Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sadie's September adventures

The next episode of 'Travels with Sadie' began a week ago. The Isère area of the Alps has been our base since last Sunday where we have done some great mountain biking and running. Rather than bore you with the details, here is a photo summary of the trip so far.

Our first base, just outside Mens;
View of Mens in the valley below, on our 10km run out
On the mountain bikes for a 20km ride around Mens with stunning views above Saint-Baudille et-Pipet
Then, North towards la Mure and la Motte d'Aveillans, where we parked up at the tiny little Seignaraux ski de fond centre
for a walk/run up le Sénépy 1769m from where we had great views of the high mountains to the south and east

Then we headed down to Pierre Chateal and the Lac de Pierre Chatel, one of the three 'Lacs de Laffrey', from where we had a fantastic but hilly and technical 31km/1100m+ mountain bike on some of the stunning tracks, trails and paths of the area, again with great views of the lakes and surrounding hills

From there, up to the deserted and abandoned Saint-Honoré 1500 ski resort for an 'assault' on 'Tabor', the highest peak of the area at 2389m (total outing 13km/1100m+) from where we soaked in the panoramic views. 

The descent was along a ridgeline- we also bagged the pic at the end
Looking back at Tabor from the final Pic, le Piquet de Nantes
Back down to the ski station - can you spot Sadie?
We then headed up to Alpe d'Huez which is a bizarre ghost town at this time of year. The weather has turned and we are contemplating our next course of action. Watch that space.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Well, we've been back at the old house above Massat for a week now. It's been a busy week, unpacking, sorting out, putting away, cleaning.... it is nice to be back in our own house again, although the reasons why we left it 10 months ago haven't changed.

Although we had good weather for the move last Wednesday, things deteriorated dramatically over the weekend when the heavens opened and a tremendous volume of rain fell. I gather there was flooding down on the plain with rivers bursting their banks, but up here we were fine. I didn't let the wet weather stop me from getting out and took the pooch up to the Peguere track on Sunday and had a wet blast around the 6km/200m+ circuit which I hadn't done for over a year. I flew around it, and easily ran sections that I remembered finding hard work in the past. A good feeling!

I had agreed to meet up with Pat for a mountain bike outing on Monday seeing as I was down in Varilhes for a dental appointment anyway. What a mudfest that turned out to be! It was a hoot, as we slipped and slid our way along deeply rutted, waterfilled tracks and skidded on wet rocks and stones. The 30km circuit proved to be a good workout and we rewarded ourselves with the obligatory coffee and cake afterwards.

Fortunately, the weather eventually cleared up and I carried on with the weather protection of the rear wooden terrasse which needs doing before winter comes. I hope to have that finished before we head off on more 'Travels in Sadie' at the end of the week. Watch this space for our progress!

Whilst we are on the subject of Sadie, I don't think I have yet shown you the finished interior? Here she is, complete with push-button catches on the cupboard and overhead locker doors and gas-lift stays fitted on the lift-up doors. The audio-visual equipment is now fully wired up and she's ready to go!

Today, we spent the afternoon up near Toulouse, where we hoped the inspector from Qualigaz would sign off the gas equipment installation and the van's ventilation and gives us the all important certificate. I am pleased to report that he did just that, so we are now one step closer to getting her officially recognised as a 'campervan'. We still have a rather onerous hoop to jump through with one other 'official' French institution which goes by the acronym DREAL before her new status is properly acknowledged, but hopefully we can get that out of the way when we get back here in October. Cross your fingers and toes for us!