Geo: 46.3413, 7.01233
Saturday the group left the French Riviera via the autobahn, splitting up in Aix en Provence. Dave and Janet took to the country roads on a nice ride through the Luberon despite threatening clouds, overnighting in Gap after visiting Lourmarin, Apt and Sisteron along the way.
The following day they headed for the higher elevations, with alternating sunny and cloudy skies, over several more passes on the way to Grenoble. Road closures and a 15km detour put them off course, causing them to miss seeing the Grand Goulets, although the alternate route provided a wonderful ride on a great little Alpine road near St. Martin en Vercors. As the storm clouds turned to rain, they found a quaint “guest house” in Ugine, just outside of Albertville, dinner and breakfast included.
On Tuesday, they started a recommended 2-day route around the Mount Blanc massif – where France, Italy and Switzerland converge. We started out through the French Savoie and the cheese-making area of Beaufort. A road closure forced us on another interesting “deviation” on the way to Flumet. Morning clouds continued to threaten, but held off all day for another great ride in the Alps over more passes, including a
stop at the Italian border at Col du Petit St. Bernard. After a wonderful ride down the backside of the mountain, the road followed a river valley into Aosta for night's lodging at a wonderful Italian hotel just outside of town with a great view of the mountains.
Serious rain finally arrived the next morning and the decision was made to abandon a planned trip to Chamonix, given the cloud cover around Mount Blanc. By the time we climbed to the top of the Grand St. Bernard pass and the Swiss border, visibility was nearly zero, and the rains were compounded by winds. After a stop to warm our hands around a hot cup of coffee, we proceeded cautiously down the narrow roads to Martigny on the way to Leysin, Switzerland. When we arrived that afternoon at our wonderful Au Bel Air guest house, the storm had passed, delivering spectacular views of several mountain ranges. We enjoyed the warm hospitality of our host, Dominique Delacrois over a glass of wine in his comfy Alps bar and breakfast room. Being a motorcyclist himself, he shared fond stories of his rides in the USA, including Route 66 and the western states.
Since rain was forecast again for the following day, Dominique suggested we leave the bike behind and take the funicular train down the mountain from Leysin to Aigle to visit the castle which houses a local vineyard and wine-making museum. The castle and museum were fascinating. We enjoyed lunch in Aigle then returned home via the funicular in time for the storm to break up in the afternoon - returning clear skies and views of the mountain ranges from our terrace.
We left the next day on a route which Dominque suggested which led us through more beautiful green countryside through Gstaad and over Jaun pass on the way to Gruyere. There, we toured the medieval walled city and castle, and enjoyed Gruyere cheese dishes for lunch, then headed north above Bern to stay the night in the Solothurn region.
Tot: 0.117s; Tpl: 0.074s; cc: 11; qc: 25; dbt: 0.0165s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.2mb