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Thread: Last Minute dash France

  1. #1
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    May 2014
    United Kingdom

    Last Minute dash France

    With only eight days until Mrs alpineriders birthday it was with some trepidation I broached the subject of a leave of absence. That sorted and Dover Calais ferry booked at 21:00 for 10:40 am 29th August next morning I threw a Michelin 721 National map and couple of t shirts in a bag and got ready for early start.

    Friday. Day 1.
    I had recently discussed a route through the Morvan, with another member of this parish so that’s the direction I headed.
    500 miles later and I was standing at side of road using to find hotel. Another ten mins the owner was standing outside waiting for me to arrive. Nice place , great breakfast and I was the only guest.
    Logis . Acolloy:
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    Day 2.
    Generally heading south through the Movan not really knowing where I was , frequent stops to consult map roughly showed as me having gone through Lormes, Vauclaix, Chataeu Chinnon & Villapourcon.
    Exit the Morvan and it was a nothing spectacular ride South general direction Marlhes, Dunieres , Ardeche. Only highlight I recall was a short section of the D501 before getting to Tence where I spent the night in yet another Logis right in the centre of town.
    Nice little town which was busy that evening with a fairground going on.
    About 200 miles today.
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    Day 3
    Leave Tence about 09:00 heading Le Cheylard where joined D578 to Aubenas. Now things getting better. Head to Georges Ardeche , second visit within three months and being a beautiful Sunday its busy right up to the Vallon Point d’Arc. Must be the majority of people just turn round after this point as road became empty on the rest of the D120 down to the D86. This is a fantastic stretch of road and both times I have rode it I have had it virtually to myself.
    Quick dash SE toward Orange and Carpenteras. Not pretty but the only way really sees me at Malaucene and the start of Mt Ventoux at about 15:00. Great run over here accompanied only by a couple of other bikers and the usual smattering of cyclists. Stopped and had a walk up to the observatory which was a first. Don’t usually do much of that walking on my bike trips. Get into Sault and again use to find a place to stay. This time its about five miles out on the D950 in roughly the direction I want to be heading. the following morning. By now my Tesco Ł10 per month phone was refusing to let me pay for accommodation online so I just resorted to turning up and paying the fee shown on the site. This place was a nice little find, would be great for a small group with small swimming pool at just 50€ with breakfast. Would just have to arrive with own provisions of food and beer for the evening. As I arrived unannounced it takes the owner a good forty minutes for him to get the room ready. Time I use to have a nice swim. Shit shave and shampoo and I am back in Sault to watch a procession of Porsche etc slowly negotiate the speed humps accompanied by that awful sound of plastic scraping on tarmac.
    Short day about 195 miles.
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    Day 4
    Today heading for somewhere I had never been before, the Georges du Verdon. Not much to say about the route there but glad I went. GdV is beautiful. Unlike the Ardeche the roads are a good bit more windy and don’t lend themselves to a more spirited riding style and as a result I tended to take it easy and take in more of the scenery. I think I even took a couple of Photos  Again first time in Castellane and can see why such a biker / tourist magnet.
    I keeping with my common solo tour policy I sourced cheap hotel through the Tourist information office. It was room in annexe of the Hotel Les Canyons. It was cheap and for good reason . at least after a long hot day pool was great. Had booked the breakfast but changed my mind when I saw what little was on offer and went back to the square to sit outside small café there.
    About 200 Today
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    Day 5.
    Destination Barcelonette via the George D Dalius , C d Cayolle. It had been nine years since I last rode Cayolle so was good to be back. Loved the G d Dalius unique colour of the rock, complete contrast to the Ardeche and Verdon.
    Got to Barcelonette and decided it would be rude not to ride up the Bonette so this is where I decided to take my lunch which I had just brought from small supermarket.
    Love the Bonette and done it a few times now this time I had taken a long look up the road ahead of the next hairpin and all looked clear but god knows how I barrelled into the turn only to find a silver convertible Jag in my way ! God knows where that came from or how I missed it. Just remember the look of horror on the old girls face in the passenger seat as she anticipated me sitting next to her with my bike impregnated into the side of the car.
    That avoided and some very careful riding for at least the next two hairpins I arrived safely at the top for lunch.
    Back down and continue North RdgA Var & Izoard. I personally don’t think you can get enough of riding this way and again enjoy every minute up until I hit Briancon. And it’s Busting , leaving off time complete with roadworks. Not impressed I forge my way through with intention finding accommodation on the other side. Another trip to to Tourist information and I am in a small Ski village on the D1091 in a Motards hotel Quirky old little place but at €56 got me Bed Breakfast and evening meal and in no small portions. Soup turin to help myself from, two lovely slices of Pork with a potato dish, cheese board and even coffee & Ice cream if you wanted it.! Just what I needed.
    About 225 miles today
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    Day 6/7
    Up and out of hotel 09:00 after a lovely breakfast and again as the rest of the trip beautiful clear sunny morning. Up to the top of Galibier where I stopped and had a chat with several guys up there and brought a big bag of them sweets the cyclist buy ( energy )? After what could have been an hour up there I continued on to the Telegraphe and stopped for an ice cream and coffee at the café at Valloire, Being September the straw bike sculpture was already a skier.
    I watched all the cyclists arrive there for usual pass bagged photograph before loading bikes in back of vans and contemplated on what had been a great trip and the journey home.
    Anyway after a couple of drinks the night before I had gone into my sat nav to try and find an address of a guest house I used near Troyes on my June trip. Inadvertently I managed to delete all my addresses. . So I set off onto motorway with intention of finding somewhere near Troyes again.
    Get Troyes area and its only about 16:00 so I press on thinking I would reluctantly stop F1 Chalons Champagne, get there and realise why I say reluctantly. Washing hanging out on Emergency stairway enough for about fifty people. And then I saw them. A complete army of what looked like migrant workers walking toward hotel. Quick exit.
    Waste an hour trying another couple of hotels and its seems like all are full , some kind of Wine thing going on I learn with reps from all over France filling the hotels. Onward, Reims same story. After pissing about trying to secure hotel here (remember my Tesco phone, its still playing up, constantly downloading) I phone the wife and tell her, leave garage and back door open I am coming home.
    Arrive Calais 22:00 change ferry ticket and book on 23:15. (charge Ł25)
    Arrive home 02:30 hrs. Day 7
    847 Miles today.
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    Other than first and last day all the miles are rough day mileage. In total I clocked 2200 in just over six days .
    I have decided that I will take trip first week September again in future. Weather was just about perfect, naturally one or two degrees warmer in Morning and a couple of degrees cooler in the afternoon would have been ideal but it was as good as it gets
    Only saw rain just arriving on M25 from home and a bit on way home from just south of Calais to approx. Ipswich. Not enough to warrant stopping for waterproofs.
    With exception Point dÁrc and I guess only because it was the weekend it was quiet everywhere. Hotel rooms everywhere.
    Highlights: G d Verdon, & G Dalius as first time at both.
    Would Not rush back to: Morvan . Obviously a world away better riding than anything I have in my neck of the woods but with limited time in France I would leave this out.
    Max fuel price again Motorway €1.88 average around €1.65
    Bike. Other than the Ambient Air temp sensor not working it was faultless .
    Felt heat on my left leg a couple of times but nothing to write home about.
    Tyres. Conti,TA2 No dramas, can’t fault them in wet ( June trip) or dry. If there are better tyres out there for this bike then I guess they would be wasted on me. Front now completely gone (just on right side) at approx. 7,000.
    Rear at just over 5,000 and still plenty to play on yet which I am very pleased with..
    I had a proper sore arse after eight day 2800 mile June trip ( Yes, Yes I know) but this time no problem 6 days at 2200 ? However recently purchase Comfort seat from for sale section on here.
    Something I noticed when booking DFDS was that cheap ticket also allows access to one crossing earlier or later. I might still revert P&O next time as more sailings.
    Bike still where I left it every morning despite hotels having no CCTV, Armed security guard or Motion sensor equip.
    Sorry no food piccies for the Hairy Biker types

