Le Grand Tour: Day 42 – Montélimar To Tain L’Hermitage (96km)

CURRENT LOCATION: Camping Municipal Les Lucs, Tain L’Hermitage

Ten bridges today. Ten. That means that I went from Drôme (to the east of the Rhône) to the Ardèche (to the west of the Rhône) five times in each direction. In the new reality of Brexit, that probably invalidates my stay in the Schengen zone. There were plenty of other bridges that I didn’t cross. If you have a thing for bridges, come to the Rhône Valley! 

Not sure I’ve got the energy tonight to write much more. It was another 90km + day and although this only pushes my average into the very low 80’s, it does mean that I am increasingly tired at the end of the day. It’s not yet 9pm but I’m in the tent already and looking forward to the Archive Hour on Radio 4. Live fast… 

I left last night’s crummy campsite at just past 7am. The reward was those early morning views you can see in the video. The moon was still full on one side of the sky with the sun on the opposite side trying its best to white wash out the night but for a couple of hours it was failing and dawn was just beautiful. 

The first bridge of the day – the first in the video – was perhaps the best. Bombed by the Allies, blown up by the resistance, burnt down by yobs in the 80’s… it is still doing its job and in great style. It’s the bridge that puts suspense back in suspension. Had I been Indiana Jones, an ethnic minority that, 30 years later, would sit uncomfortably in the history of politically correct cinema would have been hacking at the steel in an attempt to toss me off into the Rhône. (There’s probably scope for a Carry On film as well come to think of it…)

The rest of the bridges were fun but never quite lived up to the glory of the first. Ain’t that always the case? (Try reading my books…) Some good drone action is displayed in the film. “How did you ever manage to control the drone whilst cycling across the bridge at the same time?” That’s the magic of cinema… 

Aside from bridges, there was a nuclear power station, lots more high quality Voie Verte, Canadair planes refilling their bellies, hydroelectric dams, Valence, chats with locals, pumping up of tyres… Is there no end to the excitement?

Yes. Tomorrow storms are forecast. I made sure the tent was securely erected and guy ropes tensioned. Everything is inside the tent. I’m hoping to goodness it does rain. I’m beginning to adopt the odour of a homeless person and I do feel that a good old downpour will help alleviate the situation. Aside from that, France needs rain. 

So tomorrow I’m going to take my 7th train in the the morning to Lyon. At which point I’ll set off cycling east towards the Alps. (Subject to the downpours…)


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