La Grande-Motte – Beach town in South France

About 20-30 minutes from my hotel was a town called La Grande-Motte which is a beach resort town where a lot of the locals go to kick back and relax. I happened to go here twice, once on my own and another with my team. Both times were pretty cool which I’ll get into in a second. The drive there was also very scenic and I wish I had a dashcam to capture the drive. Maybe I’ll ask Santa for one.

On my first visit, I was really only there to eat dinner and being the American that I am, I wanted to get a burger. I went to a place called Gourmet Burger which was a little hard to find since it was tucked away on the boardwalk. The burger was pretty awesome and I had to add fries but I changed things up by drinking some orangina. Dinner took a long time because there is only one cook and she could only make the burgers 2 at a time since she had such a small stove. Normally I don’t like veggies on my burger but the ones that she put on there were excellent. Again I had a little trouble with the menu and communicating what I wanted but the guy at the front taking orders was nice and tried to speak English and I used my weak French to communicate what I wanted. Google Translate helped a little too but at this point in my trip I hadn’t downloaded French so it would work offline.

The boardwalk itself reminded me of the Jersey shore in that it had lots of hotels, cafe’s, and even an arcade. I didn’t play anything at the arcade, I have tons of games on my phone, but I did see a Ferris wheel and merry go round as well. The Ferris wheel wasn’t working but I took a picture of it anyway. There were also a lot of sand art sculptures too that someone took the time to create. I didn’t go onto the beach really, I don’t like sand all that much but I did enjoy going up and down the boardwalk. There were a lot of interesting restaurants and I went to another Italian place on my second journey there but they also took forever to get the food out. I don’t mind waiting for food but 1 hour is a little excessive for pizza and pasta. I guess I’m a little too American in that regard that I expect things to come out really quickly and not taking a slower pace to life.

The area beyond the beach has a nice small town feel and it was more modern than the walled city for sure. I didn’t explore it too much mainly because everything except restaurants were closed. Even then, the restaurants were closed fairly early, by 9:00PM most of the time with the rare restaurant closing at around 10:00. Thats ok, most nights I ended up eating late anyway because of work and my body wasn’t all that adjusted to the new time zone even though I did my best to fight the jet lag. The town at night was fairly safe to walk around at night since no one was around. There wasn’t much to see in the town since it was all closed and all the cool stuff was at the beach.

I was originally supposed to stay at La Grande Motte but due to the summer holiday, the 2019 Women’s World Cup and how late the hotels were booked for the trip, I missed out on actually staying in the area. I think it would have made the stay better overall since there were more places to eat and I wouldn’t have had to drive around so much either. It definitely gave me a good idea of what the south of France is like during the summer time. Kind of similar to how South Florida is almost all year round but with a different kind of charm and a less party atmosphere.

Beach Erosion in Dania Beach

I decided to take my yearly ride out to Dania Beach since I had the time this weekend for a longer ride than normal. It wasn’t the sunniest of days but it was good to ride out there just to change things up a bit. I have this normal spot where I like to just rest of a little bit before I head back home. Normally there is a bench for me to sit on so that I can just mellow out and watch the waves crash against the shore.

Today was a little bit different, I didn’t see my usual bench that I use and there were signs saying that no one was allowed on the beach. I also noticed that there was a ton of erosion too. Normally the beach is decently flat all the way to the water but there looks like there is a decent drop off due to erosion in the past year. Its a shame that there is this much erosion, no one can enjoy the beach and they took away my bench so I couldn’t even take a little break to watch the waves.

I decided to just take a picture here and there like always and just hopped on my bike and went home. There are a lot of new homes in the area but they look over the river that’s close by. I’m sure those homes cost a ton of money and they’re nice and new. I don’t want to get one, they’re in the greatest danger of being flooded.

If I have the opportunity this summer, I’ll go back to Dania Beach. Hopefully they will put my bench back for me. I miss seeing the ocean after my long rides.

