Home, via Valence

A belated “I’m home” post – the day of travel was long, but with large enough margins to allow for travel disruption. In the end, the only real disruption was a puncture to repair at 1am once I got back to Exeter, everything else having run smoothly.

For a change, no photos of Valence TGV station, as I decided to do the Valence Ville to Lyon line to meet the TGV, and in fact jumped on the train to Lyon an hour earlier, so had a chance in Lyon to walk down to the Rhône between trains – rather more enjoyable than waiting in the rabbit warren that is Lyon Part Dieu station.

My next trip to Die will be at Easter, when I’m hoping to see some strong Spring growth, both in my garden, and in the forest which suffered from the summer fire.

Départ demain…

Today is my last full day, and with the weather being dull and my body feeling its age, today is a day of rest before the journey back to Devon tomorrow. I popped down to Die to get a few provisions for tomorrow (and something to eat for lunch today), but with even U Express being closed (I’m guessing because New Year’s Day was on a Sunday), I made to with a quick visit to what was Banette, and the pleasure of the short ride.

Tomorrow’s weather looks grey and damp, so I suspect that photography will take a back seat – I’m not even going via Valence TGV this time (rather Valence Ville to Lyon to catch the TGV from there), so the camera might well stay in its case!

First ride of 2023

I’ve not been up to Vercors many times around the New Year, and I’ve certainly never been up there when there’s only been snow on the highest peaks on the eastern flank – such has been the mild nature of this year that that is ineed what I did today, for the standard Col de Rousset – Saint Agnan – Vassieux 55-mile loop. The downside of the stonking tailwind up to la Chapelle was a stonking headwind back to Vassieux, but with the promised gentle sunshine, it was a nice way to start the year, and (probably) the last ride of this stay: tomorrow’s forecast looks like one for taking it easy at home, in preparation for the journey back to Devon on Tuesday.

Last ride of 2022

Mild weather and gentle sunshine provided a very nice prompt to get in 50 miles on the last day on 2022 – a standard ride to Crest, doing the loop north of the Drôme on the way out, and the south on the way back.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Wet day

All I managed today was to keep the woodburer nice and warm, and a little crepuscular stroll down the Meyrosse for some post-rain shots… but at least I managed to find a couple of places I’ll be going back to when there’s some sun around and plenty of water in the river. The bonus was finding a bit of an imprint of a fossil in the river bed, given that they are not immediately evident in many places around Romeyer.

Bonus sun

I’d resigned myself to a grey day today and fiddling around the house for most of it, but when there was a patch of blue which gotr bigger and bigger before the forecast evening cloud and rain, it was too good an opportunity to miss, given tomorrow’s forecast is worse! A quick Quint Valley loop before an Intermarché visit fitted the bill nicely.

Market & walk

Some of the forecast models were right today: the ones predicting unbroken sunshine all day weren’t! But they were right about the chilliness first thing, so a cautious ride down to market was followed by an early lunch. With the chill, it didn’t look nice enough for a ride while avoiding shady unsalted roads, so I opted for a walk. Initially it was just going to be via the Col de la Tour to the Col de Romeyer and back via les Planeaux, but once there, I guessed that it was going to perk up, so I did the sharp climb up to the crête leading north to the Col de la Pouterle. My optimism was well rewarded with stunning views and ever-increasing sun, until it disappeared behind the mountains as I descended to the valley floor.

Mist & sun

A bit of a change in the weather: it’s turned colder and, for the moment, brighter. And, thankfully less humid: the roads have dried out somewhat, and my laundry has at last almost dried on the third day of being outside. That’s a win!

Anyway, slightly persistent mist in the first part of the morning gave the opportunity for a few atmospheric shots of home, and then after two walking days, I needed to get out for a ride, this time just to Col de Menée – I’d hoped to see a sparkling Mont d’Aiguille, but, rather surprisingly, the Isère side of the col was decidedly cloudy, so my plan was thwarted. Not that it troubled me, as the ride was most splendid, if chilly (especially on the descent), which made the return to my cosy kitchen all the more pleasurable.

Boxing Day: Bec Pointu walk

I had a lovely day yesterday catching up with ex-pupil Alex and family, firstly with a walk (my first one there) to Bec Pointu, which overlooks the Quint Valley, and afterwards with a Boxing Day meal at their house. It’s certainly a breath-taking walk in more ways than one: 900m of ascent from the valley, the path is quite steep in may places, but it’s well worth the effort – as you climb higher and higher towards the distinctive 1340m summit, more and more of the Drôme reveals itself, until you get the 360° view at the summit.

Christmas Day

With a lovely forecast for today, I hatched a cunning plan to have hot Christmas Day lunch on the Balcon du Glandasse: requisitions were bought earlier in the week, including a mini insulated food bag. The oven went on at breakfast time, and in went the chicken legs, sausages and bread, while a potato went into the microwave, and onion and sage (homegrown sage, of course!) stuffing went into the frying pan. When all was cooked and up to top temperature, they all got wrapped in foil, then together in a cloth, which then went into the insulated bag. I had no idea if it would keep properly hot for two hours.

To cut a long story short, yes, it did, and it was delicious, while I sat on the Balcon, looking out over my domain! And a lovely walk was had too, warm enough for T-short (mostly) and shorts, and not one soul did I meet – just a few wildlife sightings along the way, and a few fungi. Not a bad way to spend a day.