Trading the medieval Avignon city center for an Aldi parking lot filled with Jurassic vehicles provided quite the contrast. Add the Dutch Neanderthals inciting primal fear in the eyes of French grocery shoppers and it was a given this day would become an interesting one.
Proving you’re never too old to learn we arrived at the starting location on time. After collecting the assignments and route we plundered the local super markets and boulangerie. You can’t live on body fat and gasoline fumes forever.
Before leaving we checked the assignments. More of the same. Picture a taxidermic “Snoek” (Dutch name of a Pike fish) inside a “Snoek” (Dutch slang for a Citroën DS).
The second assignment was classier though. Photograph a French lady inside your car. While she shows off her armpit hair. Yeah. Imagine asking a random lady if she: 1. has armpit hair, 2: wants to show this off inside your car and 3: wouldn’t mind having us take a picture of her in her full armpity glory. All this while 4: not being able to speak French.
So we focussed on the route. We are that humorless. As was the start of the route.
Things became interesting when we had left Avignon far behind us. We found out the French like the burn things and we also found out the the curvy nature of the French landscape can also be appreciated in more compact forms.
After passing through some seriously hideous parts of the city of Alès we found hilly to (later) mountainous terrain. This resulted in a long drive (3 hours for 116 km/72 miles according to google maps) on the Col de l’Asclié. It took some time, but was worth it.
At Peyregrosse the D420 road we were on ended and merged into the larger D986. So in the little town in of Le Mazel just a few kms later we decided to take a detour. We went right over this little bridge that more easily shown in Google Maps. A stretch of road that would have been done in 3 minutes now took half an hour (D323-D152A-D294). Because why not?
Soon enough we were back on the intended route. Sadly we were behind a Buick. Yes, a Buick. Obscure galore in the Carbagerun. This Buick was driven rather slowly, somewhat comparable to the many Volvos and Jaguars. Old man cars I presume. Looking up the stats the power to weight ratio of the Buick is similar to our slushbox equipped Galant. Yet we had to struggle not to crash into his trunk.
It didn’t take as long to pass the Buick as it did passing slow Volvos and Jaaaags on narrow mountain roads. We soon found ourselves behind a camoed Renault Laguna, which wasn’t nearly as slow.
Lots of interesting villages. Here we are chasing a 1980s Saab. It had one of the few lady drivers.
In the village of Montjaux we took the D169 towards Coudols. This road had some of the most serious hairpins we witnessed. Inside Coudols we snickered about the mk1 Kia Sportage (Rare! Hideous!) being unable to make a turn in one go. We stopped snickering when we found out our Galant, being longer than the Kia, wasn’t able to make that turn in one go either. Some carbagerunners were present
helping recording video.
In earlier paragraphs I complained about slow Volvos. There were many Volvos. Too many Volvos. Yet, besides the participating Volvo 66 and 340 this one Volvo wagon was a Volvo we could appreciate. Besides the Christmas tree on the roof(rack), the speakers and the flashing lights it had a smoke machine, a smoke machine as found in a bar. I question the legality and safety, but it did lead to a few hilarious moments with stunned other traffic. While switching on the smoke machine when passing a Gendarmerie car in the opposing lane didn’t lead to an arrest, it was amusing.
From here on the roads and the views weren’t very interesting any more, sadly. You can’t have it all. The route from here on was: find the fastest way to the finish location: Le Chalet des Moissons in Balma (Toulouse)
That wrapped up day 4 in Toulouse. We again chose to head to our hotel early so we could check out the inner city and dine in a real restaurant.
Tomorrow: Spain and Andorra!
(picture time stamps as provided by the camera. I’m unsure about the accuracy. It was probably still featuring summer time, so it’ll be 1 hour off)