I’m awake early since I usually am out running early. I’ve reserved a breakfast slot at 7.30 am to be sure I’ve got some space and can leave early…and am surprised to be the only one in the breakfast room at that time. This isn’t a bad thing, however, as I’ve got ample time to ask the owner about his life and how he and his wife chose to give up their previous lives and buy a budget-hotel franchise … during Covid-19, nothing less.
Long story short it was a decision made with their heart, wanting to leave the corporate rat-race in the construction and banking business (…you don’t want to buy a new building in Switzerland – too much cheating going on. This reminds me of Tofu-Dreg projects in China. And the banks’ focus on maximizing revenue over bank customers’ risk profiles) The hotel itself was a zero-star affair with lots of love involved.
After an hour of conversation the first customers started to stream in for their own breakfast and I decided that it was time to start my trip for today.
Given the expected temperatures today, I was happy that my route for today will take me to way up over 1000m ASL for most of the trip. There will be a few passes to cross today – >2000m passes will have to wait until I return from Spain – there are still some passes left to cross which we weren’t able to cross during TDAF2016…
Just 25km into my second day, the first hill of the day presents itself framed by a beautiful light blue sky. Temperature-wise I’m still around 25°C which is perfect TWIKEing weather.
As readers of this blog know, my favourite kind of road is single-laned and devoid of traffic.
The first climb of today was a perfect example of this kind of road.
The views are incredible and get better by the minute!
The French alps in the background are majestic and make for perfect TWIKE pictures.
The first pass of the day leads me to a valley with passes all around which, in winter, gets cut off from civilisation regularly – Entremont.
On the other side, TW560 takes be back up to ~1100m and to a friendly guy who asks me if I want a picture with the TWIKE – of course I do! Traveling on my own definitely has a drawback – I never get pictures with me on them.
From Col de Bucheron, my road takes me back down to 200m and the town of Grenoble. The descent is magnificent as the next hills I’m going to cross tower like a wall on the other side of the valley.
At the top of the first hill, I enter a plateau – here I will have to decide if I want to take the road I initially planned or go for a second time up Col de Rousset. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive last time on day 2 of TDE2019.
Col de Rousset it is! My charge is still very good and I’m looking forward to two things: the view from the top and the many hairpin bends on the way down. Go!
The strange thing about driving up Col de Rousset is the absolutely straight valley leading to the entry point of the climb itself. I’m enjoying myself thoroughly: perfect weather, perfect temperatures, no traffic … and enough bandwidth to stream a 4-hour French Chanson mix to get me into the mood for France.
Part of the drive to the pass is along a river with extremely narrow roads carved out of the rock. I really don’t know how cars could cross in these places!
I’m going to DIE! This joke never gets old.
After just under a half an hour, I’m up at the top of the pass and – yet again – someone asks me if I want a picture with my TWIKE – yes please! What a beautiful day, what a beautiful place, how lucky I am to be able to do this to relax and unwind!
After some conversations with a few people at the pass, I’m ready to head back down to the valley – the road surface was new last time I was here – I hope it will be as enjoyable as it was last time.
The views driving down the pass are stunning and the road is still in very good shape.
Back in the valley, I’m greeted with a heavy scent of lavender everywhere. Not the smell you get from the cheap chemical imitation usually found in shower gels; no, the intoxicating, honey-like smell that seems to turn the air into a kind of syrup. Heavy, luscious, sensual – making every breath you take special.
The last pass before I will reach the plains of the Côtes du Rhône is Col du Goudron. Again, single-laned and mostly devoid of traffic it is rather short and takes me up a steep road until ~1000m before, on the other side, tapering off very slowly back to 200m.
The hyperlapse below shows part of the climb and descent.
And just like that, TW560 and I arrive in the Côtes du Rhône with all its wineries and vineyards.
I arrive at the place we’ve rented as a family – they’ve already arrived, checked-in and we’re ready to do some shopping for the evening on the veranda of the chalet.
Unsurprisingly, there is a very long and extensive selection of rosé wines to choose from – we all feel like some chilled local wine before dinner!
A little later the scorching temperatures abate and a steady breeze takes up, making our evening very enjoyable – we stay up until late, discussing and planning our non-driving day in Avignon tomorrow.
Outside, TW560 is put on a very slow charge to complete the day we leave.
Tomorrow will be a drive-free day in Avignon. The blog continues on day 4 of TDE2022.
Good night – today was a very nice day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
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