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Trans-Pyrenees Trip late summer 2019

Anthony1

Anthony1

Too young to be old
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250
Location
Goring by Sea, West Sussex
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
In less than two weeks we will take off for a trip through the Spanish Pyrenees, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. We have taken our inspiration for this trip the last two years from a variety of sources (see this link for an interactive version of our inspiration map):

View attachment 48375

  1. A trackbook we found on-line at vibraction.org. It describes a route from coast to coast, for 60% on off-road mountain tracks. The blue route and suggested campsites on the map.
  2. A like route we reconstructed form a travel blog on the German caliboard.de from user BIM. The purple route and suggested campsites on the map.
  3. Two little guides with one-day hikes in the Pyrenees. The yellow spots and suggested campsites on te map.
  4. A series of suggested campsites from various forums and blogs (the green ones on the map).

We will probably be 'flip-flopping' between these while en route.

Going there we plan to dash to about Lyon, and then leave the (in)famous 'Route du Soleil' and meander south on D-roads with a minimum of three digits through some national and regional nature parcs (the green route on the map):
  1. Parc du Pilat
  2. Parc des Monts d'Ardeche
  3. Parc des Cevennes
  4. Parc du Haut Languedoc
  5. Parc de la Narbonnaise et Méditerranée

Roughly a week going there, two weeks through the Pyrenees, and a week going back. We will try to share some impressions here!
Do you have solar panels fitted. Do you need them?
What tyres are you using?
Do you need engine/gearbox skid/bash plates?

This looks like my kind of trip.
 
josedebarros

josedebarros

Wendy and Jose
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
51
Location
Kettering
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
Can’t resist showing off - I did this ten years ago whilst I lived in the Gers - but on foot! The HRP took me best part of 4 months (had a week off in the middle) but loved every single day.
 
josedebarros

josedebarros

Wendy and Jose
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Messages
51
Location
Kettering
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T5 SE 180
That would be great, thank you.
I wouldnt worry too much about the bears. It is very rare for them to be seen and whilst they can cause a problem for the farmers it fairly unusual. We have had a house rhere for around fifteen years and walked many miles and never come across one. The popular hikes like the Odesa canyon get budy with people which the bears tend to shy away from.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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Messages
936
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
Do you have solar panels fitted. Do you need them?
What tyres are you using?
Do you need engine/gearbox skid/bash plates?
Hi Anthony,

You can read more about our mods to make our Cali more 'sturdy' in this post here in the Off Road Section of this forum.

We do have solar panels fitted, yes. We do a lot of wild camping and the panels definitely make us more 'autark'. Usually, we are travellers, and don't stay in one place too long, but we have been in places standing still for 5 nights on row without any hook up while fridge, parking heater and interior lights were running when we needed them without issue. That's why we have them!

We use Michelin Latitude Cross AT's, 225/70/R16 103H, currently. Very happy with them! Used them since 2016 (our Iceland trip) for some 30.000 km's now. Still happy! Will renew them next summer, after 4 years and some 40.000 km's.

We do have bottom protection plates, yes. Do we need them this trip? Hope not! We have looked at some samples of the route on Google Earth and we do feel we are currently a bit 'over equipped' for this trip. It looks like a good set of AT's with a deflator/compressor combi to manage the tyre pressure according to terrain and some sensible steering will bring you a long way on this route, even in a 2WD. A little extra bottom clearance is always a big help.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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Netherlands
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Can’t resist showing off - I did this ten years ago whilst I lived in the Gers - but on foot! The HRP took me best part of 4 months (had a week off in the middle) but loved every single day.
Great stuff, José! Like we wrote above, we did the HRP in the early 80's, from Véron's original guide of 1981. It took us the best of 6 weeks, then.

To whom it may concern: we just learned there is a new e-book guide of the HRP (May 2019) available! "The HRP is not waymarked and borders on mountaineering at times, sticking as closely as possible to the main ridge (one foot in France, one in Spain). It stretches 750km from the Atlantic resort of Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean, crossing the French-Spanish border many times on its traverse. The hike calls for experience, navigational competence and self-reliance, but offers rich rewards as you pass through some of the most stunning landscapes the region has to offer." A wonderful hike!
 
S

Spal001

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1
Location
Gingelom
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
We die the hrp-trail on foot last year. 41 days of walking. if you have a little experience, it s no problem tot do it. The hardest thing was 5 or 6 days without re-supplies. We always sleept in a tent and gainded a lot of money. Mostly we took a meal in the refuges and moved on afther the meal. Best period in half June until half september
 
Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts

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205
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Carmarthenshire
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T5 SE 140
This was how it was done in Australia back in the 70s. Lots of extra Fuel and at least 2 spares.. And we needed them both.....

image.jpg
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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This was how it was done in Australia back in the 70s. Lots of extra Fuel and at least 2 spares.. And we needed them both.....
Those were the days! Great pic! Is that you?

Must say, the T5 4Motion is a lot more comfortable a drive and camper... (have driven T2, T4 and Landy, we just love our T5!)
 
Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts

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205
Location
Carmarthenshire
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T5 SE 140
Those were the days! Great pic!

Must say, the T5 is a lot more comfortable a drive and camper... (have driven T2, T4 and Landy, we just love our T5!)
You are not kidding about comfort, reliability and fuel consumption are in a different league.. 6000 miles....18mpg....Top speed 50 mpg...Broke down 13 times.....
 
kp64zl

kp64zl

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You are not kidding about comfort, reliability and fuel consumption are in a different league.. 6000 miles....18mpg....Top speed 50 mpg...Broke down 13 times.....
Where was that picture taken pls?

