The first steps are tricky
That’s it, it’s D-Day! It is time to leave Amiens and gradually descend to Africa. The weather is very rainy and the order for my waterproof motorcycle jacket did not arrive on time. The father of a friend who helped me park my Royal Einfield in his garage warmly offers me a hunting waterproof gear that will make my trip much more comfortable.
After a wet departure from this commune of the Hauts-de-France, I leave the red-bricks city to join friends who live in the centre of France where I will spend my first night.
It is under a driving rain that I drive for more than 10 hours… through the Parisian traffic jams, the ring road, the slowdowns related to the yellow vests and the freezing fog. This first day of travel seems to me the most difficult of all my motorcycle trips (much more than Mexico or South Africa)!
Parisian traffic takes me away and I miss the exit, no sign indicating a city near the center like Orléans or Bourges, I am forced to put myself on an emergency lane to blow and resume my route.
Finally I arrive at my destination after almost ten hours of driving where Google maps initially reported only five. It is starving and shivering that I meet my friends around 10pm, where a hot dish awaits me (a good melting squeegee!).
Cold start, warm welcome
I stay two days to recover in this small town in central France, about fifty kilometres from Bourges. The village of Ourouer-les-Bourdelins is a place where I used to spend my holidays. My family had bought a country house there when I was a child and lived in Paris, especially because at the time I couldn’t stand the pollution and dirt of the capital).
The neighbours have remained very good friends since then, and this is where I was able to ride a two-wheeler for the first time (an old Peugeot moped from the 1960s). We organized races around the block like an episode of the comic strip « Joe Bar Team ». However, despite its charm, this city is gradually depopulating due to the rural exodus.
Going south !
After a good rest and a first flight with the drone around my friends’ house, I take the road to Marseille where I was invited to meet potential sponsors. The road is beautiful up to Saint Etienne and I go around Lyon via the « Col de la république », then I take the highway towards Orange where the yellow vests lift me the toll barriers, saving me a few euros!
Once I have reached the gas reserve, I arrive close to the centre of Marseille where I settle at the Le Corbusier hotel. It is a former prison, classified as a historical monument, the prisoners’ cells are converted into rooms. The view on the roof covers a large part of the Phocaean city.
I spend a day meeting these potential partners and it is full of hope that I am heading for Ariège. A long-time Spanish friend awaits me there to offer me hospitality and encouragement before taking the road again along the Pyrenees mountain range, where despite the freshness, a sumptuous landscape emerges that opens the way to Spain.