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Trip Notes by David Mc ---
I left home at about and met with Paul C
then John V before the run down the A12 to the
Up early for the long run down to the Massif
We arrived at La Bourboule and were surprised to find snow still on the ground. The roads were clear and dry but it was not what could be called warm! We eventually managed to find our hotel (Hôtel de l'Aviation) and put the bikes securely into the garage. A visit down into the town found a bar where we enjoyed a couple of beers and a meal.
After the normal where shall we go discussion over breakfast we eventually left for a run over to Oradour-sur-Glane. The run over was enjoyable with good (though, not great) roads. The village and museum were extremely interesting and well worth a visit. Lunch was had en-route at a very nice kebab shop (local cuisine!!!!) and other than the SatNav insisting on taking us around a local housing estate twice, we had a great time.
The evening was spent at another bar in town, (with a couple of the party buying fleeces from the local gift shop it was still very cold) with more beer and a good meal. What was obvious was that La Bourboule was a two season holiday town. We were too late for the winter season but too early for the summer season. While this explained our wide selection of available hotels for the trip it did mean that we had now already visited about half of the open bars/restaurants in the town!
Again the breakfast discussion was the normal where shall we go today with us opting for the Millau bridge. We made the decision to avoid the motorways on the way down and found some wonderful little mountain roads. (I couldnt say where they were as I was just following Paul C with the SatNav and enjoying the ride.)
After a very nice lunch, we arrived at the bridge and were impressed with the scale of it. We chose not to drive over it as the toll to simply go across then back again was expensive, so we headed back up the motorway towards Clermont Ferrand. The motorway has some great long fast sweeping bends and these eventually got to John V, enticing him into an extremely fast run. Just as John disappeared into the middle distance Cliff C pulled onto the hard shoulder with his temperature gauge reading absolute maximum. After a bit of tyre kicking and teeth sucking it was agreed that, given that the engine was not boiling over and the high temperature warning light was not on, it must be the thermostat that had gone rather than the engine actually overheating. We agreed to proceed slowly back up the motorway and watch closely for any signs of steam.
We managed to re-find John V and Cliff C gradually became more and more confident that the bike was fine despite what the temperature gauge was saying.
The final open bar/restaurant in the town was found for the evening drinks/meal before returning to the hotel.
The breakfast discussion was more about the trip back the next day rather than the agenda for the day. There was definitely some concern over the amount of distance to be covered and the amount of time available. It was eventually agreed to keep todays runs local so as to allow a bit of a rest before the run back. We took some of the local roads and went up and watched some of the down hill skiing that was happening about 5 miles from our hotel. We then had a bit of a run along some superb roads to another hill where we watched some parascenders. Lunch was followed by a blast around some more very nice roads with Cliff C achieving his ambition of scraping his foot pegs The drinks were on him that evening! (If he maintains the same level of technique improvement hell probably manage to keep up by the 2009 trip! LOL)
For the evening meal we returned to the
bar/restaurant from the second night as it was voted the best of the options available. We
got into a conversation with the owner (not bad as he spoke no English and we spoke little
French) but discovered he had just bought a Ducati 999 from the
Early start for the run back. Having arranged for the hotel garage key to be left to allow us to get into the garage, Paul H and Cliff C manage to break the key off in the garage door! Luckily, this was after the door had been unlocked so we could get to the bikes.
Starting early meant that the motorways were pretty clear so the first 150 or so miles was done at an overall average of 90mph. Not bad given that 100mph was about the top speed we were all sticking to.
The weather warmed as we cam north and even the trip around the Peripherique was pretty good. Again there were a number of speed cameras and even a Gendarme with a laser on the way back but no one took any real notice of us. We got to the chunnel about 2 hours ahead of time and managed to get transferred to an earlier train. We had managed to average just over 80 miles per hour on a journey of 465 miles. This included fuel/food stops and was with a self imposed cruising speed of around 100mph. Not bad!
The earlier train was a really good move as it
allowed us to wave good-bye to Paul H and Cliff C as we hit the M25 just ahead of rush
hour. John V carried on up the A12 at Marks Tey and Paul C went off at