A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

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Glenn_G
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A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

Post by Glenn_G » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:32 pm

A White Knuckle ride from Chartres France south to Escalo in northern Spain, during September 2018

Day 1 Friday 7th Sep 2018

We leave Milton Keynes early evening to ride south to Newhaven.

Once on board the short ferry crossing, we have a couple of Speckled Hens in the bar - be rude not to.

137miles / 219km

Day 2 Saturday 8th Sep 2018

Off the ferry into Dieppe abit after 5am and then on the road past Rouen, Everuex, Dreux down to Chartres and then pick up the TET trail where we finished earlier in the year (April 2018). We drop our tyre pressures and see some air balloons floating along, not yet 9am and it feels so good to be back exploring trails on the TET :D


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Couple of hours later south of Francourville/west of Moinville la Jeulin we pull up for a break, and a few minutes later we see a couple of riders approaching us on the same trail and get to meet Simon on his BMW X Country and Richard on his CCM 644DS. They've made good progress over a few days from the ferry to here all on the TET route and are keen to push on, we follow unsure if we can keep up but it all works out well. We make such good progress as there were no stops for pictures :confusion-shrug: :D and are past Orleans by lunchtime and by 5pm we stop at the 'possible bivuoac' but it is all locked up :


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Unsure how to contact the owner to see if we can stay we carry on, and not much further roll into Camping de Sologne at Salbris

https://www.campingdesologne.co/

258m / 412km


Day 3 Sunday 9th Sep 2018

Up at 7am for breakfast and pack away


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I lead today and we made good progress past Vierzon, Charost, etc but maybe the pace was too quick as I was told to slow down :hrmpf :D Around midday just after Chezal-Benoit Richard slows up as he's got a flat tyre, which was a suprise for him as he has the tubliss systems fitted. He soon gets to work


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wonder what Simons' thinking


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Forget what was wrong but it wasn't fixable at the road side and he stuck a tube in to get going.


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We crack on with a little road detour off the TET into Lignieres to get fuel then back south on the TET.

We cross a stream Le Trian near the Etange de la Barre (Pond of the bar?) lake, east of Morlac


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We roll into Vallon En Sully a little before 5pm and search for a campsite but the site along the Canal Du Berry is closed, so we ride 30 mins north to Camping Du Champ de la Chapelle and it is worth the ride as the site is set in lovely woods on a hill with nice views.

http://www.champdelachapelle.com/home-english.html

well earned burger, chips and beer :D


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Later on we heard a stag? calling, and the night sky star gazing was good.

134m / 214km


Day 4 Monday 10th Sep 2018

We're up, packed and back in Vallon En Sully for fuel abit after 9am, it is so warm so I find some shade near the fuel pumps and and have lie down whilst the others walk over to the Carrefour supermarket for provisions. whilst I'm resting a nice lady filling her car up shows me I should take my top off if I'm hot :mhm

A mid morning photo stop at Herisson


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We carry on enjoying the trails, nice weather and wild life as a fox walks past ahead of me. Later on that morning my Garmin is acting up, it appears the external 12v charging feed from my bikes battery is playing up. So we pull in behind a church Chapelle de Poliet (west of Neris Les Bains) for a break and find the negative wire has come off, and manage to sort it. Whilst there we wave at a couple of fellow TETrs who ride by on KTM 400/450 & Yamaha XT600 (NL,D? plated).


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Back on the trail and we need our trials skill to get over this


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Nice cool spot by the lake Etang de la Ganne south of Durdat Larequille for a quick break


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Later on we decide to find a campsite early and head to Camping Des Tarteaux east of Menat

http://www.menat.fr/spip.php?article59

accessed via this old bridge over La Sioule river, popular with canoists.


