Today was always going to be tough….
I’d seen the weather forecast last night and all the presenter said was “Hot.”
Well hot is OK, but I knew from experience that there’s ordinary French “Hot” and Mediterranean French “Hot.” – There’s a world of difference!
Mediterranean French “Hot” is like that day in Ax en Provence, when I put my foot down at a set of traffic lights and as we pulled away took about ten pounds of road stuck to the sole of my boot! It’s also when I look at the idiots riding motorcycles in tee shirts and shorts and think that possibly they have a point!!!
Enough of this beefing about the weather, hell at least it didn’t rain, even if the thermometer went over 100º Fahrenheit; which sounds more impressive than 38º Celsius – and yes I was in my leathers!!!!
The detailed report of this final section of Le route Des Grande Alpes will come in the future, but safe to say that Harls and I are happily berthed in the coastal town of Menton, which is reputedly “The Pearl of Le Côte d’Azur!
It’s a strange thing this “Route des Grande Alpes” as no-one seems to know exactly where it ends!
The beginning is easy, there’s a big bronze plaque on the ground outside the Thonon les Bains town hall…but does it end in Nice or Menton? The official site for RDGA says Nice, but the purists say Menton.
My motorcycling mate Marcel, who lives in Thonon says Menton; but also that the bars are better in Nice!!
I don’t mind, we’ll pass through Nice tomorrow. Seven passes today with the highest Col de la Cayolle 2326m/7632ft.
Now I’m happy.
It’s been a tough day and apart from that first enigmatic glimpse of the Mediterranean the highlight was the iconic Turini Pass.
Turini lies in the foothills above the Med. It features regularly in the famous Monte-Carlo Rally and captured my imagination years ago when rally driver Paddy Hopkirk stunned the world in the 1964 Monte-Carlo in a Mini Cooper!
So what was it like riding the famous Turini?
Well going up, brilliant, brilliant fun! … Going down, bloomin’ awful as the local road gang had decided to “top-dress” the road over three miles with tiny, marble like, stone chippings; almost lethal for a motorcyclist!
That aside, we survived and another amazing adventure with my beloved and fantastic Harls is (half) over.
I’m typing in the corner of the hotel restaurant. Justine our waitresses is clearing table and only myself and four other diners remain. The warm glow from the chandeliers seem at odds with the dusky sunset outside the window.
My Côte de Provence blanc has complimented the meal of Morue dans une sauce à la crème de fenouil/Cod in fennel cream sauce, superbly. Tarte au citron/lemon tarte, for desert is so typical of Menton and the region.
I look outside and Harls is resting in the car park. A local biker thrashes by pulling more rev’s than he knows what to do with.
Harls is happy; I’m happy and tomorrow we’ll point North and head into cooler air.
It’s been some ride, hot and hard, but wouldn’t have had it any other way because Harls and I did it together!
Now I’m alone in the restaurant, the other diners have left, like dear old Floyd said, “Peut-être le temps d’un petit Marc!”
I’ll raise a glass to that Floyd, a glass to Harls and le Route des Grande Alpes!
“So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.”
Catch you soon.