The ruins of an 11th century chalet in St Vincent-sur-Jard
It got a bit hillier today, as you can see in this image
The statute on the left is a monument to le Morts, but I didn't catch which morts (dead)
Like art in roundabouts, monuments to the dead are a French thing
On day 18 of this tour I finally did something I usually do within the first few days of a tour. I rode over 100 miles. Today I rode 105 miles with 100 feet of climbing in a little less than 8 hours. I started a bit early because of this cute French kid who banged on my door for a long time at 7:15 this morning. I finally got up, opened the door and he, maybe 8 years old, apologized. I went back to bed, but couldn't get back to sleep, so I went down for breakfast at 8 and left about 9. I got to my hotel a little before 7 PM, so I was on the road for 10 hours, which is normal for me doing 100 mile days.
I had two meals - a French lunch at about 1 PM which took an hour and cost, with tip, 16 E, and McDs supper at about 5 PM which cost 6 E and took over half an hour. McDs in France are VERY slow by US standards. Part of that is a culture which values civility over efficiency. There were two people in line in front of me, each of whom was ordering for their family of two adults and a kid. I waited over twenty minutes to put in my order. The other 'problem' is that they care about food. Even at McDs, they won't prepare food and let it sit. You order it, they fix it. I was impressed that, somewhere in the middle of my waiting, the guy that was taking orders asked me and some kids waiting behind me if we were going to order 'sandwiches.' Then he put in my order for a 'mystic chicken' burger and went back to helping the person in front of me. I also had, as a snack, an excellent pastry at about 11:30 and, from a bar, a beer at about 3:30 PM. It was Sunday and, especially on Sunday afternoon, very few things are open in France.
I got excellent advice, from the woman who checked me out this morning,on how to head north from La Rochelle. Not only was the route very good after I left La Rochelle, but it also made me appreciate what a pretty place La Rochelle is. Now, if I were only really wealthy, I could live there ;-} It is definitely a high rent district. Last night while talking to my sister, I told her that there were something like 100 million dollars worth of big, ocean going, sailboats within a few hundred yards of the Aquacyber internet cafe I was in. looking at those boats again when I left, I think my estimate was low.
The main street in Esnandes
In Champage-les-Marais I was passed by a group of more than 100 motorcycles
When I had a choice between goning down to the
ocean or staying on the little roads
for another 20 miles, I choose the little roads. There was way too much traffic
heading to the beach on Sunday morning
I saw a lot of Sunday cyclists on the first half of my ride, and was passed by a few them. Almost everyone was friendly. I also saw a lot of wheat and corn and some soybeans. The crops looked very good in the area north of La Rochelle.
Wheat fields with corn fields behind them and
homes and farms along the ocean
It could almost be Kansas except for the ocean and a few red poppies ;-}
After 50 mile of riding, I stopped to eat in Longeville-sur-Mer. I had been looking for a restaurant for almost an hour and I was getting worried. I was going to use up my restaurant lunch availability window, which runs from Noon to a little after 1 PM since lunch is served from 12 to 2 and it takes about an hour to serve a standard French lunch. I was very happy to find an open restaurant at 1 PM.
Riding was uneventful for the rest of the day until I neared my destination. Then I found myself in the middle of a French folks going home on Sunday night traffic jam! I had been cranking along at 15 to 16 mph, but had to slow to 10 to 12 mph for the last half a dozen miles. There were simply too many RVs and cars on the road and traffic was backed up for miles.
When I got here, I was hoping there would be a hotel. There is, it is pretty good, but, as usual, not cheap. I think its that sur-Mer (on the sea) in the place name that is the problem ;-}. It was a good day and I'm ready for good night's sleep.