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Nice site popular with fly fisherman, he's in the water if you look above my hanging t-shirt


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87m / 139km


Day 5 Tuesday 11th Sep 2018

Up and away before 9am


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along a nice trail past Grelieres, by late morning we roll into Orcival to grab some food & wine


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and have an early lunch


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on the higher remote areas a couple of times we see some birds of prey having dog fights in the air. We're heading south west past Perpezat and as we cross the stream Ruisseau de Rioupeyoux Simons bike stops, with what turns out to be a snapped throttle cable


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He gets to work sorting it out, whilst Roy and Richard make the most of the sunny bankside to dry laundry and have a rest, too hot for me so i stay on the opposite cooler shady bank :D


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Simon did a great job fixing the cable with a repair kit, but as a result it would not take the outer casing now as it was bulkier or cable too short?, so he clamped the throttle assembly onto the handlebar with a couple of chain sideplates - impressive :greetings-clappingyellow:


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all wrapped up in tape for some protection (it lasted the rest of his trip !)


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We then crack on in the afternoon making good progress and roll into Camping Les Aubazines (Bort Les Orgues) a bit before 6pm. A nice site on the west bank of lake La Dordogne.

http://www.les-aubazines.com/

125m / 200km
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Re: A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

Post by chelmi_ouest_coast » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:30 pm

:handgestures-thumbup:

Great report
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Re: A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

Post by simon p » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:23 pm

Seems an age ago looking forward to the next one , Great report
Simon
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Re: A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

Post by Glenn_G » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:15 am

Day 6 Wednesday 12th Sep 2018

A nice shot of the campsite before we leave in the morning


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A little road work along the D15, we stop on the bridge over the La Dodogne as such a nice day / view



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Half hour later we find the La Triouzoune stream crossing


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We make good progress in the morning but around midday my bike comes to a halt on the roadside due to lack of battery power. Off with the seat I start to check the wiring but Simon must have spotted something as he suggests an area to look at, which reminded me of the security 'isolator' switch I added a long time ago. The isolator had failed open circuit and stopped all 12v power, thanks Simon saved me time there :tools-wrench: . A little rewiring to bypass the dead isolator and we get on our way again.


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We cross La Dordogne on another bridge and follow the river for a bit with some nice views


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A little further on east of Bassignac le Haut (approx N45° 12.895' E2° 05.840') we come across an overhead wire which misses us as we are sat down on the bikes, not sure you'd be so lucky if stood up so keep your eyes peeled around here.

Later higher up on the back roads that wind around the sides of the hills, here and there, are the odd bird of prey stood in the fields ready to jump off into a thermal to rise up into the air hunting their next meal.

Early evening we arrive in Aurilac and head to Garage Enduro, I get some different weight fork oil to try and Richard checks out their summer jackets. We then check into Camping de la Cere and I start changing my fork oil, which means a late supper for me at 10pm.

https://camping.caba.fr/

124m / 198km


Day 7 Thursday 13th Sep 2018

Leaving the campsite we said goodbye to Simon & Richard as they were heading north back home today, we carried on south to see how far we would get in our remianing ten days. We head off and navigating the route is tricky south of Lafeuillade En Vezie so we end up detouring around and then make good progress during the morning until just before you get down to the river Le Lot. Here some more navigation had us doubting where the route went, with electric fences and farm yards and some doubling back and more detouring, as not wanting to go where we shouldn't.

Later we park up on the outskirts of Conques for a lunch stop and Roy does some bash plate mods.


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It felt weird riding through Conques whereas most of the other tourists who visit by car are forced to park up and then walk in.


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A few hours later on and the landscape has changed, I think this a little outside Lioujas


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Soon after we come across a farmer on a quad bike herding his sheep, good thing there is no smellovision on this picture as the sheep absolutely hummed as they squeezed past us :puke-huge:


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Later on we end up at La Grange de Monteillac campsite at 6:30pm

https://www.aveyron-location.com/


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Although the different weight fork oil has helped, something is not right in their action so that evening i take out the progressive wound springs and refit them inverted to see if it helps.


