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60wag
07-17-2009, 02:47 AM
So Im not driving a tank in England but I am on the hunt for unusual Cruisers here in southern Europe. So far there have been several 90 series, nothing too exotic yet.

(pic 1)

We spent a couple of days exploring Barcelona. This is an amazing city makes Paris seem like it was developed recently. We saw Roman ruins that date back 2000 years. The old Gothic neighborhood is also a trip back in time, wandering twisting alleys and peering into open doors to see workshops that are many hundreds of years old.

(pic 2)

They take their art very seriously in Barcelona. The Gaudi creations are truly bizarre. How he convinced an institution as stodgy as the Catholic church to build the Sagrada Familia Cathedral is surprising.

(pic 3)

We then drove to our home for the rest of the trip. We are doing a home exchange with a family that lives near Montpellier, France. While they are enjoying Boulder, we are lounging in the Mediterranean sun around the pool. Did I mention that a 6er of beer costs about $2? The wine is pretty reasonable too with good bottles going for about $4. We have a number of day trips planned to sites in the area. We were planning to go to Monaco but that seems like too much driving when there is so much stuff closer in.

Our ride for the trip is a turbo diesel Audi A4 with a 6 speed manual. I used to dis Audis, but no more. This thing rocks.

(pic 4)

The traffic is really quite amazing. People zip about with no concern for close passing on blind turns. Ive watched right turns made from the left lane in front of traffic. The scooters that whip through urban traffic are crazy. By the way, the loaner house came with a scooter. Do you think Ill be able to keep up with traffic on this?

(pic 5)

Tomorrow were off the hit some of the local wineries. Were also going to try to catch the 2nd to last leg of the Tour de France as they roll into Mont Ventoux next week.

I hope you're enjoying your summer,
A Bientot

LARGEONE
07-17-2009, 12:27 PM
I'm totally jealous! What a great trip!

corsair23
07-17-2009, 03:52 PM
I'm totally jealous! What a great trip!

x2 - :drool:

RockRunner
07-18-2009, 04:02 PM
I'm totally jealous! What a great trip!

What he said, more pictures please :bowdown:

60wag
07-19-2009, 03:47 AM
More pix
1) A nice 70 series cruising down the motorway
2) A lousy pic of a really cool old Bugatti that was following me.
3) Hold onto your children. This was in Nimes in the old Roman arena, built around 50 ad. There is a shortage of safety railings here. People are actually expected to look out for themselves. There were setting up for a concert in the arena. Imagine the Pepsi Center still still standing in 1900 years, much less still having shows.... ha.
4) Choosing a wine can be difficult.
5) Another Roman creation, the Pont du Gard. An aquaduct that routed water into Nimes. How they managed to build this stuff is mind boggling.

Hulk
07-21-2009, 01:30 AM
Very cool. Home exchange program? I need to hear more.

Tch2fly
07-23-2009, 08:41 AM
Looks like fun Bruce.

I know what you mean about the Audi, we had a cab ride from Dover to London in a Skoda (basically a rebodied Audi) he was doing 80 mph and it was showing 50 mpg on the computer :eek:

I was really impressed with the Renault we had in France .... never thought I would ever say that about a french made car;)

60wag
07-24-2009, 03:41 AM
The home exchange is the way to go. Its a bit more work than reserving a hotel room but when traveling with a family, I hate being stuck with a hotel room. Our place in France is a spacious 3 bedroom house with a great garden and swimming pool. We met the owners of the house in Boulder right before we flew to Europe. They are quite nice and very interested in the United States. They had done a previous trip the was a loop through the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion and Las Vegas. They even went through Moab.

Below are a few more pix of our travels:

1) This is Le Beax, an ancient fortified village on a hill. Did I mention that there is a lot of old stuff here?

2) Here's a cool HJ45 that I came across.
3) Here's whet the underside of a European semi looks like.
4) Does anyone else think this speedometer is odd? (No not because its in km.)

