Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The spectacle of the verdon

Sunday was gorge day. We managed a somewhat earlier start than usual, and had the wind at our back. Thousands of millipedes crossed the road escaping the rising sun for the first minor climb to the rim. Even though it was 9:30 AM on a Sunday, the roads and viewpoints were deserted. Score. Nice canyon, too (although Utah still has my vote for best canyonlands).

We probably crushed hundreds of these little guys under wheel

Le gorge

We made good time to Le Pont du Artuby, which is the highest span in Europe, and watched a few bungee jumpers go for the plunge. The French, never content to stop at a merely thrilling, but relatively safe sport, offered base jumping (for the untrained) from the bridge as well.

Le Pont du Artuby

We made Taxing Climb #1 of the day, and went through a pair of unlit tunnels, which were mercifully short and traffic mercifully absent. We fueled up for Taxing Climb #2, to an anonymous notch high above the south rim of the gorge, where the road ascends to outflank some cliffbands. The steep 400m climb was dispatched without too much trouble, and we rode our brakes down, down, down to Lac St Croix.

Le col de I'liore

We were a little haggard (okay, half-hallucinating and cussing like sailors) by the time we climbed back up to the town of Moustiers, and certainly had our fill of the packs of smelly, loud, close-passing motorcycles that had been plaguing the roads since Lac St Croix. So there was no discussion about stopping when we saw a sign for camping right below town.

Moustiers was very cool, even in our half-demented state. It is built on the flanks of a gorge, with several natural waterfalls pouring through town, and a pretty medieval church perched high above.


A bottle of wine a jour makes for a fun bicycle tour

As we fell to sleep, our bodies tired and stuffed full on more pasta and wine, we agreed we could do with a little less climbing and spectacle tomorrow.

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