Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Milllau To Nimes And The Gorges du Tarn

Our departure from Millau on Tuesday morning 6/25 included a guided tour of the Millau Viaduc, led by the owner of the hotel where we had spent the night.  He is the proud owner of a brand new Goldwing F6B, Honda's nod to the current bagger craze. He led us to two vantage points below the bridge, one on either end of the 1.5 mile span. At a maximum height of 1,125 ft, the Viaduc is the tallest road bridge in the world, and probably the most beautiful.

Upon departing Millau, we detoured northeastward towards the Tarn River to take in the amazing Gorges du Tarn. This was the most interesting and challenging riding day of the entire trip. The landscape and scenery in the gorges is fantastic and the roads are amazing. We rode through one gorge, then climbed out of it to a flat topped plateau before plunging down again into another gorge, and then followed the River Tarn into the village of Sainte-Enimie for a lunch stop.

If you count heads in the photo below, you can see that we have added an eighth member to our group.  Christian, on the far left, is a retired colleague and good friend of Laurent's. He met up with us early that morning in Millau and rode with us for a couple of days on his Yamaha TDM900 (far left of the picture). The TDM is an interesting bike that I was not familiar with as it is not available in the US.

Take a good look at the road in the photo above as it winds down the side of the gorge to the Tarn River, and then watch the video clip below, shot with Laurent's helmet cam as he descends the gorge into the village of La Malene .  Fortunately, there is very little traffic on this road (D43). We only encountered one four-wheeled vehicle during the entire 30 or 40 minutes that we were on the road, and that was while we were stopped at the observation point shown above. Note the minimal presence of guard rails or walls in the video.

I have to include one more video segment of this ride...the section of the Route des Gorges du Tarn between La Malene and Sainte-Enimie where we stopped for lunch...what a beautiful stretch of road we were fortunate to ride on such a beautiful day.

After a light lunch in Sainte-Enimie on the banks of the river, we continued on to the ancient city of Nimes which boasts several beautifully preserved Roman buildings from the 1st century.

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