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Old 07-23-2008, 03:11 PM   #16
djbronco
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That looks awsome! Thanks for sharing that with us! Someday if I'm real good my wife will let me go over and ride those roads!
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:06 PM   #17
KevinC
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Nice, very nice.

I'm off to France in just under a month so please save some of that weather for me.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:19 PM   #18
MikeO OP
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Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
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20th July 2008

After a good night's sleep, Peter & I have breakfast with one of the other guests - a 70yr old lady who is on a six week cycling holiday in the area. Neither of us catch her name, but she is remarkably sprightly and full of life.



We're on the road by 0830 - heading roughly north...



...on some great roads hacked out of the hillside.



...it's a great morning, but there's a heaviness in the air that suggests we might get wet later - I fitted the Gore-Tex liners in my trousers this morning...



Sure enough - the horizon starts darkening and we're soon witnessing regular forks of lightning in the middle distance...



After negotiating the only bit of gravel we encounter this trip - about a kilometre of road repair - we decide it would be wise to stop and kit up for bad weather...



Peter & I put the cameras away for a while. We come across roads which have clearly been subjected to heavy rain in the recent past, but stay pretty much dry. We are both aware that the road surface is going to be treacherous after a long dry spell - nowhere more so than on a long uphill section, where vehicles are working hard, moving slower and likely to leave more oil & rubber on the road. As we are climbing the hill into Pradelles I have a major front end slide - I still can't work out what I hit - there was certainly no smell or visual clue to indicate diesel. The bike recovers, but we decide to stop for a while at the first cafe we come to. As we ride we get hit by the first raindrops - fat hard and cold - and we're in a heavy rain squall for about ten minutes. After then it clears and, looking north, we can see that we're through the wet patch.



We stop and de-kit, then head off into the sunny day which is developing ahead of us...



Time for a spot of lunch...

Just after we set off again, I notice something odd about Peter's right hand fog light - I wave him in and we find that the bracket has broken. I had this apart last night, to try to work out why the lamp only works intermittently and so I'm concerned that the failure may be connected. We cable tie it back together & carry on...



We're soon back on the rapid sweeping roads that we rode a couple of days ago...



Bettie steers us onto the Péage in the direction of Clermont Ferrand, so we stop just the other side of the tolls and take advantage of a shady picnic area to plot up and work out where we go from here...



We decide to stick to Bettie's route for the time being - the unmistakable boob like silhouette of Puy de Dome is on the horizon...



We come off the Péage at Moulins and pass through a couple of small towns - there was a lively flea market going on in one of them...



There are often reminders of the high mortality rate on French roads (one of Europe's worst) planted at the roadside...



We're soon back on small D Roads...



...and stop in the village of Beaulon...



...for a coffee. When putting his bike on the stand, Peter sees that...



...his left fog light has had an identical fatigue failure...



After a quick cable tie repair (at least the bike looks symmetrical now ), we have a coffee and water and cool down in the shade...



Onward.



We make good progress north - heading towards Vezelay, where we had lunch a couple of days ago...



The rain has made the whole landscape come alive and has cleared all the pollen & dust out of the air - you can see forever...

We're both tired and we've come a fair way today, so we find a Logis de France hotel in Chateau Chinon & stop for the night...



We eat at a local bar - the least said the better - I dread to think what the content of the sausage I ate was, but I can still taste it now...

We then take a stroll around the town - it's a beautiful evening...



We tackle the steep climb up to Le Table d'Orientation...



...where there's a enamelled plinth, erected in 1914, showing the name and distance of all the landmarks you can see from up here...



The sun sets and the temperature drops immediately - we walk back to the hotel and get a relatively early night - we're heading for the Channel Ports tomorrow...

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MikeO screwed with this post 07-24-2008 at 03:21 PM Reason: Dams, Rain & Tables...
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:11 PM   #19
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21st July 2008

Both Peter and I sleep badly - it seems that the French have their rubbish collected every night - it was our hotel's turn at about 0500...

We have a vastly overpriced breakfast and then set off into the morning sunshine...



...it's a beautiful day, although a little chilly in the shade.

Peter used to own a property in France - we stop and look at this one...



...and it's clear that he'd not take much persuading to buy another.



Still, we've got a few miles to cover today, so it's time to get moving...



...once again we're on great roads...



...and heading through St Pere, towards Vezelay for morning coffee...



...where I notice the hotel offers tours by Citroen 2CV...



Re-caffeinated, we continue north...



...we're trying to stay off the Peage for as long as possible...



There's a brisk breeze from the left, blowing dust off the fields across the road...



...which, as it becomes more gusty, makes riding on exposed roads unpleasant.

We stop for an early lunch at the Croix d'Or...



...where we order lunch from the four course, €19 menu. We are treated with utter disdain by the middle aged waitress. After the first two courses (which were excellent) we wait 30 minutes looking at our empty plates before telling the manager we were leaving and paying €10 each...



We get on the Peage and head north west towards Calais...



In no time, it seems, we're arriving at the Eurotunnel and - ignoring the hitch-hiker on the approach to the toll plaza...



...we check in and pay an additional £12 to get on the 1820 train. We'd originally planned to catch a train early tomorrow morning but reckon we can get back tonight OK...



Eurotunnel employee Brian is soon ushering us onto the train and 45 minutes later we pull into Folkestone. Brian tells us that they have 16 minutes to turn a train around...



We arrive back on the M20 at 1800 and make our way to Dartford - where we get split up and ride the last 100 miles or so solo - we arrive at our respective homes at about 2100...

1747 miles - not a bad way to spend a few days...

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Old 07-25-2008, 03:47 PM   #20
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thanks for the report Mike. As always, it is excellent .

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Old 07-25-2008, 03:55 PM   #21
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Superb, as always, Mike

Did the Difi gear hold up OK?
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:23 PM   #22
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Wonderful Mike.

Thanks for again making me want to return to Europe.

Next time I'm on a bike!
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:40 PM   #23
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Do they not tie down the automobiles and bikes on the train?

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Old 07-26-2008, 02:19 AM   #24
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Nope - for bikes you put it on the side stand, nose into the edge of the road section at an angle. As you don't leave the bike, you're there to keep an eye on it for the 35 minute journey. It's a pretty smooth track, so although the bike wobbles a bit as you cross the rails, it doesn't wobble seriously enough to fall over.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:42 AM   #25
Jedediah
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Nice RR

I enjoyed this ride report. Beautiful riding country. Weird the dual fatigue failure of your mates fog lights.

Thanks for taking the time to post.

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Old 07-27-2008, 04:15 AM   #26
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Another excellent ride report as usual Mike, thanks for taking us along.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:52 PM   #27
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Awesome photos and narrative :)
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:29 PM   #28
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another great report , lets bump it up for others to see
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