Weather from my window.

Weather from my window.

The previous days rain had run to the mountains , so packed up we took the coastal road heading to Genoa through the mountains , I was really enjoying the riding especially since banning the GPS from toll roads and highways. Alas it was not long before I caught up with the rain that had hit the coast the previous day . Within one hour we had gone from a sun filled coastline with cyclists of all shapes and sizes dominating the roads , pedestrians and dogs enjoying the promenade to the misty mountains and a deep slow wet seeping rain .

 

Towards the mountains.

Towards the mountains.

 

In the thick of it .

In the thick of it .

The roads got wetter and windier , I got soaked by the rain and moist mist that engulfed us for two hours . The ride got colder and colder as we climbed up  into the mountains . It took over three hours to crest and to find the sun that would follow us all the way to France .

I felt that I was caught up in  the land that inspired  Bram Stoker , the tall alpine firs packed thick and dense along the mountains steep sides , standing perfectly straight on 45 degree slopes , line after line. My vision limited not only by the dense mist  , but the sharp curves and bends that slowly stepped us to the top . The place perfectly still but for the motor climbing , the mist hiding all from sight not only on the road but all who lurked and lived in the misty mountains . Riding solo does let your mind run wild and free , so I enjoyed my land of Dracula high up in the mountains .

 

On the way to Genoa .

On the way to Genoa .

The sun saved us from the wet and cold and started to thaw me out as we came out of the pass and down to Genoa  , from here is was the Italian Rivera , full of spectacular riding roads and then France arrived at our wheels full of sunshine , opulence and dramatic coastline . Another border crossing , but not really , just a sign to tell you that the registration plates on cars now said F not I , bongiorno was replaced with bonjour , the architecture upped a gear and the amount of  posing people  exploded . Vic loved it here , the coastal road that took us into Monaco and beyond , just a great ride.

 

Another country .

Another country .

I think Vic and I really looked the part on the streets of this principality , amongst those prancing horses that would creep ever so slowly to the tunnel entrance , those LED lights low and ready to pounce , once the rear left the light , the ever proud owner would apply all of his will and force to the accelerator ,  the sound of that finely tuned motor would transform the tunnel from a path through a mountain to a place of pilgrimage for the owner . The car responds to his will , answering through the pipes sending a mechanical  wail of readiness , the launch and then brakes as the bonnet finds the rear of a slower car , down to a burble until the next tunnel.

The  badge of Bentley flying its spurs , the owner wrapped  in leather and wood , stitched and stern his face as he joins the peak hour jam , only his comfort can calm him . So many marques on display in this land , some bearing performance , others luxury and others  just A to B .

Vic and I had the usual advantage of two wheels and no jam , we stitched our way through , on to Nice , down to Cannes , enjoying this life on display , stopping to take in the cliff views , the deep blue and the people of the south.

 

Victoria en route  to the Principality of Monaco.

Victoria en route to the Principality of Monaco.

 

South of France Nice hey.

South of France Nice hey.

Arriving in Grasse we found accommodation , exhausted from a extremely long day on the roads of two countries , is was off to bed after a quick dinner , tomorrow more back roads as we make our way up to Lyon .

 

Grasse and scented streets.

Grasse and scented streets.

 

Autumn glory .

Autumn glory .

 

Alpine life .

Alpine life .

Todays ride was something I have not experienced before , we ended up on a road or a route that takes you out of Grasse and through the back , rural countryside of France , almost as high as Lyon . The road  referred to as route Napoleon. If ever you are in this part of the world , ride , drive or cycle it , what a spectacular two days of riding it would be .

Route Napoleon is very popular amongst bikers and being a sunny Sunday Vic and I had company and a lot at that . When we stopped people would pop out their phones , pictures and questions would follow , with a whole lot of disbelief .

The route is very challenging from a concentration point of view , with very steep descents , accents joined by curve after curve  , the going is slow and the distance travelled resembled Africa in many ways  , long hours to distance travelled. Damn it was fun.  Words fail , photo’s offer a little more .

 

 

 

Country and cottage.

Country and cottage.

 

land and lake .

land and lake .

 

Mountain Paradise

Mountain Paradise

 

True glacier blue.

True glacier blue.

 

Open country .

Open country .

 

Vic on high .

Vic on high .

 

Sun on snow .

Sun on snow .

 

Winter is coming .

Winter is coming .

 

Jet streams .

Jet streams .

The mountains full of families truffle hunting , for it is truffle season here in France and that black gold of the culinary kind is in very high demand , as we ride I see people setting off , back packs and baskets hoping to find their truffle at the end of the rainbow , just beautiful. We rode the Alpine roads all day found refuge in the mountains surrounded by the magnificence of this land turning rich with autumn . I sat outside watching the sunset , the twinkle off the first snows high up on mountain tops , the clean beautiful sky crisscrossed with the hand of the jet stream , what an incredible ride .

 

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streets paved with beauty .

streets paved with beauty .

The next morning after a delicious breakfast , French style , of fresh baguette , cheeses , cuts , that thick  lumpy  farm fresh yogurt and freshly brewed coffee , prepared me for the mountains and a eight hour ride to Lyon on roads that would even trump the day before as we rode higher and higher , Alpine style .

Just waiting for the snow .

Just waiting for the snow .

The ride took us through dramatically  beautiful Alpine scenery , with the colours of autumn in the sunlight  adding to this rich landscape . From the  delicate greens , the  golden yellows , the reds , browns and the magnificence of the blood rusted leaves , their colour so beautiful . It is like mother nature punished them for trying to hold on to their green for to long , when they well knew the new season was upon them , they  ignored her , held on so tight , in a vain attempt to elude her . She gave them no option to go from green to gold , her punishment so harsh she bled them to their death , leaving a colour indescribable in its beauty and the pain of its demise .

 

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A day long , beautiful and cold , with coffee stops , vistas  and views that left your body fresh with the air , your mind clear with the light  , so cleansed by nature we rode into  Lyon in the late afternoon , with the briefest of light left on the city , we found the hotel , settled in , tried to wash the cold out and after persisting with that hot shower  the chill left my bones fleeing back into the night where it belonged .

Until we meet again.

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