Southern France, August 2018 − Travels − Captain Tom

Southern France, August 2018

Another tour into the Alps of Southern France with Marcellus and Extreme-Tours. An new group of riders and a slightly changed route. I meet new riders, see many known places and I am happy to discover new things.

After the tour through the Alps I will proceed to Wuppertal for meeting friends, have regular maintenance of the bike in Düsseldorf and a riders training at Nürburgring Nordschleife track. I will be on the road for two weeks and will ride about 3700 miles (6000 km).

Some technical issues get in the way and made me stop at Sport Moto in Barcelonnette, at KTM Universal Ride in Grenoble, at KTM Motopabst in Düsseldorf and at KTM Motorradsport Schmitt in Binningen. Main issue was the break which did not work properly and was finally fixed in Düsseldorf

It did not stop enjoying the stunning scenery, riding together in a group, the good food and mood. I took more than 1000 pictures and you will find some of them in this report. You can see all pictures in this 2 minutes video.
Journey into the Alps

I need to days to go into the Alps. I start on a Friday at noon and do some miles to some place close to Nuremberg. I proceed the next day to our meeting point in Champery South of Lake Lac Leman

Leaving Berlin
It is quite hot
I stay for the night at Hotel Steigerwaldhaus in Oberrimbach
The next day I meet Kurt and he guides me over nice roads through Black Forest until the Swiss border.
Marcellus goes over Swiss passes
I noticed this little island in Lake Lac Leman in a TV report. I always wanted to fly around it.
Flight over Lake Lac Leman
In the evening there is some "Alpen-Glühn" (glowing Alps)
Day #1 - We go from Champery to Aix-les-Bains

Highlights of the day are the stunning views from Col du Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat

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It is quite calm in Champery before we start
First pass is Pass de Morgins which leads into France
The group passes by
Château d'Avully
Geneva
View to Geneva
Pont de la Caille
It's not just us needing a break
Bridge over river Rhône in Seyssel
Col du Grand Colombier
View from Col du Grand Colombier
Mont du Chat - Spectacular view over Lake Lac du Bourget
Mont du Chat - 360 view
Mont du Chat
The group meets Beat and enjoys the view
Day #2 - We go from Aix-les-Bains to Gresse-en-Vercors

Highlights of the day are Le Revard in the morning and Col Gaudissart later on. And we get a superp dinner

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Le Revard in the morning - another beautiful view over lake Lac du Bourget
Viewing platform
Lac du Bourget
Short stop at Col du Granier
Coffee break with dog...
... and cows ...
... and chocolate and coffee
The walnut farms convey a mood silence. I had to walk into one of them.
Looking for a gas station I found this bridge over river Isère
Gorges du Nan
Nice view to mountains
Good lunch in hotel Beaurivage in Pont-en-Royans
Enjoying the lunch
The Goldwing has not been moved for quite a long time
Hotel Beaurivage
Big bicycle
Col de la Machine
Col Gaudissart (Circque de Combe Laval) - Unbelievable how they carved the road into the rock
Col Gaudissart
Col Gaudissart
Col Gaudissart
Col Gaudissart
Col de Rousset
Col de Rousset
Dinner in Hotel Le Châlet
Selection of cheese
Dessert
Rewards
Day #3 - We go from Gresse-en-Vercors nach Barcelonnette

Highlight of the day is Lac de Serre-Ponçon. It is a big and lake surrounded by mountains which allow for unbelievable views. Col de Pontis is one of the spots for views.

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Gresse-en-Vercors - The mountains are glowing already
Beat is ready
Pont du Brion
Gorges des Gats
Gorges des Gats
Lunch as always on Col du Festre
The dog wants to play
Col du Festre
We proceed over Col du Noyer
At Lac de Serre-Ponçon - over this goat path we will climb up to Col de Pontis
The rocks of Les Demoiselles Coifféees
Lac de Serre-Ponçon
Lac de Serre-Ponçon - panoramic view
Island in the lake
Pilot Tom
Day #4 - We do a Southern loop

Two options today. We can go to the gorge of Grand Canyon du Verdon or we can go into the mountains. I decide for the mountains and have Rudi with me. The rest of the group visits the gorge. Highlights of the day are Roubion and Col d'Allos.