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107m / 171km


Day 8 Friday 14th Sep 2018

Whilst packing away this morning I notice my ali bottle I use for wine has taken a knock and sprung a leak, a bit of tape and all seems good


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Not long into the day it gets interesting entering the forest Foret Des Palanges


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We took a wrong turn into a farm yard and met the farmer in his tractor, but he was fine about it once we had a quick chat/apology/smiles/hand waves, we worked out where we should be going and we ambled off along the trail. A little after Prades-Salars we stop on the nice trail and grab a mid morning snack of blackberries, they were lovely.


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before coming across this little incline


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The going changed to gravel tracks and I was playing/drifting it on the corner exits. Sure enough I over did it and slide off on a downhill right hander, I blamed it on the soft suspension and not my bike control at all :D


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Climbing higher we come across wind turbines


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and some lovely views


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South of Millau on the climb up we stopped to watch the paragliders as they floated around


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An hour or so later higher up we see lots of large birds (buzzards/vultures?) circling around on the thermals, you dont get to see this kind of thing often and they look so good up there. My pictures never seem to capture them as good as I see them with my own eyes


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We make our way down past La Cavalerie and then west of Fondamente a bit after 6pm roll into Camping La Mouline a nice little site on the banks of the river La Sorgues

http://camping-la-mouline.com/v2/


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The food was lovely


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106m / 169km


Day 9 Saturday 15th Sep 2018

Today wasn't a proper rest day, but we had a lazy start to the day not leaving till late morning.
Got to walk the site a little bit and see the fly fisherman walking to their best spots


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Probably because it was the start of the weekend being a Saturday we noticed several hunters out wearing their hiviz jackets, often stationary at set points - not sure if we scared off the animals riding through. Also came across horse riders, quad bikes all out enjoying the countryside.

Think Roys enjoying himself


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Not sure about that blackberry though


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Someone's trying to hitch a ride on my rucksack


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High up awhile before entering the Parc Naturel Regions Du-Haut-Languedoc we stop to take in the view, you could see for miles


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West of the Lac Du Laouzas Roy somehow managed to ride over a stick and it gets wedged in the chain guide hole and wheel spokes


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We wind our way to the lake and see how the dam was built.


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We end up at Camping Les Bouldouires https://www.campingbouldouires.fr/ not far from the Lac de la Raviege and pitch our tents. Afterwards we walk down to the Pizza place by the lake but they are closed, so we walk round to the Restaurant La Plage but they are fully booked/complet. So we walk back up and boil up another camp meal :P

80m / 128km


Day 10 Sunday 16th Sep 2018

We're up early eager to get going, probably yesterdays rest helped here.


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We head off south west and came across some dogs with bells round their necks jangling away as they are rumaging around the fields, unusual. We stop and chat to their owner who explained his dogs have the bells around their necks so he can hear them and knows where they are, even when he can't see them. A little later a front end slide wakes me up and I focus more.

Approaching Caunes-Minervois we came across these interesting art installations at the roadside


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On a road section we come across two old couples out hiking together and we slow down to give them time to hear us as we trundle past. But they flag us down as they are lost, so I help them out showing them where they are on my Garmin, and now they can see on their paper maps the route they need to take. Later we see more dogs trotting along the trail with their owner/hunters off in the trees on the hillside, this time the dogs are fitted with antennas, I guess as the terrain is very hilly here and it's easier to find them with a scanner..?

Tight winding road near Termes


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before rolling into Tuchan and finding Le Relais D'Aguilar campsite at 6:30pm, pitch our tents and head to the bar for a meal and drinks.

https://www.relais-aguilar.com

142m / 227km
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Glenn_G
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Re: A White Knuckle ride from Chartres to Escalo Sept 2018

Post by Glenn_G » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:10 pm

Day 11 Monday 17th Sep 2018

The further south you go the less grass you see and harder the ground gets, a few 6 inch nails helped pitching the tent here.


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My bike is stuttering on start up and my Garmin cuts out sometimes as we head south, along interesting roads cut into the hills as you head towards Saint Paul de Fenouillet


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We didn't fancy going past a guard dog, which was on a long rope across the access road to what appeared to be a small travellers type caravan site. So we diverted/looped east around on the road to pick up the TET route.

