Movin’ On

Dear Blogonaughts, it’s nearly 22:00hrs local time.

It’s well over 25ºC and the air is still. Around me crickets chirp and the last birds are calling as the head to roost. Beneath, in the valley, the river gently purrs as it caresses the boulders that stand in it’s path.

I’m sitting outside writing and getting eaten alive by mosquitos and a million other airborne bloodsuckers!!!

This morning I was sad to leave our mountain base. Not half as sad when we dropped into the valley thirty minutes later and the temperature suddenly rose to 35ºC, where it has stayed for the rest of the day!

We ground out some quick and serious miles to Grenoble Airport on the péage autoroutes; tedious, but they get you moving quickly, which was just as well as that was the only respite from the heat I could find.

From the airport we headed for the Rhône valley, crossing the mighty river at Sablons, where I pondered that just nine days ago we had bridged that same river in it’s much more youthful state shortly after it had drained out of Lake Geneva.

Then we vigorously climbed up onto the Massif Central, the high plateau that stretches down the spine of France from Clermont Ferrand in the North to Montpellier by the Mediterranean coast in the South. Specifically we were heading for the Auvergne, one of my favourite parts of France with it’s deep valleys and extinct volcanoes.

Once up on the Massif I relaxed, not because it got any cooler – look, I’m sorry, I’m not moaning about the heat, it’s just the reality of what it was like – but we hit an altogether different sort of road, in a place that has a different pace of life!

Today has been a bit strange. Today the French Government brought in a new maximum speed limit on the ordinary roads of the country, 80kph. This excludes dual carriageway and motorways, but applies to all single carriageway routes. I must admit that for the majority of the time I have been a good boy and stuck to it, which is more than I can say for the majority of French drivers that I saw! On the type of roads that we were on this afternoon 80kph/48mph is actually quite relaxing, but would be a pain if you needed to get anywhere quickly!

Tonight we are in the hills near Ambert, a delightful yet busy little place on the old main-road through the Massif
Even though in the back of my mind I know we have started the run home, I think that tomorrow really is that “Returning Point” moment. That second when the trip that has been so long in the dreaming, planning and execution is now starting to head to its conclusion.

The view from our base near Ambert.

Tomorrow will be a transit day, maybe with a drop in on a Harley Dealership, but mostly it’s mile munching/kilometre krunching time. On the plus side we are heading for the wine-producing town of Bourgueil on the flood plain of the River Loire. The region around the town produces some of the most delightful light red wines in France, that are high on Mrs Dookes “likes” list….note to self…!

The forecast says we may have some showers, certainly it will be a tad cooler, which won’t be a bad thing.

Catch you soon


10 thoughts on “Movin’ On

  1. One of my all time favorite rides in the states is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a national park that is a little wider than a two lane road and travels 469 miles through windy, mountain roads. Beautiful. The speed limit is 45 MPH (73 KPH). It’s relaxed. It’s great fuel economy. And it forces you to slow down enough to actually see more than the lines on the highway. Travel safe!


    • Sounds like my kind of ride.
      As I get older the need or appeal for speed diminishes greatly.
      The French have a lovely phrase “Tres Doux” literally it means “Very Sweet” but in general it apports more to, “Hey, take it easy.” – That’ll do for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post. I have two homes in France – one in Grenoble and the other in Cantal so I know the route you took through Sablons over the Rhône and up through Ardèche really well. I also know Ambert which is a lovely place – Auvergne is lovely, let’s face it. Anyway, given that I am living in Massachusetts, USA for the next year or two this was a welcome taste of home and I thank you for your great words and wonderful pictures.


  3. G’day Dookes, thanks for the regular updates on your latest escapade on wheels. As I’ve said before, you have missed your calling, you would make an outstanding travel writer. Sorry I haven’t commented on each of your posts, things have been a bit pear shaped here recently, nothing life threatening or Harley related. Take care and keep the shiny side up as the saying goes.

    Liked by 1 person

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