Saturday, August 25, 2007


11 rides
635 miles
54,800 feet of ascent

Castellane to Vence

The final ride today takes us just about to Nice. We started out riding around a dam reservoir above Castellane. Then a 2000ft climb above the reservoir.

Next was some really great riding through very isolated mountain country.

We stopped in Roquesteron for a sandwich and Coke.

Almost at Vence and we started to see the Mediterranean for the first time. Ride over, and time to pack the bikes for the flight home!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Castellane Loop through Gorges du Verdon

Today we rode through the spectacular Gorges du Verdon. We rode along the edges of the cliffs at dizzing heights. You can see the river down below where the river rafters go.

I am taking a break at the Belvadere. This word isn't in my dictionary but I think it means something like scenic view?

The French don't let a solid rock wall get in the way of road building.

We spotted these birds circling over head. They were bigger than eagles riding on the air currents of the canyon.

Here go the river rafters! There were tourists from all over Europe doing the river rafting. We kept seeing the trucks taking the empty rafts back up to the start. I watched the river rafters queueing up by our hotel. There were hundreds of them waiting to go. They each got a helmet, a paddle, and a saftey lecture in English or French and then voila! It was a circus around town with all of the rafters. It made us appreaciate the quiet roads we have been riding on.

Sisteron to Castellane

Today's ride left Sisteron and we got some excellent views of the Citadel and the city through the fog. We climbed for at least 3000' and passed through some small villages. The townspeople didn't seem surprised to see a couple of bicyclists riding through their hill side town.

The is a Roman inscription along the side of the road that describes the original use of the road and the town to which it led. We can't read historical Roman through.
Nice views of the landscape. The roads we were riding on were really peaceful and quiet. In places they were more narrow than most american driveways.

We got to the hotel too early for check in and had to wait at a pastry shop. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vaison to Sisteron

We rode to Sisteron today. We passed fields and fields of Lavendar. I was worried that we had missed all of the Lavendar but now that we are in Provonce there are still quite a few lavendar fields still in bloom. As you ride by the hill the lavendar sents waifts around you. It is heavenly. It was making Mark sleepy. :)

Our van driver, Galen, had a picnic lunch waiting for us half-way through the ride. Yum. Real figs! Not the dried kind we are used to.

Here is a hill side town along the way.
Bridge right before Sisteron.

Entering Sisteron. The streets were pretty busy but a construction worker stepped out into the street to stop the cars for us. Merci!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Market Day

Tuesday is market day here and this is supposed to be one of the biggest markets around. Mark and I got there early to see the displays before they got crowded. These are different types of olives.
Breads - we bought some olive bread that was yummy!
Here are some shoes. I bought a pair.
Soccer jerseys. Won't find any baseball or american football jerseys here.
I wanted an olive tree but Mark said it wouldn't grow in Seattle.

Rotissery chickens.
Pizza truck with full kitchen.
Hike back up to hotel.
Our room faces the clock which ding-dongs twice every hour even all night.
Here are my new shoes! :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mt. Ventoux

Today we climbed up Mt. Ventoux - about 6000' of climbing. This climb is said to be one of the hardest single climbs in the Tour de France.
These were the kilometer markers that indicated the grade for the next kilometer.

The view was amazing!
We made it to the top! But it was a bit cloudy. The clouds cleared off 1/2 hour later but Mark had already descended with the camera. Linda took a ride in the van to avoid the cold descent. Mt Ventoux is known for being windy at the top because all of the trees are gone. It looks like a moonscape.

Another gorgeous vista.

After we got back we hiked around the town of Vaison-la-Romaine and took some pictures. Tomorrow is a rest day so we will get to do some shopping. Anybody need anything from France? :)