Tracking the R. Ardeche

Dragging myself away from the Domain la Pellegrine vineyards I continued north, firstly dropping down to the Nyons to Pont D’Esprit road so that I could pick up the Ardeche gorge route. Well worth the slight detour south; it’s a wider road than my previous excursions through various gorges, far less trees to mar the spectacular views, frequent stopping places with balconied view points and the Lumix got a bit of a workout!

 

 

I planned to overnight in a campsite at Vallon-pont-d’Arc, beautiful place, full of white water canoeists, but at €30 per night that idea was rapidly kicked into touch. Trouble is its now high season and all these kind of places and the pretty routes are full of French vacationers and prices have sky rocketed. I’ll reluctantly grant the French the right to holiday in their own country …

Anyway, continuing to follow the R. Ardeche I stopped instead at the free Aire in Meyras, a small village just outside Aubenas, not to be confused with either of the other two Meyras’s within 20 kms! This Meyras was hosting a pétanque convention (what is the difference between pétanque and boules? Anyone?) and every available square centimetre, including one of the car parks, was being utilised. The motorhome Aire (€0) was also not exempt but pétanque was played only in the unoccupied bays! The air was filled with oohs and ahs and ooh la las (yes the French really do say ooh la la!) and the clicking and clacking of metal balls!!

This morning I continued to follow the N102 which now continued it’s windy twisting way up into the Ardeche mountains proper. Le Puy-en-Velay had been on my route going down to Provence but I gave it a miss as it took me too far east too early and postponed the visit til the journey back.

Quel domage! I was gutted (not) to discover I’d missed all the bikes by 24 hours, and my regular reader knows how much I love bikes! The Tour de France was in Le Puy yesterday and the day before. Frankly, apart from using the McD to get on the net, Le Puy was not worth stopping in. However I have finally managed to see a lavender field in full bloom whilst driving high up on the Ardeche plateau. The colour was stunningly, intensely purple but sadly the track leading to it was totally unsuitable for R0X1 and there was nowhere to park – but I have finally seen what I wanted to.

I’m glad to have discovered this region, it’s gorgeous, and I’ll definitely be back – in low season, when most of the grockles have gone! Tomorrow I start searching for a vet (don’t tell Daisy) as it’s time to get her inspected, tableted and passport stamped ready for the ferry on Sunday.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Campals …

a new word meaning camper friends that you make on site. Janice and Bob invited me for a meal last night (and one or two bottles glasses of wine). Lovely people and great conversation and company, on their way to Spain with Jan’s father who will celebrate his 94th whilst there; gives wonderful hugs! Hope to see them on the road again.

I’ve wandered this delightful medieval city centre but have left some to see so that I can return. (Which reminds me – K. I’ve left shower gel and shampoo so that …. !)

Picassiette, which means “broken plates” and also “little Picasso”, house was built and decorated by Raymond Isadore over a period of many years starting in 1929 and there’s nothing he didn’t mosaicise (another new word). It’s very different in a Gaudi sort of way and I loved it, but I can’t imagine living in it and retaining either eyesight or sanity!

I’m leaving Chartres tomorrow but haven’t yet decided on a destination – somewhere in the Loire valley.

🙂 🙂 🙂

I like a bit of quirk –

and found it quite unexpectedly today.

I  walked the Thames path from Marlow to Henley against a very blustery headwind and amongst the millionaires’  posh pads and cruisers along the banks found some very British quirks.

Lost

 

Hope this wasn’t the transporter delivering ROX1

 

Fence warning

Which one?

 

_1040898

 

“Just one cornetto ….. “

Fun walk 🙂

Pictures at an exhibition

My plastic and I visited the well timed camping and caravanning exhibition at the NEC, Brum. I had a list and was determined for bargains. Saw plenty, but little I wanted or needed, so the plastic failed to melt! I did join a couple of good schemes for discounted (low season) campsites. I shall probably use a campsite every week or so to do laundry etc.

Camping & caravan exhibition.Loved these bright colourful kites.

It was good that having looked round at all the stands I realise that I seem to have thought of most things. Nothing jumped out to make me think “OMG – how could I forget that?”    Here’s hoping I don’t regret that statement when I’m a good few hundred miles away …

Adria and Ducato standsAdria and Ducato stands

Lingered at the  Adria and Ducato stands. Excellent to see the Ducato chassis and to know that mine is already at the Adria factory in Slovenia being built on.

Ducato chassis.

Hope I don’t ever see my chassis like this.

Also delighted to find out that I automatically get 2 years of Ducato camper assist free, wherever I am in Europe (well I’m always in Europe but you know what I mean) – not that I really want to have to use it!

I had a great day.

Seven weeks til The Van arrives …..

White Rabbit day

Measuring time is something probably only humans do; we can never be absolutely certain of our intellectual supremacy. Days and years are journeys our physical environment makes. Minutes, hours, weeks and months however are artificial divisions. But today feels special. It’s exciting. It’s White Rabbit day, a new month. It’s February.

Now next month, next month, I retire!

 

February 2014

 

(Snowdrops and drops – last years Feb photo)