Saturday, September 24, 2016

One Very Long Day1

Saturday Sept. 24th.

Dear Family & Friends,

This was one LONG day!! Any more hours on the bike and I would have been singing “Castrati” for the SLO Opera! What was supposed to be an easy half day ride turned out to be 9 hours in the saddle.. A slight technical miscalculation on my part… I won’t go into the details. I have ridden further in miles and longer in hours but this was an exhausting, but fun ride.
We left Andorra first thing in the morning and we planned to finish crossing the Pyrenees mountains and come out in France. Sounded easy. Well first the morning was cold, damp and very cloudy and foggy. We rode through that for an hour and suddenly it cleared like someone turned on a switch. Then we started down the eastern slope of the range. Down is the key word. They didn't wasted any effort when they carved this road. It was very steep and twisty enough to make Hwy.1 by Big Sur seem like a freeway. On top of that there were hundreds of FAST motorcyclist and crazy car drivers. After about 4 to 5 hours we eventually got to the bottom of the range and traveled for another 4 hours along the coast of southern France.. Not bad but after the mountain pass it was boring. Also the twisty road coming down the mountain really wears you out when your riding big heavy touring motorcycles with 9 weeks of clothes on them…
We eventually got to our destination town of  Aix-En-Provence in southern France around 5:30pm ready to settle in to our reserved rooms in an old inn.. Unfortunately it wasn’t where the GPS said it should be. I looked around and found a local who was kind enough to look it up on his computer… It was located about 30 minute back from where we came from.. GPS systems are not perfect. I wasn’t looking forward to breaking the news to Kim and Duane who were totally drained. Luckily we did locate a Great Western hotel just two blocks away. So we got checked in there and immediately had our evening glass of wine.. Duane really needed it, his mood wasn’t what I would call even remotely charming. Luckily he responds well to wine and within an hour he was smiling.
We walked into downtown in this quaint old French town and had a good dinner.
Now the good news is tomorrow’s ride will be much shorter. The original idea was to have two days in a row with 4-5 hour rides. Instead our ride tomorrow to Nice, France is less than two hours. 
So tomorrow will be easy and relaxing. Our hotel I booked has a swimming pool and bar on the roof over looking the beach on one side and old town on the other. Could be worse.

Great roads for motorcycling. In general the roads are much better in Europe than in the US. To bad we don't take care of our infrastructure.. My parents generation worked hard and paid higher taxes than we do to build our country up including the highway system.... would be nice if we took care of it..

Some of these very remote villages in the mountains are amazing. How do they get there? How did they build them? What do they do there to make a leaving.?

Hours and hours of riding down roads like this.. :) Fun but hard work too.

"Mr. Happy"

A monument to the engineer that built this road.

Downtown for diner.

Very French.. ;)

Exactly what kind of "Snack" are they selling???

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