This was a bittersweet day. It would be a day of accomplishment but a little sadness as I knew my trip across Switzerland through the Alps would be ending.
I had a nice breakfast at the Hotel Gruyères. It was a very pleasant morning but going to be hot again.
I sat out on the patio enjoying the cool morning weather. I had no complaints about the weather. No rain the entire trip. And really never needed arm warmers.
The first few kilometers would be downhill as I left the hotel but then try, for the last time, to find Route 4. It started OK as I was soon on farm roads.
In Grand Villard I missed a turn at a traffic circle but soon corrected it as I could see my Garmin showed I was “off course.”
The back road took me off the main road for a while. A mostly single lane very lightly traveled road, I even stopped to watch a fox.
Eventually the roads would converge and I would be on the main highway.
I was tired. Physically, I didn’t feel tired but perhaps skipping dinner last night or just seven days in the Alps was wearing on my mind.
I came to a construction area and did not see a turn. Garmin soon warned me I was off course. I went back and surveyed the area. Yes, I missed the turn to Route 9. There was no way through but I hoped the main road would be parallel where I should be.
It would not occur to me until the end of my ride that I wasn’t to follow Route 9. All week I have been on Route 4 and now I confused them. I still don’t know where I should have gone.
I was comfortable following Garmin but if there was a real Route 4 I wanted to be on it. But I stayed on the main road.
I came to what I knew would be my climb over my last mountain. Then I saw a sign for Route 9 to the left. Down in a valley. I followed it for 300 meters and just knew it didn’t feel right. At the point I said “screw following the sign” not even aware it was the wrong sign. The mind was tired.
I think I was on the right road but who knows. But I began the climb confident I would get to Montreux.
The views were great and I had no regrets. I was passed by perhaps 30 sports cars, many of those vintage cars.
At the top was a ski area. I didn’t spend much time here but instead would begin my descent to Aigle.
It was a great ride down. With hairpin turns, I never could really let the bike roll but I wasn’t here for speed.
I came to one snow shed and plenty of picturesque vantage points. I enjoyed the descent constantly scanning taking in the views.
Reaching the bottom I could see Aigle and the figurative end.
I also knew I was in France. Well, not really but very close. I had thought about riding an extra 10-15 km to “end” in France (and come back) but decided I needed to keep going to my real destination in Montreux.
Beautiful vineyards on the hillside dotted the landscape. Aigle is the home of the UCI, Union of International Cyclists or Union Cycliste Internationale in French.
As I reached the flat section of the town I saw a sign for Route 4. Then it dawned on me I had been looking for the wrong signs.
I saw the cars that had passed me coming off a mountain road. Route 4. The one I was supposed to be on. Oh well. I have no regrets about the route I took but wonder what I missed. And if I should go back someday.
I said goodbye to Route 4 and was going to head to Montreux. But I saw a sign for UCI and decided to see what it was all about. Well, it was about a building. A velodrome. I did not leave a pee sample. (But it would have been clean.)
Since there was no longer a bike route, I had mapped my route to Montreux but briefly lost my way. I started to get on Super Highway A9. Oops. I walked the bike back down the entrance ramp when I saw I could not jump the fence with my bike to an alternate road.
In Montreux I had planned to eat. Maybe to celebrate. Never really thought about dipping a wheel into Lake Geneva or lifting my bike but never had a chance. I followed a street into town, I knew I was getting near the train station and the street went under the tracks. When I emerged I was in a shopping area and saw an escalator up to the train station. I grabbed my bike, went up to ticketing, and just like that, it was over.
Seven Days. Switzerland. Over.