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!
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.
Looking for a route north
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
The bus map showing there is no route north
east of d 47
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 church at Herbignac
The river 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.
The bridge at La Roche Bernard
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
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...
Coming into Peaule