Alps, Southern France, September 2012 − Travels − Captain Tom

Alps, Southern France, September 2012

And the next tour into the Alps. This time we went to Southern France into Vaujany, a little ski Village close to Grenoble. It is located in the heart of the French alps and very close to Alp d'Huez and Col du Galibier. Our base was Chalet Solneige - a little hotel with nice rooms and very good food. A little bit special was the dinner arrangement: All guests took a seat on a long table and got the same three course meal.

This time we had Martina, Thomas Paul and myself in the group. Paul came over from the US and rented a bike from Moto Plaisir in Annemasse/France (very close to Geneva/Switzerland).

Our tours added up to 2000 km / 1200 miles and we climbed about 50 km / 30 miles going over 53 passes. Including my journey from and to Berlin I got 5000 km / 3000 miles, climbed about 87 km / 54 miles going over 60 passes.

We enjoyed roads, company, French and Italian food and some challenges like road closures, rain and cold temperatures.

1 Day 1

While I have to ride about 890 km / 550 miles across Germany to get from Berlin to Black Forrest, Paul is exploring Geneva.

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Signature sight is the big fountain within lake Geneva.
2 Day 2

We have to get through Switzerland in order to pick up Paul in Annemasse (the town next to Geneva on the french side of the border).

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Thomas gets ready in the morning
Continuing the journey with Paul we get over the Road of the three lakes (Route des 3 Lacs) with a great view towards Geneva
And we have our first lunch break in France
And this is the first video from Col du Barioz
3 Day 3

Our first tour with all four of us will bring us to Col du Pré which is a beautiful pass with great views. It is Sunday and the weather is very decent. So the traffic on this little pass is insane.

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First stop at Col du Glandon
Next stop for morning coffee at Col de la Madeleine
Then the road to Col du Pré was closed so we had to go a diversion for quite a distance. While the others look at the construction site I try to find out how to get to Col du Pré
Finally we get to Col du Pré
Paul at Col du Pré
A nice restaurant at Roselend Reservoir for afternoon coffee
The reservoir with view to Col du Roselend
At Col du Roselend we got into a thunderstorm and had to wait for quite a while. That extended the ride significantly but we made it back to the hotel before dinner time.
4 Day 4

Today we do a nice loop via Alp d'Huez towards Col du Lautaret, Col du Galibier, Col du Telegraph and so on.

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View from Alp d'Huez
Glacier at Col du Lautaret ...
... where we have our morning coffee
Paul arriving at Col du Galibier
Col du Galibier
They have installed some big straw figures in the Valloire valley
Next pass is Col du Telegraphe
Col de la Croix de Fer - the Iron Cross Pass
Thomas at Lac de Grand Maison
View to western ramp of Col du Glandon from Lac de Grand Maison
5 Day 5

Lac de Serre-Ponçon is our target today.

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We start with Col d'Ornon ...
... go over Col de Parquetout (which was new to me) ...
... before we get our morning coffee in Corps.
Then we reach Lac de Serre-Ponçon
Col du Noyer
Paul climbing Col du Noyer
Tom, Martina, Thomas at Col du Noyer
6 Day 6

The weather got worse over night. There is snow on top of the mountains, it is cold and raining. The first half of the day was ok but in the afternoon it was all cold and wet and did not make too much fun.

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Col du Festre
Rocks at Col des Tourettes
Col de Cabre
7 Day 7

It is cold but dry and we want to go to Mont Cenis

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Thomas with his new leathers
Col de Sarenne
Thomas descending Col de Sarenne
Paul arrives at Col du Lautaret
We proceed ofer Col de l'Echelle into Italy
Lunch in Italy
Mont Cenis
Fort Victor-Emmanuel
Afternoon coffee at Col de la Croix de Fer
8 Day 8

Our last day together. The last tour brings us to the highest point as well and - in my opinion the most amazing views of the week. Colle dell Agnello is where we want to go.

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Paul got his directions
Morning coffee at Col du Lautaret again.
Col d'Izoard
And then Agnello in perfect weather
Posing at and on the pass sign
Amazing views
For Italian lunch we go down into the valley of Casteldelfino
Then we return to Agnello View in to the valley of Casteldelfino
Paul is following me
I am chasing two Swiss guys who are quite quick
Col de Sarenne in the afternoon
Thomas and Martina arriving at Col de Sarenne
Paul arriving at Col de Sarenne
Paul is impressed by this runway of Alp d'Huez Airfield
In the evening Thomas has to pack. The bicycle and one bike into the van ...
... the other bike in the back
9 Day 9

I have to make my way back to Germany and will visit friends close to Stuttgart.

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I go over Col du Glandon...
... and Col de la Madelaine. There I get some amazing mountain views ...
... including one to Mont Blanc (White Mountain) which is the highest summit of the Alps.
Last pass of the tour is Nufenen Pass in Switzerland
10 Day 10

I have to ride home from Stuttgart to Berlin.

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11 What else?

Police in Thuringia confirmed that I ususally do not exceed speed limit by more than 20 km/h. 15 EUR for 60 in a 50 zone.
Tunnels are quite expensive. For the 12 km / 7.5 miles tunnel in Frejus they wanted 25.80 EUR (about 30 USD) and we expeced gold plated walls but we got extended heating (up to 36 C / 97 F) instead. The Mont Blanc tunnel is about 17 km / 10.5 miles and they wanted 26.10 EUR