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France

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-- From 2014/03/07 to 2014/03/12
-- Excursion in the Haut Var, France
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The GPS road tracklog
From Draguignan to Guillaumes through the Gorges de Daluis,  Digne-les-Bains through the Gorges du Verdon
Back to Draguignan
du 07/03/2014 au 12/03/2014

I had decided to visit the Gorges of the Verdon & Daluis to run in my truck. I went on March 6th by the secondary road D 225 through the pretty villages of Calas and Bargemon but shortly after an indicator ignited on the dashboard. I looked at the handbook which advised to go to rather in a qualified garage. The only Mercedes garage is in Roquebrune-sur-Argens. I presented myself to it at the end of the morning. After recording at the reception desk, I expected the reopening of the workshops to meet the shop foreman to whom I had presented my vehicle at the beginning of November 2013. He greeted me cordially and dealt with the problem. My brother picked up me in the afternoon.

The next morning a phone call around 10 a.m. informed me that my vehicle was at my disposal. My sister-in-law, Marie-Lou, lead me to the Mercedes garage at Roquebrune where we arrived at the opening around 2 p.m. The truck was ready and the shop foreman explained me that the cause of the breakdown was a defective sensor of the crankshaft. Of course the breakdown service was dealt with by the guarantee. Moreover I bought nuts of safety theft protection device (!) for the rims. I took the road around 3:15 p.m. in the direction of Fayence then of Mons on D 563. I stopped around 4:30 p.m. on a waste ground at the crossroads of D 53 to take my marks for the first trip with my new truck. The day was brilliant with a temperature of +20°C. Alas not having tools I was not able to loosen the nuts guard of the threading of limps of antenna tuner to fix the HF antenna in order to send the position report of the bivouac, to see tomorrow.

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After having installed various materials in the cabin of Mercedes I left the bivouac around 10:30 a.m. I drove on D 563 to the crossroads of D 6085 at the Logis du Pin then by D 2211 up to St Auban. In this season roads are still prohibited due to closed pass due to snowing up. By small secondary roads I reached D 4202 driving to Entrevaux already visited before. I stopped for a picture. Then at the crossroads of the Pont de Geydan I took D 902 to visit the Gorges de Daluis. I established my bivouac at the edge of the Var river around 4:30 p.m. on the Roberts' rest area at 2 km southwards of Guillaumes.

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Lunch pause & selfie

The Gorges de Daluis

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The GPS tracklog, IGN map at 1:100k
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Bivouac
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Roadeyescams on the windscreen The Daluis' Gorges

I had plan to go to Barcelonnette, alas the GPS announced to me that the road was closed and proposed to me a diversion. I persisted by going to Guillaumes at five kilometers. The borough was an outpost of the kingdom of France before the joining of Savoy in 1760. I questioned a native who assure me that the road was closed. A plan must be adaptive, I gave up Barcelonnette and I choose outward journey to Digne-les Bains to see again the museum devoted to Alexandra David-Néel. I traversed the Daluis' Gorges again.

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Guillaumes

After the lunch pause close to the Vault of Notre-Dame de Valvert on the N 202 I arrived at the Alexandra David-Néel's Center of Conference around 2:30 p.m.. The guided tour was started, but the guide woman was not on the level. Moreover the museum had been emptied of objects transferred either to the Museum de l'Homme or to the Guimet Museum. No-photo. I was disappointed compared to my visit with my mother there +20 years ago. On the other hand I saw again Marie-Madeleine Péronnet, secretary of Alexandra, 84 years old and very strong. On the road little before Digne I had noticed a car park for my bivouac.

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N.-D. de Valvert

On Monday, March 10 by a overcast weather I traversed the N 85 by going along the Provence railway line then starting from Barrême the Napoleon Road. Little before Castellane I forked on D 955 curving along the Lake Castillon by the Clue de Vergons. I lunched again close to the Vault of NR.- D.-de-Valvert. Then I visited Castellane. The city is dominated by the Rock, 184 meters high, crowned by the eponymous vault dating back to 1703. I gave up traversing the way of interpretation. On the other hand the old city is charming with its decorated small squares of fountains. But in this low season animation was worthless and much of closed shops. I bivouacked northwards of Jabron saving the visit of the Gorges of the Verdon for the following day.

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Castellane

The Gorges du Verdon

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The GPS tracklog, IGN map at 1:100k

The target  of the following day was to drive on the left bank of the Verdon by the Sublime Cornice. Without any doubt it is, it even under a overcast sun in a freezing cold. The roadside was still snow-covered. It is only around midday that the temperature softens in spite of a prickly wind. At the time of one of my picture stops a man came to meet my with a blue Mercedes "G" and tells me that he had seen me passing in front of at his house and decided to catch up with me to see my vehicle. He tells me that him and his brother have Mercedes "G" and are crazy about it. We discussed then I gave him my business card with my Internet address. Of course I had the break to lunch in front of the sumptuous view of the Gorges of the Verdon.

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The Gorges du Verdon

I took again the road to go to rest me at Bauduen at the edge of the lake de Sainte Croix whose paved streets are bordered of picturesque houses and alleys with evocative names. I had noticed on D 957 a site of bivouac that I took on my return towards Moustier.

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The village of Bauduen

The last day of this small trip for taking in touch with my new truck was devoted to the tour around the Lake Sainte Croix to Moustiers-Ste.-Marie with a lunch stop at Ste Croix du Verdon. As Bauduen the village is composed of stone-built houses bordering by sloping streets. It is now at the edge of the lake whose beach accommodates the summer tourists. The return to Draguignan by D 49 was carried out under a swing rain starting at Vérignon.

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Ste Croix du Verdon