Time lapse is best for GoPro rides

I went out early this morning for a ride on my motorcycle out to Dania Beach which is about 30 miles from home.  I decided to string up my GoPro to the side of my bike but this time instead of doing a time lapse video, I tried just shooting straight up 1080P video with the camera of my ride.  The first thing that I discovered was that the video is incredibly shaky and it kinda makes you sick watching it for too long.  Time lapses are just a bunch of photos strung together but you don’t really notice the vibration thats making the camera shake so its easier to watch, not to mention it takes up a lot less space on my SD card and when I upload it to YouTube.

Due to where I mounted the camera (near the engine), and probably because I was on the highway, the camera always had a little bit of a shake.  The video still looked cool and I was able to piece together an 8 minute video out of almost an hours worth of footage that I took.  I also decided to change the perspective for my ride.  On the way home, I had the camera pointing backwards so you could see what was happening behind me. All the other videos that I’ve shot on the GoPro have always been from my point of view or facing forward.  I have to say that I liked the results that I got.  It almost makes me want to get another camera but I use the GoPro so little I wouldn’t be able to justify the cost.  What I could justify is the Hero Session 5 if it became cheap enough because it has built in image stabilization and that might help with my vibration issues when shooting on my  motorcycle.

For future rides I think I’m going to go with the time lapse mode, I won’t get sick viewing my video and it makes it a lot shorter too.  This latest video isn’t bad but I think its too long.  I also had to make it on my Windows 10 desktop instead of my MacBook Pro so I wasn’t able to add the iMovie pizzaz I normally do.  The GoPro editing software isn’t bad but I still like the tools Apple gives me for free.  If they only made it easier to add external videos that weren’t made on the iPhone, it would solve my problem of what computer to get next.

Miami-Dade Roads are AWEFUL!

This past weekend I had a rare treat in that I was able to spend almost an entire day on my motorcycle. All in all, I rode for 100 miles give or take on Sunday going through Broward and Miami-Dade counties in South Florida. One of the things that I’ve never done before is ride my motorcycle to Miami Beach. I’ve gotten really close before but the thing that prevented me was going down I-95 which is a death trap for motorcyclists because of the insane drivers and the traffic congestion. Being Sunday I decided to give a go since most people either sleep in or are at Church on Sunday mornings.

Going through Broward was just fine all the way until I hit I-95 in the Miami
Lakes area. As soon as I started down 95 it felt like I was riding a jackhammer instead of a motorcycle. There was all these patches done to the highway and it made the surface really uneven and I was literally bouncing in my seat and hanging on with a death grip on my handle bars for fear I might hit a really big bump in the road. It didn’t help that I was tail gated all the way to 395 but since my bike has better acceleration than your average car, getting some distance between me and the car behind me wasn’t a problem once all the idiots were out of my way.

395 and the roads on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach were fine but there was a decent amount of traffic but the traffic made me slow down and appreciate the lovely view heading into Miami Beach. I saw Star Island and the cruise ship terminal with all the cruise ships docked and waiting fore-supply and passengers. It was times like that that I wish I had a Go Pro or something to capture it. One minor complaint about Miami Beach though, all the motorcycle parking spots require coins while the cars can use credit card. That part really stinks since I wanted to stay and relax a bit since it was so far but since I don’t carry change while riding I just had to turn around and go home. I decided to take a different route home and went by US 836 which passes the Miami Airport. On 836 I almost witnessed an accident up close and personal when someone in the lane to the right of me tried to swerve and miss an iguana that was in the road. The person swerving almost made the car behind them slam into them and the iguana was definitely dead since I saw it flying through the air in front of me and I just missed hitting it with my bike.

After running up 836 towards 75 I started to appreciate how awesome it is to live in Broward. The roads are definitely better than Dade. Most likely that is my first and last trip to Miami Beach on my motorcycle. While going to the beach on my bike has some appeal, it’s not worth hurting my ass to get there. As proof, here is a pic of my bike parked on Ocean Drive.