Leaving Millau we fuel up on N roads to Le Puy-en-Velay. Unable to control himself, Steve hits light-speed again and that’s the last we see of him.
We get a text to say he’s on route to Le Puy and will meet us there. Wicked rain arrives, we’ve got as much grip as a wet fish in olive oil. All I can see are my crappy fabric panniers with no covers getting drenched from a cafe. But with so many miles to go we must press-on. Mark’s Nav takes us on some very odd roads through the hills but as the rain fairs up these turn out to be the best roads yet on Motoeuro. We wind our way through the hills and past viaducts, vineyards, rivers and the most spectacular scenery, we’re dry now and the sun is out, you couldn’t wipe the smile of our faces if you tried.
Steve is in Le Puy-en-Velay at an Ibis hotel, we end up at an Etap. Luckily, they are only 500 yards apart. However, an hour later, no Steve. We get a text to say he’s riding back home to the UK – pressures of life are getting to him. We’re all disappointed for Steve.
We have more than our fair share of beer tonight and wake to a delicious French breakfast – dry, cold toast and dehydrated bread that makes your teeth ache. Yum.
We’re ride towards Lyon and then Dijon. We must put in about 200+ miles today if we’ve a chance of getting back in time. Somewhere near 260 miles we pull in at Parcey (just shy of Dijon on the A39). Parcey is situated in the Jura (Franche-Comte region) in the east of France at 39 km from Lons-le-Saunier, the department capital.
We stop at the Parcey Hotel, right by the river – perfik! The owner invites us to put our bikes in his garage overnight. We hit the Leffe Beer, grab a seat outside in the sun and in no time the team are talking bollox and laughing at anything.
Cooking is a national hobby in France, if you get the option stay in a private hotel, pension or Logis, the food is always excellent. Our hosts are just a regular couple who own a small hotel – our food was superb and after wine, we’re goosed by 11pm.
We aim for Luxembourg today as it would be a crime to miss out on cheap fuel. We head for the motorways and take the toll costs on the chin. 70+ miles and we’re only a few miles from the border and the rain came – angry rain. Roads were flooding as we ride.
Refuelled and re-coffeed we press on knackered as the concentration needed to survive this mad place is intense. A local points us in the direction of a cheap hotel, but within two turns we’d lost it, the rain and wet roads aren’t helping – we need rest and beer.
Sat Nav to the rescue as Mark finds a fantastic old hunting lodge on the edge of a forest, two rooms please and we’ll take our apéritifs in the wine cellar. Pewter jugs of cold beer were served and after Marky had deciphered the menu, we took the time to reflect on a mad, mad day of riding. Sun, rain, thunder, lightning, humidity – we’ve had it all today. Checking my phone Steve made it back by 10am the same morning – 700+ miles in 16 hours, doesn’t sound like great fun but he’s safe.
Our evening meal was the best so far and believe me we’re had some fantastic food. We have found heaven and it’s called Hotel Barriere in Belgium of all Places. Motoeuro? More like MotoGastro this year 🙂
It’s really misty the next day as we ride through the forest, pick up the motorway to Brugge. We’ve got an hour to find emergency gifts then off to the ferry. Herded on first before the cars, we secure our bikes. Last evening on the beer so let’s make the most of it. Geordie and Mark can’t resist the 3 foot long Toblerone bars in the gift shop then it’s time for enthusiastic clapping and cheering at the live band. More beer, Brandy? Go on then. Another pint anyone?….. Oh lordy.
150 miles back to Tyneside, time to go our separate ways. It’s been a blast, happy days! MotoGasto – Anyone got a Rennie?
Five riders were always tricky to manage, easy to get split-up and with different habits, some would stop for snacks or cigarettes while others wanted to march on.
Okay, we should have all had the route with pre-planned meet up points or even accom booked in advance – But we literally fell off the ferry and made it up!
The Millau Viaduct is incredible, now with extra viewing areas and facilities I would encourage anyone to visit. With traffic bypassing the large town of Millau, accom and restaurants are cheap with much availability.
As ever, five mates away predictably hit the beer a little too much – But we achieved our goal and discovered good roads, great venues, had such a laugh and rode over the tallest bridge in the world. Not bad at all!