We saw more and more scooters on the roads as we travelled south towards Italy. The GP800 clocked up its 25,000th mile since I bought it in December 2008, and I pulled in at the side of the road to take a photo of this momentous event:
Bang on noon, too!
We spent the afternoon on the mountain roads around the Verdon Gorge of legendary beauty, stopping often to take photos which utterly failed to capture the scale and grandeur of it all, and on the section of Route National 85 known as the Route Napoléon and listed as one of Europe's best biking roads.
In the course of the afternoon I saw both a black rabbit and a black squirrel, and we had coffee at what turned out to be a biker cafe. The proprietor showed a complete lack of curiosity about us and our bikes; I guess he sees a fair number of bikers.
We were staying in a village near Cannes, at an allegedly biker-friendly B&B with a steep driveway accessed by a steeper road. When I dismounted outside the gate my bike rolled forwards off the centre-stand, something it has often threatened to do but never previously managed. I caught it before it hit the ground and, although I was too puny to return it to the vertical myself, held it up until Howard could come over and help.
I had a six-inch bruise on my inner thigh for the rest of the holiday from the brake lever. But flesh heals and plastic panels do not.
For dinner we walked to a pizzeria recommended by our host, run by an Englishwoman and her husband. To our surprise, we saw an immaculate white GP800 outside. We enquired, mentioning that I had the same model, and it turned out to belong to the management.
Management was very fond of it, in Franglais ("Oh oui, c'est belle, non? We 'ad to wait three fuckin' months for it!") and keen to point out the superiority of special edition white over my burgundy.
(I saw several other white GPs over the next few days but never another red one. Obviously white is in fact common as muck.)
This would be our last night in France until the return journey. Onward to Italy!