Beta Alp 4.0

A collection of information as it arises. There's not a lot out there!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Day 2 Arras to St Dizier

Today is best described as wet! On departure it was mild and damp so mistakenly I didn't wear my heated waistcoat but by the time I wanted it my outer clothes were wet and it was so cold I didn't want to bother putting it on. I'd a little dirt detour planned for 20km or so into the trip. The first took me to Two Tree cemetery from the summer of 1914.

This is a small memorial in the middle of farm land. It's size of around 30 graves made it more poignant to me than the large cemeteries. The large ones reflect the industrial war that was being waged. Hundreds died, too many to read them all. At Two Tree all the stones could be read and the site is clearly 'some corner of a foreign field'. After returning to the village I took a track to the next village, a simple farm track, just a little wet but no mud to speak of.

Then it started to rain properly so onto my route to St Dizier. The route passed through some picturesque areas and villages. Really I didn't feel inclined to stop but needs must. Frites and coffee at a layby isn't much of a break but at least they had a cover from the rain for a few minutes.

The forest around St Gobain was lovely shrouded in mist. but wet too! Worth a return visit I think. Petrol was advertised at a supermarket on one route or another but none of them were mine. There was time anyway. Numerous towns came and went, even some with derelict petrol pumps but eventually the reserve light was on all the time. I was going very gently by the time I reached Epernay, convinced that I'd need my emergency 900ml any minutes. Nonetheless I did get there at 230km with a 8.5l fill-up. Theoretically the tank holds 10.5l so perhaps I had 50km in reserve. this will become a common theme! Incidentally, my odometer appears to read low compared to the signed distances.

Worse still, I was getting wet. I had the traditional wet crotch and both knees were damp. The right knee could be explained by yesterday's little spill; duct tape isn't a great wet weather repair; but it can't explain the others. So last year's MSR pants aren't very waterproof now. As they are just over a year old and damaged I doubt that it's worth pursuing any claim on a guarantee. That doesn't make them very good value (actually as the trip continued I only got slightly damp so perhaps they aren't so bad after all!).

I'd forgotten to leave the directions to the hotel accessible but I did recall that it was on the Bar-le-Duc road. Also it was signed from my approach to St Dizier so no problem. This was only a 7hour day.

This was my first stay in a Formule 1 and recommend it. €32 is twice the price of a FUAJ hostel but at least I've got my own room and the showers are clean. The worst thing is that they are all on out of town developments. The adjacent Courtpuille grill did a good casoulet followed by mango and coulis so I was spared a walk into town along the busy road.

During today's journey as I sped along a 100kph dual carriage way I recalled how much vibration I suffered whilst the front rim lock was in place. Unless you're going to be dropping the pressure in the front to trials levels it really is best removed. I'm not sure I'll refit it for the
MCC trials as the front doesn't get that much torque.

Then it was time for bed, it was raining ever so hard and lightening. I'm glad not to be camping.



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