Thursday, June 24, 2010 Leaving for France on Monday The original inspiration for a trip to France was for my whole family to rent the house my sister in law had lived in while growing up in Provence. While English is her first language, shes been told that based on her French accent, a Provencal local could practically tell her what street she lived on in the town of Vence, 20k or so up into the hills from Nice. After finding the house, an old olive oil mill (moulin), available for rent on the internet, she put out the word to the family and we all jumped on board. My fiance, Ann, and I have some friends planning on touring Spain around the end of June/ beginning of July, so we started looking for flights around the 28th of June in the hopes we could meet up with them before joining the family. Then we heard from Anns dad that his family might be in Paris in the third week of July. Well, great, well go meet them and fly home around the 28th of July! Of course, after all that, the Spanish connection isnt going to work out and Paris turned out to be a lot more expensive than Reykjavik, so we found ourselves with about a week on either side of the family trip to entertain ourselves. Not a bad problem to have and before long Id booked us a BMW F800GS (like the one weve taken to Mendocino and Colorado - see RR links in sig line) for the first 10 days. Id rented a bike in Germany in 2006 (RR link in sig line) and found it to be such a great way to explore Europe that I wanted to do it again with Ann. The plan is to head west from Nice, spend the first night in Aix-en-Provence, and continue on to the Pyrenees. Well have time to explore the Cote dAzur later with the family. From the Pyrenees, well angle back northeast and make our way towards Chamonix and Mont Blanc before following the Route des Grandes Alpes south back to Nice. On the tail end, well see how we feel. We fly out of Munich so one good option would be to drive north through the Dolomites, possibly with a detour through Locarno to attend a lakeside festival where Id met some people and sat in with the band in 2006. No matter what, Id like to get to Munich a couple days early to show Ann the Englischer Gardens (open space, people watching and beers the size of your head). In any case, we'll be on the bike for 10 days and that's the section of the trip I plan to post to ADV. If you're interested in more, check out the blog at http://advodna.com.