Date: 14-16th July 2018
Travelled: 272 kilometres from Dole to Col de la Croix Fry, France
Visited: Manigold and Col de la Croix Fry.
Stayed: Across the road from the kind lady who let us stay here for 3 nights, free.
We have had a restful evening, parked in the leisure centre aire on the outskirts of Dole. But we are up early as we have a long drive today. 7am seems like a respectable time to take the Hymer over to the service point and do the business. With everything in good order we take the D475 south to avoid the tollway.
The road is empty and we make good time other than slowing for the villages and the 50 kph limits. Other than a long days drive we need to find LPG or GPL as the french call it, diesel and a supermarket. We spot a Total service station just short of Bourg-en-Bresse and fill with €32 of GPL. The price of diesel and gas is significantly more expensive than last year. Have heard people muttering that Macron has imposed an additional 20p per litre tax on all fuels. Mind you we have not filled with LPG/GPL since the Orkneys more than three weeks ago.
At Bourg-en-Bresse we make the painful decision to take the A40 tollway. Acording to our GPS its saves 40 minutes of grinding the Hymer up steep hills and descent. So for the next 90 minutes we drive the A40, it’s magnificient.
There is no Australian equivalent of the A40. A series of elevated dual carriageways cut around the mountains or tunnel through them. The Hymer enjoys being able to carry 4-5th gear all the way at around 90-100 kph.
We exit the tollway and travel the last 40 kilometres on the D1508. Our A40 experience costing us €13.60, probably euros well spent.
Our drive through Annecy is anything but pleasant, taking us 30 minutes to pass the centre-ville. Being France’s Bastille Day the equivalent to our Australia day, there is no point getting excited. We hit the Lidl supermarket before continuing along the shores of Lac d’Annecy.
Our original plan was to spend the night around Annecy, but the aires are all full. In fact it’s a sardine job and none of them are what you would call inviting. So we continue around the lake and stop for lunch and a re-think.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Lac d’Annecy is beautiful, its waters are glacial blue and the surrounding mountains magic. They are not bugs on the windscreen there are some 30-40 parasailing up there enjoying the thermals. But it’s wall to wall motorhomes and we suspect there here for the tour.
We have plotted stage 10 of the tour on our french road atlas. So from Lac d’Annecy, we decide to drive the route, until we find a spot for tonight.
It’s a relatively easy drive to Thones, however once we turn only the D16 the climb to Col de la Croix Fry commences.
Manigod is a small but very pretty village. Traditionally alpine.
From Manigod the climb gets steeper. The traditional stone and timber houses are magnificient.
We spot a nice grassy corner 2 klm above Manigod at the 5 klm marker. We go over the road and chat with the lady who owns the property and she says we are welcome to stay.
As you can see the views are spectacular. In this photo, a guy from the local council shows up to put up a fence effectively to stop parking on the corner. Apparently we are OK but the old German fellow next to us must move back a couple of metres. Just a minor parking issue. They compromise and everyone is happy.
Another view of the alps.
Next morning I get the scooter out to see if there are any better spots further up the mountain. There are a couple of spots on the edge of the road that drop off the cliff and I know Pam wouldn’t like that. Or here packed in like sardines at the top of Col de la Croix Fry. Mind you there is not much of a view here either.
So we settle into ‘waiting for Le Tour’. Our French, German, Belgium and Italian neighbours are all very friendly, (don’t mention the war or immigration and your sweet). Pam finds a nice walk around the valley and keeps herself busy doing that twice a day, once a day is enough for this black duck.
We watch the World Cup Final on our neighbour’s TV. Didn’t know you could buy a TV that small.
The scooter has worked out well. Riding down to the Manigod for a baguette, taking toilet cassette down for servicing and general mucking about. When I return with the empty toilet cassette I am given legend status by the campercar wives in our little community.
On one of my scooter adventures I spot an Aussie flag on a motorhome and meet a couple from nearby Bangor and stop to have a chat. Anyway our little group expands every now and then by another motorhome as someone manages to cram in.
We just throw something else on the BBQ every night, our EU neighbours appear to be surviving on broiled cabbage or perhaps a kranski or two.
Anyway Ritchie Porte is out, so we decide we will cheer on anyone who says ‘gooday mate’ as they pedal past….