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Bin Ridin'

The annual trip to Le Camping Moto was over July 15th to the 19th.

I set off with the GPS plotted to take me the shortest route, avoiding any Autoroutes. Doing that, it traces a straight’ish line to Valence and then Montclar. The day started overcast and as I headed east, the clouds got thicker and lower… or was I getting higher…. As I got to the A20, it started to rain and the clouds in the distance were sitting on the hills. So, I headed south down the A20 and kept going as far as Cahors and then cut across country to Rodez, Mende and Aubenas.

Somewhere after Rodez, the GPS told me to turn left, while I was on a perfectly good “D” road, onto a forest road. OK, I thought, why not? It was a hard-packed gravel road and I even saw cars on it. The next instruction was to “turn right”. That took me off the forest road and onto a cart track. Fifty metres down this track was a sign saying “not suitable for motor cars”. That’s OK, I’m on a bike.

The track got progressively worse, and I was in the wrong rut! The rut got deeper and deeper until I realised I was buggered. Not enough room to turn the bike around and no chance to push it that far backwards. Bugger again…

There was nothing for it but to strip the bike of its panniers and the bed roll and then build a little ramp out of stones at a 45 degree angle to use as a kerb for the front whell to bite into and launch me and the bike up onto the left-hand rut of the track.

It nearly worked… Got the front wheel up and managed to get it beached on the sump guard. After getting my breath back and having a little think about it and realising that I was in the middle of nowhere at 1500m and no one was about to help me, I would have to drag it out. Took a couple of attempts but I managed it. Heavy bike that is!

This “short-cut” rejoined the “D” road a couple of kilometres further along and while it was not worth the effort, it was entertaining… if that’s the right word…

Onwards. My route took me down the Ardeche Gorge on the N106 which is always a great ride.
Nearly at the bottom and a few bikers had been giving me the “slow down” signal, I came across a bike in the middle of the road. Gendarmes everywhere and a few bike parked at the roadside. Not a lucky day for some poor sod. Looked to me like a car came round the bend and took him out.. or maybe he was on the wrong side. Either way, it spoilt his day.
I caught up with the ambulance a few K’s later and its maximum speed was 50kph.

I stayed at CM for 2 days and then rode of eastwards to meet up with Herbert and Uli who were coming from Italy, having been to Croatia. It was a terrific day for a jaunt round some low passes and some very small mountain roads… still using the GPS set to “shortest”. It keeps life interesting. This pass is the Col de Pennes.

We had a “plat de jour” in a small cafe and then another 3 hours ride back to camp followed by a reasonable amount of beer. This caused a lot of bollocks to be talked.

Uli had to leave a day before Herbert and I to joint the missus in Holland.
Herbert and I left a day later and headed for another Moto Camp. Route 66 Moto camp. We were the ONLY guests. We put the tents up and ordered dinner. Another biker arrived from Holland on a Harley so now we were THREE. Whoopee!
The owner decided he was going to a concert in a town about 20kms away, shut up shop and left!
No wonder there was no one else there.
He was also moaning about the lack of visitors. it ‘aint rocket science is it!

Three to four hours riding on more small roads brought me home. It threaten to rain all the way home, but never did. Nice.

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