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Old 05-19-2008, 10:25 AM   #1
Olirider OP
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Riding the Massif Central in France

I've been lurking for several months on Advrider, reading some marvellous ride reports and dreaming abour exotic places.

This now time for me to contribute, so I signed up yesterday.

In France, we have to take our vacation days from may to may. To make our US feloow riders jealous, we have a lot of them : i've got 46 days per year without bank holidays...
I had so much work on a difficult project that I forgot about it.
But my supervisor gave me a nice order : take next week off work, I don't want to see you.
Ok, what to do when nothing was expected ? riding, of course !
But where to ? It's too early in the season to go in the Alps because most of the passes will be closed. I need lower mountains.

The obvious solution is the Massif Central.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massif_Central

Here is the riding tool fully loaded.



It's my 120 000 km 2000 GS.


Here are the navigation tools.




I've no prepared route, so every evening I use the maps to decide the next day of riding and I write down my own road book.
The Zumo is my new toy, it will be its first real trip. It will log the trip and help me to find the next spot.

Here is the full trip lasting 8 days.




Next post : Day 1...

Beware of this thread : I like old stones, you will see a lot of them if you carry on with this thread !

PS : Be gentle with my bad english writing skills.

Olirider
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:50 AM   #2
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Olirider, your English writing skills are excellent.

Can't wait for the report. I'm headed that way myself in September so bring it on.
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:08 PM   #3
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:08 PM   #4
GSgal
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Your English is just fine... keep writing, please!

I am very happy to see your report, as last June I had the privilege of riding some of these same areas with MikeO. It was superb! Beautiful country, lovely people.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=220508&page=3

We're ready and waiting to travel "with" you now!
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:10 PM   #5
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more...................................
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:42 PM   #6
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Day 1 : From Paris to Gannat

Well, it's saturday my first day of vacation. I wake up late and it takes me a lot of time to load my bike.
I live in a flat on the 7th floor and the bike is in the parking lot on the -2 nd floor. it takes me several elevator travels to get down all my stuff and I can't let it alone, si I need to use my car to store it before loading.

So, I don't catch the road before 2pm. The objective of the day is to reach Gannat, a small town near Vichy at the beginning of the Massif Central. This is only day where I've loaded the route in the Zumo.

As always when I ride for fun, I avoid as much as possible big roads.

Here is the track for day 1.



That's 421 km or 262 miles.
This trip is nearly boring because the countryside is very flat and the roads, even the minor ones ( D types or "departementales") are very straight through corn and wheat fields. It's a relief to cross the forests of the Sologne area which is famous for hunters.

When crossing the village of Bellegarde in the Loiret departement (district), I stop to have a look at the castle.

This the castle gate with the city hall on the right.



Here is the castle.





The origin of this castle is from 1376. The duke of Antin rebuilt it between 1717 and 1727. It was famous for its receptions and the famous philosopher Voltaire is known to have come here severa times.

As I continue southward, I arrive to the Loire river which is, for French people the psychological border between North and South France.
We often say that teh weather becomes nice after crossing the Loire !
I am in Sully-sur-Loire and there is an other beautiful castle there.





Check wikipedia for in formation : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A...ully-sur-Loire

I arrived in Gannat around 9 pm and found directly the campground with the help of the preloaded POIs in the Zumo.
Nobody at the reception but it's very easy to find a place because the campground is nearly empty with the exception of a few RVs and the mandatory dutch trailers !
I set up my tent for the night.



That's all for today. Next post : Day 2...
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:18 PM   #7
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Fantastique oh que c'est beau chez vous!

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Old 05-19-2008, 07:47 PM   #8
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[quote=Olirider]

Salut a toi ! oh olirider ! ici Fredo en Arizona , de Nice ! continons en Anglais .......Politesse oblige !
Keep sending us these pictures , they smell so good all the way here !
If you riding plans includes the old West , one day , you'll love the thousands of miles of unpaved roads , with gorgeous scenery that you'll never forget .
Being French from father to son since Clovis king of Francs , I offered to be you're french correspondant . If I can ever be of any assistance to you, post or PM me .
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:23 AM   #9
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Hi Fredo

Nice to see that you like the pictures from Clovis country !

I already had the chance to ride a bike to visit the US in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. Yes you are right the landscapes are marvellous and it's so easy, contrary to Europe, to ride on tracks..



It would be nice to come back. Especially with the weak Dollar....

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Old 05-20-2008, 04:30 AM   #10
KillerPriller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olirider
Beware of this thread : I like old stones, you will see a lot of them if you carry on with this thread !

PS : Be gentle with my bad english writing skills.

Olirider


Oh Olirider, we gotta go for a ride!

your english is great. far better than our french for sure!

thanks for the fun trip. need to see more.

nk
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:40 AM   #11
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nice report, i'm waiting for more pics,
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:51 AM   #12
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Day 2 from Gannat to Picherande

Today, the real Massif Central begins and so do the twisty roads...



I've set up the Zumo on shortest distance mode. So When I use it to find the next village I'm sure to find nice back roads !

The first find is only a railway crossing but I find it very cute !


When I see how rusty are the rails there does not seem to be much traffic.





Of course I did not see any car or other vehicle on this "main" road.

That's the only picture from me I took from more than 1000 picture but it's supposed to be mandatory in a ride report.




I arrive now to the "viaduc des Fades" wich is a railway bridge to cross the Sioule valley. During the 19th century, there were nearly no roads in that area. There were so a big effort to build railways and because of the mountains there were a lot of bridge and tunnels to create.

The viaduc des Fades was built from 1901 to 1909. It is 470 m long (1540 feet) and 133 m (436 feet) high.In 1909 it was the highest viaduct in the world. It is still the highest railway viaduct in France and the 3rd in the world.





There is a small station at the top.


Under the bridge there is a small dam on the Sioule river.












Next post : Day 2 continued...
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:58 AM   #13
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:30 AM   #14
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Day 2 continued

I arrived then to the ruins of the "Chartreuse du Port-Sainte-Marie".
It was a monastery which was created in 1219 by chartreux monks.
Up to the XVII century, it became very rich and important.

During the French revolution in 1792 the monks were forced to leave and in 1795 the monastery was sold and progressively turned to ruins.

It is now preserved to avoid its complete disappearance.
It is a very isolated ans calm place...











The road continues then with nice landscapes.














These 2 rocks are very ancient volcanos which lava was so dense that it could not flow. This is called "protrusion".


It's may and I see snow !



I begin to climb.


Here is the first pass 1401 m high (4600 feet)







It's forbidden to land here for paragliders.



Couragous cyclists !

I'm arriving to the small town of Mont-Dore which is a ski resort (a small one compared to the ones in the Alps).



The parking lot from the ski resort.



A nice water fall at the top.





A new pass.




"You enter the country of Besse Cezallier Sancy"
"Land of lakes and volcanos".







Can you see the castle ?


A small village.





I finally arrived at a camp ground in the village of Picherande under a heavy rain...

End of day 2.

Nest post : Day 3
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:49 AM   #15
MartinDKtm
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Superbe photos! Ces mon reve d'aller rouler a moto en europe! Il y a un port ici dans la ville et souvent je me demande si je pourrais aller voir les capitaines pour demander de pouvoir m'embarquer moi et ma moto pour me traverser l'autre bord de l'atlantique..pour une somme modique.

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