Day 1: Geneva to Cluses (56km, 465m)

Unfortunately, I woke up at 12:00am, a victim of jet-lag, and then had a fitful night tossing and turning, unable to sleep until 4:00am. At 6:00am, I woke up, turned on my computer, and had Mike (who didn't sleep any better) check the status of his bike. It turned out that Lufthansa tried to deliever it at 10:00pm last night but everyone was either out or asleep! So Mike hopped over to the airport to retrieve his bike while I packed and got dressed for bicycle touring. Mike had a larger saddlebag than mine, so I gave him the spare tire, the chain oil, and our prized possession: maps of Switzerland, the Rhone Alps yellow Michelin map, and the French and Swiss OCD guides to carry.

It took Mike until 8:30 to get the bike, assemble it, check it for damage and bring it back from the airport, but it was apparently undamaged, so we packed up, headed over to the train station, and bought tickets for Geneva. We boarded the 9:30 train in a daze, enjoying the special bike carriage for cyclists. We struck up a conversation with a German cyclist who was headed for the same places we were, but had already been on tour for a week. He didn't look jet-lagged at all, funnily enough.

At Geneva, we got a local map at the train station, went across the street, and had lunch at a brasserie. We cleverly filled up our water bottles with the lunch pitcher, and I equally cleverly left one of my precious Polar bottles behind after filling them up. Mike wanted a bike shop so he could buy some rain gear, but after finding the shops closed we decided to just head out of town towards Annemase instead. It was 1:00pm and the temperature was quite warm, but I felt sure that cycling would help with our jet-lag. The transit out of Geneva appeared to be easy enough, and at 2:00pm, we spotted a pharmacy where I bought some lip balm as well as a bike shop where Mike bought eye protection, rain wear, and I bought a replacement water bottle.

Once past the French border, however, the signage became confusing to us, and we ended up riding a little in circles before finding a tourist information center that gave us a local map. The agent tried to steer us onto a main road, but after I convinced her that we really prized having less traffic, she became really helpful and gave us directions that were good. We found ourselves on D907 towards Mieussy and Taninges. Right after St. Jeoire, however, I spoted an alternate route on the map and turned right towards Marignier, where we found a Bancomat that dispensed Euros. By this time it was 4:00pm and I felt quite a bit of jet lag. I proposed that we stopped at Cluses instead of trying for our first pass today and Mike accepted without any argument. We then took the hilly route to Cluses, and rode down into the town center circling a few times before finding the tourist information center which pointed us at a hotel near the train station which gave us a room for 41 Euros without breakfast.

We had dinner at a random restaurant that we found walking around that wasn't particularly good, but dispensed water in differently colored containers. We kept drinking all the water to see what he'd deliver water in next, but since it was still early in the tour we never did get to the bottom of the second pitcher. Nevertheless, as I ate dinner it sunk in how long it has been since I last did a long trip on a single bike:

"It's been a long time since I've seen the high plains of expectation
And I'm way past the lowlands and the deserts of failure and doubt
And the last time I passed through satisfaction
I felt like a stranger there
Now I'm leaving normal and I'm heading for who knows where"
   --- Leaving Normal, Cowboy Junkies

Up: Contents, Prev: Prologue, Next: Day 2