Page 2 of Orson Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales July 11th 2008

Day four, my final day on the road, began the same as day three, with the promise of improving, but unsettled conditions, meaning “a roll of the dice”. I head north from the lake taking another scenic single track. Somehow, the misty weather in this perfectly conveys the mystical Welsh atmosphere. I found the B4391 and it takes me towards England. Wales lives up to all its accolades and more. From stunning, fast sweeping bends, to narrow single tracks, the Welsh terrain encompasses all types of motorcycling pleasure with its majestic natural beauty added as a bonus. The people are extremely warm and welcoming, especially after they hear an American accent. On the way back to Nottingham, I make a small detour to explore some interesting roads in the Shropshire Hills. Mercifully, I was fortunate and ... read more
Welsh Predator
More Singletrack
Climbing To Snowdonia

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales July 10th 2008

Day three began with the weatherman calling for “improving” conditions, whatever that means. As I left the hotel, it was still raining but I sought consolation by telling myself “it’s gonna improve”. Three hours later, I was still muttering “it’s gonna improve” as the rain continued to pelt down. At the village of Cwmystwyth, I cross over the Cambrians along a narrow single track. Finally, at around 3 PM I got a respite, as the sun peeked through. I’ll be the first to admit that the Thruxton is a bit of a poser’s bike, the Triumph struggling to keep up with faster, more powerful competitors on the open roads, yet when the roads become tight and narrow like this, the little twin mill really enters its own element. The engine’s healthy torque is accompanied by what ... read more
Rainy Ride
Single Track

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Carmarthenshire » Saint Clears July 9th 2008

This morning it was raining as per the forecast. It’s never good when the weatherman uses words like Biblical and flooding. This was supposed to be fun, so I made a command decision that watching STNG and eating Cornish pastys out of a paper bag was more enjoyable than riding all day in the rain. The rain was supposedly going to taper off late in the afternoon, so I decided to go visit the home of Dylan Thomas nearby. A bit of a bohemian, by many accounts, Thomas was a bum, a filcher and a drunkard. His only redeeming feature was his booming voice and his writing, and boy could he write. He apparently made an impression on the New York beatnic scene, so much so that rock stars appropriated his name. In 1953, after another ... read more
Laugharne Castle

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire » St Davids July 8th 2008

I had some free time so I decided to escape from the summer heat in Saudi for some cooler British climes. As I had never been to southwestern Wales, I decided to make that my destination. I picked up my trusty Trumpet in Nottingham and made tracks towards the southwest, splitting Birmingham & Manchester. Crossing the Welsh frontier near Newton at midday, I immediately headed south on the fantastic A483. I’ve raved about this road in the past, slicing north to south through Wales, it’s a fun-filled festival of high speed sweepers. I continue in a southwesterly direction on the A483 under sunny skies, skirting the Brecon Beacons National Park, arriving at Haverfordwest around 4 P.M. After securing a hotel for the night, I decided to make the most of the sunny weather, as the next ... read more
St. Brides Bay
St. Davids Head

Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur June 12th 2008

As I make my way south, I re-enter the Rhone-Alpes region dominated by the Massif Central. The wonderful French D roads make me forget the problems encountered near Paris and all seems right with the world. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The French are master road builders although, every now and then you’ll find a harsh surface. It was on the second to last day of the trip that I would stumble upon probably the best road of the trip. The D-518 south of the Col de Rosset. While I normally hate working my way thru switchbacks, this one had a wide assortment of tasty twisties between each switchback making it thoroughly enjoyable. The final day of the trip would be another slab dash from France to Parma. The weather had a ... read more
Near Valence
Vercors Regional Park

Europe » France » Burgundy June 9th 2008

South of Paris, I enter Burgundy, the region famous for their wines. They take their wine making very seriously here. The terrain of gently rolling hills may not make for the best motorcycling roads, but the beautiful setting makes for a photographer’s playground. ... read more
Burgundy Village
Wine Casks
Quaint Village

Europe » France » Île-de-France June 3rd 2008

From this point, I turn south and start making my way back to Italy. After viewing some of Vincent Van Gogh’s work in Amsterdam, I suddenly decide that it would nicely tie up lose ends if I get a picture of his gravesite. Brilliant! The only problem is that the gravesite is in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, within the 100 km of Paris, the so-called “ring of death” around big cities that I usually try to avoid due to their intense traffic. For some reason, this didn’t phase me. I made my way to Auvers and manage to track down the village cemetary. Sure enough, there lies Vincent or “Ici repose Vincent” next to his brother, Theo. Just a few feet away from his grave lies the wheat field he painted in “Wheat Field With Crows”. ... read more
Wheat Field With Crows

Europe » France » Upper Normandy June 2nd 2008

Leaving Brittany, I encounter the magnificent Mont St. Michel. Continuing east, I headed for the beaches of D-Day. I passed through Ste-Mere-Eglise with its famous chapel from which a U.S. Army parachutist dangled on D-Day. Now, they have an effigy of a U.S. paratrooper dangling from the steeple. The D-Day beaches and the U.S. Cemetary near Omaha Beach were something I wanted to see. There really are no words I can contrive to give any semblance of a description. I was impressed by the amount of French school children on school field trips to the sites. Despite of our differences, the French have not forgotten the price of their freedom. I continue eastward to the Cote d’Albatre, where I found a hotel for the night. ... read more
The Approach
Distant View
Chapel at Ste-Mere-Eglise

Europe » France » Brittany May 30th 2008

I arrived in Brittany and found a nice, friendly hotel in Vannes along the south coast. Near Vannes is where you’ll find many megalith stone structures similar to Stonehenge, but on a smaller scale. The most famous of these are the Carnac stones, an array of stones whose meaning has been lost to the mists of time. After almost a week of perfect weather, as soon as I reached Brittany, the weather turned cold and damp, as is fitting of a region bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. Brittany lies at the same latitude as Victoria, B.C. and Newfoundland with similar weather patterns, mostly cold and wet. I never had the vents open on my stich the whole time. Brittany is inhabited by descendants of the Celts, who came here from Ireland and Cornwall. Up until the ... read more
Mysterious Carnac Stones
Monts d’Arree
Rugged Brittany Coast

Europe » France » Limousin May 25th 2008

After spending a day touring the Gorges du Tarn, I decided that I’d better make tracks towards Brittany, my final destination. The hilly terrain began to taper off slightly, but the French roads never failed to inspire. This area impressed me with its rugged terrain that somehow reminded me a bit of the American southwest. I tried to keep to the backroads as much as possible, running through small villages along the way. The closer I got to the west coast, the more the terrain changed to gently rolling hills. I was very impressed with the competency of the French drivers in general. If the speed limit was 90 kph, everyone drove 90 kph. There were no dawdlers crawling along and slowing things. Most made an attempt to scoot over and let you by when they ... read more
Softening Terrain

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