As we rode closer to the mountains, they became larger and dominated the skyline ahead of us.
Near the town of Aosta, where we would take the turn-off to the Grand Saint Bernard Pass, we were surprised to see snow on the mountain peaks. At first we weren't sure if it was snow or rock, but as the occurances increased we realised in was snow. This was pretty exciting for me, my opportunities for seeing snow up until now being pretty limited.
As we rode through Aosta the dark clouds that had been threatening broke open and the rain poured down. Thunder boomed around us and we took shelter under a tree by the side of the road. We pulled our rain jackets out but it was too heavy to continue. We weren't as far as we wanted. We wanted to progress as far as we could up the mountain pass. And we planned to camp on the mountain. But here we were, stuck in another city, in the middle of a storm.
We waited 10 minutes, debating what to do, and the rain eased. We would keep going.
We made the turn onto the road up to the pass and the rain poured down again. We pulled under the cover of a carport next to an apartment block. Again we waited, and when the rain subsided we continued.
Not much further up the road my chain broke again - the fourth time on the trip! Luckily the rain had stopped, and luckily we'd been able to buy some extra chain links a few days earlier, so within 20 minutes we were riding up the mountain again.
We rode for another hour and made it to an altitude of 850m when we saw a rest area on the side of the road, with a path leading up into an orchard. Sam checked out the orchard and we decided it would be the perfect place to camp for the night.
We ate cereal for dinner (oh, how I longed for something else!) and set up our tent - without any mosquitoes around! It rained during the night, and with the cooler temperature at the high altitude, and the quiet of the sparsely populated area, we enjoyed one of our best nights of camping.
Tomorrow would be the day we had been looking forward to - riding to the top of the Alps!
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia