Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 06: Bedoin to L'Eglise to Les Alpe du Grande Serre

We are now recounting the events of Day 06 of French Motorhome adventure.   Today the events of Thursday October 02, 2014.

Leaving Bedoin
The plan was to leave the Campsite early and head towards Grenoble.  On the way Agata was to Internet surf and try and find us an Aire (for accommodation) which might also have a nearby mountain trail run that we could attempt.

Before leaving there was time for a healthy Porridge breakfast

We had to ditch the local wine we bought that was found to be corked. Of course we had a backup wine last night, hot tip:always carry spare wine.

Before leaving, we made time for a deliciously long hot, self indulgent shower.  If you re-calibrate to Motorhome showers as the norm, then a campsite shower becomes a luxury!

Last but certainly not least; Marcus sat by the uber fast free Internet point and downloaded his latest Podcasts via iTunes onto the iPod Nano so there was some delightful BBC Radio4 programming to listen to on the drive to come.

We were tipped off that the passing town of Nyons was worth a look.  We arrived to find an orgy of other Motorhomes.

Sadly, all we could find was a street market of, well, bits of /crap/, things that we don't find in any way useful or attractive.  Certainly beautiful and touristy here, but not for us! After a grossly overpriced cafe coffee we left!

Topping Up
Next was a drive through a series of exceptionally pretty French towns on our way to L'Eglise.

 Sheep on the Road

Pausing at an Air to fill up with fresh water.

L'Eglise Mountain Run
We identified an accommodation Aire in a town called L'Eglise   (26460 Truinas) and, after an increasingly sets of shrinking and narrow roads later we arrived.

To our dismay the /Aire/ as such was just a carpark with none of the promised Electricity points (mentioned on the Internet) that we have come to value.    Mains Electricity is useful to power the fridge and also keep our Gadgets charged.  Marcus's laptop needs mains AC and although we had bought a 12V to AC inverter, it did not seem to work.  [All other Gadgets i.e. watches, music player, phones, Tablet can be charged thru USB]

We resolved to anyway stay for the run

Extended Run & Getting Lost
As you can see it is picture book pretty here.

Yes we are going as far up that mountain as time allows!

A lot of signs!   We had previously loaded a tracklog of the mountain trail onto Agata's Garmin Fenix2 watch.  But the trail start was 2Km away and no idea how to get there.

Almost an hour was spent trying to find the trail start and we trekked in the wrong direction and had to backtrack.

Finally we navigated to the start of the trail-head marked on our route.  Let us begin!

 Weather conditions not ideal in some places

We met 2 trail walkers who had apparently lost their companion and gave us their mobile phone number in case we found Yorg!  Luckily he turned up later so we did not have to /carry him down a mountain/.

A long forest section had Marcus worrying about darkness which was to come shortly as the sun would set soon.  I had insisted that neither of us pack the 200 gram head torches to save weight.  Some that felt like a stupid decision now :-(

 At times it looked rather inhospitable.

Okay we made our target plateau.  Now time to get down asap before it gets dark.

Yes, of course we were gathering statistics ...

The trial run was quite nerve racking since we decided to run without the customary rucksack full of emergency supplies (including headtorch). Consequently the first long forest section had us realising that if we did not start the descent in the light getting caught in the forest in the dark would be potentially dangerous.

We finally made it back and decided not to stay the night here but drive onward ....

Dinner on the Road
We passed many towns close to Grenoble including Vif and even managed to locate a Michelin star restaurant ... closed! After much more internet surfing and driving we found a nice simple Italian Restaurant and we stopped off for Lasagne and Salad. Delicious and cheap food.

Mountain Pass Darling?
After the great dinner Marcus was somewhat lured into driving a 30Km detour to an Aire in a nearby mountainous region.  Lured because 15Km was up a tiny mountain pass in complete darkness.

The only benefit or driving in darkness is that oncoming traffic would be visible by headlight.  Disadvantage, if traffic arrived would we be able to pass it!  Major flaw#2 is that in pitch black darkness you can't see the edge of the road, important when it is either a rock face or sheer mountain drop.   

(picture from next morning, since we arrived in the dark!)

After what seemed like eternity we arrived to the Aire and there were toilets and showers and Electricity.  So we had hit the jackpot!  Time for Bed.

Video Diary 20141002
Diary for October 02, 2014

Learning Points for today

  • Driving up a mountain pass in pitch black darkness on thin roads is not a good idea, even in a moderately thin and manoeuvrable motorhome!
  • Yet another Aire was found with fantastic facilities.  France makes motorhomes so welcome.   We are so impressed!
  • Yet again the value of a portable cannot be understated. The fast Internet connection allowed us both to navigate, find a decent trail run, and download maps to our GPS watch.  France (and most countries in Europe excluding Switzerland) enable you to buy a tourist SIM with a Internet Data subscription for almost nothing.   We paid 15 Euros for 5GB! 

Aire Alpe du Grande Serre   Longitude 45.05223000, Latitude 5.83639000