Descending from L’Iseran, Harley and I were in total harmony and very pleased withourselves! We stopped to grab a few photos and commiserate with a Dutch chap who’s BMW GS overheated. Yes, a BMW GS Overheated! Amazing! He was a really nice bloke who told me that he was on his way home from Morrocco and that the Beema had not been the same since getting back into Europe. I assured him that it was quite cold at the Col, with lots of snow so he would be ok to cool it down again! I hope he got on OK.
We dropped back into the Arc valley and enjoyed a lovely sprint to Modane where we fuelled. I briefly contemplated taking the Frejus Tunnel back to Briancon, but you folks know how much I hate tunnels….! So it was the long way round for us and another crossing of Galibier via Col du Télégraphe. Life can tough at times, Galibier again? Well OK, yes pleeeeeeese!
Whilst a little further along the road you’ll find a massive hydroelectric power station and the Autoroute feeding into Frejus Tunnel, its a little disconcerting.
Turning South at St. Michel de Maurienne, where those lovely Opinel knives come from, the drag up to Télégraphe begins pretty quickly. It’s mostly hemmed in by forest, views are restricted and the road surface varied between awful, under repair or very slippery! Take your pick, but hang on for grim death and don’t rush on them bends…anyway we survived! The view through the trees at the Col looked down into the valley, yes we were down there a few minutes ago!
The road then bumbles along to Valloire where the 18km drag to Galibier begins, except it’s anything but a drag! No, this is Galibier, the nearest thing you can get to heaven without actually driving off the edge and taking the short cut! We seemed to have found a nice gap in the thinning traffic, it was starting to get later in the day, and Harley and I settled into our stride and rhythm. Then we came round a bend and started to catch some traffic, but hey wait those two bikes up ahead are Harleys too, two up on each to boot! Harley and I slotted in behind and took up tail gunner duties. I switched on my video cam. What a noise those three bikes made as we thundered up the mountain! A couple of four wheel things momentarily got in the way, but we soon passed them…even more noise! That climb, with those two sisters of my Harley will remain with me for ever and if I ever meet with you, be prepared, I’m likely to bore you stupid talking about it!
At the top we made our introductions to each other. The bikes were ridden by two couples from Picardie in Northern France who were on holiday and on their way to Tuscany. Naturally we swapped Harley stories, agreed that our bikes were not the best for the mountains, but also agreed that we wouldn’t want to ride anything else!
Jean-Marc and Bob, Les Pilotes de Harley! Nice guys, living life the Harley way and new friends too boot!
We exchanged email addresses and I have promised to send them a copy of that video! I will certainly do that.
“The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive, everybody’s out on the road tonight, but there’s no place left to hide.”