Heading south (until the icicles melt)

Monday 25th February 2013

Back in the 80’s as we sat on the quayside on the tiny island of La Gomera in the Canaries about to set sail across the Atlantic Dave and I got talking to another yachtie. He was an old salty sea-dog type and, amongst other things, we discussed provisioning, expected passage timings and ‘routes’. To this day I remember him saying that he would head south until the butter melted….. (then presumably he intended heading west!)

Well today we came as far south as it took for the remaining icicles on the front of the van to melt! It’s been a long cold 3 months in Les Carroz and the van has had tons of snow fall on it’s roof (which Dave has had to brush off on a regular basis) and icicles formed on any overhanging piece of bodywork. Leaving yesterday we headed south for Chambrey but found ourselves heading into yet more snow showers. By about 3.30pm the roads were becoming quite tricky so we parked up in St Laurent du Pont. Overnight the temperature dropped to minus 7 but by the morning the roads had been cleared and we continued on our route.

Avoiding the toll roads has saved us quite a bit of money but local French roads signs are very small and you don’t get much advance warning on junctions. Our Sat Nav is also very old and there are a lot of new roads ‘she’ doesn’t know about. We have ‘her’ on mute so god knows what she is saying as we drive off across what ‘she’ probably thinks are fields . We have made a few wrong turns but generally manage to get back on track – even if it takes us a bit longer we are loving the French countryside, villages and towns, you miss so much on the motorways.

Our route today took us along the Isere river valley and then along the mighty Rhone and through miles of vineyard country. With beautiful blue skies and a warm sun at about 3pm the final icicles fell down off the bodywork above the cab area!! Time for celebration!

Tourist barge on the Rhone at Tournon (vines on the hillside)
We didn’t find an Aire in Pont St Espirit but parked up on the road alongside the Rhone. As darkness fell a beautiful golden full moon rose above the river.

Pont St Esprit (Rhone)

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