Magescq to Biganos, France

This is a marker in Parentis en Born marking 1000 km from Santiago

The symbol of that pilgrimage is a half shell, stylistically represented here in metal. This marker was next to an 11th Century Bendictine Abbey. I found it by chance as I was exploring the town, waiting for noon when the restaurants start serving

The church in Sanguinet

The lake just north of Sanguinet
I was tempted to stop there!

Today was good day of riding, 90 miles with only 500 feet of climbing in 6 hours and 45 minutes. It would have been a better day if I hadn't spent the end of it looking for internet access. France is good for several important things - wine, food, and civility - but it stinks for on the road internet access. Riding along the coast makes this worse since I'm not going through many big cities. Tonight, I'm some 45 km west of Bordeaux, but I'll be damned if I'm going to ride into that mess just to get internet access.

Today, feeling pressure to get on the web, I rode into - almost - Arcachon which is some 20 km east of here. That was not a good thing to attempt. In fact, after searching a couple of nearby towns, I abandoned the attempt because it was unsafe. On the way, failing to find any other internet access, I stopped at a three star hotel - 95E for the night plus 9 E for breakfast - that supposedly had free internet access. It didn't work, and I'm glad it didn't since I would have been spending over 50 E extra just to get on the net. I'm at a 50 E, two star hotel that has wi-fi, but they don't have a way for me to get on it ;-{. Enough time - probably at least an hour of unpleasant riding in somewhat dangerous conditions, and I did almost get hit by a car that pulled out into me as I passed in front of it - and energy wasted. I would have been at least 20 km north of here if I hadn't done that futile, unpleasant, and dangerous search.

Leaving Magescq

The road to Leon - flat, mostly straight, with a tail/side wind

Leon, my first town today

I got up before 8 and, after breakfast, was on the road at 9. My room was fine for sleeping although it did get a bit warm as the sun went down. The room I'm in tonight is much warmer. The room last night had proper shutters, which helped a lot. This room just has a curtain which is radiating heat into the room. Sometimes, old way are better! Tonight room is nicer, has a separate bathroom, is modern and clean, but last nights room was more comfortable at 8:15 PM ;-}.

I decided to go back to D 652. That meant riding to Leon on D 16. I found I was cruising at 15 to 17 mph for most of that ride because I was headed northeast and the wind was from the southwest. At Leon, some 9 miles from the start, I turned north, so the wind was a side/tail wind and my speed dropped a bit. My average speed for the first hour and a half of riding was 14 mph. By the end of the day that was down to 13 mph, but that is still respectable.

I stopped at a bicycle/fishing gear store in Ville St-Girons, to buy a replacement for my derailleur cable. I'm running my front derailleur non-indexed now since Shimano barcons get weird about indexing after cables break. I could fix that, but it is a pain, and I like the non-indexed mode just as well. I run my commuter bike 9 speed non indexed now, so I have no trouble making the switch.

I also need new gloves, but I didn't find a store with gloves today. My old gloves are comfy, but one of the knuckles on my left hand got sunburned today through a hole in them.

Between Leon and Ville St-Girons

Ville St-Girons

Riding between towns was not exciting today, being mostly flat and straight, through fields or man made forest, but it was easy and, for the most part, fast. Riding in towns was better - more interesting, more fun - than it was yesterday. Although all the towns I rode through are now tourist towns, they still have lots of their own character, unlike the more developed towns farther south.

Entering Parentis en Born

Heading away from the center of Parentis en Born

I stopped in Parentis en Born for lunch. I first cased all the restaurants in town, and, in the process stumbled upon the 1000 km marker. Then I decided I wasn't happy with any of the restaurants. They were all too touristy and too expensive for what they offered. So I headed out of town. On the edge of town, I stopped at a big supermarket to buy some YOP and some raisin bread. That was to be my lunch. Leaving the supermarket, I passed a little pizza/sandwich place. I turned back, stopped and ordered a sandwich.

This was the kind of place where you order and eat at the window and there is just room for one person inside. There was already a guy standing outside talking to the guy that operated the shop. We all got talking - the no common language version, complete with diagrams - and had a great time discussing my tour for about half an hour. Then I said bye and rode on. Ten minutes or so later, the second guy beeped and waved as he passed me driving a big semi hauling compressed gas.

In Sanguinet, I stopped for coffee. It cost more than twice as much as the same drink in Spain (cafe con leche - it doesn't seem to cause me digestive problems like espresso does) and wasn't as good. Of course that isn't nearly as bad as the beer that cost eight (!) times as much per liter and isn't as good as the beer in Slovakia. Beer here is only twice as much as in Spain, and maybe three times as much as in Portugal. The cost of touring is probably also twice as much if I kept every thing equal. So far, I've been cutting back on the kind of food I buy, and the type of lodging, to compensate a bit for the difference.

Heading away from Arcachon
That is the train train track heading toward Bordeau, just east of La Teste de Buch,
one of the towns where I looked for internet access

When I gave up on finding internet access in the Arcachon area, I was faced with riding into the wind and through several towns with heavy traffic and, of course, some construction.

In the regional park before Biganos

Things were better after Le Tech, where D 650 enters the regional park, but the road was narrow there and some of the cars had trouble passing me. I was happy to see this pleasant two star hotel in Bignos, since that meant I could get off the road. The woman who checked me in spoke excellent English - a first for this trip - and was very nice, but she was clueless about the wifi service and sent me in the wrong direction in search of supper. As a result of that second bit, I ended up not having a real meal today. Supper was two pastries from a Pain (bread) and Pastry shop near here along with some of the good raisin bread I bought for lunch. Note: this isn't the rasin bread you get in the US. This is a 400g Pain aux Rasins that was baked today. Viva la difference!

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