Bet you could do the repairs yourself unlike today
 
Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts

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205
Location
Carmarthenshire
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T5 SE 140
Where was that picture taken pls?

Bet you could do the repairs yourself unlike today
Can’t remember exactly where it was taken as it was 48 years ago, probably somewhere near Alice Springs.. Repairs were all done by ourselves. We got taking the engine out in 15 minutes. Repairs took a bit longer.lol......
 
Peter Roberts

Peter Roberts

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205
Location
Carmarthenshire
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T5 SE 140
Those were the days! Great pic! Is that you?

Must say, the T5 4Motion is a lot more comfortable a drive and camper... (have driven T2, T4 and Landy, we just love our T5!)
It’s me sitting on the van, my mate Jerry standing at the side and another mate Paul taking the picture . This was the day of the instamatic camera.
.
.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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We have now, after a week’s travel, reached Spain. A more detailed report of our first week through the French natural parks will follow (Marga is working on her photo’s currently), but we wanted to share this one already. Today, in the Haute Languedoc, our van came of age:

CF1EFB06-64B6-407E-B305-0F51BBB5CA60.jpeg

On to the next 200.000 km’s !!
 
Wesel

Wesel

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105
Location
Belgium
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T6 Coast 150 4Motion
We have now, after a week’s travel, reached Spain. A more detailed report of our first week through the French natural parks will follow (Marga is working on her photo’s currently), but we wanted to share this one already. Today, in the Haute Languedoc, our van came of age:

View attachment 49116

On to the next 200.000 km’s !!
Your engine has now just finished its break-in period.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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First Leg: towards Parc de Pilat

It was our intention to get to just South of Lyon and leave the 'Route du Soleil' before the weekend, with its Black Saturday, and then gently weave our way towards the Spanish border on backroads through several nature parks, our 'green route' (see our inspiration map in the top of this thread).

Thursday 15/9, late afternoon, we left from Marga's work place and started South. In the Belgian Ardennes, just before entering Luxembourg, we found a small and friendly campsite for the night, near Neufchâteau, Camping Spineuse. We had a simple but adequate meal in the restaurant with a nice local beer, and then turned in for the night.



Friday 16/9 then saw our 'spurt' to the South of France. We want to reach the Parc Naturel de Pilat, just South of Lyon. We used the short stretch through Luxembourg to fill up the tank (saves € 20.- on a tank) and then sped on on the motorways and the Péage.

This year, now that one can have one electronic toll badge that works in both France, Italy, Spain (countries we frequent) and Portugal (where we have never been in the van), we also acquired one, with the 'low use' subscription. We carefully approached the first toll gate, and lo: it all worked, just like that (as it did in Spain, later on)!
AND we remembered to put on the French LEZ sticker, one never knows what the smog situation will be once we reach the Lyon area...

Our spurt is uneventful and in the evening we reach the target nature reserve. We find a nice spot on Camping Bel' Époque du Pilat, near Pélussin.



Saturday 17/9 we take a walk in the neighbourhood and in Pélussin and do some shopping.



These valleys were once filled with the noise and activity of the local silk industry and many traces thereof can still be found. Mostly dilapidated old mills on the small rivers, because water and hydraulic power were important for the silk industry.





We are on the Western shore of the river Rhône, and relatively high up. The air is clear and on our walk we can see across the Rhône Valley towards the east and discern the crests of the Vercors, the Chartreuse and even the Mont Blanc (right in the middle of this picture). This is rare in Summer, usually one can only see this far in April or September/October.



We are currently on a camp site in Spain, and uploading Marga's photo's to Google Albums is a bit of a pain on the local WiFi, so no link to a complete album just yet.

One can also follow us on Instagram (@bm_pyrenees) and on
Polarsteps.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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Second leg: 'green route' through the French nature reserves

From Lyon onwards we wanted to avoid the motorways. West of the Rhône river, roughly stretching south from Lyon, lies a chain of French nature reserves, both national and regional, from North to South: Parc de Pilat, Parc des Monts d'Ardeche, Parc des Cevennes, Parc des Grand Causes, Parc de Haut Languedoc and Parc Narbonnais et Méditerranéé. We wanted to take a few days to meander South through these nature reserves, taking only back roads (the French D-roads with at least 3 digits in their number... ) all the way to Collioure, a small French hamlet town near the border with Spain, where our Pyrenees Roadbook trip begins.

To lead us, we used the 'adventurous route' option from TomTom, our satnav system. We picked a point in each nature reserve and then had TomTom calculate an 'adventurous route' for us. That is an option which let you set the scale of 'adventurousness' by choosing levels of curvyness, level of height differences, avoid motorways, take/avoid unpaved roads, etc. We already had experimented with it somewhat in The Netherlands and the Black Forest and had already learned NOT to choose the highest level of 'curvyness': TomTom then leads you onto every car park along the route to maximise the number of curves!
For this route we choose the max height differences, medium curvyness, NO motorways, and OK to take unpaved roads. On that basis TomTom calculated a route which we then downloaded as .gpx file (the green route on our inspiration map in the top of this thread) and then put as a track in our TomTom.

More in the next posts, later, we hope. Due to limits on no. of words per post on the forum we lost 2/3 of our text and all the picture links... :headbang
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

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Yesterday (the 5th stage of the Vibraction Trans-Pyrenees roadbook) some of the pistes were so bad we decided to back out. Too much danger of damage, we reckoned. But today (the 6th stage) was pure fun!.

Here a rough first impression of yesterday's and today's pistes:

 

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