  2. #2
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    May 2004
    Good stuff.....I enjoyed the sense of liberation in the way you travelled, and the use of D roads.

    Sadly you discovered the general if not total demise of the once cheap and cheerful overnight F1 chain......mostly ghettos now.
    Every move you make.....Every step you take.....I'll be watching you.

    ( And recording too, you parasitic, scumbag, thieving, no mark, low life scumbags. )

  3. #3
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    Aug 2010
    Nice report. Shame about the lack of food pics.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
    Thanks for that, an area I don't really know

    And those hairpins can bite!

  5. #5
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    Jan 2016
    Excellent report with some great pictures.....thanks for sharing!

  6. #6
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    Jun 2007
    Sedgebrook, Lincs
    Enjoyed that, thanks for posting.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by barak666 View Post
    Excellent report with some great pictures.....thanks for sharing!

    Perfekt ist nicht gut genug.

    UKGSER-A place where I've wasted so much time, learned so much, laughed a lot and cried a few times.

    Every bed of roses has pricks in it!

  8. #8 Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Oct 2002
    South Wales
    A good read and some familiar sights there thanks for sharing, I had waypointed Gorge de Dalluis as a possible visit on our trip but we never made it, one for the future
    Visit our web shop for stickers/graphics/pannier wrap kits for your GS/Adventure bike
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