9th August 2009

I have received a few emails concerned about my travelling down mountains without brakes.  Sorry, I was not very clear.  I had brakes, but they made an awful screeching noise.  I thought this meant that the front disk pads were worn out so I used only the gears and the hand brake because I thought that by using the foot brake I would risk the front brakes not working and also wreck the disks themselves.  Or rotors as they are known in the US.  All the time, the front brakes worked perfectly, except for making a horrible noise, so in emergency I could have used them.   I have more news on this, later.

Back to my tour.  I had intended to return to France via the Col de la Pierre St Martin which for the whole route my Michelin map had banded with green so in their opinion at least it was pretty all the way.  But at the tourist office in Roncal they told me that road was temporarily closed, so I headed for the Port de Larrou 1573m (5160 ft).  On the way up I saw a nice view, took a couple of photos, stitched them together, and here's the result.

Further on I saw an even better all round view.  I stood on a wall and took photos in a complete circle, 9 photos in all then I stitched them all together.  Here is the result.  You will see that there is a bit of my van on the left, and a bit on the right.  It's really very wide because effectively it's 9 photos next to each other.

Here is the exact same set of photos but this time showing my van in the centre.  It's the same photo, or collection of photos, but because it's a complete circle I can shift the start and finish points.

If you'd like to see it enlarged, and if you have a laptop or medium size screen, say up to 17", click here.  Or if you have a bigger screen, click here. You'll need to use the scroll bar on the bottom of the screen to see the whole picture.

While showing you stitched photos here's one from the recent balloon meet at Metz, which had about 800 balloons total.  This picture was originally 6 photos.  I didn't take it, it's on flikr.

For another 2,000 or so photos of the event, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/chambley/

When I reached the top of the pass there was another superb view and I thought it a good place to stop for the night.   After a while it got windy, very windy, so I turned the van to point into the wind, to cut the noise now.  Then the wind direction changed completely so I moved the van again.  Then cloud started blowing up over the side of the pass and it was difficult to see more than a few yards.  Then some horses came to join me, I could see them when the mist cleared for a few moments.

Then the cloud cleared and left a magnificent sky.

Then it rained and rained and rained, with thunder and lightning all around.

Continue on....              Get me outa here!