11 June 2014

From Calais to somewhere south of Dijon we stopped the night at a roadside B&B transport café, nothing special but adequate for the purpose. 7am start next morning with breakfast toast and coffee. We set off heading by a tortuous motorway route to Annecy via Frangy. The section heading east and just north of Nantua was amazing if elevated cliff-hanging roads are your passion.
Annecy came as a welcome pause in the journey and we spent a couple of hours wandering the old city charm of its narrow streets beside the canal with its many little bridges and 17th century tiny shops. The canal opens onto a lake plied by pleasure craft and hire boats.
The road south took us beside the lake to Faverges,  Ugine and then Beaufort where road works blocked our route and forced a detour up winding hairpin back lanes. Three attempts to find the correct route delayed us by about an hour but rewards came with the ascent to the Cormet de Roseland and the steep descent down the other side where herds of cattle were being milked, their hundreds of tinkling bells and clanging gongs filled the air. On the way down we spotted a camp site at the Ville de Glaciers, about ten mile south west of Mont Blank and free, spartan and frequented by climbers and walkers. The evening was alive with the nattering of unfamiliar languages, long into the night and the flickering of camp firelight.
Decamped from the Ville des Glaciers and the Vallee des Chapieux our journey south leads up to Bourg St Maurice through Val-d’Isere and the Col de L’Iseran where we noted motorbikes far outnumbered all other vehicles for photo calls at this spectacle. The route is a right-of-passage for the motorcyclist and a few wear camera head-gear to record their trip for later posting onto YouTube. Whilst exhibiting skilful riding the one that caused me to give a toot of disapproval had chosen to overtake me on the approach to a tight uphill hairpin bend forcing me to slow. With pillion his line through that bend took a dog leg hard braking line across my path. As a biker myself I know his pillion would think twice before repeating that ride.  On the snow slopes opposite we could see tiny figures hurtling down steep ski slopes. Down the far side towards Boneval-sur-Arc we stop for picture postcard views of the prettiest village around and enjoyed Vanilla Crepes and Earl Grey Tea. Further on we came to a deep gorge run through by the A43. This elevated ribbon of motorway raised on slim concrete piers snakes above a fast flowing river of turquoise blue tumbling melt-water. Following this route we head west for several miles until the junction with the D902 to Valloire and a second night under canvas. There can be very few finer roads than these to enjoy the Morgan 4/4 with its nimble handling. Previous to this tour I used 95 octane fuel but have now tried 98 octane and recognize an improvement from the Ford motor - smoother tick over and slightly more power so shall continue to use it.

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