Ok, so even Babe Ruth had his bad days. It’s the batting average that counts, in life, and in daily experiences. Today I hit .200. My last day in the Pyrenees should really have been two days. I knew that when I planned the trip and just could not fit in another day. In fact, my original plan was to arrive at my Mediterranean hotel tonight and stay two nights, but that won’t happen either. So, there were some compromises made.
Firstly, the drive was 350 km and Google said five hours and a half. I left Luchon at 9 and arrived at my hotel in Collieure at 4:30, without even stopping for a proper lunch. I did take a few breaks, but probably not more than an hour total. And it was hot and got hotter as I neared the coast, and the traffic increased.
As I expected, the driving was mostly at lower altitudes, though I did get to 1500 meters (about 5500 feet). Mostly winding valleys, green, pretty, but not as stunning and bladder clenching as yesterday and the day before. If I had to do it over again, I would just have done a shorter, more direct route.
That said, the highlight was a 20km stretch of 10% down grade with no more that 100 yards between turns. I dropped 3000 feet over that distance and it was a constant choice between high revving 2nd gear and smoother third gear with more brakes used. In the end, third gear won out and my 60-year-old design disk brakes were up to the task. The Jag breathed a sigh of relief when the Med came into view, but that darn car was ROCK SOLID the entire time.
At one point I was noticing a drop in oil pressure on extended descents and a little funny engine noise. I wouldn’t call it a rod knock, but it sounded like it could develop into one. I stopped and added a quart of oil and the pressure returned to normal with no more issues or noises. My guess is that on the steep descents the oil pick up was sucking some air.
Not many pix today, as not much noteworthy to shoot, though I did pass a lot of old Roman forts and later castles that protected this pass through the mountains from the sea. This was a very strategic area especially for the Romans, as it was on the border with their arch enemy, Gaul (France), for hundreds of years.
Tomorrow it’s off to Avignon, seat of the Catholic Church for a hundred years in the 1400’s when Rome became to dangerous for the Vatican. Much history in that area. I am looking forward to it. This afternoon it was some pool time, a glass or two of wine, and off to dinner soon. Very Mediterranean on this side.
Today’s Route: https://tinyurl.com/yasxf93a
Traffic stop due to road construction at 5000 feet!
Above and below shots from my hotel balcony
Picture from the pool back to the hotel. My room is the one just below the big tree branches. Nice patio where I am writing this in my shorts at 7pm!