29 September 2011

I was still exhausted when the alarm woke me on Thursday morning but managed to pack my kit up and drag myself downstairs for a simple but enjoyable breakfast (the cheeses were excellent).

Yesterdays long ride took a lot out of me. The concentration required on the tight roads was taking its toll. My body was also beginning to ache. My knees get a little sore on the Family Truckster on the long days but yesterday my hands were bad, my right thumb in particular. Could be the onset of arthritis – who knows (probably P)?

The view from my hotel in Beuil was peaceful and the hotel looked most quaint in the early morning sunlight.

Today I took it easy and found somewhere early – no need to push hard every day. This part of France is nice so I’ll stay in the area and leave it until Friday for the big push towards Spain.

Not far west from Beuil was the ski resort town of Valberg – it looked nice – but I pressed on to Guillaumes and then south west through Les Gorges de Daluis. Now this was some different country to what I’d previously seen of France. Some parts were even vaguely remiscent of Capadoccia. There was one very scenic stretch of 17 tunnels cut though the red rocky gorge, high abaove a river below.

I was enjoying the ride so much I neglected to stop for photos. Shame about that. It was most spectacular but I did have the Go-Pro HD video camera running so I have some great video footage of this part of the ride. A tourist brochure I picked up at the hotel in Beuil described this region perfectly as the “Colorado of the Alps, hidden in the back country of Nice … a spectacular deep and narrow red canyon unique in its kind … ” It was all of this.

France is a huge country and I’ve explored quite a bit of it now. It continues to throw up the unexpected and offers far more than Paris, the Tour de France, skiing, champage, wine, rich food and stinky soft cheeses. These alone are reason to come, but this vast country of 551,500 square kilometres is incredibly diverse in scenery with abundant natural beauty, culture, style and history.

The other highlight of the day was travelling on the Route Nepoleon. Even though I managed only a small section of the total 330km on offer from Canne to Grenoble it lived up to its claims as a great motorcycling road. I will have to come back and do all of it another time.

There is nothing remarkable about Digne-les-Bains – except its location. On the Route Napoleon, and an hour and a half from Nice ie beaches, and the Alps ie skiing. This could just be the perfect place for to live.

But tomorrow my Turkey motorcycle tour will continue west into Spain via the world’s largest duty free shop, Andorra la Vella.  Sadly in a few days time this adventure of a lifetime will be over.


Distance travelled yesterday 86 miles (138km), cumulative 10,079 miles (16,221km).