Tonight, “Baby Harls” and I are resting at a charming Chambres d’Hôtes near Vierzon, in the Berry Povince of the Cher Département. It’s a place I’ve stayed at many times before, because each time I am welcomed as an old friend and Madame’s petit dej is to die for!
The countryside from Roscoff, through Brittany and the Pays de la Loire is probably best described as “Pastoral,” it’s largely mixed farmland with the odd town thrown in every thirty miles. Rennes is by far the biggest city and it’s older parts are really nice, but no time to stop today. After Le Mans the landscape begins to roll in a much grander way, this is the large sweeping valley of the mighty Loire, the longest river in France. The weather took a turn for the worse and got quite dull after leaving Tours, which is an OK sort of place, had the heart bombed out of it in 1944 and apart from the old Cathedral, the new building development doesn’t do much for me. The natives of Tours are renowned for speaking the purest form of the French language and they do love to revel in their linguistic snobbery, good for them I say! From Tours we crossed the Loire, turned left and traced the River Cher, a delightfully peaceful waterway nestling in its own quite grand wide valley carved in the limestone countryside.
Mennetou sur Cher seemed a good spot to take a stroll, it’s an old medieval walled city, actually little more than a village, that still clings onto bags of character. This fine stone bridge spans the Cher, but why did someone stick two such ugly lamps on it?
The disused Berry Canal also passes through and just adds to the ambience.
Jeanne D’Arc, Joan of Arc, is reputed to have passed though this arch in 1429. That’s a bit awe inspiring!
So it’s been the first really decent milage day, 393 to be exact, on my new baby and what can I report? Well I guess it’s true to say that Harley Davidson have done a stunning job with these “Rushmore” models, I my humble opinion anyway.
I won’t say that after such a milage that I’m not tired; probably not putting my ear plugs in after lunch may have something to do with that, but after years being around and on all sorts of noisy locomotives and bikes something had to give! In comparison I have ridden the same route on my Softail before and been considerably more knackered than I feel right now. I could easily have done another 150+ miles today, but this is supposed to be fun, not punishment! The bike has performed very well, cruising at 130(ish)kph, that’s about 81mph, with no effort at all; fuel consumption is around 45 to the gallon.
I’ve played around with the cruise control all day, but it really came into its own when we hit the Péage, (Toll Road), where the traffic was almost non-existent. Then it was time to kick out the highway pegs and breathe! It’s amazing how not having to hold the throttle makes a big difference, on the Softail I used to have to sometimes strap up my right wrist on a long trip!
Before I left Dookes H.Q. I switched the pipes and put the standard ones back on, she hasn’t been Stage One tuned yet and I quite fancied a quieter ride, it worked a treat and I even had time for a spot of music whilst cruising along. Poser!
Another big(ish) mileage day tomorrow, you up for it? Good, see you on the road, Mulhouse looks interesting!
“My uniform is leather and my power is my age.”