Another day and some more trip highlights. Firstly the retreat over the Pyrenees. Beautiful scenery, sinuous roads tracing the routes of tumbling mountain streams, why would anyone skirt round all this just to shave a few hours off their race to and from their happy holiday destinations.
I love trundling up and down mountain roads. Always have. This time the Aragnouet / Beilsa tunnel was all uphill. Here is the scene at the top, just onto French turf. What a comparison with the same spot a month ago. And how much more traffic there was.
The Pyrenees in May, fresh and enticing
The same spot as above, but the month before;
Anyway there's no doubt I'm back into France. If it feels like halfway home, then that's because it is, geographically and in terms of some other features, like oh, hedgerows, grass verges, domestic gardens and the like, just silly things that you realise you haven't seen in a while!
I have fond memories of a blast along the fast straightish flat roads leading north from Lannemazan to Auch, mile after mile of very light traffic, and high speeds crouched down and hearing the engine clatter and hum like an angry sowing machine pulling on a thread leading inexorably north.
Sometime around noon I called up Harry. I'd read about his bikers hotel. I heard nothing but good remarks, but not classing myself as a 'biker', rather as just someone who rides a bike along with doing a whole lot of other stuff that defines my life better, I'm not always at home with the more narrow minded sterotypes that apply.
Anyway I decided that I'd give the full on bikers hotel a try and if it was all bandanas and macho posing then I'd only have to endure it for a night. When I called him Harry sounded remarkably normal, soft spoken and reasonable so I made the booking, warned him I was quite well south and wouldn't be arriving until possibly quite late. He was fine with all this and promised to save me a steak for the evening meal.
Thus the rest of the day was set, into the usual format of an ambitiously distant target for the day. Traffic was light and stopping just for fuel, toilet, and the odd swig of water I made Harry's (between Limoges and Poitiers) by nineish in the evening.
Harry's turns out to be a laid back melting pot that is what you make of it. Harry's bikers hotel is based at a secluded country hotel and ex-stables that includes camping facilites and Harry himself is as laid back as they come but with the nouse and social skills to make the best of any mix of clients.
I had a lovely steak served al fresco and dined in the darkening but warm evening air with a selection of guests of varied ages and temperaments, all able to share common grounds that start with a love of bikes and touring and ends who knows where..
Harry's Hotel by morning light;
Posted by Rob Hodder at May 20, 2009 09:09 PM GMT
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