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July 17th 2012
Published: July 6th 2017
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An ocean of sunflowersAn ocean of sunflowersAn ocean of sunflowers

An ocean of sunflowers
Geo: 42.8968, 0.064688

We decided to take another trip down to the Pyrenees to show Deb and Guenther the Col du Tourmalet. It was a gorgeous, sunny day as we headed out of Toulouse on some great "D" roads, across miles of sunflowers, wheat, corn, and grapes. We eventually worked our way down to the village of Arreau, not far from where we had stayed weeks before in St. Lary, near the Spanish border.
Turning off the main highway, we headed up the steep, winding road to Col d'Aspin. We had to share the road with lots of cyclists and four-wheeled traffic, mostly mini-motor homes heading up to find their spot for watching tomorrow's leg of the Tour de France. Stopping at the top for more breathtaking views of the Pyrenees, we were blessed with perfect weather and no fog or clouds.
We worked our way down the mountain, lined with motor homes and campers, many hanging precariously on the edge of the road. The road was packed with cyclists as well.
After reaching the little village of St. Marie-de-Campan, we started up another mountain road to the Col du Tourmalet. Although this road was wider, the traffic was just
A coffee stop near ArreauA coffee stop near ArreauA coffee stop near Arreau

A coffee stop near Arreau
as congested. The biggest hazard in trying to pass the slow moving campers was the cyclists coming down the mountain at breakneck speeds.
The top of the mountain was wall-to-wall cyclists and their tour buses, celebrating the completion of their ride up the mountain on the day before Le Tour. The road down from Col du Tourmalet was lined with white RVs nearly all the way to the valley.
We stopped in the little village of Bareges for lunch, sitting under an umbrella along the street where cyclists streamed by. (The was the same spot where we had stopped for coffee with Phil on our second day in France.)
The afternoon continued to warm as we rode around Lourdes and got on the toll way for the 90-mintue sprint back to Toulouse. We stopped for cold drinks and a leg stretch along the way, and to take a break from getting buffeted by the hot wind at 130km/hr with a small windshield.
Having finally mastered the freeways in and out of Toulouse we were able to sail back to home base without any problems.




Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


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Heading up the Col d'AspinHeading up the Col d'Aspin
Heading up the Col d'Aspin

Heading up the Col d'Aspin
Campers on Col d'Aspin getting ready for Le TourCampers on Col d'Aspin getting ready for Le Tour
Campers on Col d'Aspin getting ready for Le Tour

Campers on Col d'Aspin getting ready for Le Tour
View from atop the Col du TourmaletView from atop the Col du Tourmalet
View from atop the Col du Tourmalet

View from atop the Col du Tourmalet
Cows and campers along the roadCows and campers along the road
Cows and campers along the road

Cows and campers along the road
Dave at a Tour de France outpostDave at a Tour de France outpost
Dave at a Tour de France outpost

Dave at a Tour de France outpost
The road we climbedThe road we climbed
The road we climbed

The road we just climbed


19th July 2012

Beautiful photos!

Tot: 2.588s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 8; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0377s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb