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Cahors and Massif Central

It is now time to leave the Pyrenees with a taste of the unfinished while our forced stop in Valence greatly reduced our stay in Spain…
1. Leaving Montgarri in a sunny morning.

2. Pla de Beret.

3. …

4. After a night in a forest of the Gers, we stop in Cahors to discover its famous Pont Valentré.

5. Quite impressive and well maintained.

6. Neighborhood on the edge of the Lot, the river which surrounds the old town by one of its meanders.

After dropping off Emile in Corrèze, on the way back, I go to sleep in the Monts du Sancy, in the Massif Central.
7. Arrival at the end of the day, when the North wind blows in gusts.

8. The mood is wonderful.

9. Sunset sky.

10. …

11. I find a corner between two hills to spend a windy night.

The next day, I will go iscover some beautiful spots in the massif. I will tell you that in a last update dedicated to these summer holidays.
Thank you for your loyalty to follow this little blog. 😀

Pyrenees, continuation and end

After crossing the Principality of Andorra where we took advantage of filling up VivaLaVida at an unbeatable price thanks to the special customs status, we take the road toward West again.
1. We find the unpaved trail at Coll de Cabus again.

2. Our neighbors as we have a little lunch.

3. Descent towards Tor.

4. The track is quite rough in places.

5. Arrival at the small village of Tor nestled at the bottom of a deep valley.

6. Church of the Holy Father of Tor.

7. The village is partially abandoned. Only a few weekend homes and a stopover are still inhabited in summer..

8. We find a beautiful place by the river to spend the night.

9. After a rain shower at the end of the day, the fire is welcome.

10. Diner in nature…

11. Waking up with the sun!

12. Upper Val d’Aran from the descent of Bonaigua pass.

13. We go discover Montgarri, a formerly remote site, built with a sanctuary and a refuge. We find a great spot to boondock next to the river, less than 3 miles away from Montgarri.

14. Emile enjoys it!

15. Hiking to the sanctuary…

16. … here it is.

17. L’intérieur est simple et plutôt bien conservé.

18. La porte qui mène aux escaliers du clocher.

19. Fin d’après-midi à jouer…

20. …

21. Quel bel endroit ! La rivière nous bercera durant la nuit.

Après cette dernière nuit pyrénéenne, nous prendrons la direction de la Corrèze où Emile continuera ses vacances chez ses cousines, avec un arrêt a Cahors sur la route. A découvrir tout bientôt.

Pyrenees (2)

1. Wake up at the Pedró dels Quatre Batlles. It is cool but the view is gorgeous.

2. …

3. We take a spectacular trail to go down from the plateau.

4. View toward South.

5. Escarpment.

6. Flower in the limestone rockery.

7. Further, a narrow passage in which i had to fold mirrors. We crossed it in both directions, the trail having been washed out 1.5 mile further.

We found several trails closed by recently installed barriers, undoubtedly the price of the hordes of 4×4 which crisscross them more and more.
8. Nice boondocking spot.

9. Emile is always ready to play with his small cars…

10. Smal village in the mountain.

While we were stopped by a barrier at the entrance of a trail which should have lead us to discover a pretty mountain lake, Emile said “We just have to walk there”. I explain to him that the lake was at a 7 miles walk with more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain but he insisted. So I parked VivaLaVida and here we were for a day of walking. My little guy had bravely swallow the more than 14 miles round trip! A real mointain goat!
11. The lake we hiked.

12. Picnic in the shelter of a rock while the wind blows in gusts.

13. Before the way back.

Other discoveries in a few days…

Forced stop and start of the Pyrenees mountains

Today, we continue the road towards the Pyrenees.
After about fourty miles, I take VivaLaVida on the A6 motorway north of Orange. I take its cruising speed – about 65 mph – and I don’t have done 3 miles that a thudding noise intensifies quickly. No doubt, something is wrong with the chassis. I slow down immediately and pull over to the emergency lane. We are less than one mile away from a rest area and I slowly let VLV flow until there at 25 mph. As I go out to try to identify the source of the problem, amazement: 4 of the 8 studs on the left rear wheel are broken, the nuts having obviously disappeared! I take out the 21 socket and see that the 4 remaining nuts are really loose. As I tighten them, a fifth stud breaks. We really almost lost a wheel and I dare not imagine what the consequences could have been, as much for VLV as for other motorway users with an crazy wheel of three feet in diameter and approx. 100 pounds launched at 65 mph..!
This wheel tightened again, we drag ourselves to the next motorway exit 3 miles further. We go to a truck workshop and order a set of 32 studs and 32 nuts from the United States since they are specific to VLV’s 4wd conversion. Chris will send them to us the next morning by Express mail and they will finally arrive on Friday at 4 pm. In the meantime, we reach the “Manon” campgroung in Orang, where we will spend these 5 days of waiting. The swimming pool and the nearby town will somewhat entertain the crew stopped in its trip..!
1. Dinner in the campground…

2. Small compensation. 😉

3. The famous Orange roman theater and its stands.

4. We enjoy the swimming pool.

5. Distractions…

Once VivaLaVida has been repaired, we resume the trip to the Spanish Pyrenees. We get there at the end of the day on a Saturdayand it rains heavily. We stop at the trail that we will drive the next day when it is already almost dark.
6. Colored sunrise while Emile is still sleeping.

7. The trail which oscillates at about 6000 feet above sea level is gorgeous.

8. This is the opportunity to test the Isofix adapter that I made to install Emile’s seat in the front. He is in heaven! 😀

9. View of the plain, far South.

10. VLV is happy to be back on the trail.

11. We discover pretty villages…

12. …and a varied geology.

13. Another of these Pyrenean villages.

14. We reach a high plateau, the Pedró dels Quatre Batlles, after a climb where the 4×4 transmission have been very useful!

15. It blows a very strong wind. Is this why the vegetation takes the form of barkanes ?

16. The mood is beautiful as the sun goes down.

17. Last rays before sunset. The wind will shake us a good part of the night and it will only be 38 F in the morning.

See you soon for the rest.