Day 9 Le Blaymard to Bagnols-Sur-Ceze

IMG_1185I woke to part cloudy skies but with a temperature of 2c it was pretty chilly but the luxury of the motor home means I can change clothes at stops as the temperature rises. From Le Bleymard I had a short climb and at the top of the Col des Tribes and a sign indicating I am midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean from which point I had a 25km descent all the way to Villefort, that is apart from a 4km stretch where the road was being widened, the rocks on one side cut back and the drop on the other side being graded, it was like a very bad stone track for the entire length and difficult to negotiate.

From Villefort it is a long climb out on the D901 and into Le Parc National Des Cevennes but at least once at top you get another 16km descent into Les Vans for a coffee stop and a first sight of Mt Ventoux in the distance.

IMG_1200Climbing again out of Le Vans on the D901 the scenery soon changes as the road twists and turns between large chunks of limestone rock, I am heading for Chandolas on the D208 and vineyards are prevalent either side of the road. The road now follows the Chassezac river to the town of Ruoms and thereafter the D579 towards VallonPont-d’Arc climbing towards the Gorges d l’Ardeche. The area is a holiday mecca with camp sites and canoeing centres seemingly everywhere but carry on further through limestone tunnels and a magnificent limestone arch that spans the river and gives its name to Pont D’Arc. After negotiating the traffic jam caused by the viewing point for the arch and a brief section of flat road I ascended the 2.5km 323m climb to build up an appetite and a rendezvous with Kaye at the top for lunch.

The gorge offers spectacular scenery and a good view of the river below, there are many grottos all competing in their own unique way for the tourists Euro. The descent from the gorge takes you to St Martin d’Ardeche and you are back down to river level and back to an urban environment.

IMG_1195The road through Aigueze was somewhat confusing and crossing the river was somewhat traumatic for Kaye as the access off of the bridge was between two walls 2.4m apart and the width of the motor home is 2.3m and with no width restriction shown at the point of entry stress levels were high.

Leaving Aigueze the urban theme continues and the traffic increases towards Pont-St-Esprit and after negotiating the town I crossed the N86 motorway and followed the D138 to St-Etienne-des-Sorts, the road was flat and quick and you are back to countryside and vineyards, this is Rhone country.

St-Etienne-des-Sorts was our rest stop for the night.

Camp Site: Camping La Coquille at Bagnols Sur Ceze €19.76 without electric for a very tired campsite, showers were OK, no internet.

Stats: 91 miles 4424 ft of climbing.

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