Find Camping Buis at Fougax Et Barineuf just before 5pm

http://www.camping.ariege-lesbuis.com/# ... _anglais.b

and find my bike stutter/gps issues were down to a loose/dirty fuse in its holder, as a quick clean and reinsert and all is good again. The bikes do take a hammering so grateful it was nothing more serious.


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Later on we have a meal and some drinks at the bar and get to see the family Husky dog let out and being taken for a walk - though it seemed the other way round as it darted off with its onwer trying to keep up :lol


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It was good value there and after the meal was settled the owner offered us a digestif/shot or two, I liked it even after I found out it was based on prune juice - Roy however declined :lol

128m / 205km


Day 12 Tuesday 18th Sep 2018

It took us almost three hours to pack up and leave this morning, no rush we just took our time. During which as I was in a cubicle using their stand up/drop toilets the lights went out and I couldn't see/find the switch :scared-eek: Thankfully not long later Roy walked into the building and pressed the timer switch again to bring the lights back on the whole block :handgestures-thumbup:


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Mid morning following a long trail we see a couple of lady hikers up ahead who stand up smartly and start pulling up their trousers, who must have got caught short and heard us coming, carry on ladies don't mind us.

Sometimes slow progress on the tricky wet trail heading north west away from Saint Jean de Verges (runs parallel with D919)


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Then on the D919 near Le Mas D'Azil


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A little further is the Eglise de l'immaculee conception


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We end up at Camping la Justale in Mane abit before 5pm

www.village-vacances-mane.fr

Short walk into town to find the nearby Restaurant Bar Ducos closed for the night, so carry on walking through the town over the river heading north and a short distance before the main Intermarche we find Bella Pizza behind the Pain Artisanal La Huche A Pain Bakery and enjoy a pizza and beers before heading back to camp.

102m / 163km


Day 13 Wednesday 19th Sep 2018

We're up early and I've got my tools out again, but it's not for my bike this time :D
Roy needs my magnetic pickup to try and get a nut back on one of his engine mount bolts, which has come loose and is buzzing.


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We fill up at the Intermarche and the first trails east of Rouede are still in shade, cold and damp


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Further on we struggle trying to find a way through the woods and get off the bikes and scout the area. There is a lovely smell of mint in the air as we hike around up and down the hilly area quite a bit but couldn't find an easy way through as blocked by wire fencing. Though Roy did find a cowpat when we sat down for a breather, here he's trying to remove it by rubbing his arse on the grass :lol


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We've spent a fair bit of time and found no exit, so we back track and detour around and pick up the route. Some road work and abit later pop into the mountain cafe La Soulan east of Saint Beat on the D44 crossroads for an icecream


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Along with some cracking views later on approaching Melles


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We've now crossed the border into northern Spain and stop for some chain oiling


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and a little later after Bossost on the climb up we stop at the Guardader d'Arres viewing point


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It's approaching 5pm so we come off the mountain down onto the N-230 and look for a campsite, no luck at Camping Verneda so we try along abit and find Camping Verde Prado (Lleida) situated behind a Repsol pertrol station.

Just outside the site we find the Restaurant Cabana D'Aubas for some food and drink.

84m / 134km


Day 14 Thursday 20th Sep 2018

The site was alright


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with nice mountain views


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We see a few Policia 4*4 out today here and there (smugglers route?), but no issues and pick up the TET route from yesterday, looping over along the Carretera de Varrados with simply stunning views


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the horses like the shade as well at Baqueira Beret ski resort, also watch out for idle sheep and goats in the middle of the road


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I see a baby red squirrel on the wooded trail which runs back up a tree.

