. So he didn&#8217;t acknowledge my wave&#8230;.must be lonely being a real badass!


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    Over Col de Pillon
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    to Col de la Croix
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    to Martigny for fuel and Marc welcomed us with a handshake to the valleys in his best Swiss/Welsh accent.

    Champex lac

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    We were near the Italian border, the two lads headed for home and I continued into Italy on my own. Thanks for a great run and good company Marc and Gordo.
    #16
  17. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

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    Subscibed. Nice bikes as well. :D
    #17
  18. ChubbyThumper

    ChubbyThumper Been here awhile

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    Heading up the Grand St Bernard pass on the Swiss side the weather started getting greyer and colder you do feel the scale of the place.
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    When I reached the pass the rain came down in buckets followed by hailstones. A big fire and a wee Jameson would have gone down a treat right then
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    The Swiss border control is the smallest house on the right, the Italian further down. No interest from either of them.
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    Stopped in this avalanche gallery with another biker for about 20 mins hoping the rain would stop. It didn&#8217;t so I kept going. Now in Italy.
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    Down through the fog to a campeggio (campsite) in Etroubles near Aosta. The first accommodation my zumo came up with.

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    #18
  19. philgunn

    philgunn BMW R80gs offroad + HP2

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    nice report Terry and some great shots , it is awful to be looking at you travelogue on a damp cold summer in Ireland ,

    pg
    #19
  20. stanbloke

    stanbloke Been here awhile

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    Great pics Terry and cracking write up.

    Looks like you have a top holiday fella.:D.
    #20