F & S Day 14 13/09/11 - Descent out of the Alps

We started the day with a long downhill into Grenoble - it lasted for about 50km! averaging 30kmph without hardly pedalling - proves how high up we were last night! No wonder there was freezing fog for the first hour or so!

We arrived in Grenoble about 1030, said our farewells to Ben at the train station, then continued plugging on down the valley out of the Alps as the heat grew and we became coated in HGV fumes and sweat from the busy trunk road out of the city.
After about 20km we turned onto quieter d-roads and had some pretty sweet long downhills for very open straight sections of road. It was fast and fairly easy riding as we clocked up some good mileage.
After a while we began to approach the "mountain" range of Mont Pilat where we planned to camp tonight in the town of Pelussin; however because we had made such good ground, and as we planned to try and knock a few days off the end of the trip, we continued over the top of the mountain range and down the other side towards the town of St. Etienne. By the time we were over the top of the climb the sun was already setting and we were in need of a wild camp-site pretty soon.
We had planned to camp alongside a river flowing down alongside the descent, but the valley was too sheer and in the end we decided a field was a better option.
After a diversion down a small farm road we eventually found a satisfactory place by the side of a corn field; set up camp and cooked some dinner.

Just as we were bedding down for the night we heard a tractor approaching, Frank looked out of the tent to see some headlights on a huge hay-bailing machine heading up the track. I frantically threw on some clothes and got out of the tent, desperately hoping that this would not be the first time of the trip that we were turfed off someone's land for wild camping!
Luckily my fears were not met. In fact the young french farmer seemed to love the fact that we were on bikes and camping in his field - lots of laughing and then he drove further down the track to pick up a bale of hay for his cattle.
Thank God! I really think that we have been too paranoid about this wild camping!

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