Entering the Alt Pirineu Natural Park on the way to Boren we come across this no entry sign, but work out its okay during May to December


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further along the trail we come up behind a slower moving Policia 4*4 and rather than overtake him we're in no rush so pull over for a lunch stop by the nice river


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A bit further on we see a couple of big KTM twins coming from the other direction (Belgium? plated) and after a quick chat (they wanted to know how hard it was) and then they're on the way we've come. We then get onto the C-13 past Valencia D'Aneu with an idea to loop around south to Andorra before heading home, but not long later we realise we may not have enough time and so decide to turn around at Escalo and start heading north. A road side chain oiling and pump up the tyres for the higher speed road work and we head north back into France. We make it to the outskirts of Gourdan-Polignan and find a Super U market for fuel. We also buy some engine oil as we plan to do an oil chnage before the slog back north through France. We get to Montrejeau and by 6pm have found Camping Colors Garonne and pitch our tents. There are several cyclists on a trip and their minimal tents and kit put us two to shame.

http://www.campingcouleursgaronne.com/

128m / 205km


Day 15 Friday 21st Sep 2018

We set off before 9am and made our way east, initially avoiding the motorway/toll roads. But after a couple of hours of slow progress we got on the A-64 at Saint Martory and then pulled into the Aire Du Volvestre mid morning to do the oil change (the dry oil stain on the road was already there okay)


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We then made good progress until I took a wrong turn navigating Toulouse ring roads and ended up further in the city, as it was lunchtime and very busy it took awhile to get back out onto the right ring road around and out north of the city. Then further north on A-20 past Montauban and Cahors, by which time we've put on our waterproofs as it was getting cold. We were going to camp on the lake below Brive La Gailarde but it was raining heavy by then so we just carried on, and get to the Formula 1 hotel north of Limoges at 7:30pm. We walk next door to the Restaurant Grill for some food and drinks.

257m / 411km


Day 16 Saturday 22nd Sep 2018

This morning we had a little detour out west to visit Oradour Sur Glane for the morning. https://www.oradour.info/

We were both low on fuel and in hindsight we should have filled up before we left Limoges but thought we'd find somewhere on route. It wasn't to be as my bike did 12.1 miles before coasting to a halt on the N141 a little before exit 64. We drained a little out of Roys bike and both carried on slowly to exit 64 then back east on N141 to Station U petrol station at Verneuil-sur-Vienne. I'd run out of fuel again on leaving the N141 and was thankful it was downhill all the way into the petrol station as I was able to free wheel to the pump :lol Interestingly we noticed filling both bikes up to the top mine took 18L whereas Roys took 19L (and his was still running at the pumps). If I can be bothered next time tank is off I should have a look at my fuel pump intake hose location to see if I can move it, to make more use of the still remaining fuel left in the tank. A friend suggested a good idea of some kind of lead weight on the end of the pipe/filter like they do in model aircraft. Little drama over we get to Oradour Sur Glane a little after 9am, spend the morning there and are taken a back by place


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After lunch we head back to Limoges and then on the A20 going north, past Chateauroux, Vierzon, Orleans, Chatres, Dreux and then into Evureux to the F1 Hotel for 8pm. We're cold, tired and its wet outside, so cant be bothered to go out and try and find somewhere to eat, so we cook another camp meal.


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299m / 478km


Day 17 Sunday 23rd Sep 2018

After some chain oiling and putting on more layers (it's still wet) we leave Evruex and head north past Rouen and onto Dieppe and arrive at the ferry port very early. Whilst waiting we get invited into a guys motorhome to keep warm, which was nice, but decline worried we'd ruin his carpets :uhoh


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Once on the boat we strike lucky and manage to get front row seats in front of the large tv and spread out our kit to dry, along with some other bikers. It was a bumpy crossing but they had the Aragon Motogp race on the tv which was a nice distraction.

Leaving the boat it took awhile to get through passport control but then we left Newhaven and round the M25 we stop at our usual Cobham services early evening for fuel and a cuppa to warm up. Leaving the services and then made it home tired but happy from another great trip.

318m / 509km

Total 2616 miles / 4185km

A big thankyou to all the linesmen who make this possible, especially Ben Smith and John Ross
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