Firstly, I'm abandoning the fancy borders, not sure why I did it. It's not part of the competition, looks really naff and is not something I usually do anyway ... so it's gone.
Secondly, the road shape is pretty good now, it's got the sweep I'm looking for AND I've been able to knock back some of the hills in the middle distance so hopefully as the road receded there will be a "layering" of misty hills for it to pass by.
Thirdly I've started experimenting with the "verdant" left hand side of the image. It's going to need a LOT of trees. But I don't want them to obscure the road so they will have to be layered with the taller vegetation to the back.
I'm at present aiming for something between look_dev-04 and look_dev-05, mountains on the left higher, green over/under lapping the road but not so much as 04. The road probably will be lighter grey with brown mud/dust down the centre.
That's it for now, enjoy and C&C welcome.