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.
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
Further on I saw an even better all round view. I stood on a wall and
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
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
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!