Beta Alp 4.0

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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Day 5: Around Vouziers

I'd set myself a few tourist points to see and ideally reach by scenic routes. I didn't expect that the points of interest would be terribly exciting, and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't mange to find the first one, which was the site of a long range gun emplacement near Semide. Here's what should be visible:

I didn't have specific directions and there are a few minor roads heading out of the south of the village that could be the route. Perhaps Google maps does show it?

I then made my way to the Roland Garros memorial in Saint Morel. You can read about his life an death  online in may places. The memorial marks where his place crashed, there is an obelisk in Vouziers cemetery too.
I then had an interesting ride to the third point. I found a long forest drive that had height and width restrictions to stop anything bigger than a small van. There was also a 20km speed restriction. That's not a bas idea as the surface is loose gravel and don't forget that if you get too enthusiastic for your ability there's unlikely to be anyone come past for some time!
Onto the next ridge I was lucky to find a track ascending from the village into the forest with no restrictions; unlike the side turns that were closed. This was lovely and just what you would hope for.
I was very lucky with the weather and rode most of the tree-lined tracks in dappled sunshine.

I wasn't using any GPS navigation system (probably of little use where there is substantial tree cover), relying on a combination of maps, distance from odometer and taking compass bearings at key points. From these data I knew that I had deviated from the route shown on the map. Indeed I had taken several forks on the basis of which looked better used as some of the smaller ones didn't pass the 'car width' test. Anyway, when I estimated that I was less than half a kilometre from a metalled road my path was blocked by a fallen tree and the clear track becoming a boggy clearing between trees. Could I get past? Could I recall the route to retrace my steps? I walked a 100m or so and decided that I could go around the tree and the bog and that the path appeared to became more obvious. As luck would have it, the road was very close although I doubt that the track was really legal at that point, wherever it was!

... and so on to my third point, Le Viaduc d'Ari├Ętal, shown here as one of my first HDR images.
This was rather disappointing, especially as you're forbidden from going onto the bridge deck. There are viaducts of this quality at many spots in the North of England. 

After this I headed back to Vouziers, stopping en route for frites.


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