Saturday 2016/09/10

Jausiers – Tende

In the morning I leave without breakfast. I hope to find a café somewhere on the way. This will not happen for a while! I am on the way across the Col de la Bonette, a splendid pass through the mountains!

The road leads through the national park Mercantour and offers many great views, but unfortunately only few cafés. The highlight is the approximately 2 kilometer long ring road around the Cime de la Bonette in about 2800 m height. It is the second highest road in the Alps.

From the Cime de la Bonette, on whose top a narrow path leads, I'm able to enjoy the great panorama view today.

On the way down to the valley, I find a café, where I finally have breakfast. Although the sun at this place is pretty nice, I do not stay for long, because I still have a few kilometers ahead today.

Through Mercantou National Park, I continue to the Italian side of the mountains via Isola 2000 and the Col de la Lombarde. My goal for today is the Ligurische Grenzkammstraße (in German, short LGKS; Route du Marguareis in French). Unfortunately, I'm not sure which route is best to get to the start of the LGKS and therefore miss the right road on the Italian side. Since quite a long time already, the tunnel between Italy and France is in construction and two of the previous access roads to the start of the LGKS are closed: the one on the Italian side, just before the tunnel, which now is a one-way road into the wrong direction, and the other one short before the French entrance to the tunnel, which leads spectacularly upwards.

So I ride through the tunnel first. When I was preparing for the trip, I read from a access road a bit south of Tende, which I try now. This road is also very nice, but because of the detour I need quite a lot of time and when - after a short sightseeing at the Fort Central - I'm arriving at the Chalet Le Marmotte, where I get something to eat and drink, it is already three o'clock in the afternoon and I'm not sure how long it will take to ride the northern part of the LGKS. To ride the whole LGKS today, I think, is unlikely.

The toll-cashier (for the northern part of the LGKS you have to pay 10 euros toll) tells me that it would need about 2.5-3 hours to La Brigue and it's about 50 km to go. That calms me down a bit. But on my question, whether today someone will be on the route after me, the cashier answers that this might probably not the case. Well, I would prefer anyone after me in case something happens. Well, I just have to be careful then. 

The northern part of the LGKS is breath taking! Quite soon, I realize I will not completely alone on the road. There are still some cyclists and hiker around, which probably stay in some of the accommodation along the LGKS. It seems rather an advantage that I quite late here, because there is probably much less traffic on the road.

After a while I also meet a group of motorcyclists from Czech Republic. 

The views that this road offers are epic! The northern part of LGKS is not a big challenge for the riders. The road condidtion is very good and the weather conditions are perfect at the moment. 

From the southern toll station of the northern LGKS up to the Pas du Tanarel the road is a bit more difficult and also are parts of the road down to La Brigue.  

There's a camping in La Brigue, which is fully booked with young people (school glasses?). I get the information that there is also a camping in Tende. It's an urban campground, which is quite nice located, but the facilities are not the best though. 

My neighbors on the campsite are two young Swiss riders, who have been on their motorcycles for a while already. I agree upon going to dinner together. It is fun to have someone to talk and I enjoy an entertaining evening, after a another very long day on the bike.