5) This is Cassis, a beach town on the Med that is beautiful. Form there we went to Hyeras. Another beach destination with a cute medieval village. We took a ferry over to a nearby island that is a nature preserve. We hiked to a beach that had some nice snorkeling.

Mendocino
07-24-2009, 07:56 AM
It looks like great fun!:)

rover67
07-24-2009, 07:59 AM
weird how the scale changes on that spedo halfway through!

thanks for the pics Bruce, very nice to see your travels!

60wag
07-26-2009, 06:07 AM
One more update before we head back to Barcelona to fly home on Tuesday:
Saturday was the 20th stage of the Tour de France race. This stage is the big climb up to Mt Ventoux. We opted to view the event in a small town called Bedoin. Its about 25km from the finish.

1) a cool firetruck in Bedoin with portal axles.

2) The lead up to the race is a high speed parade of event sponsors. There are all sorts of crazy “floats.” But these floats have to be able to travel much faster than the usual parade crawl. Most the sponsors also have smiling girls in vehicles tossing out swag to the crowds to get everyone fired up before the riders arrive.

3) This was a tire sponsor. Yes that’s a Smart car under the costume. There was a set of four of these cruising up the hill.

4) Finally the riders pass by. It takes all of a minute or so and then its over. It is cool to witness the pace that they move at, even uphill. Those are some of the Astana riders in the pic but I can't tell if it's Lance or not.

5) Finally, this is what I’ve been riding for the past two weeks. It’s a Trek Fuel X. It has very plush suspension that is a joy to ride. It does also have tubeless tires. I fought with the rear tire for a while before opting to put a tube in it. The first leak was a small scuff in the sidewall. Since the tire had stop-leak in it, getting a patch to stick to the inside of the tire was a PITA. After fixing that one, a plug in the tire came loose and went flat again. I think I loosened the plug fixing the first leak – you have to pump up the tire so hard to get the bead to seat that that the plug failed. I’d hate to have to pump that much with a mini trail pump to fix a flat. It definitely soured my first experience with tubeless tires.

Check out the rear shock mount on the bike. Both ends of the shock move as the suspension compresses. I still haven't found what acts as the top stop when it is unloaded.

Mendocino
07-26-2009, 08:22 AM
That is Armstrong. He is on the right side of the picture, second Astana rider back. He has a helmet that is mainly black. He is right in front of Alberto Contador in the Yellow Jersey. This looks like great fun, I am going next year!

One more update before we head back to Barcelona to fly home on Tuesday:
Saturday was the 20th stage of the Tour de France race. This stage is the big climb up to Mt Venteaux. We opted to view the event in a small town called Bedoin. Its about 25km from the finish.

1) a cool firetruck in Bedoin with portal axles.

2) The lead up to the race is a high speed parade of event sponsors. There are all sorts of crazy “floats.” But these floats have to be able to travel much faster than the usual parade crawl. Most the sponsors also have smiling girls in vehicles tossing out swag to the crowds to get everyone fired up before the riders arrive.

3) This was a tire sponsor. Yes that’s a Smart car under the costume. There was a set of four of these cruising up the hill.

4) Finally the riders pass by. It takes all of a minute or so and then its over. It is cool to witness the pace that they move at, even uphill. Those are some of the Asatana riders in the pic but I can't tell if it's Lance or not.

5) Finally, this is what I’ve been riding for the past two weeks. It’s a Trek Fuel X. It has very plush suspension that is a joy to ride. It does also have tubeless tires. I fought with the rear tire for a while before opting to put a tube in it. The first leak was a small scuff in the sidewall. Since the tire had stop-leak in it, getting a patch to stick to the inside of the tire was a PITA. After fixing that one, a plug in the tire came loose and went flat again. I think I loosened the plug fixing the first leak – you have to pump up the tire so hard to get the bead to seat that that the plug failed. I’d hate to have to pump that much with a mini trail pump to fix a flat. It definitely soured my first experience with tubeless tires.

Check out the rear shock mount on the bike. Both ends of the shock move as the suspension compresses. I still haven't found what acts as the top stop when it is unloaded.