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First pass of the day is Col de la Cayolle
The group on the pass
Downhill
One group goes over Col des Champs
Rudi and I get the morning coffee in Valberg
Roubion
Roubion
Lunch in Entrevaux
Tasty
Entrevaux
We find the gorge of Clue de Saint Auban
Clue de Saint Auban
The rest of the group is in Grand Canyon du Verdon (Hans-Peter and Hermann)
On our way back we get hit by a thunderstorm with heaviest rain
On Col d'Allos it is dry again - View to Barcelonnette
Day #5 - We go from Barcelonette to Toussuire

Highlights of the day are the high passes La Bonette, Col de la Lombarde and Col d'Izoard. I struggle with my brake and need quite some time to get it temporarily fixed. Marcellus assists me over the day the best he can.

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Sun rises over the mountains in Barcelonnette
Hotel Azteca in the morning
La Bonette
Summit
Group picture: Hans-Peter, Rudi, Jörg, Tom, Achim, Marcellus, Beat, Hermann
La Bonette
The group rides Col de la Lombarde ...
... and Col d'Izoard
I had a brake failure on La Bonette. After we did not get any help from KTM Mobility Service and from ADAC (German AAA) we went back to Barcelonette and let the brakes de-aired.
Then we went to Grenoble to KTM Universal Ride and got the brakes de-aired again including the ABS system.
The repair shop
Day #6 - We go from Toussuire back to Champery

Highlights of the day are Montvernier, Lunch at Col du Pré and Col du Petit Saint-Bernard. For a short time we will get into Italy again.

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It is still wet in the morning at Hotel Beausoleil
Montvernier - a spectacular road
Montvernier and valley of river Arc
Montvernier - view from the edge
Coffee break at Col de la Madeleine
Col du Pré
View to reservoir Lac du Roselend
Lunch: Hans-Peter, Hermann, Achim, Marcellus, Beat, Tom, Jörg; Rudi
Col du Petit Saint Bernhard
My breaks get weak again and I go through Mont Blanc Tunnel
The rest of the group goes over Col du Grand Saint Bernard
Connecting leg Wuppertal and Düsseldorf

The Alps tour is over. I go to Wuppertal visiting friends. We have a nice Sunday together. On Monday I proceed to Düsseldorf for regular service for the bike, tire change and repair of the brake

250 Miles raining cats and dogs on my way to Wuppertal
I spend all the day in Düsseldorf at Motopabst. Sascha and colleague do the 10000 mile service, the tire change and they fix the brake.
Arrival at Nürburgring race track
Eifel loop

I have a day for a loop through the Eifel mountain range. I want to see a loop of river Mosel and a Maar (a circle like shaped lake made of volcanic acitivity which is typical for the area). But first I have to find another repair shop. I lost the power for my GPS.

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Tom and Kevin. Kevin Schmitt is multiple long distance racing champion and does the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in about 7:40. At home at Motorradsport Schmitt he replaces the power outlet for my GPS.
Loop of river Mosel at Zell
Loop of river Mosel at Bullay
Moselschleife bei Bullay
Pulvermaar
Training on Nürburging Nordschleife race track

On two days I ride in total 33 laps (690 km/430 miles) on the track. It is less than in previous years and I am slower but it is as always a lot of fun.

Thomas moving
Tom is ready for the next lap
My group: Klaus, Dirk, Hans-Peter, Frank, Heinz, Tom und instructor Jörn Schattat
Journey home

I ride 440 miles (700 km) back to Berlin. A nice tour comes to an end

Last glance of the track
Back to Berlin