La Rochelle Beauvoir-sur-mer to Geurtembert, France

Wind machines on the ocean just north of Beauvoir-sur-mer

My first Breton friend

I'm sitting in a French hotel, having eaten two course of supper: a salad and a fish course, both very nice and, together, just about what I can manage to get started digesting before going to bed. When I rode into this town, I was looking for a hotel and a place to get a light supper. Instead I found a new friend. He spoke to me as I rode the wrong way down a one way street next to this towns main antiquity, a 16th century hall. Usually, I just shrug, but this time I turned around and came back to ask if he spoke English. He did and, after a brief conversation, invited me for a drink.

We drank large beers - the first I've had in France, and talked for half an hour or so, then walked to the hotel. It was full, but the owner said, in French of course, "Do you have a tent?" My new friend translated and I'm now camping in the back yard of the hotel , having a light supper at the hotel and writng this, just after finishing my meal. I haven't had the opportunity to download my photos, so ,unlike my normal ride report, They are not going to be part of the creative (?) process.

I rode 80 miles today, and climbed about 1900 feet, in 6 hours and 20 minutes. I decided this morning that 100 mile days were too hard on me - interestingly, too hard on my butt and my upper body, not my legs. I slept OK last night, but soreness in my shoulders and chest and on my bottom. was a problem. This is despite my suspension stem, which really helps reduce the wear and tear on my upper body and my suspension seat post which does the same for my bottom. The roads yesterday were mostly smooth, but the last 20 miles or so was rougher. I think I would have been better off if I had stopped after 90 miles yesterday - when there were a bunch of options, instead of going on for 15 more miles and the next opportunity to stop. Of course, if I had done that, I would have missed making a new friend.

Today, I left the coast of France and headed inland towards St Malo. Actually, riding on the 'coast' really meant riding half a dozen or more miles inland from the coast and rarely seeing the ocean. The main characteristic of that riding was that it was flat. Leaving the coast meant leaving the flat, but there really wasn't that much difference between the climbing in the first half of my day, when I was 'on' the coast, and the second half when I was going inland. The main change was that the roads became much more curvy ;-}.

I started the morning heading for Pornic, some 25 miles north. It was mostly expressway riding, and mostly with a strong sided wind coming across the road. Since there was a lot of big truck traffic, I got blown around a lot. There were also a lot of long hills, but all of them were climbable in my middle ring, so they didn't slow me down much. Ten miles after Pornic, I saw the big bridge over the Loir estuary ahead ;-} It is similar to the big bridge coming into Savanah, Georgia from the north, but bigger - > 150 feet of climbing - and, since it is in France, this one has bike lane as well as a pedestrian walk way. From the top of that bridge I had a great view of the St Nazire harbor where, among other things, I saw a HUGE hotel ship. I first thought it was a building styled to look like a ship, but then realized it was a ship the size of a big building.

On the big bridge

At the top

Coming down at 30 mph

Once over that bridge, I found an expressway with a bike lane to Trignac. The bike lane ended there and the rest of that expressway banned bikes. I rode into Trignac and, not finding any place to eat, stopped at a supermarket and bought bread. cheese, apricot puree, and batteries for my shaver. I'm using an inexpensive Braun travel shaver on this trip. It takes two AA batteries and I have been shaving with it for almost a month on a set of alkaline batteries! It is an amazingly good shaver and costs < $15 from Amazon. I actually like it better than my fancy Braun shaver.

I made a good lunch sitting in a park across the street from the supermarket. I did this about noon, the supermarket, like most such in France, closed at 12:30 and reopened at 4PM. It is important to buy food - or anything else you might need, in the morning!

Looking for a route north

After lunch, I tried to find a non expressway route north out of Trignac or St Nazire, the big city. I failed, after searching for half an hour, and rode west on small roads that, mostly, paralleled the railroad track till I found D 47, the first road north, which runs north half a dozen miles east. Just before I reached D 7, I found a bus stop with a map showing what I already knew, there are a no roads running north from Trignac to La Beale. I had already figured out that that areas was pretty much a marsh, and later, looking at my map, I saw that it was regional park.

The bus map showing there is no route north east of d 47

I rode d 47 to Herbignac - pretty church! - La Roche Bernard, Peauile, and, finally, Geurtembert - which reminds me, Bert is the small town I spent a lot of time wandering around north of Trignac. Sort of fun for Sesame Street fans...

The church at Herbignac

La Roche Bernard was especially pretty, and touristry. I stopped at a place there that said it was a cybercafe - it wasn't, anymore. There was a group of half a dozen people gathered around a table, drinking and talking. Nobody had a lot of English, but we managed a nice conversation while I drank a beer. Then I got routing and lodging advice before heading further north. The lodging advice turned out to be very good.

The river at La Roche Bernard

The bridge at La Roche Bernard

Going north from La Roche Bernard meant going over the river on a pretty bridge well above town. There was a great view of hundred of boast, including some pretty big ones. moored in the river. I think La Roche Bernard must be the farthest up river that is navigable. I know it is a neat and very pretty, old town.

Coming into Peaule

The small road to Peaule is quite nice, and quite hilly. From Peaule to Gertembert is interesting in that the road D 1, is really two kinds of roads, a pretty major road running north south and two minor road segments connecting the towns to the fairly major road. All the parts are D 1, but there are three distinct roads. I suspect this main road continues north and south. I'll find out tomorrow. Now I'm off to my tent to get my cameras and download images... Note: My night in the tent was very pleasant, but in the morning I started hearing thunder and now I am in the back dining room of the hotel and it is pouring rain. This area has been in a drought for a month, but it looks like my arrival has broken the drought. I may not ride today...
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