We went to the tour de france and it was cool. Gap got all fired up and threw a huge party. The actual race was a bit anticlimactic. We waited by the fence for a few hours and then two guys on bikes went zipping past. They won. Then a few minutes later, one guy went zipping past. Then a few minutes after that the whole pack came through. There was no way to tell who was who so we just kept wondering, "Is that Lance?". The camera broke literally moments before the racers came through so we have no still shots of the race but I got some video. We got the camera working again now but only on manual so I think many of our future shots will be blurry. Here is a shot of Elissa keeping it real at the Tour de France. Livestrong and prosper Colinator.
This kid dropped his umbrella hat onto the road just before the support vehicles came through. He was super gripped and his dad was telling him he was going to throw him over to get it. The kid kept shaking his head 'no' and his dad just scooped him up and threw him in the street. You should have seen his face. I snapped the picture just a moment too late. Hilarious.
July 15th was cleanup day. I had left draws on a rig at Rue de Masque and Elissa left draws on something up at Pelvoux. We went to Rue in the morning and I sent second try. Hardest 13a ever, called Le Legende Directe. I can only assume this route was named after me. then we headed back into the mountains to Pelvoux and Elissa fired her project. Nice job Colley.
Up until this point in the trip we've been traveling a lot. We'll hit a crag and do a few routes then move on. Although a lot of the climbing has been great there is always a catch. Good rock but too hot. Cool but chossy. One hour hike, blasted by sun, too crowded, etc. Well we finally stumbled upon the perfect crag....Tournoux.
This place is small but unbelievable. Really unbelievable. It sits just above the col de la Pousterle in the Ecrin mountain range. These mountains are huge. You can see down to the valley where the town of Vallouise is nestled between these huge peaks. Just off to the west you can see the Glacier Blanc. Between these giant peaks are little rivers that all flow down and form the Durrance river which is this fast flowing whitewater river of green glacial melt water. It's pretty amazing. We camped up at the col in the most spectacular campsite I've ever stayed at.
Above the col is the crag. It's relatively small but the limestone is perfect, no polish, no people. The view is unreal. We both loved this crag enough to take on projects. Colley picked a 12d and hung draws. I picked this amazing 13c that is pure power endurance. Perfect climbing. I surprised myself by sending fourth try at the end of the day. My first 13c in a day! The wall is perfect though and there is a killer 8a, 2 13c's, 2 8b's, 2 8b+'s, and an 8c. So I'll have plenty others to try. We are psyched on this cliff and i'm really excited to have found such a perfect spot to settle in and focus on climbing for a bit.
Tip of the Hat: Mcdonalds
Ah, Micky D's. How I love thy golden arches. You have been at the cutting edge of customer satisfaction for over half a century and so I tip my hat to you. In France all Mcdonalds are Wifi hot spots. So when you spy those sweet arches you know that the sweet world of Facebook is only a click away. Even here in France. We parked underneath the Mcdonalds in their parking garage that keeps our car, and groceries, nice and cool. I just fired back a Royal with Cheese and it was delicious. The line was a bit long but as I waited an employee approached me with a touch screen device. I ordered and when I got to the counter my food had already been prepared and was waiting for me. And to drink? You can order a beer if you wish...The only thing you can't get is baguettes. Perfect. And the final deal sealer in favor of Mack Donalds? Soap in the bathroom. You can actually wash your hands with soap unlike any other bathroom in France. So Frenchies, you can scoff at us Americans for not speaking your language. You can feel superior to us Americans and have as much national pride as you like but when it really comes down to brass tacks. Here you all are, lined up at the busiest restaurant in Briancon, just to experience a little taste of Americana.
Wag of the finger: the Toilette
In France this is what they call the 'Toilette'. In my world I call this 'pooping where you please'. They leave beautiful pink streamers of scented toilet paper that billow out from under every rock. It's stunning. The reason for this is that it is nearly impossible to find a bathroom around here. There are no bathrooms at gas stations and usually no attendents. Just pumps in a parking lot. So we find ourselves driving around with our legs crossed praying for a patch of woods or a supermarket to pee at. Just one hour ago we saw a mother holding her young pantsless daughter in the cannonball position while pee fell out of her bottom onto the street below. And when you do find a toilette it's usually a 'squatter' and don't expect any complimentary toilet paper. This is a BYOTP kind of country. Get it together France. Put in some toilets because, just like the book says: "Everybody Poops".
Just a reminder to those that aren't too internet savvy. You can click on any pictures in the blog to get a larger image. I know some are hard to see because they are small. And sorry for being so out of touch. I find it more time efficient to just update this blog rather than respond to my 1000's of fan's emails and Facebook messages. And just so folks know where we are at...We're camping 2 nights a week in Vallouise just outside of Briancon and one night a week up at the col de le Pousterle. And now that we're just 20 miles from Italy, we're finally going to go get that pizza tonight.